.357 Magnum Ammunition: On The Mark!

The Revolver has been in existence since the late 16th century, when Zhao Shi-zhen invented the Xun Lei Chong, a five-barreled musket revolver spear. Years later, Elmer Keith, Phillip B. Sharpe, and D. B. Wesson of firearms manufacturers Smith & Wesson and Winchester, designed and manufactured the revolver.

The .357 Magnum is a popular revolver cartridge with a .357-inch bullet diameter. A revolver of this caliber obviously has some special ammunition. Let’s find out why the .357 Magnum ammunition is so unique.

Most commonly used for hunting, tactical defense or range training, .357 Magnum ammo contains effective terminal ballistics. It’s also based on the original .38 Special handgun cartridge. But, the only difference is that the .38 Special exploits a different powder lead.

Tragically, in the wake of yet another inconceivable school shooting, unfortunately a revolver was one of the weapons used.

.357 Magnum Ammo Facts

If you’re looking for the best .357 Magnum ammunition, you need to know that it’s available in the standard 50 rounds per boxes or in bulks. Additionally, the best .357 Magnum ammo focuses on providing stopping power without creating much recoil. This is a good thing. In fact, with all of that recoil, your gun will be hard to handle.

Bullet Weight and Type

The bullet weight is measured in unit grains. And as far as the type, there are various bullet types available. The most popular ones are the jacketed hollow point (JHP) and full metal jacket (FMJ). There are other types as well, but the most sought after are the JHP and the FMJ. These two bullet types differ in terms of expansion and penetration.

It’s essential to have the right amount of expansion and penetration, but it also depends on why you’re using the ammo. What type of activity will you be performing? For example, if you’re hunting, your ammo should have deeper penetration characteristics. As for range training, the penetration doesn’t really matter because you’re just shooting holes in paper targets.

Primer Type

The primer functions to ignite the propellants (or powder charge) at the end of the gun’s barrel to prep the weapon before firing a shot. The most popular priming style specifically for handguns, are the boxer-primers.

They are easily reloadable because of the convenience to remove and replace the old primers with the new ones by a simple pin punch. In addition, they are mostly made out of brass. The brass coating ensures that they’re non-corrosive — especially when in less than desirable weather conditions (moisture and rain).

However, every cartridge doesn’t necessarily strike the right balance. Nevertheless, we found a few for this review that qualify. Take a look at the best .357 Magnum ammunition for self defense and range shooting

1. Federal AmmunitionBest Self-Defense Ammo

This product is manufactured by Federal Premium AmmunitionFederal is a popular brand that’s most commonly used for self defense. Their ammunition comes in a total coatiner of 500 rounds. All 500 rounds are divided into 25 boxes per case and 20 rounds per box.

The ammo casing is equipped with a nickel-plated brass construction, which prevents corrosion on the casing, especially when in contact with moisture and rain. The primers are of the boxer-style (popular in the United States). To be more specific, each round is constructed with a reloadable brass casing as well as a clean-igniting boxer primer.

And, the entire casing is nickel coated which is great to prevent corrosion and to ensure quick reload insertion and smooth ejection. The primer’s pocket is sealed with a moisture-blocking coating which performs exceptionally well in any and all environments. Weighing 158 grain, this cartridge travels at a muzzle velocity of 1240 feet per second (fps), and the top of the casing houses a jacketed hollow point bullet.

When the bullet enters the target, its hollowed-out shape and exposed lead tip contributes to reliable expansion. Lastly, the width of the hollow cavity ensures the rounds are safe to be used in lever action rifles with tubular magazines. Plus, the hollow cavity of the bullet is jacketed with alloy metal coating to prevent choking in the barrel. The result is increased bullet strength.


  • Caliber: .357 Magnum
  • Bullet weight:158 Grain
  • Bullet Type: Jacketed Hollow Point
  • Muzzle Velocity:1,240 Feet Per Second
  • Easy feeding and reliable expansion
  • Reloadable ammo casing (boxer-primed)
  • 20 round box; 500 rounds altogether
  • Check best price online!

2. Federal American Eagle Cartridge

These cartridges are manufactured by the Federal American Eagle. Ideal for the range and designed specifically for target shooting, training and practice, these bullets are loaded to the same specifications as Federal Premium loads — but at a more reasonable price.

