Let’s talk about revolvers. They are the most powerful weapon you can fit in your pocket, other than hand grenades. When I say revolvers, I mean the .357 Magnum Revolvers. It is already clear that the .357 is the best cartridge as it comes with some advantages that no other cartridges can match.
But if you are unfamiliar with the .357 Magnum, allow me to explain. The cartridge used to be called the .357 Remington Magnum but shortened to just .357 Magnum. If you take the .38 Special and stretch it out, you get the .357 Magnum.
But now you might be wondering how this is possible since the numbers are different and all that. But here’s the thing. The numbers are a lie. Both of these cartridges are .35 caliber. So what is up with this confusing designation?
This whole mess started a long time ago when muzzle-loading black powder revolvers were falling out of fashion. The bored-through cylinder was introduced just after the Civil War. Then, the classic .36 was measured again and classified as .38.
Then came the push for the .38 Special from many renowned individuals such as Elmer Keith. It was clear that there was a dire need for a new cartridge. It needs to be tough enough so that it can handle the pressure from the newer and more powerful loads. Then, the .357 Magnum was born. This time, the designation is correct since the cartridge normally uses .357” diameter bullets.
Of course, the story does not end there, but I’ll end it here since this episode is about the gun, not the cartridge.
Nowadays, almost everyone uses .357 Magnum revolvers. In fact, it is so popular that you can find a myriad of options when it comes to sizes, features, and other aesthetics. For this reason, it can be difficult to find the right revolver for you. If that is you, look no further. I will give you my recommendations based on their intended purposes.
With that out of the way, these are my top picks for .357 Magnum revolvers.
The Ruger LCR is an ideal revolver for everyday carry. This five-shooter is small, light, and can withstand neglect well. The LCR is double-action, but if you don’t like that, you can get the LCRx which comes with an external hammer if you want to go single-action. You can also choose which barrel length you prefer as well.
The LCR had a rocky beginning. Because it is small, people were skeptical about its performance at first. Ruger took a different route in terms of construction and material with the LCR, so it stood out from other revolvers. The original LCR was manufactured using aluminum and polymer, which were unconventional back then, especially for carry revolvers.
However, the skepticism eventually died down and was replaced with adoration when those people tried shooting it. The ergonomics and trigger pull are excellent, which brought it much popularity.
The Model 19 has a long history with its introduction dated way back to the 1950s. It is now in full production, using a nearly identical blueprint but with a more modern twist. The Model 19 is bulkier and heavier than the LCR, making it less than ideal as a carry gun.
Still, its performance is unquestionable. You can bring it with you if you can handle the extra bulk and weight, or keep it in the drawer when someone breaks into your home. Another good thing about the Model 19 is the customization options. There is a lot you can add to this gun, so pick and choose what works for you.
When it comes to field use, you want something powerful. Stealth is no longer a requirement, so we only look at the gun that can deliver the most powerful punch. For this, I present to you the Ruger Redhawk. This eight-shooter can shoot any heavy load, even the high-pressured ammo that would split other guns in half.
In other words, the Ruger Redhawk is pretty much a hand-cannon. Fun fact, some ammo has a warning label on them saying that they are meant to be used for overpowered guns such as the Redhawk. To put it in perspective, the Redhawk has the same ammo capacity as the standard 1911, except you are firing the powerful .357 Magnum bullets, not the .45 ACP.
The aesthetics are simple with its gorgeous wood grips. It is built to last forever and can withstand a lot of abuse, which is perfect for field use. It can down a lot of angry critters you might encounter when you are out hunting or hiking.
About the Ammo
Guns alone are only part of the story here. You need to use the right ammo. As mentioned before, if you use a powerful load for the Redhawk in your LCR, the gun will blow up in your face. You want the right ammo for the right gun, both of which are plentiful.
For the Ruger LCR, go for the 125gr bullet class. It might seem weak compared to other bullets, but you could break your own wrists if you fire any heavier loads. Using lighter loads is also useful when you need to practice since it won’t murder your wallet by the time you are confident with your revolver. In this case, you can even use the .38 Special.
For mid-sized revolvers like the Model 19 have more options. Any bullet between 125-135gr is fine. The heavier weight of the gun helps absorb some of the recoils so you won’t feel the kick as much. Going as far as 158gr though, and you will feel the recoil.
Finally, let’s talk about the field revolvers. Any ammo works here. The strongest loads can stop anything in its path at a pull of the trigger. Heavy revolvers can absorb a lot of recoils, so you won’t feel much if you use weaker loads. So, you can train with your Redhawk with .38 Specials, and you won’t feel a thing. That way, you can move up to a more powerful load when you feel like you can handle the extra kick.