At a Glance: Best .357 Revolvers
Comparison of The Best .357 Revolvers
Our Top Pick
|Smith & Wesson Model 627 Pro Series||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Model 5033 Ruger Redhawk .357 Magnum||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Ruger GP100 .357 Mag||View Latest Price|
If you’re looking for something that never goes out of style, what better choice than a .357 revolver! A go-to for many gun enthusiasts, revolvers have sleek designs and proven reliable performance.
Unsurprisingly, all brands and models seem to make claims of being among the best .357 revolvers in the market. Choosing the one that feels right for you can, thus, be overwhelming.
In this article, we’ve rounded up information on powerhouse revolvers to help you decide with confidence. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to upgrade, here are a few of the best .357 revolvers of all time.
The Top 8 Best .357 Revolvers
Smith & Wesson Model 627 Pro Series
The Smith & Wesson Model 627 Pro Series is an excellent double-action revolver built on an N-frame. An all-stainless steel design chambered in 357 Mag, this revolver is not your average rail. When it was first introduced in 1989, it featured a 6-round capacity. Sometimes referred to as “the Model of 1989”, its capacity was upgraded to a total of 8 rounds in 1996.
Aesthetically, the 627 has a distinct look. It has a 4-inch barrel with an end that is beveled. Both the hammer and the trigger are case-hardened.
Coming in either synthetic or wood grips, this revolver is a top choice among shooters and handgun enthusiasts. You’ll be impressed by the gun’s trigger pull, which boasts a heavy-action squeeze that is consistent and smooth. With this revolver, it is easy to shoot, and you can maintain the accuracy level that you are aiming for even when you are firing double.
Since it is a revolver, expect that it doesn’t have an external thumb safety. Still, as expected from Smith & Wesson, they managed to incorporate a safety feature through a built-in lock. You’ll find a tiny keyhole in the cylinder release to lock the revolver when not in use.
The 627 is good for hunting. However, concealing it and finding a holster are a little difficult, given its size.
- Excellent trigger pull
- With safety lock feature
- Holds 8-shots
- Great overall appearance
- Useful for hunting
- Concealment issues due to size
- Challenges in finding the right holster size
Model 5033 Ruger Redhawk .357 Magnum
Completely rugged, the Ruger Redhawk 5033 revolver has a reputation that is hard to beat.
With its 2.5-inch snub nose barrel and 8-round cylinder, this model is ideal for everyday use and carry.
The cylinder itself is a beauty. It is cut for moon clips and ideal as an aftermarket promotion for the brand’s holsters. The grip is a beautiful rosewood with the exclusive Ruger medallions inset. Owing to its design, this model feels good in the hand.
This stainless steel revolver is a mainstay for many shooting enthusiasts. With its clear, red front sight insert and manageable recoil, the Redhawk can produce an excellent trigger pull. Despite its weight and size, the revolver has an accuracy that is on point.
In terms of drawbacks I find it quite heavy, and its size is massive compared to other revolvers. The gun’s weight in the waistband may need some time getting used to. Although it’s on the chunkier side, the action trigger remains consistent and smooth. Also, the grip does not have any rubber medium to help absorb the recoil.
- Beautiful rosewood grip
- Holds 8-shots
- Excellent trigger and manageable recoil
- Above-average accuracy
- Heavy and not for everyday carry
- Lacks rubber on the grip to help with recoil
Ruger GP100 .357 Mag
If you want a revolver known for its consistent accuracy and dependability, look no further. The Ruger GP 100 .357 Mag is everything you need!
This model features a smooth and double-action trigger pull made of strong steel that is corrosion resistant. Maintaining this revolver is a breeze: having no side plate, it can be broken into several subassemblies without the need for tools.
Keen on safety, the Ruger brand has incorporated an exclusive transfer-bar mechanism that prevents any accidental discharges. The model also has a triple locking cylinder, which provides positive alignment after every round.
The revolver’s textured Hogue Monogrips with finger grooves guarantee a secure grip with every shot. The revolver also boasts a manageable recoil.
Perfect for home security, self-defense, outdoor carry, and target shooting, this U.S.-made revolver is a wonderful addition to your collection.
The only drawback is its overall build. It is heavy, big, and it also has some rough edges on some of its parts (for instance, its trigger).
Still, the Ruger GP 100 is one of the best .357 revolvers available today hands down.
- No special tools required for maintenance
- Comes with Hogue Monogrips
- Made in the United States
- Heavy and big
- Some sides and parts are sharp
“S&W” Model 686
The Smith and Wesson 686 is part of the brand’s L-frame revolvers, which are designed for serious firearms aficionados. With a lineage dating back to 1981, this revolver is considered as the stainless version of the original blued Model 586.
