Shooting and Reloading Versatility – 357 Magnum Delivers

Let’s face it, some guns are more practical than others. A Glock 19 for range duty and carry is one of the more “utilitarian” gun values out there. An AR-15 pistol on the other hand- we’ll I’m not sure exactly what they’re for, but they sure are fun to shoot!


The author's 6" Ruger GP100 357 Magnum Revolver - An extremely versatile handgun - Image copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader


Regarding versatility, the 6″ 357 Magnum revolver is hard to beat in that arena! Let’s quickly cover some of the uses that it’s good for:

  1. Shooting Practice
  2. Shooting Training (start 1st time handgunner with 38 Special loads)
  3. Shooting Competition (multiple flavors, bullseye, etc)
  4. Hunting (whitetail deer, etc)
  5. Sidearm Duties (while hunting, camping, etc)
  6. Home Defense (6″ is a bit long, but gets the job done)

There are some additional reasons why this gun is day-to-day practical- including ammo availability, range pickup brass, and more. Some would argue in favor of 4″ 357 Magnum for better carry, but for some reason, I like the aesthetics and steadiness of the 6″ version.

Regarding reloading, the applicable calibers (38/357) are very practical to load for because bullets are readily available, dies are usually interchangeable, and load data practically grows on trees!

What are your thoughts here? Please share…


10 thoughts on “Shooting and Reloading Versatility – 357 Magnum Delivers”

  1. The first caliber I loaded for was .357/38 on a Lee Hand press. It is very easy to load for, and a very versatile round.

    But I like the 4″ better for all around carry. Not to say I don’t WANT a 6″ barrel- just don’t have one yet.

  2. I have had all flavors of .357’s over the years and you just can’t beat a good six barrel model. I only have a few left in 4″ and my one and only 6″barrel Python that I got new in 1978. I wouldn’t take anything for that revolver. Still looks and shoots like new.

    The .38/357 is one of the best cartridges there is for just about anything a fellow would need a gun for.


  3. My GP100, 4″ was the first handgun I ever purchased and I find the .357 Magnum to be considerably more fun to shoot than my autoloader. I can load up plinking rounds with TiteGroup and if I want more power/flash I can use 2400 or H110. And of course, its effectiveness in a self-defense situation is legendary.

    Yes indeed, the .357 Magnum is a highly versatile cartridge.

  4. I load for the 357 with very good results. Another advantage I have is that I can shoot the same cartridge in my Marlin 1894 lever action carbine.

  5. Put me in the “Loads same caliber for rifle and Handgun” category as well. I have a 4″ S&W 686 and a Rossi M92. I prefer the 4″ for general / field carry because if I want to kill a deer with that round I’ll just take my M92.

    Now if I could find bulk jacketed .357 bullets in stock at a decent price, THEN I would say it’s a great caliber to reload for. Right now, I’m struggling to find decently priced 158 grn JSPs, so I’m not a happy camper. It just means my .45 sees more range time, and when I do shoot the 686 it’s with a slow .38 lead load.

  6. Big fan of the 38/357. Load it. Cast for it. Like Andrew, also shoot ’em out of a M92. If I’m teaching someone to shoot a handgun, I start them with a 22LR, and then move them up to a mild 38 special out a S&W 686P with a 4″ barrel.

    I’m also of the opinion that it’s downright difficult to come up with a more accurate shooting handgun than many of these wheel guns. The Glocks, Sigs, 1911s, etc., are often fine guns, and some are quite accurate, but pick out a run of the mill S&W 66 or 10, and it will likely outshoot most guns you put against them.

  7. As I have gotten older I have followed the KISS method. (Keep It Simple Stupid)
    Henry .357
    Ruger revolver 4″ .357 (load with .38 P rounds for the better half)
    J.P. Sauer and Son Western 6 in .357 (puchased while on active duty in Germany.)
    Reloading supplies are getting harder to get.
    Any input on Accurate #9 vs H110 or H4227?
    Feedback appreciated.

  8. I currently have a Ruger GP100, SP101 (for concealed) and a Marlin lever carbine.
    On the wish list is the COP, a derringer, a Thunderbolt pump action, and maybe a Desert Eagle though I’m not sure it will operate when loaded with 38s since it is recoil operated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For Commerical Inquiries:
Ulitmate Reloader Commercial Services

Reloading Safety