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Thread: 357 versus 44 Mag.

  1. #1
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    Default 357 versus 44 Mag.

    I'm of the opinion, that prevailing opinion, is largely a function of perception. Perception varies, but some people's perceptions are perhaps better than those of others.

    Everyone KNOWS that, for Bar Defense, even a Moderately loaded 44 Mag, is MUCH SUPERIOR to a Hot loaded, Heavy bulleted 357, Mag.

    If you KNOW this, HOW do you know it?

    In other words, what experiences have you had, or know about, that makes this something that you can KNOW?

    Hopefully, someone who has seen the effects of either or both on a BAR, or other wild, or savage beast, could respond.

    Howsomever, ANY, reasoning whatever is welcome.

    Was I a dummy for buying, and now packin, a 44 Mag. when I already had a perfectly good 357 Mag. with 6.5" barrel?

    Thanks
    Smitty of the North
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    No, you weren't a dummy. A sane man can never have too many fine revolvers in his life, at once.... At least that's what I'm thinkin'. 357, 44, does it make a difference in real life, probably not, but it's a good excuse to buy more guns.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    Is a 200 grain bullet going 1200fps better than a 300 grain bullet going 1200fps? Against a bear? 'Course I'm saving up for a gun that pushes a 400 grain bullet at 1200fps. Haven't seen a bear killed with a .357 mag, BUT I did see a bear killed by a 9mm bullet to the head. It was a very lucky shot.
    I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

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    Not trying to Hi-Jack your thread Smitty, but would like to piggy back a question to it. Let's say a guy had a nice stainless Ruger GP100 with 4" barrel, supposedly the strongest medium frame 357 magnum ever made?? Let's also say this guy picked up some good heavy hard cast bullets, maybe the Cast Performance 187gr or 200 gr and loaded them up to max velocity/pressure within existing book loading guidelines + taylored to his revolver. How "under gunned" would he be out beating around in bear country? I know all the experts say 44 mag minimum, but seems I have read of some folks up here packing hot loaded 10mm. Any thoughts?

    I know one thing, a GP100 4" barrel sure is a sweet packin weapon in a Don Hume leather holster. Plus side would be decreased recoil and possibly faster follow up shots (if one was blessed enough to get a follow up shot??) Would seem like the heavy hard cast boolets would penetrate well, though not sayin it would be my first choice for Bar Huntin.

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    HUNTERJKL:
    That's my question, basically.

    I gots CP 200 Grain, and 180 Grain, loaded, and SWC 258 Grain, all handloads, all Hard Cast, for my 357.

    There are differences is guns, and other factors to consider, but I'm wondering about the ballistics.

    Smitty of the North
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    What I do know firsthand is that a 4" 357 loaded with the old WW Police load, you know the 158 Lubaloy SWC that shoots through cars . Don't kill cattle worth a ****, the ammo seems to be fairly potent, never put it over a chrono but it's loud as all heck and kicks hard enough to make the cyl release on my K frame slice my thumb open every time I shoot some of them, but they just don't seem to have the authority of a 44 on critters. Now I'm certain a 200 would penetrate well if it were cast hard, but so do 310s at the same speed in the 44, all the while cutting a bigger hole through stuff.

    Is the 357 better than your fingernails and rather puny canine teeth? HECK YEA. Is the 44 or even 41 better still? Better believe it.

