.357 vs .44 Special for Home Defense


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mrstang01
January 12, 2003, 01:14 PM
Let's open a can of worms and see who likes what for home defense. The .357 has a better track record, but do you really want to blast off a couple of those 125 grainers inside with no hearing protection?

Is the big .44 that much better on noise levels?

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Brian D.
January 12, 2003, 02:32 PM
The .357 in 110/125gr is not only loud, but due to all that powder there's a good deal of muzzle flash, which may cause the "sender" as much difficulty as the intended "receiver", at least til the sender connects SQUARELY with the receiver. Do some experimenting outside at sunset or later if you have an appropriate facility for this. As to "stopping power" (oh brother, does that term get thrown around recklessly at times), I'd say both are adequete, shot placement means much more.

JohnK
January 12, 2003, 03:08 PM
Pick the one that fits you best that you shoot best and is most reliable. Then load it with whatever defense load you want. The 357 seems to have a better track record but the 44 with quality defense loads is hardly a slouch, only hits count so use the one that you feel most comfortable with.

People talk about the blast of a 357 indoors being stunning, well I've been in a fairly small room when someone else had a AD (or ND if you prefer) with a HK 91 and 7.62 NATO. Surprised the hell out of me, ears didn't even ring - but talk about an adrenaline rush, whew!. I doubt a 357 is going to be louder. The body does some amazing self protection when under stress, that 308 going off didn't seem as loud as a 22 LR from a revolver when out target shooting.

There's little doubt about the flash from a 357 though, you can get some amazing fireballs when shooting at night. Think fireballs measured in feet not inches. :)

ms1200
January 12, 2003, 06:14 PM
i think that both calibers would work very well for defence.

personaly i would pick the .44spl because i am a fan of heavy slow moveing bullets in a handgun

Dr.Rob
January 12, 2003, 06:33 PM
I don't own a 44 special, but my 44 mag will shoot them. I have no doubt that the 44 is serious round, even in its downloaded state. I've often practiced with 240 Ultramax cowboy loads, which is a soft lead flatnose at 750fps, not a barn-burner but a whole lotta lead.

I'd prefer the 357 loaded with 158gr swchp. Even in my snubby the flash isn't that bad, and its a stout load.

Dan Morris
January 12, 2003, 06:52 PM
Either one.....trust me, in a firefight, you ain't gonna hear the noise!
Dan

Marshall
January 12, 2003, 07:13 PM
The .44 special stands less of a chance doing collateral damage also.

tex_n_cal
January 13, 2003, 02:28 AM
Mmmmm....this is the revolver version of "9mm or .45" threads that pop up once a month elsewhere:D

I would expect that a quality .44 special Defense load, like Silvertips or Corbons, would be about like the .357, i.e., both stop the BG 90% of the time.

It's harder to find good defensive loads for the .44, than the .357, or 9mm & .45 for that matter.

Of course, if the BG sees the big holes in the .44 & runs, then you don't have to shoot him, which is the best solution of all.:D

Those Smiths with the alloy frames in .44 Special look awfully attractive as a defensive gun, even though I still like my 1911.

tex_n_cal
January 13, 2003, 02:29 AM
Mmmmm....this is the revolver version of "9mm or .45" threads that pop up once a month elsewhere:D

I would expect that a quality .44 special Defense load, like Silvertips or Corbons, would be about like the .357, i.e., both stop the BG 90% of the time.

It's harder to find good defensive loads for the .44, than the .357, or 9mm & .45 for that matter.

Of course, if the BG sees the big holes in the .44 & runs, then you don't have to shoot him, which is the best solution of all.:D

Those Smiths with the alloy frames in .44 Special look awfully attractive as a defensive gun, even though I still like my 1911.

chaim
January 13, 2003, 02:37 AM
Personally my HD gun is usually my K-frame .357, a S&W 65LS, with my 6" L-frame (a 586) occasionally taking over. I like a .357mag loaded with .38s or .38+Ps. In modern hollowpoint ammo this round will more than do its job if I do mine. The .38 and some +Ps will have far less flash than a mag which is important if I ever need to fire in the dark and the noise is far less so there is less chance for hearing damage. If I had a .44mag or .44spl I may use .44spl but the gun would have to fit me very well as I don't think any gun (with the possible exceptions of the CZ 75, BHP and 1911s) have the ergonomic fit of a K or L frame or the balance of a K-frame .357 revolver.

