.44 Magnum vs .357 Magnum


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Satasaurus
April 1, 2013, 07:02 PM
I want to get a nice revolver at some point and I'm not sure if I should get a .357 or just go for the gusto and get the .44 Magnum. I've always liked .44 Magnums because of their reputation, but I've been hesitant to get one because of the cost of ammo and what looks to be a lot of recoil. I've also heard that the .357 is a better man stopper because it's more controllable. I should also probably point out that I don't live in Alaska or anything like that, this is just for target shooting and self defense. What do you guys think?

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Torian
April 1, 2013, 07:07 PM
I've owned both (Super Redhawk 44 magnum and SW 627 PC 357). With handloads, I prefer the 357. It's more managable, and I can shoot from 125 JHP grain for defensive loads up to 180 grain lead hardcast for protection in the woods.

The only thing I would not recommend it for is against larger, more dangerous game (Grizzly etc). I would except nothing less than a .44 in that case, and likely I would prefer something more along the lines of a .454 casull or a .480 Ruger.

For CCW, my 5 in 627 PC gives me 8 rounds of .357, which for me is a great balance of capacity and firepower.

remmag
April 1, 2013, 07:08 PM
i have both
i really enjoy the 357 . i can shoot as many rounds as i like with no problem

after a while the 44 mag just wears me out with full house loads, if reloading your own you can tame it, but in most situations it is really overkill

good luck in your decision

BYJO4
April 1, 2013, 07:19 PM
I think the 357 would be better for you because of ammo costs and it is easier to shoot accurately because of reduced recoil.

Texan Scott
April 1, 2013, 07:22 PM
Personal opinion only: a 357 is good to have "just because" (or just in case).
A 44 .... I'd need a REAL REASON to keep a 44, and most of my clear and specific reasons would be clear and specific reasons to make it a lever action carbine.

eldon519
April 1, 2013, 07:26 PM
Do you reload? Are you planning to CARRY the gun for self-defense or just have it for home defense? .44 magnums tend to be fairly large in size.

Satasaurus
April 1, 2013, 07:34 PM
Do you reload? Are you planning to CARRY the gun for self-defense or just have it for home defense? .44 magnums tend to be fairly large in size.
Just for home defense and target practice. I might carry it once in a while just for slits and shiggles though.

L-Frame
April 1, 2013, 07:44 PM
Agree with all the above. .44 mag ammo is expensive, and if you want to have a more relaxed shoot and shoot .44 specials, also very expensive. .357's are versatile, cheaper to shoot, and don't totally annoy people in the same room with you if you are indoors due to the large Boom! Also, smaller (I actually carry a 3" concealed) and handier.

oldbear
April 1, 2013, 07:54 PM
Neither the .44 Magnum or .357 Magnum is an ideal first firearm. Yet the .357 Magnum is a far better choice of the two. With a .357 Magnum revolver you can safely shoot everything from low power 38 special target ammo through full power .357 Magnum ammo, even though you will have to shop around to find true full power .357 magnum ammo.

As an personal aside I've shot assorted .357 Magnum handguns and ammo for over 40 years and generally had no problems with recoil or muzzle blast. I've also shot enough assorted .44 Magnums enough to know I don't really enjoy shooting them.

rswartsell
April 1, 2013, 07:55 PM
With the variety of factory loads available the .357 is the most versatile handgun caliber extant before you get into reloading. The only place it won't reach is the truly big/dangerous game territory. If you do not intend to hunt or defend against something in the neighborhood of brown bear, it's a no brainer. Your first revolver should be a .357.

Come back to the big bores later if you have a purpose. I can see having a .357 and no .44. Reverse that? Not so much.

My first revolver was a .357 Colt Trooper MkIII 4". Took years before I truly NEEDED anything else besides a good .22.

Jaymo
April 1, 2013, 07:57 PM
I like .357, but I LOVE .44 Mag.

Walkalong
April 1, 2013, 08:02 PM
this is just for target shooting and self defense.4" .357.

Sergei Mosin
April 1, 2013, 08:03 PM
I don't know how much .44 Magnum shooting I could do, because I've fired a grand total of one .44 Magnum round in my life. But as I recall, it recoiled a lot harder than my .357 Magnum guns!

For target shooting, the .357 Magnum is going to be less expensive per round. Of course you can probably shoot more of them in one session, which might offset that expense. The same applies to the Special rounds that can be fired in the appropriate Magnum guns. The .44 Magnum makes a big boom, but unless you're involved in a shooting sport that calls for a cartridge of that size and power, the .357 is probably the better alternative.

For self-defense at home, the .44 Magnum is more powerful than the .357 Magnum. But the .357 has a well-earned reputation for noise and flash, particularly indoors, and I can only imagine the noise and flash of a .44 fired indoors. I am reverting to .45 ACP automatics for first-line home defense handguns - quieter, less flash, higher capacity - and putting my GP100 in the second line.

If you don't mind carrying openly and you spend time in the woods, a .44 Magnum revolver would be a fine carry gun.

jmr40
April 1, 2013, 08:14 PM
After buying my first S&W 629 I got rid of all my 357's PDQ. Compared to a GP-100 or S&W 686 I found the size difference to be insignificant. The cylinder on the 44 is 1/8" thicker, and the gun is 1/2 oz heavier if you compare guns with 4" barrels. They fit in many of the same holsters. With the options available today grip size can be the same.

