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Thread: 357 versus 44 Mag.

  1. #21
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    But with a less than optimum hit - a high probability on a hard to hit charging animal - the ft.-lbs. may make a difference. I'd rather have a poorly placed hit with a .500 S&W that an accurate shot with a .32 ACP.


    Quote Originally Posted by jkb View Post
    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.
    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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  2. #22
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    The 44 is a better choice for a couple of reasons. It has a larger frontal area which does more damage and it has more mass which helps push it through mussle,fat and bone better than a lighter bullet. The next question is, Can you hit where you want with it? It takes a bit of practice but not necessarily a lot of ammo to become fairly proficient with DA shooting a handgun. Even a 4" 44mag can be shot well in DA mode by most folks with proper practice especially at defence ranges. Give me a call and lets talk this DA shooting thing.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by F-Trooper05 View Post
    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.' "
    I've read that one before and the comment (Sinnot) is just, well, crap. They guy missed and missed again, with a bigger gun would he have hit, I doubt it!

  4. #24
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    OK, and Thanks to everyone for your help in sorting this out.

    I've practiced with the 44, and some days I don't mind the recoil, (with my loads), and sometimes I do.

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  5. #25

    Default my .357 and my .44 mag

    My S&W small frame hammerless .357 with nice rubber grips was my favorite gun for so long. Little 2 inch barrel yet I could hit with it. Shoots cheap .38s when you're just out plinking and nice big .357 rounds "just in case". I conceal-carried a lot with this gun.

    Then years ago I traded it (I still miss it) even up for a S&W .44 mag with 6 1/2 inch barrel, and a ton of ammo; both plinker rounds and big bear rounds. Add an Uncle Mike's underarm holster and two speed loaders, and I travel with 18 rounds.

    The long barrel makes the big loads bearable for a guy that doesn't like big handguns (me). And it feels good to fire. No wincing or other crap that I'd likely do with one of those superlight 2 inch barrel titanium .44s.

    And look at the chart to see the difference in the power that you deliver, and you won't go back to a .357...... unless your use is as a little conceal-gun in case of two legged problems.
    Dear whatever doesn't kill me, I'm strong enough now. Thanks.

  6. #26
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    It's an excellent question, and I think impossible to get an accurate answer on. The biggest problem with the .357 is that most if not all times it's been used for a dlp, it's been with 158 gr jacketed bullets at less than full strength 357 velocities. A soft 158 at 1100 fps is not the same as a hard cast 200 @ 1200-1300 fps. Not to mention most people are horrible shots with handguns in a calm situation, add in a charging bear and all bets are off as to where the bullets are going to land. The .357 has been maligned from bad shots and bad bullets.

    In my personal opinion, a strong 357 with a 180-200 gr hardcast at 1200+ fps is a prudent minimum. There are times when I carry my 357 blackhawk loaded with 200 gr cast bullets because it's enough gun to be worth carrying, and noteably easier to pack than my 480 w/ 400's @ 1200 fps. If I was in a situation where I felt that I really need a "bear" gun, I'll take the 480. At times when I want to carry something, the .357 goes along.

    One of these days I'll take a deer or caribou with the .357, that way I'll know for sure if the round is rightly or wrongly maligned.

  7. #27

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    If a .357 is good enough for Dick Proenneke, it's good enough for me.
    But, I wouldn't carry a Blackhawk.
    The biggest advantage, IMO, would be you could have a small, light .357 package for backpacking.
    If I was carrying a .357 Blackhawk, I would as soon carry one in .45colt. Same gun.
    If ever I don't want to lug around a .44/.45c that is appropriately heavy for bear defense loads, I would be happy to have a snub S&W 686.
    Like one of these, see bottom gun.
    http://www.imfdb.org/index.php/Smith...sson_Model_686

  8. #28
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    My 180s average 1131 fps, and the 200s 1071 fps. They're both from Cast Performance.

    I get 158 grain SWCs locally.

    I would think that the 180, or 200 grain would be good penetrators.

    Lots of people are not impressed with the 357, since the 44 Mag. came into being.

    Now, the 44 Mag, is losing out to the more powerful 45 Cal. handguns.

