Calibers for Beginners: .357 Magnum

Calibers Beginners .357 Magnum Handgun Revolver Lever Rifle

The .357 Magnum is a relatively misunderstood cartridge in today’s shooting world. It’s powerful, wonderfully effective, and probably one of the best all-around calibers ever made. But it’s both a great and a terrible beginner’s cartridge, depending on the load and the gun that it’s used in.

On the plus side, a novice has the advantage of being able to fire virtually any power level of ammo in a revolver, which will be the only type of gun considered in this article. There are a few semi-auto .357 guns out there, but they’re rare and expensive for the most part so we won’t worry about them here. There are also lever action rifles chambered for the .357 for use on medium game and deer.

Revolvers chambered for the powerful .357 round have the ability to chamber anything of the same diameter, which includes .38 Special. Lower powered ammunition used in a .357 revolver makes for a very versatile gun, and light or cowboy-type handloads can make it feel almost like shooting a .22LR.

For the beginner, owning a revolver chambered for .357 Magnum opens the door to a slew of ammunition types that allows easy and relatively inexpensive practice. This is an ability that cartridges like 9mm, .45ACP and others can’t match.

Since those calibers are made for (mostly) semiautomatic pistols, they have to have a minimum amount of oomph to ensure enough power to cycle the action reliably. In a revolver, your finger is the power source and thus there are generally no restrictions on high or low power ends of the ammo (within reason).

Some of the great advantages of the .357 Magnum as a standalone cartridge are:

Excellent, powerful factory loads. When I say ‘Buffalo Bore’, you think ‘hell yeah.’ Buffalo Bore makes some of the most powerful and devastating ammo out there. I have been testing some of their ammo in various calibers and I am, no pun intended, blown away. You’re able to get some real heavy-duty stuff from them in .357 Mag, including 180gr Hardcast Lead Outdoorsman that’s rated for 1,400fps from a four-inch barrel.

Easy reloading. Beginners usually become experienced shooters eventually and handloaders have long recognized that straight-walled cases are simple to work with. Most dies out there can be used to load both .38 Special and .357 Mag, which is a great thing for the guy or gal who wants to practice on the cheap.

Advanced bullet designs and perfected classics. The .357 has had the luxury of being around for close to a century and it has enjoyed great, effective bullet designs almost from day one. It has benefitted, especially in small carry guns, from recent advanced bullets that offer far better expansion.That said, there’s nothing at all wrong with 158gr of classic cast lead. Bullets may have gotten better, but bad guys haven’t gotten any tougher.

Readily available and in common use. Virtually anywhere that sells guns and some places that sell groceries will sell a .357 load that is suitable for your daily use. In terms of expense, the .357 is not necessarily cheap, but it is in the same range as most other pistol rounds, if not a touch more.

A few great guns that are chambered for .357 Magnum are:

Ruger Blackhawk, Redhawk, Super Redhawk, and Super Blackhawk. These are beefy, heavy guns that are the very definition of the word ‘robust’. They’re some of the most durable and ‘I-Don’t-Give-A-S**t’ revolvers in the world and can withstand brutal use and abuse. The heaviest and most powerful .357 Magnum loads available can be safely fired in these tanks.

Smith & Wesson 66 Combat Magnum. This is a recently released revolver that’s about as large as most people would consider in a regular carry gun. It’s handy, holds six rounds, and is relatively light at about 34 ounces. With full-house loads this gun may be a bit much for a new shooter, but lighter loads can always be used until a level of comfort is reached.

Uberti Single Actions. For those looking for a taste of the historical, the Uberti SAA clones are fantastic and rewarding. I have used these guns on and off for years and I love their look and feel. As an added bonus, cowboy action shooting is a growing and popular sport that really makes for a fun weekend at the range.

I do need to address an issue with the .357 Mag, especially for beginners and especially when used in small guns. The .357 Mag in what’s commonly called a ‘snubby’ or ‘snubnose’ revolver isn’t an experience even seasoned shooters enjoy. The recoil is extremely stout to say the least.

I know that there will be some crusty curmudgeons in the comments who want to play macho and tell even newbies to man-up, but don’t take them seriously. Aside from actually getting shot, there’s probably no faster way to turn off a new shooter than by putting a featherweight .357 double action in their hand and tell them to ‘have fun.’

The common argument I’ve heard in favor of arming new shooters with a snubby .357 is that it ‘only takes one shot’ and ‘the noise will scare them off.’ That is, frankly, bull$hit. If you are a new shooter or new to concealed carry and a gun store employee or range chump tells you to get a gun like that, he’s an idiot. Literally walk out of the store and find another one that hires experts and not knuckleheads.

