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Old 03-19-2020, 01:02 PM
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To start off with, forgive my ignorance with this question.
My .357's are K frames. On another part of the forum someone said 155 gr was okay to shoot (limited to no frame damage from heavy use), while 125gr was too hot for heavy use and was best limited to slow frame wear and tear.
What am I missing? I don't re-load so my ignorance is profound but 155gr would seem to be higher and therefore more damaging/forceful than 125.
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Old 03-19-2020, 01:09 PM
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I think the wear they speak of is from the powder burning the strap between the cylinder and barrel throat. The lighter bullets tend to have more powder burning thus increasing wear/erosion. Also the lighter bullet gets out the the barrel faster leaving more powder still burning. Slower bullet holds back the powder and gives it more time to burn in the cylinder and less leaking in the cylinder gap to barrel throat. Just guessing though, I haven't studied the subject much.

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Old 03-19-2020, 01:29 PM
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You can shoot all the 357 Magnum that you want

That is what the gun is chambered for

Yes there are occasionally issues. These are rare, very rare

Odds are that you will have no problems in your lifetime firing Magnums

Should something happen then you get it fixed
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Old 03-19-2020, 01:43 PM
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The original erosion damage came from the rather large amount of hot burning powder gases used to load 125 gr. bullets and 110 gr. also.
It had nothing to do with bullet weight , it was more the powder type and the high velocity of the bullet . I believe new powders have been developed and the ammo makers are aware of erosion and taken steps to rectify it...
125 grain Ammo in the 1200 to 1450 fps category will be OK in modern K frames . There is some ammo , 125 gr. High Velocity at 1700 fps that you may want to limit the use of...it may be safe but to get 1700 fps it will take a large charge of powder and it must be a HOT load....so limited use of the hot stuff would be advisable .
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Old 03-19-2020, 02:02 PM
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Thank you very much for the information. Always trying to learn and if it benefits my guns so much the better!
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Old 03-19-2020, 06:00 PM
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I'm not a K owner but I'm of the impression that the only problems were on older models that had a flat spot under the forcing cone that created a weak spot in the barrel. The gas jet of the rounds with shorter and lighter projectiles was more intense and may cause a split at the thin portion of the forcing cone.

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Old 03-20-2020, 01:16 AM
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The flat spot on the bottom of the barrel, where metal was removed..............
killed many a model 19 with the high pressure 110 and 125gr "Full Loads" with a lot of rounds over time.
( old ammo at 1500fps )

They did much better with a slower 140 grain bullet or heavier, that was easier on the metal and parts of the revolver.

I look at a K frame as a 38 +P weapon, do to its make up, which will help it last longer.

Last edited by Nevada Ed; 03-20-2020 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 03-20-2020, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
The flat spot on the bottom of the barrel, where metal was removed..............
killed many a model 19 with the high pressure 110 and 125gr "Full Loads" with a lot of rounds over time.
"Full Loads" is the key phrase with the lighter weight bullets. Reduced power loads, like the various short-barrel magnum rounds or the WWB 110gr SJHP (which clocks at ~1250fps) are fine. I used to shoot the 110gr SJHP in my 3" 65 and it was one of my favorite rounds to shoot.

And as others have said, the heavier bullets are fine. It's just the full power, 125gr or lighter bullets that could potentially cause issues, at least with high round counts.

Note: This doesn't seem to be the case with the new 66 K-frames because they have a differently designed forcing cone/throat area, but I'm not too familiar with the new models.
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Old 03-20-2020, 08:22 AM
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I just don't feel the need to shoot "hot" 110 & 125gr's in my K frames! most of the time I shoot 158gr. .38 spl's anyway....IMHO
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Old 03-20-2020, 08:33 AM
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In the late 70s early 80s folks and manufactures were trying to push the 125gr .357 hollow point to it's limits...............

Most commercial ( and IIRC all of the "larger" commercial manufactures) loads today have backed off from those "hot rodded" loads........


Today there's more science and less powder involved in getting a hollow point to expand without over penetration.
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Old 03-20-2020, 07:50 PM
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I have a model 65. I have a range load that is a 124gr coated RN that is in the 38+p range. I also have three 158gr loads. A 38spl lead WC. A low end 357mag plated HP and a middle of the road JHP HP that in the middle of Federal's suggested range for maximum expansion of that bullet.