    Smitty of the North
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    One of these days I'll take a deer or caribou with the .357, that way I'll know for sure if the round is rightly or wrongly maligned.
    It’s wrongly mangled as a hunting round just as you say due to hollowpoint heroes all over the land. I know firsthand 180g cast will pass through an elk in a double lung and 180jsp tends to stop at the off side hide of mule deer. 357 is a great hunting gun that will put them down before they get very far but just not a fight stopper on something heavy bodied like a brown head on to you any more than a good hunting bow is.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by tailwind View Post
    If a .357 is good enough for Dick Proenneke, it's good enough for me.
    But, I wouldn't carry a Blackhawk.
    The biggest advantage, IMO, would be you could have a small, light .357 package for backpacking.
    If I was carrying a .357 Blackhawk, I would as soon carry one in .45colt. Same gun.
    If ever I don't want to lug around a .44/.45c that is appropriately heavy for bear defense loads, I would be happy to have a snub S&W 686.
    Like one of these, see bottom gun.
    http://www.imfdb.org/index.php/Smith...sson_Model_686
    I hear what you're sayin.

    Howsomever, the advantage for ME, is that the blackhawk is heavy enough to greatly reduce 357 recoil, even for HOT loads.

    And, of course, the SA is 2nd Nature for me.

    When I shoot a DA, I shift my grip, depending on if I shoot SA or DA.

    Also, it's something that I'm trying to deal with, but I tend to shoot my DA S&W 44, and the CC DA S&W 38 Special, in SA mode.

    As I mentioned, I'm primarilly, interested in/concerned with, the "effectiveness" of a (properly??) loaded 357 round.

    Smitty of the North
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  11. #31
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    Being a long time carrier of a Redhawk .44 I prefer it. I have never killed anything larger than a spruce hen with a pistol, so I have no personal evidence to present. However, I will provide what an old miner discussed with me this last summer.

    This man has been wandering around the wilderness of Alaska since 1972 or 1973. Logging, trapping, and mining. As a logger he never had much of an issue with bears. As a trapper he had a few cool moments trapping on Afognak in the winter, but never shot anything, and even wondered on one event if he was going to be eaten while bow hunting for deer. As a miner and resident of a small town on the banks of a salmon stream he has shot many bears (mostly black) at hand shake distance.

    He first took to using a .44 mag but found them to not be effective. He was sure that it was bullet selection at the time. Back then all he had access to was factory semi wad cutters and hollow points. Neither did well in his opinion (and I think we can agree with this assessment). Eventually he found himself with a 357 and with various bullets found them to be more effective shooting black bears in the head at his tent flap or cabin door.

    He has shot both brown and black bears with both cartridges. Browns are hard to kill, which we can all agree with. However, at hand shake distance he prefers the .357 over the .44.

    The reality is that he prefers to use a rifle, but when the bear sticks its head into your tent you use what you have at hand.

  12. #32
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    Way I figure it, just opinion. A hot loaded 357 180 or 200Gr can put out just on 800ftlbs. A factory 300gr 44mag is putting about the same. I reload so can get my 357s as hot as the gun can take, equaling in ME terms factory 44s; what most people carry.
    My theory may/may not be flawed, maybe I'll find out one day! But I figure a a 357 going quicker than and with same ME as a factory 44 is going to give pretty good penetration.
    My 357 (3" SP101) is small enough to be with me everywhere and strong enough to take the hot loads. I like it.
    I also figure that if I am in bear defense with a handgun mode then the bar is either trying to chew me, or within a few yards of doing so - a 357 will work in that scenario as good as any magnum wheel gun will.
    If I am 'planning' to go into bar territory (as opposed to just a chance meeting onthe beach) then my 45-70 is primary and my (small and light) SP101 is back-up; in the bar's mouth, very close quarters..
    That's my logic- I can cc the SP101 so it goes everywhere, no change in manual of arms, always with and I have and will continue to be extremely proficient with it. as the saying goes 'geware the man with only one gun, he probably knows how to use it'. Why keep wapping guns, when one will probaly span all needs.
    I have juggled with this for a long time; thought of buying a big bore semi, a 460 etc. But got the 101, shoot it great and have now decided stick with it.

