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Desert Eagle .357 Magnum, what is the real story

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by MagnumDweeb, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. MagnumDweeb

    MagnumDweeb Well-Known Member

    I can't shake wanting a Desert Eagle .357. I read on a few DIY websites about folks testing their guns and looking for quality ammunition and the reports were negative, granted it was only two sites I could find that were halfway credible.

    There are the model 19s(XIV) that can be converted to .44 Magnum, .41 Magnum and .50 AE, which are amongst the latest and greatest. I reload for .357 Magnum so it'd be nice to have an autoloader for it. Yeah I thought about a Coonan but....can't get a love for it.

    Does anyone now of some legit websites were there are reports on velocities and ammo reviews for use in Desert Eagles. If all I'm going to get is 9mm+P performance then I might as well go with a Glock 20 10mm which is where I'm leaning, mind you I'm done buying for quite awhile unless I build it(AK kits, Sten kits, PPSH 42 and 43 kits) so this would be a towards the end of year or next year purchase.

    I'd have to figure that a 6" barrel semi-automatic would allow for some good harnessing of the .357s power, but the loadings system might take away from that. Thanks ahead of time.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    My son had one for a while several years ago.

    Other then needing a wheel-barrow to haul it around, and two hands to operate the safety quickly, it was a very fun gun.

    Probably the most accurate long-range .357 Mag I ever shot.

    Hedge-apples & beer cans at 100 yards were no challenge at all.

    We were shooting my hand-loads of a 140 Sierra JHP or Hornady 158 XTP over 14.5 grains 2400 powder.

    There is no reason the gas-operated action would lose any power over any other action type.

    The bolt is locked shut until after the bullet is long gone. The DE action is very similar to an AR-15 actually.

  3. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Well-Known Member

    Who told you that you're only going to get 9mm+p+ performance?

    I'm curious, because I own, and shoot, a Desert Eagle MkI in .357 Magnum, and there's no way I'd make the comparison.

    First and foremost, the Desert Eagle was designed around the .44 Magnum cartridge, and the gas pressures and volumes associated with that particular chambering.

    The .357 Magnum Desert Eagles have always been finicky with respect to the type of ammo they're fed, and considering what has to happen, it's quite understandable. You've got a huge steel slide and M16-style bolt assembly that has to be cycled via the gas system. That requires a goodly volume of propellant to get things moving. In a .357 Magnum, that means your garden-variety 125gr loads just won't cut it.

    Here's a list of known factory ammo that'll reliably cycle the .357 Magnum Desert Eagle:


    From Magnum Research themselves:


    See a trend there? Nothing under 142 grains in bullet weight, and almost all are at 158gr.

    Having said that, I handload for my Desert Eagle, and I stay with the hotter loads, namely those listed in "Desert Eagle Only" sections of some reloading manuals. Think up around 1600fps for a 158gr bullet. 9mm +p+, eh? :D

    It's not the gun that's the problem. It's the ammo. Use the commercial stuff from the lists I referenced above, or handload to comparable velocities, and you'll be just fine. And the 9mm +p+ reference? So much bovine excrement, unless a 9mm can move a 158gr bullet out to 1600fps.
  4. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Well-Known Member

    A small company named Vltor (sounds like a Space Ghost villain, no?) is coming out with newly-produced version of the Bren Ten, and unlike the original, this will have magazines, since it will use those of the Tanfoglio Witness 10mm model. Like the original, this pistol ought to be as strong as the Glock, or any other 10mm, but will have the trigger, steel construction, and safety setup that is typical of a CZ-75 derivative. It is projected to be under $1K, making it cheaper than the Desert Eagle, and with that many rounds of that cartridge, it will out-muscle the Desert Eagle as well, despite being at least 1.5 lbs. lighter. The Desert Eagle will be hard to beat for accuracy, and has an integral optics rail, but it requires jacketed bullets.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2009
  5. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Well-Known Member

    I owned the Mk XIX .357 for a while. Accuracy was terrific, even better after I mounted a Trijicon Reflex sight on it. The only limitation on feed reliablity seemed to be having enough pressure to cycle it. It will feed any jacketed or semi-jacketed bullet.

    The Winchester Winclean 125 grain soft point load was a favorite of my D.E., but that is one smokin' hot factory load.

    It just got to be too much gun for too little output. I think the D.E. is best in .44 Rem Mag where the recoil is the same (to me), but you have much more power. The .44 version seemed to run longer between cleanings as well. The .50AE is beyond me, but I have a buddy who loves his for deer hunting backup (he's a big boy).

    I traded my D.E. in on a Freedom Arms revolver, much more practical, and every bit as accurate.
  6. MagnumDweeb

    MagnumDweeb Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys. A few previous posts said that the gas system caused the .357 magnum to lose a great deal of its power. I also shoot plenty of .44 Magnum(does it use Remington Magnum[don't know the difference, if there is a difference]) so it'd be nice also to have an autoloader in the same caliber. I don't plan on touching .50 AE. If I get one it will be a used XIV that can be easily changed out for different calibers, get the .44 Magnum setup for it.

    For autoloaders I'm only buying those for CCW now, and I like .45 ACP for an autoloader, have tons of brass on hand, it doesn't hit with the same velocity as the 10mm but it's time tested, incredibly reliable, and comes in a lot of different varieties. I didn't want to get into 10mm when I wasn't going to use it for CWP and didn't have a love for it.

    Just want a Desert Eagle, there are lots of folks who have them as safe queens, haven't been shot in years, mint, and have offered to sell them to me for $700 and under. I've just done of buying this year and last so I'm taking a break(got plenty of necessary savings, but blew through my completely disposabl).
  7. predator20

    predator20 Active Member

    I own a Mark I 357. Here is a list of ammo I used the first time I shot it.

    Speer LE Gold Dot 158gr HP
    Sellier & Bellot 158gr FMJ
    Fiocchi 142gr FMJTC
    Corbon 140gr HP
    Fiocchi 125gr SJHP
    Remington Golden Saber 125gr HP
    Remington UMC 125gr JSP

    I could not get through a full magazine with the Speer Gold Dot or Remington UMC. The spent case wouldn't eject and the new round would be jammed behind it. All the other ammo shot fine. No jams. The only problem the slide wouldn't lock back after the last round. Probably because they were underpowered. I only shot maybe 60 to 70 rounds. When I took it apart to clean, it was bad dirty. So the previous owner hadn't cleaned it in a while. I haven't been able to take it out again since it got a good cleaning.

    Attached Files:

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