If you’re a beginner and want to know why you shouldn’t consider going the .357 snubby route, I will sum it up by saying that they’re loud, their recoil is painful, and it’s hard to learn to use effectively. The trope that you’ll only have to fire it once is, as stated, a pile of hot garbage.

The .357 is a great cartridge and very powerful, but it’s not by any means a be-all, end-all for self-defense. It, like any cartridge and bullet, is not a guaranteed one-shot kill. You must apply the same rules for technique and shot placement as you would with any caliber. I’d rather a new or inexperienced shooter have a .22LR in a snubby revolver than a .357.

A lot of great .357 Mag ammo is available from virtually all ammo makers, but here are a few notables:

Hornady. My favorite .357 from this company is their simply awesome 135gr Critical Duty load. I’ve done a fair bit of testing with it and I trust it in a self-defense revolver.

Speer 135gr Gold Dot. This is a reliable, powerful, and accurate duty and carry load that won’t quit.

Buffalo Bore. I could go down the list, but virtually everything these guys make is Grade A.

Great practice and self defense ammo is also available from Remington, Winchester, Fiocchi, S&B, Federal, PMC, HSM, and many others.

So there you have it. The .357 is a great cartridge and, as a bonus, guns chambered for it will also fire .38 Special. It’s a good beginner’s caliber — in the right guns — as .357 revolvers can be very versatile with proper ammo selection.

A new shooter will have to look hard to find a more versatile cartridge, one that can be used for self-defense, target, range and hunting, in both rifles and pistols, and allows for a graduated power scale.

comments

  1. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    The Taurus 7-shot Tracker series looks like a nice revolver. As long as they DON’T blow up ,or breakdown….. I’m sure catastrophic failure is very rare in most revolvers….

    1. avatar Ram says:

      The tracker is a good gun I’ve shot it more than my ruger.
      Heavy load or light.if you don’t trust your gun why did you buy it!

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        It is strange that the author mentioned the Ruger Blackhawk and Redhawk, but not the GP100, SP101, or LCR (which seem far more common). Same thing for the S&W 66, but not 686 etc.

        The only .357 I own is a 4″ Ruger Security Six (love it). Someday, I hope to add a .357 lever gun. In the snubby, I prefer .38sp.

        1. avatar Jack Gordon says:

          I would add to this list Kimber’s K6s with a 3″ barrel. The magnum load is still stout, but certainly more bearable than in the LCR or a S&W snub nose. If you choose a lighter grain bullet, the recoil becomes less of an issue, and the 3 inch barrel makes it both concealable and effective by burning off more of the .357’s powder.

  2. avatar DrewN says:

    My buddy snuck one of those BB 180’s into a cylinder of .38 special while I was trying out his LCR. I thought I’d blown the gun up with a squib or something. He thought it was the funniest thing he’s seen in quite some time.

    1. avatar sean says:

      Everyone does that to their friends the first time.

      1. avatar roguesam says:

        I did it with a 12 gauge 870 and snuck a 3.5″ slug in with 2 3/4 pheasant loads. The look on his face was priceless.

  3. avatar Ralph says:

    No .357 Magnum in the Smith & Wesson 686? That ubiquitous combination has proven to be a joy to the world of shooters and a misery to bad guys everywhere. And where legal and ethical, it will even hammer white tail bucks.

    Best of all, you can load your lever action rifle with the same rounds for killing game at longer distances.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      He snubbed the GP 100 also. The two combined probably account for half the .357s sold in this country.

      1. avatar AaronW says:

        GP100 was the first gun on my NYS Pistol License. Still one of my favorites.

    2. avatar James Biasella says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Only thing comparable is a python but they are outrageously priced. My 6 inch 686 is an incredibly accurate gun and perfect for the .357 magnum.

      1. avatar Steve Caldwell says:

        Yes, my 686 shoots as well as most people’s bolt action at 100 yards.

  4. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    The .357 has the distinction of being one of the few handgun rounds where you almost never need to worry about sufficient penetration – if anything, you need to worry more about over-penetration.

    Few cartridges better display the thinking and goals of developing an actually useful new cartridge than the .357. The .357 has its history in hot-rod .38 Special loads cooked up by Elmer Keith. S&W made some revolvers that would hold together under these punishing loads, and these would become known as the “N-frame” revolver, chambered for “.38-44.”

