Looking for the best revolver on the market? Perhaps I have a solution. It took a real life-threatening situation for me to realize a handgun is your best bet in such cases. And there is no better blend of easy use and great power than a 357 Magnum revolver.
What exactly do you need? One that’s quick to retrieve as a concealed carry when needed. Of course, you could opt for a larger firearm but I suggest that only if you’re experienced. As for the novice shooter, the smaller shotgun will work just fine—a 357 magnum revolver to be specific.
I must point out that picking one is never an easy task. With all manufacturers claiming their brand is the best, which is seldom the case, how do you know? That’s why I decided to write this article to review some of my preferred brands.
Any gun user will always have a favorite and, in my case, it’s the 608 Magnum from Taurus. This is mainly because it’s an affordable option but it’s quite high on functionality too. Plus, it’s the only one which houses the most rounds of ammunition which I like. But we’ll discuss it in depth later.
Let’s get you up to par on revolvers first.
At a Glance: Our 6 Best 357 Magnum Revolver Brands
- Taurus 608 6.5” 357 Magnum
- Smith & Wesson 686 Deluxe Handgun 357 Magnum
- Smith & Wesson 686 Deluxe Handgun 357 Magnum 38
- Black Hawk Handgun 357 Magnum
- Rossi 461 357 Magnum
- RUGER SP-101
Why a Magnum Revolver?
You’re probably wondering why a magnum revolver, right? My research concluded the following about this type of gun.
Comfortable to Handle
It goes without saying: In a dangerous situation you want to react as swiftly as possible. So, what better way than to pick a gun that has a comfortable grip?
Very Easy to Use
In emergency cases, there’s no time to fumble around with a gun as you get ready to shoot. A weapon that’s easy to use will make the difference between life and death. Beginners will particularly appreciate this product because it’s certainly easy to operate.
It may take you ages to find certain brands because of their exclusivity. Fortunately, that’s not the case with magnum revolvers which are readily accessible at many vendors.
As Affordable as They Come
Getting ammunition to protect yourself doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. It makes sense to pick this brand which I found to be quite affordable compared to the rest.
Compact & Lightweight
Chances are you’ll be carrying this gun everywhere you go for the most part. For that reason, it’s a good idea to consider this brand which is both compact and portable. Place it in your bag or suitcase without feeling hampered.
If you’re anything like me you’ll appreciate a product that’ll give you value for your money. That’s why I was happy to find out you can also use it for other purposes such as target shooting and hunting.
What to Look for When Picking a Revolver
As mentioned earlier, it’s no easy task deciding on the best revolver. Before you conclude your purchase, make sure you check for the following:
- Penetration Depth: Just how deep will the bullet go when fired? I must point out that this depends on the length of the barrel. Compared to other models, the magnum revolver has a penetration depth of 12’ when fired from 4.5’ long barrels.
- Muzzle Velocity: The average muzzle velocity of a magnum revolver is 1050FPS. If you’re unclear what this is, know this: It’s a good number which means it travels considerably fast before reaching its target.
- Barrel Diameter: Simply put, the size of the barrel will determine the performance. Generally anything less than 30” isn’t ideal as it won’t do as much damage.
- Barrel Length: Not only is barrel diameter worth considering but the length as well. Generally, the magnum revolvers aren’t the longest designs in the gun industry but they still come in varying lengths. Basically, the barrel length will determine the speed at which the bullet will travel, commonly known as the velocity. Judging from my experience, the gun with a longer barrel is the one you want.
- Material: The material will determine the longevity of the product. Spending a bit more money doesn’t always guarantee a gun with the strongest material. There is a number of options which are reasonably priced but durable. Generally, guns made of stainless steel are always best as they’re built to last.
- Rounds available in the ammunition: The revolvers are designed to chamber different rounds. By paying a little extra you’ll get a revolver that fires more rounds of ammunition. Shopping on a budget? Then be prepared to chamber less. This decision could also be a matter of personal preference.
Aside from picking the right one, let’s make sure you also use it correctly.
Pre-requisites to Using This Revolver
Considering the nature of the product, extra caution has to be taken when handling these revolvers. This is both for your safety and the people around you.
The first rule is to ensure the gun is always pointed in a safe direction—even if the gun is unloaded. This way it won’t cause any harm, especially in the event of an accidental firing. More on safety, make sure you always store it where it’s gun safe –away from children and non-gun users. A gun safe is always a good idea.
Finger off the Trigger
Unless you’re really ready to shoot, always keep your hand off the trigger. Rather place it on the trigger guard so you avoid the risk of injury in case it accidentally goes off.
Load it Only When Necessary
It’s best you load it only when you’re ready to shoot. Trust me, transporting or storing a loaded revolver is the last thing you want to do. Make sure you avoid accidents.
