357 Maximum

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lolbell

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 29, 2012
Messages
369
Quick question. I just rescued a 1984 model Maximum. I believe it to be unfired. Got box, shipper and all paperwork except the manual and a box of Federal 180 grn ammunition. 7 1/2 barrel. Cost me out the door $1k. I'm happy with my purchase but wondering if I got burned, did just ok, or maybe got a good deal. I've been interested in the Maximum, not really looking for one happened on this one while visiting local shop.
 

Actnbill

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 16, 2023
Messages
289
Location
Seacoast NH
Guys used to shoot steel plates at 400 yds with their 357 Maximums at my old club..... It was the only revolver caliber that would reach out and touch someone that far away.... and knock the steel plates over ..... but that was before 454 and 500.....and the 357 max still might have more power that far away....

Enjoy.... hope you have a nice range to stretch that beast out....
 

lolbell

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 29, 2012
Messages
369
Guys used to shoot steel plates at 400 yds with their 357 Maximums at my old club..... It was the only revolver caliber that would reach out and touch someone that far away.... and knock the steel plates over ..... but that was before 454 and 500.....and the 357 max still might have more power that far away....

Enjoy.... hope you have a nice range to stretch that beast out....
My home range is 425. The draw back is my old eyes 😂
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
25,671
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Lake Lure NC USA
I'd say you got a very fair deal.

Approximately 11,600 of those guns made it into the market. (About 5000 were scrapped by Bill Ruger before they could be sold.)
Of those out there,, many have been altered into other calibers due to their larger main frame cylinder window.

They are desirable, and also very enjoyable.

Now,, get the "Bradshaw/Martin" cast bullet mold,, cast & powder coat those 194 grn bullets, deep seat over the correct powder charge of IMR 4227, and smile very big when you see how good it shoots! (David Bradshaw was big in the development of the .357 Maxi Blackhawks, and he helped design that bullet.)

This was my first group I fired using that set-up, at 100 yds,, seated, using the Keith style of resting. Gun between my knees, forearms on my knees, open sights at 100 yds. And I'm the one who pulled a few. After getting a bit used to it,, it got better.

Oh, and I took the 2nd deer ever with that bullet in a Maxi. A whitetail. The first deer was a mule deer. I took mine at about 55 yds. DRT.

Maxi target 1.jpg
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2005
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Lemont, PA, USA 16851
lolbell,
That's a pretty good deal, especially since you got the box and the shipper and some ammo. You might talk to Ruger about the manual but with what went on with that gun they might not have any and I don't know if it might be able to be downloaded from the net.

Ask contender ^^^^ what my face looked like when I first shot mine, at his range. I fell into a great deal and I loaded up some of the 194 grain ammo and it is a fantastic load.

You are going to LOVE this gun.
 

lolbell

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 29, 2012
Messages
369
I'd say you got a very fair deal.

Approximately 11,600 of those guns made it into the market. (About 5000 were scrapped by Bill Ruger before they could be sold.)
Of those out there,, many have been altered into other calibers due to their larger main frame cylinder window.

They are desirable, and also very enjoyable.

Now,, get the "Bradshaw/Martin" cast bullet mold,, cast & powder coat those 194 grn bullets, deep seat over the correct powder charge of IMR 4227, and smile very big when you see how good it shoots! (David Bradshaw was big in the development of the .357 Maxi Blackhawks, and he helped design that bullet.)

This was my first group I fired using that set-up, at 100 yds,, seated, using the Keith style of resting. Gun between my knees, forearms on my knees, open sights at 100 yds. And I'm the one who pulled a few. After getting a bit used to it,, it got better.

Oh, and I took the 2nd deer ever with that bullet in a Maxi. A whitetail. The first deer was a mule deer. I took mine at about 55 yds. DRT.

View attachment 40446
Where can I find this mold? What alloy? I cast for all my handguns and a couple of 35Rem so not new to casting but I've not got into p/c yet but willing to learn. Looking forward to a little range time with it. If I can figure out the picture thing I'll post a few.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
25,671
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
PM sent on info about the mold & all.

Dan has you covered with the manual.

And yes,, Ron was very happy when he shot his Maxi here. I had supplied him with some of those bullets,, and he too became a believer in them.
 

daveag.

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Messages
468
I'd say you got a very fair deal.

Approximately 11,600 of those guns made it into the market. (About 5000 were scrapped by Bill Ruger before they could be sold.)
Of those out there,, many have been altered into other calibers due to their larger main frame cylinder window.

They are desirable, and also very enjoyable.

Now,, get the "Bradshaw/Martin" cast bullet mold,, cast & powder coat those 194 grn bullets, deep seat over the correct powder charge of IMR 4227, and smile very big when you see how good it shoots! (David Bradshaw was big in the development of the .357 Maxi Blackhawks, and he helped design that bullet.)

This was my first group I fired using that set-up, at 100 yds,, seated, using the Keith style of resting. Gun between my knees, forearms on my knees, open sights at 100 yds. And I'm the one who pulled a few. After getting a bit used to it,, it got better.

