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Old January 3, 2019, 01:26 PM   #1
2wheelwander
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.357 Sig opinions

I'd like some real world opinions/experience with this round. Long story short, I have been offered some of this ammunition, enough to make it worth my while to buy a firearm chambered for it. Never bought it in any platform because of the ammo costs. I can reload it if I go this route.

Those who have owned it, shot it, and keep up on this more than myself, please speak. I've looked at its ballistics (impressive). Biggest fear is it may be going the route of the .40?? Then 10mm is making a comeback, so . .
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Old January 3, 2019, 02:20 PM   #2
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There has definitely been a reduction in the number of new pistols chambered in 357 SIG in recent years. For obvious reasons, SIG Sauer offered many of them and quite a few have now been discontinued.

Going the route of the .40S&W? Well, there have been a number of law enforcement agencies that have followed the lead of the FBI and gone from .40 S&W to 9 mm Para. But the reports of the demise of the .40 caliber have been greatly exaggerated. There are a ton of pistols chambered in this caliber out there and there are a ton of fans of the caliber, including myself. I would expect 357 SIG to disappear long before .40 S&W did.

357 SIG has mostly been a niche round. It was introduced four years after the .40 S&W was, in 1994, and by that time many police departments had followed the FBI's lead and gone to .40 S&W and could not see any good reason to switch to a new and untried caliber with the same magazine capacity as .40 S&W. Except for a few notable exceptions such as the Federal Air Marshals, the Secret Service, and a few large police departments and State Troopers, the caliber did not gain a lot of traction in the law enforcement market. There is a fairly devoted following of the 357 SIG in the civilian market which I hope will keep it alive, but it is much smaller than that of the .40 S&W.

There are a number of SIG Sauer and Glock pistols chambered in .40 S&W in which 357 SIG can be shot with nothing more than a barrel change. I have two SIG P229s originally chambered in .40 S&W for which I have a 357 SIG barrel, so I shoot both calibers out of those pistols. But I shoot a lot more .40 S&W than 357 SIG because of ammunition costs. Interestingly, thus far there has not been much difference between the cost of quality JHP ammunition in .40 S&W and 357 SIG, but the difference between the cost of FMJ ammunition for the two calibers has, if anything, grown larger. And if you can't buy ammunition on-line, the selection of FMJ 357 SIG ammo available locally can be quite limited, and its cost quite high.

The original idea SIG Sauer had for this cartridge was to appeal to those who had been big fans of the 357 Magnum revolver cartridge which had a stellar reputation for effectiveness in the law enforcement community. They tried to come up with a rimless pistol cartridge that could duplicate the muzzle velocity and kinetic energy of the Magnum cartridge with the same .355" projectile diameter. When it comes to 125 grain projectiles, 357 SIG comes close, but when looks at its performance with heavier projectiles it falls well short of the 357 Magnum. In a sense the 357 SIG is the smaller, lighter, higher velocity version of the .40 S&W.

Being the higher velocity cartridge 357 SIG does have a significant edge over .40 S&W in kinetic energy although .40 S&W in the most commonly seen projectile masses often edges out 357 SIG slightly when it comes to momentum. And non-expanding .40 S&W makes holes that are .045" bigger than those that non-expanding 357 SIG makes. Many claim that 357 SIG has an edge when it comes to barrier penetration and that the bottle nose cartridge enhances reliability of feeding. Since the diameter of the cartridge cases is identical, in many pistols the same magazines can be used for both cartridges. If one is shooting at distance, the higher velocity 357 SIG does shoot flatter but this effect will probably only become apparent at ranges greater than 25 yards. There are many who feel that the 357 SIG cartridge has somewhat greater inherent accuracy than the .40 S&W.

When shooting the two calibers the differences I notice most between the .40 S&W and the 357 SIG are the louder report and greater muzzle flash of the 357 SIG. Many feel that 357 SIG has less perceived recoil than .40 S&W. I would say the recoil characteristics are similar but different. It seems that in my hands .40 S&W creates a bit more muzzle rise but 357 SIG creates a sharper jab straight back into the shooting hand. But I have shot a lot more .40 S&W than 357 SIG.

Personally, for civilian defense I don't see a great advantage to 357 SIG over .40 S&W. Very few justifiable self-defense shooting scenarios are going to involve taking shots through automobile doors or glass, or at ranges greater than 25 yards. The increased muzzle flash and report could be absolute detriments to shooting in dim light or enclosed areas without hearing protection. And the ammunition costs will make practice with FMJ ammo less attractive for most. And there are now 9 mm Luger +P JHP loads that are approaching the performance of 357 SIG while offering the same projectile diameter with greater magazine capacity. But shooting 357 SIG is a lot of fun, and I certainly would not discourage you from acquiring a pistol chambered in it.