Ammo prices are close enough to call it a tie. 50 rounds of ammo from http://georgia-arms.com/search.aspx?manufacturer=40&log=false&category=3221 is 50 cents more for 44 mag than 357 mag and I've found 44 ammo more available

You don't have to shoot full power ammo through a 44. There are lots of midrange loads available as are 44 special's. In my opinion these mid range 44 mags or hot 44 Specials are a far more effective manstopper than 357. And they do it with much less recoil and muzzle blast.

If you really do need full power loads you can take a 44 to a much higher level than is possible with a 357.

red rick
April 1, 2013, 08:25 PM
If you are not hunting with it I would get a .357 and with the option of shooting .38's in it also it makes a great 1st gun. It was my first hangun caliber and I am just as happy with it as I was 20 years ago when I bought it.

RCL
April 1, 2013, 08:40 PM
Get a 4" .357, either a S&W 686 or Ruger GP100. Both will serve you well as a house/range/carry gun. A good holster (Simply Rugged Sourdough Pancake comes first to mind) and a good stout belt should handle the carry part. Ammo is (usually) available in mild to wild with both being able to shoot .38 Special, .38 Special +P, and any variety of .357 Mag.

The .44 mag is my favorite cartridge but in your case it sounds like the .357 would be a better choice.

USSR
April 1, 2013, 08:55 PM
...I don't live in Alaska or anything like that, this is just for target shooting and self defense. What do you guys think?

The .357, definitely.

Don

Black Knight
April 1, 2013, 09:07 PM
In my house ther are six 357 Magnums and only one 44 Magnum. Five of the 357 are mine and the sixth is one my wife took from me for her gun. The 357 is one of the most versitile revolvers on the market. The loads run the full spectrum from light 38 Special target loads to full power 357 Magnum hunting loads. You should be able to find the load you like reasonably easily.

Squeaky Wheel
April 1, 2013, 09:10 PM
You might want to see if any ranges in your area will rent you a 44 magnum to shoot. I did that many years ago just to find out what it was like to shoot one. It was far beyond a 357 magnum and I ended up only shooting about a dozen rounds through it. By then I had had enough of the 44 magnum (in a handgun) and have never had a desire to shoot one again.

Gun Geezer
April 1, 2013, 09:11 PM
For target shooting and SD, a 357 gives you all you need. There is, I believe, not one man alive that can take a center mass hit from a full house 357 and not be stopped. I have no experience with such, but I've seen it drop deer and hogs. It's all I need.

And yes, the ammo is cheaper than 44 mag.

If you care to reload, I load up 38's for $7/box (at pre-Obama prices).

Satasaurus
April 1, 2013, 09:16 PM
Thanks for all the feedback so far. I just want to point out that I've been shooting for many years and this is far from my first firearm. I just haven't gotten a revolver yet because it was hard for me to get over the capacity difference between a 9mm and a revolver. I've shot relatives .38 and .357 revolvers and I love them and I'm very accurate with them. I've never shot a .44 Magnum, but I don't know how much worse it could be then the polymer .40 I had a while back. That made full power .357s look like baby crap.

Satasaurus
April 1, 2013, 09:21 PM
If you care to reload, I load up 38's for $7/box (at pre-Obama prices).

Dang! I've thought about reloading, and looked into it before all this craziness happened, and it just seemed like it would only be a few dollars less a box so I never did it. Whenever I can get the supplies without selling my car I'll definitely look into it again.

rcmodel
April 1, 2013, 09:21 PM
Buy a .22 to learn to shoot a handgun with.

Then buy a .357 so you can shoot .38 Special in it until you learn to shoot that.

Then start shooting .357 Magnum, and take a giant step backward in your shooting skill when you start flinching and jerking the trigger due to .357 Magnum recoil & noise.

Then go back to the .22 and learn to shoot all over again.
Then work back up through the .38 Special & .357 again.

Then it is time to buy a .44 Magnum, and start jerking and flinching all over again.

Trust Me!!

rc

SlamFire1
April 1, 2013, 09:21 PM
The 357 is an excellent round, powerful, accurate, incidentally so is the 44 Magnum. But I cannot shoot 150 rounds of full power 44 Magnum and not have a tremendous flinch and trembling hands.

The 357 is a better self defense round in my opinion due to recoil recovery and you can get K frame M66’s in the round. These are quite portable. The 44 Mag recoils so much that subsequent shots are slow and the hand guns are very heavy.

In my opinion the 44 Magnum is a better hunting round, but I would carry the 357 for defense. At the range, I shoot more 357 than 44 Mag.

Quoheleth
April 1, 2013, 09:24 PM
Skeeter answered this by saying, "It's the case of a good big man beating the hell out of a good little man."

Q

Bigkrackers
April 1, 2013, 09:25 PM
.357 gets my vote. I have a GP100 and love it. Been looking at a Ruger Vaquero in 45 acp.

rikman
April 1, 2013, 09:26 PM
I have both & love both. I feel 357 is a bit more versatile. But if you need a bit more power 44 is great because you can shoot 44Spl , a real fav of mine.

osteodoc08
April 1, 2013, 09:34 PM
For the purposes the OP listed, 357 Mag.

beatledog7
April 1, 2013, 09:37 PM
If just one, the .357Mag, hands down. If you master that and want a real challenge in a handgun, then try a .44Mag, but don't expect to master it in anything like a short span of time. It took me about twice to become marginally good with the .44 as with the .357, and I'm still sometimes surprised by the power of a full-house .44 Magnum load.

Yeah, some people shoot bigger revolver rounds, but I cannot imagine why.

