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.357 Rifle Ballistics vs .357 Pistol Ballistics

The ballistics of the .357 Magnum cartridge can differ depending on whether it is fired from a rifle or a pistol. Here's a comparison of the general ballistics between the two:

.357 Magnum Pistol:
- Barrel Length: Most .357 Magnum pistols have barrel lengths ranging from 2 to 6 inches.
- Velocity: With a shorter barrel, the velocity of .357 Magnum ammunition from a pistol tends to be lower compared to rifles. Typical velocities can range from around 1,200 to 1,500 feet per second (fps) depending on the specific load and barrel length.
- Energy: The energy of .357 Magnum pistol loads is generally lower compared to rifle loads, but still significant for a handgun. Typical energy levels can range from around 400 to 700 foot-pounds (ft-lbs) depending on the load and barrel length.
- Terminal Performance: .357 Magnum pistol ammunition can offer excellent stopping power and effective terminal performance, with good penetration and expansion when using appropriate bullets. It is commonly used for self-defense, law enforcement, and general-purpose handgun shooting.

.357 Magnum Rifle:
- Barrel Length: Most .357 Magnum rifles have longer barrels ranging from 16 to 20 inches or more.
- Velocity: The longer barrel of a rifle allows for increased velocity compared to pistols. Typical velocities can range from around 1,800 to 2,200 fps depending on the specific load and barrel length.
- Energy: The increased velocity from a rifle barrel translates to higher energy levels compared to pistols. Typical energy levels can range from around 800 to 1,200 ft-lbs depending on the load and barrel length.
- Terminal Performance: The higher velocity and energy of .357 Magnum rifle loads can result in improved terminal ballistics compared to pistols. The increased velocity can enhance expansion and penetration, making it effective for hunting medium-sized game at moderate ranges.

Overall, the longer barrel of a rifle allows for increased velocity and energy in .357 Magnum ammunition, which can translate to improved terminal performance and extended effective range compared to pistols. However, it's important to note that specific performance can vary depending on the ammunition load, bullet design, barrel length, and other factors. Always consult the manufacturer's recommendations and test different loads to determine the performance of your specific firearm.

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