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Could This Be the Most Versatile Firearm to Use in a SHTF Scenario?

by Jeremiah Johnson, Ready Nutrition:

Well, ReadyNutrition firearms enthusiasts, we are following up our .45 ACP article with another piece on a superb cartridge…the .357 magnum round. Invented by Phil Sharpe and Elmer Keith, the .357 magnum (hereafter referred to in this piece as the “.357”) is a very versatile and highly-dependable cartridge that has been around for almost one hundred years. Introduced in 1935, it is an “evolution,” so to speak from the .38 caliber round. It has an interesting history that should raise more than a few eyebrows.

During the Depression Days and the Bootlegging Era, the .357 magnum was developed (one of the reasons) because of the gangsters and gang wars that were rampant during the days of Prohibition. The round was needed to be able to “puncture” both bulletproof vests and automobiles during these skirmishes of cops and robbers. The vests were defeating any bullets (at the time) of under 1,000 feet per second (fps), and the only round that was overcoming them was the Colt’s .38 Super Automatic.

Smith and Wesson came along and jumped on the bandwagon. They wanted to expand the .38 cartridge that was in use by law enforcement. After many failures, the .357 finally came about. For those of you guys and gals that mentioned in e-mails and comments about the recoil (“kick”) of the .45 ACP, the .357 magnum has less recoil, and yet does not sacrifice stopping power to attain it. Your bullet weights range (generally) from 125 grains (gr) to 158 gr.

The .357 is an excellent cartridge for home defense, as well as for hunting and for target-shooting. It is the smallest size magnum cartridge that will have effect against large game, and if firing +P rounds (with a brand such as Buffalo Bore), can be used in self-defense against large predators. Mind you, in Grizzly country you prefer the .44 Magnum round, but the .357 +P round has been effective in stopping these monsters.

There are plenty of handguns and rifles to choose from for your cartridge. I highly recommend Ruger’s SP-101 series revolver, with a barrel length to your choosing. Although a five-shot revolver, that .357 is a serious round…a magnum round…and will more than serve your needs if your marksmanship fundamentals are followed. You can find lever-action rifles chambered in .357 magnum, such as the Marlin lever-action carbine. One that I am interested in is the Rossi Ranch Hand, that boasts a greatly-enlarged finger-loop for use by cattlemen and cowboys.

The Ranch Hand can be kept in a side sheath on a horse and then withdrawn to fire from a moving gallop and reloaded (re-levered) with the enlarged finger loop. My interest is to remove the loop and replace it with a more standard-sized finger loop such as is found in the Winnie ’94. The reason is because it is really a short carbine. I was thinking of doing this to stick in a sheath atop of my rucksack. I’m still deliberating, because the Ranch Hand also comes in a .44 Magnum cartridge. I like both rounds for bear and mountain lion country.

The .357 cartridge is easily acquired and simple to reload. You are getting the accuracy of a 9mm cartridge with a stopping power on a level with a .45 ACP. Your velocity of the rounds is approximately 1,300 fps. Want another “Bennie” for this equation? No, not Benzedrine…a Benefit! If you have a firearm that will fire a .357 magnum round, you are (99% of the time) also able to fire a .38 round through it, such as a standard .38 Special round! There’s a plus for you…as you’ll have a weapon that can fire multiple calibers without a barrel change.

I’m highlighting, underlining, and isolating that sentence just so that you keep it in mind for your safety. The ammo is very reasonably-priced and can be obtained in your friendly Wal-Mart quite availably and affordably. It’s a good piece for men or women and the round will serve your needs well. The .357 magnum round is quite reliable and has been dependable for a long time. Happy and safe shooting, and we’d love any questions or comments you may send us.

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4 comments to Could This Be the Most Versatile Firearm to Use in a SHTF Scenario?

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    I like the idea of the 357 because ammo is always available, and always in a variety.

    For anybody who lives where there are open fields, brush, woods, etc, you can always buy a box of the “shot shells” that are better at shooting at a snake in the grass.

    Yes, I know that 22LR’s also have “shot shell loads”, but I don’t know how reliable it would be on a full grown snake,,, AND… 22LR shot shells are EXPENSIVE to buy, and NOT commonly found.

    With a revolver, as long as it’s in decent shape, you never have to worry about a “failure to feed” from any magazine as sometimes happens with autoloaders. I do LOVE the autoloaders, but I have experienced feed failures in a number of them.
    (such as 1911-45, 22LR-Ruger, 22LR-Taurus, 380-AMT Backup, etc.)

    Many of the newer autoloaders, during the “cycle”, the rear of the barrel dips down towards the magazine while the front of the barrel tips UP a little higher, therefore, the geometry of the feed ramp to the magazine lips is improved. I like that.

    I also like the idea of a 44 mag revolver, because you can shoot the light loads, full loads, and shot-shells that are pretty decent. I also see where the 45 long cold/410 gauge revolvers fit the same group. On Youtube, there are shot-comparisons /tests, that shows the target results of the 410 shotshell revolvers, and from what I’ve seen, you can totally FORGET about shooting buckshot from any 410’s. That loading is pathetic, very poorly effective, poor accuracy, etc. Many shots, at the normal target distance, NONE of the multi-pellets hit any of the vital zones.

    410 shells will be good with BIRDSHOT for birds, rats, snakes. The 410 slug round, is not going to do the reliable job of the 45 long cold.

    Here’s something that happened a couple weeks ago, I went outside, to fire a round from my Taurus PT22 (tiny autoloader), and the round FAILED to detonate. Even after several trigger pulls.

    The primer-rim had the proper indentation from the firing pin. I saved the round, and will later try to fire it in a gun with a stronger firing pin impact force.

    The round bottom stamp was “H”. I was more than 20 years old. I think it may be an old “Winchester branding”. Perhaps from the 70’s? Or earlier? In any case, I removed all the “H” rounds from that gun, and switched to other “headstamped” rounds. I test fired it, and all is OK.
    I do think the PT22 may have a firing pin force that is less forceful than other guns. I like this gun because it is DOUBLE ACTION only. Never can be cocked or half cocked. Very safe for pocket or “purse” carry. Just make sure you’ve tested your ammo before you need it.

    This gun, has 2 major models. The “POLY” model is very light and short. The heavier model with the metal frame, has a barrel that is about 3/8″ LONGER. The PT22 costs about $275.

    If and WHEN the new “suppressor friendly laws” come into effect, it will be possible to modify the longer barrel version to accept a suppressor. But the POLY model will not.

  • Rdawg

    Craig, that old .22LR cartridge is most likely Winchester. It stands for “Henry”, which was the surname of an early employee.

    I think you mean .45 Long Colt.

    • Craig Escaped Detroit

      I was wondering where the “H” came from (Henry- makes great sense).

      And yes, my fingers often hit a “wrong key” and I did mean 45 Long ColT.

      There are some of those cheap “Hand loading tools” for doing shot shells (Lee), that you can use while sitting in the car, etc. Not that I’d recommend this, but it can be done.

      Lee has quite a lot of interesting, low cost stuff.

      I’d like to have an assortment of loading supplies, bullet molds, etc, but hey, at 63yrs old, I don’t really see a need for it. Let the younger guys handle it. My ammo supply should be enough to see me thru the next 10-20 years.
      No need to have a bunch of things that will never be put to use.

  • glitter 1

    Ah yes,the .357 magnum,more specifically the Colt Python .357 magnum,the preferred weapon used by vigilantes everywhere!

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