    Some prescient minds envisioned the problems that would result if the .38-44 load became too common among the less careful of shooters, so the Keith .38-44 loads were put into a case that was extended by 0.100″ so that there was no way you could load them into a .38 Special chamber, and the .357 was born officially in 1935.

    Then S&W introduced the .357 Registered Revolver. If you want to talk about guns to collect, the “Registered”s are some of those guns. I won’t bore people with the history of the early revolvers; I’ll just point out that lawmen everywhere took to the .357 very quickly. Unlike earlier .38’s, .44 Specials, .45 Colts, at longer distances or oblique angles, the .357 would go through car bodywork quite nicely. Now, law enforcement had a bit more parity with criminals who were packing big guns.

    Someone packing a quality .357 with a 4” or longer barrel probably has everything they need in the way of a carry piece. As Dan indicates, the snubbies in .357 are beyond merely painful. Imagine someone smacking you in the palm with a baseball bat. Do you want that to happen multiple times in a row? Neither do I. Snubbies in full-house .357’s are very painful to shoot, and you’re losing much of the benefit of that large powder stack with their short barrels.

    1. avatar michael in ak says:

      It depends upon your recoil tolerance and grips. I have a S&W 66 2.5″ barrel with Pachmyer grips (the back strap is covered). I can put 50+ full power 357s before it begins to hurt. My friend has the identical gun with wood grips (exposed backstrap). Hurts after 6 rounds. YMMV

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “It depends upon your recoil tolerance and grips.”

        For a new shooter (and this *is* “Calibers for Beginners”) recoil tolerance is something that is built up /developed.

        And handing them a Smith Airweight magnum is a real quick way to turn them off real fast…

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          I’m an experienced shooter and I hate full-on 357s in snubbies.

          The former owner of this site one sneaked five Magnums into a snubby for me to shoot, without telling me. To this very day I can’t figure out why I didn’t use at least one of the five on him. 🙂

        2. avatar Montesa_VR says:

          I don’t even like .38s in a 17 oz. revolver. After a while the knuckle on my trigger finger gets sore from getting whacked by the trigger guard every shot. But I was perfectly comfortable shooting 158 grain .357s from a GP-100 with a four inch barrel.

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        I carry a GP 100 Wiley Clapp and it’s pretty comfortable sh ooting the 158gr. Double Taps I keep in it. Usually don’t shoot more than a cylin der or two before loading up some cheaper stuff though. The rubber grips with the wood side panels are the most comfortable grips I’ve come across. And a 3″ still nets you around 600ft/lbs with the hot stuff.

      3. avatar Andrew Lias says:

        A k-frame ain’t a J-frame. I’d rather shoot my 66 with .357 mag 2.5″ over my 2″ model 38 any day of the year, even though the model 38 only shoots .38spl.

      4. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The 66 has some serious mass compared to the light/small 5-round snubbies I’m talking about. I think the 2.5″ 66 is a tad over 30 oz…

    2. avatar Art out West says:

      Recoil isn’t too bad in a steel framed snubby .357. I use to own a Rossi 462 (6 shot steel frame, 26 oz, snub, with larger finger groove type grip). Recoil wasn’t bad. I’ve also shot the snubby SP101. Again, it isn’t too bad (25 oz weight as I recall).

      The 18 oz LCR, and the 13 oz Scandium S&W revolvers are another issue. Still, I think .38 usually makes more sense in the snubby.

      1. avatar DrewN says:

        The LCR isn’t too bad, I think it flexes some. The big Pachy grips help a ton and don’t print any worse than the factory. I totally carry .38 in mine though.

      2. avatar roguesam says:

        Agreed. My SP101 snub is very well-mannered (considering)
        with stout .357’s.

    3. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

      Oh yeah. The first revolver I bought was a S&W 27 Classic. It’s not as high quality as the registered magnums or earlier 27 models, which were all hand fitted, but it shoots like a dream. If you go from shooting a semi with a merely decent trigger to shooting a 27, it’s night and day. Even Buffalo Bore isn’t too bad in an N frame hunk of steel.

      1. avatar Charlie says:

        I have an S&W M-27 nickel 8 3/8″ that I bought in 1976. It was my first handgun purchase, and it’s still a delight to shoot. I won’t pretend that it’s concealable, but if I’m camping or hiking that’s what will be on my hip.

