Pros: A good, inexpensive target load.
Cons: The aluminium cases are not reloadable.
As a firearms instructor I go through a lot of ammo. I shoot to keep my own skills sharp, for recreation, and I often provide ammo for my students to use when they use my guns in training classes.
Unfortunately, ammo costs have been going up with no end in sight. The combination of higher fuel costs, higher raw material costs, and increased consumer demand has made a day at the range more expensive then in the past.
The main way I deal with rising ammunition costs is by finding cheaper ammunition to shoot. The Blazer line of budget ammo fits my needs nicely.
The reason the Blazer ammunition is less expensive is because it uses a non-reloadable aluminum case instead of the brass case normally used for small arms ammunition. Since aluminum is cheaper then brass, the cost to manufacture the ammo is less and the company passes that savings along to the consumers. The cases use European standard Berdan primers, instead of U.S. standard Boxer primers, to make sure they aren't accidently reloaded.
Since anyone who already reloads their own ammunition at home probably already knows that aluminum cases can not be used for reloading, this is not a problem. This ammo is marketed towards those shooters who want to save money on ammo but who do not reload their own ammunition already.
This review is of the Blazer .357 Magnum 158 grain Jacketed Hollow Point load sold in 50 round boxes.
The .357 Magnum round was developed by Smith & Wesson in the 1930's in an attempt to create a more powerful handgun round for hunting and personal protection. While partially based on the hot loads used in the S&W .38/44 revolvers, which were .38 Special revolvers built on the larger and stronger frames normally used for .44 caliber revolvers, the resulting .357 Magnum case was lengthened slightly as a safety feature so that this more powerful round could not be fired in .38 Special revolvers.
I have fired this ammuition through a variety of .357 revolvers including a Model 28 "Highway Patrolman," a Model 13, and my personal carry gun, a Model 65 with a 3" barrel.
I have found this ammo to generally be reliable in use. I did have some misfires with the Model 28, but that gun has had problems with other brands of ammo as well, so I can't blame the ammo for that. In every case the cartridges either fired the second time around in the Model 28 or fired when I took them out of Model 28 and tried them in a different revolver.
The 158 grain bullet tends to shoot to point of aim with all the revolvers I've tried it through. This makes sense, since most .38 and .357 Magnum revolvers are sighted in for 158 grain loads at the factory. The ammo does not seem to group quite as tight as some other loads, but is still within the acceptable range for general target shooting. The recoil, while noticeable, was not unpleasant, especially out of the heavier Model 28.
One issue with the Blazer ammunition is that it does make your gun dirty. Since this is a budget ammunition, it uses a less expensive propellent, and the result is more grit and residue in the gun after a long shooting session. Cleaning your gun thoroughly after a range trip solves this problem.
Whlle this particular load uses the JHP more commonly used in self-defense loads, I recommend this load strictly for target shooting. For self defense I would spend the extra money for a load that uses a more advanced (and more expensive) propellent that would produce a smaller muzzle flash at night or in low light.
The Blazer line of ammo is designed to save target shooters money so they can shoot more at the range. The Blazer .357 Magnum 158 grain JHP load meets that goal.
Here are some of my other ammo reviews.
Personal defense revolver ammunition:
Speer .38 Special +P 135 gr GD SB - Ammo for Snub Revolvers
Blazer .357 Magnum 158 gr JHP's for target shooting with "Magnum Force."
Winchester .38 Special +P 125 gr Silvertip ammo is not for Werewolves
Winchester .38 Special 110 gr Silvertip ammo is a good standard pressure load
Target revolver ammunition:
American Eagle .38 Special 158 gr LRN ammo
American Eagle .38 Special 130 gr FMJ ammo
Winchester .38 Special 130 gr FMJ ammo - You can do better
Personal defense ammo for semi-auto pistols:
Winchester Ranger SXT RA9TA 9mm Luger 127 gr +P+ is a top defensive load
Federal C9BP 9x19mm 115 gr JHP is a great standard pressure defensive load
Winchester 9mm Luger 115 gr Silvertip is a good standard pressure load
Winchester .45 ACP JHP's for target shooting or self defense
Economical target ammo:
Blazer 9mm pistol ammo: Blaze away with cheap bulk ammo for target practice
Winchester White Box 9mm 115 gr FMJ ammo is good, cheap target ammo
Remington UMC Mega Pak 9mm ammo is good bulk ammo
Blazer Brass 9mm 115 gr FMJ is good, cheap ammo for shooters on a budget
Sellier & Bellot 9mm Luger ammunition - An OK plinking round
Federal American Eagle 9mm 115 gr FMJ is good, economical bulk target ammo
Winchester White Box 9mm FMJ ammo is 50 rounds of good, cheap practice ammo
American Eagle 9mm 147gr FMJ FP for target shooting
Winchester Win Clean 9mm bulk ammo for lead free target shooting
American Eagle 9mm 147 gr TMJ ammo reduces the risk of heavy metal poisoning
Blazer .45 Auto pistol ammo for 1911 pistols or other .45 ACP guns
American Eagle .45 Auto (.45 ACP) for the classic American 1911 pistol
The Winchester .45 ACP 230 gr FMJ load is a good budget ammo choice
Blazer Brass .45 ACP 230 gr ammo is good, inexpensive fodder for semi-auto pistols
American Eagle .45 ACP 230 gr TMJ ammo reduces toxic chemical exposure
9x18mm Makarov FMJ ammo by American Eagle for the pistol of the Russian Bear
Wolf Military Classic 9x18mm Makarov ammo - Avoid at all costs
Winchester Super-X .22 LR target ammo for .22 plinking