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Old 04-23-2024, 03:06 AM
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Default 125 grain 357 magnum ammo recommendation

Hello there I need some ammo recommendations for new/old smith and wesson model 19.

For target/fun shooting I use 158 grain 38 special semi wadcutter from federal and for self defense I plan to get some High Terminal Performance 38 Special +P 158 Grain from remington.

The remington rounds are the only lead semi wadcutter rounds I have found here in Austria at a decent price.

I am no expert by any means that this load should be decent lead semi wadcutter hp self defense round right?

Ok now to my 357 mag 125 grain jph question. I plan to use this load only for target/fun shooting and also for " historical reenactment". Even with hearing protection it is very unpleasent to shoot 158 grain 357 mag round at a indoor range. I would never dare to use 357 mag round indoor without any hearing protection at all.

Which 125 grain 357 mag jph round would be loaded close to the round that gave 357 mag it' fearsome reputation.

If I had to guess I would say either the 125 grain load from remington or federal? Am I right?


thanks for your help in advance

Greetings from Austria
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Old 04-23-2024, 03:33 AM
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If I’m understanding your question, let me just say that the 357 125JHP loads I’ve fired have all been worse than 158g loads so far as recoil, bang, flash, etc.
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Old 04-23-2024, 05:05 AM
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The load that gave .357 Magnum its reputation for best stopping power is the 125 grain JHP at 1,400 - 1,450 fps. Remington and Federal brands seemed to be preferred.
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Old 04-23-2024, 07:15 AM
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You should read up on the throat erosion the 125 grainer has a reputation for causing and see if your gun is one of the once prone to it. I think it is,
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Old 04-23-2024, 07:36 AM
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The top of the chart load for 357 Magnum back in the 80's and 90's was a 125 grain semi-jacketed hollow point with a velocity of 1400-1450 fps from a 4-inch barrel. Federal and Remington were the two best, if I recall correctly. These are pretty ferocious to shoot, with maximum blast and maximum flash. They were also hard on barrels, forcing cone erosion occurred quickly. The modern "reduced" hollow point loads are just as effective, but easier to shoot and easier on the revolver.
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Old 04-23-2024, 07:38 AM
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The Federal "blue box" 125gr is often considered ne plus ultra of defensive .357 mag rounds.
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Old 04-23-2024, 07:41 AM
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It would be helpful to know what brands and types of 125 gr .357 ammunition are available to buy in your country, and in what gun you intend to use them. I would suggest limited use in older K frames.
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Old 04-23-2024, 07:57 AM
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I always got the impression that a K frame magnum was a compromise so that police and security could carry a magnum capable revolver without the weight and bulk but in many cases they were loaded with less powerful rounds for daily carry. But they had to option to switch depending on circumstances. The durability of these revolvers is challenged by a constant diet of full magnum loads, per reputation. I don't know. Ask if anyone has ever shot one loose or cracked a forcing cone in their barrel with lots of hot ammo. Reports claim so but I do not recall seeing it for myself. I have a K frame magnum and also an N frame .357 which is supposed to stand up to the beating better, like the L frame revolvers.
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Old 04-23-2024, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
It would be helpful to know what brands and types of 125 gr .357 ammunition are available to buy in your country, and in what gun you intend to use them. I would suggest limited use in older K frames.
Yes of course. I can stuff from Federal, Remington, Winchester from the US side. Naturally ammo from European makes like S&B, PPU and many others are also available.

I also would not use that ammo very often in my gun. It is just for fun/research purposes how the famous 125 grain loads feel.

Thanks a lot for the other replies as well.

Like I said It is a project for fun. Buying one box of the real powerful stuff use at the range and that's it then. I was not planning to use it on regular basis in my model 19. I have already suspected that it might not to "healthy" for the gun to use that kind of ammo regular.
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Old 04-23-2024, 08:30 AM
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I haven't looked in a long time BUT the 125g loads are/were primarily for self defense and by that definition are warm to hot in loading. Meant for business not for casual shooting. IMO
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Old 04-23-2024, 10:03 AM
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THE full house 125 gr .357 load was by Federal. It was the only ammunition we shot and we shot a lot of it using S&W 681s. I expect it was much harder on the target than the guns, but the guns suffered with extensive use. I wouldn't shoot a lot (any?) of it out of a model 19. In fact, I'd suggest the milder 125 gr Remington Golden Saber round for defensive use or even the +P 125 gr .38 Spl JHP by either Remington THP or Federal Training and Protection.