Jim March
January 13, 2003, 04:21 AM
A better question is "would I rather have six rounds of very good 38+P from a 4 inch tube versus five rounds of 44Spl in the same package?" and I think the answer is "yes". Esp. if I can load up monster 357s that will be more effective than the 44Spl if the circumstances warrant.

Jim March
January 13, 2003, 04:23 AM
A better question is "would I rather have six rounds of very good 38+P from a 4 inch tube versus five rounds of 44Spl in the same package?" and I think the answer is "yes". Esp. if I can load up monster 357s that will be more effective than the 44Spl if the circumstances warrant.

Jim March
January 13, 2003, 04:24 AM
A better question is "would I rather have six rounds of very good 38+P from a 4 inch tube versus five rounds of 44Spl in the same package?" and I think the answer is "yes". Esp. if I can load up monster 357s that will be more effective than the 44Spl if the circumstances warrant.

Jim March
January 13, 2003, 04:24 AM
A better question is "would I rather have six rounds of very good 38+P from a 4 inch tube versus five rounds of 44Spl in the same package?" and I think the answer is "yes". Esp. if I can load up monster 357s that will be more effective than the 44Spl if the circumstances warrant.

mrstang01
January 13, 2003, 12:21 PM
I guess I should have mentioned that the .44 special I'm considering is the N frame 624 Lew Horton special with 3 inch tube. My usual bedside gun is a Taurus 65 w/ a 3 inch tube in .357

MoNsTeR
January 13, 2003, 12:22 PM
I've been in a fairly small room when someone else had a AD (or ND if you prefer) with a HK 91 and 7.62 NATO. Surprised the hell out of me, ears didn't even ring
JohnK,
assuming you weren't stone deaf already when this happened, how is that possible? A 9mm in an open field leaves me with ringing ears, I'd expect 7.62 NATO *indoors* would make my ears bleed.

mrstang01
January 13, 2003, 12:24 PM
Double Tap

Standing Wolf
January 13, 2003, 11:23 PM
My personal preference is for the .357 magnum, which delivers lower recoil than the .44 magnum. Between the .44 special and the .357 magnum, I'd choose the latter, primarily because I've had more practice with it, also because I believe it's more likely to stop an intruder right this instant.

Poohgyrr
January 14, 2003, 12:33 AM
I have a "regular" production 3" 629 and a 4" M24, both loaded with Fed 200 LSWCHP's. This basic combo worked very well in the past, and should work as well today.

Also have one or two .357's that should also work well.

I think you should have both available :D ........

Gila Jorge
January 14, 2003, 11:16 AM
For home defense: my wife has the 357 Mag on her side of the bed and I have the 44 Spcl on my side of the bed....also a 40 S&W and a 12ga Browning 2000 auto as back up. My gun safe and ammo are in my bedroom as well as cell phones. Must plan for attacks and defense.

mete
January 14, 2003, 11:43 AM
First for a home defense gun you don't need concealable short barrels, the shorter the barrel the greater the muzzle flash and blast. While any gun is loud indoors the 357 will be louder than the 44. My ch oice would be a 4 or 6" 44 loaded with the Fed 200 LSWHP which gives you 900fps ,a good performer.

WonderNine
January 14, 2003, 06:13 PM
Get a .45LC if .357 is not enough.

mrstang01
January 14, 2003, 06:38 PM
Not a question of if .357 is enough, as far as I know, it's still the top man stopper. The question was comparing .44 Special to .357.

I'm very interested in actual experience firing one vs the other and comparing noise and flash of the best performers.

Thanks!

Michael

DrDremel
January 14, 2003, 09:56 PM
I have a S&W 296 airweight snubbie in .44 special. It kicks much more than a .357 magnum snubbie with the same weight. I will take a big bullet that is slow over a fast little bullet any time.

cratz2
January 16, 2003, 09:51 AM
Well, since I've had a S&W 686 as my primary anti-badguy arm for a couple years not, I guess I'd have to go with the 357. Have it loaded with 4 blue Glaser 38s and the last two rounds are 158 Gr LSWC just in case I need to do 'skull damage' or somesuch.

Poohgyrr
January 17, 2003, 01:37 AM
Noise & Flash....

I'd suggest shooting both at the end aise of an indoor range; with good ears on. for the noise. For me, a good 44 Spec is easier to shoot than many .357's.

IIRC, flash depends on how the powder is made, and some rounds are advertised as having less muzzle flash. Silvertips used to be known for this, but I'm not up on current stuff.

