View Full Version : .357 Cowboy Guns

10-26-2009, 10:04 AM
Greetings :-),

Does anyone happen to know when good quality single action revolvers and lever action carbines began to be availible in the US in .357 Magnum?

Thanks :-),

Wayne K
10-26-2009, 10:30 AM
The .357 was introduced in 1937.

Richard White
10-26-2009, 03:59 PM
Assuming you're meaning cowboy gun as single action revolver, here's link to a number of single actions:

Gun Directory (http://www.gunshowdirectory.com/body.asp?gun=Revolver&pp=1&sort=-3&framID=70&framD=19th+century+style%2C+single+action+revolver s&fram=Single%20Action)

That was the first one I found on Google. I searched on "Single Action Revolver, .357"

You might be able to narrow the search if you have a specific manufacturer in mind.

10-27-2009, 12:09 AM
Assuming you're meaning cowboy gun as single action revolver, here's link to a number of single actions

Thanks :-). I know what's availible now, though. What I'm after is when good quality single action revolvers and lever action carbines started being chambered in .357 Magnum. I know it was before the current Cowboy Action Shooting craze began a renaissance in the availibility of 19th century replicas and I've heard that it was one of the first modern calibers to be chambered in such weapons after WWII, but I don't know when.

10-27-2009, 06:59 PM
Cowboys, at least as we conventionally think of them, and during the times of which we conventionally think, didn't have .357 Magnums.

The 357 Magnum was introduced in 1935 as the result of Smith & Wesson's extensive research with high-performance 38 Special loads. Much of this interest was stimulated by Elmer Keith and Phil Sharpe, who found that heavy charges of quick-burning rifle powders in a 38 case could achieve significant increases in velocity and game performance.

Major D.B. Wesson wisely noted that a 38 Special cartridge loaded to very high pressures would be a severe hazard if accidentally fired in one of the lighter framed 38 Special revolvers. To avoid this, he designed a new cartridge that was physically identical to the 38 Special except for case length. The extra .135” of case prevented the new cartridge from chambering in 38 Special revolvers.

Thus was born the first “Magnum” handgun cartridge...

The popularity of the 357 didn't take off until after the Korean War...

From: Speer Reloading Manual, Rifle & Pistol, No. 13

10-27-2009, 09:28 PM
Summonere is correct. Cowboys didn't use .357's. It would be much more realistic to have someone using a .44 or .45 single action revolver. A .39 wouldn't be bad either. The single action Colt .45 was very common.

10-28-2009, 03:28 AM
Speaking of cowboys...

Didn't Louis L'Amour's Sacketts favor the .44? (The non-magnum variety, that is, the magnum having not been created until 1956.)

10-28-2009, 03:41 AM
If I remember my history right, the US Navy switched from 38's to 45's during or shortly after the Boxer rebellion because a 38 did not have the stopping power. If there were higher caliber or magnum loads readily available at that time, I am sure the navy would have went with them instead.

Cowboys of the old west tended to favor 38's, 44's and 45's for their revolvers, and many lever action rifles used the same ammunition so the cowboy did not have to worry about running out of one kind. They were interchangeable...

Magnum loads did not arrive until after WW2 if memory serves me but did not become popular until after the Korean War. Way after our traditional cowboys rode off into the sunset...

Nick Anthony

10-28-2009, 03:50 AM
Yep, these guys are right. The most ubiquitous "cowboy" round would probably be the .45, specifically the .45 Colt, which was adopted for their Single Action Army but ended up being used by the Military for close to 20 years and is still a popular cartridge today. The .45 was pretty much the standard at the time, though as others have stated there were plenty of revolvers chambered in .44, .39, .41 (check out the Volcanic pistol for a cool little example of this caliber), .31, you name it.

Others have said it already, with a little bit of variance on the date, but the .357 Magnum (technically the .357 S&W Magnum to differentiate from the .357 SIG round) was introduced in 1934 to replace the .38 Special, its parent case. There is no "non-magnum" version of the .357 cartridge, and cowboys would obviously not have had access to them.