any ballistic advantage to .357 over .44 at distance?


December 15, 2003, 12:39 AM
Let's say you wanted to carry a 16" lever gun for general self-defense on a backpacking trip because: a. it is light, and b. let's say you were someplace south of the border where 'hunting' rifles are OK under certain circumstances.

Is there any reason to think that a .357 might be flatter shooting than a .44 over distance because of the smaller diameter? If someone unpleasant were inclined to use a firearm to threaten you while down south, they would likely have something in a military self-loader, so you would want to be able to return fire rapidly without reloading (hence the pistol-caliber), but also be able to shoot accurately to 200 yards without worrying too much about trajectory.

There is also 30-30, but the magazines are smaller, and I have never tried to shoot one of the short ones. But I imagined that the follow-up is tougher because the recoil would be greater in a lighter gun.

My first guess is that the .44 is the best compromise, but I am curious about comparisons in performance out at ~150 yards and beyond. I tried the Remington ballistic calculator, but there is no info. on .357 from a rifle.

If you enjoyed reading about "any ballistic advantage to .357 over .44 at distance?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
December 15, 2003, 02:09 AM
I'd say go with the .44 with one caveat

A quick glance at my "Shooters Bible" showed there not to be much difference in drop between these two cartridges out to 400 yards (around 130ish inches average with a 100 yard zero). Of course this book does not indicate the barrel length being used (other than it was some sort of carbine) so comparisons across cartridges are slightly better than worthless. So figuring the long distance performance is going to be similar if not tipped in the .44s favor (at long range pistol caliber carbines are running out of steam and whatever velocity related damage they might have caused to their target at the muzzle is giving up to crushing damage, and the bigger .44 wins at that). Also there's no arguing that the .44 is going to be more potent at short rages so I'd call it the winner.

Now the caveat.

If I were going to go out and about and felt there was a signifigant chance of being fired upon by a "military self-loader" from 200 yards and beyond I'd leave my lever carbine at home. Now, If that's all I had I wouldn't feel absoluetly naked, but I'd feel a lot better about a BAR or enfield or just about any full powered rifle. If you remove that bit about having to pass as a "hunting rifle" I'll have my FAL, thank you very much.

In that situation the longer the fight goes on the more likely you are to be killed. And bringing accurate and effective fire onto the target is way more imporant that a high volume of rapid fire without reloading. Shooting a lot of rounds takes time, and that's not something you have.

You know let me just go ahead and say if I were going to go out and about and felt there was a signifigant chance of being fired upon by a "military self-loader" from 200 yards and beyhond I'd not only leave my carbine at home but I'd cancel the trip all together. There's just too many problems. Is this guy going to have the jump on you? At those ranges it becomes a race between you being able to find him and return effective fire and him hitting you, assuming he missed with the first one. Either way, he's got a hell of a head start.

If he doesn't have the drop on you it's probably becaue you started it, either by shooting at him first or going somwhere where you knew he was going to shoot at you.

It's a bad deal all the way around.

December 15, 2003, 02:59 AM
If your armed with a pistol with a stock and a long barrel ( pistol caliber carbine) your very outgunned by someone with a semi auto carbine in 223 or 308 at any range. Your skills had better be better than their's.

December 15, 2003, 05:57 AM
Guy with a 'military style self-loader' will work you like a rented mule.

Remington makes the 7400 in 18" carbine barrel (which you could legally cut down to 16") in .30-06 and .308. It's also light. (eg ~7-8lbs) Browning makes the BAR in magnum .30 calibers, but it's heavier.

Either gun will pas for a deer rifle easily enough. And you may even stand a fighting chance with it.

Anyone with a real military rifle will just laugh at you at 400yds otherwise.

December 15, 2003, 08:32 AM
In your situation, I wouldn't have anything LESS than a .30-30 carbine. And I'd SERIOUSLY look at a carbine in a full-power rifle cartridge (.308, .30-06, 7.62x54R). If recoil is a problem for you, I'd also look at a .243-chambered rifle. It's mild in recoil & quite effective at 400+ yds.

Seriously: if you think you're going into an area where there's a good chance you're going to be shot at, I'd make different vacation plans. Rule #1 in a gunfight is: "Don't be there when a gunfight breaks out!" :what:

Heck, even our soldiers didn't go into Iraq w/o close-air support...:evil:

December 15, 2003, 10:30 PM
Rule #1 in a gunfight is: "Don't be there when a gunfight breaks out!"