Like any other product, there are some facts you need to be clarified so you make the best pick. Hopefully, answering the following questions will address any concerns regarding these 357 magnum revolvers.
Single or double action?
It takes someone who has watched a western movie or two to understand what it means to “cock the hammer.”A single-action is basically when you manually cock the hammer before firing. If the trigger pull does the job for you, that’s what’s termed double action.
Why is this important?
Double action naturally is a faster method and will come in handy when you’re in an emergency situation. Naturally, a single-action will take longer to get the gun ready to shoot. An easy alternative is to find a revolver that switches between both actions.
Now, let’s list a few winners in the industry so you can get yours.
Reviews for the Top Rated Products
Taurus 608 6.5” 357 Magnum
I’d highly recommend this brand for those looking for a high-performance affordable handgun. Though cheaper, this Taurus revolver also performs exceptionally well.
- What’s surprising is, although it’s relatively cheaper than most models, it actually packs more rounds. While some brands of revolvers, for example, the Smith & Wesson revolvers chamber seven rounds, whereas this one has eight.
- Right out of the box, you’ll get a crisp trigger which makes it easy to use.
- Taurus utilized a couple of new innovations in the making of this model to improve the muzzle flip. This is thanks to the ported barrels specifically designed for that purpose.
- You’ll also appreciate that it has felt recoil for easier handling.
- It’s also lightweight considering it only weighs around 3lbs.
- The matte rubber exterior also makes for a comfortable grip.
Generally, most gun users working on a budget are drawn to this revolver as it’s considered a tough performance device. For such a reasonable price, I’m impressed that you still get accessories with this revolver.
- Reasonable price
- Fires 8 rounds
- Felt recoil
- Adjustable rear sight
- Matte finish difficult to clean
If you’re beginner you can consider picking this model as it offers high accuracy enough to boost your confidence regarding gun handling. Plus, it comes at a bargain.
Overall rating: 9/10
Smith & Wesson 686 Deluxe Handgun 357 Magnum
Who says guns can’t be stylish? Personally, I’m a fan of classic looks which is why this 686 Deluxe gun is one of my favorites, thanks to its attractive wooden design.
- A gun that allows for comfortable handling is always a good idea. Smith & Wesson took care of that when they decided to add that textured wood grip on this model. As a result, it’s pretty easy to handle which is a plus for beginner shooters.
- It’s chambered with seven rounds of 357 Magnum which shows it’s a high-performance unit.
- Aesthetics and performance aside, this is a solid gun which is built to last. This is thanks to the stainless steel that covers most of the gun.
- The barrel length is 6” and the overall length of the gun is 11.5” which is a pretty good size. As you’re aware shorter is always better especially if you’re not shooting from a great distance.
Generally, a lot of people—myself included—love this small handgun because of its portability. This makes it pretty easy to carry around which is quite handy if you’re looking for ways to feel safer during your general routine.
Let’s not forget how versatile it is. Aside from using it as a protection weapon, you can use it for sport-shooting. Even the gun collector will find this classic gun a worthy addition to his or her collection. I know I did.
- Visually pleasing
- Easy to handle
- A bit expensive
- Accuracy questionable
Overall rating: 8/10
Smith & Wesson 686 Deluxe Handgun 357 Magnum 38
This is more or less similar to the previous model with regards to looks and functionality. The only difference is the shorter barrel length.
- It’s also made of stainless steel so it’s definitely going to last you longer.
- Though smaller, it’s also a high-performance unit which chambers seven rounds of ammunition.
- You’ll most probably find it very easy to handle, thanks to its textured grip.
- Because of its compact nature, it can easily be concealed without most people noticing you have a weapon in your possession.
- It’s quite portable making it super easy to carry around. Weighing just over 2lbs., you can tell it’s pretty lightweight which means you can move with it comfortably. It also makes for easier handling.
- Good as a car-defense pistol.
The general consensus is that it makes a good concealed weapon. It’s more likely to be easy to retrieve thanks to its small size. Beginners, in particular, will find this useful as it’s not difficult to operate.
However, the short barrel length might compromise on the speed of the ammunition. Nonetheless, I still believe it’s effective enough to cause substantial damage when necessary.
For such a small handgun, most users are surprised it’s in the same price range as the other longer ones. I’d have thought it would be slightly cheaper. That’s good news all around.
- Easy to conceal
- Simple to operate
- Comfortable grip
- Low muzzle velocity
I like that this gun allows for easy handling. A gun with a comfortable grip will always come in handy when the need to use it arises.
Overall rating: 8/10
Black Hawk Handgun 357 Magnum
Ask any avid gun user and they’ll tell you the Blackhawk range of guns is a popular selection. The guns are considered the best on the market thanks to their affordability and functionality.
- The first thing that impressed me with this model was the solid frame. As a result, you can tell that it will last you longer.
