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357 Magnum semi-auto

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by strat81, Oct 6, 2006.

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  1. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    OK, I have a good question to redeem me for my "pink muffs" question...

    I'm new to firearms and have been trying to digest as much info about them as I can. Being new, much of my 'knowledge' comes from Hollywood and videogames so, of course, 357 Magnum has some mystique to it.

    While searching for my first pistol, the only semi-auto I found that is chambered for the 357 Mag is the Desert Eagle. Are there any others still in production? By far, the most common auto-pistol calibers are 9x19, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. Why aren't there more 357 Mag autos? Is there an engineering reason behind it, or is it a business/marketing one?

    I am NOT debating whether or not the 357 Magnum cartidge is better or worse than any other round, so I'd rather not start a whizzing match about what is "better", has more "stopping power", or has better terminal ballistics.
     
  2. thumper723

    thumper723 Member

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    For starters, the 357 is a rimmed cartridge.

    Most semis are rimless (9x19, 45ACP, 357Sig, 40S&W) or Semi-Rimmed (25 ACP).

    Also, the 357 is longer than most semi cartridges. This makes fitting in a magazine difficult.

    I have seen 1911s chambered in 38 Special, but that is a tad shorter than 357 (it is the 357s parent cartridge), and only shot wadcutters (they do not stick out past the end of the brass).

    I'm sure other can give better reasons, but from an engineering/fit standpoint, that is a couple big ones.
     
  3. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Outside of the Desert Eagle, the no longer prroduced Coonan, which is a 1911 based design, is the only other 357 mag auto I know of.

    The why's are several. First 357 Mag, amongst other rounds, is a rimmed revolver round. That is, the cartridge has a wide rim that sticks out beyond the case walls. The rim is not conducive to rounds feeding smoothly out of a magazine, often the top round's rim will catch on the rim of the round below it, a condition known as "rim lock." For this reason most auto pistol round are "rimless" where the rim is created by recessing the cartride at the base in front of the rim. This allows for a rim that does not stick out beyond the width of the case.

    Next is the round itself. the 357 Mag produces quite a bit of energy which is hard on the recoil spring and really wears the pistol as the frame and slide practically batter each other. The 10mm Auto is the only common auto round that produces 357 mag energy levels in bullets heavier than 135 or so grains. Further the 357 Mag is a long round, and is not conducive to fitting into magazines and allowing for a grip that most people find comfortable. In some designs even the 10mm and 45 ACP when applied in a twin column or doublestack magazine design pistol the grip becomes large for many.

    That's the best quick answer I can give you, but hopefully it clarifies things.
     
  4. ribbonstone

    ribbonstone Member

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    Coonan arms had a .357 based on the 1911...the Desert Eagle was originally chambered fr the .357., but I haven't seen a nw one in quite awhile.
    Neve cared for them...to get that long .357 round to work, had to make the grip frame and grip kind of large...too large for my hand (and I don't have small hands).

    Rimmed ammo isn't the best choice in a semi-auto...it can be done, but it's more of a challenge to eh designers.

    Of them, the Desert Eagle has the better reputaion for working...but considering the same platform can be had in bigger calibers, it seems overly large for a .357.
     
  5. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    Gentlemen, Thanks for the quick and intelligent responses. I've never seen a Deagle in person (like I said, I'm new to the firearm thing). The Magnum Research catalog lists the weapon at 4lbs, 6oz. which is darn heavy. It just looks HUGE in pics. Anyone have any pics of one next to more common pieces like a Beretta 92 or Glock 19?

    So it looks like it's primarily an engineering issue, limited to the cartridge itself. I'd say why not just design a 357 magnum cartridge without the rim, but the length issue still exists. And I guess other cartridges have been designed to fill such a niche (the 10mm).
     
  6. Myself

    Myself Member

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    The reason you don't see more 357 semi's has been answered well. If you just "have to have it" the LAR Grizzly was also produced in 357 mag. Neither the Grizzly or the Coonan are readily available so when you find them they will be pricey. I believe that the 357 Dessert Eagle is the same size as the other variants.
     
  7. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Take a look at the semi-rimmed 38 Super Auto, it's rimless variant the 38 TJ, and both the 9x23 Winchester & 9x23 Bergman-Bayard AKA 9mm Largo. I'm not sure if the latter two are rimmed or semi-rimmed.