Yeah, I am in agreement there, and it is only a hypothetical possibility that someone would want to shoot at me. But, sometimes I get annoyed at the idea of not going to really cool places because of a statistical possibility that I might have to defend myself. I look at the rifle as insurance.

In any case, semi-auto is definitely out, but maybe an Enfield (sporter-stocked - don't want to get in trouble) or 30-30 would be the way to go.

December 15, 2003, 11:28 PM
In any case, semi-auto is definitely out, but maybe an Enfield (sporter-stocked - don't want to get in trouble) or 30-30 would be the way to go.

Why is the semi auto out?

December 15, 2003, 11:54 PM
Why is the semi auto out?

Believe me, its not my choice, but if you want to bring a firearm into, say, Mexico, it cannot be a semi-auto. Even for a lever or bolt gun, it is a huge hassle and expensive, but probably doable.

December 16, 2003, 12:44 AM
This is "armchair quarterbacking" at its worst, because I don't own and haven't shot either a .357 or .44 out of a rifle. Normally, I try very hard to avoid responding to questions where I'm really not qualified to answer. For whatever reason, I'm making an exception, probably because I've been curious about the same thing (sort of) and have paid attention to lots of similar posts and read the data on the cartridges. I'd say forget the .357, and give some more consideration to the .30-30. If I were in your position, I'd think about the .44, and then buy the .30-30.

Take this with a grain, nay, a block, of salt.

December 16, 2003, 01:42 AM
Wanders a little, but read to the end.

Bottom line, go with the .44 Mag carbine.

December 16, 2003, 01:52 AM
I know this is purely hypothetical, but if you really plan on going to Mexico, and have a legitimate concern, find a real rifle caliber that you can take there. If it has to be a pistol caliber, then I vote for a .44.

Hey, how about a .444?

December 16, 2003, 12:24 PM
In my club we have a target event for pistol calibre carbines at 100, 200 and 300 yards. We use .357 magnum and .44 magnum leverguns mostly. Some old hands say the .357 is more accurate at 300 yards.

I have a 20 inch Marlin 94 in 44 magnum and I found it to shoot pretty flat at 100 and to need only one step up on the ramp rear sight at 200. At 300 I practically had to treat it like a mortar and watch for the fall of shot.

However, there's still quite a lot of energy at 300 yards, judging from watching the impact of other people's bullets on the stop butt while working the target shift, but that is mostly with 20 inch barrels.

I think if I was going to depend on a levergun with a 16 inch barrel I would fit receiver sights, partly because I'm more used to an aperture rear sight and partly to increase the sight radius.

December 16, 2003, 12:25 PM
I don't see any disadvantage to the .44 lever action carbine at all. It is short and light - since you arn't going there primarily to shoot or hunt having a short, light carbine that is easy to carry is important. It provides plenty of range for any realistic situation. Unless someone is trying to assasinate you, a self defense encounter will occur at short range, most likely an ambush. What possible reason would there be to get into a chance long range gun duel as a tourist in Mexico ? One more thing about range that I often bring up, but no body comments on; A lot of people talk about long range accuracy in a combat/self defense rifle. A little thought on the matter will surely show that if you both of you are using cover, are moving, are somewhat concealed either from your clothing or from your cover, you are as low as you can get (you are not standing straight up in the open) ....................... and are exchanging gunfire; how many of these long range accurate shots do you think you might make ?
Caliber. I actually think that for what you describe the .357 might make a better choice. Less recoil, holds more ammo yet is plenty powerful for personal defense against humans. The .444 Marlin really won't give you any more range, it will be more powerful within that same range, but way overkill for humans. If you read that link I posted above, it seems that the .44 Mag is actually more potent than the .30-30.

December 16, 2003, 01:11 PM
Bringing guns into anywhere in Cent. America is a PIA.