The SIG P226 and SIG P229 handle both .40 S&W and 357 SIG very well. There have been a lot of great deals on CPO and LE trade-in classic P-series SIGs in the last couple of years. One of my P229s was a CPO SIG with a no-rail West German frame and a legacy short-extractor slide chambered in .40 S&W that looked as if it had barely been used. I picked it up for $500 and I have heard of even better deals than that. I would suggest looking around for such a pistol and then buying a SIG factory 357 SIG barrel for it. You might conceivably also find a CPO SIG chambered in 357 SIG. Although much less common than .40 S&W, I have seen a few listings.

Last edited by pblanc; January 3, 2019 at 04:32 PM.
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Old January 3, 2019, 02:31 PM   #3
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Back a year and a half to 2 years ago I picked up two LE trade-in Sigs in .40 cal. One was a P226 and the other a P229. Both were in very good condition and less than four hundred bucks each. I acquired .357 Sig barrels for both and reloading dies. I like the round and both the pistols in both calibers.

You may want see if you can do something similar as opposed shelling out a lot more money for a lesser new pistol.
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Old January 3, 2019, 02:35 PM   #4
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The .357 Sig is a very good round in a number of ways. It is a more powerful round than the 9mm and that is useful for many shooters.

The case is the same diameter as the 40 S&W so magazine capacity is the same and the same magazines can be used for both cartridges. With a barrel in each caliber one gun can shoot both.

Capacity is less than the 9mm or 38 Super but then you have a more powerful round, in .357 Sig or 40 S&W, than the 9mm and just slightly more than the 38 Super.

Quote:
Biggest fear is it may be going the route of the .40??
I'm not sure here what you mean but .357 Sig was never as popular as the 40 S&W. The 40 came out in 1990 and took off like a shot with law enforcement (for a variety of controversial reasons). It quickly came to dominate there and eclipsed the 9mm in use in law enforcement. It has receded some since then but is still widely carried.

357 Sig came out in 1994. Likely because it came out while the 40 was filling the holsters of cops it did not get as warm a welcome even though it's a good round. It has never been as widely sold as the 40. So as far as "going the route of the 40", well it never got as high as that. It never was as popular.

Ammo for the 357 is not as cheap as the 9mm or the 40. Well you can find it some places as cheap as the 40 but it is not as common in gunatoriums. You can find it online and at gunshows.

Get a good gun (like the Sig P229) in 40 S&W with a .357 Sig barrel and devote time to both.

The round with a 125 gr. bullet was marketed to duplicate the performance of a the 357 Magnum with the same weight bullet from a 4" barrel. It does that. It was not meant to duplicate the overall performance of the 357 magnum.

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Old January 3, 2019, 02:54 PM   #5
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You guys are swinging me towards getting one. If I do this, I will end up with a 226 or 229.

Already own a Glock 22. Can I drop a barrel in that one and start shooting as well to get going?

I did not know it was based on the .40 case. I am a big fan of the .40 as well. All the talk of advancements in 9mm projectiles and that taking much of the market from the .40 begs the question, why aren't they putting that same tech into .40 projectiles? I have a lot of .40 ammo, brass, and projectiles. Love the round and enjoy shooting it. But I get tired of shooting a Glock.

This comes around to a Sig with 2 barrels and having at it. Which would give the perfect excuse to buy my first Sig. I don not foresee this being an EDC as I lone my CZ PCR for that. But it would be a fun and interesting firearm. Looked at trade ins/used on Gunbroker. Plenty of inexpensive options.

Going to pursue the ammo available to me and see where it leads.

Thanks gents!
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Old January 3, 2019, 03:15 PM   #6
tipoc
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You can get a 357 barrel for any Glock in 40.

Yes improvements have been made for the 40 as well. 357 Sig also has better bullets and in some brands uses the same 9mm bullet.

It's a very good option to get this round and work it.

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Old January 3, 2019, 03:52 PM   #7
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Going the way of the 40? It is well ahead of the 40 in that regard. Doesn't mean it's a bad round. It is very loud. I emphasize that because shooting next to someone shooting it is actually painful IMO, without very good hearing protection. I enjoy shooting it though.