Johnny Lightning
April 1, 2013, 09:50 PM
I had two 44mag revolvers and sold them both w/ no regrets. I have a gp100 and will never sell it......get a .357 and don't look back. If you are going to shoot it from a rest, take a look at the 6". When you shoot .38 spec it has the recoil of a .22

tomrkba
April 1, 2013, 09:51 PM
Both because they serve different purposes. You can build a small revolver around 357 Magnum, such as the S&W Model 640, but only a medium sized five shot revolver around 44 Special (not even Magnum). The S&W L-Frames and Ruger GP100 are great all around revolvers in 357 Magnum. You can get seven shots in an L-Frame cylinder and eight in an N-Frame cylinder. This is a great feature since you can still shoot full power loads.

All they can do is shorten the barrel on 44 Magnum revolvers. A 2 1/2" barrel is really better suited for 44 Special unless it's a 50+ ounce Ruger Alaskan. Even medium 44 Magnum loads are tough to shoot in that gun. I prefer 44 Special over 357 Magnum because you can get 200+ grain bullets; I prefer them over "light and fast".

Buy both and be happy.

montanaoffroader
April 1, 2013, 10:00 PM
I own and shoot both, and in my opinion the .357 is your best bet. As others have pointed out, the .44 has more recoil and is much more expensive to shoot.

The .44 Magnum is at it's best when used for hunting and protection from large predators. They are generally larger, heavier guns that are a bit more work to carry than the average .357 revolver. I carry one primarily because I live in grizzly country and am out and about in their territory on a regular basis. I also hunt mule deer with it, usually at bow ranges (50-60 yds).

The .357 is my go to round for target shooting, plinking, trail walking (in areas without grizzlies), home defense, etc. It is inexpensive to reload for and relatively easy to shoot.

If I had to pick just one, it would definitely be the .357, probably in a double action revolver.

Of course, you could always buy both...........:evil:

buck460XVR
April 1, 2013, 10:07 PM
For range use and SD/HD you do not need anything more than a .357. If hunting deer size game and larger was a factor than I'd advise for the .44 given your options. I myself own more .44s than I do .357s. But I still prefer the .357s at the range because of how pleasant they are to shoot.

Valkman
April 1, 2013, 10:35 PM
I shoot my .44 Mag way more than my .357, but I reload and load 'em mid-range for the .44 and just love shooting it with those loads.

Inebriated
April 1, 2013, 10:39 PM
I'm the odd guy out, here...

.44 Magnum with .44 Special loads is just a joy to shoot. I enjoy it more than .357 Mag. For self-defense, it's what I'd keep in it.

4season
April 1, 2013, 10:43 PM
I find this thread funny because just the other day I started one asking about lightweight 357's. Now it seems that everyone seems to think that a 357's recoil is a kitten compared to a 44. Wasn't it yesterday that I said I don't care if you think a 357 is painful, I don't want a 38? Now everyone is saying go with the 357 because the 44 is too painful. I think maybe we need to train some shooters here how to handle recoil.

BlindJustice
April 1, 2013, 10:44 PM
As usual RCMODEL hits the x-Ring

I would like to ask the O.P. Satasaurus

What experience do you have with handguns ?

A S&W .22 LR Revolver, with the same Bbl. LEn.
4" - 6" paired with a S&W .357 Magnum ( when
you're ready ) will be a fine pair to take to the
Range.

I have a S&W 617 6" Bbl. and a S&W 625 .45 ACP
At the range, I start with the .22, practicing Single
Action and then Double Action.... and then switch
to the .45

As Far as .357 or .44 Mag as a Home Defense platform
with a 4" Bbl. with full house loads you'll have a lot
Recoil, Muzzle flash and Supersonic BOOM so youll
be deaf and dumb for sevveral seconds, besides
using a round which could penetrate a wall and hit
someone/something beyone... a subsonic .38 Special +P
or a .44 SPecial would serve better.

Just my $.02

R-

Deaf Smith
April 1, 2013, 10:46 PM
I want to get a nice revolver at some point and I'm not sure if I should get a .357 or just go for the gusto and get the .44 Magnum. I've always liked .44 Magnums because of their reputation, but I've been hesitant to get one because of the cost of ammo and what looks to be a lot of recoil. I've also heard that the .357 is a better man stopper because it's more controllable. I should also probably point out that I don't live in Alaska or anything like that, this is just for target shooting and self defense. What do you guys think?
For your first gun, yes get a .357 magnum.

Way to many people overgun themselves for their first gun.

Deaf

DWFan
April 1, 2013, 10:49 PM
quote:
"With the variety of factory loads available the .357 is the most versatile handgun caliber extant before you get into reloading. The only place it won't reach is the truly big/dangerous game territory. If you do not intend to hunt or defend against something in the neighborhood of brown bear, it's a no brainer. Your first revolver should be a .357."

I beg to differ. You can get factory ammo for the .44 Magnum from a 240gr SWC cowboy load at 750 fps to a 340gr WLN launching at 1450 fps. The .357 Magnum versatility is a distant second. More expensive? Certainly, for the premium ammo; but those reduced loads bought in bulk aren't that different in cost for both calibers. (500 rounds Load-X reman. 158gr SWC .357 = $175, 500 240gr SWC .44 = $215) Constantly using full power ammo for practice with either the .357 or .44 can lead to deteriorated shooting skills.

Sam1911
April 1, 2013, 10:49 PM
Love my .44. I've put 10k rounds through it in a year, as I primarily shoot specials. I just never seem to warm up to a .357 the same way.