    Since we're on the subject, most 9mms use .355" dia bullets, .38s and .357 Mags use .356" or .357" diameter bullets. The round most people are referring to when they say "9mm" is the 9mm Parabellum/9mm Luger, measuring 9x19mm. The .380 Auto measures 9x17mm, and is known as 9mm Browning Short, 9mm Kurz, and 9mm Corto in Europe. The 9mm Makarov measures 9x18, but uses, if I remember correctly, .361" or .362" dia bullets. The 357 SIG is a 40 S&W (short 10mm) case bottle necked down to 9mm (.355"). So now you should be thoroghly confused on the various 9mms :evil:
     
  8. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    Lol, as a total n00b, I went to the Glock website looking for "9mm." No such thing... closest thing was 9x19. I was like "what the???" So that led to plenty of web-searching that revealed there is more than one 9mm. Same goes for 357 (Sig and Magnum), and 45 (ACP, GAP, and LC). I'm obviously leaving out dozens of other "similar" cartidges as well.

    The whole ordeal of picking out a weapon has been a revelation for me, really. I grew up in NYC in a nice area. No exposure to gangs or crime, really. No close family members were in law enforcement and my grandfather did NOT like to talk about his days in WWII, or about guns. Neither of my parents were anti-gun though. So, like I said earlier, my only "knowledge" about guns came from videogames and Hollywood.

    I'm sure many of you grew up with guns, or have been using them longer than the 25 years I've been alive. I'm going to lay it all out for you... this is what the average 25 year old knows/thinks about guns:

    -Bullets come in 9mm, 40S&W, 45ACP, 357 Magnum, 44 Magnum, 38 Special, and 12 gauge. A shotgun shell is a bullet.
    -A 12 gauge is a shotgun and a shotgun is a 12 gauge. 20ga, 16ga, and .410 do not exist.
    -Rifles are used by hunters only
    -AR-15s, AK-47s, MP5s, M4s, and M16s are all machine guns.
    -Revolvers are only used by cowboys, Dirty Harry, and old cops.
    -Handling any weapon is easy. Arnold used that shotty in T2 one-handed while riding a motorcycle. How hard can it be?

    I can get geeky about stuff and firearms have me really intrigued. We (my finance and I) are buying a 9mm semi, but I already want a Mossberg 20ga with a tactical stock (regular stocks are too big for my wimpy small frame) and a 357 Magnum revolver. The coolest things I want to do more research on: the 10mm cartidge and the FN Five-seveN.

    I've fired my future father-in-law's Ruger MKII and P90. I saw and felt him firing his 44 Magnum. Scared the bejeezus out of me. Dirty Harry WAS right!
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2006
  9. Josh Aston

    Josh Aston Member

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    Kudos to you for actually researching the stuff, instead of sounding off like most of the people that get all their info from Hollywood and Videogames.
     
  10. Cliff47

    Cliff47 Member

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    Now go out and shoot safely.
     
  11. Greg8098

    Greg8098 Member

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    .357 magnum

    The .357 magnum is a fine cartridge, just not really suited for a semi-auto due to engineering problems. If you really want a .357 mag semi-auto, I would suggest getting a Desert Eagle. But if all you are looking for is a semi-auto with .357 mag performance, just buy two GLOCK 20's for the price of one Desert Eagle and load up on Doubletap ammo.:D
     
  12. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    Greg,
    I'm not looking for a 357 Magnum. The question stemmed from my ignorance of firearms since I am new to them. I suppose I am typical of my generation (I'm 25) in that I'm always questioning the status quo. The answer I hate (yes, HATE) when I ask any question is "That's the way we've always done it." I hear it at work constantly and it ticks me off so much. Luckily the answer to my 357 Mag question boiled down to primarily an engineering reason. It'd suck if someone just said "Why would you want THAT?"

    Regardless of what you think of light rails on pistols, someone folks are laughing all the way to the bank since more and more pistols are coming with them. Someone said, "Why don't we put a light rail on that P95/Px4/M&P/Sigma etc.?"
     
  13. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    There was the .357 Automag, but I gather it didn't use regular .357 ammunition. Never actually seen one or read much about it.
     
  14. Greg8098

    Greg8098 Member

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    Just my opinion.

