Last week we tested Sig-Sauer .357mag 125gr V-Crown from a revolver. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it did not do well. V-Crown has a history of failing to expand when fired through heavy clothing and even at .357 mag velocity it still failed. But one of the really cool things about .357 mag carbines is that they squeeze a lot of additional velocity out of the cartridge and can make something really special out of an otherwise mediocre load.
To be clear, this isn’t always the case. A light charge of fast burning powder won’t net much velocity gain from the longer barrel. A bullet that is too fragile will fragment at higher speeds and fail to penetrate adequately. But with many loads, that extra barrel length can make it behave like a whole different animal altogether.
In the case of the 125gr Sig V-Crown, it did indeed wake up quite a lot from the longer barrel. Although it still wasn’t travelling quite as fast as some other 125gr .357 mag loads do in this barrel length.
Velocities in feet per second:
Predictably, that additional velocity resulted in a very impressive temporary stretch cavity. This TSC is not quite as large as we have seen from other .357 mag carbine tests, but it is nevertheless impressive.
And the measurements back up the appearance of the “wound”. These results are entirely different from the revolver results. Both in bare gel as well as with heavy clothing, the projectiles expanded well, retained their weight, and penetrated adequately. Neither too shallowly nor too deeply. Large expansion combined with high velocity and good penetration adds up to a seriously impressive wound. This performance has more in common with intermediate rifle cartridges such as 5.56mm or .300 AAC than it does with pistol cartridges.
Retained weight: 122.6gr
Max expansion: 0.731″
Min expansion: 0.516″
Retained weight: 125.6gr
Max expansion: 0.612″
Min expansion: 0.549″
And like other intermediate rifle cartridges, the .357mag, when fired from a carbine length barrel, can produce velocity that is suitable for perforating pistol rated body armor. To assess this feature, we fired the 125gr V-Crown at a Lightweight Armor Solutions level IIIA rigid aramid plate. No surprise in that the bullet passed right through the armor and through the 4″ thick gel block backing the armor. This is no indictment on the quality of the armor as it is not rated to stop this threat. Neither is it a ringing endorsement for this load. It simply underscores how a carbine can transform a mediocre load into something a lot more remarkable.
Buy it at Ventura Munitions:
Guns in this video:
Rossi M92 .357 magnum 16″ lever action carbine
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