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  #1  
Old 10-23-2008, 01:26 PM
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I bought a LNIB 66-2 a few years back and went out and bought a box of 110 grain .357 HP ammo before I heard to stay away from hotter ammo thorough the K frames. I put 12 rounds of that 50 round box through the gun with no damage seen. I now only shoot 158 grain .357 the rare times I shoot the gun. I still have 38 rounds of that 110 grain ammo sitting in my safe. Most of the posts I read say to stay away from the 125 grain. Is the 110 grain safe to shoot in the gun?
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:26 PM
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I bought a LNIB 66-2 a few years back and went out and bought a box of 110 grain .357 HP ammo before I heard to stay away from hotter ammo thorough the K frames. I put 12 rounds of that 50 round box through the gun with no damage seen. I now only shoot 158 grain .357 the rare times I shoot the gun. I still have 38 rounds of that 110 grain ammo sitting in my safe. Most of the posts I read say to stay away from the 125 grain. Is the 110 grain safe to shoot in the gun?
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:46 PM
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If you read the posts on this forum, you'll find a vocal group who believe if you can fire it in the gun, and it does not blow up on the first shot, that "proves" it is safe.

Some of us more conservative types heed the S&W advisory that the 110 gr .357 loads have been associated with K frame damage, including forcing cone cracking.

Take your pick.
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Old 10-23-2008, 03:47 PM
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Can you give us the brand of the ammo? Hollow point or solid?? Winchester White box hollow point in 110 grain (like they used to have at Wal-mar) is downloaded to about 1100 - 1200 fps. No way will that hurt your gun.
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Old 10-23-2008, 04:05 PM
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The 110 gr. cartridges available today have an advertised muzzle velocity of 1295 fps and, as such, are some of the lightest .357 Magnum loads available. In 1984, when the Border Patrol chose the 110 gr. .357 Magnum as their new issued duty ammo (110 @ 1300), one of the reasons given for choosing the 110 grainers was that they would be the easiest on their revolvers. I would shoot the 110s without hesitation.

The same applies to "medium velocity" 125 gr. .357 Magnum loads like the Remington Golden Sabers which have an advertised muzzle velocity of 1220 fps. These Golden Sabers are probably the mildest .357 Magnum loads on the market. These too I would not hesitate to shoot.

The fact that the hottest, "full house" .357 Magnum loads all use 125 gr. bullets has confused some and caused them to incorrectly conclude that it's the 125 gr. bullet itself which is damaging to their revolver when, in fact, it's the bullet and the near maximum powder charge behind it, the whole enchilada if you will, that can and has caused damage like cracked forcing cones, flame cutting, etc.

Regarding this so-called "S&W advisory" we've read about here, I have yet to see it in writing and don't expect to live long enough to ever do so. You see, even though S&W has issued many written advisories in the past, we're to believe that this advisory is unique in that it's actually a tightly held secret revealed only to those who call and ask the right questions.

The same people who are so quick to hang their hats on this dubious advisory can't provide a scrap of proof of its existence beyond anecdotal hearsay yet they expect us to give it full credence and become indignant when we don't.

Well, sorry, but I spent a career dealing with facts and evidence and until I see some official supporting documentation for this alleged advisory, I'll continue to raise the BS flag on it. Now if I'm mistaken and someone can provide a copy of this advisory on official S&W documentation or provide a link to it on the S&W web site, my deepest apologies, but I've been asking for this proof for a long time and I suspect it will appear the same day Sasquatch does.
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  #6  
Old 10-23-2008, 04:53 PM
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I'd shoot them and not give it a second thought if it were me.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:44 PM
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kbm6893,

There have been extensive anecdotal reports of damage done to S&W K-frame .357 Magnum cal. guns by 110 and 125 gr. ammunition over a period of at last the past 30 years. While there possibly is another explanation of this damage it is certain that most of the people who have reported this damage have been sincere in their belief this ammunition was the causitive factor.

My first question would be why would anyone have such a desire to shoot either heavy or light-for-caliber bullets in any revolver except for a special purpose such as 200 gr. SXC .45 ACP for target shooting, what is gained by it? Shoot what you want based on your own requirements, but why deliberately do something that hundreds of shooters have reported over the years has damaged their guns! You may get away with shooting the light bullet loads for years, but when (if) your K-Magnum develops a split barrel shank do you want to be saying "Damn, maybe there was something to this."? You won't miss out on anything by avoiding these type loads, and besides, the gun was regulated from the factory to shoot 158 gr. loads to the sights, or at least to be within the normal range of adjustemnt for them/
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:42 PM
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Both XTrooper and Alk8944 make very valid points. I tend to agree with XTrooper's theory about where the reported damage comes from, but I also tend to agree with Alk8944's questions about why take the chance.