Yeah, I could ... But why? The .44 does everything I could want and has the extra HP on tap if I've got a need for it. Besides, the n-frame is just so much more comfortable in the hand and big bullets seem to find big chamber mouths just that much easier.

But, YMMV

Clippers
April 1, 2013, 10:57 PM
If you're seriously going to get into reloading, don't overlook the 45 Colt made by Ruger. You can shoot mild cowboy loads or all the way up to near 44 Mag velocities. If not, I'd recommend the 357 Mag.

22-rimfire
April 1, 2013, 10:59 PM
If you reload, I would get the 44 magnum. I would load mostly 44 Special levels at the beginning. If not, I would get the 357 mag. It sounds like you don't have a great deal of experience with recoiling guns. When I was in my early 20's, I felt that 357 mags had a lot of recoil and I was never particularly interested in 38spls at that time. Time passes and more expereince shooting.....

I got a 41 mag revolver and was determined to shoot it well. I wanted a better revolver (caliber) for deer hunting and I already had a Colt Python (357 mag). I shot and learned and became very comfortable with the recoil, but it was still pretty stout as far as I was concerned. The 44 is just a bit more....

With the CCW craze, I got a 38spl revolver for carry and started shooting 357's again. All of a sudden, the 357 mag recoil was not significant.

The difference... experience and baby steps up in power.

Jaymo
April 1, 2013, 11:13 PM
My Redhawk an Taurus 44 don't recoil any worse than my Speed Six and Taurus 65. In fact, the .357s were less comfortable, probably due to weight.
Never experienced flinch with them, either. Then again, I always use hearing protection.
I found a Charter Bulldog .44 Spl with wood grips to be more uncomfortable to shoot.

Now, if we're talking Buffalo Bore 340 grain +P+ .44 mag, I may just have to swap the Redhawk's wood grips for some Pachmayr Decelerators.

Mat, not doormat
April 1, 2013, 11:14 PM
The .44 is more than you need, so I voted .357. Shoot 'em both, though, you may find out you're a power junkie.

The .44's gonna be excessive for anything on your list, though.

Buck13
April 2, 2013, 02:04 AM
[QUOTE=L-Frame;8846017] .357's are versatile, cheaper to shoot, and don't totally annoy people in the same room with you if you are indoors due to the large Boom! QUOTE]

You say that like it's a bad thing. Caring about other people is for socialists.

When I'm shooting my .22s for accuracy, everything else annoys me. Now, it's payback time!

Lost Sheep
April 2, 2013, 02:21 AM
I've also heard that the .357 is a better man stopper because it's more controllable.
Apples and oranges.

Terminal ballistics is an inexact science and 44 magnum for social work (having to do with people) is barely better than 44 special. Energy wasted is just that, wasted.

No manstopper will stop anything if it misses.

A flinch, once developed is VERY hard to unlearn.


I started out shooting .357 magnum 38 years ago because I could get a gun in that caliber and ammunition was less expensive (and I started loading my own the same week I bought the gun). I now shoot 22 Long Rifle in various handguns, 9mm, 45 ACP, .357 Mag, 44 Mag, 45 Colt and 454 Casull. I load most of the magnum cases to medium Special velocities for my convenience.

If this is your first handgun, I would recommend a good, target-grade 22 rimfire. Shooting a handgun is a different skill than a long gun and 22 rimfire is a lot cheaper to practice with than even the least expensive handloads (I noticed your other thread asking about loading).

Second choice would be .357 Magnum and shooting 38 Special power loads (or actual 38 Special ammunition) for practice.

Not that the 44 Magnum is only for experts or too much to handle. But lighter loads, cheaper ammo and the ability to have LOTS of practice is more valuable than the "cachet" of large bore. Besides, revolvers are somewhat addicting and you will wind up with a big brother for the medium caliber soon enough.

In the meantime, consider this:

In the absence of any other information about your shooting experience, my recommendation is for a 22 rimfire.

semi-automatics:
Ruger Mark I, II or current model III
or Browning Buckmark or
Smith & Wesson Model 41

Revolvers that come immediately to mind are:
Ruger SP101
Ruger Single-Six
Smith & Wesson's K-Frame K-22 "Masterpiece" (I had one a while back)
Smith & Wesson 617
Taurus (I forget the model #)


Here's my reasoning:

1 Practice is important for becoming a good shot. Practice (beyond dry firing) takes ammo. Ammo is cheaper for a 22 than for any other caliber. Example: 22 rimfire costs (around here) $20 - $30 per 500. 500 rounds of 9mm (a very inexpensive round) is at least $100 to $150 per 500.

2 Practice with a round that has almost no recoil makes concentration on sight picture, breathing and trigger control much easier without the distraction of recoil and excessive muzzle blast. You can add those elements later after you have gotten the basics ingrained in your subconscious. If you start out with a hard-recoiling round you are almost certain to develop anticipation (usually characterized by a flinch) which is devilishly hard to cure. Prevention is much easier to, especially while you are learning.

3 Having a good, accurate 22 will put you on the range (if you go to a formal or informal shooting range) where you will get acquainted with other shooters, see their gun handling practices and see their guns. Most gun owners are proud of their hardware and if you exhibit good safety practices, a modicum of shooting skill and a little bit of polite interest, they will very probably let you handle their guns and even send a few rounds downrange. You can get to try out a wide variety of guns that way and collect testimonials from people other than salesmen when you go to a store.

4 Most (accurate) 22 rimfire guns are cheaper to buy than similarly accurate centerfire guns and hold their resale value well.

Good luck. Thanks for reading.

