After 70 years the .357 Magnum is still a one of the most popular cartridges around. This popularity is well deserved. Firearms chambered in the full power .357 Magnum caliber can also shoot less powerful, and cheaper, .38 Special loads. This benefit can increase range time and let new shooters get used to the recoil before moving up to full power loads. Three reasons I like the .38 Special/.357 Magnum combination are firearms chambered for them, the wide selection of factory ammunition available and the ease of reloading.
Firearms– Most of the .38 Special/.357 Magnum firearms available today are revolvers. From short barreled carry pieces to huge long barreled hunting handguns there are .38 Special/ .357 Magnum to fit every need. Single action .357 Magnum revolvers are powerful enough for deer size animals at close range. Even the .38 Special could be used for small game given the right load. There are a few auto loading pistols chambered for the .357, but I don’t have any experience with them.
A lever action rifle in .357 can be used for hunting or self defense. Using a heavy load the combination of a quick handling carbine in .357 could be powerful enough for deer out to 100 yards. For self defense the .357 Magnum in a lever action rifle is sufficient to defend your home.
Factory Ammunition– Just about every sporting goods store will carry at least one .38 Special/.357 Magnum factory load. All across the country these two calibers are easy to pick up if you are in need of a box or two for your firearm. These offerings might not be exactly what you’re used to shooting, but at least your have something! The fact you can find ammunition almost anywhere you go can be a great advantage for the .38 Special/.357 Magnum revolver.
From the cheapest target load for your .38 Special to the most powerful .357 Magnum hunting load you’ll be able to find ammunition almost anywhere.
Reloads– Being a new reloader I started with the .38 Special/.357 Mag. A straight wall case eases reloading the .357 . A wide variety of powders drive different weights of bullets to a wide range of velocities. Since there are so many choices to make a reloader can find a combination to fit any need they might have.
Now might be the time to add a .357 Magnum to your collection if you don’t already have one. If you do have one, perhaps it’s time to add another !