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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I honestly believe they don't make ammo like they used to.. even the lowend brands back then tops a decent round nowadays. I was given a bunch of .357 mag ammo and it's literally the best stuff I've ever shot. It's consistent and it packs a punch. Problem is that I don't konw where to get more of it when I run out. Anyone know places to buy older ammunition like that? (I'm guessing between 20 and 30 years old from the looks of the box.) I've asked literally every gunshop in my area where to find that kinda stuff and none of them had any idea. The stuff I"m after is .357 mag. the box says S&W on it but I don't believe they ever made ammo so some oddball company probably loaded it and then slapped the Smith/Wesson symbol on the box. Ideas?
 

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If it is S&W law enforcement ammo, it is most like the standard ammo made by many manufacturers. Otherwise, their standard ammo was loaded to a level slightly hotter than the norm for the times to use for hunting though some was sold to law enforcement as a "penetrator" round. Cor-bon would be a good source of similar ammo as would Buffalo Bore, Garrett, and numerous other specialty manufactures. This ammo is more like over 30 years old as I believe S&W got out of the ammo business in the late 1970s. This was the older "Super-Vel" line of ammo that kind of revolutionized law enforcement ammo by using lighter, often hollow point, bullets at higher velocities. Alcan was a common supplier of components but I don't recall who they were associated with. They were definitely not an "oddball" company.
Starting in the mid-1950s, 357 mag ammo has been down loaded for use in the smaller K-frame sized revolvers which became popular for law enforcement use. The original loadings meant for the larger N-frames had a tendency to batter the smaller frames to death plus they were rather hard to control and over penetrated for law enforcement use.
I feel ammo today is much "better" than that of days gone by; there has been a lot of research and development that has lead to very good and dependable ammunition. The difficulty lies with the consumer, one needs to look closely and carefully at the ammo specifications to get what one wants. The 357 mag is the most difficult as it bridges two vastly different areas of ammo requirements.
 

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I am usually the first to lament that "they don't make 'em like they used to." I look at the fine old firearms of my father's and grandfather's and then at what is currently available. They aren't even in the same league. Hand fitted, machined, polished blued steel and walnut versus CNC and MIM parts that are made to loose enough tolerances so that any two mating parts grabbed out of a bin will fit together in an assembly. But modern ammunition is way better than previous generations of ammo. Modern powders and the consistency afforded by the current methods gives us very dependable and predictable ammo. Its very expensive now, however. The price of brass and copper is through the roof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
wow uglydog, that's was pretty indepth... answered most of my questions. thanks! I guess I'm just biased shooting that older stuff. You're probably right about the tech advancements. The stuff I'd like more of obviously has no flash-suppresant technology seeing as a two-foot flame comes out of the 4" barrell every time I fire. It's fun to impress your buddies at the range but really serves no practical purpose seeing as a low-light shot in a sticky, self-defense situation will definitely blind me.

I researched a few of those brands and found that Cabelas sells a good bit of the Buffalo Bore ammunition. Where could I buy the other stuff? their websites? Another reason I like sticking with the old stuff is that people sell it dirt cheap because of the exact reasons you mentioned: it's (potentially) unreliable and unpredictable but most of my shooting is just plinking anyway. All I need is one box of good stuff for use in the gun on the nightstand, right? Know of any places that stockpiled the old stuff and are willing to sell it? I guess that's my real question. Is super-vel what you think my ammunition is? thanks agian..
 

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You will be paying more for the "old stuff" than new as any store front that would specialize in in it would also consider it to have collector interest as well. Old West Scrounger would be the place I would try but if they have anything, don't expect it to be cheap. You could also ask at any of the various cartridge collector sites but again, don't expect it to be cheap. Otherwise, your only option is to pick it up as you find it and accept the fact "cheap" ammo does not come in any quantity. I saw Corbon on the shelf at Cabelas the last time I was there so it should be on their website too. Other mail order places I have used would be Graf and Son, Natchez Shooter Supply, MidwayUSA, and maybe Gamaliel. They all have websites too.

I'd be pretty willing to guess your ammo was Super Vel as Super Vel was bought from Lee Jurras by S&W when it became popular in the law enforcement arena. I think S&W contracted to Jurras prior to the buyout but don't quote me on that.
As mentioned, it is rather easy to get the results you want by handloading. A light bullet and slow burning powder is very good at creating this effect.
 
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