This bullet weighs 158 grain and is the Jacketed Soft-Point (JSP) type. JSP is a classic bullet design that allows deep penetration and its lead alloy core provides tremendous expansion. The limited jacket coating prevents twisting in your barrel, as there’s no chance of the lead stripping inside the barrel. Nevertheless, this ammunition has an extremely strong recoil — especially when used in smaller revolvers.

On the other hand, when used with larger weapons, the recoil is insignificant and therefore easier to handle. Moving on, this product contains a total of 1000 rounds (bulk ammunition). These 1000 rounds are divided into 50 rounds per box and 20 boxes per case. The bulk ammunition can be used for applications ranging from self-defense, to boar and deer hunting.

To put it simply, this cartridge is multipurpose. It’s suitable for hunting and self-defense as well as budget friendly enough for range practice. The ammo’s casing is made from tough brass construction, which contributes to its durability, and the alloy material ensures its anti-corrosive properties.

In addition, the common boxer primer style guarantees that it’s conveniently reloadable. Lastly, the projectile leaves the muzzle and travels at a velocity of 1240 fps, along with muzzle energy measuring 539 ft lbs. Therefore, the heavier the bullet, the higher the velocity and energy, and the result is detrimental upon entering the target.


  • Caliber: .357 Magnum
  • Bullet weight: 158 Grain
  • Bullet Type: Jacketed Soft Point
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,240 Feet Per Second
  • Boxer-style primers
  • 1000 rounds total
  • Strong recoil
  • Check best price online!

3. Hornady Critical DefenseSelf Defense

The Hornady Critical Defense cartridge is designed to equip you with powerful critical defense, or specifically, self-defense. This boxer-style ammunition was designed to deliver reliable and controlled expansion. In addition, it was ideally built for concealed carry guns. The Critical Defense Ammo weighs 125 grains and comes complete with a total of 25 rounds.

Each round is loaded into a nickel case for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. In addition, premium low flash propellants deliver proven results, even in really short-barreled handguns — that will not disrupt your vision.

There’s no reason to stress about bullet setback because the bullets are custom designed to fit individual loads. As far as performance, the projectile leaves the muzzle and travels at a velocity measuring 1500 fps, combined with 824 ft lbs of muzzle energy. The Critical Defense ammo reliably feeds in all pistols, and as a result, results in a terrific shooting experience.

Precision in Design

Additionally, this product is designed with the patented FTX (Flex Tip Expanding) category. Therefore, it’s able to provide smooth and controlled expansion upon entering the target.

In addition, it boasts fantastic terminal performance and fits perfectly in tubular magazines. The Critical Defense ammo performs consistently in all types of temperatures. There’s no need to worry about heavy clothing such as thick leather and denim.

Another positive of this ammunition is that it includes a minimal muzzle flash feature which is brilliantly handy to provide you with outstanding night vision. The silver nickel plating ensures that it’s completely corrosion/rust-resistant and it’s easily visible under low light conditions.

In summary, the Hornady Critical Defense bullets are one of the most effective and reliable types self-defense ammunition available on the market today. Although Hornady ammunition is a little pricey, it’s absolutely worthy of your hard-earned dollars.

Key Features

  • Clean burning plus efficient propellants reduce recoil in lightweight handguns
  • Performs consistently at all temperatures
  • Minimal muzzle flash protects night vision
  • Easy feed in pistols
  • Silver nickel plating prevents corrosion; easily visible in low light situations
  • Custom-designed bullets for individual loads
  • Easily reloaded casing
  • Effective, consistent, reliable self-defense ammunition

Other Features

  • Caliber: .357 Magnum
  • Bullet weight: 125 Grain
  • Bullet Style: Polymer Tip
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,500 Feet Per Second
  • Clean burning propellants
  • Patented FTX bullets
  • Silver nickel plating
  • Minimal muzzle flash
  • 25 rounds total

Final Words

In regards to any type of ammunition, there’s so many different choices available on the market today. But, it solely depends on the type of weapon you’re using as well as your personal preference. For example, if you tend to use a handgun for shooting, then .357 Magnum ammunition is a perfect choice to complement your firearm.

A word to the wise: It’s always best to use the right ammunition for each task you will be performing. When ammunition is on sale, try to stock up on your specific .357 Magnum ammo for your favorite activities. And, just in case, you may want to buy an alternative ammunition for other situations.

When you have the freedom to experiment with new loads, the possibilities are endless. Make sure to do your research and stock up!

Alex Joseph is an avid bow hunter and father of two boys. Originally from Tacoma, Washington Alex now resides in California.


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