Model 686 is available in 6-shot or 7-shot strong, durable cylinders. The barrel is built for uninterrupted magnum use. Police and law enforcers, as well as hunters, can attest to this gun’s ability to withstand heavy use. It is intended to be a “go-to and must-have revolver” and not as a display piece.
This revolver has rubber grips and finger grooves that allow for a comfortable grip. Its double-action trigger has a pull weight that is just around 10 pounds. If single action, the trigger further drops to just 4.3 pounds.
However, its design is beefier compared to other revolvers. It is heftier, especially toward the muzzle, so one may struggle with the balance when using it. But the balance does not impact the model’s accuracy. Additionally, because of its design, this revolver is not for concealed carry.
- Solid and durable frame
- Meant for everyday use
- Excellent rubber grips and finger grooves
- 6-round capacity
- Minor challenge with balance due to weight
- Not for concealed carry
Taurus 605PLYSS2 Polymer
A quintessential 5-shot revolver, the Taurus 605 is a 2-inch barreled snub nose revolver with small sights, a little grip, and a heavy trigger.
Unlike most of the Taurus’s semi-auto counterparts, this model is worthy of being in the frontlines.
It comes with two keys for the integrated locking mechanism found on the rear of the revolver’s hammer. The rubber grip’s size is adequate and it also covers the backstrap, providing cushioning to the blow when running a series of hot loads.
What this model lacks in size, it compensates with its shooting power and accuracy. Having a stainless finish, this revolver is also easy on the hands.
The front sights of the Taurus are nicely serrated. The trigger is smooth without any visible hitches. It works effortlessly through the revolver’s mechanics of retracting and rotating the cylinder, and with the release of the hammer.
Minor drawbacks though not deal breakers, would be that its spur is rather abbreviated compared to the other revolvers. As a result, this revolver may be harder to use when pressed for time. I’ve found its single-action trigger press a little heavy, so it takes time getting used to it. This gun is not ideal for concealment.
- Small sights ad a heavy trigger
- Incorporated with a locking mechanism
- Accurate and feels great on the hands
- Smooth trigger
- A little hard to put into action
- Not for concealed carry
Smith & Wesson Model 60 .357 Magnum
With an all-stainless construction and its recoil reduced, this one can be classified in the ‘fun-gun’ category and meant for a pleasant shooting experience.
Being a Smith & Wesson revolver, expect this model to have a consistent and reliable recoil management, and quick follow-ups. An instant hit since 1965, it is one of the most well-known and the very first stainless steel revolver.
One adjective to describe the Smith & Wesson 60 is smooth. From its trigger pull to its cylinder release, it has zero snags. With proper use, this revolver will never scratch or blister the skin. Every gun enthusiast’s dream – the smooth and seamless trigger lets you have fast follow-up shots even if you are in double action mode.
This revolver deserves another star because its 3-inch barrel gives lots of room for a full-length ejector rod. If you are into a working defensive revolver, this is a must-have.
This model, however, needs better grips so it’s easier to carry around. It is also twice as heavy as the lighter models.
- Reduced recoil
- Overall smooth performance
- Zero snag trigger
- Ideal for a full-length ejector rod
- Grips can be improved
- Weight is twice as heavy
Ruger Model SP-101
The SP-101 is another Ruger model. With its seamless details and effortless finish, it is considered to be among the best .357 revolvers available today.
This is the softest shooting 2.25-inch barreled .357 mag pistol today. The real-deal lady revolver, it is the ideal gun you’d want for a newbie, especially a woman. You’ll be surprised with the accuracy this revolver provides.
This Ruger has a short grip, making it perfect for concealed carry. The rubber grips, included with the plastic side panels, are excellent add-ons. With these grips, the revolver will securely stick to your hands, but not on your shirt.
When it comes to adjustability, you can modify the grips to either wood, rubber, Crimson Trace, or whatever you want to incorporate. If you are confident about your skills, you can also make changes on the front sight and even smooth the trigger. While most revolvers share these features, the SP-101’s real edge is its stainless steel construction. Its shape and edges will not hurt or give you the slightest scratch.
The Ruger SP-101 is not without drawback. It has a heavy build. Additionally, it requires more than two fingers to control the man-stopper rounds securely. It is also advisable to purchase a Hogue mono grip for better results. The sights are pretty minimal too.
- Exceptional adjustability
- Considered a woman’s powerful revolver
- Perfectly concealed
- Incorporated rubber grips
- Two fingers are not enough to control the man-stopper
- Minimal sights
Colt King Cobra 357 Magnum 6 Round Revolver
Colt is an iconic brand, and every gun enthusiast aims to include one in their collection.
The King Cobra 357 has a lot of similarities with the previously released 2017 Cobra. It carries the same internal lock work, sights, and grips. The model utilizes a leaf mainspring design. It is somewhat a tamed version of the Colt’s Python, but with an improved coil spring arrangement.
