Dan Wesson .357 Maximum info


September 9, 2006, 12:53 AM
I've long been interested in obtaining a Dan Wesson .357 Maximum revolver. I want one of these guns for a silly sentimental reason that I won't get into more than any practical need. I'll soon be moving out of CA and won't be subject to the silly CA "drop test" so my options for guns just opened up greatly (heaven help my checking account).

I hear that the "Monson Mass" guns are the ones to look for. Is this true, or for a shooter grade gun are the Palmer guns just as good? Are spare parts still available from Dan Wesson?

The story on the .357 Maximum was that it was famous for top strap cutting on revolvers. However, I heard that this was overblown and mostly came from guys trying to launch a 125 grain bullet at crazy speeds that was never really designed for the Max?

Thanks for the info. :)

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September 9, 2006, 05:26 AM
The Palmer guns are known to have quality problems so it's a luck of the draw if you get one. The Monsons are the best of the bunch.
Top strap cutting was no joke with the maximum. Ruger pulled their Blackhawk chambered in maximum off the market because of it. DW gave you a second barrel with the gun because of it. The only guns that didn't suffer were the single shots with rifle like actions.
I don't know if there are any factory loads for it now so it's most likely a handloader's adventure now.

Ben Shepherd
September 9, 2006, 09:52 AM
Yup- handloaders only. And as far as I can tell remington is the only one making brass.

I just acquired a 357 max blackhawk recently. I like the gun, but I'm having trouble getting an accurate load. Considering this was a round dedicated to long range shooting, it's got me a bit miffed.

EVERYTHING I've ever seen, heard, or read basically says stay 158 or heavier and you won't have topstrap troubles.

September 9, 2006, 11:03 AM
Ben Shepherd,
Sounds like a great gun! I have been looking for one (Ruger) but have not come across one yet. I understand they are hard to locate. I have a T/C Contender barrel in .357 Maximum...but I have been so busy I have yet to get my reloads built up to give it a try. I've got the brass (Remington) and 180 gr JHPs on the shelf but I've yet to pick up a set of dies...I believe the RCBS .357 Mag. dies will work...but I'm unsure. Wish I had the dies today, it's rainy day here in KC!

As Mr. Majic reported, the Monson guns are thought to be the best of the litter. I have two Monson DWs in .357 Mag. and enjoy them both. One is a first or second year production gun according to an associate who worked in the plant during that time. The other is a little later production. The DWs are great revolvers and certainly the two I own are a valued part of my collection.

Good luck locating a gun.


Ben Shepherd
September 9, 2006, 01:51 PM
It's good looking, that's for sure.

But I am having a devil of a time getting a load that will go under 3" at 25 yards. I am starting to suspect that remington brass. But since that is my ONLY option that's what I have to work with.

Got a thread running on these woes over on TFL.

Sorry about the hijack. Back to our original posters questions.

September 9, 2006, 03:33 PM
I reckon I need to be careful with my gear cuz I got 5000 pieces of starline 357 Maxi brass. I thought starline was still making brass for the Maxi but from looking I guess I was wrong.

one shot one kill

Peter M. Eick
September 10, 2006, 03:44 PM

I just bought a Ruger 357 Max about a month ago. After extensive research, I found that your summary about the topstrap cutting seems to be the general consensus. Also in the Ruger's avoid ball powders. One the the things I found was its not the heat and gases but the bead blaster effect of the powder on the frame that makes the cut. Thus the goal is big stinking grains of powder.

I have not tried mine out with Max rounds (shown next to a wimpy 357 magnum in the picture above) but I will when I get back home from this trip. I did shoot it with my hottest Mag rounds and they were cakewalks.

I am looking forward to blasting away with mine. I only ordered 500 pieces of brass though....

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