Many people come to this site looking for information on the stopping power of the .357 magnum handgun. So I thought I should oblige by providing some info and some links to where you can find more.
I selected the Ballistics Charts compiled by Sportman’s Guide because they are nicely organized. Also, you should note that all of the manufacturers sell several variations of each of the popular handgun cartridges. Different primers, different bullets and bullet weights, different powder loads all combine to influence stopping power, which is recorded as foot pounds of energy delivered down-range. This is just meant to be an example of the differences/similarities between the various calibers.
Just for a comparison, lets look at one typical load for a .357 magnum and compare to a similar load for 9mm Luger and one for .45 ACP. (All of this ballistic data is for specific cartridges, and is just meant to be representative of the differences between these cartridges.) Since we are mostly interested in defensive use of these rounds, we wull look at defensive loads. (e.g. Jacketed Hollow-points.)
|Caliber||Weight (grains)||Type||Muzzle Velecity (fps)||Muzzle Energy (ft-lbs)||Energy @ 50 yards|
|9mm Luger||147||Silvertip Hollow Point||1010||333||302|
|45 Automatic||230||Brass Enclosed Base||835||356||329|
|357 Magnum||158||Jacketed Soft Point||1235||535||428|
Note: A grain is a unit of measure for weight (mass actually) used for measuring bullets and gunpowder. There are exactly 7000 grains in one pound. (thanks to Boomershoot for the definition)