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Performance::.357 Magnum

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Performance

The .357 IMI Desert Eagle, one of the few semi-automatic pistols that fire the .357 Magnum cartridge.

This cartridge is regarded by many as an excellent self-defense round. For big game, such as ungulates and bears, which have a substantially sturdier build than humans, it is inferior to the .500 Smith & Wesson, .50 Action Express, .44 Magnum, .454 Casull, .41 Magnum and other larger magnum rounds. Still, it is a fine small and medium-game round and will kill deer very reliably at reasonable ranges if the right loads ({{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} and heavier hollow-point bullets, and solid semiwadcutter bullets) are carefully used by a competent marksman. For further comparison, the .357 Magnum has a higher velocity at {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} than its parent .38 Special has at the muzzle.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Its stopping power on game is similar to that of the .45 Colt, and it has a flatter trajectory. It is a very versatile cartridge, and can be used with success for self-defense, plinking, hunting, or target shooting.<ref name="chuck_sub">"The Versatile .357 Magnum" by Chuck Hawks (subscription required)</ref>

Revolvers in .357 Magnum caliber have the significant advantage of also being able to fire .38 Special ammunition, with its lower cost, recoil, noise, and muzzle flash. This trait makes .357 revolvers ideal for novice shooters who are not yet used to firing full-strength .357 loads but do not want the expense of buying a second lower-powered gun to train with. However, a .38 Special should not generally be used with any .357 automatic handgun or rifle, since such firearms require the larger recoil produced by firing a .357 Magnum round to cycle properly.

It has also become popular as a "dual-use" cartridge in short, light rifles like the American Old West lever-actions. In a rifle, the bullet will exit the barrel at about {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}},<ref>Ballistics By The Inch .357 magnum results</ref> making it far more versatile than the .30 Carbine or the .32-20 Winchester. In the 1930s, it was found to be very effective against steel car doors and ballistic vests, and metal-penetrating rounds were once popular in the United States among highway patrol and other police organizations. The .357 revolver has been largely replaced by modern, high-capacity semi-automatic pistols for police use, but is still very popular for backup gun use, and among outdoorsmen, security guards, and civilians for self-defense and hunting. The 9mm Winchester Magnum, which is also known as the 9x29mm, was developed to duplicate the performance of the .357 Magnum in a semi-automatic pistol.<ref name=JTaffin9mmMag>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Some common performance parameters are shown in the table below for several .357 Magnum loads. Bullet weights ranging from {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} are common. The {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} JHP loads are popular for self-defense, whereas the heavier loads are usually used for hunting.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} Loads are available with energies from about {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}, and penetration depths from {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} are available for various applications and risk assessments.

Manufacturer Load Mass Velocity Energy Expansion Penetration PC<ref name="MS1996">Marshall and Sanow, Street Stoppers, Appendix A, Paladin 2006 ISBN 0-87364-872-2</ref> TSC<ref name="MS1996" />
American Quik-Shok JHP convert}} convert}} convert}} fragment convert}} convert}} convert}}
ATOMIC Ammunition Bonded Match Hollow Point convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} X X
Double Tap Gold Dot JHP convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} (est)
Federal Classic JHP convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}}
Remington Golden Saber JHP convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}}
Remington Semiwadcutter convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}}
Winchester Silvertip JHP convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}} convert}}

Key: Expansion – expanded bullet diameter (ballistic gelatin). Penetration – penetration depth (ballistic gelatin). PC – permanent cavity volume (ballistic gelatin, FBI method). TSC – temporary stretch cavity volume (ballistic gelatin).


.357 Magnum sections
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