.357 Mag Ammo For Sale
This is the use most of us put the .357 Magnum to. For the most part, the 110 to 125-grain JHP bullets are best.
At 1,300 to 1,440 fps, these bullets expand quickly, fragment and produce an effective wound channel.
The Hornady Critical Defense at 1,380 fps doesn’t fragment and produces an impressive balance of expansion and penetration.
The Federal 125-grain JHP is often fastest in testing at 1,440 fps.
The Remington 110-grain JHP offers less recoil at about 1,400 fps and penetrates less than heavier bullets.
For general defensive use and home defense, these loads have a high likelihood of effect with a single shot.
Another choice is the Remington 125-grain Golden Saber.
Loaded to about 1,250 fps, in most revolvers, this is a mid-power loading, far more powerful than the .38 Special, but controllable in lighter .357 Magnum revolvers.
As an example, the Smith and Wesson 640 Pro I often carry is best served with this load or a 110-grain JHP, as recoil is just too much with a full-power 125-grain loading.
A full-size four-inch barrel .357 Magnum is a formidable revolver with 125-grain loads.
Another choice comes with heavier bullets in the 135 to 145-grain range.
It isn’t well known, but Hornady offers a .357 Magnum version of the 135-grain bullet adopted by the FBI in 9mm.
The Critical Duty 135-grain load is a well-balanced loading that offers good performance.
If the revolver is carried during the winter months when heavy clothing may be worn, this load is well worth your time and effort to obtain.
It is accurate and offers low muzzle flash. Among the loads I keep on hand is the Winchester 145-grain Silvertip.
This loading has a formidable reputation and offers greater penetration than lighter bullets, while maintaining its weight and avoiding fragmentation.
Hunting Small Game
The .357 Magnum is plenty accurate for small game, varmints and pests.
Small animals are easily taken with .38 Special loads.
When bobcat, coyote, or one of the big cats is considered, a full-power .357 Magnum load is a better choice.
A handload using the Hornady 140-grain XTP or a factory-loaded Winchester Silvertip is a good choice for animals up to the mountain lion category.
Coyote are not difficult to put down, but the stringy little dogs are able to soak up plenty of small-bore bullets, so the .357 Magnum is a good choice.
However, the lighter bullets are not as accurate as some of the heavier bullets at 50 yards or more. An exception is the Hornady 125-grain XTP.
At 1,650 fps over a stiff charge of H110, this is a formidable coyote, bobcat and pest load. In some ways this load puts a rifle on the hip.
Hunting Medium Game
For deer-sized game, the range is what matters. Will you be on a stand and firing at 25 yards, or might the shot be 50 yards?
The .357 Magnum is powerful enough for taking deer-sized game with good shot placement, but there is no margin for error.
Some of the 158-grain JHP loads are suited for this task.
The factory Federal 158-grain Hydra-Shok, the Winchester 158-grain JHP, or the Speer Gold Dot are among these.
For use where more penetration is needed, a 180-grain JHP is useful. A shooter using the .357 must limit himself to broad-side shots on deer.
Buffalo Bore offers a hard-hitting, high-velocity 180-grain JHP loading well-suited to taking deer-sized game at 50 yards or so.
An alternative is the Buffalo Bore 180-grain hard-cast. This loading breaks 1,340 fps in my four-inch barrel Python.
Penetration is literally twice that of some of the hollow-point loads Accuracy is excellent.
This load will completely penetrate a deer, break all but the heaviest bones, and create significant blood loss.
Additionally, don’t overlook the Hornady Hunter. It is among the best designed .357 Magnum loads of the century.