From the NRA-ILA website:

Bringing firearms into Mexico is severely restricted. Mexico allows bringing 2 sporting rifles or shotguns of an acceptable caliber and 50 rounds for each for hunting. First, a tourist permit must be obtained from the Mexican Consulate having jurisdiction over the area where the visitor resides. Mexican immigration officials will place a firearms stamp on this permit at the point of entry. A certificate of good conduct issued by the prospective hunter`s local police department, proof of citizenship, a passport, five passport size photos, a hunting services agreement with the Mexican Secretary of Urban Development and Ecology (issued by the Mexican Forestry and Wildlife office), and a military permit (issued by the Military Post and valid for only 90 days) are all required to be in the hunter`s possession while carrying the firearms. For additional information, contact the Mexican Embassy or Consular Office.

All firearms must be declared and registered with United States Customs on form 4457 or any other registration document available for the purpose of facilitating reentry into the United States with the same firearms.

December 16, 2003, 11:26 PM
Wow! There are a lot of different opinions on this! I had just assumed there would be more consensus.

December 17, 2003, 11:58 AM
I'll second the motion to go with a real rifle caliber, even if you have to go with a bolt gun. The lever gun in a pistol caliber is the worst of both worlds--the low capacity and slow rate of fire of a hunting rifle, but with the effective range of an 1860s muzzleloader. At least with a .243 or .308, you have the option of engaging the hypothetical bad guy beyond his effective range (and a hunting rifle beats an AK even at 300 meters, IMO). Consider fitting it with a 2-6x or 3-9x variable scope for versatility, and set on low power it will give you the ability to engage at close range if (heaven forbid) it should become necessary.

How about a pump-action rifle in .243 or .308? In close, pump is at least as fast as a lever action, and at a distance there is no comparison between a pistol and rifle cartridge. I've seen a pump-action .308 made by either Remington or Winchester.

December 17, 2003, 02:42 PM
South of what border? Mexico? I think, but am certainly not sure that if you are there without a valid hunting licence with a licenced guide, you can't legally carry any firearm. Any more than you can north of the border. If you are found in Canada without the proper permits, you will be charged with hunting offences as well as firearm offences and no amount of whining about being an American citizen will help you. The difference is up here we'd just paddle your behind and kick you back across the border. You'd still be a criminal and we wouldn't let you come back, assuming your own country lets you back in. You being a convicted criminal and all. Ignorance of thelaw is no excuse andthe onus in on the accused to prove himself innocent in firearm related charges. Unless there's more than one.
If there's more than one, you can and will be arrested and charged with smuggling firearms. Most of the illegally held firearms up here are smuggled in from the States. And Canadian shooters are being blamed for it. You'll get a stay in one of Her Majesty's Prisons. Resorts really. We'll teach you a trade and help you mend your evil ways. You'll have high speed internet access, colour tv, pay for you to go to school(university included) etc, etc. No smoking inside though. Can't have you creating second hand smoke that may bother one of the other inmates.
Mexico will throw you into one of their lovely rehabiliation centres for 20 years or so to rot. These are prisons. Not resorts and they don't like you in the first place. You broke one of their laws and they dislike Americans coming down and ignoring their laws. Think refried beans and their water for 20 years.
Stateside, you'd be at a serious disadvantage with a pistol barreled lever action. specially a .44 mag. It isn't that powerful out of a rifle. Get a rifle sighted and barreled, 12 ga pump shotgun with an 18" barrel. No folding stock though. Use slugs and 4 buck. Then learn to duck quickly. If somebody is shooting at you from 200 yards away, you're screwed. He's likely taken the first shot and you're in deep do-do. What did you do to him to provoke him?
Oh and have a nice day, eh.

Gary A
December 21, 2003, 11:08 PM
What about a Browning BLR in .308? Might need several extra magazines but that's doable.

December 21, 2003, 11:11 PM
Personally I don't care for #4 buck its too small to ensure adiquate penetration. I prefer reduced recoil Federal Tactical 00 buck.

December 22, 2003, 09:47 AM
Go to the library and read the book "How to Prepare For a Theoretical Gunfight In Mexico" by Seymour Tacos. Sorry guys, this thread just kind of tickled my funny bone. Please don't get mad at me.:)

Master Blaster
December 23, 2003, 09:20 AM
Would most folks here agree that an AK-47 is a weak and ineffective weapon in a fire fight.?????

The 30-30 beats the 7.62x39 any day, heavier bullet same velocity.

A 30-06 in a lever gun would be better.

If you enjoyed reading about "any ballistic advantage to .357 over .44 at distance?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!