  7. #7

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    IF I couldn't place my bullet where I wanted it with a handgun larger than a 32acp; that's the handgun I would carry. A 4" 357 has been known to stop interior grizzlies (shades of Phil Schoemaker). It's better than a sharp stick in the eye and makes more noise. It is much lighter (unless you have one on a 44 mag frame) and you would probably carry it more often than a larger frame gun. A 460 S&W won't work as well as a 357, IF it's at home in the safe. I don't go afield with any plans of hunting a grizzly with my 44 mag; I just hope I can make enough noise with it to deter his intentions. It'll scream louder than I can.
    The owner of Cold Steel, went hunting with a Ruger 7 1/2" 44 mag; He shot a coastal several times when it came to a river to fish. NONE of the Remington 240grn. jhp penetrated the chest cavity. On skinning all bullets were found in the fat layer between the wet fur and ribs. With the wrong bullets even the 44 mag is lacking.
    As far as my pistol holds 16 rounds and yours holds 6 which is best? It won't make any difference! Your chances of getting more than two shots are nearly nil in a charge situation, and both of those might not be well aimed.
    Jake Jefferson gut shot a grizzly with 10mm at night, it left, he tracked it down the next day and dispatched it with a rifle.
    Hypethetically everyone should carry a 45-70 BFR or a S&W 500, but that also might just be the hype coming out.
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    I am going to change this from pistol talk to rifle talk. You are asking which is better, the 375 H&H with a 300 grain bullet or the 30-06 with a 200 grain bullet. Just pick the one you like and go with it.
    NRA Life Member since 1974

  9. #9

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    Different guns, different uses. I've whacked a whole bunch of deer with various 357 loads and 44 mag loads, and I've been happy with both. Dead is dead. They died just as fast with either round. I've shot elk, bou and moose with the 44, but never been tempted to try it with a 357 and any load. In the back of my mind, if nowhere else, I draw the line at deer with the 357. I'd probably take a bou with one, but only if I didn't have the 44 and was really careful with my shooting.

    Here's an interesting thing. I shot revolver division in bowling pin matches for years. I used both 357 and 44. If I hit perfectly with 180 grain 357's at around 1100, they'd flip and slowly slide off the table. But they would usually clear. The 44 mag with 250 grain bullets at 1100 did just fine, clearing them off the table quicker and more often with marginal hits. With slugs slowed to around 750 I also used both for plate shooting, but the 357 got the nod. No matter what I did, the 357 was always around half a second faster. It was easier to cycle the smaller cylinder faster, and recoil with the light loads wasn't a factor. All of that was obviously very fast and accurate double action shooting, the same as I expect for defensive work. But I've got close to 40 years experience with double action and can usually empty a gun double action several times faster than most guys can single action, and hit as well or better than they can single action.

    Going from that, I prefer to carry a 4" 629 for defense, though there are situations (lots of them) in urban settings where it's just too big and I'm perfectly happy with a short 357 Smith of some sort. But most of my "defensive" carry is outside town and the 44 gets the nod. In the bush my preferred load is a 300 at around 1100, while in town I'm packing 250's at 750, whether from a magnum case or a 44 Special case. In the 357 it's 125 HP's at a nominal 1350 from a longer barrel, though they're lots less from a shortie. That bullet has always been best on deer, and it affects my thinking about two-legged targets. Though I've hunted deer lots with various 357's, I can honestly say I've never packed one for bear except in black bear country in the lower 48. I have full confidence in it for that, but not for browns or griz.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I have seen a case where 12 rounds of 357 kept the bear at bay long enough for the helper to run and get the 375H&H from the truck and finish the job.At that time the 357 is what the state made parks folks carry.
    I do carry a Sp101 alot with 180gr BB or 200gr DT ammo and like my 454 I have not needed to use either
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Good information guys. My preferred choice for CCW on 2 legged threats is the good ole 1911, Commander size seems ideal for me. For out of town bear protection, I have a vintage 7.5" Redhawk my Pop bought in 1984. It will keep 6 Cast Perf 320's in maybe 1.5-2" if I have the A game on (not as often as I would like!!). Problem for me is it is heavy, longer barreled than what I would like. Don't have the heart to have the barrel cut so looking for a 4" variety in 44 or 45.

    I think I will still get some heavy cast boolets for the GP100 and see what I can come up with. My plan would be for this rig to accompany my 16y/o daughter when she is out with me or her brother. I think until she gets more accustomed to shooting heavier revolver loads, it would be about max for her. (Anything within reason would be better than having nothing)

    I to aspire to the bigger is best philosophy for using hand guns against angry bruins just because it seems to be a logical conclusion. One great point made is being able to shoot what one caries accurately.