I have no plans to load anything on the upper end. Most of the factory loads are on the conservative side except for Buffalo Bore.
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Old 09-04-2020, 12:06 AM
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I don't believe the Smith & Wesson engineers had ever dreamed of 125 gr bullets fired at 1400+ fps, and the more pedestrian loads, while not nearly at those levels didn't have the excessive wear effect on the K frame guns, which were NOT light/wimpy weapons.
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Old 09-04-2020, 12:21 AM
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It's hard to imagine what real advantage a 110 grain or 125 grain bullet would have over a 158 grain bullet, assuming all are loaded to near maximum levels.
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Old 09-04-2020, 09:10 AM
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First, S&W did not envision the K-frame 357 Magnum as every having a steady diet of magnum ammo. It was designed with a concept of 38 Special ammo being used for practice and magnum ammo used for sight in, qualification, familiarization, and carry.

Second, at that time, the 158 grain bullet was the standard weight in 38 Special and 357 Magnum. The K-frame S&W revolvers were adequately durable with this bullet weight, especially if they did not have a steady diet of magnum rounds.

In order to understand the concept of the 125 grain loads, you have to examine bullet materials and design. The 125 grain SJHP 357 Magnum load was designed to get maximum expansion with adequate penetration. The 158 grain loads penetrated nicely, but usually completely penetrated and exited the average two-legged predator. The light weight bullets offered much more velocity, which made the exposed lead and relatively narrow hollow cavity of the SJHP bullets of the late 20th century expand rapidly, even forcing the jacket to expand. This rapid expansion also caused the bullet to quickly decelerate and reduced penetration. In order to get this velocity, a huge charge of slow burning, ball pistol powder was required. It is this huge charge of slow burning ball powder that is the cause of forcing cone erosion. When the erosion cuts deep enough, the thin, flat spot on the bottom of the K-frame barrel becomes prone to cracking.

With 158 grain loads, there is far less powder in the case, so there is less erosion with the heavier bullets.

Modern bullet design has overcome the need for blistering velocity. One of the more popular and effective bullets is the Speer 135 grain JHP. Speer makes this load in 38 Special, 38 Special +P, and 357 Magnum. It is taylored to revolvers with barrels of no more than 4 inches. The bullet has a very wide and deep hollow cavity and the jacket, which extends to and protects the edge of the cavity, is actually a fairly thick copper plating. These bullets expand very well at velocities that are well below what would have been required for older bullet designs.

In short, the time of the 125 grain full power SJHP 357 Magnum has come and gone. Advancements in materials have allowed reliable expansion to occur without the need for hyper-velocity.
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Old 09-04-2020, 10:04 AM
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My personal rule of thumb is also to shoot nothing but 158 gr loads out of all my 38's and 357's. A number of them are also fixed sights and this is what the factory sets them up to shoot.
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Old 09-04-2020, 10:06 AM
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I have 4 different varieties of 158gr .357, and they all shoot great out of my 686-1 6", as to be expected. I do want to pick up a box of good, hot 125gr self defense hollow points. Im not worried about wear as im not gonna shoot many.

What do you guys recommend?
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Old 09-04-2020, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigben55 View Post
I have 4 different varieties of 158gr .357, and they all shoot great out of my 686-1 6", as to be expected. I do want to pick up a box of good, hot 125gr self defense hollow points. Im not worried about wear as im not gonna shoot many.

What do you guys recommend?
Federal C357B, good rep and shoot to point of aim in my 686s.

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Old 09-13-2020, 11:16 AM
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Today's .357 125 gr Magnum load by Rem/Win is still loaded to 1450fps and has a ME of 583 ft/lbs.
The lighter 110 gr JHP does 1295 fps and has 410 ft/lbs of energy, that is twice the energy of a 38 snub nose.........

so it is just a matter of how much recoil you want to handle or that your weapon shoots best for a SD load.......
however a 38 FBI load out of a .357 revolver is nothing to sneeze at, either.

Good shooting.
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