Time to make the doughnuts. The .357 Magnum doughnuts of doom!

JayG catches a wicked fireball on camera.

I just walked a friend through the process of buying a revolver. He wanted a .357 Magnum. He eventually decided a J frame revolver like the one above would be the perfect size. JayG’s revolver above is the Snubbie from Hell in .357 Magnum. For my friend I suggested a 642 in .38 Special, like mine. He was disappointed it wasn’t a .357 and I was like “I don’t think you want to shoot .357 out of a gun that light.” I’ll have to show him Jay’s pic.

30 Responses to Time to make the doughnuts. The .357 Magnum doughnuts of doom!

  1. steve says:

    I’ve got a SW J frame snubbie for hiking. I’ve put 300-400 rounds of .38 through it in the last few years and only 2 rounds of .357, right after I bought it. Your friend isn’t missing anything.

  2. What a great picture!

  3. Chuck Pelto says:

    TO: All
    RE: .357s…..a.k.a…..

    ….’The Sound and the Fury”. And equal to the ‘madness’ thereof.


    [Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a “.4” — Rules for Gunfighting]

  4. Andy says:

    Home invasion?

    Time to make the doughnuts.

  5. unclebryan says:

    That’s the thing about a snubnose .357 — all muzzle flash and no velocity. Well, not “No” velocity, but you lose so much energy without at least four and preferably six inches for the gases to do their expansive, hot, flamey work. You’re far better off with a .38 special. If you absolutely have to have a .357 then get a Colt Python with six-inch barrel. They’re super sweet. Priced accordingly.

  6. Swen Swenson says:

    And that photo was taken in daylight! Nearer dark — when most gunfights occur — the flash from a magnum handgun can be literally stunning, as is the unmuffled blast at any time. I’ll stick to my .45 acp, thanks.

  7. BarryD says:

    I tried out an Airlite in .357 and bought an Airweight in .38+P. There was no point in dropping an extra $300 for the ability to load rounds I’d never use. This is a defensive firearm, not a target gun — though I load special ultralight loads that make it a fun plinker. But as a defensive concealed-carry piece, it’s useless if I can’t put multiple rounds on target, quickly, using one hand in a less-than-perfect position. Defense is NOT target shooting!

    I have the all-stainless Model 60 (also a J fram) in .357, and it’s worked fine with full-house handloads. That extra 10 oz. makes a huge difference, and I think that it’s well worth getting the magnum chambering. But it’s a tad heavy for concealed carry; it works, but it has to be in just the right spot to be comfortable, whereas the 642 is light enough not to be all that critical.

  8. Robert says:

    What a great photo. You just can’t have too many pistols. Buy them all.

  9. comatus says:

    That’s a “Torus,” isn’t it?

  10. Joe Blow says:

    .38 for practice, .38+P for defense, unless you can handle the .357, in which case go with that, and consider getting some grips that will let you hold onto that tiny bucking pistol. Getting the thumb webbing pinched hard will definitely harm accuracy… But then if you’ve got the mitts to handle tiny pistol loaded with .357 rounds, you’ve probably got the right sized body to discreetly carry a larger pistol that fires bigger rounds, all without posing a mortal threat to Mr. Thumb and the Four Fingies…

  11. I love the picture! I just bought a Casio EX-FH-100 that will shoot 1000 fps video or take 200 single frames every second you hold the button down. Got it specifically to take pictures of my son Brian shooting his 44 Magnum Desert Eagle. He acquired the big silly gun during his gunsmith training, and it took me weeks to come up with a load that would cycle the action. Hornady H101 and a 240 grain plated bullet does the job. I don’t think the firearm has any practical purpose, except maybe building demolition, but everybody loves it and wants to see it fired. Those brave enough to try it find that it isn’t bad at all to shoot; a slide that weighs nearly 5 pounds and three concentric springs soak up a lot of recoil.

  12. Darrell says:

    Get the .357 version, you can always shoot .38 with it. If you get the .38 version, you can’t shoot .357 with it instead.

    Of course, if you intend to give the gun a steady diet of .357, well, get a Ruger. ;^)

  13. RRRoark says:

    As a former instructor (self defense and concealed carry) and IPSC competitor, I recommend a .357 concealed hammer revolver for beginners. They can practice extensively with .38s and carry with the .357 because with the rush of adrenaline that accompanies a life-threatening situation, they’ll never notice the higher recoil. This was the same reason for the development of the S&W Model 19 (and the stainless version 66) for law enforcement. The 66 is what my son started his competition in Practical Pistol with at twelve in 1986. He only used .357 when the courses were long enough that he wanted to have the point advantage of m”major” caliber at longer range.

    Now if they are willing to spend 200 hours a year at the range and compete in combat shooting sports, they should carry a version of what they compete with. I’m large enough to carry and conceal a highly customized Colt Commander.

  14. Quaestor says:

    That torus of flame is a sign of wasted propellant. A snub-nosed magnum is a pistol for the less thoughtful shooter.

