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Guns that tame the .357 Magnum

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by labnoti, Dec 8, 2018 at 10:15 AM.

  1. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    We've read about people that qualified with .38 Special +P, but carried .357, and others that carried .38 Specials in their 686 like Edmundo Mireles. The reason is evidently because they're easier to control. While a preponderance of those carrying .357 J-frames admit to preferring .38 Special +P, there's ample evidence that the slightly larger K-frame Model 19's have also been more shootable with .38's. Even Dirty Harry, which I would like to remind people was a fictional character, made a reference to the ease of shooting .38's in a .357. So what does it take from the gun to tame the .357?

    In my own experience, I found shooting .357's in steel J-frames was not uncontrollable, but there was two factors involved: first, ".357 Magnum" includes a very broad range of loads starting from anywhere just above .38 Special +P pressures and velocities. A .357 case loaded with a maximum charge of W231 or Longshot is not the same as a full load of H110. The other factor is barrel length. Loads in snub-nose guns develop hundreds of feet per second less velocity than they will in a six-inch barrel. So I could shoot a full-house load of Longshot out of a steel J-frame and think it was hot but not too bad. But I found a full case of H110 from a six-inch barrel would have a lot more energy. Of course, the gun was heavier and that helped control some of the recoil, but I wouldn't say that it was easy to shoot.

    There's a few guns out there that I've not shot, but which present novel ways to tame the .357. The S&W 627 V-Comp for example. Besides the huge N-frame, it uses a full underlug on a long barrel and a compensator. The 686 "Competitor" uses underlug weights. The Ruger Redhawk with a 5.5" barrel is simply massive. Most people will choose a lighter, easier-to-carry .357, a J-frame or a Model 19, an SP101 or a Kimber, but no matter what load they chamber, they will be shooting a kinder-gentler .357, and the chances are they will shoot a light load better. So what handguns do you think do a good job of both producing and taming the hottest .357 Magnum performance?
     
  2. P89DCSS

    P89DCSS Member

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    Never mind....
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 3:04 PM
  3. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    My Ruger 6 inch Security Six isn't bad with full power .357. But when S&W and Remington designed the cartridge, there was no thought of chambering it in medium or small frames. It was designed for the N-frame model 27 and 28.

    When I carried the Ruger for a duty weapon, I carried .357 Federal 125 JHP (pretty much an LE standard at the time) but I mostly practiced with .38 +P+ handloads.
     
  4. somethingbenign

    somethingbenign Member

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    Chiappa Rhino. Not sure if anyone actually carries one or competes with one but that low barrel really cuts the perceived recoil. If you have the chance I'd highly recommend renting one to try.
     
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  5. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    I've only fired one 357 mag, and it's not something that people are gonna carry, a python. It did a good job of taming the ammo I put through it, which admittedly wasnt much.

    The specials I've shot have all been dedicated 38cal guns.

    I can say that I've shot 44mag and special through a massive interarms Virginia dragoon. The specials feel like a 22 going off. The mags have a bit more punch, but that pistol is a foot long, so recoil isn't that impressive. It's actually a fun one to shoot, and you could put a whole box of 44mag through without feeling like you just went ten rounds with Ali.

    Weight and grip angle have a lot to do with felt recoil. Having large hands also helps greatly with control, but practice is key. A good form and consistency is what it takes to control a magnum.
     
  6. Rodentman

    Rodentman Member

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    I like the DW 715 with interchangeable barrels. The new Kimber isn't bad with 357's. I also have the Chiappa Rhino and it is ok with 357 but it is a little "loose" on the tolerances and I have had to send it back twice for bad primer strikes. It makes me nervous so it gets little use. In SA's I like the Coonan and smaller DE.
     
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I have yet to find or load a .357 round that was objectionable to shoot in my 4" M686.

    My favorite load in my M640 is the 145gr Winchester Silvertip magnums.
     
  8. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    I don't have a lot to compare to, but my early 1990s 6" barreled Ruger GP100 with the original rubber grip dampens hot .357 loads very, very well.
    .38 Special in that gun might as well be .22 LR rounds.
     