Lost Sheep

Black Butte
April 2, 2013, 02:36 AM
Split the difference. Get a .41 magnum.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=599046&highlight=41+magnum

460Kodiak
April 2, 2013, 08:58 AM
If it's your first I'd say get the .357, but .357 and .44 are kind of apples and oranges.

farm23
April 2, 2013, 09:49 AM
My 1st big bore was a 357 but everything since then has been a 44 or 45. I just like big holes. I hunt with a revolver and the 44 does a better job on game and would do a better job on 2 leg critters if needed. My wife carries a 38/357 but uses 38+ for EDC. She thinks a 44spl is more manageable than the 38+ but the 38/357 is smaller for EDC.

Taurus 617 CCW
April 2, 2013, 09:58 AM
I have owned both. Speaking from experience, you will shoot the .357 more frequently. The .44 is quite stout and ammunition is quite expensive.

SDGlock23
April 2, 2013, 11:02 AM
I think the .357 Mag will do anything a casual shooter will ever need it to. For self defense, few can argue the almost legendary 125gr JHP. For the woods, 158gr JHP/hardcast is a very good choice, and would work great on deer sized game. 180gr and even 200gr are available as well.

The ability to shoot 38 Special is awesome, makes for sure fun plinking and something for recoil sensitive shooters to really enjoy without being afraid of recoil. I got out of the .357 Mag just because I wanted to consolidate calibers, but it's a fantastic choice. I think just about everyone needs a good .357 Mag. Mine was a 6" Ruger GP100, stainless model. I can't say enough good things about it, and the Ruger will last 10 lifetimes it's so rugged....for the price they can't be beat.

I prefer the 6" for added velocity/power since I had no real plans on packing it everywhere anyways, the extra 2" can surely help out. Probably my favorite "utility" load was 14.8gr of 2400 behind a 158gr SWC hardcast. Velocity from the 6" was almost 1,550 fps and recoil is never an issue with a .357 Mag.

mavracer
April 2, 2013, 12:09 PM
If I didn't reload I'd lean toward a 357, if I did I'd lean toward a 44. neither is the wrong answer.

ldlfh7
April 2, 2013, 12:46 PM
357 for sure if your 1st revolver. For sure

BullRunBear
April 2, 2013, 12:48 PM
I own and shoot both calibers but the 357, for your purposes, will be cheaper, more comfortable and much more versatile. An added benefit: my wife and I often introduce newcomers to handguns and 38 specials in a revolver is our way to start them in centerfire shooting. I like 44s, especially 44 specials, but consider the 357 revolver better for your needs.

Unless your spare time is nonexistent (it happens), give serious thought to reloading. It has many benefits and I find it enjoyable in itself. Unless you shoot a lot in competition, even a basic single stage press will do the job.

If you end up with the 357 and still want a big bore, think about a 45 Colt, IF you start reloading. It's a fun round with history behind it, capable of great accuracy without painful recoil and can be loaded from popgun levels to any power you are likely to want.

Let us know what you end up with.

Jeff

mavracer
April 2, 2013, 02:12 PM
I've seen a couple post claim the 357s superior versatility and while it is a versatile round, claiming superior versatility would require the 357 do something that the 44 is incapable of.
What exactly can you shoot with a 357 that can't be done with a 44?

Mike Sr.
April 2, 2013, 02:37 PM
I have both! And each fills a --->nitch'e<---. The 44 mag will drop anything in North America period, so will the 45 Colt.

357/125 grain is reputed to be have the highest percentages of one-shot stop on 2-legged critters.


I can shoot light hand loads all day long in my 44 mag that will turn a cinder block into throwing rocks.

=============================

Elmer Keith did not kill an Elk/Caribou*** at over 400 yards with a .357!

***I read an account on this shot a VERY LONG time ago and I just can't be sure if it was one or the other...... :(

jmr40
April 2, 2013, 02:40 PM
Buy what you want, but lets get some misinformation cleared up. There are lots of claims with no proof to back them up.

.44 has more recoil and is much more expensive to shoot.



Which has the more recoil depends on the load. Lots of 357 loads recoil much more than many 44 loads.

Even with factory loads ammo costs is a wash.

$23/50 rounds of 44 mag practice ammo
http://georgia-arms.com/new44remmag240grleadsemi-wadcutter50pk.aspx
$30/50 rounds of HP ammo
http://georgia-arms.com/new44remmag240grgolddothollowpoint50pk.aspx

$22.50/50 rounds of 357 practice ammo
http://georgia-arms.com/357magnum158grplatedsemi-wadcutter50pk.aspx
$31/50 rounds of HP ammo
http://georgia-arms.com/new357mag158grgolddothollowpointp50pk.aspx

.44 magnums tend to be fairly large in size.

My 4" 629 weighs 41 oz. The GP-100 it replaced weighed 40.5 oz. I kept and use the same holster.

A big part of the reason I sold all of my 357's was because I found that with mid level 44 loads it was more effective, and offered less recoil and less muzzle blast than 357. Size, weight, and ammo costs are a wash.

shafter
April 2, 2013, 03:33 PM
For what you want 357 is the way to go hands down.

Lj1941
April 2, 2013, 03:52 PM
Even Harry Calahan knew that a "Light Special Load" was necessary in a 44 Magnum for good control and who will dispute "Dirty Harry"?:)

Certaindeaf
April 2, 2013, 04:15 PM
Thanks for all the feedback so far. I just want to point out that I've been shooting for many years and this is far from my first firearm. I just haven't gotten a revolver yet because it was hard for me to get over the capacity difference between a 9mm and a revolver. I've shot relatives .38 and .357 revolvers and I love them and I'm very accurate with them. I've never shot a .44 Magnum, but I don't know how much worse it could be then the polymer .40 I had a while back. That made full power .357s look like baby crap.
I see. For range/home defense, get the .357. A full power .357 ain't baby crap.. it's the same power regardless of the weight of the gun, given the same barrel length.. many provide around 800 foot pounds of energy. Some really kick out of an eleven ounce handgun. heh.

Satasaurus
April 2, 2013, 05:05 PM
I see. For range/home defense, get the .357. A full power .357 ain't baby crap.. it's the same power regardless of the weight of the gun, given the same barrel length.. many provide around 800 foot pounds of energy. Some really kick out of an eleven ounce handgun. heh.
Yeah, baby crap is probably taking it too far, but that .40 had the most recoil out of any other handgun I've ever shot. I'm sure it had a lot to do with the fact that the only .357 I've shot is a big steel 4" .357 and not a crazy super light alloy snub nose with buffalo bore ammo.

nathan
April 2, 2013, 06:05 PM
I ve shot a .44 mag, not a pleasant gun to hold. It has to be two handed or else you get your wrist hurt. And the ammo cost too much unless you reload.

SullyVols
April 2, 2013, 07:05 PM
It's difficult for me to fire a .44 in double action with any accuracy beyond 10 yards. I'm probably flinching a bit.

A .357 offers cheaper ammo - especially with .38 special ammo being so abundant and the recoil is much more manageable.

A .44 is powerful but is still weaker (muzzle energy) than a smaller rifle round like the .223

skidder
April 2, 2013, 07:17 PM
Hunting/Hiking... 44 Mag hands down.
SD/HD... 357 mag hands down.

Since this is your first, and you stated SD and Range as your primary purpose.... The 357 is the best choice IMO.

gspn
April 2, 2013, 09:27 PM
My thoughts (keep in mind these are worth two cents!):

44 Mag - Ammo is expensive at the store. If you can reload you can get the cost well under $20 a box...less than half of the store price. If you reload you can tailor the recoil to your tastes. You can load the 44 from mild plinking loads to full house magnum loads.

Recoil on the 44 is pumped up in pop-culture as if it were a veritable cannon. As a reference...my son began shooting the 44 mag (model 29) with full house loads when he was 10 years old. He is an average sized kid who has been taught well and he has ZERO problems with it. The size of the gun will make a difference in recoil as well as a heavier gun eats up more recoil. The same full house mag loads through my short barrelled Model 629 deliver a good bit more thump to my hand than they do from the full size Model 29.

.357 mag. Ammo not as expensive as the 44 but still could be cost prohibitive for many. Here again hand-loading is your friend.

It seems to me that there are more light weight .357's out there than light weight 44 mags. If you buy a .357 to escape recoil just remember that you can really put a hurting on yourself with a super small, light weight .357. A buddy of mine bought a 2.5 inch barrel super light .357 and after two shots I gave it back to him...the light frame didn't eat up enough recoil and it felt like I was being hit in the palm with a hammer.

If I needed one for self defense I'd pick up my .357 just because I'm going to be able to run it faster while maintaining accuracy. The 44 mag is fun but I consider it a hunting/target gun rather than a self-defense gun. I love my 44's...and I shoot them more than anything else in my collection...but it's not for everyone. I guess that's why they make more than one type of gun. :)

Savage99
April 2, 2013, 09:56 PM
Back when Elmer Keith was talking up heavy loads for 44 Special revolvers the 44 Magnum came out and my shooting buddy got a Ruger Blackhawk in the big 44.

I wanted to do it "my way" and I got a Colt Python in 357. We both handloaded and cast our own bullets. His 44 outshot my 357! It hit harder with less leading.

Then the forcing cone cracked on my new Colt Python!

Since I live near Colt I took it there and they put on a new barrel free while I watched.

Doing it again my way I bought a Blackhawk in .45 Colt and I made both full power loads and a moderate load with a Saeco Keith type semi wadcutter.

That .45 Blackhawk was and is accurate and powerful. I still have it with good memories.

It would be easier to get a .44 magnum and shoot full power, .44 Special or handloads in it.

Certaindeaf
April 2, 2013, 10:22 PM
.It would be easier to get a .44 magnum and shoot full power, .44 Special or handloads in it.
Easier than what?

nelsonal
April 2, 2013, 10:33 PM
Easier than what?
Well, easier than buying a .44 special and making it safe to shoot .44 magnums in it. :neener:

Certaindeaf
April 2, 2013, 10:37 PM
Doh!

22-rimfire
April 2, 2013, 10:56 PM
I honestly prefer to shoot my 41 magnum over 357 mag due to the muzzle blast of the 357. As mentioned earlier, if you reload or plan to reload, I would go 44 mag. You can buy light 44 mag loads and eventually load your own to your tastes.

You will find that your typical 44 mag will be substantially more recoil than any of the sem-auto's you have shot including a polymer framed 40 S&W. But that doesn't make it bad. You just have to learn to shoot it.

All this said, there are many 44 mag revolvers purchased that are shot about 50 times or less and then not shot any more due to the recoil. Keep that in mind.

Someone mentioned how plentiful 38spls are in stores. What stores are you shopping in these days? :D

radar1972
April 2, 2013, 11:03 PM
Like several others, I own both and love both. But to answer OP's question for a first revolver, I would go .357 magnum. Versatility.

