Ammo GRAIN - what does it really mean ??

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by floridawen, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. floridawen

    floridawen G&G Newbie

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    As a "newbie" I see Ammo that I wish to purchase, in this example I am specifically referring to a .357 MAGNUM JHP, in so many "grain" weights......... 85, 100, 110, 115, 120, 124, 125, 140, 142, 158 etc. and my interest is to find out which "weight" has the most "piercing power" for example if I were to shoot an animal's skull from about 20 feet away. I was also told 120 grain was the "BEST" JHP to use in my 4" barrel Ruger GP-100 for "home self defense"....... now I would think that a 158 grain would pack more power and do "more damage" whereas I was told it's the other way around.......... the 120 would be "more lethal". What is the advantage of all the different "grain weights" and why would a person buy a 158 grain ??

    My .357 MAGNUM also shoots .38 specials (which I use 120's at the range) but I would also like to know what is a .357 SIG bullet and will it fit in my Ruger GP-100 Pistol ??

    THANKS !! :)
  2. KW Gary M

    KW Gary M Suspended

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    The grain is the weight of the bullet. It determines how fast the bullet will travel too. Lower grain will travel faster when shot but also has less weight pressure (knock down power) and a higher grain will not travel as fast but is has more weight pressure. I like to go with a middle of the road grain. My main carry gun is a Springfield XD .40 Subcompact. Most .40's range from 180 Gr to 130 Gr. I like the 165 myself. Sometimes I will go 155Gr. Fast enough while still retaining it's weight.

    For your question about a .357 magnum shooting a .357 Sig, that confused me at first too but the answer is no. A .357 magnum will shoot most varieties of .38 but not .357 Sig.
  3. nathangdad

    nathangdad G&G Newbie

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    O.K.

    The Sig is another type ammo that will not work in your revolver.

    As you most likely have figured out, bullets are traditionally marketed in grain weights. For the .357 mag, as you also have learned, there are a mind numbing variety of bullets for this round with the greater the grain number the greater the weight of the bullet. The 158 grain is the classic of the weights and this is what I shoot plus what I advise you to shoot in your .357 mag. I believe a long history of law enforcement (Texas Highway Patrol) use has proven it to be the best all around attributes of stopping power and penetration. For self defense go with the hollow point round. This will mushroom to a greater diameter thus imparting more energy to the target while creating a greater wound channel. A solid bullet can shoot through a target thus leaving a clean wound channel while "taking" much of its energy out the other side of the target.
  4. blaster

    blaster G&G Enthusiast

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    If you look at the ballistic tables you will see that the heavier bullets will have more energy (foot lbs.) when traveling the same speed as a lighter bullet. generally the lighter bullets traveling fast will expand more and cause more damage in a soft or thin skinned target. the heavier bullets give deeper penentration. the 120 gr. bullet in a .357 is usually better for home defence because humans are relativly soft and you don't want to shoot thru the intruder and have the bullet go thru the wall and hurt someone else. you would wan't a heavy bullet if the possibility of having to shoot thru something (car door, winshield or other barricade) exists. If you plan on hunting I would suggest the 158 gr. the .357 Sig will not fit in a .357 magnum. although the bullet diameters are rhe same, the magnum has a long straight case and the Sig is a short bottlenecked case
  5. floridawen

    floridawen G&G Newbie

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    THANKS !!

    THANKS VERY MUCH for all your helpful and informative replies !!

    :)
  6. TXplt

    TXplt Gun Toting Boeing Driver Forum Contributor

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    A grain is a unit of weight--there are 7000 grains in a pound.

    For overall home defense, the expanding 125 JHP in .357 is hard to beat--it has the optimal mix of energy and weight. There are several good bullets in this weight made by Buffalo Bore (Gold dot), Cor-Bon (regular and DPX), Speer (Gold Dot), Federal, Remington, Hornady, Winchester, MagTech, and several others. Look at these and find one to fit your needs.

    For heavy penetration against dangerous thick skinned/boned animals, you would want a heavy solid (non or minimally expanding) type of bullet. The 180's here might be one example of this type of bullet:

    Product Line Listing

    All bullets from .17 rimfire on up are lethal. Accurate shot placement is the most important factor.

    You need to tailor the bullet to your probable needs--a word of caution, though--without an expanding bullet (and sometimes even with), the .357 is capable of dangerous overpenetration. This means that the bullet may exit what you're shooting at with enough energy to seriously hurt/kill other things. It also may go through walls and other types of backstops and hurt something/someone you don't want it to. For me, this is one of the most important factors when choosing a bullet--safety--limiting damage due to overpenetration or misses. This is why I, in general, always use the best expanding HP I can find.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  7. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

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    At last!!!Some very knowledgible and well researched information.I'm glad someone knows what they are talking About.Great post of useful info.Thanks. sam.
  8. blaster

    blaster G&G Enthusiast

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    ^thanks for the compliment Sam.
  9. CastorRJ1

    CastorRJ1 G&G Newbie

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    grain is the weight of the bullet!
  10. Mike Franklin

    Mike Franklin G&G Newbie

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    JSYK, bullet expansion, given a constant velocity, is based on the hardness of the core, the shape, thickness and material the jacket is made of, if it has a jacket, the total weight of the bullet and the total shape of the bullet. For a defense round, the bullet needs to penetrate deeply enough to reach vital organs but not penetrate on to exit the target and cause secondary damage. If it sounds hard to get a total package in one bullet, it is. Ammo, bullet, companies have been working on this for several hundreds of years. And what the customer wants has changed. In the Miami Dade Co shoot out between the FBI and bank robbers, the ammo did exactly what the FBI had asked it to do. It didn't work so the FBI had to change what they wanted and the ammo maker had to change how their bullet works inside a target, a living human being.

    And Military ammo is different than civilian.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  11. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

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    Good info MF.I have tried about everything on varmints from gophers(which if you hit them it doesnt make any difference)to coyotes and have settled on Speer gold dot 125gr hp for best performance and knock em dead capabilities.But for economy I use Meister 125gr rn,s and doctor them with alox.I also like Ranier plated bullets.I cast some but am getting lazy as you have to be right on the ball to get them right.I personally don't know why a 125gr gold dot wouldn't stop a deer dead as it sure will a coyote,but the ones that hunt deer with .357,s say heavier bullets work better. sam.
  12. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

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    i have said this before but it is worth repeating.
    this place is a GOLD MINE of information.
    to all you helpful reloader brainiacs.
    a heartfelt
    THANK YOU!
  13. SwedeSteve

    SwedeSteve Freedom Zealot Forum Contributor

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    ^ Agreed. I just love to read the posts, and gain so much info on reloading. Thanks to all for imparting your insights and wisdom !!
  14. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

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    theres about 6 loading brainiacs and about 20 of us smart aleky hecklers...:09:
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