        Charlie

  5. avatar crndl says:

    Ruger GP100

    1. avatar Charles Perry says:

      Exactly. My first 357 was a 4 inch Ruger GP100. I still have it after 30 years. Very shootable. Any if you had to you could carry it concealed. It is built to last.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Word.

    3. avatar CarlosT says:

      My next gun, I think. Just ruminating on the exact model…

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        There’s so many to choose from. You probably need at least 3. I’m thinking this one will eventually fill the #3 spot in my safe; https://www.turnbullrestoration.com/gun/turnbull-finished-ruger-gp100/

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          If they had put good wood grips on that gun I would have already bought it. I really hate the overmolded rubber grips. I’ve timed myself on more than one occasion now, and I am slower getting follow-up shots with the overmolded grips versus just hard wood. I can’t explain it, but I can validate it with real data.
          But since they didn’t put good wood on it, now I have to buy it, and then put good wood on it. Such a pain in the ass.

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I’m personally infatuated with the wood side panel rubber grips. Just the most comfortable grips I’ve ever handled and they seem to be popular with anybody I let shoot them, regardless of glove size. Altamont has a nice variety at reasonable cost. For the Turnbull though I might be persuaded to pony up for the right set of (all) wood grips, just for aesthetics if nothing else. I absolutely hate the Hogue rubbers.

          Probably drop the $32 on a Hi-Viz front. I wish all handguns had front sig hts that could be swapped out with a paper clip in 2 seconds flat.

          And the $10 for the Wolff/Wilson Com bat spring kit.

      2. avatar ACP_armed says:

        Remove all doubt, one of each.

      3. avatar CarlosT says:

        The six-inch, seven shot and the Match Champion are in the lead now. But yeah, I kinda do wish I had the money to just go all Imelda Marcos on it.

  6. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    First handgun I ever fired was my Dad’s Model 28 S&W…it was a BIG hunk of steel for a 10 year old to hang onto. The 158 gr JSP’s were ferocious. Dad has been gone for many years…but, I still have his Model 28 and my son will (eventually) park it in his safe. What other pistol cartridge has the ability to go from wadcutter “poppers” to grizzly bear stopping “soul stealers” (sorry 45 ACP…the truth sometimes hurts).

  7. avatar Onezero says:

    I’m assuming by “snubbies”, you mean less than 3″ barrels, because my 3″ SP-101 is a sweet shooter.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I mean not only a short barreled revolver, I also mean a “low mass” revolver – eg, the J-frames or five-shot, light revolvers with small grips.

      A SP-101 has mass – about 26 ounces. The S&W M&P 340 is down under 14 ounces, the Ruger LCRx is something like 17 oz, etc. I find (and this is just me talking here) that when the weight of a .357 revolver being fed 125gr CCW loads gets under about 21 oz, the pain level goes up dramatically.

      If I were packing a short-barreled .357, the SP-101 would be high on my list. I’m partial to S&W, but the Ruger revolvers are hell for stout, and easy to work on.

  8. avatar jwtaylor says:

    Every day I have to talk myself out of just carrying a nice 357 magnum revolver as an EDC. Through much of the winter, if I’m not in town I am already practically doing that, with a Smith & Wesson Model 29.
    That 44 is too big for all day everyday, but a 4in K frame would do fine.

    1. avatar michael in ak says:

      I carry my 2.5″ 66 regularly…..love it!

    2. avatar DrewN says:

      Get a Dan Wesson 15-2. There should be plenty around in Texas I’d think. Such great shooters and still ahead of their time. $28 for a barrel liner last I checked. Spring kits are cheap too.

    3. avatar Bitter says:

      Why talk yourself out of it? Give in to temptation, the Ruger LCR is a great place to start.

  9. avatar Last OfTheOldOnes says:

    I’m the happy owner of three 357s, a 4″ GP100 Ruger, a 3″ SP101 Ruger and a S&W Model 60, plus a Taurus 85 rated a 38 +P. I agree 100% with everything Zimmerman says.
    In the S&W and Taurus I like the 38 +P. In the Rugers, both being heftier then the Model 60, I use either a Hornady FTX or a Speer Gold Dot.
    For fun, you can’t beat Buffalo Bore Heavy 357 Magnum, running around 1600fps out of my 4″ GP100.

    What surprised me the most, is the S&W Model 60 with a 357 is quite a capable gun. Recoil is less than I expected and accuracy is also better than I thought.
    The Ruger GP100 is far away my most consistent with the 357.

  10. avatar Bat22 says:

    I can vouch for my Taurus 66 with Pachmayr grips and the Ruger SP101 as solid performers with the .357 Mag. Of course the latter lends itself better to holsters whereas the former has a 7 rd. cylinder.

  11. avatar GS650G says:

    I’ve fired a coonan in .357 using hot loads. The compensator blasted so much out the top it knocked a fluorescent tube lamp out.

  12. avatar Texican says:

    Underwood ammo has some nice loads.

  13. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    If you could have only one cart ridge the .357 would be the clear winner. (With apologies to the Creedmoor – sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

    1. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

      I think if I absolutely had to choose one handgun cartridge, it would be .45 Colt. Hot loads designed for a modern revolver like the Redhawk can hit as hard as a .44 magnum. And it was designed as a black powder cartridge, so you can load black powder in an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it type situation. A Redhawk chambered in .45 Colt with moon clips for firing .45 ACP would be a pretty great apocalypse gun.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        If you live among brown bears the .45 Colt would be the ticket. But if you’re needing a concealable weapon in your arsenal the .357 has a lot to choose from. And the hot loads from a 6″ will reach 800ft/lbs, which is a bit shy of the .45, but with the smaller bore you might find as good or better penetration with the .357 with a 180 or 200gr pill.

  14. avatar Ralph says:

    Does anyone make or sell a .357 Creedmoor Blackout? Because that would be the one cartridge to rule them all. 😉

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Hmm… Creedout or Blackmoor?

      1. avatar ACP_armed says:

        Blackmoor… I like it…

  15. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    In my opinion of handgunning, if I could only have one chambering it would certainly be .357 magnum. Just the versatility and ease of making reloaded ammo ensure this. It’s a round capable of survival (taking up to deer commonly) as well as self defense not to mention. Besides this you can get it in all power levels and gun sizes from small EDC style j-frames or the LCR to massive hand cannons like a Black/red hawk or an N-frame S&W and everywhere in between.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I’m quite inclined to agree. The .357 is incredibly versatile, and well-behaved as a reloading cartridge.

  16. avatar Paul McMichael says:

    My first center fire handgun was a 4″ .357. A Llama. I was 18 and it was all I could afford. (Legal for me to possess in Florida at the time. Just couldn’t purchase it retail. Go figure.) Never had a problem with muzzle blast, or recoil. Have a pair of 3″ round butt #65s that shoot like a house of fire. A 6″ Python and a 6″ #19. Hard to beat a .357. Anybody out there got an early 6″ #686 they want to part with? Or, a 4″ HB stainless Security Six?

  17. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    For the beginner, owning a revolver chambered for .357 Magnum opens the door to a slew of ammunition types that allows easy and relatively inexpensive practice. This is an ability that cartridges like 9mm, .45ACP and others can’t match.

    I’m sorry, I absolutely love .38/.357 and have several revolvers and a lever action chambered for it, but I’ve never seen bulk target .38 special cheaper than bulk target 9mm.

    1. avatar Montesa_VR says:

      Me neither. Even .380 is often cheaper than .38/.357. If there is cheap practice ammo out there, I haven’t found it.

    2. avatar Andrew Lias says:

      But 9mm is way more expensive than 22lr.

  18. avatar Ironhead says:

    First and so far only 357 magnum is my smith amd wesson model 19-3. I absolutely love shooting it. I do want to get a ruger gp100 and a lever action chambered in it as well.
    One of my absolute favorite cartridges.
    Much better than 6.5 creedmoor.

  19. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    I will never get rid of my S&W 681.

  20. avatar Michael Harding says:

    I taught my son to shoot with a. 357 with 38 special loads in it… Well sort of. I loaded 38 specials save for the last chamber. In it I had a 158 grain .357. When he got to the last round the power took him by surprise.

    “Now that you know you can handle a .357 let’s work on shot placement.” Is all I said. He later thanked me for that. Otherwise he would have been nervous about shooting magnums.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      My wife did something similar to herself with .44special/magnum. Only I think it was maybe the 4th round. I told her to load only the short rounds. Finished the last couple like nothing happened.

  21. avatar New Continental Army says:

    There’s nothing like shooting a good wheel gun, especially a magnum. A .357 revolver is definetly a good place to start for any new shooter.

  22. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    My first duty pistol (1991) was a Smith 686 loaded with 125 gr Federal Hollow Points. At the time people claimed that combination was the hottest thing you could carry on your belt. If you didn’t steal the bad guy’s soul you would at least seriously diminish it. I carried three speed loaders and with 24 rounds on my belt I felt that I was ready for man or beast. A couple of years later Smith introduced the stainless steel hammerless snubby model 640 and I had to buy one as my back up. I’ve still got both pistols in the safe. I still take the 686 to the range and occasionally on a walk through the woods. The 640 sometimes rides in my truck console loaded with 158 grain +P .38s. I scared off a pair of car jackers with the 640 many years back. At least I think they were carjackers – they may have been coming my way to invite me to a Bible study.

    If semi auto pistols somehow disappeared tomorrow, I’d pick up those old wheel guns and go about my business and not feel that I was poorly armed.

  23. avatar Hannibal says:

    The other thing about .357s in snubbies is that you’re really not getting much extra anything for the added recoil. There isn’t much added velocity over, say, a .38+p. So while an expert shooter may choose to load the hot rounds because he or she doesn’t have any problem with the recoil, most people would probably be much better off either stepping down in cartridge (slightly) or stepping up in gun size\weight (slightly).

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Higher and higher cost with more and more diminishing returns, certainly. But Double Tap claims 540+ft/lbs from a 1-7/8″ S&W from the load I carry in my 3″ GP 100. I tend to take these things with a grain of salt, but even with a pound of salt that’s some serious beans from a snubby.

  24. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    Having covered the perfect calibre for both beginners and experts, the author can’t do better than this. .357 in my 3 inch 686 is a joy to shoot. Substituting .38 special makes a gun that’s easy and inexpensive for beginners to practice trigger control while shooting slowly. When using semi autos I find beginners going too quickly and developing bad habits, not to mention being distracted by its relative complexity. My cc is a 642 with .38 plus P. I don’t feel under-gunned. .357 in a snubby seems doubly pointless- not getting the performance of a .357 magnum bcz of the short barrel while making follow up shots difficult. The entire point of a snubby is ease of carry and its handiness.

  25. avatar ironicatbest says:

    As much as I like my .45 ACP for pd, and .44 mag for hunting if I could only have one handgun it would be the .357.

  26. avatar Brent Azevedo says:

    Rarely do I see mentioned in these type conversations that you can also shoot 38/357 shot-shells, which could be useful when hunting or hiking in snake country. This was an additional selling point for me as I do both. I’ve taken two rattlers with shot-shells that were in/close to camp, and must say was a better experience than using a stick.

  27. avatar James Biasella says:

    Just some useless info while talking revolvers.a buddy shooting a 6″ taurus .357 that was ported. Target shooting he went from center target to hitting the target holder… (indoor range) the ports were slowly blacking out the top of his orange ramp site making his aim gradually move up.took a couple minutes to figure out.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Never thought of that, but took a quick look on Taurus’ site and they do put those ports right next to the front sight. Probably makes anything other than a black ramp about useless.

  28. avatar Dcj says:

    Long live the .357! I have gone down many a questionable path with only my Security-Six and a handful of speed loaders and never felt ill-prepared. Like many here, if it comes down to one fun, this is my choice.

  29. avatar David Holbrook says:

    I agree with most of your commentary. The .357 revolver is a great start pistol. It would be awesome if all beginners started with a wheel gun before moving on to semi autos. That said, my favorite gun in .357 was a S&W 686 which l unfortunately lost in my divorce. I have a S&W model 19 which l also love dearly. Now, my recommendation for first time shooter is, wait for it, the new Ruger LCRX .22 magnum. A step up from the .22 LR rounds. Great for concealed carry purposes, nice and light. I think the barrel is around 3 inches. If placed right can cause significant damage. Great all around gun. Love my .22’s.

  30. avatar Craig Smith says:

    I absolutely love my Ruger 4″ GP-100. I had it magnaported and got a set of Wolfe springs for it. Keep it on the night stand full of 125gr HPs. Tritium front sight and express rear. The single action break is about 3lbs.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Those spring kits (Wilson Combat also makes them) are the best $10 you could spend on a GP 100. Watch a video on line and a novice can swap them out in about 45 minutes.

  31. avatar frank speak says:

    it has the added benefit that most guns chambered for it look a little scary…..

  32. avatar Matt o says:

    My first handgun was a gently used 19-4 police trade in that I picked up about a decade ago. I carried it for a few years before switching to a semi. For me the .357/.38 was a great introduction to center fire with the only gun I’d owned before it a 10/22 and it was also my gateway drug to reloading.

