The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old September 25, 2012, 09:59 PM   #1
rmocarsky
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2009
Posts: 365
.357 mag at war?

Gunners,

Has the .357 magnum ever been issued to any of our military for use in war?

Rmocarsky
rmocarsky is offline  
Old September 25, 2012, 10:06 PM   #2
old bear
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 3, 2009
Location: Not close enough to the beach
Posts: 1,160
I understand that the Navy SEALS were issued Smith and Wesson M-66's and M-686's. I would also think that any of our unconventional warriors would have a wide assortment of weapons to draw from.
old bear is offline  
Old September 25, 2012, 10:54 PM   #3
SIGSHR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 13, 2005
Posts: 3,076
Only example I know of is Patton's Registered Magnum, which he called his "killing gun", though there's no evidence he ever fired it in combat-unlike his Colt SAA. The use of anything other than FMJ ammunition by the military always creates complications. In of Charlie Askins' books he refers to his "pardner" Parker using one in the ETO.
SIGSHR is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 01:16 AM   #4
Redhawk5.5+P+
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 4, 2012
Location: NV
Posts: 743
Quote:
.357 mag at war?
Quote:
Has the .357 magnum ever been issued to any of our military for use in war?
War, or battle? No war, is not to battle with a .357mag revolver.

What was first, the egg (1911acp), or the chicken (.357mag)?

That is the question.

Carry on, superfly!
Redhawk5.5+P+ is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 06:47 AM   #5
jmr40
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 15, 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 5,950
Other than use by some Specal Forces I'm not aware of any that have been issued. Many other revolvers in 38 have been as recently as the Vietnam way. They were issued to pilots and possible a few others.

Lots of privately owned guns, such as General Pattons gun have found their way onto the front lines however.
jmr40 is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 08:51 AM   #6
mrt949
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 16, 2008
Posts: 1,465
EGG
mrt949 is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 08:57 AM   #7
badge851
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2005
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 237
While not an issued weapon, many soldiers carried their own 357 Mags during the Vietnam War. One Platoon Sergeant (SFC, E-7 USA) carried a Smith & Wesson® Mdl 27 in a shoulder holster. Anyone he shot didn't get back up; no second shots required! All our Chopper Jockeys were issued S&W 4" Skinny Barrel Mdl 10's (38 Special). As late as 1984, Army helicopter pilots still carried Mdl 10's. (The 130gr FMJ load was pretty anemic IMHO.)
__________________
Only two defining forces have ever died for you:
1. Jesus Christ.
2. The American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & Marine.
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.
badge851 is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 09:15 AM   #8
carguychris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 5,501
Quote:
Lots of privately owned guns, such as General Pattons gun have found their way onto the front lines however.
I recently read a memoir by a Vietnam War OH-6A scout helicopter pilot; he managed to bring a personally-owned 6" Colt Python to the front lines and sometimes used it to take one-handed potshots at the VC when he didn't need both hands on the controls. The doors of these helicopters were usually removed in combat, so he could shoot out either side, but he usually fired right-handed because they circled targets clockwise. This was primarily done so hot shell casings from the rear seat gunner / crew chief's M60 machine gun wouldn't blow back into the cabin, but it also helped minimize the muzzle blast from the Python (the pilot in Western helicopters usually sits on the RH side, so a right-handed shot would involve holding the gun out the door).

Of course, the helicopter was also armed with the rear-seat M60, and most of them were also subsequently equipped with forward-firing Minigun packs; the writer readily confessed that he mainly used the Python for shock value, and he doubts he ever hit any VC with it.

