.357 loads in a S&W Model 19

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by G-Mann, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. G-Mann

    G-Mann Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    I have been searching the web on my K frame Smith Model 19 on using .357 loads in it. Some say that you should stay away from the .357 120gr, but good to go with the 158 gr. The way I read it meant that the lighter bullets are shorter, thus the hot gasses would escape past the front of the bullet putting extreme heat on the forcing cone before the bullet could seal the back part of the chamber.

    My theory before this was that shooting a .357 158gr bullet meant that a lot more recoil was generated because of it having more weight. Thinking that this added recoil could also damage the gun by stretching the frame to the point of destroying a fine gun.

    Most of us here already know that the S&W 19 does in fact, have the .357 magnum stamped on the gun. Could I get some information on exactly what type of ammo this gun can handle, and what to stay away from.
  2. Buford Allen

    Buford Allen New Member

    Apr 12, 2004
    Vernon, TX
    I think the 19 was one of the best K frames S&W ever made. They are not as heavy duty as the 28 but I don't think you will have any issues shooting any type of .357 ammo in it based on bullet size. When I worked for the local Sheriff's Dept. in the 80's almost everyone had a .357 and everyone qualified and practiced with wadcutters. A wadcutter protrudes only slightly (if any) past the end of the case. I have never heard any adverse affects caused by shooting these rounds. The 19 is rugged and well built. Shoot what you like and don't buy any of the myths.

  3. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    About the only thing I'd be leery of using in any steel K-frame Smith would be real heavy hunting style loads (170-180gr loaded near max).

    About the only reason I would think of to stick with one bullet weight or another might be to regulate the point of impact on a fixed sight revolver. But if your 19 has adjustable sights, then you can sight in for your preferred load.
  4. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Upstate NY
    You are correct that some shooters don't use lighter bullets (under 140 gr) in .357 magnum with their Model 19 revolvers. This is due to concerns with erosion on the forcing cone. However, unless you shoot a thousand 125 gr. magnum loads through your gun a year, I would not worry. Occasional use of lighter bullets won't hurt your gun.

    There is no danger of stretching the frame of a Model 19 with 158 gr. bullets. That kind of damage doesn't happen with quality guns like the Model 19.

    While many shooters carry 38 Spl +P loads in their Model 19 revolvers, the guns are rated for magnums and will handle anything on the market.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  5. Actually, it's the pressure generated by modern cartridges with factory loads. A reduced power cartridge like Remington Golden Sabre, or some such made for snubnosed guns might be safe, but I sold the 19-3 I had just because I didn't want to be bothered with having to think about the weight of the bullet that much.
  6. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    I don't understand what is happening. A lighter bullet comes out of the case faster and I would think would obdurate quicker. Are you saying it isn't big enough to obdurate? I have heard of flame cutting on the top strap but in the forcing cone?
  7. wingspar

    wingspar Member

    Sep 19, 2009
    I shoot 38's in mine a lot. It’s definitely a shorter cartridge. Never a problem. Every once in a while, I’ll load every chamber alternating between the 38 and 357, spin the cylinder so that I have no idea whether the gun will go bang or boom the first time you pull the trigger. Fun. :D

    I’ve heard comments on the K frame not being strong enough for the .357 cartridge, and that you should not shoot .357's in it very much to reduce damage. I’m not sure I buy that. Actually, I think it was a thread on this forum that had those comments. If interested, I could try an find that thread.

    I just looked, and everything I have is 158 grain.
  8. G-Mann

    G-Mann Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    After doing a little more research, I think I will just stay with the .38 loads. That of course I will shoot the rest of the .357s I now have.

    As for choosing what type of load to use for H.D. Probably again stay with a .38+P cartridge. Most of what I have seen on the web states that the .38 sized load will do just fine in such a situation.
  9. It's a fact that Model 19's would shoot loose if shot with
    lots of full powered .357 Magnum ammunition. That's the
    reason Smith & Wesson came out with the L-frame. The
    N-frame is kind of large to carry all day. You are right in
    what you are doing if you are talking about extensive shooting.
    If you just want to shoot a box here and there then .357 ammo
    is O.K. In any case you are not in danger if you shoot .357 ammo.
  10. G-Mann

    G-Mann Member

    Feb 4, 2009
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