Caliber Consolidation: .357 Magnum Ruger / Henry


Let’s talk caliber consolidation.  This is a growing trend that is showing up a lot more in the firearms industry.  By caliber consolidation, we mean matching two different guns together that fire the same caliber.  This can be as simple as an larger primary firearm in 9mm with a smaller backup gun in 9mm as well.  With more revolvers being produced in rimless rounds, I have even seen primary carry gun being a Glock 9mm, paired with a backup 9mm revolver.  This drastically simplifies the number of ammo types needed to be on hand!  This definitely helps when traveling.

Here we will focus on caliber matching a handgun with a rifle.  Let’s start this out with the .357 Magnum.  This round has been a favorite in the gun industry for a very long time.  It is what most self defense rounds are put up against for comparison.  To sweeten the deal, most .357 Magnum revolvers can also fire .38 Special ammunition.  Finding either is common place here in the United States.  To get a better feel for this, I have changed my everyday carry gun to a Ruger SP101 “double action only” revolver that’s chambered in .357 Magnum.


The rifle of choice for this pairing is a Henry lever action “Big Boy” in .357 magnum as well.  Both function perfectly with .38 Special also.  These are two proven and extremely reliable designs.  The Henry has been riding as the trunk gun.  This pair has clocked over 3,000 miles together over the last few months.  I have feel in love with the Henry lever action.  It has been a great surprise.  The kick is almost non-existent when firing .38 Special, and not bad at all with .357 Magnum.  This rifle makes a great ranch gun, able to dispatch most small to medium sized game, as well as serve for personal protection.  The tube holds 10+1 rounds of .357 Magnum when fully loaded.

At first we were unsure of the reloading speed being a tube fed design.  After some practice, it can be reloaded faster (to max capacity) than most of the other side-feeding lever action designs.  It is really hard to miss even smaller targets with this gun out to 50 yards.  Pushing out to 100 yards with the iron sights produced 1 to 1.5 MOA groups (1 MOA at 100 yards = ~1 inch groups).  Adding an optic to the rifle should make the groupings even more consistent.  This rifle is definitely fun to shoot and draws a crowd at the gun range.  We have pushed the rifle up to the 1,200 rounds point without a cleaning.  This has been a mix of .357 Magnum and .38 Special.  The projectiles being hardcast lead, copper jacked, and hollow-point ammunition.


The Ruger SP101 has also functioned flawlessly!  This is a great spurless-hammered revolver.  Definitely makes for smooth easy concealed carry.  The revolver is heavier than most others out there geared towards concealed carry, but the weight helps with full power .357 Magnum loads.  StealthGear sent out a hybrid IWB (inside waist band) holster for the Ruger, and it rides great.  The holster is made of a breathable backing and a kydex shell.

Ruger SP101 DAO Riding in StealthGear Holster

Ruger SP101 DAO Riding in StealthGear Holster

There are other caliber consideration options out there on the market and we will follow this post up with a semi-auto pairing in the future.  If you are a wheelgun lover, than we recommend checking out the Henry Big Boy rifles!  They come chambered in .44 Magnum, .45 Colt & .357 Magnum.  These rifles can also fill the intermediate home protection, ranch gun, and trunk gun roles perfectly.  Henrys are marketed as “Made in America or not made at all”.  Their quality definitely shows it in both performance and beauty.  This is one of the finest looking rifles in our collection.


Technical Specifications:

Ruger SP101 DAO
Model Number 5720
Caliber .357 Magnum
Capacity 5 rounds
Barrel Length 2.25”
Weight 25 oz

Henry Big Boy .357 Magnum
Model Number H006M
Caliber .357 Magnum/.38 Special
Capacity 10 rounds
Weight 8.6 lbs

Thanks to the following companies that help make this review possible: