The Best .357 Magnum Ammo for Range Training

.357 magnum revolver

Using .357 Magnum ammo for range training gives the shooter options regarding the type of weapon. The ammunition switches easily from a handgun to a rifle for a well-rounded test of one’s skills. The .357 cartridge remains popular with trainers, hobbyists, and professionals because of its versatility. Additionally, a .357 Magnum handgun can fire a .38 Special ammo. The cases of the two rounds match each other except for the length. Manufacturers made that deliberate design choice to prevent shooters from firing the .357 from a .38 Special revolver. The .357’s pressure rates higher than a .38 Special and could cause harm to the shooter or damage to the handgun.

History

The .357 Magnum cartridge was designed and developed in the mid-1930s by a team of firearms enthusiasts. The project goal included creating ammunition that could compete with Colt’s .38 Super. Elmer Keith, Phil Sharpe and D.B. Wesson of Smith & Wesson and Winchester joined forces to top Colt’s breadwinner. Criminals began to outsmart police and the police needed to fight back. Colt’s .38 Super was the only ammo on the market that fired at over 1,000 FPS. High velocity gave the ammo the ability to penetrate auto glass and ballistics vests. The gangster era had begun, and the cops couldn’t take down targets when they hid behind their automobiles or wore bulletproof vests. The .357 Magnum ammo allowed law enforcement to retake the streets while providing a versatile round for military, law enforcement, and civilians.

Current specs

The design team modified the original .357 Magnum slightly to incorporate Sharpe’s bullet. Currently, it’s known as the .357 S&W Magnum or 9x33mmR. The rimmed centerfire cartridge houses a .357-inch (9.1mm) diameter bullet housed in a case measuring 1.29-inches in length. The total length of the cartridge is 1.59-inches. According to SAAMI, the ammo’s maximum pressure is 35,000 PSI with an average muzzle velocity of 1,090 FPS.

The 1924 design loaded the .357 load with a bullet weight of 158 grains. The muzzle velocity clocked at an impressive 1,510 FPS. Today’s loads offer less muzzle velocity but enough to make the round effective and deadly when needed.

Shooters chamber light carbines in .357 Mag ammo, often for use in guns similar to the American Old West lever-action rifles. Specs differ in a rifle. The ammo exits a rifle barrel at around 1,800 FPS. The high velocity makes the round more versatile popular guns like the .32-20 Winchester.

Popularity and Use

The .357 Magnum ammunition received notoriety for kicking off the “Magnum Era.” The .357 Magnum revolver sparked the attention of law enforcement and military personnel. Soldiers used the gun and ammo throughout WWII and the Vietnam War. General George S. Patton chose the gun as one of his favorite sidearms. He carried an ivory-handled S&W .357 Magnum revolver on one hip and a single action .45 Long Colt on the other.

Law enforcement, military personnel and members of the U.S. Special Forces still use .357 Magnum handguns, mostly as back up pieces to semi-auto pistols.

Shooters continue to choose the dual-purpose cartridge because it is powerful, inexpensive, and can be used in both .357 Magnum handguns and rifles. Most common uses include range training, plinking, home defense, hunting, target shooting, and self-defense. It offers excellent stopping power with manageable recoil.

Range Training

Seasoned shooters recommend regular range training regardless of the person’s experience. Range training keeps a person sharp and improves skills. It also allows shooters to test drive different guns and ammo to see which works best for their needs.

Shooting ranges operate in rural and urban areas. Rural areas host more outdoor ranges since there isn’t a concern about shooting into a building or street. Urban areas have more indoor shooting galleries due to limited space. The containment dampens noise, prevents collateral damage, and other concerns. Indoor ranges operate despite weather conditions. They often restrict caliber and weapon use where outdoor ranges are more accommodating to unusual requests.

Hunters prefer outdoor ranges because the terrain and atmosphere are similar to what they might encounter in the field. Shooting competitions occur most often at outside ranges.

Using Your Ammo

Shooting .357 ammo deters some users from taking it to the range due to a few downsides. First, firing a .357 indoors causes damage to the shooter’s ears, perhaps even if the shooter is wearing hearing protection. The loud report throws off a person’s accuracy and causes one to hesitate when making a second shot. Some shooters chose a .38+P to make follow up shots to avoid the noise. Second, some find the recoil to be too strong. This is especially true when the ammo is used in a short barrel, or snubnose, revolver. Third, a bright muzzle flash causes temporary blindness in the dark. The latter proves to be a problem in a self-defense situation at night.