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Old January 3, 2019, 04:26 PM   #8
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I don't think it offers enough of a performance boost (if any) over the more typical 9/40/45 loads to warrant the extra cost, extra muzzle blast and more limited ammunition availability. I'd be looking towards full house 10mm loads if you want a more meaningful step up in a semi-auto platform, especially if outdoor oriented hardcast loads are of interest.
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Old January 3, 2019, 05:08 PM   #9
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If you already own a glock 22 I would see if you can get your hands on 357sig barrel for it to see if you like the round.

I personally love it, and 357sig fired brass used to be super cheap. In a pinch you can reshape.40 brass, but don’t hot rod it and realize that .40 brass reshaped to 357sig brass is shorter than real 357sig brass.
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Old January 3, 2019, 05:12 PM   #10
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I was really enamored with the round about 15 years ago. Once I realized it really wasnt really all that different than some 9mm, and the price skyrocketed, I went back to 9mm. I havent regretted doing so either.

I had six guns in the caliber, five SIG's (226's, 229's, and a 239) and a Glock 31. The 31 was the one that clinched the deal for 9mm.

The 31 let me shoot it against a comparable gun, the 17, and I came to realize, there really want any noticeable difference shooting them, between 357SIG and hotter 9mm, +P, +P+, or even standard loads of 9mm. The "bark" of the 357SIG, and the beating the 31 was taking from it, were the only things I did notice. Never had the battering issues with the SIG's either. Nor did I with the 17's shooting a steady diet of +P+, which is basically the same PSI as 357SIG.

Other than wanting to try something different, which is fine of course, I just dont really see any pluses to it now. Factory ammo is now more expensive and reloading for it really isnt cheap either. At the time I was shooting it a lot, it was still the same price as .40S&W when you bought it in bulk, and only cost me $1 more a box of 50 to buy factory, than to reload it, so it really wasnt worth the bother.

Once Obama got in, and that ammo shortage took off, all that changed. Factory ammo went up to as high as $600/1000 (I was paying $250). I about doubled my money selling off the unopened cases of 357SIG I had too.

Reloading became more economical then, but 357SIG still costs more to reload (or at least it did then, and Im betting it still is) than 9mm, as bullets really are not interchangeable, you need caliber specific bullets for the 357SIG, and you use more powder.

I dont think there anything wrong with the round, I just dont see, and especially for the money, that its doing anything 9mm cant do. I can also practice a lot more with 9mm too, because of the difference in cost.

Since youre getting free ammo, the easiest way to find out, if you have a .40 caliber gun, is get a factory barrel in 357SIG, and some mags (you may or may not need them too), and try it out. Most youll be out, is about $150, $200 or so if it doesnt work out.
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Old January 3, 2019, 05:50 PM   #11
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Yes! Grab a .357 SIG barrel for your Glock 22 for $150 and enjoy.
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Old January 3, 2019, 05:55 PM   #12
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You can probably find a barrel for even less.....
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Old January 3, 2019, 07:22 PM   #13
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Had a P229 with an extra .357 sig barrel, it was a good gun and I enjoyed it.
Got a 10mm and the 40 became the short&weak so I sold it with no regrets.
I think the .357 Sig is a great round if you don't reload, the bottleneck part and the specialized bullets make it a pain to reload . Therefore I highly recommend the .38 Super which in a fully supported barrel comes close to the performance without the hassles.
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Old January 3, 2019, 08:18 PM   #14
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There are folks who will discourage others from experimenting with another round and maintain that the 357 Sig is not much more than a louder version of the 9mm +P or +P+. If we look though we see that it's a bit more than that.

Take the 147 gr. bullet in 9mm. Buffalo Bore produced a 147 gr. 9mm+P Outdoorsman round which is an excellent defense against 4 legged things. Depending on the gun and barrel length it does anywhere from about 1125 fps to 1100 fps.

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...t_detail&p=388

Underwood Ammo produces a useful 9mm+P 147 gr. JHP load that they claim does about 1125 fps. with 414 ft pds of energy. A good defensive load.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/54...oint-box-of-20

We could do more and I encourage folks to look around as well.

Now the Sig...

Underwood offers a 147 gr. JHP round for the .357 Sig that does 1250 fps which is 125 fps faster than the 9mm offering and has 510 ft pds of energy.

https://www.underwoodammo.com/produc...=7865900924985

Hornady offers a 147 gr. hp at 1225 fps with 490 ft. pds of energy for the 357 Sig.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10...oint-box-of-20

When you compare, across the board, the 357 Sig against the 9mm you see that it is clearly a more powerful round and that's the point of it.

