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Old 07-02-2018, 09:51 PM
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Default 357 ammo in 1973

In 1973 what were the good 357 defense ammo available then? My dad was talking about it but the only load he mentioned was the Super-Vel.
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Old 07-02-2018, 10:55 PM
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Super-Vel was the first that came to my mind but I know that Remington HTP is an old load (110, 125, 158, or 180-gr SJHP), though I’m not sure exactly how old?
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Old 07-02-2018, 11:18 PM
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I'm not an ammo guru, but when I think of that caliber, the 125gr HP 357B round stands out. Might have been most responsible for development of the "L" frame.
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:06 AM
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Lee Jurras and his Super Vel 110-grain JHP .357 were king of the hill in the early 1970s.

Jurras and Super Vel were the driving force behind the excellent ammunition the Big Boy Companies produce today.
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:10 AM
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This is great info! I appreciate the responses and looking forward to more memories of this.
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:38 AM
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I believe that Super Vel is available again but not the company or Lee Juras of days gone by.
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Old 07-03-2018, 06:28 AM
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That is a very interesting thread for somebody like me who is interested in the small arms and ammunition history.

BTW what was the standard load for the 357 mag before the advent of the lighter bullets? Some 158 grain wadcutter or lead round nose bullets?
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:00 AM
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I know speer made the lawman ammo in the late 70s I am not sure about 73 in particular. they had a hexagon shaped HP that looked wicked,,,,,,,
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Old 07-03-2018, 08:05 AM
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Can't remember the brand(s) .... but Dad had lots of boxes marked; "Law Enforcement Only" or some such.

Ammo was loose in small 3x3x3" Boxes....nickle cases; semi-jacketed hollow points.

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Old 07-03-2018, 08:19 AM
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These were the FBI issued ammo in the early/mid 1970s.
From left to right:
Remington 158 gr LSWC (non-HP)
Winchester 158 gr LSWC (non-HP)

For comparison W-W or Fed .38 LSWCHP+P. I scanned these about 15 years ago and don't recall which I used for comparison.
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Old 07-03-2018, 08:23 AM
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SuperVel was king of the hill for LEO's. I know a number of guys who carried the 110's. The 110's were wicked fast but the drawback with the 110's were lack of penetration. One shooting we had, a perp was shot on the shoulder blade without the round penetrating the shoulder blade - blew up on the bone. Another issue was the 110's were no good at penetrating a windshield.

Personally I carried the 137 grain loads. Good penetration, could penetrate a car door or heavy clothing and bone. Worked well int he 4" M19.
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Old 07-03-2018, 08:38 AM
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Being an 'oldie' and shooting 357 back then,the Super Vels and Remington 125gr SJHP.
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Old 07-03-2018, 08:41 AM
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Super vel was definitely a player and Smith and Wesson was in the game also. I shot both, did not have a chrono back then,but both brands performed well for me.
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRT View Post
...Jurras and Super Vel were the driving force behind the excellent ammunition the Big Boy Companies produce today.
True! Mr. Jurras has left the range now but when I think of him I always wonder if the big ammo manufacturers still wouldn’t be kicking out 158-gr LSWCs by the millions if it weren’t for him. He was an interesting gentleman, and a real shooter! He once told me he must have literally worn out a dozen Super Blackhawks shooting his ammunition - the cost for which, of course, came out of his own pocket. From what I knew of him, I didn’t doubt it.
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:04 AM
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Ah this rings back memories! When I got my first handgun in '74 (a 67) my dad gave it to me with two boxes of Super Vels. That was the go to ammo back then.
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:43 AM
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The mid-to-late 1960's saw a number of ammunition developments, notably the SuperVel line, but also increasing use of jacketed bullets in revolver calibers. By 1973 most of the ammo makers were offering jacketed soft point and jacketed hollow point bullets in .357 and most other revolver calibers. Actual performance varied considerably.

Jacketed revolver bullets really started taking off during the 1960's. Speer and Sierra offered a pretty broad range of choices in both JSP and JHP designs for handloaders. The rapidly growing popularity of these bullets is probably what propelled the mainstream ammo manufacturers to get into the game.

The first .357 ammo I recall purchasing was Federal 158JSP in 1973. I still have the box with a price tag of $5.97 (50 rounds). Shooting factory .357 in my 4" Model 19 quickly convinced me that it was a very uncomfortable experience.

In 1974 I purchased a 2.5" Model 19 ($149 NIB, took me several months to pay it off on the "layaway" plan). I tried the SuperVel 125JHP's in the snub. Not only was the recoil and muzzle blast extremely heavy, I found that I had to use a dowel rod and mallet to remove the fired cases from the chambers. I stuck with .38 Special +P thereafter (as I recall the +P loads were just becoming available at that time); I remember buying Remington 125SJHP, Winchester 125JHP, and Federal 158SWC-HP (so-called FBI load). I did carry some WW .357 158 armor-piercing ammo while on patrol, thinking that it might be handy to have in the event of a barricaded subject incident (tried it on an old wrecked car and found that it would shoot through the grill and radiator and still break the water pump housing; also shot straight through concrete blocks).