    Being that I am your age, ( in the same generation ), I sometimes find myself questioning the status quo. I know you are probably not looking for a .357. I used to really want a .357 Desert Eagle, but just couldn't justify spending $1200+ for one. I'm always trying to own firearms that are very different from what most people that I know have. I really wish there were more semi-auto's chambered in .357 magnum, within my price range. But, I did a little research and discovered that the 10mm auto was more powerful than the standard factory .357 load and that kinda sold me on it. When both are loaded to maximum potential, you basically have the same ballistics. Hope I didn't offend you, because I constantly hear " Why would you want that"., and yes it is very aggravating.

    P.S - Not trying to start a caliber war, we've had enough of those.
     
  15. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    No, no offense taken at all. I agree with you about 10mm... I had never even heard of it until about 3 weeks ago and from what I've read it's an impressive round.

    However, based totally on the cool factor (squid factor, some might say) I'd love a .50AE Deagle. Sure, it's bigger than me, might break my wrist if I shot one, costs more than the HDTV in my living room, and takes $$$ to feed it, but it's .50 caliber! Oh yes, and the weapon would HAVE to be in polished chrome. That way, I'll have the biggest, pimpinest pistol on the block. "Practicality? We don't need no stinkin' practicality!"
     
  16. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    So ya want an expensive, big, honkin, impractical, cost a fortune to feed, but man is it fun hand cannon do ya? Then you need a S&W X-Frame in .500 S&W Magnum or .460 XVR. You might also google the Pfeifer Zeliska while you're at it.

    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...1&parent_category_rn=15703&top_category=15703
     
  17. crunker

    crunker member

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    .357 Mag doesn't provide enough blowback power to recock an autopistol, so if you want to use it an an automatic you have to add a gas system much like the kinds used in rifles and shotguns.

    This would lead to you having a big, heavy, jamomatic weapon like the Desert Eagle.
     
  18. Shrike360

    Shrike360 Member

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    Actually, the recoil shouldn't be too much of a problem due to the weight, however I've never fired one so can't tell exactly how it is. Weight is an important factor for recoil, for example go shoot an airweight .38 Special revolver. That thing numbed my hands before I finished off the cylinder:eek: .
     
  19. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Brushed Chrome Mk XIX .50 AE. It carries a Burris 1.5-4x scope when I'm hunting with it.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    357 SIG was designed to have 357 Mag ballistics in a viable semi-auto cartridge with 9mm/40 cal frames-friendly dimensions.

    Did it succeed? You will find a lot of opinions on this.

    Some say it's magic, some say it's hype.
     
  21. Euclidean

    Euclidean Member

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    I used to get .357 Sig and .357 Magnum confused all the time... that is why I hate the existence of .357 Sig :neener:
     
  22. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    You're dead wrong. If you tried to use straight blowback for a 357 Mag auto pistol the slide would have to be incredibly heavy. The 357 Mag creates plenty of recoil to operate a standard tilt-breech locking recoil operated pistol. A gas system like in the DEs is used to soften felt recoil. HK also used the on the 9mm, and later 40 S&W, chambered P7. Please go back to the top of the thread and read all the posts that correctly explained that cartridge overall length is the factor limiting 357 Mag from use in auto pistols.

    There is neither magic nor hype to it. The 357 SIG, and 9mm +P+ loadings for that matter, do replicate the ballistics of the 357 Mag, but only in lighter loadings. Get over 135 grain bullet weight and the 357 Mag easily pulls away. The 357 SIG does package the ballistics into an auto better, and without having to go to +P+ measures to get it. The 357 SIG definetly fills a niche. Some would argue that the 40 S&W also fills that niche in the 155 to180 grain bullet weight range. Shoot what you like and practice to shoot it well.
     
  23. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    The gas system of the DE allows it to use powerful cartridges without requiring incredibly heavy recoil springs. Recoil operated .50 AE pistols require a good deal of effort to rack the slide. This system does not reduce felt recoil any more than other locked-breech designs.
     
  24. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    MachIV, I was under the impression that the gas system did help with recoil. I stand corrected.
     
  25. cyco668

    cyco668 Member

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    The Mateba is a .357 Magnum semi-auto... sorta. It's an autorevolver, but semi-auto nonetheless. The forum never stated it had to be a magazine or clip fed semi-auto, right? :)
     
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