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Old June 28, 2010, 11:07 PM   #10
Steven Mace
Senior Member
Join Date: November 15, 1999
Location: Clifton, Colorado USA
Posts: 724
The name “Atomic” is not a phrase that we coined, but instead dates back to the 1950’s. Around that time, Great Western Firearms was producing Colt Peacekeeper-type singles that were chambered for an assortment of calibers. One such offering was the .357 Magnum which was temporarily marketed under the guise of the “.357 Atomic”. The designation is only representative of a using 16.0 grains of 2400 and a 158 grain bullet in the .357 Magnum. It does catch your attention though; I know when I first read Sixguns by Keith, the mention of a .357 Atomic made me think of a wildcatted round (something that easily outperforms the Remington Magnum). As far as I know,
only a few Great Westerns were ever inscribed as Atomics, which accounts for their collectibility. The name is neat though and should be given to a round all its own.

Reference -

Regular calibers in the Great Western line were: .22LR, .22 Magnum, .38 Special, .357 Atomic, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, and .45 Colt. The name “Atomic” was used to take advantage of the sense of power of the nuclear weapons of the fifties, and a higher velocity .357 round was actually produced and tested by Weatherby. The cartridge case was dimensionally a standard .357 Magnum and would be considered a “+P” today. The round was allegedly manufactured by Herter’s and headstamped “.357 Atomic” but cartridge collectors have yet to see one. Most .44 Magnum cylinders are .050” longer at the recoil shield to allow for a recessed case head.

Hope this helps!

Steve Mace
After today, its all historical
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