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357 Magnum

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by el Godfather, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. el Godfather

    el Godfather Well-Known Member

    Dear THR.
    What are the advantages of 357 over a 9mm and 45acp? Are there any disadvantages?

    How effective is a 357 as a SD weapon?

    Is 357 sufficient for self defense or a step up to a 44 magnum is a better decision? 10mm is not in consideration.

  2. mrvco

    mrvco Well-Known Member

    I think most would say "more than adequate" for all but the most extreme circumstances... And even too much with full-house magnums in HD scenarios.
  3. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    357 magnum is widely accepted as suitable for deer hunting amongst sportsman. 45acp and 9mm are not due to being much less powerful.

    You draw your own conclusions about how this relates to effectiveness as a defensive round. But its been often stated that the 125 grain 357 magnum load is the manstopper all other handgun rounds aspire to be.

    Downsides to consider
    Low capacity

    posted via mobile device.
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Like said above, a 125gr .357 Magnum is considered the best man stopper ever. It's an excellent SD caliber and no, there is no reason to move up to a .44 Magnum unless the bad guys are Bears... As a matter of fact, the .357 Magnum's brother, the .38 Special is also a good SD caliber...
  5. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    My daily carry gun is one of my S&W K frame snubs with 125 gr. JHP's of wither Gold Dots, XTP's, or Sierra's, on top of a healthy charge of H110 / 296. Those loads are producing a MV of just under 1600 fps. Those .357 mags with those full house loads will produce through and through penetration in just about any circumstance. To be honest, if I ever had to take a center mass shot at a person, I would imagine the result would be a very large exit wound and massive bleeding. Hydrostatic shock damage on animals like coyotes and jack rabbits is extreme, and penetration and expansion testing on rolled up wet denim proves extremely effective also.

    The Auto loading cartridges such as 45 ACP and 9mm just don't produce the velocity capable of doing what the .357 mag. will do in tis respect. One of my Son's is a die hard 9mm fan and carries my hand loaded 115 gr. JHP's producing a MV of 1300's fps, but they just don't perform nearly as well as the .357's for expansion.

    A couple of years back one of my Son's shot a large mule deer in the head with my hand loaded 125's from the .357 and it blew a huge hole through the head. Not too long after that one, another one of my Boy's shot another large mule deer through the lungs with the same loads, and it went through and through the shoulders also leaving behind a large exit wound.

  6. sirsloop

    sirsloop Well-Known Member

    Idk why people think that .357 is "the best man stopper ever". Like there is nothing particular about the cartridge that makes it a magical combo of death. It's just on the hotter end of what the majority of people are willing to carry that gets the job done. Ya know it's not "more lethal" than .500s&w magnum, a sabot slug outta a 12 gauge, a high powered .30cal+ rifle, etc. Plenty of stuff that packs more punch. I'm just sayin... Not considering shot placement, etc...

    I would say .357 is a decent SD choice for an experienced shooter. Too much pony for a rookie shooter.
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    There is no doubt that this loading has proven to be among the best, but when you actually chronograph these loads in real guns, not test barrels, you usually come up velocities in the 1250-1300 fps range.

    Yet the many of the same people will tell you that a 124 gr +P 9mm bullet at a chronographed 1250 fps is totally inadequate. Those are real numbers you will get from real guns, not some numbers published in a ballistics chart.

    The truth is that any of the common rounds, 9mm, 357 mag and 357 Sig, as well as 45, and 40 are all pretty much equal in terms of effectiveness when the best loads are chosen for the individual gun.

    As a SD round a 357 mag works, but has several huge disadvantages. Much more muzzle blast and recoil, considerable loss of velocity when used in barrels shorter than 6", and very limited ammo capacity. They are at their best when loaded with heavier bullets and with longer barrels and used for hunting or long range shooting. A 357 mag with a barrel shorter than 4", and loaded with 125 gr bullets is pretty useless in my opinion because you get all of the disadvantages magnified, and with LESS velocity than from a 9mm pistol.
  8. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    357 and 45 are my only carry calibers.
  9. HGM22

    HGM22 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I'm not sure why its "the best". I can see it being a good benchmark for judging handgun rounds, but there are too many options out there for it to be simply the best.

    As to the OP: There is no such thing as a free lunch, and there is no perfect caliber. What you gain in one criteria you lose in another. For example, a .45ACP has a larger diameter bullet, but a 9mm pistol will have more ammunition capacity. The .357Mag has more power than the 9mm and .45, but its also got more muzzle blast and recoil (and slower follow-up shots).