  33. avatar Huli says:

    .357 mag is my favorite revolver round, I use 9mm and .40 S&W for personal protection, but I love my .357 as a trail gun and even for medium to big game hunting, but I didn’t get into the caliber till after 25 years after my first shot. It’s so accurate in my wheel gun and if I want to use it for a home defense gun .38+p in one speed loader, I have a .44mag tc contender for deer hunting too that I love but the .357 is my baby. But my autos are my concealed. This is great in the woods, I keep a tight spread and I trust it for hiking, I’ve seen a bear killed with one, so unless Sasquatch comes around I have piece of mind.

    PS as far as I know mr. Squach it’s away on holiday.

    1. avatar Huli says:

      EDIT: Correct Squach to Squatch

  34. avatar Steve Windsor says:

    The model 66 is NOT a recently released revolver. Check your Smith and Wesson history..

    1. avatar Huli says:

      I’m new here so I assume that was for a previous comment. But just in case I never stated my gun. Please forgive me if this is for a comment other than mine.

    2. avatar Huli says:

      And maybe they got confused with a Taurus 66. Again please forgive me if I’m out of bounds.

    3. avatar Perp says:

      Correct, but I believe the author is referring to S&W’s recent re-release of the 66.

      1. avatar Huli says:

        Oh ok thanks for pointing that out. I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to be a douche or anything. I’ll admit I kind of wandered off through some of the content and most of the comments. Like going through all the know-it-alls and then I acted like one myself. My sincere apologies. I know you were nice about it, but I still feel I owe you one.

  35. avatar Ron says:

    The article is on 357 Magnum, not the dodo 45. This is an out dated pistol cartridge. The wound cavity is far superior to that of the slow tumbling 45. I even hate to mention it as a bad comparison. Too many individuals due to lack of a nice word listened to their great grand dads about the war. And the only pistol around in the day. Foolish individuals. Revolvers are much more accurate than autos, always will be.

  36. avatar Aquarias says:

    I had a SW highway patrolman special, 6 inch barrel was a beautiful gun but unless I had 38s in it I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with it so I sold it , it wasn’t a gun for pleasure shooting for me, I enjoy the 22mag much more and it can be shot much cheaper, but the semi autos such as the keltec pbr-30 are hard to find , and expensive if you find one, as they disappear off the shelves but are great home protection! Enough said !

  37. avatar Stereodude says:

    All these comments and not a one about what .357 Mag lever action to buy (that’s still on the market)…

    1. avatar Dave Lewis says:

      Rossi 92 – which I think is still available. Mine feeds everything – .357 and .38 special. No recoil to complain about even with hot .357 loads. I bought the carbine version with the John Wayne lever loop and it looks cool. The Marlins are pretty nice too if you can find an older one.

      1. avatar Stereodude says:

        Not a fan of the Henry?

        FWIW, it looks like the Rossi isn’t sold in .357 Mag in the US anymore.

  38. Lake County Examiner, Lakeview, Oregon: Wednesday, February 10th, 2015
    Letters To The Editor

    Gun Lesson

    Introduced jointly in 1935 by Smith and Wesson and Winchester, the .357 Magnum, originally designed by Major Doug Wesson, Phil Sharpe: a ballistician, and gun scribe writer Elmer Keith, is now 80.

    The .357 Magnum, and it’s parent caliber the .38 Special, were formerly the quintessential law enforcement handgun of the 20th century. Since mass conversion from revolvers to semi-automatic pistols commenced in the late 1980’s/ early 1990’s, revolvers seldom appear in cop’s holsters. However, the historic revolver remains laudable.

    Both .38 Special and .357 Magnum revolvers continue to offer versatility for autonomous citizens, including the individual owning one handgun. .38’s and .357’s remain ideal for self defense/ house protection/ concealed carry, and likewise for the great outdoors. Even the .44 Magnum, introduced in 1956, especially in Alaska.

    Classic Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum revolvers included the K-Frame S&W Model 19 and 66 “stainless” .357 Combat Magnum revolvers, and the two heavier N-Frame .357 Magnums: the S&W Model 27 and 28 Highway Patrolman, respectively. Other classic .357 Magnum revolvers, though now discontinued from production, were the Colt Python (the Cadillac of .357’s), Colt’s Trooper Mark III, and Ruger’s Security Six and Blackhawk single action revolver.

    View online “hickok45” and “Larry Vickers and Magnum Revolvers.” Also, “The War on Guns” via http://www.DavidCodrea.com. No. A person owning only a .38 Special or .357 Magnum revolver remains well protected, armed, and secured.

    Remember: No substitute exists for accuracy, reliability, versatility, and safety. With the revolver it’s still “six shots for sure!”

