While perusing the internet for .38 Special and .357 Magnum loads to meet a specific need, I happened upon two interesting loads, one from Winchester and one from Remington. Winchester catalogs a 110 grain .357 Magnum load with a stated muzzle velocity of 1295 feet per second, which gives a power factor of 142. Remington also has a 110 grain load in their Express line of cartridges (note – I’d link to Remington’s website, but it’s a flash based monster) with the same stated muzzle velocity as the Winchester load. That means that both loads have enough “oomph” to make minor power factor in USPSA and IDPA, as well as clear the power floor in ICORE and Bianchi Cup. Additionally, a load around 140 power factor generally will whack pepper poppers hard enough to make them fall down a bit quicker than the usual 130 power factor 9mm bunny fart loads so many people use.
A quick trip around the internet reveals some disdain for the 110 grain .357 for personal defense, but from a pure “game playing” standpoint, it may have some interesting potential for revolver shooters. Of course, you run into the problem that .357 rounds are longer than .38 Specials and can be difficult to shoehorn into the cylinder in a hurry, so it’s likely that the benefits of making a decent power factor are outweighed by the negatives, however I am intrigued by the concept here for a “playing games” standpoint.
On the other end of the spectrum, CCI Blazer has a 158 grain load that only claims 1150 feet per second of muzzle velocity, which puts the power factor around 180, enough to make USPSA Major or be eligible for Enhanced Service Revolver in IDPA. I would imagine that in an 8-shot 627, this would be a relatively easy shooting load. That is the great thing about shooting revolvers; even if you don’t reload there are a lot of different options to meet the various requirements for ammo in the shooting sports. Need a light, fast load for Steel? Got it. Need a heavier bullet with lower velocity for making Major in USPSA? Got that too.
I’m a huge fan of CCI Blazer, by the way. It’s cheap and relatively accurate, which makes it almost the perfect practice ammo for a competition shooter that doesn’t reload, especially in a revolver. The only downside is that I don’t get any brass to re-sell.