357 Magnum Ballistics Tables From the Major Ammunition Manufacturers

Written by Sam Jacobs Subject: Gun Rights

Are you a firearm enthusiast or hunter seeking the best .357 Magnum rounds for your needs? We've created a comprehensive guide to the ballistic data of .357 Magnum bullets from all of your favorite manufacturers.

The guide covers the velocity, energy, and elevation for .357 Magnum bullets from different ranges. Whether you're a casual shooter, a hunter, or someone who uses their firearm for self-defense, understanding these ballistic characteristics can help you choose the right ammunition for your needs. Here's what we found.

357 Magnum Velocity

A bullet's velocity is measured in feet per second (fps). Muzzle velocity is the rate at which the bullet leaves the barrel. Generally, a longer barrel produces a higher muzzle velocity, as it gives the exploding propellant more time to exert its energy against the bullet. This is why a 357 Magnum rifle delivers higher muzzle velocities than a 357 Magnum revolver, even if the two are firing identical cartridges.

Whether you're firing Buffalo Bore, Speer Gold Dot, or any other major factory-loaded ammo, muzzle velocities range from 1,100 fps to 1,500 fps. When firing handloads, you can reach higher velocities, but always remember to follow the recommendations in your reloading manual.

357 Magnum Energy

A bullet's energy is measured in foot-pounds (ft. lbs or ft-lbs). Muzzle energy measures the force with which a bullet exits the barrel.

Muzzle energy is the product of two variables: mass, and velocity. Heavier bullets often have higher muzzle energy, although a lighter bullet traveling at a higher velocity can easily exceed the muzzle energy of a heavier bullet.

You can reasonably expect the 357 Mag to range in muzzle energy from about 400 ft. lbs to 900 ft. lbs.

357 Magnum Effective Range

Its terminal ballistics and stopping power have made the 357 Mag one of the most widely implemented handgun cartridges for self-defense.

But just how far downrange can the 357 remain effective? It depends on the type of firearm you're firing. A 357 Mag rifle can ethically harvest deer out to 125 yards or so. It's effective for self-defense at that range as well (although we vehemently advise against conducting self-defense over so great a distance).

For deer hunting, the 357 Magnum handgun has an effective range of around 50 to 75 yards. Again, we don't advise using lethal force against a threat positioned half a football field away. The real takeaway is this: whichever 357 firearm you're firing in self-defense, you can assume it will deliver sufficient energy to the target over the distances that self-defense scenarios typically play out over.

Bullet design also plays a role in effective range. A jacketed hollow point, which is designed to expand and inflict more damage to the target, can be said to have more "stopping power" than a non-expanding full metal jacket.

How Does Your Favorite Manufacturer Stack Up?

Want to learn more? See how your favorite brands measure up in terms of velocity, energy, and elevation.

Check out the full 357 Mag ballistics guide and choose the best .357 Magnum bullets to enhance your shooting accuracy and effectiveness.

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