I did some testing of various 158 gr LHP factory rounds. They were the energizer bunnies of handgun bullets (they kept on going, and going, and going). I was never able to recover one to check expansion. It apparently helps quite a bit if the bullet hits bone, which it might in defensive use (there are spaces between ribs, bone hit isn't certain). I personally am reluctant to suggest them as home defense rounds.
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Old 04-23-2024, 10:07 AM
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If the major brands are readily available, I would probably try a box of each and see which one you and the model 19 get along with best.
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Old 04-23-2024, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlHunt View Post
You should read up on the throat erosion the 125 grainer has a reputation for causing and see if your gun is one of the once prone to it. I think it is,
Before there was an internet I bought a brand new S&W Model 19 with 6" barrel and nickel plated. It cost me about $319 including tax. Factory ammo was way too expensive at around $25 per box so I bought a reloading press, powder, dies, and a box of Hornady 125 grain JHP's. I bought one box of factory ammo to get the brass. I proceeded to make thousands of reloads using the maximum charge of either Hercules 2400 or W296. I could clear out an indoor range with six rounds. Huge fireball and report.

I never had any problem with flame cutting the top strap. I think that is a BS story that has made the rounds ever since the internet was invented.
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Old 04-23-2024, 11:29 AM
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The differences between the major brand suppliers are really negligible...there will be some measurable differences but in the real world that means little. It comes down to what you find most controllable in your revolver.

I believe there's a couple of very good compromises to consider. Knowing the 125 grain JHP rounds are known to have a lot of blast, flash and recoil...consider the Winchester 145 grain Silvertip. It's controllable and has a good reputation. Another is the Winchester 110 grain JHP in .357...it's a duplicate of the traditional "Treasure Load" in .357.

Remember...only hits count. Two quick hits with a somewhat less recoiling round is better than a loud miss where you have to pull the gun down out of recoil and recover your eyesight from the bright flash.
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Old 04-23-2024, 12:54 PM
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I shoot 125 gr Remington JHP from a S&W 686 with a 6 inch barrel. The muzzle flash and concussion get everybody's attention at an indoor range. It is hot stuff, but the recoil isn't too bad in a big gun.
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Old 04-23-2024, 01:12 PM
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The older Remington 125 gr JHPs where good for thump (flash and recoil)
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Old 04-23-2024, 02:09 PM
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I have a nice old M-19 4" and I would not shoot any of the hot 125 grain Magum ammo out it. I think a semi wadcutter hollow point with a sharp shoulder is a more effective design than the jacketed "cone" hollow point and I like 158 grains at about 1200 fps.
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Old 04-23-2024, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agent00 View Post
Which 125 grain 357 mag jph round would be loaded close to the round that gave 357 mag it' fearsome reputation.

If I had to guess I would say either the 125 grain load from remington or federal? Am I right?


thanks for your help in advance

Greetings from Austria
The awesome reputation dates back to the 1970s from my Law Enforcement Officer experiences. Both were great choices.

I preferred the Federal (I carried a Model 19 on vehicle patrol, later on horseback Mounted Patrol a Model 27) and other officers liked the Remington brand.
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Old 04-23-2024, 08:04 PM
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I come from the old school that avoids full-power, lightweight bullets (110 and 125 gr) in K-frame 357 revolvers. This is due to the rare possibility of the cracking the bottom of the forcing cone where it is the thinnest. I don't know if this is scientific or just a superstition.

I prefer to use 158gr 357 magnum loads or stick with any available 38 Special ammo.
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Old 04-24-2024, 06:29 AM
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It is fairly well known and acknowledged that the use of 125 grain Magnum rounds out of a M19/M66 will rapidly wear the forcing cone and could actually cause a crack in the frame! S&W as well as most here would suggest that using 125 grain Magnums should be relegated to L and N Frame revolvers. Vintage K frame revolvers were not truly designed for lightweight 125 grain Magnum loads and in essence are just .38 special revolvers that have 1/8" longer cylinder charge holes and capable for firing Magnum rounds.

Save yourself the grief! Shoot only 158 grain Magnums in your M19 and keep them to a minimum at that!! In vintage M19's, .38 special and +P should really be used on a regular basis. If you want to shoot a steady diet of magnum rounds (especially lighter ones), an L or N frame is your best bet and will stand up to them much better.
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Old 04-24-2024, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
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It is fairly well known and acknowledged that the use of 125 grain Magnum rounds out of a M19/M66 will rapidly wear the forcing cone and could actually cause a crack in the frame!