Using the King Cobra will never be complicated. The cylinder which is released by a slight pull to its rear follows a clockwise rotating pattern, unique for all Colts.
Part of the King Cobra’s lock work is the firing pin, which is held in place in the frame and a transfer-bar safety. All parts of this revolver are made from a premium grade stainless steel metal injection molded manufacturing.
The King Cobra comes with a well-designed overall finish of brushed steel, except for the bead-blasted top strap that cuts the glare when you align the sights.
This model also comes with the ever-reliable rubber Hogue grip to achieve that overall utilitarian look. The 5-finger grip means you won’t have an awkward pinky that feels out of place. The grip is solid and full-sized.
The only shortcoming of this revolver is that its cylinder tube is shorter than most of its competitors.
- Integrated internal lock work
- Clockwise rotating pattern for the cylinder
- Premium grade stainless steel material
- Incorporated rubber Hogue grip
- 5-finger grip structure
- Cylinder is short
History of the .357 Magnum Cartridges
A .357 magnum is a great purchase and an excellent addition to your collection. It is certainly a value-for-money and a practical investment. Gun collectors and enthusiasts typically would have one or two revolver models.
Let’s Take a Look into the Colorful History of the .357 Magnum
In 1935, Smith & Wesson introduced the .357 Magnum cartridge. However, it was Winchester Ammunition that directly worked with S&W to commercialize this revolver.
Phil Sharp and Major Douglas Wesson took it upon themselves to complete the last leg of the development work. They diligently consulted with Elmer Keith, who had vast experience in developing heavy bullet loads that have higher than normal muzzle speeds.
The .357 magnum ushered in the handgun ammunition era
It has since become well-known for its dependable one-shot stopping power. When it was introduced, the .357 magnum was considered the most commanding handgun. It was chambered with Smith & Wesson’s heaviest revolver frame, referred to as the N-frame. The N-frame revolver was a special order introduced, ironically, during the Great Depression.
Every revolver produced was being registered with the name of the factory that crafted it; a certificate was associated with the registration. The Smith & Wesson’s “Registered Magnum” created quite a stir and piqued a lot of interest including that of legendary lawmaker J. Edgar Hoover, who received the Registered Magnum Certificate #1.
To this day, the .357 magnum remains a top favorite: a go-to option for gun enthusiasts and users of varying skills.
How to Choose the Best .357 Magnum Revolver
With so many options available, choosing the best .357 revolvers can be daunting. You therefore need to identify and outline your preferences and needs and consider the following factors:
When it comes to revolvers, a longer barrel can provide you with added velocity compared to a shorter one. Revolvers with a long barrel can be beneficial for shooting at long distances.
However, when it comes to concealment, a .357 revolver with a barrel size of less than 4-inches will be easier to hide. Revolvers with short barrel pistols are also more convenient, especially for those who tend to carry their revolver for extended periods.
Revolvers perform excellently irrespective of barrel size. You need to identify the revolver’s main purpose and how often it will be used. If you are still uncertain, going for a barrel size of 3-inches to 4-inches is a practical and smart idea.
With so many models and brands carrying the .357 revolver, creating a list can help. You can either go for the tried and proven brands, which have been around for decades, or take a chance on the promising new players.
Before deciding on frame size lets differentiate the .357 revolver’s most common frames:
- J-Frame: This has a barrel dimension of 0.699 inches and a cylinder diameter of 1.306 inches. Perfect for daily concealed carry because of its lightweight built, you can comfortably carry this revolver type all day long.
- K-Frame: This barrel measures 0.820 inches, while its cylinder diameter is 1.446 inches. This frame size offers a fine balance on “shootability” without being too massive for concealment.
- L-Frame: The cylinder measures 1.559 inches with a barrel size of 0.838 inches. This is larger in its built and heavier, which makes concealment a problem.
- N-Frame: With a 1.896 inches barrel size and a 1.710 inches cylinder diameter, users can handle this .357 revolver’s recoil effortlessly. The disadvantage is that models with this frame are too heavy for both concealed and open carry.
Is the .357 Magnum Revolver Good for Beginners?
Despite its power and effectiveness, the .357 magnum revolver is a relatively misunderstood cartridge. If you are a novice in gun shooting or want to try it for the experience, you can not go wrong with a .357 magnum revolver.
Here’s Why This Revolver Is Good For Beginners:
- Readily accessible: A .357 revolver is efficient and should be enough for newbies and those who want to learn shooting. Plus, you don’t need to search hard if you want a .357 mag revolver because it can be readily purchased.