I think the damage came from super hot, high velocity loads that simply put too much energy into the forcing cones. I don't think that the light weight bullets themselves do any harm at all. Does anybody really think that a powder puff .38 special load using a light weight bullet would hurt anything? I don't. But then again what is the point?

I'm pretty sure that the remaining 38 rounds you have would do no harm but I wouldn't make a habit out of it over the life of the gun.

JMHO
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:19 AM
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It was Super Vel and the 110's which started the K Frame problem/debate(such as it is)back in the '60's.
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Old 10-24-2008, 04:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alk8944:

My first question would be why would anyone have such a desire to shoot either heavy or light-for-caliber bullets in any revolver except for a special purpose such as 200 gr. SXC .45 ACP for target shooting, what is gained by it?
This is a valid question. The reason I shoot the light 110 gr. and medium velocity 125 gr. loads is because they are easier on my .357 Magnum revolvers and, frankly, because they're a lot easier on my old arthritic hands. I find the 158 grainers punishing to my hands anymore and I tend not to shoot them much. FWIW, none of my wheelguns have shown any sign of damage, but then I avoid hot loads of every bullet weight.


Quote:
Originally posted by Alk8944:

.........and besides, the gun was regulated from the factory to shoot 158 gr. loads to the sights, or at least to be within the normal range of adjustemnt for them/
Since the model in question, the 66, has adjustable sights and is easily capable of shooting both 110 and 125 gr. loads to POA, I see this matter of the revolver being regulated from the factory to shoot 158 gr. loads as a non-issue, even if factual. The reason I add "if factual" is because I've purchased several S&W revolvers over the years that shot 125 gr. loads to POA right out of the box.

Wayne M: Thank you for reminding me of the Super Vels. I had them on the tip of my tongue last night, but just couldn't bring them to memory. I shot a good bit of and carried the .38 Special version of that load (against regulations) back in the day. In every other cylinder, I had a Remington Hi-Way Master metal-penetrating round. Of course, I was young and dumb back then.
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Old 10-24-2008, 05:42 AM
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You may wish to get the Oct. 15 issue of, "Gun Week", where there is a two-page article discussing the .357 ammo issue, and how to select the best .357 gun for your own needs.

It is not in the Online edition, but I'll link that here, as it has contact info. Click the button, "Current Issue", then scroll down on that page until you see the address and phone number of the publication. I think current issues are $2.00, but ask.

www.gunweek.com

The writer has studied the matter for some 30 years, and talked with S&W officials and engineers at the major ammo makers. Also, a number of gunsmiths. There is considerable information there, and it not anecdotal stuff from gun forums.
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Old 10-24-2008, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Texas Star:
You may wish to get the Oct. 15 issue of, "Gun Week", where there is a two-page article discussing the .357 ammo issue, and how to select the best .357 gun for your own needs.

It is not in the Online edition, but I'll link that here, as it probably has contact info.

www.gunweek.com

The writer has studied the matter for some 30 years, and talked with S&W officials and engineers at the major ammo makers. Also a number of gunsmiths.
For those of us that don't have access to the article, would you mind filling us in on the gist of it? Thanks!
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Old 10-24-2008, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by XTrooper:
Quote:
Originally posted by Texas Star:
You may wish to get the Oct. 15 issue of, "Gun Week", where there is a two-page article discussing the .357 ammo issue, and how to select the best .357 gun for your own needs.

It is not in the Online edition, but I'll link that here, as it probably has contact info.

www.gunweek.com

The writer has studied the matter for some 30 years, and talked with S&W officials and engineers at the major ammo makers. Also a number of gunsmiths.
For those of us that don't have access to the article, would you mind filling us in on the gist of it? Thanks!


The short version is that, YES, light bullet loads were found to have caused forcing cone damage. It is most likely when hot 125 grain loads are used in K-frame Magnums that may also have lead deposits in the barrel throat. That increases pressures, and the ejecta (all the stuff that comes from the ctg. case in addition to the bullet) is highly erosive.

Burning rates of some powders have been changed since the 1970's and velocities and pressures of the hot 125 gr. loads have been dropped.

That said, 140-158 grain bullets are the best balanced in the cartridge. The Remington hunting load with 165 grain JHP is too close to matter.
(Some 140 grain rounds seem pretty hot, and I prefer to use them in L-frame or larger S&W's, or in Ruger GP-100.)