    You need to look at various aspects like power, capacity, recoil and muzzle blast, platforms (which gun), platform size, etc. and match them to your skill set and situation. If you are a novice shooter you'll probably want to go with something lower on the power scale. What I'd be most looking at is if you want a revolver or auto, and what you intend the gun for. Will it be a concealed carry, home defense, or both gun? Something for CC will need to be smaller (most likely), and you may want to take a step down on caliber since recoil will be greater in the smaller gun. On the other hand, a gun used solely for self defense or open carried can be as big as you want, and recoil becomes less of a concern.

    No matter what, though, .357 Mag is a great round.
  10. XTrooper

    XTrooper Well-Known Member

    My favorite revolver cartridge for over 40 years now.

    Sufficient for self defense? It was the premier law enforcement cartridge of the revolver era and has put innumerable bad guys under the ground.
  11. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

    Being old, the advantage of my .357 revolvers over my .45 ACP autoloaders is that I don't have to bend over to pick up my empties.
  12. sirsloop

    sirsloop Well-Known Member

    HAHAH... no doubt! I love revolvers (and single shots) for the same reason... easy to police brass.
  13. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    357 is my favorite handgun round for the following reason. You can do anything with it, more or less, compared to other rounds. You can load it mild or hot. You can use light bullets or heavy. It is good for varminting, self-defense, or hunting. In a mid frame you can carry open or concealed. If a guy is only going to have one handgun I don't think you can do better. It's the right tool for many jobs.
  14. MrDig

    MrDig Well-Known Member

    .45 acp pushes twice the amount of mass down range as most calibers in the 9mm diameter this includes .357. 38, and 357 are essentially 9mm with longer cases. I know I can get 158 gr 38,357 but I usually shoot 125 gr HP with those weapons.
    All that being said I would probably be hesitant to shoot a deer with a .45 or a 9mm Luger unless I was absolutely certain it was a kill shot. Read the animal is wounded and immobile.
    I have however hunted with a .357 Revolver and Carbine in .357, why? because I am much more certain that they will do the job I need them to do at distances the .45 just won't handle. I wish I was as confident in my shooting skills as I am in the round. I've passed on a few shots due to my own limitations. That is another advantage of the .357 it is slightly less expensive to practice with and improve shooting skills.
  15. DanGuy48

    DanGuy48 Member

    Sir sloop

    Probably the main thing that really catapulted the .357 Mag to stardom as a man stopper was Marshall and Sanow's study on that topic with the .357 Mag ending up with something like a 94or97% one shot stop efficiency (been a while since I read it). One shot stop was defined as taking no more than one additional step towards you or immediately breaking off attack activity on being shot.


    Yep, I'm aware of all the controversy around it but I think there's still some good data there.
  16. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    From my 5" m60 my carry load the widely reguarded as midrange 125 golden saber still hits 1400fps. Winchester 124g ranger t 357sig in my g32 hits 1340fps. In a glock34 speer +p 124g gold dots hit 1240fps

    Yes even with "weak 12x grain loads" todays 357 magnum is still a great deal more powerful than even 357sig much less 9x19mm. The ballistics that make 9mm quite good make 357 even better because it has that much more to give.

    We are in agreement though that a sub 3" 357 is at best a 38 spl.
    posted via mobile device.
  17. Tomcat47

    Tomcat47 Well-Known Member

    Lest we forget the mind altering, equilibrium debilitating, decibel producing BANG!

    That comes from them! Average 164 Db from Revolver.... Hearing Damage can occur at 85 Db and 120 Db is Threshold of pain. A Lawn Mower is 90Db

    (hmmm this is thread material! )
  18. jeepnik

    jeepnik Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't say the .357 is "widely" accepted by handgun hunters. I and those I know really prefer a minimum of .41 mag. Can it be done? Sure. But a bit more energy is not a bad thing in a handgun for taking deer.

    As to the OP. The only drawback that a .357 wheelie has compared to semiautos is capacity. And there are .357 8 round revolvers out now. Kinda bulky, but they are about.

    Truthfully, back in the '70s while stationed in a country with some terrorist problems, I carried a 4" barreled .357 daily. Never felt undergunned, still wouldn't today.
  19. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    Few for SD, unless for SD you favor bullet weights of 158 gr and up.

    Disadvantages are the platforms. You can get up to 8 shots of .357 in a big revolver, 5 in a small one. .357 autos tend to be bigger even than .45 autos; take a look at a Coonan and compare it to a Glock 30, for example. And .357 autos suffer from the potential problem of rimlock in the magazine.

    How effective is .357? I doubt there's a SD handgun caliber that's more effective. But maybe there are some as effective with less muzzle blast and recoil--two other disadvantages.
  20. Jaymo

    Jaymo Well-Known Member

    Ungodly muzzle blast is a disadvantage. I love .357 but, DANG it's loud.

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