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September 16, 2018

Gun Thread: 357 Magnum - Bigger is Better! [Weasel]

pic 4.1 SW19-3.jpeg

Smith & Wesson Model 19

If the .38 Special cartridge is good, then a bigger, faster version has to be great, right?

pic 4.2 SW686-5.jpeg

Smith and Wesson Model 686

Designed in the mid-thirties by Elmer Keith, Philip Sharpe and Douglas Wesson the .357 Magnum is the big brother to the .38 Special. At a time when many law enforcement officers were issued the .38 Special, a still higher energy cartridge was needed to penetrate automotive steel and bullet-proof vests then being used by gangsters and bootleggers. With a transitional step as the .38/44 in about 1930, the .357 Magnum hit the market a few years later with bullet velocities in excess of 1400 fps and energies nearly triple that of the .38 Special. Quickly becoming a favorite of law enforcement, Colt's marketing department went as far as to name an offering in their honor.

pic 4.3 Colt Trooper MkIII.jpeg

Colt Trooper MKIII

As with other straight walled cartridges, the .357 Magnum is popular with reloaders. Common bullet weights are 125 gr and 158 gr, with muzzle velocities around 1450 fps and 1250 fps, respectively. One note of caution, cracked revolver forcing cones have been attributed to excessive velocities with the lighter bullets. Be careful!

Pic 4.4 38 v 357.jpeg

.38 Special (L), .357 Magnum (C), Dime (R)

Although the internal case volume isn't needed for powder, the .357 Magnum case was lengthened slightly (.125") to avoid inadvertant use in the lighter frame .38 Special revolvers.

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Ace Cadet Model 302

Considered the Holy Grail of .357 Magnum collecting is the Smith and Wesson Registered Magnum. Pictured above is the RM in my personal collection.

Registered Magnum Article

Other Links
NRA Article

.357 Magnum History

American Handgunner Article


***This Old Gun***

Our pal rhomboid sends us this week's old gun...

pic 4.6 rhomboid king cobra.JPG

Colt King Cobra

A consignment rescue, rhomboid found this week's old gun with a bobbed hammer and lots of handling marks. Now sporting Hogue Pau Ferro grips, a new hammer and refinishing by the Colt Custom Shop, it has been restored to premium condition. Nice job, rhomboid! I'd be honored to have a cap popped in my ass with this very nice example of the Colt King Cobra!


If you care to share the story of your favorite firearm, send a picture with your nic and tell us what you sadly lost in the tragic canoe accident. If you would like to remain completely anonymous, just say so. Lurkers are welcome! Email: guns at happyplacearsenal dot com

That's it for this week - have you been to the range?

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