The .357 Magnum revolver is one of the most popular handguns ever devised, it is powerful, controllable and accurate. More powerful than a .38 Special, 9mm or .40 S&W, in fact it is the most powerful caliber out of all similar sized bullets. 

The power of a .357 Magnum offers the shooter dependability in all situations, be it against a charging bear, a drugged up attacker or steel plate target shooting.


The .357 Magnum 586-7 as seen below would probably have had the same success if it had been used instead of Harry's big .44 caliber in  Clint Eastwoods Dirty Harry movie. Offering the same high velocity and accuracy but maybe not the same punch as a .44 Magnum, the .357 Magnum is still not a gun to be passed by!



As an update to this page, Smith & Wesson now actually manufacture the 686P which is a seven shot revolver, finished in stainless steel and a five inch barrel.  This revolver is in supply and demand production, so is not mass produced like many others.

The image below is of this gun, it has to be said here though that the standard 686 and 586 six shot models have become Smith & Wesson's all time best seller.  It is now understood that these seven shot revolvers are now actually enjoying the same success.



As with the majority of revolvers there are different barrel lengths to suit the owners needs, a longer six, seven, eight or ten inch barrel revolver fits nicely into a holster attached on the belt, a bit shorter three to six inches and a shoulder holster is more suitable to 'pack' the revolver, shorter even still and the revolver with its 1½ inch barrel fits into your jacket pocket or a ladies purse...

...and that's a lot of power to pack into your purse, hardly a ladies gun but even so these snub-nose .357 Magnum revolvers are indeed very popular as a ladies gun. Below is a very practical but recoil intensive snub-nose eight shot .357 Magnum revolver, compact and powerful.

Concealed carry of a piece like this might be a bit too heavy for a lady, but the payoff is its unmistakable and awesome firepower.



The recoil when firing a .357 Magnum with a 1½ inch barrel such as the Airweight version below would be something to behold and a strong and firm grip on the revolvers butt would be highly recommended. Also the accuracy with such a short barrel would be measured in feet rather than yards! 

The revolver pictured below is of a Smith & Wesson Performance Center 8 shot tactical revolver.

Model 327 TRR8.  The underside end of the barrel is specially grooved to accept a bolt on laser sight whilst the top frame is set to accept a telescopic sight...both ideal for those longer and more pin point accurate shots.


Image courtesy of Smith & Wesson


When considering a .357 Magnum we must also give the old west  single action variety a quick look as well. Below is the modern Uberti Cattleman .357 Magnum, which loosely resembles an old west Colt style revolver.


The Ruger Blackhawk single action revolver was first built by Ruger in the 1950's. It is basically a Colt Single Action Army "Peacemaker" but with a strengthened up frame and cylinder with thicker metal all around it, coiled springs, elevated and adjustable sights and a firing pin safety plate (also know as a transfer bar), so you can fully load up six rounds instead of leaving one chamber empty for safety reasons as was a peculiarity with these type of guns.




The Sturm Ruger & Co example below is of the limited edition SASS Vaquero. It is still a faithful reproduction and handles and fires identical to an original Colt.  You would have to be a real Colt aficionado to tell the difference.

With the Rugers added strength and excellent fit and finish, many shooters have expressed a preference for this revolver over  Colt, especially as this gun can handle the powerful, unforgiving  .357 Magnum round.


Image courtesy of Sturm Ruger & Co


These type of revolvers are designed to offer the modern day shooter the experience of firing the old west style guns but with that extra .357 Magnum power behind it.

Of course as earlier stated, with the power that a .357 Magnum produces, these old west style guns are infinitely stronger than the originals of the period.



Ruger are probably the most popular manufacturer of this style of revolver with the Blackhawk as seen below, being amongst their best sellers.

With the superb fit and finish of these revolvers it is of no surprise they are  best sellers, as they are exceedingly good value.




Maybe an Italian made Uberti American-Buntline .357 Magnum with an eighteen inch barrel, as seen below, is worth consideration.  Offering excellent ballistics and superb accuracy over longer ranges than is normally accepted with revolvers with average length barrels.

It would be best to use a bench rest or some bean bags to rest the barrel on for pinpoint accuracy that the longer barrel can deliver.




I could not create a webpage about the .357 Magnum without mentioning perhaps the most famous .357 Magnum of all time...The Colt Python.  Below is a magnificent engraved Colt Python with gold plated hammer, trigger and grip screws.



The Colt Python was introduced in 1955 by The Colt Manufacturing Company, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A and is still considered to be the finest quality handgun ever produced and now enjoys legendary status amongst shooters world wide.




