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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
newburt here with a question. after a few hours of reading last night and just about to start again, and i still cannot get a straight answer. even with a direct question the threads veer off into under/over penetration, stopping power, expansion, "hot loads", ballistics formulas, etc.

at ammo prices these days, i can't afford to try a few boxes of each to see what feels better. am interested in less felt recoil to get back on target with my new SP101 snub in 357 magnum. so for those with actual experience with this revolver and these off-the-shelf cartridges, am wondering which would have less felt recoil:

published energy velocity wt
540 1240 158gr
583 1450 125gr

thx!
bobp
 

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Are those 357 loads? Almost certainly the 158gr would have less recoil. What specific brands are they?

If you're after less recoil, you should use 38 standard pressure loads. I've found the 130gr loads of Remington UMC and Magtech to be the lowest recoil factory 38 loads for my LCR357.

For 357 loads, this is with a GP100 but you might find this useful: http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=567592

Oh yeah,welcome to the forum!
 

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Recoil Calculator

I used max loads for Blue Dot powder to complete the equation and got 11.84 ft/lbs for the 158 gr and 11.49 ft/lbs for the 125 gr load. Essentially the same.
 

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at ammo prices these days, i can't afford to try a few boxes of each to see what feels better. am interested in less felt recoil to get back on target with my new SP101 snub in 357 magnum. so for those with actual experience with this revolver and these off-the-shelf cartridges, am wondering which would have less felt recoil:

published energy velocity wt
540 1240 158gr
583 1450 125gr
No one can tell you which will feel like less recoil to you. The one with less muzzle energy will likely have less actual recoil, though. But the numbers printed on the sides of boxes are usually wrong, and different manufacturers are usually "wrong" in different directions and by different magnitudes.

The mildest .357 commercial ammo I've tested in my SP101 was Blazer Aluminum 158gr. From my 2.25" it was going ~880 fps for ~275 ft-lbs of energy. It can also be found for around 45 cents/round. Your nameless 158gr bullet has specs identical to American Eagle. If in fact that is the brand, I can say it is some of the stiffest, stoutest stuff you can buy in terms of (non-boutique) commercial ammo. It can be downright painful in the SP101 with the factory grip.
 

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Agree, essentially the same but my experience has been that if the energy is about the same the lighter/higher velocity round will feel a bit snappier than the bigger/slower round. That's a purely subjective analysis and the difference, while noticeable, is also usually marginal as well. Half a dozen of one, six of the other. All else being roughly equal I'd choose the bigger/slower round for several reasons all of which you already said you didn't want to hear. YMMV.
 

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Agree with the others that, on paper, it will be similar. In actual experience, though, I do find the faster 125 grain SD loads to be sharper, producing a touch more sting in the hand in a small, lightweight scandium or alloy frame revolver. Not talking a huge difference, here, but it's there, at least for me.

In an SP101, though, there's enough weight and heft for me to stay comfortable with any 357 SD load and, with the SP, you still have the option of changing grips for better comfort, if need be. Then, too, there are lots of different 357 SD loads to try, too, some offering less recoil. Failing that, there are lots of good 38+P SD loads, too. Take a little time a try a variety of loads until you find the one that works for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
hello, and thx for the quick replies!

yup, as stated, the loads are 357. manufacturer is winchester, white box, found in walmart. my plan is to plink using 38+P, getting used to the balance and trigger pull then throw a few magnums downrange too. am in vt and always carry when hiking, and the magnums will be my sd cartridge.

for a given weapon, i wasn't sure if bullet mass, powder type/amount, or resulting velocity would have the greater effect on felt recoil. but it does make sense that there would be a direct link between the result of the equation (energy) and felt recoil. at least on paper. i have read here and there that the higher velocity cartridges will feel a little snappier. given all that i've read, i do reckon that lower energy would mean lower felt recoil, and i think i'll test that theory. whew! my brain hurts. : )

in trying to find the perfect compromise in sd weapons between weapon weight, cartridge energy, weapon capacity, and reliability, i've moved all over the place in 30 years. a security six, colt 45, sp101, subcompact glock in 40 (6 years of ouch!), an M&P9mm, an lcr in 38 and now back to the sp101.

anyhow, thanks for the kind, first-hand and informative replies.

bob p


ps had 2 sequential mis-fires in my ruger lcr a few months back, using remington umc in 38+P. had five rounds in, slow fire, and bang, bang, click, click, bang. hmmmm. took pics of the fired cartridge and 2 misfires and sent 'em to remington customer service, showing firing pin indents. they reqested the cartidges be sent so i did that too. very good and fast customer support. they felt that the firing pin indents were perfect and i did receive a free box of ammo, but their umc stuff won't be carried by me.
 

