Light .357 Magnum loads

While perusing the internet for .38 Special and .357 Magnum loads to meet a specific need, I happened upon two interesting loads, one from Winchester and one from Remington.  Winchester catalogs a 110 grain .357 Magnum load with a stated muzzle velocity of 1295 feet per second, which gives a power factor of 142.  Remington also has a 110 grain load in their Express line of cartridges (note – I’d link to Remington’s website, but it’s a flash based monster) with the same stated muzzle velocity as the Winchester load.  That means that both loads have enough “oomph” to make minor power factor in USPSA and IDPA, as well as clear the power floor in ICORE and Bianchi Cup.  Additionally, a load around 140 power factor generally will whack pepper poppers hard enough to make them fall down a bit quicker than the usual 130 power factor 9mm bunny fart loads so many people use.

A quick trip around the internet reveals some disdain for the 110 grain .357 for personal defense, but from a pure “game playing” standpoint, it may have some interesting potential for revolver shooters.  Of course, you run into the problem that .357 rounds are longer than .38 Specials and can be difficult to shoehorn into the cylinder in a hurry, so it’s likely that the benefits of making a decent power factor are outweighed by the negatives, however I am intrigued by the concept here for a “playing games” standpoint.

On the other end of the spectrum, CCI Blazer has a 158 grain load that only claims 1150 feet per second of muzzle velocity, which puts the power factor around 180, enough to make USPSA Major or be eligible for Enhanced Service Revolver in IDPA.  I would imagine that in an 8-shot 627, this would be a relatively easy shooting load.  That is the great thing about shooting revolvers; even if you don’t reload there are a lot of different options to meet the various requirements for ammo in the shooting sports.  Need a light, fast load for Steel?  Got it.  Need a heavier bullet with lower velocity for making Major in USPSA?  Got that too.

I’m a huge fan of CCI Blazer, by the way.  It’s cheap and relatively accurate, which makes it almost the perfect practice ammo for a competition shooter that doesn’t reload, especially in a revolver.  The only downside is that I don’t get any brass to re-sell.


  1. Of course there’s the Cor-Bon 110gr. .357 Magnum load at 1500 fps for 549 ft/lbs. . . not something I would care to have flying in my direction. PF 165

    Or the Cor-Bon 125gr .357 Magnum load at 1400 fps for 544 ft/lbs. . . PF 175

    Heck, the Cor-Bon 140gr .357 mag load at 1300fps for 525 ft/lbs is pretty “ouchie”, too. PF 182

    Of course, I tend to favor the Cor-Bon 100gr load in .38 Special, and their 125gr. load in .357 for Serious Social Purposes.

    Since all handguns suck anyway, I’m going with what gives me warm fuzzies.

    And if someone can prove there’s a frog’s hair worth of difference between the ineffectiveness of THESE loads versus the ineffectiveness of their preferred Ultimate Death Blaster, I’m prepared to listen to reason.

  2. 357 mag rounds in a 627 in competition…..hmmmm. Please let us know what tricks you discover to get those long cartridges simultaneously into all 8 chambers in, well, in less than an hour. Last time I tried it the RO had to stop the timer and use a calendar. I’ve run the gamut on everything I can find, from the 8-round rubber speed loaders to moon clips from anyone I can find who makes them and it’s always the same: about 10% of the time it’s a fast, slick reload, for the other 90% it’s like typing with boxing gloves.

    1. Yeah, that’s exactly the problem. .38 Specials are bad enough, so . 357s are going to suck even more. Although it wouldn’t be a problem for Steel Challenge, since if I have to reload there I’m boned anyway.

  3. The ICORE nuts that used to shoot at my old club ran 158gr like Berry’s, with 4.2-4.9gr of W231 in 38 special cases. these are loads near Magnum pressures. Guns were either L or N frame, 7 or 8 rounds respectively, cut for moon clips. Easy peasy to get those puppies into the chamber. For steel challenge I think they ran 132gr “bullits” with a smaller load, but I can’t recall what, but have it in my notes somwewhere.
    Frankly the 158gr bullets with 4.5gr of W231 are fairly easy to rock.

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