Best .357 Magnum Ammo Review 2017 for Self-Defense/Range Training

Back to its history, the .357 Magnum or also known as the .357 S&W Magnum is designed and manufactured by the Smith & Wesson as well as Winchester brand. They are basically revolver or handgun cartridges that comes with .357 inch bullet diameter. So, what makes this ammunition special?

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Firstly, it is equipped with great and effective terminal ballistics when used for hunting, tactical defense or range training. It is based on the original .38 Special handgun cartridge. The only difference is that the .38 Special utilizes a different powder lead and the case extended by 3.2mm, in terms of length.

That being said, the best .357 Magnum ammo is either available in the standard 50 rounds per boxes or in bulks. Buying in bulks is suitable if you’re an avid hunter or if you plan to you them for practice or target training not to mention, it is a lot cheaper in terms of price per round.

Top 5 Rated .357 Magnum Ammo Comparison Table

Name of ProductWeightTypeRoundsMuzzle EnergyMuzzle VelocityPrice
Federal Ammunition158 grainJHP500539 ft lbs1240 fps$$$
Federal American Eagle Cartridge158 grainJSP1000530 ft lbs1240 fps$$$
Fiocchi Cartridges142 grainFMJ-TC1000636 ft lbs1420 fps$$$
CCI Blazer Rounds158 grainJHP50464 ft lbs1150 fps$$
Hornady Critical Defense Ammo125 grainFTX25824 ft lbs1500 fps$$

Bullet Weight & Type

First and foremost, the bullet weight is measured in unit grains. Moving on to the type, there are various bullet types out there with the popular ones being the jacketed hollow point (JHP) and full metal jacket (FMJ)-there are others as well but the well sought-out ones are these 2 types.

These 2 types differ in terms of expansion and penetration. Having the right amount of expansion and penetration is essential, however it also depends on the type of activity you’re using the ammo for. For instance, it should have deeper penetration characteristics if you’re hunting, especially for larger games meanwhile for range training, the penetration don’t matter that much because after all, you’ll just be punching holes in paper targets.

You can check out the different cartridge types and their specific details here.

Primer Type

What is the function of the primer, you may be wondering? To give you a better insight, the primer function to ignite the propellants or powder charge at the end of the gun’s barrel to prep the weapon upon, before firing a shot.

The most popular priming style in the United States, specifically for handguns are the boxer-primers. That being said, they are easily reloadable because you can conveniently remove and replace the old primers with the new ones by just a simple pin punch. Also, they are mostly made out of brass which ensures that it is non-corrosive, especially when in contact with moisture or the rain.

Best Self-Defense Ammo :

1. Federal Ammunition

Federal jacketed hollow point Ammunition

First and foremost, this product is manufactured by Federal, a rather popular brand that is commonly used for defense. It comes in a total of 500 rounds altogether, where all the 500 rounds are divided into 25 boxes per case and 20 rounds per box. That being said, the ammunition is arranged neatly, in an orderly manner inside the box which comes in handy for easy handling and removal of the rounds.

In my opinion, buying them in bulks are actually a plus point because you get to save cost because they are priced cheaper per round. If you’re an avid shooter, you should totally get the rounds in bulk because you can fire multiple rounds at once, with the rounds lasting for a long time. In addition to that, it is mainly utilized for self-defense purposes.

Moreover, the ammo casing is equipped with a nickel-plated brass construction. These alloy construction prevents corrosion on the casing, in the long run, especially when in contact with moisture and rain. Moving on to the primers, it is of the boxer-style which is rather popular in the United States.

In other words, each round is constructed with a reloadable brass casing as well as a clean-igniting boxer primer. In addition to that, the entire casing is nickel coated which comes in handy to prevent corrosion as well as ensure quick reload insertion and smooth ejection. The primer’s pocket on the other hand is sealed with a moisture-blocking coating which performs well under any environment.

Weighing 258 grain, this cartridge travels at a muzzle velocity of 1240 feet per second (fps), together with a muzzle energy measuring 539 foot pounds (ft lbs). The top of the casing houses a jacketed hollow point (JHP) bullet where its truncated cone shape enables for easy feeding and reliable expansion upon impact.