Here are a couple of other offerings from BB. Compare them to their 9mm offerings.

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...duct_list&c=27

Look at other manufacturers.

One poster pointed out that it's true that the 357 Sig is a better penetrater than the 9mm and they add that "who needs to shoot through car windows". But any round that meets the FBI criteria for defensive bullets will shoot through car windows and more.

You choose the 357 Sig because you want to see what it can do. You want to try something different and learn.

Try it.

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Old January 3, 2019, 08:57 PM   #15
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I have had a Glock 31C for 8 years. It is my EDC. Loaded with 115 grain Nosler JHP's from Underwood doing an honest 1600 fps. You said you have a supply of ammo. But a Lone Wolf 357 Sig barrel for your Glock 22 and Rock on. I shoot 40/357/9mm from my Glock with a barrel change and 9mm mags for it.

https://www.lonewolfdist.com/Detail.aspx?PROD=919638

The Glock 22/17/31 use the same RSA.
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Old January 4, 2019, 12:50 AM   #16
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It’s actually a really easy round to reload.....if you know how to manipulate your dies.....there are ways around using lube on bottleneck cases....
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Old January 4, 2019, 09:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
It’s actually a really easy round to reload....
It is. I just used a .40 carbide sizing die as the first step, then a 357SIG sizer. Adds a step, but eliminates the lube.

The main thing is, use the right bullet, and a load that is compressed when the bullet is seated. This helps eliminate a lot of the neck tension issue you often hear about. The load I used to use was 13.0 grains of AA#9 with a Speer 125 grain 357SIG bullet. This was the recommended loading of the time, and was a compressed load.

The only other "9mm" bullets I found that would work, were the 148 grain bullets, as they had a shape/ogive, that was closest to the 357SIG's bullet. The lighter 9mm bullets, 124 and 115 grain, did not have the right shape to work properly when seated t the right OAL.

I never did get the 147's to shoot right for me, so I stayed with the 125's.

You do have to watch you dont get 40 cases mixed in though. They do come up a few thousandths shorter, but from what Ive read, the bigger issue is how the cases are made, and apparently, they are different.

I have come across a couple of 40 cases I sized to 357 while loading. I dont know how many times I loaded them, and only happened to notice the headstamp while priming them. They seemed to shoot OK, but I still chucked them when I found them, and paid a little more attention when scrounging brass.

The cases look very much the same when youre just picking them up, and its very easy to miss them while youre sizing a couple of hundred at a time if you arent paying close attention.
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Old January 4, 2019, 11:30 AM   #18
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The 357 Sig is super accurate and shoots flat. I have done extensive tests back in the day, and even at 100 yards it will hold a good group. I had a Sig P229 in 40, and one in 357. The 357 would do 1.5 inch or less groups at 25 yards, the 40 was 3 inch plus.
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Old January 4, 2019, 11:34 AM   #19
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It's my EDC round in my bastardized 27/23 w/G32 barrel.

Anyone who says it's like 9mm +P is smoking dope. Even 9mm +P+ doesn't get near the performance of a high-end 357 Sig round.

With that said, 357 Sig is probably not too much difference than 9mm in real world civilian scenarios. Bottom line, carry what you are comfortable with. Be it 22LR or 10mm.

If you already have a G22, get a G31 barrel and have a blast - literally!
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Old January 4, 2019, 12:10 PM   #20
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I always thought a MP5, chambered in 357sig would make a pretty good PDW.
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Old January 4, 2019, 12:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Anyone who says it's like 9mm +P is smoking dope. Even 9mm +P+ doesn't get near the performance of a high-end 357 Sig round.

With that said, 357 Sig is probably not too much difference than 9mm in real world civilian scenarios. Bottom line, carry what you are comfortable with.
I think a lot of the problem here is emotion towards what you are invested in (I was caught up in it and it was for me at the time. I did get over it though. ), and paper numbers, which is where the heat of most of these type arguments end up going, and there has to be a winner. Yes, the 357SIG is about 100 fps hotter on paper than +P+ 9mm, but in reality, both are a 40000 psi round, and will perform about the same when using the same bullet.

And that comes directly from the engineers at Speer. I emailed them when I was still shooting and carrying one, because of a discussion just like this. It was also another reason I decided to go back to 9mm.

This was their response, I saved it.