- It utilizes the manual method of cocking the chamber before firing a shot since it’s a single action device.
- Because of its comfortable feel, you’re less likely to have problems when using it. The ergonomic grip ensures handling is a breeze, no matter your level of experience.
- All coil spring mechanism for quicker release of ammunition.
- The adjustable rear sights are something worth mentioning as you’ll find them very useful.
Most people are impressed with this upgraded version of the 357 Magnum within the Black Hawk range. While maintaining the same quality, the manufacturer added a couple of new interesting features to enhance the performance.
The patented transfer bar ignition system with the loading gate interlock is one example of innovation. This essentially means the risk of accidentally setting off the gun is greatly reduced.
- Easy to handle
- Sturdy design
- Six rounds
The rugged design makes this gun worth considering. For the price, you’ll definitely get a bargain. Also, because it’s one of the most durable products on my list, you’re getting value for your money.
Overall rating: 8/10
Rossi 461 357 Magnum
Rossi is known for its reliable performance and this 461 model is no exception. If your preference is the smaller to medium sized handgun, then this is for you.
- Its small frame makes it easy to handle which will be pretty convenient when faced with a compromising situation.
- You’ll find theses revolvers are available in different lengths however this one has a very short barrel: 2” long.
- The contoured finger grooves allow you to grip the device firmly offering maximum shooting comfort.
- Though small, this nifty device is quite strong. The forged steel ensures the durability of the unit.
- Like the Black Hawk, it also chambers only six rounds though it’s a considerably high-performance unit.
- With a length of 6.5” and a barrel length of 2”, it’s the smallest gun on the list. It is, therefore, best suited for those still new at handling guns as it’s much easier to use than its bigger counterparts.
- With a weight of just under 2lbs. it’s clearly a lightweight unit which makes it easy to carry around.
For such a short barrel length, you really can’t expect much with regards to velocity. The bullet won’t be traveling at the highest of speeds though it’s still effective enough to cause some damage. On a lighter note, I find the blue finish quite different and appealing.
- Powerful unit
- Compact size
- Pretty lightweight
- Low muzzle velocity
If a quality product is what you’re looking for that’s exactly what you’ll get if you purchase this one. It also helps that it’s the cheapest of the five models but not compromising on performance.
Overall rating: 7.5/10
Here is another revolver with an exceptionally short barrel, but it’s still worth a look. It looks quite stubby but don’t think it’s not powerful. The bonus is of course that you can easily store it in a bag thanks to the compact design.
- It only has a capacity for five rounds which is quite unique on this list we discussed. Of course, this would make it even lighter in your bag, so it could be an advantage. Just know that for sport-shooting or even self-defense you may have to practice loading it quickly.
- Note that it’s a DOA (double action only), so make sure whether this is your preferred shooting method before you buy.
- The quality design has no side plates that could make it less sturdy. That along with the stainless steel frame makes it exceptionally durable. You’ll be using this for years to come.
- It’s quite manageable in weight. At 1.57lbs. it’s lighter than some I’ve mentioned. Once again this adds to its portability; it won’t feel cumbersome in your bag or even your pocket.
- There are synthetic grips which you’ll either love or hate. It’s all about what you prefer next to your skin when you’re trying to concentrate.
I must mention that the stainless steel design is a perk if you need it for humid conditions or if you end up using it on a rainy day. There’s less chance of it malfunctioning due to moisture, compared to other guns that incorporate blued steel.
- Compact design for easy carrying
- Durable gun
- Won’t disappoint you even if there’s moisture
- No special tools needed for maintenance
- Extremely short muzzle (not all gun owners prefer this)
- Only takes five bullets
It’s a favorite in the industry for a reason: it’s durable and that’s what you want from a gun. It’s a long-term investment after all. The short barrel makes it more portable, enabling you to carry protection in more scenarios.
Overall rating: 7/10
Other Brands Worth Considering
The market is flooded with options and your personal preferences matter when you’re shopping for a handgun. To broaden your search and make a more informed decision, have a look at the following alternatives:
Want something smaller and more subtle? Read our thoughts on the Ruger SR9C and our picks on concealed carry revolvers.
Self-defense more often than not means you’re reacting to a dangerous situation without the intention to kill. For that, you need a plan of action.
While I certainly hope you’ll never get to you use it, I can’t promise that a life-threatening situation will never present itself. The best you can do is to be prepared.
The point is to at least wound the attacker to render him or her powerless. This is why carrying a high-performance gun that’s effective at getting the job done will work to your advantage. Either that or you risk being the injured party.
You have more options than simply waiting to see what will happen. One of these products could be your solution.
Do you have more questions? Leave a comment below and let’s help each other use guns more responsibly and effectively.
great article, though the photos of the S&W deluxe do not correspond to the article.