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What happened to the .357max?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Okiecruffler, Jan 12, 2003.

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  1. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Member

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    My favorite handgun cartridge, even tho I've never actually been able to own one, has always been the .357 max. There's something about that stretched out case pushing 158 gr at around 1800fps that just draws me in. Seems like it would have made a really good hunting/SD round. So what happened?
    I know there were some problems with the high pressure, and if I remember correctly, some cutting of topstraps, but why would it happen with the 357 max and not the ultra mags you see today? I found a Blackhawk several years ago at a pawn shop, but the place burned down before I made up my mind. I see a few Contender barrels for it from time to time, maybe thats why I want a Contender so bad now. If they can make a 454, why can't they make a .357max? And how about a lever carbine? Now that would make me do a happy dance.
     
  2. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    That lever carbine in .357 Maximum...

    Has been something I've been bugging Winchester for via email and snail mail for a couple years.

    Weren't there some Dan Wesson revolvers chambered for it, too?

    Magnum Research could start them up using their BFR chassis, I doubt the topstrap gas-cutting would be any worse than the .454 Cassull, .444 Marlin, or .45-70 revolvers they already make.
     
  3. Swamp Yankee

    Swamp Yankee Member

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    Well, if you want one your lucky, Dan Wesson still chambers for the .357 Maximum in their SuperMag and Silhouette series.

    The decline in popularity of IHMSA really reduced demand for the .357 Maximum. Not a lot of nuts out there anymore trying to hit targets at 200 yards with a handgun. And those of us that loved to try are now old enough that the hand and mind are willing, but the eyes just don't seem to have it anymore.

    Even when it had a small following very few factory loads were offered for it. AFAIK no one is commercially loading the .357 Maximum. Remington is still selling brass but who knows for how long. I picked up 500 cases earlier this year when Midway had it on sale.

    Forcing cone erosion and cracking was a big part of the demise as well. At the time revolvers just couldn't take the pounding of hot ammo. Dan Wesson got around this issue by supplying 2 barrels with each gun. Beauty of the Dan Wesson design, wear out a barrel, unscrew the shroud and install a new one. Ruger didn't have that option.

    The .357 Max is a great handgun cartridge. IMO the recoil is milder than the .44 Mag. As a lever gun cartridge I agree, the .357 Max would be a winner if the field wasn't already crowded.

    Take Care
     
  4. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Sounds like a Thompson-Center Contender caliber.
     
  5. RussB

    RussB Member

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    DW is still making revolver's in the "MAX" series (.357, .414, .454) Remington at one time loaded ammo in .357 Max (158 SJHP). I still have a 10" TC Contender barrel in .357 Max...Here's a pic of my son touching off a 210 gr gas-checked lead bullet a few years back, (sorry for the dirty, wrinkled picture)

    [​IMG]
     
  6. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    Knew a guy that shot silhouette with a Dan Wesson in 357 Maximum. Had those great big silhouette sights on it. Never did shoot that thing but it looked like it would kick quite a bit more than a Mag in a normal length barrel.
     
  7. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    Make one yourself. I've been told by more than one person that converting a 357mag levergun to 357max is not a hard thing to do. Dunno about the Marlins, but the Win94's look pretty easy. All you gotta do is rechamber the barrel and modify the loading rails (lengthen the two "cutouts" so the longer cartridge will pass through). One guy told me he rechambed without removing the barrel. He just removed the guts of the action and put the reamer on an extension so he could turn it from behind the action. I've been tempted to modify my Win94 Trapper, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

    Regarding topstrap cutting: Supposedly it only goes so far then stops.

    Forcing Cone erosion wassupposedly caused by people trying to run lighter bullets at 357max velocities instead of the heavier bullets it was designed for.

    I need a 357max so I can see for myself :D

    Chris
     
  8. M1911

    M1911 Member

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    Well, it really can only go so far -- like clear through the top strap ;) But I'm guessing that wasn't what you meant...
     
  9. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    lol. Umm, yeah. :p

    BTW, has anyone ever seen topstrap cutting that went more than a millimeter or so? To be honest, I can't even remember seeing a revolver with significant TS cutting.

    Chris
     
  10. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Exactly, it was great with 158/180/200grain slugs, but too many idiots went "ooooh neat, we can get a 125 moving at 2,000fps!" and just ate the guns alive :rolleyes:.
     