The Colt Python was known as 'The Rolls Royce' of handguns because of its superior finish, high quality parts, excellent accuracy and smooth trigger pull. This along with the over-all exquisite operation of the gun in general with adjustable sights and a very robust design with extra metal thickness all round.




The Colt Python has perhaps the most instantly recognizable  shape of any handgun in the world, with its full barrel under lug with heat dispersing ventilated rib also giving a serious look and feel to the gun.  The finish of the 'blueing' which is the acid dye that makes guns  blue-black in appearance was of the highest quality on any revolver ever made.

The Python also had excellent engineering qualities, not just great looks, in that when the revolver was cocked to fire, the cylinder locked up tight during the hammer strike which increased the accuracy.

Most other revolvers do not use this level of tolerance.  The cylinder gap and breech cone were also of a very tight tolerance, keeping more of the expanding gases in to force the bullet up the barrel increased velocity and accuracy.




In the 1960's through to the late 1980's, the Colt Python was very popular with uniformed police officers and motorcycle cops. The six inch barrel being favored by them. The shorter three and four inch barrels were favored by under cover Police.

Recent changes in policy and the ever increasing need for better and faster firing guns has seen the Colt Python becoming redundant in favor of the semi-automatic pistol that can fire more bullets, hence offering better protection.

The .357 Magnum itself is seeing a decline with law enforcement agencies in general due to its excessive power.

Power in that a Magnum bullet can hit the intended person, go clean through them and continue through a wall or window to injure or even kill an innocent civilian sitting in a diner or a bar, and sadly this has been just the case.

The worlds most expensive production revolver is the West German made Korth .357 Magnum, they retail for over two thousand dollars. Below is an image of a Korth .357 Magnum, indeed a remarkable revolver at a remarkable price.



The Korth is an extremely well made and highly finished revolver, capturing all the essence that the Colt Python once excelled in.  So if you want a brand new revolver that lives up to the same reputation as the Colt Python, and you have the resources, then the Korth is the one to get.



Modern semi-autos are reliable, accurate and rapid firing. A police officer or under cover agent can draw a semi-auto, get a bead on the target and loose off several rounds in as many seconds.  Multiple bullet hits on a target will guarantee to inflict a lot of trauma or death.


Indeed with the advent of high capacity magazines use in semi-autos like the Glock or Beretta their popularity has increased.  Chambered for modern, adequately powerful 9mm rounds, they are now replacing the .357 Magnum as the handgun of choice for all law enforcement officers and indeed even the military.

Below is pictured the popular, all reliable and fast shooting 9mm Glock 19, that is usually fitted with high capacity fifteen or eighteen round magazines.




They are dependable, accurate and deliver enough punch to meet requirements in a shoot out.  Available in a wide choice of powerful calibers such as .357SIG or .40S&W or Glock 10mm.

If I myself was a law enforcement officer then a Glock .40S&W with high capacity magazine of sixteen rounds would be my life depending weapon of choice.

With the growth in body armor sales though, that we should not forget why the .357 Magnum was devised in the first place!

And not be too eager to consign the .357 Magnum to the dumpster of firearms history just yet. Below, an F.B.I agent apparently withstands being shot from a .38 revolver, whilst wearing an early pattern bullet proof vest.



Had the F.B.I agent, in the image above, been shot with a .357 Magnum...especially at that range...he would now be a dead F.B.I agent!

The .357 Magnum was a man-stopping, body armor penetrating, drop em dead with one shot caliber gun.  With the surprising rise in body armor wearing criminals, who knows? We may yet see its return in the patrolman's belt holster or the agents shoulder holster.

History repeating itself is often said to be a farce when it does, but maybe not so in this case.



Overall the Colt Python was reputed to be the worlds best revolver, but sadly due to expensive manufacturing costs, and falls in sales and changes in shooting trends, Colt finally and sadly ceased production of the Python in 1999.  Glock, Beretta and Smith & Wesson semi-autos sales on the other hand have increased and continue to do so.

Revolvers will always be that other choice over semi-autos for shooters world wide,  regardless of how the gun is intended for use, be it target shooting, home defence or police and military application.



It is the revolvers design that often sells it, almost unjammable, easy to load, point and shoot.   It can remain loaded for years if needs be, whereas a semi-autos magazine needs to have the integral spring exercised every so often or it loses its springiness for want of a better term.

The .357 Magnum revolver will be with us for a long time yet and its demise is not something that I can foresee at any time or eventuality.

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Page created May 3rd 2010.     Updated February 7th 2013