Upon entering the target, the bullet’s hollowed out shape and exposed lead tip will contribute to reliable mushrooming meanwhile its strong copper jacket and cannelure prevent separation hence resulting in the perfect combination of deep penetration as well as maximum energy transfer.

Apart from that, the width of the hollow cavity ensures that the rounds are safe to be used in lever action rifles with tubular magazines. Not only that, the hollow cavity of the bullet is jacketed with alloy metal coating to prevent fouling in the barrel and increase the bullet strength. Fancy gun oil to clean your weapon?

Suitable for :

    • Jacketed hollow point
    • Easy feeding and reliable expansion
    • Reloadable ammo casing (boxer-primed)
    • 500 rounds altogether

2. Federal American Eagle Cartridge

Federal American Eagle Cartridge

Manufactured by the Federal American Eagle, this bullet weighs 158 grain altogether. It is of the jacketed soft-point (JSP) type. If you’re wondering, the JSP is a classic bullet design that allows deep penetration not to mention, its lead alloy core provides great expansion. In addition to that, the flat point lead tip comes in handy to provide a good combination of penetration and expansion.

The partial jacket coating on the other hand prevents fouling in your barrel because there is no chance of your lead stripping inside the barrel. However, this ammunition has a really strong recoil, especially when used in smaller revolvers. The recoil is lesser and much easier to handle when used with larger weapons.

Furthermore, this product has 1000 rounds altogether (bulk ammunition). These 1000 rounds are divided into 50 rounds per box and 20 boxes per case. They are arranged in trays, in an organized manner to ensure simple handling, for your added convenience. Or, you can even get reloader strips to hold your ammo securely.

Not only that, these bulk ammo can be used for applications ranging from self-defense, wild boar and deer hunting according to your preference. In other words, this cartridge is multipurpose as it is suitable for hunting and self-defense as well as economical enough for range practice, according to your preference.

The ammo casing is made from brass construction, hence contributing to its durability in the long run because the alloy material ensures that it is non-corrosive. The popular boxer primer style on the other hand ensures that it is conveniently reloadable. In other words, the old primer can be removed and replaced with the new one, with just a simple pin punch.

Apart from that, the projectile leaves the muzzle and travels at a velocity of 1240 fps, together with muzzle energy measuring 539 ft lbs. The theory is rather straightforward; the heavier the bullet, the higher the velocity and energy therefore resulting in a more devastating result upon entering the target.

Suitable for :

    • Jacketed soft point (JSP)
    • Boxer-style primers
    • 1000 rounds in total
    • Strong recoil
    • 158 grain

3. Hornady Critical Defense Ammo

Hornady Critical Defense Ammo

This Hornady cartridge is designed to provide you with great critical defense, hence it’s obvious that this product is mainly used for self-defense purposes. Weighing 125 grains, it comes with a total of 25 rounds. To be honest, Hornady ammunition is a little pricey but I guarantee you, it will totally be well-worth your investment.

That being said, these 25 rounds are packed and neatly arranged in trays, in the box provided upon purchase. The orderly arrangement comes in handy for your added convenience, as you get simple access to the rounds when needed. All in all, these bullets are one of the most effective, consistent and reliable self-defense ammo out there. Why is that so?

First things first, they are cannelured and crimped to prevent bullet setback meanwhile the bullets are custom designed to fit individual loads. In terms of performance, the projectile leaves the muzzle and travels at a velocity measuring 1500 fps, together with 824 ft lbs muzzle energy. Also, it positively and reliably feeds in all pistols, thereby contributing to a great shooting experience.

In addition to that, this product is of the patented FTX (Flex Tip Expanding) type. Hence, it is able to provide great, controlled expansion upon entering the target as well as large and deep wound cavities over various range of velocities. Not only that, this design has excellent terminal performance and is a perfect fit in tubular magazines, found on most lever action rifles.

Furthermore, it is unaffected by heavy and thick leather such as denim and leather. The projectile also comes with stable as well as clean burning propellants which functions to reduce recoil in light weapons not forgetting, it performs well and consistently in all temperatures.