The real problem lies in the fact that many shooters practice with one ammunition and intend to use another. That makes no sense. Shooters must experience a certain comfort level with the gun and the ammo. If the combination causes problems, then the user should switch to another gun, ammunition, or both. Inexperience or discomfort leads to poor aim and inability to pull the trigger. The shooter freezes at the crucial moment, whether it’s in the field, or during a competition when faced with a large animal or intruder.

Performance

People train for many purposes, including hunting. The .357 ammo performs well against medium-size game like whitetail deer, hogs, and coyotes. Heavier loads face-off with large game like elk, caribou, and bear. Some hunters prefer big bore cartridges like .41 Mag, .44 Mag, .454 Casull, 460 S&W Mag or .50 Action Express. While the .357 gives off less energy, its small diameter and high velocity serve up deep penetration. The round is similar to a .45 Colt but with a flatter trajectory. Those specs make it highly versatile ammunition desirable to many hobbyists and professionals.

Bullet Types

Manufacturers develop new ammunition every day for popular calibers like the .357 Magnum. The most common styles include Full Metal Jacket, Jacketed Soft Point, Jacketed Hollow Point. The list below shows three common types of bullets and their uses.

Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)

FMJ bullets cost less than other rounds which makes them ideal for high volume shooting at the range. The bullet houses a soft center metal (often lead), surrounded by a harder metal, usually copper. The ammo cuts small channels upon impact and as they travel into, or through, the target. FMJs work best in short-range shooting, target practice, range training, plinking, and competition shooting.

Hollow Points (HP)

Most people associate hollow points to self-defense and home protection. HPs cost more than FMJ, but the round performs better in face-to-face confrontations. The ballistics of HPs are comparable to the FMJ.

HPs work best as concealed carry for home protection use. The design allows the bullet to expand, creating a larger wound channel than the FMJ. The expansion offers excellent stopping power, halts attackers quickly and therefore, the shooter is protected.

Soft Points (SP)

Hunters choose soft points more than any other ammunition. The SP expands over and above an FMJ, which makes it ideal for stopping the target in its tracks. The round is comparable to an HP, except for the expansion. An SP allows the shooter to have more control. SP ballistics outshine other bullets, especially when they are made with a boat-tail design. Jacketed Soft Points (JSP) are another option.

Best .357 Mag Training Ammo

Sellier & Bellot 158 Grain FMJ-FN

  • 889 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 158 Grain
  • Full Metal Jacket Bullet
  • Nickel-plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 278 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Tula Ammo 158 Grain FMJ

  • 1,280 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 158 Grain
  • Full Metal Jacket Bullet
  • Steel Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 464 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Fiocchi 142 Grain FMJ-TC

  • 1,420 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 142 Grain
  • Full Metal Jacket Bullet
  • Nickel-plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 636 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Hornady Critical Defense 125 Grain FTX

  • 1,500 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 125 Grain
  • FlexTip Bullet
  • Nickel-plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 824 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Magtech Ammunition 158 Grain .357 Magnum SJSP

  • 1,235 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 125 Grain
  • Full Metal Jacket Bullet
  • Nickel-plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 535 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Tula Ammunition 158 Grain FMJ

  • 1,280 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 158 Grain
  • Full Metal Jacket Bullet
  • Polymer coated steel Casing
  • Boxer Primer

CCI Ammunition Blazer 158 Grain JHP

  • 1,150 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 158 Grain
  • Jacketed Hollow Bullet
  • Nickel-plated Brass Casing
  • CCI Primer
  • 464 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Sig Sauer Elite Performance Ammunition 125 Grain FMJ

  • 1,450 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 125 Grain
  • Full Metal Jacket Bullet
  • Nickel-plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 584 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Magtech Sport Ammunition 125 Grain FMJ

  • 1,405 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 125 Grain
  • Full Metal Jacket Bullet
  • Nickel-plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 548 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel Ammunition 135 Grain JHP

  • 990 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 135 Grain
  • Jacketed Hollow Point Bullet
  • Nickel-plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 294 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Hornady LEVERevolution 140 gr FTX

  • 1,440 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 140 Grain
  • Hornady FTX Bullet
  • Nickel-plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 644 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Ruger ARX 86 Grain

