Did you know that Ruger makes a bolt action rifle chambered in .357 Magnum? I didn’t. I knew there were a few bolt action rifle and carbines out there in .44 magnum, including a Ruger bolt action, but .357? Frankly, it just never occurred to me that Ruger would build one chambered in .357. But then again, why not?
I was aware of Marlin’s lever action, model 94 carbine and Rossi’s model 92 Winchester lever action clone in .357, having owned a few over the years. They are one of the handiest and most fun carbines around. More importantly to a poor boy, they can be accurate, deadly on critters up to medium-sized big game under 200 yards, and compared to most standard chambered rifles, are inexpensive to shoot, especially if you cast your bullets and reload.
I understand the Italians make a clone of the Winchester model 1873 in .357 also. And we can’t forget Henry Arms, who make a plethora of lever action chambering, The small lever action carbines and their clones seem to be popular in the .357 chambering, but apparently the lever guns aren’t the only ones on the market.
I’ve also owned a New England Arms carbine, a break action single shot chambered for the .357 maximum. The actions on those Handi-Rifles being similar in operation to your grandpa’s old single-shot shotgun. I’ve shot .38 long Colt, .38 specials, regular .357’s and the bigger .357 maximums in it. It’s quite a versatile chambering. One advantage of that rifle was strength. Its cartridges could be loaded up to impressive velocities, compared with a handgun in the same chambering. Plus, it was surprisingly accurate.
Actually, virtually any of the .357 clan of long arms can be loaded up and yet still be within the parameters of safety. The .357 Maximum, especially Rifle (or carbine) actions, are usually much stronger than most handguns, except clones of the Winchester 1873 and other long arms in that class. They were weak actions back in the day and they still are.
Sandi and I have shot quite a few feral sheep down in Texas, back in the day. I enjoyed using my muzzle loaders, handguns and that single-shot .357 max quite a bit. These feral sheep were Texas-style crossbred examples of various exotics sheep that escape the “put and shoot” ranches down there and run wild in the rough country and occasionally migrate to working ranches that really prefer not to deal with the darn things.
These critters can be a fun hunt, but you can’t eat the darn things, unless you’re partial to the taste of sheep. Sandi and I aren’t, and Sandi can make just about anything taste great, but not those feral sheep nor the Javelina. The local Mexicans like them, or so I’m told, so we always donated the meat to local Salvation Army folks to give to their people.
But getting back to Ruger and their bolt action .357. I knew the various manufacturers had other handgun cartridge chambered long guns like .44 magnum, I just didn’t know about the .357. Never though about it, I guess. It makes sense, though. In my experience, I’ve found that cartridge a good killer of medium-sized big game beyond 200 yards. When Sandi and I lived in Montana, where it was legal, I put several deer in the freezer with my .357 Ruger Blackhawk.
But back to the Ruger .357. I discovered, via an article in one of the gunzines, the Ruger bolt action. Interestingly enough, the article was written about using that particular rifle as part of a triad of firearms, all chambered for the .357. This imaginative gent who wrote the article combined the rifle with a holster gun, which was a .357 Ruger Blackhawk, (imagine that) and a .357 Ruger LCR, the Ruger LCR being a short barreled pup of a gun, designed for concealed carry.
To me, that would be good for scraping miscreants off your face in a dire situation. I really don’t know where that leaves it as a field gun? Especially since you’re already toting a .357 Blackhawk.
Perhaps that writer’s implication was that with those three firearms, one had a suitable firearm for any occasion, all chambered for the same cartridge? Regardless, this .357 Ruger bolt gun intrigues me. Light, handy and accurate, it’d be powerful enough for anything from badger to black bear. It makes an excellent light-duty, woods running gun and is nearly ideal for collection everything from rock-chuck to a grouse for your dinner or potting a coyote. It would also make an excellent trunk gun for your car, for emergency use, and, with a holster gun also chambered in .357 caliber, it just makes perfect sense for a woods companion.
Or even a traveling companion. Just saying.