.357mag or .44spl


October 7, 2010, 04:41 PM
So im in the market for a snub carry revolver and im torn between .44 spl and .357 mag. I've shot .357 and i like it. I have 0 experience with .44 spl

1. Whats your vote and why?
2. For my own personal reference how dose .44 spl compare to .45acp? With each in a similarly sized gun?

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October 7, 2010, 04:44 PM
I jsut found this: http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=540807&highlight=.44

some good info on question 2 here.

October 7, 2010, 04:44 PM
I would say go with the .357 based simply on ammo availability and cost. I think .357 magnum is cheaper than 44special and I know that .38special is cheaper and much more plentiful for practice. You have already shot .357 and know that you like it.

Lucky Derby
October 7, 2010, 04:49 PM
In comparable revolvers .44 Special and .45 ACP are pretty equivelent. .44 can be hotrodded more though. Most people don't anymore do to the .44mag.

.44 offers the power withought the noise, recoil and blast of a .357.

.357 ammo (and .38 Special) is much easier to find and less expensive. There are also a lot more available loads to choose from.

I find that the .44 is more fun to shoot than the .357, but shooting .38's out of a .357 can be just as fun, without the expense.

It really boils down to: do you reload? If yes, get the .44. If not get the .357.

October 7, 2010, 04:50 PM
.44 Special and .45 ACP are roughly equal in terms of what's considered stopping power.

Recoil is more of a push in .44 special than the .357's sharper kick.

All 3 calibers are adequate...find the form you prefer.

October 7, 2010, 05:05 PM
The .44Spl gives all the performance without the bleeding ears.

CSA 357
October 7, 2010, 05:14 PM
not hard to figger this one out, 158 gr bullet and a 240 gr bullet, the handloaded 44 special is so far ahead of the 357 and 45 acp, but the 357 is a great man stopper

October 7, 2010, 05:16 PM
For ease of ammo I would bote .357.

October 7, 2010, 05:26 PM
thanks guys i like all the input, i'm thinking i like .44spl as a defense gun but can afford .357, odds are i'm going to have to go with .357 just for the cheaper gun and cheaper ammo and the availability.

i also found this if anyone's interested

October 7, 2010, 05:27 PM
I have 2 1/2" 686 and a 3" 696, and like them both a lot. (I favor the 696 though) Both are L frames and use the same holster. Either will do the job. The .357 is more versatile if you do not reload. Perhaps even if you do.

October 7, 2010, 05:44 PM
New question is there any company that you would not purchase a .44spl from, will a cheapo blow up on me?

is that a dumb question?

October 7, 2010, 08:09 PM

For that mission, I'd pick my .44.

October 7, 2010, 08:15 PM
is there any company that you would not purchase a .44spl from
Keep an eye out for a Taurus (http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=194045239) or Rossi snub in .44 Spl. Another option is the Charter Arms Bulldog (http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=194279186).

October 7, 2010, 08:18 PM
I will take a 357 for the obvious reasons. The revolver I would consider if I were you would be a Ruger Security/Service/Speed Six in a 2.75 barrel. Great revolver and won't break you pocket book.

Good luck,

Jeff H
October 7, 2010, 09:43 PM
not hard to figger this one out, 158 gr bullet and a 240 gr bullet, the handloaded 44 special is so far ahead of the 357 and 45 acp, but the 357 is a great man stopper

So following the math. 158 grains* 1400fps= 221200'grains/sec
240 grains@ 850 fps=204000'grains/sec

They seem about the same total force with a slight edge to the hot 357 loads.

October 7, 2010, 09:48 PM
So following the math. 158 grains* 1400fps= 221200'grains/sec
240 grains@ 850 fps=204000'grains/sec

They seem about the same total force with a slight edge to the hot 357 loads.

This is momentum.

Find the difference in kinetic energy of those two rounds.

44 special at quoted stats is 385 ft/lbs
.357 magnum at quoted stats is 685ft/lbs

In your example the .357 has very nearly double the energy.

October 7, 2010, 10:57 PM
If ammo was no concern, I would opt for the .44 Special.

October 8, 2010, 12:03 AM
Shoot them and see how you like them. I prefer .38 in a snubby...a S&W 442/642 is plesant to shoot. I do not enjoy shooting .357 snubby's. The .44mag is not fun to shoot.

I also prefer accuracy to power. I'm much more accurate with the .38+p than the other calibers. sepecially for followup shots.

October 8, 2010, 01:50 AM
You say this is for a carry revolver? I've never held a .44 snub, but I'm thinking the same size cylinder that holds 5 rounds of .44 would probably take 6 of .357mag. I'd carry a Model 19 snub with 6 rounds (of +P 38) if'n it weren't no bigger than a 5-shot 44.

October 8, 2010, 08:52 AM
You can get into a Rossi 357 2.5 barrel for $300.00

I have a couple 357's and run 38 Critical Defense through them for conceal carry.

I have a Dan Wesson 44 mag w/ a 2.5 and 4 inch barrels (DW has interchanagable barrels) but its not really a small gun. The 44 spl is less snappy and easier to shoot than the 357.

Since a snub nose is not really a go to the range and burn ammo gun, cost of ammunition is not as big a deal.

The 44 spl has the performance of the 45 acp, so as a self defense round I would reccomend it. When Thunder Ranch had a revolver made for them the first one was the S&W 44 spl, then they just went to a 45 acp revolver
44 Spl


44 spl or 45 acp are good fighting rounds.

Stainless Charter arms

October 8, 2010, 08:57 AM
I do not think Taurus makes a 44 special anymore, if you find one its rare. (could be wrong)

2 inch ultralight

Here is a blued one, If you are thinking about it you might want to grab this one before its gone


October 8, 2010, 09:21 AM
The idea of a snubbie in either of these calibers makes me hurt. ;)

If you get the .357, you have the option of shooting .38's through it. The .38 is a perfectly good manstopper and has the advantage of not having so much muzzle flip that you have problems reacquiring the target for a second shot. Besides, in a snubbie, you have excessive muzzle flash (a problem if you're shooting in low light). .357's work a lot better in a longer-barrelled revolver.

I regularly shot .44specials through my .44mag and they are much more pleasant to shoot than the mags, but never shot them through a snubbie.


October 8, 2010, 09:40 AM
44 special is a great round and there are certainly arguments against the 357 in a snub.

Where the rubber hits the road I would probably get a 357.

cheaper ammo, 38 special option, more choices of firearm

October 8, 2010, 09:44 AM
In your example the .357 has very nearly double the energy.
Great for those who choose according to ballistics tables but meaningless in the real world.

Lucky Derby
October 8, 2010, 10:24 AM
No cheap .44 Special that I know of is likely to blow up. I did own a Charter Arms Bulldog, and while I love the concept of this revolver, the quality was poor. I had timing and light hit issues that my gunsmith could not resolve.
I never should have sold the Taurus .44 special I had. I do currently have a 696 that will not be sold.

October 8, 2010, 05:04 PM
Great for those who choose according to ballistics tables but meaningless in the real world.

I'm not really sure how to take this. :confused:

I think it is readily obvious to most folks that a .223 has more power than a 9mm, even though they have nearly identical "momentums," and even though the 9mm makes a bigger hole. (.355 vs .224)

(The .223 has about triple the energy, but the same momentum. :eek:)

Go ahead and draw your own conclusions as it relates to .44 special and .357 mag, but I dont think it's fair to call it meaningless. :(

CSA 357
October 8, 2010, 10:35 PM
i didnt say a 240 at 800 or so fps, factory ammo is not up to the full compacity of the 44 special, if you dont handload the 357 would be the way to go

October 8, 2010, 10:58 PM
I dont think it's fair to call it meaningless.
Muzzle energy is meaningless.

October 9, 2010, 07:09 AM
This is, in part, the age old question of penetration vs kinetic energy. The 44 will hit with more force due to the weight and size of the bullet but the 357 will have better penetration. Both are great man stoppers but if it's for personal protection, I'd choose the one that leaves lung tissue 10yds behind the perp (357). That's my wife's bedside gun (Ruger revolver). Personally, I have a 44 mag revolver at home and I carry a Sig 40 S&W auto in the car. Unless you're shooting boxes per week at the range, I wouldn't let expense or availability of ammo be a determining factor.

October 9, 2010, 07:39 AM
Energy is an exponential function of velocity and bullet weight.

For the .44:

Federal Semi-Wadcutter HP
f(x) = (200, 870)

Find f '(x)

[f(200x+dx) - f(x)]/dx = sin4pi +/- cos200x+dx = 200sec870 = 336 ft-lbs

For the .357:

[f(125y+dy)-f(y)]/dy = sin(3pi/2) +/- cos125y+dy = 125csc1440 = 575 ft-lbs

October 9, 2010, 07:46 AM
Either will serve you very well . I shot 357 for many years in a varity of revolvers including a couple snub nose. For carry I would likely say the 3 inch S&W Model 66 was my favorite gun of the 357 magnums.

Now I have a Rossi Model 720 3" in 44 Spl that I have to admitt I enjoy shooting much more than the 357 magnum. A lot less muzzle blast and a smoother recoil just seems to make the experience more palitable. Whatever the differences in energy between the two cartridges, you will not be under guned by choosing one over the other.

October 9, 2010, 09:41 AM
Energy is an exponential function of velocity and bullet weight.
...and it places far too much importance on velocity, which handguns do not have much of and is the most rapidly diminishing factor. The problem is that effectiveness does not diminish at the same rate.

October 9, 2010, 09:42 AM
I had the same question recently. Preparing for my first CCW weapon. I have a safe full of auto-loaders that I could carry but wanted a revolver.

After putting hundreds of rounds through each down range I've decided to carry the 44 special. I simply think I could shoot the 44 better when it mattered. The recoil and report of full tilt .357 being my major issues with it. Much better second, third shot times with the 44 in my hands.


October 9, 2010, 11:06 PM
Keep in mind the 45 acp is almost identical in performance as the 44 special.

But there is something special about the 44 special

October 9, 2010, 11:40 PM
If ammo price for the 44 doesn't bother you, and neither does the ear splitting crack of a 357, I'd say toss a coin. Either choice will make a bad guy with he'd never been born if you hit him with one.

October 10, 2010, 11:47 AM
I have had both and if carrying a compact gun would go with 357. If concealment or weight was not an issue I would go with a light weight 44 mag and carry shot shell and specials in the first 3 rounds and have the 44 mags in the last 3. I had a Horton 29 with 3inch barrel and carried it this way. Shot shells were pretty effective at close range too. Most of the cheap 44 special handguns are not of good enough quality for me to bet my life on.

October 10, 2010, 12:58 PM
It really boils down to: do you reload? If yes, get the .44. If not get the .357.

That's it in a nutshell. If I didn't reload I would have gone the 357 route just for the savings on ammo alone. I have five 44 specials (Taurus, S&W, Rossi, & Colt SAA's) and love the cartridge as a CCW in K/L style frame. A SAA in 44 makes a handy trail gun as well.

October 10, 2010, 02:54 PM
Just just can't go wrong with either one. I like mine a lot. Two "keepers".



October 10, 2010, 03:06 PM
All the talk about .44 v .357 is noise when it comes to a snub. As someone on here opined: Shot placement is king. Penetration is queen. Everything else is angels dancing on the head of a pin.

You can get a very reasonably priced .38spc that will be small enough to stick in the pocket. You can load it with very effective ammo. And you can afford to practice with it every week. In the short barrel the difference between .38 and .357 comes down mainly to noise and blast. The bullet is likely no more effective.

October 22, 2010, 09:21 AM
I own and carry both 357/ 44 special. A 2 3/4 speed six, and a 3in 431 in Taurus. Both are the ideal carry size. Both come in a package that will deilver the knock out blow if and when needed. The 44 carries Blazer 200gr Gold Dots, and the 357 carries Remington 125 sjhp.
I am comfortable with either as a life saver. You do your part, they will do theirs!

October 22, 2010, 12:53 PM
I've owned lots of .357's, but never a .44spl. Last summer, when ammo was so hard to find, I couldn't help but notice that the local Walmarts would be out of most handgun ammo, except .357Sig, and .44spl. Prices weren't cheap for either, but at least they were on the shelf.
Just from the perspective of familiarity, I would go with a .357. But when you can, add a .44spl to your collection. They would make a great combo.