  13. #33
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    Wow! 800ft lb from a 180gr requires about 1420fps and about 1350fps for a 200gr. That's not too hard from an 8" contender but really smoking from a 4/5" 357 revolver. A 4/5" 44mag with 240gr should get about 1400fps and about 1040ft lb. A 180 from a 4/5" 357 at 1150fps and 530 ft lbs is plenty warm, or a 200 at about 1100 would be good for about 540 ft lbs. Also, at handgun velocities, ME has not been a good predictor of killing potential. The 300gr 44 at 1100fps has shown itself to be much more effective than the 240gr at 1400+ even though the energy level is about 30% lower. If I were to use a 357, it would be with 200gr cast and I would hope to get 1100fps from a 4" M28. I would only do that if I couldn't handle a gun shooting bigger and heavier bullets at 1100+. A 357 shooting 200s is certainly not worthless and I probably will never encounter a ticked off bear at handshake distances. If I do, all accounts say the bigger heavier bullet is more effective.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    If I do, all accounts say the bigger heavier bullet is more effective.
    That's the bit that I will always contend when it comes to the unpredicable 'bar defense' question. I cannot find any account (except for one in previous reply where the guy missed) where a 357 has been inneffective. Yet I have read numerous accounts where heavy caliber rifles have been inneffective, other accounts where heavy handguns have been inneffective (including sw500) and also accounts where 9mm, 45s etc have been effective. It always leads me to believe that many bear attacks are on the ill-prepared, they have little bear awareness, have the false security of a huge gun which they have not practiced with (again ill-prepared) and do not achieve good shot placement. A good centerfire heavy(ish) caliber in the right hands will be effective.
    In terms of MV and hot loading - 1400-1450 with a 180Gr is not too hard to achieve out of a strong 4/5" 357, even a 3" gets very close. Both Buffaloe Bore and Double Tap ammo achieves very close to that for 'any steel-framed revolver' and if you handload you can take it above BB and DT pressures in a strong gun.

  15. #35
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    I probably should have stated it but I assumed we were talking equal bullet placement when I said bigger heavier is more effective. I do understand that a 200gr 357 in the head is probably going to be more effective than a 50BMG in the hind foot. Given equal bullet placement a 250gr .429 cast will be more effective than a 180gr 357 as it can easily be pushed faster with less pressure. Better yet is much heavier (300+gr) at 1100 /1200fps. This combo has proven to be effective. Statisticly more effective than smaller caliber lighter weight handguns. You are right in that you can't miss fast enough or with big enough gun to be effective. But in no way does that make the 357 as effective as a 44mag. A frontal shot on a rapidly approaching bear may not be effective with a heavy 44 bullet. Backing off on bullet weight won't help. Added velocity may help but only if the bullet stays together. I'm not saying everyone should shoot a 500S&W but if you can hit with the 500 it would certainly be better that either a 357 or a 44. IMO of importance, first is bullet placement, second is penetration, and then bullet shape, velocity and weight in some order. If you want to load beyoud BB and DT pressures, go ahead. I've heard handgrenades are pretty effective at close range. My personal bear hand gun is a 6" 41mag with a 225gr cast at 1480 or a 270gr at 1200 depending on my mood. These are cronygraphed numbers not some highly optimistic numbers from the net. And that still doesn't match a 44. A 357 is not a 44. Is it enough? I don't know but I will carry as big as I can accurately shoot because I am convinced that bigger is better if you can shoot it.

  16. #36
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    If one is going to all the time, trouble, and expense to reload heavy .357 loads and become proficent with the load and gun - why not just do the same with a .44 Mag? The first shot on a charging bear is going to be the most important and no matter how good you are with your weapon is is going to be very difficult to place a shot on that sort of moving target. For that reason I want all the punch deliveried to the target that I can handle.

    Hunting of course is a totally different deal.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    If one is going to all the time, trouble, and expense to reload heavy .357 loads and become proficent with the load and gun - why not just do the same with a .44 Mag? The first shot on a charging bear is going to be the most important and no matter how good you are with your weapon is is going to be very difficult to place a shot on that sort of moving target. For that reason I want all the punch deliveried to the target that I can handle.