  11. JMLV

    JMLV Member

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    I have a contender barrel in this caliber

    great deer round. I seem to have a few hundred rounds of ammo and brass around as well.ostly 180 grain bullets. Nice load to play with. really doesnt doo anything you can't do with other calibers out there. (how about a 35 remington in a contender - factory ammo still avaoable anf heaver weight bullets as well. )
     
  12. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    They are still around, and can often be had for a bargain.

    Ammo is tough to find, but there are some commercial reloaders still making it. (start with old western scrounger)

    RE Top Strap cutting: It starts then it stops. Meaning there is a limit to which the escaping gasses and grit have enough energy to cause erosion.

    I like the Dan Wessons better than the SBH, mainly because it's neat to have a DA trigger. The Recoil is not as bad as a full house 44 mag, and MAN does it get down range in a hurry. Great hunting pistol with open sights, but still heavy compared to my 44 mag. The only SBR I have shot has a 10 inch barrel, and its rather ungainly to handle in the field or on the bench. Both guns extract flawlessly and I've never had a stuck case.

    Problem is you NEED an 8 inch bore to burn all that powder. You need a custom holster, as leather for a DW isn't an off the shelf purchase.

    I prefer shooting the 180 sp loads over the 158's. they recoil a bit less, and for hunting, heavier is better.

    And I agree it would make a dandy carbine round. Looks like you CAN get an Encore barrel in 357 max.
     
  13. Ron L

    Ron L Member

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    I have a Marlin in 357 right now and wouldn't mind being able to shoot 357 Max thru it as long as I can still shoot the regular magnums. I looked into it before and the action could be adapted to the slightly longer cartridge. Heck, there are other lever actions that shoot even longer cartridges, so I'm sure something could be worked out. The one issue I'm not sure of is that the Max normally put out around 47K CUP. The magnum runs up to around 42K CUP while the (ahem) lowly 30-30 only produces up to around 36K CUP. I'm not sure exactly how much fudge factor is designed into the actions, but I'd like to believe it would be sufficient.
     
  14. Gregory J. Mayfield

    Gregory J. Mayfield Member

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    Try to put that puppy in New England Arms with the chamber bored out just a bit and you have a real fun lightweight and very versitile single shot.
     
  15. OpenRoad

    OpenRoad member

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    In my mind .357 MAX has always kind of blurred the distinction between rounds fired out of a rifle and rounds fired out of a handgun. I like that...in a sick, twisted sort of way.
     
  16. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Odd. I was just thinking about this round. The new "hand-rifle" rounds developed for the X frame Smith made me wonder if it wasn't time to take another look at the old .357 Maximum. Put it in an X-Frame or SRH Casull frame and you won't have an more pressure issues. If enough space is available, spitzer rounds become a possibility. That would rock.
     
  17. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    "I found a Blackhawk several years ago at a pawn shop, but the place burned down before I made up my mind."

    I tried to tell you it was too hot a round!

    Jim
     
  18. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    I wonder if they could stuff 8 of em in there there? What the heck would they call that, the S&W-X-frame-maxi-++? I would briefly consider buying one before I walked out with something that was less than grand.
     
  19. 4thHorseman

    4thHorseman Member

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    "What happened to the .357max? "

    The same thing that is gonna happen to the 45 GAP.
     
  20. steveno

    steveno Member

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    I just bought 200 rounds of brand new 357 max Remington brass in the Cabela's bargain cave for $24. I think I have close to 300 rounds loaded plus the 200 that now needs to be loaded. I have a TC 14 inch with a 2X Leupold. at 50 yards everything is right at an inch. it is a really good round
     
  21. Smythe77

    Smythe77 Member

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    Member of our Club got wind on possibly silhouette shooting to immediately buy a Dan Wesson of 357 Max & was peeved that we went no farther then that one minor discussion with a chap that would like to see it introduced.

    Seems no one took into consideration 4.1 acres with north/south being the narrowest yet safest to shoot was not even 200 yrds.
     
  22. Brasso

    Brasso Member

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    Supposedly you can shoot .38spl in a .357mag lever gun and .44spl in a .44mag levergun, so I don't see why you couldn't shoot .357max in a .357mag.
     
  23. Maxinquaye

    Maxinquaye Member

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    You can't shoot .357 Max in a gun chambered for .357 Mag since the brass is much longer.
     
  24. Brasso

    Brasso Member

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    Correction. I meant to say a .357mag in a chamber reamed for .357max, following the logic of what I said previously. Thanks.
     
  25. Maxinquaye

    Maxinquaye Member

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    Yup. You can shoot .38 special, .357 mag and .357 Max outta the same gun.

    Which is why I just bought one :D
     
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