FWIW the US Army needed helicopter pilots so badly during the Vietnam War that they bypassed normal officer training and created a warrant officer program; these folks went through the same flight school as commissioned officers but didn't get the same administrative and leadership training and were given the option for shorter deployments. Since the typical warrant officer was a "short timer" who just wanted to fly helicopters for 2-4 years and then leave the military- rather than use the deployment as a stepping stone to a promotion to Colonel, command of a battalion, 20-year career, etc.- the warrant officers didn't have the same incentive to do things "by the book" and often got away with things that no 2LT would attempt.
__________________
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak
carguychris is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 09:23 AM   #9
Woody55
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 19, 2012
Location: East Texas
Posts: 407
I don't think that a .357 Magnum revolver has ever been a general issue weapon. Nor has it been used as an authorized substitute for a general issue weapon. It has, as has been pointed out above, something that those who were allowed or dared to pick their own pistol have carried.
Woody55 is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 10:41 AM   #10
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,474
"What was first, the egg (1911acp), or the chicken (.357mag)?"

The egg, by many years. The .45 ACP dates to c. 1905; the .357 didn't come along until 30 years later.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 10:48 AM   #11
Winchester_73
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Posts: 2,859
The egg in this example would be the year 1911 but as Jimmy K said, the 45 acp debuted in the Colt 1905 in 1905.
__________________
Winchester 73, the TFL user that won the west
Winchester_73 is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 10:50 AM   #12
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,003
"Lots of privately owned guns, such as General Pattons gun have found their way onto the front lines however."

My uncle was in in the Korean conflict, and at some point had my Grandfather send him a Smith & Wesson .357.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 02:33 PM   #13
Madcap_Magician
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 13, 2009
Location: MN
Posts: 618
I would guess that the issue with not being able to use hollow points would be easily negated by loading lead SWC, which has always been an effective .357 magnum load.
Madcap_Magician is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 02:48 PM   #14
Dragline45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 30, 2010
Posts: 2,470
As far as hollow points in the military, is it all expanding ammunition that is banned such as EFMJ, or just hollow points? IMO 9mm shines when used with HP's, although with FMJ not so much. When our soldiers are dealing with things like terrorists littering the roads with IED's you think we wouldn't be too concerned with our enemies being shot with HP ammunition. I know if it was me id sneak some EFMJ's in my mag and tell my superiors to screw if they found out, also one of the reasons I never joined the military. I just cant keep my mouth shut about unreasonable things.
Dragline45 is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 03:29 PM   #15
Webleymkv
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 20, 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 9,890
While generally forbidden today, the use of personally-owned weapons by U.S. soldiers was not as frowned upon in years past. As such, it would be rather unsurprising to hear of soldiers using privately-owned .357 Magnum revolvers in WWII, Korea, and possibly even Vietnam.

Quote:
I would guess that the issue with not being able to use hollow points would be easily negated by loading lead SWC, which has always been an effective .357 magnum load.
Quote:
As far as hollow points in the military, is it all expanding ammunition that is banned such as EFMJ, or just hollow points?
Declaration III of the Hague Convention of 1899 prohibits the use of "bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions." As such, most expanding bullets would probably be included in this definition. That being said, a lead SWC which is not designed to expand may not be prohibited, though the British did abandon their .380 Revolver Mk. I loading because of concern that the relatively soft LRN bullet may run afoul of the Hague Convention.

The United States, however, did not sign the Hague Convention of 1899 though we officially abide by it anyway. It is certainly possible that the .357 Magnum could've been used with FMJ ammunition as so-loaded ammunition was available as far back as the 1930's such as the Western Super-X 158gr "Metal Piercing" load. More likely, however, the revolvers were simply loaded with 158gr LSWC bullets and the Hague Convention ignored by the users.
__________________
Smith, and Wesson, and Me. -H. Callahan
Well waddaya know, one buwwet weft! -E. Fudd
All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures. -J. Caesar
Webleymkv is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 03:30 PM   #16
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,003
I'm not sure when the first hollowpoint .357 Magnum cartridges were offered commercially, but my guess is that most of the people who took these to war and were concerned about the Hague Accords used the "metal piercing" ammunition that was loaded by Remington, Peters, and Winchester/Western at various points in time starting in the late 1920s.

Essentially, it was full metal jacket bullet, or a metal capped bullet.