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Just a thought here, but besides recoil, you may want to consider what your potential target (s) may be when hiking in VT.

125gr offerings may not have the weight against some of the larger critters you may encounter...i.e. bear, moose. You may want to use a 158gr LSWC load.

Aqualung
 

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Sorry I was typing while you and others were answering


The mildest .357 commercial ammo I've tested in my SP101 was Blazer Aluminum 158gr. From my 2.25" it was going ~880 fps for ~275 ft-lbs of energy.
Now that is mild for a 357 Mag, and very, very close to 38 special ballistics.
I would not even call it a 357 cept that it's loaded in a 357 case.

with my new SP101 snub in 357 magnum.
Sounds like you have the short barrel 101 I think it's 2 1/4"
Understand the 357 is known for having an intense muzzle blast and a rather annoying recoil. The short barrel and lack of weight does not help that situation.

If I load a 158 grain bullet to lets say 1250 FPS and a 125 grain bullet to 1250 FPS
Physics tells me the lighter bullet will take less effort to get to that speed and should also take less pressure and that will = less recoil.

But notice the lighter factory bullets seem to be loaded to a faster velocity and need more energy to get there, kinda canceling out what I just related to.

So I would be looking for a lighter bullet with less velocity, or a 158 grain with less velocity. A lot of what your asking is going to depend on YOU, what your tolerance is for recoil and noise. Shooting a pistol that is just not comfortable or overly loud can result in unfavorable things happening when it comes to accuracy, IE -- anticipating shots and and developing a flinch that can sometimes be hard to disassociate ones self from.

If you were shooting with me I would probably pick up on the fact that you were not shooting to your maximum potential and deduce you were shooting to much gun OR to much bullet for the gun. I would want to get you shooting perhaps 38 special, then 38+P
If you were comfortable with that and happy with your performance we could move up from there till your tolerance and shooting took a reverse curve.

I can sure understand your concerns for ammo buying, with the cost of it and all.
You bought the 101 short barrel and it;s yours now, so talking about a little bigger pistol on a 357 is probably not an option, understandably so.

Trust me none of this has anything to do with you personally, and is no way a slam of any kind. I have also probably used more words to explain my point, that's the way I am.

I would say start again with some 38+P ammo, it is certainly powerful enough to get the job done. Get comfortable with that and experiment latter with some different ammo.

There are no cookie cutter answers when personal needs come into play.
 

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my plan is to plink using 38+P, getting used to the balance and trigger pull then throw a few magnums downrange too. am in vt and always carry when hiking, and the magnums will be my sd cartridge.
If you find a 38+p "plinking" load let me know. Certainly you can load your own but I don't reload and all the 38+P factory loads I've seen are the expensive SD stuff. The hottest .38 load I've found is the Magtech 125gr flat point and it's a pretty good match for some of the lighter SD loads like Hornady 110+P that I carry in my LCR357.

If I was going to carry .357 in the LCR it would be the old school Golden Saber 125gr load. Wouldn't be a bad choice in the SP either.
 

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Are you avoiding the .38spl loads so that you don't have to deal with the carbon ring?
I can sympathize with that (have the same gun).
 

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Remember that besides the energy of the bullet moving forward the muzzle blast can make a gun uncomfortable. Even light guns with a longer barrel will have less felt recoil even though the velocities are higher.

Not much a person can do about it if they do not reload. Custom short barrel ammo is available, but is expensive.

I handload so I tailor my loads for the gun. In a Rossi 352 I am sending 138 gr WC at 900fps from a 2 inch barrel. That is in the neighborhood of a 9mm, and the recoil is manageable. The secret is less powder, seating WC to full depth, less case capacity, which equals less muzzle blast. Even though I am using a relatively slow powder, longshot.

One of the advantages of a heavier bullet is the bullet is seated further in the case. It is a shame the 9mm Remington round is no longer available. Many people are going to 9mm revolvers for several reasons. One of them is less powder, less muzzle flash.