No, it was not the frame that cracked, it was the forcing cone, along the bottom edge where it is thin to allow clearance for the cylinder gas ring. I agree, 158 grain full power loads are far less harsh on the forcing cone.
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Old 04-24-2024, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
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Save yourself the grief! Shoot only 158 grain Magnums in your M19 and keep them to a minimum at that!! In vintage M19's, .38 special and +P should really be used on a regular basis. If you want to shoot a steady diet of magnum rounds (especially lighter ones), an L or N frame is your best bet and will stand up to them much better.
This is sage advice, do yourself a huge favor and stay away from the 125g .357 rounds. I have thousands of rounds through my Model19-3 but not a single 125g .357 and only very occasional 158g .357.
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Old 04-24-2024, 11:22 AM
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The 125 gr Federal loading in now available in 50 round boxes in their "Train & Protect" line. It appears to be the 357B without the nickel case.

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Old 04-24-2024, 02:14 PM
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If you want less bang;

you might try a box of the "Watered down" 110 JHP bullets,
that are made now, that are from 400 to 600 fps slower than the original ammo.

Most 357 "Magnum" ammo is not watered down.
That is why the make 38 special, if you might want a lighter load, to shoot.
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Old 04-24-2024, 02:51 PM
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I may be wrong, but my memory is that the 357 magnum reputation as a fearsome cartridge arose from the prewar 357magnum 158 gr loads cooking along at 1,400 fps + or -.
These were used in the pre war N frame registered (and non registered) magnums. This is the stuff folks shot polar bears and the occasional African big game with and was widely reported in the gun rags.

The post war introduction of smaller guns (eg K frames and more recently J frames) chambered in 357 magnum led to lighter weight projectiles (125 & 110 gr) chasing the 158 gr. 1,400 fps. loads. Those light weight projectiles are pretty hard on guns due to short dimensions of the projectile itself.

you can come pretty close to the original 357 magnum loads with hand loads using 158 gr projectiles with maximum loads of 2400 or 296 ball powder. These are pretty stout loads not available commercially except in boutique loads.

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Old 04-24-2024, 03:23 PM
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Remington is claiming 1450 fps on their website for their 125gr, Part # 22227. They don't specify a test barrel length or type.

Remington claims 1250 for their 158gr, part # 22233. No barrel length or test fixture type.

They claim similar numbers for their UMC.

Federal is claiming 1250 for their 158 gr AE357A, with a 4 inch, vented test fixture

Federal claims 1440 for their 125 gr Train and Protect load TP357VHP1, also with a 4inch vented fixture.

I'd recomend that you check it with your own gun and chrony.
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Old 04-24-2024, 06:33 PM
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In my 50 years of shooting, I've seen two Smiths with cracked forcing cones. Both were in gunsmiths' shops at the time, waiting on new barrels, and both were k-frames. Rare, but can happen in some older Smiths. My only 357 now is a GP-100, built like a tank, and I do occasionally shoot 125gr jhp's in it. Even in it, it's a handful of fireball and recoil. 158 magnums actually feel like softer shooting.
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Old 04-24-2024, 11:57 PM
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The barrel cut at the 6 o'clock position on the 19 was the primary reason they developed the L frame, thus allowing the barrel/forcing cone to maintain a full barrel design. That cut was necessary due to relocating the gas ring.

The barrel cut on the 19 most certainly was the cause of cracked forcing cones when using 125grn 357s, a lot more than S&W cared to talk about.
I have seen 2 19's with cracked forcing cones and I wasn't really searching so I have to assume it was more common than not. I recall Super Vel being in the equation but not certain.
The release of the L frame in 357 only would give rise to the cracked barrel issue was and IS more than folklore.
My thoughts are if the 125grn is preferred, go with a N frame.
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Old 04-25-2024, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WR Moore View Post
THE full house 125 gr .357 load was by Federal. It was the only ammunition we shot and we shot a lot of it using S&W 681s. I expect it was much harder on the target than the guns, but the guns suffered with extensive use. I wouldn't shoot a lot (any?) of it out of a model 19. In fact, I'd suggest the milder 125 gr Remington Golden Saber round for defensive use or even the +P 125 gr .38 Spl JHP by either Remington THP or Federal Training and Protection.