Heavier bullets were not discussed. They have been offered in factory ammo only in fairly recent times, and the author hasn't conferred with anyone about them.

For what it's worth, if one thinks he might benefit from a 180 grain or heavier bullet in a .357, I suspect that a larger caliber might be a better answer. But the article didn't cover that.

T-Star
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:51 AM
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Thanks a bunch for the synopsis, Tex. Interesting stuff!
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SWAT Lt.:
I'd shoot them and not give it a second thought if it were me.
I agree. Shoot them until the cows come home. I agree with the earlier remarks.

Even the 125 grain loads at 1400 fps are not dangerous at all. They seem sto accelerate wear, but they are not dangerous, by any means.

I have never seen anything official by S&W, but have read many horror stories of forcing cone damage or flame cutting with the 357 load that was 125 grain JHP at 1400. I have never heard of the "problem" (if there is one) with any other load. Again, even this load is not dangerous, it just accelerates wear.

Feel free to use them occasionally, and do most practice with 38s and you will be fine.

While spreading rumors, I have "heard" that the so-called Treaury load (38 special 110 grain JHP at high velocity) shook the dickens out of the Model 10s and K frames requiring earlier than normal correction for timing and end shake, etc., but I have never heard that the load was dangerous to the gun.
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:14 PM
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Our issue load was the 110 gr. .357 circa 1984 also. We ran lots of it through our guns, mostly 3" Speed Sixes but some S&Ws as well. Never saw a problem traceable to it. We also had quite a lot of the .38 Spl +P+ 110s. In medium frame guns that wasn't abusive, but it tuckered out a M37 airweight and sent it back for a rebuild.

The 125s are a lot rougher on the guns, and I sent in two personal Rugers for new barrels after they started spitting badly from rough forcing cones.

As an instructor I saw an awful lot of those rounds go downrange; still have some of that ammo.

My practice .357 round is a 90% powered 125 which I think is easier on the gun but still is a pretty stiff load. And at that most of my practice is a standard velocity SWC.

I have a soft spot for that hot .357/125 load--I figured it was a real lightning bolt then and remains so now. Guns are just tools.
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Since the model in question, the 66, has adjustable sights and is easily capable of shooting both 110 and 125 gr. loads to POA, I see this matter of the revolver being regulated from the factory to shoot 158 gr. loads as a non-issue, even if factual. The reason I add "if factual" is because I've purchased several S&W revolvers over the years that shot 125 gr. loads to POA right out of the box.
All of my recent production (1980's and newer) Model 64's shoot POA/POI with 125gr +P's.

I would shoot a 110gr (1200fps) load in any steel K frame and not worry*. The CorBon 110gr JHP load in .38 Special +P runs around 1200fps out of a 4" barrel and I shoot it all the time.

*I will note; I consider guns, that use this type of ammo, to be expendable tools used for my own safety. If it wears out, I'll get them fixed or replace them. For target guns or collector guns, I have no need for such a hot load.

Now...back to the original question, is it safe to shoot the 110gr .357 Magnum in your 66-2? The answer is yes, it is safe.
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Old 10-25-2008, 04:57 PM
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It is winchester white box 110 grain JHP ammo, and I got the 50 rounds for $12.99 back in 2005! Doesn't it make you cry?
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Old 10-25-2008, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
My first question would be why would anyone have such a desire to shoot.....light-for-caliber bullets in any revolver
That question is easy to answer: to get lower recoil. The WWB 110 grain .357 I chronographed averaged only 1146 fps in my 2.5" M66, and that is not going to hurt any .357 revolver S&W ever made.
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Old 10-25-2008, 05:57 PM
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"...and the 110's which started the K Frame problem/debate(such as it is)back in the '60's..."

A manufacturer of high velocity ammunition claimed that S&W had pulled some known defective 2.5" K barrels out of storage and used them. He said that this was the reason forcing cones were cracking with his loads. He then said that S&W told him that if he persisted in saying that, they would go public and blaim his loads. In years past, some smiths and the old stainless ruger security six showed up with cracked forcing cones and the old 40+ thousand cup/psi loads tended to wear, streatch and loosen the entire platform quickly. Probably isnt an issue with any current SAAMI load as they are down in the 35,000 range now.
A few years ago, I clocked some Corbon 110 jhp loads at 1460s out of my 2.25" sp101. Neither those nor any other CB load has caused problems with my rugers even though they seem to be loading them to traditional pressure levels.
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