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1.
A handgun cartridge based on the .38 special. A handgun chambered in .357 magnum can generally utilize the .38 special cartridge.

A gun marked .38 special cannot use a .357 magnum cartridge. Using such a cartridge may cause said handgun to explode.

Please ignore the author on here who claims "you don't blow up a .38 caliber gun by shootings .357s through it".

He is not correct!!!

Attempting to shoot a .357 magnum cartridge through a firearm chambered in .38 special is dangerous!
Officer: "I do not have confidence in my weapon's ability to neutralize a suspect."

Firearm Dealer: "Have you considered upgrading to a weapon chambered in .357 magnum?"
by J. Lotta August 27, 2010
 
2.
A revolver cartridge designed in the 1920s with the .38 as base. At that time it was the only bullet that could penetrate the bulletproof vests of the time. The bullet is 0,357 inch(or just about 9 mm.)wide. It packs a vey nice punch, you feel a bit like Dirty Harry when you fire it (even though he uses the .44 magnum, which is just about twice as powerful). Personally, I prefer firing it in one hand - which i do with all revolvers and semi-automatcs. This means I never hit anything XD
It's the most powerfull handgun cartridge you'r allowed to shoot with in Denmark, where I live. I personally own a Smith & Wesson m.27, which is a relatively common piece in this caliber. General George Patton had the same one. He called it his 'Killing gun'. Obviously he's was a bit more pimped than mine, with mother-of-pearl grips and all that pretty stuff.
It is your place in life to fear my .357 magnum.
by Schneidermeister May 18, 2007
 
3.
Not "one of the most powerful bullets in the world", but still not bad. You won't be feeling too good after being shot with one, that's for damn sure. Even though it's called a .357, it uses a .38 bullet with a slightly longer cartridge case (so you don't blow up a .38 gun by trying to shoot .357's through it) and a lot more powder to propel it with, making it better than a regular .45 and definitely better than the .38 it's based on.

.38's can be fired through a .357 in case you're a pansy, or a woman and you can't handle the recoil, or if you're just target shooting and you don't want to spend the extra money on the bullets.

Also used to refer to a gun firing that kind of ammo. Not everyone knows if the guy is carrying a Colt Python or a Smith and Wesson model 19 or whatever the fuck.
1. I saw some guy take a .357 magnum hollow point to the head once. His brains were EVERYWHERE, man!

2. Hey, that dude's walking around with a .357 magnum stuffed into the crotch of his pants! This isn't a movie! He's gonna blow his fuckin' nuts off!
by JB_Finesse March 11, 2006
 
4.
One of the most powerful bullets in the world.
Colt Pythons take .357 Magnum ammo.
by Rohan January 20, 2004