I have not purchased any .357 ammo since the mid-1970's. I handload .357, but I use fairly mild loads, typically a good 10% below recommended max loads. For what it may be worth, I have used those loads on deer twice, and a spike elk once, resulting in clean kills and only one bullet that did not exit the body (cast 150SWC-HP bullets), possibly due to passing through a rib on entry, then lodging against a rib on the far side.

These, and other experiences, have convinced me that .357 magnum is excessive for defensive use, particularly in populated areas.

My $0.02 worth.
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olskool View Post
I know speer made the lawman ammo in the late 70s I am not sure about 73 in particular. they had a hexagon shaped HP that looked wicked,,,,,,,
I remember dad carrying the Lawman load for the 45 ACP. Came in a yellow plastic box.

Had names like Agent, Deputy, Marshal, ETC.. for each different load.
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
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That is a very interesting thread for somebody like me who is interested in the small arms and ammunition history.

BTW what was the standard load for the 357 mag before the advent of the lighter bullets? Some 158 grain wadcutter or lead round nose bullets?
Prior to jacketed bullets in factory loads the most common .357 factory ammo featured 158SWC bullets. Those soft lead swaged bullets had a reputation for heavy leading in .357 revolvers. All sorts of products were offered to help make cleaning easier (notably the Lewis Lead Remover tools, with woven brass patches intended to cut the lead out of chambers, forcing cones, and bores).
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Old 07-03-2018, 12:23 PM
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I believe that Super Vel is available again but not the company or Lee Juras of days gone by.

Yes super vel is back but according to their homepage they have no 357 mag in stock yet.

supervel | Buy Ammunition

Not sure as well if they have much to too with the original super vel ammo though.

Last edited by agent00; 07-03-2018 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:19 PM
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Speer used to chronograph factory loads and published the results in their load manuals. #8 was published around 1970 and they didn't do a #9 until '74. The results posted in #9 for .357 (and other) factory ammo was quite optimistic in most instances. Actual velocities were often several hundred feet per second less than advertised figures. Of course, few individuals had chronographs then.

Some years ago, I wound up with some Super Vel bullets that the company sold as components. I believe they were either 110 grain or 125. They were undersized in comparison with other such bullets, measuring .355" or .356" ( don't recall exactly). This may have been one way the company kept velocity up and pressure down. Probably didn't do much for accuracy, but I think accuracy was a secondary consideration with such ammo.
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:59 PM
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The Super Vels were definitely on the scene at that time, but all my agency issued were the Remington or Winchester 158 grain semi wadcutters. The Winchester’s were lubaloyed bullets, but both were so soft that barrel leading was a big problem. As time passed, we began to get some jacketed soft points that were a big improvement over the earlier stuff. The first hollow point I got issued was S&W branded JHP stuff in 158 grain. It was good and came to us toward the end of the 70’s. Ammo wasn’t bought back then because it was the best but was likely available from the low bidder!
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:31 PM
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Wasn't Norma running neck and neck with Super Vel at that time? They were both hot in both their product lines.
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Old 07-03-2018, 05:18 PM
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I think the advertised velocity of Norma was a little higher than Super Vel and the others. Norma definitely had the hottest (advertised) .38 Special load.
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Old 07-03-2018, 05:48 PM
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Old 07-03-2018, 05:59 PM
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:01 PM
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Ah, the Lubaloy. Designed & produced in the optimistic belief that a copper wash on a lead bullet that worked in .22 lr would work in a .357 at 3 times the pressures. I recall firing 6 and then checking the barrel for leading. Couldn't see the rifling.

I have to admit I never fired the metal piercing round, but the 158 gr SWC round was simply miserable. I don't believe I bought Winchester ammo for at least a decade after that, maybe more.

I think I've still got some 158 gr Remington JSPs from those days. Hot load.

Low bidder often still wins, but most agencies today specify the specifications (bullet weight and type), often the brand.

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Old 07-03-2018, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
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Ah, the Lubaloy. Designed & produced in the optimistic belief that a copper wash on a lead bullet that worked in .22 lr would work in a .357 at 3 times the pressures.

I recall firing 6 and then checking the barrel for leading. Couldn't see the rifling.
Wee bit hot for that lead bullet wasn't it?
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:22 PM
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I was on the job back in 1970. Another agency armed their agents with nickel plated M-19 2 1/2" revolvers and Super-Vel .357 110 gr. They had terrible results. They had many rounds seize in the chamber (so they could not eject the empties) - most of the agents wouldn't carry them. The guns performed perfectly with old 158 gr. ammo according to the gun savy agents that I spoke to.