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  9. 375supermag

    375supermag Member

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    Hi...
    No problem shooting full power .357Magnum loads in my revolvers.
    I have three BlackHawks, two Colt Troopers and a S&W 686 Silhouette Model.
    All handle full power loads just fine and the recoil doesn't bother me either.
    I keep thinking about a Model 27 to add to my .357Magnum handguns but never pulled the trigger on one yet.
    I have N frames in .41Magnum, .44Magnum and .45Colt but for some reason have never gotten an N frame .357Magnum.
    Maybe I should pursue that model a bit more seriously.
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    The 28-2 can be had reasonable and tames the .357 better than many. As I get older, I appreciate that more and more.
    S&W Model 28 Pic 2 @ 70%.JPG
     
  11. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    I've known innumerable officers that carried a Python back in the day. They were extremely popular with LE. And for good reason.
     
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  12. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    i find the .357 just a tad to blasty to be practical in the short, light guns. I prefer it in the large heavy revolvers like the Blackhawk with a 5.5" barrel.
     
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  13. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    Let me clarify what I mean by "tame" -- I'm not talking about it simply being unpainful, but being easy to shoot or use in competition where excess recoil is going to cost you on the timer. You could say, "like shooting a .22LR". If it's torquing your hands and causing you to lose accuracy and miss follow-up shots, it's not tame.

    Let me also clarify what I mean by ".357 Magnum." I'm talking about the most this cartridge can deliver in a handgun, like 158 gr. at 1400 fps or more on the chrono, not just the in the book from the unvented 10" test barrel.

    Anyone mentioning SP101, Kimber or a 4" mid-size revolver as taming the .357, suggests to me they've never shot a full-power .357 Magnum gun. Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say "oooh boy, this is a powerful cartridge!" No, the .357 is a decidedly "entry-level" magnum, but it's one I believe can be "tamed" - maybe the only one other than .327.

    Look at this video of Jerry shooting a .357:



    That Coonan is a 5 pound gun, and you won't hear Jerry talking about it like it's tame. On his first try, a couple shots got off target. Ok, not tame! Which is why Coonan offers it with a compensator.

    I realize that "taming" has at least as much to do with the shooter as the gun. But let's face it, most of us aren't Jerry Miculek. With respect to the history of the .357's issue as a duty gun and cartridge, it would have been unreasonable to expect many police officers to build a skill set like the one Jerry has. Among average well-trained professionals, duty-issued .357's and 10mm's proved to be impractical for many. Guns better suited to controlling those cartridges might have been impractical to carry, but could have brought them under control for more shooters in less-than-ideal conditions. Consider that whether hunting, in a personal defense situation, or a law enforcement scenario, it's not like your best day for making a video on the range. You can find yourself in a situation where everything sucks. Now tell me what tool do you want to tame the .357, and please don't tell me a Kimber.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 1:22 PM
    cheygriz likes this.
  14. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    I don't shoot full house 357 loads anymore in my model 19's, just way too unpleasant. I reload so I've gone from the bottom to the top of the load ladder and for sure I know what a full house load is.:D A bottom of the ladder load using the normal magnum powders is where I've landed.

    I've also found some pretty pleasant loads using fast shotgun powder. I think some people call those cowboy loads but I've never shot any cowboys with those so I really don't know how they perform. The MV seems to be in the 38+P range.
     
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  15. bersaguy

    bersaguy Member

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    20181208_132738.jpg 20181208_132552.jpg I recently got a 4" Ruger Security Six, it came with Pachmyar presentation grips on it. Shoots great, 357 full house rounds seem to be a bit more accurate than the 38spl I tried out of it. As far as recoil, 38spl was nearly non existent, 357 was very manageable. I decided to swap out the rubber grips for some NOS aftermarket wood target grips. 38's were shootable, but certainly more interesting...357 in any flavor was beating the living snot out of my hand. The rubber grips went back on the next day. I had no idea revolver grips could have such a dramatic impact on the ergonomics
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 1:28 PM
  16. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    20180912_213412.jpg
    This large frame Blackhawk absorbs the recoil pretty well.
    20160824_094605.jpg
    Contrary to popular belief, this old Taurus 669 is one of the nicest .357s i have shot.
    The compensator helps keep the muzxle down but is a wash because of the sharp blast.
    20160824_183419.jpg
    And this is the real .357 tamer.
     