Another plus point of this product is that, it includes a minimal muzzle flash feature which comes in handy to provide you with great night vision. The shiny silver nickel plating on the other hand ensures that it is rust-resistant as well as easily visible under low light conditions. In terms of casing, it is of the boxer-priming style hence it can be easily reloaded according to your preference.

Suitable for :

    • Clean burning propellants
    • Patented FTX bullets
    • Silver nickel plating
    • Minimal muzzle flash
    • 25 rounds altogether

Best Range Training Ammo :

1. Fiocchi Cartridges

Fiocchi Range Shooting Cartridges

First and foremost, these cartridges are manufactured by Fiocchi. They come in 1000 rounds altogether hence sold as bulk ammunition where these thousand rounds are divided into 50 rounds per box and 20 boxes per case. Ammunition in bulks are mainly used for range training purposes because you can fire hundreds of rounds continuously without worrying about it getting finished.

Not to mention, getting them in bulks are a lot cheaper, in terms of price per rounds. Moving on to the casing, it includes the boxer-style primers made from brass construction. Hence, they are easily reloadable (since the old primers can be simply removed and replaced with the new ones) and non-corrosive due to the alloy metal construction, which further contributes to the durability of the casing.

Weighing 142 grains, the bullet travels at a muzzle velocity measuring 1420 fps, with muzzle energy measuring 636 ft lbs. The theory of the muzzle energy and velocity is rather simple; the heavier the bullet, the higher the energy and velocity therefore contributing to a more devastating result when in contact with the target.

If you have noticed, it has a rather high velocity and energy compared to almost all the .357 Magnum ammunition. Hence why, it is suitable to be used for long-range target shooting or planking, according to your preference.

Besides that, these rounds are of the full metal jacket truncated cone (FMJTC) type. By the name itself, it is quite obvious that it is shaped like a cone, with the tip cut off which is safe to use in lever action rifles that has tubular magazines. It is also said to provide more accuracy compared to the traditional round-nosed projectile.

The full metal jacket characteristics on the other hand ensures it has an excellent feeding system as well as provides deep penetration due to its heavy bullet weight. Therefore, if you plan on target shooting at long ranges, this product is a must have for you!

Suitable for :

  • 142 grain FMJTC bullet
  • Boxer-primed brass
  • 1000 rounds in total
  • High muzzle velocity and energy
  • Shaped like a cone with the tip cut off

2. CCI Blazer Rounds

CCI Blazer Range Training Rounds

The CCI Blazer is a well-known brand for manufacturing ammunition. In fact, it has developed an impressive reputation among gun enthusiast and avid shooters as a reliable and well-performing range training and practice ammo. That being said, it basically consists of aircraft grade aluminium cases paired with Speer bullet as well as CCI primers to deliver great accuracy and shooting performance.

Furthermore, it comes with a total of 50 rounds where these 50 rounds are packed neatly in a box for easy handling and removal when needed. As mentioned above, these rounds are designed specifically for target training which is just basically punching through paper targets.

Moving on to the bullet performance, it leaves the muzzle and travels at a velocity of 1150 fps, together with muzzle energy measuring 464 ft lbs. Just so you know, higher velocity and energy will contribute to deeper penetration which comes in handy if you’re targeting large games when hunting.

Weighing 158 grains, this product is of the jacketed hollow point (JHP) cartridge. In other words, it is equipped with a hollowed out shape which expands upon entering the target. Good expansion is essential when hunting for instance, because it will result in controlled penetration. For your information, controlled penetration prevents over-penetration which is dangerous as it may cause collateral damage.

In addition to that, the JHP bullet type basically consists of a harder metal coating over the hollow bullet which functions to increase the strength of the ammo as well as prevent fouling in the barrel, due to the lead stripping. Not only that, the primers are of the boxer-style which comes in handy as it is easily reloadable, for your added convenience.

Suitable for :

    • Jacketed hollow point
    • 50 rounds in total
    • Reliable range training ammo
    • Aircraft grade aluminium cases

Conclusion

Speaking about ammunition, there are many types out there, which solely depends on the type of weapon you’re using and your personal preference. If you’re using handguns for shooting, then the .357 Magnum rounds are a good choice to begin with. I hope my review assists you in making the right decision.

Also, don’t forget to get yourself a pair of shooting gloves to handle your gun smoothly.