    I know many guys serious about defensive hand gun shooting will take the time to practice and learn, But. I know too there are some well intentioned folks who can easily drop a grand on the big bad 500 S&W and think they are well protected and prepared to deffend themselves after going to the range one time and flinging a cylinder or two down range. Unfortunately, for most the reality is that regular range time behind the trigger is the only thing that will result an any degree of proficiency. I guess it boils down to a guy being proficient with as much gun as he can handle or afford in most cases and pray he never is put to the test!

    I bet that was a hair raising 12 rounds of 357 keeping a bear at bay while waiting for the 375 to arrive! Wow! Would like to hear that whole story.

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    The weight of a GP100 is about the same as a 629 - for the same weight I'll carry a .44 Mag. Better yet I'll carry my 329 PD. Biggest factor is having the gun with you when you need it. The lighter and more convient the gun is to carry the more likely you are to have it with you when you need it - often in an unexpected situation. While the GP100 is very strong it is also heavy and bulky for the caliber - there are better weight to benefits choices availiable. S&W learned this in the .357 market - the sales of the K & L frame .357s far exceed those of the heavier stronger Mdl. 27s. Their heavy cheaper Mdl 28 was discontinued years ago.

    I got my first .357 - a S&W Mdl. 28 - back in '64. I shot the heck outta it all sorts of things having heard about how great the .357 was - cracking engine blocks etc. Then I got a .44 SRH and started shooting it. The difference was black and white - and I've never shot a .357 much afterwards. I will pick up a lightweight .357 revolver someday as a carry gun but I always remeber what the army did back in the 1890s - a 38 cal. bullet just doesn't make a big enough hole in a 2 legged target to reliabily stop the threat quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by HUNTERKJL View Post
    Not trying to Hi-Jack your thread Smitty, but would like to piggy back a question to it. Let's say a guy had a nice stainless Ruger GP100 with 4" barrel, supposedly the strongest medium frame 357 magnum ever made?? Let's also say this guy picked up some good heavy hard cast bullets, maybe the Cast Performance 187gr or 200 gr and loaded them up to max velocity/pressure within existing book loading guidelines + taylored to his revolver. How "under gunned" would he be out beating around in bear country? I know all the experts say 44 mag minimum, but seems I have read of some folks up here packing hot loaded 10mm. Any thoughts?

    I know one thing, a GP100 4" barrel sure is a sweet packin weapon in a Don Hume leather holster. Plus side would be decreased recoil and possibly faster follow up shots (if one was blessed enough to get a follow up shot??) Would seem like the heavy hard cast boolets would penetrate well, though not sayin it would be my first choice for Bar Huntin.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    I love 357 and have taken game all the way up to elk with a 357 Blackhawk in hunting, works fine for that with good shot placement but so does a sharp stick pushed by a bow string. I would have no problem hunting bear with a properly loaded 357 and some well armed back-up, itís been done before. Bear defense is another matter all together . . . the thing will be head on and likely bounding at you fast so nothing like a hunting shot where you can pick your angle when you want it.
    For bear defense I donít conceder 357 at all adequate for browns and quite marginal for blacks due to the extremely poor frontal angles I would likely have to work with. Sure 357 will kill a bear, the sound/shockwave/pain may turn them to go die slowly in the alders rather than kill you. But I would rather have them dead fast than wounded chewing on me or in the alders with me wondering if its dead yet so I can go get the Troopers their hide.