- Uncomplicated use: The .357 revolver is very simple to use. As long as you can hold the revolver and pull the trigger, you can start practicing. No theoretical training is needed at this point. One just needs to aim better continuously, and learning to use a revolver is a good starting point.
- Fundamental foundation: A .357 magnum revolver is arguably the most solid choice to establish your fundamentals on how a gun works, how to handle it properly, and how to shoot.
- Uncomplicated troubleshooting: Again, the chances of jams and misfires (common among newbies) are minimal with revolvers. In cases of a misfire, the probability is that the next shot will most likely fire without any hitches. This makes revolvers an ideal self-defense weapon of choice.
How Bad is the Recoil of a .357 Magnum?
The revolver’s size and weight have an impact on the gun’s recoil. Since most .357 revolvers are on the heavy side, their recoil is mild and manageable.
If you are having issues with the recoil, and it impacts your comfort level, your confidence in using the revolver, and overall performance, consider checking your grip and stance. That’s because an incorrect grip or stance may cause the recoil to be felt stronger than it really is.
The recoil is not as bad as you think. It becomes less noticeable the longer you get accustomed to using your revolver.
What are the Best Uses for the .357 Revolver?
With its versatility and accuracy, the .357 magnum revolver is trusted by gun enthusiasts, civilian shooters, and even law enforcers. Here are the 3 most common (and best) uses:
With its no-fuss design, you can use a .357 revolver readily even if you haven’t fired any gun before. In cases where you are injured, you can still shoot, and you can be confident that this gun will fire.
Additionally, should you be out of bullets, revolvers’ solid build can be an additional weapon. As cliche as it may sound, you can use this revolver to knock people over the head.
The .357 revolver is not just for newbies; it can also be used for hunting. Minus the complicated sights, elevation, and windage, a .357 revolver has enough power to take down small to medium game. Caution, though: A single shot can produce much noise, which can disturb the whole hunting scene and cause creatures to hide.
The .357 revolver can act as a secondary defense weapon. This setup is helpful in cases where primary gun misfires and lives are at stake. Most police officers and law enforcement carry a .357 revolver as their back-up weapon.
Advantages of the Revolver’s Compared to Modern Defense Pistols
Revolvers are not used today as much as they were in the past. Still, they can hold their own, even against modern defense pistols. Listed below are the reasons why revolvers are here to stay.
Minimal to Zero Malfunctions
Revolvers are among the simplest guns to operate because they have no controls that require mastering for you to use them. No training is required to use a revolver, unlike with an auto-loader. Revolvers rarely misfire. Following the correct reloading process ensures it works optimally. If a revolver fails to fire, pulling the trigger again will most likely solve the issue. With this, you spend less time on the theories, and more time actually shooting.
Many misconceptions exist about revolvers being difficult to conceal because of their cylinder. Despite their cylinder, revolvers are easy to conceal. In automatic pistols, the squared-off part of the frame typically sticks out. For revolvers, what usually shows up is the shorter and rounded grip; however, this part can be hidden quite well. The revolver’s grip is usually rounded and does not protrude that far because it is shorter and smoother than that of modern pistols. A revolver also does not leave an obvious outline under your clothes and requires zero fumblings when taking out. After getting the grip, you just need to yank the revolver out of your pocket or waistband and it’s ready for use.
This is a huge consideration when shopping for a gun. Buying a gun typically entails much financial consideration in addition to the gun’s upfront costs. Revolvers are more budget-friendly than modern, automatic pistols. With revolvers, you also don’t need to factor in the magazines’ cost.Additionally, legalities require extensive testing on autoloaders specific to the defensive ammunition that you are planning to carry, and these specific ammo prices are expensive. With a revolver, you are just testing for the point of aim to make adjustments on the sights or validate the bullet’s power matches non-adjustable sights. Once you’re done with the testing, you can go back and revert to the revolver’s cheaper ammo for practice.
You should be able to use your gun whenever you need to. With a revolver, you can do just that because it is not dependent on having the right grip to function. This means that you can use it and shoot even when you are injured and in an awkward position. You won’t need to worry about jams, which are sometimes an issue with autoloaders. Simply pull the revolver’s trigger, and it will fire.
What is the Best 357 Revolver?
The Smith & Wesson and the Ruger brands have proven their worth for decades in producing the best .357 revolvers. The design and functionality of their revolvers are outstanding. Even to this day, their revolvers perform well — these brands clearly refuse to get stuck on the sidelines! Instead, they have continuously remodeled and rebuilt their products in their quest for improved versions of their early .357 revolver models.
Thanks to their passion and commitment to bringing out the best features possible, today we have a number of remarkable .357 models to choose from.
With the revolver’s versatility, and depending on your need, you can work with a .357 model that fits your barrel and frame size requirements. What’s more, you can have peace of mind knowing that you purchased something that is timeless and classic.