I did some testing of various 158 gr LHP factory rounds. They were the energizer bunnies of handgun bullets (they kept on going, and going, and going). I was never able to recover one to check expansion. It apparently helps quite a bit if the bullet hits bone, which it might in defensive use (there are spaces between ribs, bone hit isn't certain). I personally am reluctant to suggest them as home defense rounds.
Thanks a lot for the detailed information and the warning about the 158 grain load.

So you would suggest more lighter bullets as featured in the loads you have mentioned above for home defense?


@all the others Thank you guys for the info, ammo recommendations and also for the warnings about using such loads in model 19.

I have to admit that I would be rather reluctant to use such loads in my little m19 then. I really like the gun and got in a very good condition. So I do not want to wear it to much.

Maybe I will postpone the use of the heavy 125 grain rounds until next year. at some point in 2025 I am planing to get another more heavy 357 mag sixshooter anyway.

If I am lucky I would get a smith and wesson model 27 original model or sixgun from the competion of S&W. I am also tempted to get Python at some point in the future.

Last edited by agent00; 04-25-2024 at 04:12 AM.
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Old 04-25-2024, 03:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stansdds View Post
No, it was not the frame that cracked, it was the forcing cone, along the bottom edge where it is thin to allow clearance for the cylinder gas ring. I agree, 158 grain full power loads are far less harsh on the forcing cone.
That is correct. That's what happens when you chime in at 6:30 in the morning - LOL!
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Old 04-25-2024, 04:26 AM
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@chief38 Well such mistakes can happen when posting that early in the mearning.

In general it es very good to know about the potential problems such ammo could cause when using in my m19.

Like mentioned above I will postpone using such ammo until I can get a really heavy revolver in 357 mag.
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Old 04-25-2024, 06:45 AM
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To answer the OPs original question I think the Remington 125 grain JHP would be historically correct.
On the Police Department we were issued model 65s with the Remington 125 gr. Load. We had the revolvers for a little over 5 years I recall before the 9mm high cap craze swept by and we were issued Sig P226. I bought my issued 65 for $100 when we transitioned.
The Remington load had a very high rating for one shot stops. They were a very potent load.
When we qualified with the 65s - 2 or 3 times a year - we would shoot off our duty load out (18 rounds) first and then switch to .38 to finish the course. I do not recall hearing about any cracked forcing cones or flame erosion from our department and would not expect it with that use. I don’t recall many guys shooting full power loads during off duty practice.
I have seen a cracked forcing cone on other 65s issued by the Armored Car company I worked for in retirement. Many of those had been bought used from police turn ins and the round counts were probably high.

Last edited by Baxter6551; 04-25-2024 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 04-25-2024, 08:03 AM
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00...I don't think you are going to ruin your 19 with the few rounds of 125s you plan on putting throgh the gun...

My first centerfire handgun was a 19-3 purchased brand new in 1970 for $89.00. After 10k rounds it was returned to the factory in about 1974 for a complete rebuild and was also nickel plated. The front sight blade was left blue and the ramp insert changed to yellow. Another 10k went trough the gun before selling it in 1980...all but 6 rounds were .357s...99% handloaded 158gr. LSWs at 1200 fps.

The 125s are THE round to carry for self-defense. Had several friends who shot people with them and none required a second shot...

Bob
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Old 04-25-2024, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlHunt View Post
You should read up on the throat erosion the 125 grainer has a reputation for causing and see if your gun is one of the once prone to it. I think it is,
If the OP wasn't from Austria I would think this was a troll thread.
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Old 04-25-2024, 03:05 PM
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For the best account (IMO), of the real story behind the .357 Magnum and the K-frame issues, and the development of the L-frame, see this article in RevolverGuy. This has information from an S&W engineer (Dick Baker), who led the L-frame creation. Some of this has been mentioned above, already.
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Old 04-25-2024, 04:40 PM
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Personally I wouldn't shoot a whole lot of 357 125s in the 19. I have 3 19s and a 66-1. I have shot a few Rem 125s through them all but the majority in factory ammo have been Rem 38s with the 125 gr+P HPs. Most of the 357s were fired from one of my N frames. 2 pre 27s 3 1/2 and 5 inch and one of the 3 27-2s 2- 5 inch one 3 1/2. I bought 2500 rounds of Rem 38 125 +P and 357s each some years ago. . Still have a few of each left. No problems with any guns. I also have a pre 15 Combat masterpiece that has had approx 2000 rounds of 38 125+P...no problems with it either. I like the Rem 125 HP bullets as they shoot well in my revolvers. I bought a 1000 to load my own
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