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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hodgdon load data

.357 Magnum Rifle (using Sierra bullets)

Author: Brian Pearce / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: Oct 27 2020

The .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935 as a joint effort between Smith & Wesson and Winchester. Its popularity has been widespread and the cartridge has been cambered in a variety of double and single-action revolvers, single-shot pistols, auto-loading pistols and derringers. It has been proven useful for hunting, target work, defense and law enforcement. Several rifle manufacturers have chambered guns in pump-action, bolt-action and single-shot designs; however, the .257 especially popular in lever action rifles. They are generally light and handy, offer modest recoil and are capable of taking deer game when used within reasonable distances.

Velocities achieved from rifle and carbine barrels (typically with lengths between 18 ½ to 24 inches) are often 400 to 600 fps faster than the same load in a common revolver. For example, the 20-inch test rifle used here, select loads pushed 125-grain Sierra bullets to 2,100 fps and 140-grain bullets to 2,000 fps. The 158-grain bullets often reached 1,700 to 1,800 fps.

When using rifles with tubular magazine, be certain to use flat point (including hollow Point) bullets to prevent magazine tube detonations, and do not substitute the Sierra 170-grain FMJ Match bullet (a round nose) for the 170-grain JHC listed in the accompanying data. Although several fast to medium burn rate powders often produced excellent accuracy, velocities were comparatively low. For top performance, Alliant 2400, Ramshot Enforcer, Accurate No. 9, Hodgdon H-110 and Winchester 296 are proven choices.

A heavy crimp is advised to aid in achieving correct powder ignition and to prevent bullets from deep-seating when subjected to the inertia and recoil associated with tubular magazines (or if fired in a revolver it will prevent bullets from jumping crimp).

Industry maximum average pressure for the .357 Magnum is currently established at 35,000 psi.