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Letter Re: The .357 Magnum: An All-Around Survival Cartridge

Mr. Rawles,
I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now and it is something I look forward to every day. I have even persuaded my wife to open her mind and start preparing as a result of many of the articles on SurvivalBlog.  

Regarding the article on the .357 Magnum, I agree with most of what the writer had to say regarding the performance of the round. But there are a couple of  points I feel compelled to make.  

1) To take advantage of the ballistics he refers to in comparison to other cartridges (specifically, I refer to the comparison to the 10mm Auto), you absolutely must reload. I can’t remember the last time I saw .357 factory rounds in a 200 grain JHP. The most common bullet weights in [commercially-loaded] .357 are the 125 and 158 grain.  

2) That leads me to another point. Cartridge availability is not what it used to be for the .357 Magnum. I remember that the .357/.38 Special used to be touted as the ultimate survival round because it was the most common cartridge around next to the .22 LR. (There would always be plenty of it available) This I believe is no longer the case as most police departments have adopted semi-autos. A case in point would be that during the recent ammo shortage, I couldn’t find .357 Magnum anywhere but I was occasionally able to find .40 S&W at somewhat inflated prices. Even now after the acute shortage has supposedly ended, .357 Magnum is only available in limited quantities. (And at a healthy price, I might add). On the other hand, I’ve found that .38 Special was somewhat more available. Possibly due to the current fad of CCW “snubnose” revolvers.   I love the .357 Magnum. I own a Ruger GP-100 with a 6″ heavy barrel, and if as the old saying goes, I could only own one handgun, this would probably be it. But, that being said, while it will not do everything as well as some other guns/cartridges, it will continue to be an important part of my survival battery as well as my primary go to gun for the outdoors.   Keep up the good work.   Respectfully, – Ken S.