October 22, 2010, 03:37 PM
The .44 makes the bigger wound channel for sure, but the .357 releases heart stopping arterial scattering shocking energy to the torso!.

October 23, 2010, 12:12 AM
.44 Special/.45 ACP will have a bigger cylinder than a .357 they tend to be 'large frame' guns as opposed to the .357 which can be had in medium and small frame guns. 6 shots in a smaller space. Just another thing to consider.

October 23, 2010, 11:37 AM
With the right ammo there is little difference between the two. I like the 44 Special better but if I only had one handgun it would be a 357 Magnum. For new guys I recommend a 3 or 4 inch 38 Special/357 Mag. revolver. CorBon ammo for SD. CorBon also has good 44 Special ammo. Just my .02.

October 23, 2010, 11:41 AM
I would look first and see which ammo is more available in your
local area.

Price is another thing. You can practice with cheap .38's
in your .357 wheel gun.

I would only use .44 special to save on ammo costs with a
.44 magnum :)

October 23, 2010, 09:47 PM
Get both of them.

October 24, 2010, 10:44 AM
First thing I would say is which ever you buy. Buy quality the first time. Don't settle out on to cheap of a gun to get a set caliber. Save up a bit and get somthing well made. If you have to do with out other things to afford it you will appreciate it more.

As for caliber. This is just my oppenion and we all know what they are like.

The 357mag is going to be the more flexable of the two calibers. You can shoot 38spl out of it for practice and use Mags for cary. Use to be that 38/357 was one of the most common types of ammo/brass you could find. I don't think that holds true now but there is still a lot of it around. There are lots of options bullet wise (all components for that matter) for the 38/357 combo in the reloading world.

The 44spl. Is not going to be as widly avalible. There is no down size cartridge that you can sub out to use for practice. So you are kind of locked in to reloading for practice ammo. The bullet weights for the 44spl are limmited and the components (brass and bullets) are going to be more expensive for reloading. The ammo and brass are not going to be as common as the 38/357 are. This means your going to have to pay more to shoot and limmits your supply options. Now that all gose out the window (a bit) if you change to a 44mag. I am not saying that these are negitives just somthing to keep in mind.

So if cost mattered, and it allways dose.

I would first look for a good used 357Mag pistol. My preferance would be for a 4" model of some sort. All though I would have to look pretty hard at the Ruger SP101. I personaly like the Smiths. A model 13, 65, 19, 66, 686. and so on. You should be able to pick up a used one for a fair price. I think that if you look all of them can be had in 2", 4" and a few with a 3" barrel. Then I would start saving money for a 44 mag.

The way you dress day in and day out is going to affect what you can carry.

Sorry for rambling but thats my .02 on it

Hondo 60
October 24, 2010, 03:21 PM
If you have two similar snub nosed guns, the .357 is probably going to have less recoil (but not by much).
Therefore I'd recommend the .357, but both of these will kick hard in a snubbie. Having said that, I wouldn't pass up either if the quality & price were right.

Ruger, Colt, Beretta & Smith&Wesson are all very good brand names.
Taurus, Rossi & Charter are in the 2nd tier as far as quality goes, but they're OK guns.

October 24, 2010, 03:50 PM
What you like is the main thing, they would all work for defensive carry.
Without over complicating things I would make a list of my wants and needs.
A 2 1/2 inch revolver will carry behind the hip about the same as a four inch in a good holster. I sometimes like the longer tube better as it will maintain position in an IWB holster better and still hasn't poked me in the butt. Everyone is different here i am sure.
I have a friend who swears by the SP 101 in 357 I havent had one.
The GP 100,security six, and S&W K and L are also nice.
My first defensive gun was a .357 mag. 28 Smith and Wesson 4 inch back in 1974 I still have it. I have not packed it in many years because of weight and size.
If I were going in the bush I would take my 629 , 6 inch and I don't have leather for concealed carry for this one.
There should be some good prices on police trade in guns in 357.
I have been looking at a 4 inch Python lately.
All I need is a lot of money.
Good luck and get what you like, the 44, ,45 and .357 are all great in their own rights.
Never sell the 41 mag or 10mm short either.
I read that 10mm S&W could use .40 cal in moon clips , I am not sure on this though.

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