Get it, shoot it, enjoy it. Later on, get the .44 magnum.

S&Wfan
April 3, 2013, 12:12 AM
Since you are wondering about the recoil differences in the two calibers of revolvers let me play the devil's advocate here . . . since I own several .357s and a .44 magnum too. My main deer hunting/hog hunting "rifle" is my Model 29 S&W .44 magnum REVOLVER, with a 6" barrel. Has been for years and years.

My suggestion?

For your first "serious" revolver I'd recommend a fine .22LR revolver! TWO HUGE REASONS:

1. You won't develop the "curse" of learning on a hard-kicking revolver . . . since the "curse" I refer to is the curse of never being accurate with a revolver due to starting with a hard-kicking revolver that "cursed" you into developing a really bad flinch!

The main thing you want to get from your first revolver is proper technique and learning to watch the muzzle flash when it goes off. If you are flinching at all your eyes will be closed!

2. Centerfire ammo is very, very expensive! Get the .22LR revolver and a couple of bricks of 550 rounds per box of .22LR ammo and you will learn to be a great shot and be able to master your technique shooting a couple of thousand rounds of .22LR ammo very cheaply.

2,000 rounds of centerfire magnum ammo will cost you well over $900 . . . money needed for devoted practice that you could have gotten with purchasing 2,000 rounds of .22LR ammo AND a .22LR revolver. It will pay for itself . . . the .22 revolver will thus end up "free!"

Then, when you have mastered that .22 revolver you'll also have enough experiences shooting revolvers to make a great choice between a .357 magnum and a .44 magnum revolver too!

OTHER SUGGESTION . . . Find a good handgun instructor to teach you proper grip, trigger technique and how to master your accuracy! Accuracy is everything with all firearms, but especially important when considering any handgun caliber.

PS: If you insist on going magnum revolver right out of the chute please do two things:

1. Leave a couple of empty cylinders when you load and practice, and before shooting spin the cylinder around a few times so you do NOT know when the gun will go bang or not. Then, you'll see the viscious over-compensation you will be making thinking the gun will be going off when you pull the trigger over an empty chamber! Better yet, have a friend load it for you with varying numbers of full and empty chambers! You'll quickly learn not to flinch!!!

2. Consider the .357 first, and load it for practice with 148gr. lead wadcutter practice ammo in .38 special instead. This is super accurate stuff and it won't be hard on you or the gun.

Then, if you use it for home protection, down-load it to .38 Special for indoor defense. Touching off a .357 magnum round indoors will temporarily both blind you from the muzzle flash and deafen you due to the very loud report! Worse, it overpenetrates and thus might zip through 2-3 interior walls and kill a loved one. Instead, buy some .38 special defensive ammo for home use.

Save the .357 Magnum ammo for times on the road or when you know you don't have the types of walls that can zipped through with a .38 special round!

The .38 Special is a serious self-defense round in its own right, and .38 Special ammo is actually in .357 caliber anyway of course, for the marketing guys over 100 years ago chose to call the new .36 caliber ammo .38 Special instead, since .36 caliber revolvers using black powder were used in the Civil War era and they didn't want to confuse folks into thinking the .38 Special ammo was the same stuff with the same level of performance!

BTW, my magnums in various revolver calibers, and my .45 autos remain in the safe most of the time. My "always" on me CCW handgun is the 5-shot Model 37 S&W revolver . . . in .38 Special . . . and I feel totally well protected! As will all handgun shooting, BULLET PLACEMENT is the key.

Inebriated
April 3, 2013, 03:08 AM
Maybe I'm the only one, but I've never found .22LR to offer any experience that dry-fire couldn't give. I love my .22's, and they get shot a lot, but not for any sort of practice or training. I train with my carry and HD guns. I plink and hunt with everything else.

bannockburn
April 3, 2013, 05:27 AM
The only .44 Magnum that I can say I actually enjoy shooting full house loads out of is a Desert Eagle.

In a revolver, between the .357 Magnum and the .44 Magnum, I would go with the .357 Magnum.

76shuvlinoff
April 3, 2013, 05:45 AM
I got a 4" .357 for the wife's house gun. She really likes it. Everyone I know with a .44 in these parts hunts deer with it.

Satasaurus
April 3, 2013, 01:29 PM
How much of a difference is the 4" barrel vs the 6" barrel? A lot better accuracy?

Inebriated
April 3, 2013, 01:34 PM
Barrel length doesn't really have any bearing on accuracy. You get a longer sight radius (length between front and rear sight), which equates to being able to shoot more precisely, but it isn't inherently more accurate. You also get more velocity, less flash, less blast, and more weight to soak up recoil out of a longer barrel.

Certaindeaf
April 3, 2013, 02:10 PM
Get a 4", even if you ride an Electra Glide. Same accuracy but more handy. My favorite is a 3", even for hunting.

Queen_of_Thunder
April 3, 2013, 04:14 PM
This is an easy one. BOTH!

rainbowbob
April 3, 2013, 04:22 PM
This is just for target shooting and self defense.


4" .357.


And if you are lucky enough to find a mint condition S&W Model 19 (like mine) - or a Model 27...buy it.

S&Wfan
April 3, 2013, 09:06 PM
One huge difference over dry firing with a .22, and that is instant gratification and feedback, not to mention the FUN of shooting ever tighter groups. Dry firing will never truly tell a shooter how he's pulling the gun off target slightly via poor grip/mechanics/trigger pull.

Hitting paper with a soft-shooting but accurate handgun helps a shooter enjoy practice and rewards with the targets to reinforce good habits.