This type of ammo was originally developed in the 1920s and 1930s, during the heyday of the auto bandit period in US history, when police were having to fire on moving vehicles and were finding that their lead .38s just weren't getting the job done.

They were offered in .38 Special, .38 Super, .357 Magnum, and .45 Auto.

A number of people have said over the years that the jacket on many of these was quite thin and probably didn't help much, at all, in getting through the heavy metal in cars of the time.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old September 26, 2012, 04:41 PM   #17
Master Blaster 2
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 29, 2011
Posts: 895
I knew helicopter pilots in Vietnam who carried a .357. Of course it was their own private weapon.
Master Blaster 2 is offline  
Old September 27, 2012, 09:39 AM   #18
rodfac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 22, 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 1,517
I had two tours in Vietnam as an USAF pilot, flying the Bird Dog, O-1E (L-19 in Army parlance.) The first tour was as a Forward Air Controller with 5th Special Forces out of their B-camp at An Loc, lll Corps. My issue gun from the Air Force was a S&W M-15, Combat Masterpiece, and the issued rounds were 130 gr FMJ, .38 Specials. Soon after arriving at An Loc, I locked it up in the Team vault, and bummed a 1911A1 .45 ACP from the Berets. For the bulk of my time there, that's the gun that I carried, slept with, and it was only off my person when I was in a shower point. For a brief period, I carried a Browning Hi-Power in 9mm, just for its magazine capacity...

Personal firearms were officially discouraged by the Air Force, and getting one back home after your tour was over, was problematic...I left mine at home and carried issued arms while I was there.

I saw several .357 Magnums while there, two S&W's and a Ruger Blackhawk of all things. They were carried by senior Army officers, L/C and above, and BTW, the guy with the Ruger was killed in action during my tour, though I don't think another gun with a more modern action would have saved him...they were overrun in a night attack.

Best Regards, Rod
__________________
Our Flag does not fly because the wind blows against it, it is moved instead, by the dying breath of our patriots in uniform. Our Freedom is not free, it's been paid for many times over.
USAF Forward Air Controller, 5th Spl Forces,
An Loc, lll Corps, RVN, 69-70, Vietnam Vet '69-'73

Last edited by rodfac; September 27, 2012 at 07:56 PM.
rodfac is offline  
Old September 27, 2012, 09:49 AM   #19
Webleymkv
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 20, 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 9,890
Quote:
My issue gun from the Air Force was a S&W M-15, Combat Magnum, and the issued rounds were 130 gr FMJ, .38 Specials.
Just a minor point, but the M15 is a Combat Masterpiece rather than a Combat Magnum as the M15 was only ever chambered for .38 Special. The most similar gun that could be called a Combat Magnum would be the M19 which was based upon the M15.

This does bring up another interesting point. If one did take a personally owned .357 Magnum revolver to war, it could possibly be used with military-issue ammunition as .38 Special ammo had been in the supply chain since at least WWII if not earlier.

Another interesting tidbit is that the 130gr FMJ .38 Special loading used by the USAF was a very light loading. It was intentionally loaded very mildly out of deference to the M13 "Aircrewman" that was purchased by the military. The Aircrewman is not to be confused with the later M13 in .357 Magnum as the Aircrewman was, for all intents and purposes, a M12 Airweight fitted with an Aluminum cylinder. I've read that S&W currently considers the Aircrewman unsafe to fire and that, if one is sent to S&W for any sort of repair, it will return with a new steel cylinder fitted. Because of this and its low production numbers, the Aircrewman is a rather valuable collector's item worth a significant chunk of change.
__________________
Smith, and Wesson, and Me. -H. Callahan
Well waddaya know, one buwwet weft! -E. Fudd
All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures. -J. Caesar
Webleymkv is offline  
Old September 27, 2012, 10:06 AM   #20
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,003
Not to mention that virtually all of the Aircrewmen revolvers were run through crushers by the Air Force.