There's little doubt in my mind that a good 44 Spec load works well. Just look at the results from all these years, of shooting animals and bad guys. I understand the 44-40 was "king" of deer rounds in the southwest a few generations ago. Compare the ballistics of this round to that of the .44 Special/Magnum and the .44 Spec looks pretty good.

The .357 is pretty good itself.

VictorLouis
January 20, 2003, 01:51 PM
I shot a round each of SilverTip and Fed. LHP out of a 4" N-frame. The 'flash ball' was about that of a softball. Pick ANY .357 load, flash-retarded or not, and I think you'll see a dramatically larger flash signature. As to blast noise, the Special wins hands-down over the .357.

357Man
January 20, 2003, 02:39 PM
I think that in the interest of reducing over penetration, the .44 with something like the CorBon 165 gr. HP loads would be just about ideal.
If you went with the .357, Corbon makes a .38+P load with a 110 gr. bullet going almost at .357 velocities.

Marshall
January 20, 2003, 03:51 PM
I went with the .44 special, mainly because I just like them big fat holes.

Really, I feel more comfortable if ever needing to fire inside, with a bigger slower bullet. With family in the house I feel it's a safer round than a 357 Mag, less likely penetrate clear thru anything, BG's, walls, etc.

I aslo have .44Mags I can shoot Specials thru in a pinch or if I just want to shoot a lighter load from time to time.

1goodshot
January 20, 2003, 07:47 PM
If your fighting for your life you probably wont even remember hearing the shots.

Glamdring
April 20, 2003, 05:32 AM
My nightstand gun is a 629 loaded with Speer's 200 GDHP which has the largest HP of any handgun load I have seen. IMHO the 44 special equals the 45 ACP for terminal ballistics when using proper type of bullet.

I think the 44 special and 45 acp are much more pleasent to shoot than the 357/125 @1400+ which means I practice more with that gun/load combination.

Also if you need or want more than Speer factory load in 44 special performace Georgia arms and others load a +P version or 44 mag Light version using same bullet. Which moves the 44 special into 45 Super/SMC power levels.

WebHobbit
April 20, 2003, 10:29 AM
I love big-bores but many of the rounds mentioned for the .44 Special are just too slow to reliably expand. That Federal LHP someone said went 900 fps I have read tested MUCH slower than that & usually did not expand. I'm sorry I don't have linkage for proof. I've read hundreds of gun rags over the years & used to keep 'em all filed but finally threw them out (mistake).

Speaking of gun rags I remember reading an article about noise levels and I think the end result was that ALL popular defense loads were loud enough to cause hearing damage. Including .38.

Anyone remember that? Correct me if I'm wrong.

As for the fireball blast of Magnums --- I LIKE that aspect!

Do I consider it a problem for SD? Not really. I seriously doubt I will EVER get in a "gun battle". I think defense against some random crazy (with or without a gun, knife, etc,) would be the more likely scenario around here. Then again I don't live in a gangland war zone as I'm sure some unfortunates do.

standingbear
April 20, 2003, 01:34 PM
you ever notice that during a selfdefence shooting,you dont seem to hear the noise?because youre concentrating on hitting your target.357 are cheaper to buy than 44s,can shoot 38 specials in that 357 too,milder recoil than 44.44 can do the job so can 357.i have a 44 and consider it overkill for self defence.its used for deer and bigger game.casual plinking with a 357,youll painfully hear the sharp bang without hearing protection but in a defence situation,you wont notice it,too busy with other things.just some thoughts.

Doc
April 20, 2003, 02:07 PM
I'd worry about overpenetration with either .357 or .44 - if I would shoot it in the house I would want to shoot it at/thru a couple sheets of drywall on a 2x4 frame.

What's wrong with a 20 ga with a youth stock and #1 buck?

FYI, shoot anything in the house and its LOUD!

(Remember we are talking Life and Death, that's why we are firing a weapon in the house; so hearing protection is really a moot point. Plus it O Dark Thirty and we are in our birthday suits...)

9mmepiphany
April 21, 2003, 06:31 PM
i went to the .44spl from the .357mag after shooting them side by side. i was comparing L-frames:

1. the 4" 686 with 125gr jhp and 140gr jhp (personal favorite)
2. the 3" 696 with 200gr gdhp (blazer)

the .44 had less blast and flash. they were equally accurate.

my personal 696 came from the factory with mag-na-porting. this made followup shots faster and reduced felt recoil/muzzle flip to that of a 125gr .38spl +p out of the 686.