Quote:
The 9mm is a 35,000 psi, +P is
38,500 psi and +P+ is 40,000 psi. The 357 SIG is a 40,000 psi. Bullets
of the same weight will approximate the same velocities in SIG and +P+.
The difference is gun construction, all 9mm's will not handle +P+. All
of the 357 SIG's are made to handle the pressures for the caliber.
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That last part about all 357SIGs being able to handle the round, I found to not necessarily be correct. Or at least with my Glock it wasnt. It was beating itself to death on the underside of the slide pretty good, and didnt show any signs of slowing down. I had to file the burrs down a couple of times and was cutting my fingers on them while cleaning the gun. My SIG's on the otherhand, seemed to be fine with it.

I do understand too, that some things have changed with the development of some of the boutique rounds, and some do get a little more out of it, than the "standard" loadings. I really dont see them going anywhere beyond that though, as I really dont see anyone beyond those set up for 357SIG now, expanding their lines, and those who now make them, pumping up the volume. Im thinking its basically going to end up going the 45 GAP route.


I agree with the last part about not being to much different in the real world, and I think that pretty much apples to any of the accepted "realistic" handgun calibers. I think its more important to invest the time and effort into shooting well with whatever you chose, than it is what caliber you choose.

Thats the other big plus to 9mm. Its the cheapest of the lot for the most part, so you can practice a more. Its also about the softest shooting in most guns its chambered for, so it also tends to be easier to shoot. I put 357SIG in that same group too, as I really dont/didnt see any difference in shooting it compared to the 9mm.
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Old January 4, 2019, 01:05 PM   #22
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How much ammo and what bullet? How much being more important.
Midway wants between $20 and $35 per 50 depending on the brand.
It's supposed to give .357 Mag performance out of a 9mm size case. Buying a barrel and getting it fitted(some are alleged to be drop in) will give you another big kid's toy without buying a whole pistol.
"...the specialized bullets..." They're regular .355" 9mm bullets. Lots of specific how to's online. Only issue might be the bottle necked case.
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Old January 4, 2019, 01:27 PM   #23
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Quote:
"...the specialized bullets..." They're regular .355" 9mm bullets. Lots of specific how to's online. Only issue might be the bottle necked case.
There is a difference in the shape of the bullets. Most places I remember ordering them form, separated 357SIG and 38 Super bullets from the rest of the 9mm bullets.

The 125 grain 357SIG bullets are more the shape of the 147 grain 9mm bullets, and not the standard 115 and 124 grain 9mm bullets. The ogive on those 9mm bullets is different, and when you set them to 357SIG OAL, they dont work.

Or at least that was my experience.

The bottleneck isnt an issue, if you use the right powder/load. You want a full case of powder.

Heres a couple of links showing the differences in the bullets....

357SIG 125 grain

https://www.midwayusa.com/s?userSear...temsPerPage=48

9mm 124 grain

https://www.midwayusa.com/s?userSear...temsPerPage=48

Ive used a number of factory and aftermarket drop in barrels for differrent things, and out of close to a dozen or so, never once had to fit anything. They all dropped right in.

I used a LWD 40-9 9mm conversion barrel in my Glock 31, and it worked great.

One thing with those barrels though, if you want a gun in a specific caliber, Id just get the gun, and be done with it. Otherwise, you end up with a lot of money tied up in things you usually end up not using.
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Old January 4, 2019, 02:59 PM   #24
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2wheel, I had two pistols chambered in the cartridge, a SIG P226 and P229 Sport. I did some chronographing of factory ammo in the 4.4" and 5"+ barrels. Impressive ballistics, no doubt about it. And I think factory ammo and components to reload .357 will be available as long as our government allows us access to guns/ammo/primers/powder,etc. I never got around to loading for the .357 SIG. Truth be told, I wasn't real anxious to start loading for the cartridge due to some concern I had about bullet retention with that real short case neck.......ymmv
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Old January 4, 2019, 03:22 PM   #25
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"Already own a Glock 22. Can I drop a barrel in that one and start shooting as well to get going?"


Absolutely! I have a Glock 22 police trade-in that I got for cheap about a year ago. This summer I bought a 9mm conversion barrel and 9mm magazine from Lone Wolf Distributors for $126 total. The barrel was $99, and my understanding is that you don't even need a new magazine for 357 sig.


My G22 shoots 9mm just fine. I have had no malfunctions with it whatsoever. Depending on ammo, it generally shoots about an inch lower at 15 yards with 9mm than it does with 40 caliber.

I would definitely be all over the 357 sig barrel for my G22 if I were interested in that caliber.
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