I believe (though I can’t find it right now) that I’ve written about this before: the .357 Magnum coming out of a rifle is a very different beast than the same round coming out of a handgun. One 158 grain load I tested a while back gained nearly 400 fps velocity out of an 18″ Marlin rifle barrel compared to the same load in a 4″ Dan Wesson tube, traveling nearly 1600 fps.
I’ve actually used it on animals, and within its range — say, 75 to perhaps 100 yards — it’s quite effective up to deer-sized game. I’ve heard some claim that it’s suitable for elk “with proper shot placement”, but I’d say that’s more alcohol-fueled optimism than ballistic fact.
Regardless of such speculation it does make a great small to medium game round, though I’ve found it difficult to get bullets under 158 grains to hold together at the velocities the rifle can generate. Forget the light hollowpoints; the absolute minimum I’d consider would be a 158gn jacketed softpoint, and even that often disintegrates when it hits flesh.
Someone once told me that the .357 turns from Jekyll to Hyde in a rifle. That’s not terribly far from the truth!
Up to this point the only rifles chambered for the .357 have been lever actions from Rossi, Marlin, and Winchester. The lever action is a great platform for the round, but I’m looking forward to getting my hands on one of the Ruger bolt actions. If nothing else, the stainless construction and synthetic stock would be a better choice for our damp Oregon weather than walnut and blued steel! Fitted with a decent 2.5x scope it could be a great all-around rifle for the farm and ranch, one that I wouldn’t need to worry about when the elements turn against me.
-=[ Grant ]=-