WonderNine
May 20, 2003, 12:45 AM
.45LC is better than both.

Stainz
May 21, 2003, 09:45 AM
No question - a 250gr LRNFP @ 750 fps would most likely not exit a BG's torso - imparting all of the KE to him - .45 Colt even in Cowboy levels is a great stopper. I believe the question was .357 or .44 S&W Special. I think, considering the low velocity sub-sonic (875fps) boom of the CCI Blazer 200gr Speer GDJHP's, their excellent expansion at those speeds, the lack of over-penetration, and the fact I like big bores, I'll go with the .44 S&W Specials. I keep the Blazers in my 696 as HD. Of course, I thought Sony Beta was a better system, liked Studebakers, and would have voted for Goldwater, had I been old enough. Besides, my wife has her CZ-75 with a couple of 15rd mags of ball ammo...

Stainz

riverdog
May 21, 2003, 11:11 AM
Another approach is to take a .44 Mag and get a light load for it. My choice was a 3" Mod 629 loaded with Pro-Load Tactical Lite, 200 gr Gold Dot at 1050 FPS (from a 4" tube). From a 3" tube it's moving at 950-1000 so it's subsonic which is a plus. Recoil is very managable, sorta like a hot .44 Special.

MJRW
May 21, 2003, 01:06 PM
Another consideration is practice. .38/.357 is cheaper to shoot than .44 special unless you reload. I tend to shoot more with my inexpensive-to-load guns more than I do those that cost an arm and 1/2 a leg to fire.

And yet another consideration is your surroundings. What can that bullet hit after it leaves the bad guy? I think .38, .357, and .44 special all have application depending on that circumstance. I live in a townhouse with just my fiance. My home defense load of choice is a 158 grain .38 special +p. When I move to a single family home I am moving to a 125 grain .357. I think .44 special fits somewhere between these two.

Ala Dan
May 21, 2003, 01:23 PM
Greeting's All-

I keep a 6" Smith & Wesson model 686-5, .357 magnum
loaded with Federal 110grain +P. 38 Spl. JHP "Hydra-Shok's";
strictly for member's of my household that can't handle
the .45 caliber SIG-Sauer P220A stoked with Federal
230 grain JHP "Hydra-Shok's"!:) :uhoh: :D

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life

billinbranson
July 8, 2009, 01:46 PM
Just a little food for thought: The best .357 loads I have encountered are hand loads and handloaded is a no-no for personal defense. A plaintiff's attorney would have a field day telling a judge or jury just how evil the .357 can be, and then say something like "and you, Mr. Smith, were not satisfied with ordinary bear hunting ammunition. You had to craft special, more powerful loads..."
(Get the drift?)
Also, the best ballistic results in .357 come from shoving a lot of powder behind a lightweight projectile, making great likelihood of over penetration. You don't want to dead-center the bad guy and then knock the baby next door out of her high chair!
My choice is the old cowboy .44 special cartridge in Silvertip or Hydra Shok off-the-shelf loads. It has a bigger, heavier bullet at lower velocity and is likely to leave all its energy in the target and not in a neighbor.

Quoheleth
July 8, 2009, 01:49 PM
Holy "Old Thread Revival," Batman!

Q

snooperman
July 8, 2009, 03:01 PM
Both will do the job , but be prepared for major hearing problems if fired in an enclosed room. Most firearms in those calibers will have above 150db.That is what I have read.Maybe other members have a take on this too.

MovedWest
July 8, 2009, 03:03 PM
I prefer the 44 magnum loaded with Hornady XTP or Winchester Silver Tips in 44 special. The heavier weight of the 44 mag frame and the light load of a 44 spl round will give you quicker shot-to-shot recovery and better stability. Since you'll probably be in fight or flight mode you want something as steady as you get. The 44spl won't go through walls too easily and it's a seriously destructive at close range.

-MW

TenDriver
July 8, 2009, 06:04 PM
I ended up with a 44 mag loaded with Mag Safe 44 spl. Advertised as 2000 fpm from a 5 1/2 in barrel. I'm guessing with my Tracker 1200-1500 fpm with my ported gun.

They're a 55 gr pre-fragmented round. Shot a couple the other day with pretty decent results and very little recoil.

_N4Z_
July 8, 2009, 07:40 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just a little food for thought: The best .357 loads I have encountered are hand loads and handloaded is a no-no for personal defense.........


:rolleyes:

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