    To each their own, if you are one that will pack a 357/10mm but leave a 44 in the truck or canít take recoil by all means pack that smaller gun . . . shes better than nothing! For me bear defense in Alaska starts with a fore, 41mag/44mag/45 Colt hot loads and goes up to the most the shooter can acutely shoot. So if you can shoot a 500 and will pack it that is what you should have in bear country but a 357 is way better than a 44 or 12 gage back in the truck when you need it. Iíve had way more issues with moose than bear and 357 will do the trick for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    The weight of a GP100 is about the same as a 629 - for the same weight I'll carry a .44 Mag. Better yet I'll carry my 329 PD. Biggest factor is having the gun with you when you need it. The lighter and more convient the gun is to carry the more likely you are to have it with you when you need it - often in an unexpected situation. While the GP100 is very strong it is also heavy and bulky for the caliber - there are better weight to benefits choices availiable. S&W le.
    Yep, that is why I am selling my G20 now that I have a 329PD. Never felt G20 it was as good as a revolver anyways for protection sake. Plus why carry something that is slighty heavier that is only bucking 700-800 ft/lbs when you could be carrying something that weighs slightly less and is bucking 1200-1400 ft/bs more wallop. Most important thing is use what works for you and become proficient with it. Heck i would take a 357 revolver over a G20 as well.

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    OK, my 357 is a Ruger Blackhawk, New Model, which IS, on the same Frame as the 44. It has a 6.5 inch barrel.

    Iím using 200 grain, and 180 grain Hard Cast when I carry it in the swamps. It weighs 3 lbs. loaded.

    Weight is not reely a factor, because the 44, a S&W Mdl 29 with the 6Ē barrel only weighs 6 0z. more loaded. Iím using 300 grain bullets.

    I will probably never be proficient in DA shooting. I canít say Iím very expert with SA shooting either, though. The DA is always available, but when Iím on automatic, Iíd probably shoot it SA because thatís what Iím used to.

    I can load the 357, to the Max. but I donít do that with the 44 because I think the recoil would be a drawback.

    At the time I got the 44, I hadnít considered loading the 357 hotter, or with heavier bullets. I got that idea AFTER I obtained the 44 Mag.

    Now, I feel more confident with the 357, with the new loads.

    The reason I got the 357 in the first place, was because I didnít like the recoil in 44 Mags, that I had fired. With more moderate loads, itís fun to shoot. With hotter loads, itís not IMO, practical for me.

    Since there is very little difference in weight and size betwixt the two guns, Iíd be as likely to have one with me as the other, as far as thatís concerned. Gun weight isnít an issue for me anyway. If I like a gun, I like to carry it.

    Itís the comparative effectiveness of the 357 versus the 44, that Iím searching for.

    I spose, I should keep on with the 44, since Iíve got it, and as was said, itís logical.

    I can practice with BOTH at this point, and compare MY effectiveness with both.

    I hope it wasnít TOO, dumb of a question.

    Thanks for your indulgence.

    Smitty of the North
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    Smitty IF your serious, I'm not sure there is a dumb question ; However you might get some smart nswers ! The answer to your delima might be the 41 mag. It has reduced recoil over the 44 mag (about 20-25%) and still has significant power increases over the 357 mag. It also allows you to launch bigger and heavier bullets. The best revolver I ever carried was a S&W mod 58 (fixed sights), ploice dept turn in. The city of San Antonio went to nine's and the officers turned in their old duty weapons. I think it came from J&G. Someone stole it in a burgulary or it would still be mine today.
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    You might find this article interesting. Notice what caliber he was using...

    http://www.adn.com/2010/06/24/133952...2-attacks.html

    "Miller was fortunate to have survived, said Rick Sinnott, an Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist.

    'He should have been packing a more powerful gun,' Sinnott said. 'You have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum.' "

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    I look at it like this: For threats, you got bears, bigger bears, smaller animals, and humans. You got repeating rifles, shotguns, revolvers, autos, and bear spray to choose from as protection. You can't always go armed with the best tool for each & every worry in the woods; you pick one or two tools that are appropriate for your experience, your area, and how much you want to carry & practice with. I think 90% of safety is up to a person's actions, with the remaining 10% split between luck & equipment.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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    Smitty maybe you should trade that 44 for a 45 Blackhawk, hot loaded 45 Colt for a Ruger is as powerful as hot 44mag but with less pressure so less recoil and snap.

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    Like lanche said you have a 500-600 ft lb of energy differnce between the two but if you don't hit what your shooting at you could have a .500 nitro express and it would not matter.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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