Purchasing Ammunition

I own a S&W .357 magnum handgun that I use primarily for personal protection. Once every year or two I go to a range and use up my “old” ammo and get some practice. A friend used to get ammo for me, but he has moved out of the area.

When I go to the sporting goods store, what do I ask for? I need a box of what my friend called “personal protection rounds” (IIRC) along with a box of something cheap for practice/fun. I am in PA; do I need I.D.? Should I bring along my carry permit?


ID & CWP are never a bad idea to have on you, when purchasing anything firearm related.

I’d simply go into a smaller store, and ask. Most small stores would also be comfortable with you bringing in your (unloaded, and cased/holstered) handgun, and they can make a recommendation.

As you have a .357 Mag, it’s likely a revolver, and can take both .38 ammo, and .357 mag. .38 is much cheaper to shoot, and easier on the arms/hands/ears. The guy at the gun store can give you much better details based on what you have than an internet site.

I’m at work, so I can’t look up suggestions, but it’s an easy conversation, and they’d be happy to teach you everything you need to know to become a repeat customer. Gun store guys, and customers all love to talk guns, and all have their own opinion, which you can feel free to reject for your own. :smiley:

Cool! Thanks for the info. I am just trying to avoid coming off as a moron.:smiley:

Definitely won’t need the carry permit to buy ammo. ID is always a good thing anyways, but you do need to be 21 to buy pistol ammo, so it would be similar to asking if you need to bring ID to buy booze. Maybe, maybe not, depending on where you go and how old you look.

Personally I prefer hollow points for protection. JHP on the box.

Do a google search for some of the major manufacturers of ammo (Remington, Federal, Winchester). They all have pretty good web sites which will give you an idea of they types of ammo they have and the intended use for it. At least then you will have an idea of what is available.

.38 rounds are good for practice as noted above. They are a lot less powerful than the .357 rounds so it is easier to practice more which is always a good thing. It is hard for most people to shoot enough rounds of .357 to get proficient just because the noise and the recoil can create some bad shooting habits. Get whatever cheap .38 bullets you can get your hands on and practice as much as you can.

Good to know. I taught my son (he is 15) to safely handle and fire my gun. He was very into it but wound up with a sore hand.

Good luck finding .357 ammo lately. I’ve only been able to grab about 100 rounds in the last several months. Could be a stocking issue at Wal-Mart. As noted above, you can shoot .38 for practice. Also, some people shoot “wad cutters”–a type of round designed for target use, punches nice clean holes in paper targets.

Our local Cabellas has plenty of .357 (and everything else) on the shelves. I just got two boxes of basic .45 ACP ball for some range time Sunday. So it may just be a “local” thing for you.

After thwarting a home invasion with my rifle, the DA took possession of it. As it was my only firearm at the time, and retribution was a possibility, I needed to replace it, and do so with a piece my wife and daughter could handle. While there’s no question a .357 has more stopping power, I chose a 9 mm. In a semi-auto configuration (vs. a revolver) it’s much easier to handle.

W/regard to ammo, I keep one clip loaded with rounds that will not penetrate an interior wall as easily as a traditional round. I don’t know if there is a generic name for these rounds. They have plastic tips with small “pellets” behind the tips and forward of the lead. Much safer for interior use.

BTW, I’m finding ammunition a bit more plentiful these days. The Obama/Holder panic buying seems to have abated somewhat. Lots available online now. Try the following site: www.ammunitiontogo.com

Bring them along with you on principle, but they are not necessary unless you might be confused with a child.

The rounds your friend is telling you to get are hollow-point bullets, probably Federal Hydra-Shoks (the lighter loadings say “Personal Protection” on the box). However, any premium hollow-point will do. Speer Gold Dot, Winchester Ranger. Hornady XTP, they all do the same thing, more or less. It’s a question of personal preference.

As far as “cheap” ammunition, it doesn’t exist anymore, but you’ll find the best prices if you look for Wolf (which is VERY dirty ammunition), Winchester White Box, and Blazer/Blazer Brass. One box of .357 Magnum will probably run you around $25 or so.

Did you ever get the rifle back?

If its a shop you plan on going to again, don’t be afraid to clue in the person you deal with that you are sort of new to this whole thing. If he/she’s any good you will probably be “spotted” anyway and admitting you aren’t God’s gift to shooting sports is different enough from most of the people walking into gun shops to win you some real credits.

For a good defensive round, consider Corbon DPX.

On topic: any high grade hollow point .357 Magnum ammunition will be fine. There are many to choose from, and all will do what they are designed to do.

Off topic: SanDiegoTim, you know you can’t put that out there and not have gun folks asking if you got your firearm back!

I don’t know what you’re talking about, but pretty much any effective round will go through drywall like a hot knife through butter. Birdshot will as well.

I believe you might be referring to either MagSafe or the Glaser Safety Slug, or perhaps maybe CCI shotshells.

I’ll stick with the proven hollow-point ammunition, thanks. Those others haven’t convinced me yet. But that’s just me.

He’s referring to Glasers, probably. I keep those round chambered in my .44. My .357 (my “bump in the night” gun) is sequentially loaded with: 2 .38 wadcutter, 2 .38 +P JHP, and finally 2 128 grain .357 JHP.

I’ve never heard of a progressive load like that before. :slight_smile: Do you have a name for it? If not, I nominate the “Die You Bastard!” load.

Around here we called it a “tossed salad”. My bedside .38 has a shotshell (so I can cause pain but allow myself a moment to decide to turn fully deadly) followed by 2 +P hollowpoints (for pure stopping power) and then 2 full wadcutters (for accuracy if the other guy takes cover to return fire). Lots of different theories and selections that can be tuned to your environment. The speedloaders are all hollowpoint.

Leading with the shotshell is controversial. Even good shot loads won’t do much more than blind someone. And if I’m going to shoot, I already am ready to kill. But there are those very rare cases out there where someone shoots someone breaking in for good (to tell you your house is on fire) as opposed to breaking in for bad purposes. Plus, without my glasses, I need an extra second or two to focus my eyes to call my shot. Leading with shot isn’t for everyone but I just feel better doing it that way.