Oh, and I took the 2nd deer ever with that bullet in a Maxi. A whitetail. The first deer was a mule deer. I took mine at about 55 yds. DRT.

View attachment 40446
Why were they scrapped?
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
25,671
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Bill Ruger got very upset at a few things.
First off,,, the gun was designed to be used for hunting & competition using a heavier bullet. In fact,, 158 grn bullets were the lightest ones produced as factory offerings,, but the 180 grn ones were the most common.
However,, some handloaders decided to use a much lighter bullet, (110-125 grns,) and a hotter, faster burning powder. The result was that those guns subjected to that type of load,, developed a "top strap flame cut" on the underside of the frame. And, there was noticeable forcing cone erosion.
When that came to light,,, a gun writer,, (Bob Milek) wrote an article in G&S that was titled; ".357 Maximum, Too much too soon?" and trashed the caliber/gun.

Bill got pissed,, and ended things. And he scrapped the ones they had not already sold.

Sadly,, Bob & others have ignored top strap cutting in other guns,, or made light of it in general. It has happened in all brands of guns. And even when it does happen,, it only goes a little way into the top strap, and stops. No problems ever that I've heard of due to that.
 

alchemist11

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 20, 2024
Messages
8
Location
NY
Great performance in one of my fave size bullets! I'm just not a fan of stretched frame guns to get that performance. Seems unnecessary to me. The .360 Dan Wesson was developed to get close to the maximum's performance in a standard frame size revolver. It's length is a little longer than the .357 magnum and it's easy to convert a Ruger Redhawk .357 magnum to a .360 DW which will give you .357 maximum performance out of it. A converted standard size .357 magnum Blackhawk to 356 GNR will exceed .356 maximum performance. I've played with these for years and they are alot of fun!
 

Chief

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 8, 2003
Messages
260
Location
Illinois
The Ruger .357 Maximum Blackhawk (Super Blackhawk?) is just a great , fun , good looking six gun! I wanted one back in the day but they got canceled before I could get a hold of one.😔
 

bykerhd

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 17, 2023
Messages
181
Location
Sunny Florida
.357 Maximum was chambered by Thompson Center in their Contenders.
I had a 10" bull barrel which was a nice shooter.
UNTIL the gun locked up solid.
I never shoot maximum loads in handloads !
I had to disassemble it to remove the barrel and fired empty.

The frame went back to T-C and I got a nice letter from them stating sorry, they could not repair the old style frame and would I accept one of the then new G style frames as a free replacement ? Heck YEAH I would and did.
I miss T-C and their old style way of doing business.
I did sell that barrel though.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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Messages
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Lake Lure NC USA
I have a pair of T/C barrels in .357 Maxi. A 10" & a 14". Both are very sweet shooters.
Never had any problems with either one. Of course,, I almost never get to maximum loads in any of my guns. I find an accurate load,, and stick with that. Most often,, it's not a maximum charge/load combo. I may test up to the maximum charges,, but performance usually falls back off.

As for the DW 360. While I have limited experience with one,, I have heard good things by those more experienced than I in that caliber. But the longer frame of the .357 Maxi is not a hindrance in any way to me. The load I'm currently using is not a max load,, yet performs quite well. And the cast bullets are deep seated, with a careful roll crimp over the front driving band. (As taught to me by David Bradshaw.) But again, to push any caliber to it's maximum limits all the time,, when a different platform built to provide a level of performance without pushing the limits is the direction I choose to go.
I equate it to what a long time friend of mine who was heavily into building Nascar cars long ago. He said; "We can build a car to run 200 mph for a set race of 500-600 miles. But afterwards,, we rebuild them because they will not withstand long term abuse like that. We build them to push the max limits,, but also know they won't last very long at that level."

Guns are just a machine. Build any machine to do a specific job, and to do so within certain specs. If it's run at the max specs all the time,, it'll wear out a lot quicker than one that's run at a lower level.

And back to the abuse put upon the Ruger Maxi's by a small segment of people obsessed with very high velocity, (using light bullets & hotter faster burning powder,) causing the demise of an excellent gun. It's a good case in point of exceeding the design specs of a machine.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
25,671
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
I think I finally figured out how to get the pictures from my phone to my computer.

The first picture is of the deer posed with the Maxi.

The second pic is the entry hole after skinning.

Lastly, the exit wound after skinning.

This was with the Bradshaw/Martin bullet. A 195 grn cast SWC design, gas checked, and deep seated (as mentioned above.) Using 4227 powder and Rem 7-1/2 primers.


Maxi buck -1.JPG
Maxi deer entry.jpeg
Maxi deer exit 3a.jpeg
 

Chief

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 8, 2003
Messages
260
Location
Illinois
Knowing what we now know about the performance parameters of the .357 Max, I think Ruger should give it a rethink. Maybe a stainless version this time with a hunter grip frame. Maybe chamber it in the .350 Legend also. I'd buy one or two of each.
 
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