    Hunting of course is a totally different deal.
    For the simple reason that I stated earlier, I can and do carry a light small 357 with me everywhere, I cannot do the same with a 44. It is more practical for me. However, as also stated earlier, I also carry a 45-70 when going into more likely bear territory.
    My points in previous replies were in answer to the OP. No doubt that a 44 and up is more potent than a 357, but a 357 can be loaded to be around about 44 factory specs. Also that (again irt Smitty's OP) there is nothing of note that I can find that shows the 357 is less than effective bear medicine, indeed no more so than any other handgun caliber. That is his question; what is the real life data/experience of fact that shows the 357 any less effective than a 44 against a bear. We can all summise that a bigger bullet, more power (whatever equation or term you wish to use) is better and I don't think any of us really doubt that. But there is no real life data (that I am aware of) that shows 357 any less effective against bears than a 44.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    If one is going to all the time, trouble, and expense to reload heavy .357 loads and become proficent with the load and gun - why not just do the same with a .44 Mag? The first shot on a charging bear is going to be the most important and no matter how good you are with your weapon is is going to be very difficult to place a shot on that sort of moving target. For that reason I want all the punch deliveried to the target that I can handle.

    Hunting of course is a totally different deal.
    It's the difference in my guns.
    Although, the 357 weighs only 6 oz. less, it is less bulky, and easier to handle, and I'm used to it.

    It's the difference in recoil.
    My 44 has much greater recoil, even with moderate loads, making it harder to shoot well.

    I want "all the punch delivered to the target that I can handle" too, but I think we need to be realistic about what we can handle. And, what actually constitutes the most "punch", say from a bear's point of view.

    I don't KNOW that my first shot is the most important. Or, that I will get only ONE shot, Or, that it will be that DIFFICULT. In any case, I don't want it to be more difficult than it needs to be.

    I've been shooting the 44 the most, lately, and maybe I'm just a little disappointed in my progress.

    I hafta agree with nbh40 about ill-preparedness, and false security from just owning a large handgun.

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  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    It's the difference in my guns.
    Although, the 357 weighs only 6 oz. less, it is less bulky, and easier to handle, and I'm used to it.

    It's the difference in recoil.
    My 44 has much greater recoil, even with moderate loads, making it harder to shoot well.

    I want "all the punch delivered to the target that I can handle" too, but I think we need to be realistic about what we can handle. And, what actually constitutes the most "punch", say from a bear's point of view.

    I don't KNOW that my first shot is the most important. Or, that I will get only ONE shot, Or, that it will be that DIFFICULT. In any case, I don't want it to be more difficult than it needs to be.

    I've been shooting the 44 the most, lately, and maybe I'm just a little disappointed in my progress.

    I hafta agree with nbh40 about ill-preparedness, and false security from just owning a large handgun.

    Smitty of the North
    And if we take the OP question - therefore only looking at 357 and 44. Also considering same good shot placement for both. Is there any factual data out there that PROVES a bear (or anything else) will be more dead if shot with a 44 vs a 357?
    I am with Smitty here; I can shoot and handle 44s and bigger, do I really enjoy shooting them.....no. I also have to think more when I am shooting them, but my 357 I shoot very well and shoot it naturally. Therefore more likely to achieve better shot placement in a stress situation.
    Also the 'only time for one shot' seems like urban legend. All the 'one shot' reports I have read have been that the bear was killed with the first shot. Most reports of bear attack are; bear was killed with first shot, multiple shots did not stop the bear or there was not time to shoot before the bear was on me/us. Can't find any real data/report of 'I only had time for one shot before the bear was on me/us'.

  20. #40

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    Been reading all these responses, most of them filled with unconfirmed opinions and hearsay stories. Talking guns is very often like fishing stories and we'll leave it at that. All I know is that choosing a smaller caliber gun over a larger caliber pushing heavier bullets just doesn't make sense. As for carrying a smaller caliber because you can't handle a more powerful one is how we end up with wounded bears making trouble for other people. If you can't handle a gun that is appropriate for the need, then perhaps you should stay out of situations that just might prove the point. Might as well throw in a story i know to be true.
    When I was working at the original Gun Traders on Muldoon, a guy named Jerry Jakes came in. He had been state wrestling champ when he was younger. Jerry was a tough looking guy with some interesting scars on his left arm. When curiosity got the better of me, and I asked about the scars, he told me that he had been doing some river rafting guiding, but I don't remember the river he was on. He and his clients pulled up for a lunch break. When he stepped out of the raft to tie off, a small black bear jumped him out of the bush and latched onto his left arm. Jerry was able to pull his .357 mag and fired off four or five shoots into the bear's body. The 150 or so pound bear flinched, but didn't let go. The next shot was fired under the bear,s chin and luckily severed it's spine at the base of the skull. End of bear, end of story, hopefully point made.

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