  • 1,650 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 86 Grain
  • Injection Molded Copper Polymer ARX Projectile
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 552 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Barnes VOR-TX, XPB HP, 140 Grain

  • 1,170 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 140 Grain
  • Solid Hollow Point Bullet
  • Nickel-plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 429 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Federal American Eagle Cartridge 158 Grain JSP

  • 1,240 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 158 Grain
  • Jacketed Soft Point Bullet
  • Nickel-plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 530 ft-lbs. Muzzle Energy

Conclusion

.357 Magnum ammunition continues to be a popular round with many uses. Experts recommend extensive range training with any new ammunition or weapon. Situations happen quickly, often leaving the shooter without time to think. Preparing yourself can mean the difference between life or death. Consider trying several types of ammunition in different bullet weights before deciding which works best for your skillset, experience, and end use.

Remington Arms

Remington's long history

Remington & Sons was founded in Ilion, New York 1816 by Eliphalet Remington II (1793–1861). Eliphalet Remington knew he had the skill to build a better gun than ones he could find on the market. Remington was 23 when he entered a shooting competition and took second place. Although he didn’t win, his flintlock rifle got a lot of attention. Remington was approached by many of the other shooters by the end of the day, asking to buy one of his guns. His company had become official with the help of his father, a blacksmith.

On March 7, 1888, the company was sold to Marcellus Hartley and Partners. The group included sporting goods chain Hartley and Graham of New York, New York. The company also owned Winchester Repeating Arms Company and the Union Metallic Cartridge Company. The company changed its name to the Remington Arms Company and moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The Remington Arms Company

Remington is the oldest firearms manufacturer in the U.S. Remington is also the largest producer of rifles and shotguns in the U.S. They are the only company that makes firearms and ammunition. The original Ilion, New York plant is still standing and making high quality goods. The site also has a retail store and museum.

During WWI, Remington landed several military contract, including Enfield rifles for Britain M1907-15 Berthier rifles for France, and 1891 Mosin-Nagant rifles for Russia. Remington almost went bankrupt during the war when the Russian Imperial government ordered a large number of guns but had no way to pay for them. They insisted that the guns were faulty and refused to pay. Eventually, the U.S. stepped up and bought the guns, saving the company.

Remington Expands its Catalog

The 1920s saw a new period for Remington. They began making household utensils, cash registers and cutlery like hunting knives and pocketknives. They also began to sell clothing with the Remington logo, something that they discontinued in 1955.

DuPont bought Remington Arms in 1936, during the height of the Great Depression. It was also the year Remington went international, buying an ammunition manufacturer in Brazil.

In 1940, Remington built an ordinance plant in Independence, Missouri. They company opened five plants during WWII, one of which manufactured their legendary M1903 .30-06 Springfield bolt action rifle.

In the 1990s, Remington returned to making handguns.

Remington Ammo Today

Remington continued to build on its product line in the 21st Century. It began to make security and surveillance systems along with firearms and ammo. Remington created Spartan Gunworks, a subsidiary tasked with making an affordable high-quality shotgun.

In 2007, Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity company, bought Remington. The company’s name changed, ending with its current name – the Remington Outdoor Company.

The company had several good years until it saw a drop in sales and profitability. They filed for in March 2018.

 

Fiocchi Ammunition Changes With the Times

Logo for Fiocchi Ammunition

Giulio Fiocchi is a legend in the munitions world. His story seems to be one made by chance, yet the Italian accountant took an opportunity that created one of the most respected ammunition companies in the world.

Birth of Fiocchi

In 1876, Guilio Fiocchi worked as an accountant in a bank in Milan. Fiocchi’s job included collecting debts from past due clients. During a trip to Lecco, Fiocchi met with the owner of a company that manufactured black powder and muskets. The owner told Fiocchi that he was unable to pay the loan and had gone bankrupt. Fiocchi met with his brother, Giacomo, and the pair decided to buy the ammunition business. Guilio secured a loan from his bank and the brothers bought the company. They named the company Giulio Fiocchi Enterprises.

The Great World Wars

The Fiocchi brothers renamed the company Fiocchi Ammunition (Fiocchi Munizioni). Fiocchi changed operations when the muzzle-loader was replaced by the breech-loader. Fiocchi made reloadable primer cases. The Fiocchi’s changed operations once again when black powder was no longer being used.