Problem is, you'll occsionally see a Model 12 Airweight with an early aluminum cylinder being passed off, either on purpose (fake) or by someone who doesn't know what he has) as an M12.

Even worse are the idiots (frauds) who try to pass on the standard Model 12 with a steel cylinder as an M12 Aircrewman.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old September 27, 2012, 12:47 PM   #21
Bob Wright
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 10, 2012
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Posts: 1,857
I recall Col. Charles Askins account of using a .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson to kill a German soldier while his crew was retrieving a disabled tank.

As to the metal penetrating bullets made in the 'Twenties and 'Thirties, maybe even into the 'Forties, these bullets had a hardened steel core under the jacket. Winchester sold these as "Hi-Way Master" ammunition.

These were not the same as the metal capped bullets that exposed the lead bearing surface. And during the 'Fifties, the Canadian firm Dominion loaded a .357 Magnum round with a 158 gr. RN full metal jacketed bullet. I bought some of these in the early 'Seventies.

Bob Wright
Bob Wright is offline  
Old September 27, 2012, 01:07 PM   #22
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,003
"As to the metal penetrating bullets made in the 'Twenties and 'Thirties, maybe even into the 'Forties, these bullets had a hardened steel core under the jacket."

Over the years there were numerous variations -- from soft lead to apparently some sort of zinc based white metal.

I've never heard, however, of any of them having penetrators in them.

Remember, even with the cars of the time, we're not talking armor plate, we're talking relatively thin (certainly thicker than today, though) mild sheet steel.

See here for some more information:

http://www.oldammo.com/may06.htm

There are also a number of threads online by people who have sectioned these bullets and have also found either dead soft lead or some type of composition metal.

AH! Excellent. Here's a page with some very nicely done section bullets, including a number of the kinds that we're talking about mixed in with much later versions...

http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Ammo_Cr...Handgun%20Ammo

Last picture, first row, last section is a .38 Spl. Western Olin. It has a MUCH thicker nose jacket profile.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.

Last edited by Mike Irwin; September 27, 2012 at 01:28 PM.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old September 27, 2012, 01:15 PM   #23
steveno
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 18, 2004
Location: Minden , Nebraska
Posts: 1,279
would you have been able to buy 357 mag ammo at the PX? either that or have the foresight to take several boxes of ammo with you on the way over. maybe relatives could have sent also?
steveno is offline  
Old September 27, 2012, 01:48 PM   #24
Jeff #111
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 25, 2001
Location: Idaho
Posts: 909
During the Korean War (1950-1953) I've read accounts of both U.S. Marines and U.S. Army troops using the .357 magnum and the 38-44 Heavy Duty/Outdoorsman.

Evidently this become more common (unofficially) after the first winter of the war when our troops discovered that the heavy quilted paddiing of the winter uniforms that the Chinese and North Korean soldiers wore gave them some protection from the M1 carbine 30 caliber load and even the 45ACP.

The .357 and the high velocity 38-44 loads would punch through the heavy padding with greater ease. Much of the fighting in Korea (especially after it became static in 1951) took place in trenches (i.e. close range) and a revolver was a very handy weapon to have. Evidently the higher velocity loads were effective. Nothing about the type of bullets that were used though.

I actually found reference to this situation in a 1950's edition of W.H.B. Smith's classic Small Arms of the World.
__________________
Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who didn't. Ben Franklin
Jeff #111 is online now  
Old September 27, 2012, 01:50 PM   #25
Jeff #111
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 25, 2001
Location: Idaho
Posts: 909
steveno

Quote:
would you have been able to buy 357 mag ammo at the PX? either that or have the foresight to take several boxes of ammo with you on the way over. maybe relatives could have sent also?
The impression I have is that in the 40's and 50's the U.S. mail was a little more loose about things like guns and ammo. Many a soldier recieved a handgun in the mail back then. I would imagine it was the same for ammo.
__________________
Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who didn't. Ben Franklin
Jeff #111 is online now  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13007 seconds with 7 queries