That's my story . . . and I'm a stickin' to it!;)

usurp31
April 4, 2013, 06:06 PM
.44 specials as a defensive load are nice options in a .44 mag revolver as well.

Savage99
April 4, 2013, 10:51 PM
Recoil wise a single action's grip is much easier on my hand than that of a double action's.

When I shot my Colt Python the recoil bothered the web of my hand. I even bought fancy Herretts grips for it and it was different but not better.

When I got the Ruger Blackhawk the recoil did not hurt at all. The Blackhawk recoils barrel up more and the smooth grip slips some and does not dig into my hand.

If I was doing it over I would get a Blackhawk in 44 mag and a reloading kit again.

Savage99
April 4, 2013, 10:55 PM
https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRf_JEVMyygkJFXBo-EzVNye0wSE0s4kqbDL6efyK0pWr4Tu4OS

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/Colt-python.jpg

Barry the Bear
April 4, 2013, 11:46 PM
I love both rounds! You cant go wrong with either . My first handgun was a ruger super blackhawk and just recently bought a ruger sp101 in .357 talo.edition. .38s for the 2 legged varments and .44s for mr and mrs bear

Kiln
April 5, 2013, 05:03 AM
I prefer the .357 magnum from a practical use standpoint.

I have both a .357 mag and a .44 mag, for me the .357 is easier to handle recoil wise any day of the week even with hotter loads.

.44 special on the other hand is very comfortable, has a nice large diameter, and still has enough power to do the trick in a SD situation.

DM~
April 5, 2013, 10:14 AM
Buy a .22 to learn to shoot a handgun with.

Then buy a .357 so you can shoot .38 Special in it until you learn to shoot that.

Then start shooting .357 Magnum, and take a giant step backward in your shooting skill when you start flinching and jerking the trigger due to .357 Magnum recoil & noise.

Then go back to the .22 and learn to shoot all over again.
Then work back up through the .38 Special & .357 again.

Then it is time to buy a .44 Magnum, and start jerking and flinching all over again.

Trust Me!!

rc

My thoughts exactly! And what i always recomend when i'm asked by a new shooter, what handgun should i buy?

DM

jlucke69
April 5, 2013, 05:41 PM
I own both 357 and 44s. Love both, but if I were to choose one,it would be a 357 in a 4". Especially for the needs listed. My first handgun is still my favorite. GP100 stainless 4".

22-rimfire
April 5, 2013, 05:44 PM
Rcmodel speaks the truth. That is precisely the route I took but I still shot 22's more than anything else. Maybe that's why I had so much trouble dealing with 357 mag recoil at first? I migrated to 41 mag and really liked it. I can see why people like 44 spl's. Had I gone that route, I would probably love them.

BUT, I believe the OP is not a new shooter; only new to revolvers.

I prefer 6" or longer for hunting and 4" for general carry in the field and woods. I do shoot a 6" a little better than a 4" on average and certainly a lot better than the 2" carry revolvers.

WaywardSon
April 6, 2013, 08:03 AM
Buy a .22 to learn to shoot a handgun with.

Then buy a .357 so you can shoot .38 Special in it until you learn to shoot that.

Then start shooting .357 Magnum, and take a giant step backward in your shooting skill when you start flinching and jerking the trigger due to .357 Magnum recoil & noise.

Then go back to the .22 and learn to shoot all over again.
Then work back up through the .38 Special & .357 again.

Then it is time to buy a .44 Magnum, and start jerking and flinching all over again.

Trust Me!!

rc

Thread could have been closed after this post. Truer words were never spoken. That is my exact advice to anyone looking to learn to shoot a handgun. While I am a big fan of the .44 mag., it is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart. If you cannot train yourself to ignore the recoil you will never enjoy the caliber or become proficient with it.

That said...I voted for the .357 in the poll.

Edit: This is funny. I did not wade through the entire thread...just responded to rcmodels post. Looks like at least a few of us are in agreement:-)

Baba Louie
April 6, 2013, 09:47 PM
Gotta go with the .357 crowd as well. You can get them in J frames, K frames, L & N, snub, 3", 4", 5", 6" and longer if that floats yer boat.

.44s being mostly an N Frame thing.

Tho' there are single actions as well as double actions for your consideration as well...

Gotta agree with RC. A .22 is a beautiful thing to own and shoot as a first handgun (or rifle for that matter).

kgpcr
April 7, 2013, 07:03 AM
I own both as well as a .454. I would to with a .357.the only reason I have the big dogs is for when I am in Alaska. You just don't need a .44mag

ku4hx
April 7, 2013, 08:07 AM
I've got a brace of both and both do the job well so long as I match the cartridge to the job. I'm a long time hand loader, so I have the option of going from puppy poots to full house eargesplittenloudenboomers in both. It's possible to do that by buying specific factory loads in either.

The .357 Magnum will also shoot the .38 Special and the .44 Magnum will also shoot the .44 Special and the .44 Russian. The possibilities of various levels with factory fodder is not as high as with hand loading, but it is considerable.

Currently, my .44 self defense cartridge is the Speer Gold Dot Ammunition 44 Special 200 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point. The .44 Special is no slouch when it comes to self defense all the current wonder guns notwithstanding. The .44 Magnum will certainly work, but it can be just too much gun.

Here's an excellent article and self defense ammunition:http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/

logical
April 7, 2013, 10:09 PM
Enough "new shooter" advice already. The OP pointed out 2 pages ago he was new to revolvers, not new to guns.

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