  17. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    The Blackhawk works well to develop good velocity from the .357, and it's mass helps keep it under control. The main problem I've had with it is the grip is not good for hot loads. It slips and rolls quite a bit and I bust my knuckle on the trigger guard. Not every shot, but often enough that you're either going to wear a glove, or tape your fingers. Yeah with perfect grip technique you can probably avoid it, but there's a reason that plow-handle grip gives way to the Bisley grip on all the bigger magnums.
     
  18. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    Coonan Classic weight is 42 oz (2.6 lb) empty and 48 oz (3 lb) loaded.
    http://www.coonaninc.com/experience/
    http://www.coonaninc.com/coonan-wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Coonan-357-One-Sheet.pdf

    Yes, I know they list 5 lb at one page of their website, but that is inaccurate.
     
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  19. Al-jim19

    Al-jim19 Member

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    I’ve only fired one .357, being a primarily semiauto guy. It was the Ruger LCR with what I think we’re 125gr golden sabers, and I think 158gr fiochi JHP, Whig I assumes we’re also quality because of their 20 round box and nickel cases.

    One cylinder of each was plenty. After that I decided my future snubby would be .38. As an aside the .38s in that gun weren’t fun to shoot but I could easily get through a whole box for some practice.
     
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  20. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    Ok, cool. Thanks for the correction. 5 pounds did seem a bit steep.
     
  21. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I started with snubby J frames similar to the LCR, Smith airweight and Scandium jobs. The recoil of .357 in those guns is very high velocity which makes it the most painful. A full load of magnum powder behind the bullet in the S&W 340 PD is probably the silliest level of recoil I've ever shot. I still managed to land a double-tap on a paper plate at 4 yards, but that thing shook my arm like a rag-doll.

    But when I started shooting long-barreled guns, it's like the .357 is a completely different cartridge. Velocity can jump by 500 fps with the same exact cartridge, and so does recoil energy. The recoil velocity is slower because the gun is double, triple, even quadruple the weight, but there is such a marked difference in the energy acting on the gun. I've shot 125 grain bullets at 1200fps and at 1700fps and the only difference was the gun. The gun alone made a difference of 400 ft. lbs to 800 ft. lbs of energy. That difference in energy is far more than the difference between .380 and .45 ACP.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those guys that say, ".357 from a snub nose is no more powerful than a .38 Special." It's a lot more powerful. But what I'm saying is that in a long (~6") barrel, it's like it becomes a completely different cartridge. Velocity can go up by 500 fps and energy can double, and the difference from one to the other is as different as any two popular handgun cartridges.

    I've also heard at least one person explain that a 4" barrel was optimal for .357 because the gain from longer barrels was minimal. Well, compared to the 6" revolver, an 18" carbine can add another 500 fps and almost 600 ft. lbs more energy.
     
  22. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    I shoot full power loads in my Ruger Security Six. Federal factory 125 JHP and hand loads with 125 Remington JHP at ~1625 FPS/

    Not pleasant, but manageable enough for occasional practice, and if needed, serious social shooting. Years ago, I owned a S&W 28, 6 inch. That was pleasant with duty loads. Wish I still had that old 28.:(
     
  23. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    I said that mainly in reference to their value, as most don't want to mar them up. I would have no qualms about carrying one otherwise.

    Mine has the heavily checkered factory wood grips: the checkering is sharp enough that it digs into my palm. That's the only issue I have shooting it.
     
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  24. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    There are small, medium, and large guns and light, medium, and heavy loads in 357 brass for those who load their own. The real quandary you pose is what gun to shoot if you rely on going to a store to buy ammo. Then you are pretty much shooting 38 Special or the real deal.
     
  25. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    This will "tame" any .357 load-

    IMG_20180910_061825.jpg
    IMG_20180910_061943.jpg
    Turns 125 grainers into specials and 110gr screamers into mouse farts.:D
     
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