.357 Magnum

.357 Magnum- Who hasn’t heard of a 357 magnum revolver! The .357 magnum revolver is one of the most popular revolvers and possibly best revolvers you will find.  Something that you might not know is the .357 Magnum is a caliber used in rifles, as well as handguns including revolvers. It was based on the .38 Special, and the Winchester cartridge and a line of Smith & Wesson revolvers were offered together in 1934 or 1935. This article provides an overview of the .357 Magnum.

Development of the .357 Magnum

The first magnum cartridge ever created, the .357 Magnum, was a team effort created by the joint efforts of Idaho rancher and hunter Elmer Keith, who had been experimenting with a .44 Magnum size frame that shot .38 Special-sized bullets, NRA Technical Staff member Phillip B. Sharpe, Colonel Douglas B. Wesson of Smith & Wesson, and Winchester. It was reportedly both conceived of as a hunter’s tool for big game and as an answer to the Colt .38 Super Automatic, which was on the one hand, getting into the hands of gangsters, and on the other, was seen as the firearm to surpass in order to provide the necessary power to truly give law enforcement the upper hand.

Today, they continue to be used both for hunting and law enforcement, as well as personal safety. Some experts consider that the small-frame versions should not be used because the recoil power is too great to have adequate control.

.357 Magnum versus .38 Special

The .357 Magnum’s, though based on the .38 Special were placed in a case 0.125 inches longer. This was to prevent the use of .357 Magnums in revolvers designed for .38 Special, which might be unable to pressure of the Magnum cartridge in firing. This assured that the .357 Magnums would be used in guns specifically designed for them, but left open the possibility of using .38 Special cartridges in a firearm designed .357 Magnums.  Thus, if a revolver, for example, is listed for both from the manufacturer, it is designed to take both, but shooters should not attempt to place .357 Magnum ammunition in a firearm designated as .38 Special.

.357 Magnums Currently Available

Smith & Wesson, one of the best revolvers manufactures, continues to provide a range of .357 Magnum revolvers. These include these full-size, Single/Double Action revolvers:

• Model 27 (6.5-inch barrel; 6 rounds)

• Model 686 (5-inch barrel; 7 rounds)

Snub-nosed models, all with 1.875-inch barrels include these Double-Action Only, 5-round revolvers that take .357 Magnum and .38 S&W Special +P

• Model 340 PD and

• Model M&P 340

And these Single/Double Action snub-nosed models:

• Model 360

• Model M&P 360

• Model 360 PD

Ruger, most notably known for making some of the best pistols, also offers Single Action, Double-Action, and Double-Action Only revolvers including the Blackhawk, which comes with an extra cylinder, which converts the chambering from .357 Mag. to 9mm Luger; as well as the Vaquero, the SP101, the LCR, and the GP100.

If you are looking for a powerful revolver, Best Revolvers recommends you head down to your local shooting range and try out a .357 magnum revolver!