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My father-in-law has given me a never been fired SW 27-2 357 Mag with a 5" barrel.  Can anyone give me a few specifics on this gun? ie.  is it strong enough to handle some of the 185gr loads that have been posted on this site?  I'm thinking that it might be a good choice to start hunting some of small whitetails here in SC.  Most of my hunting is done in heavy cover where shots seldom exceed 50 yards, and I know that the 357 mag with proper handloads will take deer sized game at that range. Thanks.
 

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Hi, Mike:
  That's a lovely gun. The 5 inchers aren't common, but many people feel they have a perfect balance. I have a 28-2, which is the same gun minus the high-polish finish. It's a 6 incher and feels a bit muzzle heavy.

   Your gun will have the counter-bored cylinder, which means the case heads drop in flush with the back if the cylinder. Later guns like the 27-3 and the 586 aren't counter-bored and will take a longer cartridge. The 185 FNGC is just short enough for my gun and the Remington 180 JHP is a bit too long.

  A 27-2 will handle any sensible load. I'm working up the 185 FNGC and I'm at 13.0 grains of 2400 with a CCI 500 primer. I don't think it's Max, but I haven't had time to test heavier loads. DO NOT USE A MAGNUM PRIMER WITH THIS LOAD! I'll let you know when the results are in.

  Some people have expressed concern about Paco Kelly's loads in other calibres. His .357 loads scare the #### out of me.

Bye
Jack
 

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Mike,

You've got a excellent pistol there. As Jack mentioned, yours is a pre-1982 model with a countersunk cylinder.
Being a 5-incher I'd say the odds are pretty good it's from the 1960's to early 1970's. The 5's fell out of popular favor during the "Dirty Harry" era, even though I'm among those who think they are the best handling barrel length.

I have yet to experiment with Beartooth 185-grain FNGC's, but I have shot a number of Hornady 180-grain JHP's in a 6" M27. My working load used 13.0 grains of Accurate Arms No. 9 with standard primers. It proved to be a great combination in that gun and a 4" M686. Truthfully though if your deer are smallish, may I suggest the 140-grain JHP? It can give high velocity for good expansion but enough weight for full penetration of the chest cavity with bullets like the Hornady XTP or Remington SJHP. The 140 was the favored jacketed weight of Skeeter Skelton and I believe with good reason. I would also agree with Jack that "Paco" Kelly's loads are on the high side of worrisome.  
 

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Hi Mike'

I'm a fellow South Carolinian. Sounds like you have a great gun there. I think the smaller bullet may be good. The guys I hunt with use 44 spec. 180gr XTPs in production ammo and they kill all deer cleanly with neck and breadbasket shots. I'm sure the balistics are as good orpossibly better for the .357. Good luck.
 

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Good to hear from some friends from South Carolina...I think I am kin to about everyone in that state! You have one of the finest pistols S&W ever made! As the rest said..any reasonable load. Over the years the original .357 Mag factory loading have been downsized. Why? I don't know since the handguns are stronger than ever. The load we have proven in actual field use is Marshall's load of the BTB 185 gr FNGC with 16 grs WW296/H110. I also use standard primers with this load. The meplat is .280" and matches the meplat on the tried and true Keith # 429421. I also prefer brass cases over nickle as they are not as hard and brittle. Most of the Smiths I have seen shooting this load will print about 2" high at 25/30 yards with the rear sight all the way down. That sight in is about perfect for out to 75/80 yards.
Best Regards, James
 
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