    James A. Farmer, Ashland
    Now a resident of Merrill, Oregon (Klamath County)

    Note: “Dial 911 and Die: The Shocking Truth About The Police Protection Myth” (1999) by Richard Stevens.
    Also, available for viewing at You Tube. Source: JPFO, Inc. at http://www.jpfo.org. JPFO, Inc. is “America’s
    Aggressive Civil Rights Organization.” On Thursday, May 10th, 2018 I was fishing the Chewaucan River
    at it’s headwaters: Dairy Creek and also nearby was Elder Creek. This inside the Gearhart Mountain Wilderness Area of the Fremont/Winema National Forest in Lake County, Oregon (Lakeview). We were situated between Bly (Klamath County) and Paisley (Lake County). In fact we spent that evening in Paisley, Oregon at The Sage Brush Rooms Motel. Early that evening I caught two native Red Band trout beneath the
    Paisley bridge which spans the Chewaucan River. Nearby is land holdings owned by the historic ZX
    Ranch of Paisley, Oregon which was originally chartered as the Chewaucan Land and Cattle Company
    in 1901. The ZX Ranch at Paisley , Oregon is the largest cattle and hay operation within our state. My point here is the .357 Magnum revolver is tailored to such an environment. Whether metro/urban vs. rural/wilderness a 4″ or 6″ barrel .357 Magnum is perhaps the best sidearm to carry, own, and
    have instantly accessible. In fact, aside from the grace of God, intercessory prayer, and provision from
    above that 4″ Smith and Wesson Model 66 “K) Frame .357 Combat Magnum revolver was basically the
    only law, security, and protection afforded myself and my friend who didn’t even have a gun. Remember
    this is remote isolated out of the way semi-wilderness and high desert sagebrush country, making it a
    haven for cougar, bear, and even the remote possibility of a rabid coyote, raccoon, fox or other four legged
    predator. There exists rattlesnakes too, especially when the weather gets warm. Since .357 Magnum
    revolvers chamber and fire .38 Special ammo, the .38 Special 148 grain lead target wad-cutter, next to a
    .22 or .32, remains tops for hunting small game: rabbit, squirrel, and grouse. Or for dispatching vermin such
    as raccoon, skunk, possum, etc Even for butchering livestock. For rattlesnakes the CCI’s classic .38 Special shot or “snake load” No. 9 shot can shred the head of a rattler up close. So what more can be stated about the .357 Magnum? For armed security and protection against both two and four legged predators I cannot think of a better handgun to have. My sentiments of course.

  39. avatar Aron G. says:

    I couldn’t agree more. New and /or inexperienced shooters have no business with a snubnosed .357, period. .38 special even may be a bit much depending on what life experiences a new shooter has had. This is a very well thought out and written piece.

  40. avatar samuraichatter says:

    Never shot one but everything I see on .357 out of a “16 barrel looks good. Maybe some w/ more experience can chime in. It looks like 7.62×39 levels of muzzle energy are possible w/ the right load.

  41. avatar Uncle Jim says:

    I am not a gun guru but I have 10 yrs military and have been using All types of firearms. I would much rather see a beginner in a 22 Mag, or a 9 mm, for the simple reason of comfort, reliability and ease of use. Like the third comment towards the top of the list, I too own a 357 GP 100, they are well built and can take the high pressure. If you decide to go with the 357, don’t even think about shooting it until you get a good set of Walker’s Ear Muffs. The first time you shoot it without them, you’ll realize why I said too get a pair of Walker’s. Uncle Jim

  42. avatar A. Daniels says:

    Mr. Wayner: Regarding your inclusion of the Ruger Super Redhawk as one of “[a] few great guns that are chambered for .357 Magnum,” the current Ruger catalog does not list .357 magnum for the Super Redhawk, including distributor exclusives. To the best of my knowledge, Sturm Ruger never offered a .357 magnum Super Redhawk for the U.S. market, although it made very limited test runs for certain overseas markets. Is this your understanding as well, or do you know of a U.S. production run of Super Redhawks in .357 magnum (including distributor exclusives)?

  43. avatar Huli says:

    Y’all are right, the .357 mag is an outdated round. But man she’s a sexy old lady, a complete and utter GILF. Plus she’s just fine with letting her not as sexy, but pretty enough sisters .38 and .38+p join in for some fun too. Yeah .357 mag is a classy old lady who’s totally into three ways. I’ll always keep her locked up in my bedroom 🙂

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