No Frills

In 1954 Smith & Wesson began offering a less-finished .357 Magnum specifically for the patrol officer — the Highway Patrolman. This was a basic no-frills .357. No high polish here as the finish was a matte blue and also gone was the fine checkering on the top strap. Barrel length was 4" and 6" and Magna stocks were standard. LEOs were not the only ones to go for this less fancy .357 Magnum as it became a favorite with outdoorsmen.

The first new Smith & Wesson I ever purchased was a 4" Highway Patrolman (later the Model 28) in late 1956/early 1957. At the time .357 Magnum brass was almost impossible to find, jacketed bullets even more so, so most of my loading of the .357 Magnum was accomplished with cast bullets in .38 Special cases. The passing of more than a half a century has not changed it all that much and thousands of .38s are shot through my .357 Magnums. If I have a favorite .357 load for the Magnums it is the Lyman/Thompson #358156 gas checked cast bullet loaded over 14.0 grains of #2400. With several pre-model-number .357 Magnums, the average across-the-board group accuracy for five shots at 20 yards is 1.1". The old guns still shoot!