Before World War I, Fiocchi was dedicated to manufacturing ammunition for hunting and sports shooting. World War I brought the opportunity to make and sell ammo to the Italian army. The Germans seized Fiocchi Ammunition during World War II, but the company’s employees managed to hold them off from the ground. Sadly, Allied planes destroyed the original factory.

The Fiocchi’s built a new plant in 1946 after the war. The company upgraded its equipment and began to produce more advanced ammunition.

Being Resourceful

Fiocchi has always been a resourceful company, which may be because of Guilio’s financial background. Initially, the factory threw away its scrap metal. It was suggested that rather than throwing it away, they could use it for another purpose. The company began to produce metal snaps, saving its money. The fashion industry had made the use of snaps popular, so making the closures was short of genius. Fiocchi sold that part of the business in the 1980s for a large profit.

Giving Back

The Fiocchi family helps employees and the community by giving back. In 1904, Fiocchi built houses for its employees, provided childcare and paid for medical insurance, something that is still done today.

Fiocchi of America, Inc.

Fiocchi arrived in the U.S. in the 1950s, when it shared an Illinois factory with Smith & Wesson. The partnership ended when there were disagreements between the two companies. Things changed again when Carlo Fiocchi, great-grandson of Giulio, visited to the U.S. on his honeymoon. In 1983, Fiocchi of America resumed business in the U.S. and began to import ammunition.

Fiocchi couldn’t keep up with customer demand. Carlo and company president Paolo Fiocchi talked about building a plant in the U.S. to help them fill orders. History repeated itself when the Fiocchi’s bought land from a farmer who couldn’t make his mortgage payments. The fourth generation of Fiocchi’s now operate the company and it is stronger than ever.

 

Best .223 Remington For Hunting

Varmint control

Imagine finding that some varmint has chewed a hole in your fence and eaten half of your backyard garden. You grab your .233 and decide you’ll show him who the boss is.

Why go for a .223 Remington when facing down rodents? Because it packs just enough fire power to take care of these little critters.

Important Differences in AR Ammo

One of the most important things to know right out of the gate is that there are two types of AR-15 ammo –  the 5.56 NATO cartridge and .223 Remington ammo. Selecting the right ammo is dependent upon the type of chamber in your rifle. For example, if your rifle is manufactured to chamber the .223 Remington, that is the ammo you must use. If the rifle is chambered for the 5.56 NATO, then your rifle will accept both types of ammo. While the size is the same, the 5.56 NATO has higher pressure, something that a rifle chambered for the .223 Remington can’t safely handle.

Both rounds are excellent for varmint hunting and target shooting. Both are highly accurate at long ranges.

In 1964, the .223 Remington cartridge was introduced to the general public for hunting varmints and predators. One month later, the United States Air Force chose the ammunition in the form of the 5.56x45mm cartridge to be used in their new M-16 rifles.

Due to its mild recoil, the .223 Remington cartridge experienced popularity across many different shooting platforms with most of the buyers being varmint hunters and those seeking to rid their territory of predators. It was used effectively against small vermin such as rodents, skunks, feral cats, and groundhogs as well as medium-sized predators like coyotes, opossums, and racoons and foxes. It should be noted that the .223 Remington is illegal in some jurisdictions.

Current Specifications

The standard .223 cartridge uses a .224-inch diameter boat-tailed bullet in a rimless, bottle-necked case. The bullet measures 1.76 inches in length with the overall length of the round is 2.26 inches.

Standard factory loads range in weight from 35 to 85 grains. However, the most common is the 55-grain bullet. It uses a small rifle primer and has a max pressure of 55,000 PSI.

Bullet Types

Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)

The Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) is the most common type of ammo because it’s easier to manufacture and less expensive than other rounds. Standard bullet weights of FMJ ammo in .223/5.56 are 55 and 62 grain.

Ammo with lighter grain bullets work best with higher barrel twist rate like 1:8 and 1:9. The lowest common twist rate is 1:7, which is commonly used with a 62 grain bullet.

Note that the top choices of ammo on this page are FMJ bullets. It is recommended to use FMJ rounds because the power and expansion are enough. Soft points and hollow points can over penetrate and cause excessive wound channels and tissue damage.

Hollow Points (HP)

Hollow Point (HP) ammunition is most often related to personal and home defense. The cost of a hollow point is higher than an FMJ but is more effective for defense.  The ballistics of an HP are similar to an FMJ, only lighter.

Soft Points (SP)

Soft Points (SP) are a popular hunting cartridge, but still popular for

AR-15 owners. The expansion of an SP is superior to an FMJ but has more control than the HP. The ballistics of SP ammo are excellent, particularly when paired with a boat-tail design.

Choosing the Target

Shooters consider bullet weight as the first indicator of the best choice of target. It’s true that .223 uses lighter bullets and is best used for plinking, varmints, and small game. However, modern technology has increased the penetration of the ammo, making it viable for taking down medium size game.

Varmints

Varmints most often include rodents, rabbits, gophers, groundhogs, and prairie dogs. Using a round with 35-55 grains will do the job nicely without breaking the bank.

Small Game

Small game includes larger critters like fox and coyotes, both of which can cause major destruction. The .223 cartridge will work in taking down small game, but it is recommended to use a heavier round from 50-69 grains.

Medium-Sized Game

There was a time with .223 wouldn’t take down a hog or a whitetail deer. While this ammo isn’t ideal for medium game, ammo containing 69 – 77 grain bullets will work just fine. Keep in mind that with big game, shot placement becomes more crucial.

Best .223 Varmint Hunting Ammo

“Varmints” or critters are simply small animals that make pests of themselves, often destroying property. These may include rabbits, gophers, rats and other rodents, weasels, groundhogs, etc. Because the animals are small, a great deal of power is not necessary. Medium-sized varmints and predators require more stopping power. These include coyotes, raccoons, skunks, opossums, feral dogs and cats.

Winchester Ammunition: Ballistic Silvertip 55 Grain Polymer-Tipped

The Ballistic Silvertip .223 ammo from Winchester has a polymer-tipped projectile. This is designed to prevent the bullet from deforming and allowing it to fragment for a quick expansion upon impact. This is especially important when taking down medium sized varmints and predators from a long distance.

Ballistics Info:

  • 3,240 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 1,282 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy
  • 55 Grain
  • Polymer Tipped Bullet
  • Nickel-Plated Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer

Remington Ammunition: JHP Cartridge 45 Grain JHP

Remington .223 ammo is a versatile round that serves well as part of your varmint hunting arsenal. The brass casing has non-corrosive characteristics which allows you to spend time stalking your pesky prey without fear of damaging the ammo or your weapon. The Jacketed Hollow Point offers reliable expansion, accuracy, and a flat trajectory.

Ballistics Info:

  • 3,550 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 45 Grain
  • JHP Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 1259 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Federal Ammunition: Premium 165 Grain Nosler Ballistic Tip

Federal Premium tops our list for the best .223 Remington ammo for varmint hunting. This new production ammo is designed for maximum reliability and performance. Hunters have been using Nosler Ballistic Tip Hunting bullets for nearly 25 years. These bullets are precision-made to provide the utmost quality and accuracy with every shot. The heavy jacket and polycarbonate tip prevent bullets from deformation during firing and remain intact at extreme velocities. Simply put, this is one hard hitting round that will get the job done.

Ballistic Info:

  • 3,240 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 55 Grain
  • Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer
  • 1282 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy

Hornady Ammunition: Varmint Express Ammo 55 Grain V-MAX

You can’t get more specific than Hornady’s Varmint Express when it comes to getting rid of the critters around your property. HornadyV-Max ammo works well at short or long range. Hornady eqips this cartridge with a solid polymer tip designed to deliver rapid expansion as well as a thick jacket that fragments upon impact.

Ballistics Info:

  • 3,240 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 1,282 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy
  • 55 Grain
  • V-MAX Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer

Federal Ammunition: Fusion Bonded BT

Shooters rate Federal Fusion as one of the best for varmint/game hunting ammunition. The reloadable rounds have a bonded core and offer high terminal performance down range. The heavier bullet weight and boat-tail design give excellent aerodynamics and allows for radiated shock upon impact.

Ballistic Info:

  • 3,000 FPS Muzzle Velocity
  • 1,239 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy
  • 62 Grain
  • FMJ Bullet
  • Brass Casing
  • Boxer Primer

Conclusion

Varmints don’t stand a chance against .223 Remington ammo. The cartridges are powerful enough to take down small pests and small to medium-sized game without breaking the bank. This ammo is versatile, accurate, inexpensive, and easy to find. Shooters choose .223 ammo as a good all-around choice that can be used with superior results.