The problem was solved when they got WW 125 gr. ammo.
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:38 AM
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In 1971 when I got my first Model 19-3 4 inch the best thing going was Remington .357 scalloped 158 grain JHPs. I remember K-mart had great prices on Remington green box ammo for .38 special and .357. The HTP ammo of today uses the same bullets in .357 and .38 special 125 and 158 JHP. The .357 158 grain is still a good performer. It was loaded hotter back then in both calibers.

I still have half a box of the .38 125 JHP that is hotter than later purchased +P.
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Old 07-04-2018, 07:16 AM
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Mike is right about the old Norma ammo. I had a handful of jacketed Norma soft point about 10 years ago I got from "an old timer". Man were they spicy even out of a med frame revolver. I wish I had kept a cylinder or two full for winter carry.
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Old 07-04-2018, 07:39 AM
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For as long as I can remember the debate has gone on about big and
slow vs light and fast. In the early 1970s the RII was being developed.
(Relative Incapacitation Index). It was all quite scientific with little
practical street evidence to back it up.
Then a few years later the Florida shoot out between the FBI and the
2 bad guys kinda brought at least the FBI back to thinking maybe big
and slow would be better again.
Over the years, I believe the most effective .357 load was/is the 125-Gr.
hollow point. Personally I like the Golden Saber.
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:27 AM
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In 1971 when I got my first Model 19-3 4 inch the best thing going was Remington .357 scalloped 158 grain JHPs. ....... The HTP ammo of today uses the same bullets in .357 and .38 special 125 and 158 JHP. The .357 158 grain is still a good performer. It was loaded hotter back then in both calibers.
The 158 gr SJHP (semi-jacketed hollow point) was designed for the .357 Magnum and only loaded in that caliber. The 125 gr bullet actually works in both .38 & .357. Although in .357 you likely aren't going to get the FBI's minimum 12 inches of penetration. Heavy clothing may delay expansion enough to do the trick.

I'm not entirely sure the SJHP was the original version of the bullet. But, it turns out the only ammo I've got left from them thar days is SJHP. The price tag shows $15.70 for 50. And, that does seem to have less enthusiasm than the first box I bought.

When I was issued a revolver we only used the Federal 125 gr full power load. After seeing what that load did over time to the guns, not to mention blast, flash and recoil; I decided to tone my own reloads down. The same bullets at ~1250 f/s work pretty much as well with a lot less fuss.

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Old 07-04-2018, 10:29 AM
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I never shot factory ammo, but did shoot the Sierra 140 gr. JHP over an appropriate amount of 4227 or 296 and it was very accurate. The 140 Sierra is still one of my favorite bullets.
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:32 AM
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This is great info!

I had a relative that came from a well to do family and he was a rural deputy in a sheriff's department in Alabama, so he had his choice on any sidearm he wanted. He carried a Blued 3 1/2 inch Model 27 on nice days and a 4 in Model 28 on wet weather days. He wanted to carry his Colt Commander but the sheriff wanted revolvers only. He later went to a model 24 (I think) in 44 Special around 1974. He said the ammo he carried in his 357 was good but seems the 44 special was a better stopper.

He never mentioned ammo preferences, tho.
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Old 07-04-2018, 01:06 PM
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In 1973 we were issued Federal 158 grain JSP. A few years later we went to Federal & Winchester 125 grain JHP. Texas Dept. of Public Safety.
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Old 07-04-2018, 03:11 PM
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Default A Long Learning Curve

As others have said, Super Vel started an ammo revolution. However, it took several decades for the ammo companies to get bullets to perform at pistol velocities.

Not to be overlooked, early high speed hollow point ammo had exposed lead at the tip. When used in autoloaders, often before we learned how to polish the feed ramp, the ammo would drag on the ramp and fail to chamber. Eventually, they figured out how to make hollow points without any exposed lead.

I believe that it was the first-generation ammo that caused so many stoppages during the "chopped-and-channeled" phase of gun history where gun smiths were lopping off an inch or two of barrel on otherwise perfectly good handguns, compromising reliability.

Last edited by federali; 07-04-2018 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 07-04-2018, 04:20 PM
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I recently unearthed a box of Speer Lawman ammo with 140 grain hollow points. I believe it's from the early 80's. They are a nasty looking pill. Speer no longer catalogs the ammo or the bullet.
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Old 07-04-2018, 04:29 PM
WR Moore WR Moore is offline
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A lot of the feed ramps in early semi-autos were designed for FMJRN. When hollowpoints that sorta kinda worked in revolvers were designed, there was an attempt to just transfer that design to semi-auto ammunition.

Sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn't. Some of the ammo companies tried to mimic a bullet profile similar to RN. The Remington 115 gr JHP (now the HTP version) in 9mm and the slightly later Federal bullet used in the 9BP load are examples. Federals first effort was a truncated cone and it wasn't entirely trouble free in feeding.

Took awhile for many of the gun companies to get on board and revise their feed ramps. S&W was way ahead of Colt on this, having done so (IIRC) in the 39-2.
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