I am thinking that the 357mag winchester super-x 158gr jhp would be a very good self defense round out of my 6 inch s&w 686. I know the federal and remington 125 gr fragment a few inches after impact form a 4 inch. What do you all think?
They are a very good bullet. It's how much powder are you going to use and what type. I use JHP's in all my carry guns but I use LSWC for practice. I use a lot of Win-231 and 296 for the mags. I don't shoot that many mags anymore.
For the 125grs to fragment you must really be cranking them out. Good luck. :-B-:
Everything that I have read says the 125 grain SJHP is the best load for self defense. It has great "stopping power" but doesn't over penetrate like the heavier bullets can. I would save the 158s for hunting.
From all that I've read over the years: modern factory loaded rounds, ANY weight .357 Mag projectiles are engineered to provide the FBI prescribed 13 to 16 inch penetration with controlled expansion and little frangmentation. I have my preference of 125 gr. for short barrelled pieces and the 140+ to 158 gr. for longer barrels, including carbine length barrels. The 158 gr SJHP or JHP out of an 18" barrel should take just about any game animal under 250lbs and at ranges up to around 75 - possibly 100 - yards.
I know several hunters here in PA that have taken 175 to 200+ lb Whitetails with 4 and 6" barrelled .357Mags - using the heaviest bullets available, including Winchester 180 Partitioned hollow points. If you can handle the recoil and the cost of the 180s, they will give you 650 ftlb of muzzle energy out of a 6" piece - plenty for four or two legged game up to and over 300 lbs.
A couple of other thoughts on the .357Mag. The lighter weight rounds, 110 to 125 gr, provide higher velocities from shorter barrels and ensure mushrooming performance in tissue. The majority of the published ballistic figures for muzzle velocity and energy are derived from using "relieved" 6" pressure barrels (relieving to simulate the gas pressure lost at the cylinder/forcing gone gap in a revolver). Shorter barrels, will of course, and therefore give you lower than advertised performance levels for ALL .357 Mag rounds. About 10 to 15 years ago, the state of the technology REQUIRED terminal velocities (point of impact) of at least 700 fps and for some rounds higher, to ensure JHP & SJHP performance/opening. Today's SD rounds are, in all the MAJOR manufacturers' loading, capable of opening at velocities of 650 fps or slightly lower - better designs and alloying combined with rigorous testing enables this better performance.
IN MY OPINION and 50 years of experience in hand gun shooting - the .357 Magnum is the bench mark in self defense and overall utility for handgun rounds. Yes, there are faster and much more powerful rounds and guns chambered for them in today's market BUT they all have certain drawbacks which keeps the .357 near the top of the sales and at the pinnacle of the performance chart - recoil management, size and weight of firearm, availability of ammo, cost of ammo, variety of loadings, cross use with .38 SPL ammo which widens the variety of loadings even more - and last but not least the proven performance in a wide variety of "real world" situations. True, most handguns in this chambering hold 6 rounds, with some at 5, 7 or 8 in revolvers and a few high cost and hard to find semi autos with up to 10 round capacities - but with the inherent accuracy, utility and performance capabilities factored in - the .357 Magnum still resides near the top of the heap.