In the case of 357 cases their is slightly higher case volume, even on moderate loads they are going to kick more. If I was not reloading I probably would be looking for a 9mm, or a 40S&W snub.
 

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Are you avoiding the .38spl loads so that you don't have to deal with the carbon ring?
I can sympathize with that (have the same gun).
I personally would not buy the 357 SP101, it would be the 38spl model. The gun is capable of taking 38-44 loads with slightly less muzzle flash.

Buffalo Bore Ammo sells the 38-44 Kieth load, as well as the 38spl FBI load. They are more expensive than the Walmart factory ammo, but they perform. IMO both would be less recoil than 357.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
my aqualung,
regarding large(r) critters, i've chosen the 357 magnum and picked up a new one on gunbroker for $475 shipped. expected delivery today, now it's a matter of ammo selection. am pretty settled on winchester's 158gr, has great downrange power (more than my M&P 9 and lcr 38+P) and possibly a bit less perceived recoil than the faster 125gr. wallyworld has 'em in JHP, but have read good things about the LSWC too for the bigger targets. thanks for that pointer.

mr tall,
not too concerend about recoil as i currently have an LCRx (only 13.5 ounces empty) that likes 38+P. the polymer frame and Houge grips do wonders in absorbing recoil. figured the recoil my SP101 at 26 ounces empty might help a bit. had an SP101 previously but that was years ago. i don't recall it being unmanageable, nor pulling off target (anticipating the boom!). my wife T will be getting my some Houge grips for Christmas, just in case. she's from Bangor, btw.

i will be starting wth rem 125gr 38+P, have half a box laying around. boxes of 100 at walmart are a deal.

bobp
 

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Now that is mild for a 357 Mag, and very, very close to 38 special ballistics.
I would not even call it a 357 cept that it's loaded in a 357 case.
Not many .38 +P loads will be close to that when you use a 2.25" barrel. But it is a mild 357, which is why I mentioned it.
 

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I've tested 158gr against 130gr in 38sp (same ammo brand), and this is what I have found: in my heavy 6" GP100 it made no difference in felt recoil, but in LCR - 158 kicked significantly more and 130gr was much softer. I understand that LCR is very different snub than SP101, but these are my findings.
 

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For very mild recoil (and unfortunately reduced effectiveness of the caliber) the Speer 135gr Short barrel .357 is about as mild as .357 gets. I've done extensive load work on the SP platform and I used bullets weighing from 110gr to 158gr. Speer 135gr GDHP SB bullet wasn't for sale but I had good results with the Hornady 140gr JHP loaded at 1150-1225fps which is substantially faster than the roughly 1,000fps the Speer load flies at. NYPD uses the .38spcl GDHP SB load for backup gun ammo if that's any indicator of quality/effectiveness. For practice with comparable ballistics/recoil the old FBI 158gr + P will suffice. I personally want more than this from the caliber but for average carry needs it should work if recoil control and reasonable terminal performance are the biggest factors.

For a backpack .357 mag I would look at Buffalo Bores 140gr .357 Short barrel load with the Barnes bullet. Better penetration than a 125gr with less recoil than a "standard" 158gr .357 load.

I personally found for myself that running any bullet faster than 1,200fps had pretty unpleasant recoil and long shot recovery times.
 

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Are you avoiding the .38spl loads so that you don't have to deal with the carbon ring?
I can sympathize with that (have the same gun).
There's a nifty tool called the Lewis Lead Remover that makes very short work cleaning the lead cylinder ring AND the forcing cone on .38 caliber revolvers, try Brownell's or Midway USA.;)
 

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There's a nifty tool called the Lewis Lead Remover that makes very short work cleaning the lead cylinder ring AND the forcing cone on .38 caliber revolvers, try Brownell's or Midway USA.;)
Personally, I use a nylon brush and Hoppes #9 when I get home.
Same goes for my .44 SBH.
Wifes Henry in .357 is so heavy she doesn't bother with .38spl, but she could if she had too.
I'm so used to my .44 that the .357 isn't unpleasant.
 

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My Marlin .357 absolutely loved the 140gr XTP load I built originally for my GP-100. It outshot all my other .357 loads, cutting clover leafs at 75yds with irons. I'd have to check my loadbook to confirm but think I used #2400.
 
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