Military Camp

Question re: K-Frame .357 magnums

The #1 community for Gun Owners in Texas

Member Benefits:

  • Fewer Ads!
  • Discuss all aspects of firearm ownership
  • Discuss anti-gun legislation
  • Buy, sell, and trade in the classified section
  • Chat with Local gun shops, ranges, trainers & other businesses
  • Discover free outdoor shooting areas
  • View up to date on firearm-related events
  • Share photos & video with other members
  • ...and so much more!
  • CowDog

    New Member
    Sep 26, 2008
    South of Iowa Park
    Am I correct that 125gr. bullets in front of a heavy charge of powder tend to cause cracked forcing cones, but 140gr. or 158gr. bullets with heavy loads are not a problem?

    Does anyone have a reference on this? Thanks for any help.

    Canon Shroud Ad


    New Member
    Sep 26, 2008
    South of Iowa Park
    Nobody here is a .357 magnum aficianado?

    I have done searches, and the cause varies by the reporter. Some report that the high velocity 125gr. "batters" the forcing cone. </p>
    A differing explanation claims that bullet length is the critical factor. Purportedly, 110gr. and 125gr. jacketed bullets (why only jacketed bullets?) are short, and these cause gas cutting when the bullet jumps the cylinder gap.

    Another points out that K-frames require that an angular cut across the lower portion of the forcing cone is required to properly fit the barrel to the lighter frame. This results in a weak area that is the location of the vast majority of forcing cone splitting, and 125 gr. bullets seem to be the most frequently used load in pistols with split cones.

    There are a few reporters who say they have shot thousands of 125gr. factory and reloads out of their k-frames without any ill effects.

    I was hoping that someone might have a report from a reliable testing, or manufacturing, or reloading, or whatever (reliable) source, that I might read.

    Perhaps the .357 mag is not a good choice of pistol?



    Resident Septuagenarian
    Feb 29, 2008
    There were issues with the .357 and K frames. Just too much cartridge for this size frame. I believe S&W came up with the beefier L frame for this reason.
    I don't recall what what the issues were, but I would suggest shooting reduced loads.
    Sorry I can't help you more.


    Active Member
    Jun 17, 2008
    umm...never heard of it my self. I have a S&W .357 but not sure if it's a K frame or not...anyone know?

    Here is a picture.



    Active Member
    Aug 7, 2008
    San Antonio
    Don't have a K frame .357, but as I understand it, the gas cutting with light bullet .357 loads was one of the reasons S&W brought out the L frame series. Wasn't an issue with the forcing cones, but the topstrap, if I remember correctly.

    Peter M. Eick

    Mar 9, 2008
    My understanding as 357 Maximum shooter is that the problem is very similar to my rugers and the max. It is the ball powder and pressure at the time the bullet makes the jump acress the cylinder to the forcing cone. With the bigger bullets the pressure is down lower and the powder is more consumed. Also the k frame forcing cone is quite thin so you just exceed its limits.

    This is why I don't own K frame 357's. Only N frames for me.


    TGT Addict
    Jul 16, 2008
    When you open the cylinder it should be stamped somewhere on the side where the shells go in

    The model number is stamped there, but it doesn't tell you the frame size. You have to cross reference the model number to a data source, such as the S&W website.


    Active Member
    May 1, 2008
    mexia texas
    K=l frame

    gentlemen, An L frame is a K frame with a full underlug barrel. The size of the frame has nothing to do with cutting on the top strap. Ruger had problems with the 357 max due to the powder. It doesnt matter if it is a J frame or an N frame, the steel is hardened to specs. I have a model 28 no dash that I have shot full house loads in for almost thirty years. Any well made gun will most likely outlast the owner if taken care of (i.e. cleaning and lubing)


    Active Member
    Jan 9, 2009
    Round Rock
    The large blued 4" revolver pictured on top is a 586. L-frame built for a steady diet of magnum ammo.
    An L-frame and and K-frame are two different animals. The grip size is the same but that is about it. An L-frame is definately NOT a K-frame with an underlug barrel. L-frame cylinders are larger diameter than K's.
    The flame cutting was an issue with the K's was a result of the compact frame that put the top strap closer to the cylinder gap allowing the high pressure gasses to cut. The N-frame has very different dimensions. There is a larger space between the top of the barrel and the bottom of the top strap on an N-frame. The L-frame splits the difference.
    Every Day Man


    Forum statistics

    Latest member
    Top Bottom