  15. Big Bob says:

    That’s pretty impressive, especially in daylight. I agree with the general consensus that anyone who wants to put .357 rounds through a short barrel like that must enjoy putting their head in a vise, also. It’s like sighting in a turkey gun with 3″ magnums for the first time – ouch!

    For some real flash fun, get yourself a Mosin-Nagant M44 (I have 9 of ’em) and some Soviet bloc surplus 7.62×54 ball ammo and fire that baby about dusk. A-W-E-S-O-M-E-N-E-S-S to the nth degree not mention loud.

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  17. tim says:

    In this short comments section we have all the armchair gun expert opnions in one neat package, or should I say cowpat.. Too bad they don’t shoot more. The adrenalin comment is spot on. My cowpat = the .357 is king of the street, before affirmative action. Snubbies are perfect for certain purposes. To denigrate them as guns for dummies is itself stupid and thoughtless.

  18. Voolfie says:

    I own a S&W M340PD Scandium J-Frame .357 Magnum. Empty, the gun weighs about ten (10) ounces. If I fire more than five full-house magnums during a range outing, my shooting hand will literally bleed. I carry .38 +P’s and am satisfied they’ll do the job at close range. With that said, the gun is any utter delight to carry.

  19. Russ P says:

    Please someone bring back the .357 maximum. I truly miss shooting my T.C. 10″

  20. wildman says:

    I love my SW 357
    4 inch barrel 180gr hollow points a sure crowd pleaser

  21. Peter says:

    If you shop around a little, you can find like new ultralight .357 revolvers for sale very cheap. They also come with a nearly full box of .357, only five rounds missing, since one cylinder of full house ammo is enough to cause serious buyers remorse.

  22. iconoclast says:

    I went to the range yesterday and one of the exercises I did was to point shoot my S&W 642 with both my strong hand and my weak hand using standard .38 special target rounds. 25 rounds for each hand and 25 rounds for both hands and I am done with that little stinger for the day. I could not imagine the sturm und drang of putting a .357 through that little 1 7/8″ barrel and the incredibly light J frame. I also shoot a S&W model 27 (4″ barrel), so I am familiar with shooting the .357 cartridge.

    Turning around to pick up the pistol after firing it once never seemed like a good idea to me….

  23. Hucbald says:

    I have an old Colt Trooper .357 with a 5.5″ barrel I inherited from my dad. I shot .357 out of it… once. Nothing but .38 since then, which is far less… masochistic.

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  25. JohnD says:

    Smith 340 PD with crimson trace grips. It is .357 Mag, but have never fired it in that config. It is my everyday concealed carry….in my pocket in a Mika holster. Nice to shoot with the .38 ammo. A great snake gun with shot-shells.

  26. Frank P says:

    It is not just the flash. The sound from a 357 is an ear splitting crack. A 38 special can be shot without ear protection, but a 357 is painful and damaging to your ears. I know this from experience as the one time I did it my left ear rang for nearly 2 months. Also, I agree with not wanting to shoot 357 from a snubbie. I have a Ruger GP-100 ( an overbuilt tank of a revolver) which comfortably shoots 357. I can’t imagine using a gun half of its weight.

  27. Steve Bolin says:

    Stainless model 66 with a 4″ barrel. I shoot a mixture of .38/.357 at the range and keep it loaded with medium velocity 125-gr semi-jacketed hollow points. My next home defense piece would be a combat 12-gauge. Third on the list would be an M1911 in .45 caliber – I have not cared for the colt commanders I have shot, perhaps I am expecting too much.

  28. I agree with the folks who liked the picture, it’s a great picture. It really clearly illustrates not only the “smoke ring”, but the shooter’s right elbow locked in a straight position, and effects of recoil from shooting great big cartridges from itty bitty guns. Problem is that the effects of both the position of the elbow (preventing the effective recoil force from going straight back instead of up) and the fact that the recoil begins when the cartridge is fired, not after the bullet leaves the barrel, means that guy is unlikely to be able to hit any definite target very effectively (e.g., don’t aim for center of mass, aim for the third button down on the target’s shirt – that way, you’re likely to at least hit the center of mass, while if you aim for “center of mass”, you’re unlikely to hit the target at all).

    I think the original advice was best – it may be fun to shoot the first three to five shots out of an ultralight J frame in .357 (until the web of your palm hurts too much to continue), but for defensive purposes, a standard K frame in .38 with a four-inch barrel is much more effective.

  29. Peter says:

    There is a reason I carry a Model 60 steelframe snubbie in .38 instead of an ultralight in .357. Still, I would like to invite notice of exactly where that donut of doom is in the picture. It is precisely in front of the guy’s locked elbows. Considering that the bullet came out first, before the powder gasses, then the idea that the bullet went over the pontential bad guy’s head is fatuous, unless said bad guy is a five year old.

    No, the shooter could get off one fairly well aimed round with .357. Me, I load the Speer short barrel .38s with that 135 gr Gold Dot in the summer and, when it’s a little cooler, Winchester Plus P 158 grain lead hollow points.

  30. Luke says:

    Wow that impressive to catch that moment. What equipment you used for that ?