The .357 Remington Maximum
By Chuck Hawks
Remington introduced the .357 Maximum cartridge in 1983 to considerable fanfare from the shooting press. It was intended for handgun silhouette competition and hunting, but failed to generate much interest among mainstream shooters.
Be that as it may, the .357 Maximum's undeniable advantage over the more conventional magnum revolver cartridges lies in its high velocity and flat trajectory. The 1995 Gun Digest showed that the sole Remington factory load drove a 158 grain jacketed bullet at a claimed muzzle velocity (MV) of 1825 fps in a 10.5" test barrel. It has been reported that the actual MV in revolvers averages about 200 fps less.
For a more realistic appraisal of the .357 Maximum's performance, let's look at the figures given in the Lyman 47th Reloading Handbook. The Lyman technicians developed their reloads using the 158 grain Hornady JHP bullet and Remington cases. They chronographed maximum loads in a 10" T/C Contender barrel (with the following powders) at velocities of 1630 fps (20.0 grains of IMR 4227), 1669 fps (17.2 grains of #2400), 1675 fps (24.5 grains of RX7), and 1715 fps (20.5 grains of H110). The average MV of those 4 loads is 1672.25 fps. Incidentally, the Lyman, Hodgdon, Nosler, and Speer reloading manuals all recommend the use of rifle (rather than pistol) primers due to the high operating pressure of the .357 Maximum.
Note: A complete article about the .357 Maximum can be found on the Handgun Cartridge Page.
Copyright 2004 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.