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.44 Mag or .357 mag for SHTF.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Brilton, Nov 1, 2011.

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  1. Brilton

    Brilton Active Member

    Given the choice would you rather have one or the other? I'm looking at an S&W 629 with a 4" barrel and being that there are scores more .357 chambered revolvers I'm not sure which direction to go. Remember mainly for SHTF, take ammo availability and cost vs. stopping power and sustainability for multiple shots. .44 mag bear loads are PUNISHING. Really looking for all angles on this so write away.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    If you have to carry a 6 months supply of ammo with you, go with a .22 Rim-Fire rifle.
    But even the .357 would enable you to pack about twice as much ammo in one trip then a .44 Mag.

    IMO: A .44 Mag is not at all well suited or necessary for SHTF or SD because of the heavy recoil. Fast follow-up shots on multiple targets would be very difficult for the average person to pull off.

    I'm a died in the wool old revolver guy.
    But for any form of combat, including imaginary SHTF heroics?
    I'd personally rather have a hi-cap 9mm or .40 S&W auto pistol and a few extra mags.

    Or better yet, no handgun at all and an AR-15 Carbine and a few extra mags!

    If you let them get into handgun fighting distance, you done screwed the pooch tactically.

    Cause you can bet your sorry hind end they are gonna have rifles if they have a clue what they are doing!

    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  3. Brilton

    Brilton Active Member

    Very good point. I just finished my AR just want something that'll punch hole in bad guys and the horse they rode in on.
  4. ldhulk

    ldhulk Well-Known Member

    You have a much wider choice of gun sizes with the .357, all the way from alloy J frame snubs up to heavy frame cannons as big as the .44's. Also more manufacturers. The
    .357 is as much power as you need for self defense against human targets, and is easier to shoot rapidly. Some of the newer .357's give you an extra shot or two over the .44; 7 or 8-shot cylinders in the larger frame revolvers. If you want cheap practice ammo, .38 specials can be had cheaper than anything in .44.
  5. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    I have guns in both calibers. Matter of fact, I have a pair that even share the same holster. As far as carrying them goes, I can't hardly tell one from the other when it is on my side...Give your criteria for ammo availability, costs and multiple shots, which I read to mean "follow up" shots. I'd say go for the .357.


    Attached Files:

  6. Chindo18Z

    Chindo18Z Well-Known Member

    OK. I'll play:

    1. .44 Remington Magnum ammo weighs more and takes up greater space on your belt or in your pockets...so you theoretically would be unable to carry as many rounds for the long term. In reality, most folks carry a couple of reloads and call it a day.

    2. .44 Remington Magnum / .44 Special ammo generally costs more and is not as widely available as .357 / .38 Special. Ammo replenishment might be more difficult with the larger caliber. In the short term, when the public goes on a panic buying spree, .44 is usually left on the shelf along with other less common calibers. The most common service or CCW calibers (.380, .38, .357, 9mm, .40, & .45 ACP) seem to vanish from shelves first. Long term...you might have a greater problem replenishing .44 after several months of civil unrest where folks are actually expending bullets in quantity.

    3. .44 Remington Magnum ammo is not nearly as controllable (fast followup shots) as .357. (On the other hand, .44 Special is...) This ability to manage followup shots under pressure is hugely important. It's what makes a high capacity 9mm (with modern expanding ammo) such a deadly package. Lethality, Capacity, Accuracy, Low Recoil. You give up two of those with a .44 Magnum.

    4. A handgun chambered for .44 Mag is most likely gonna weigh a bit more than a comparable .357... unless you go with an alloy revolver...in which case see point #3 (in spades). More weight to carry on your belt might be an important consideration.

    5. Ask yourself why .44 Magnum never caught on as a serious combat caliber for military or law enforcement agencies back in the revolver era? Not to say that the occasional real-life LEO didn't pack one, but seriously...Harry Calahan was a fictional character. Full house .44 loads deliver more Sturm und Drang than is actually required for an anti-personnel scenario. If you load .44 down to controllable levels (or simply use .44 Special), you are back into the old heavy/slow vs. light/fast argument. The .357 has an arguably decisive street track record not entirely replicated by .44 Mag. Not to say that .44 won't work (see point #6 below).

    6. There isn't going to be a significant terminal performance difference between the two calibers (both will do the job), but you are going to be more likely to miss with the .44 after taking the first shot.

    7. With heavier weight .44 bullets, over-penetration could be an issue (if that's important to you).

    8. Both calibers can be defeated by soft armor, so .44 doesn't offer any advantage there.

    9. If you envision your life and death scenario happening while driving, certain .44 loads offer good penetration on auto bodies and glass.

    10. Muzzle flash is a consideration for both loads, but especially with factory full house .44 hunting ammo. Night vision is nice to have and keep in a fight.

    11. A 629 loaded with a good .44 Special hollow point is a very viable self defense combination. It fits into the time proven large bore defensive revolver club (.45 ACP. .45 Colt, .44 Special). Big bullets moving at low or moderate speeds have worked well for over a century and a half. Stoked with .44 Specials, that big 629's recoil would be light. Good accuracy, lethality, and control.

    Lest you think I'm going all "negative vibe" about your possible .44 choice, I'll mention that I occasionally carry a 4" Model 58 .41 Magnum (loaded with mild 175 grain Winchester Silvertips). I just happen to like the caliber and the gun. If that 629 really makes you happy, then get it. With adequate range/hunting practice, you'd certainly be well armed.

    But honestly...A good .357 duty revolver is just a better choice for fighting than a .44 Magnum. .44 is a better caliber for hunting.

    Your's is a nuanced question with no truly right or wrong answer. If you can hit accurately and repeatedly with the .44 while you are under stress...then it's the right choice for your purposes. The .357 is technically a better choice. But a man armed with an old Colt SAA would also be well armed as long as he really knew how to use that weapon.

    If you just want a .44 Magnum for self defense...get one. You don't need logical reasons for choosing that caliber for combat use. Which is fortunate... because there really aren't any...unless you have a need to put down zombie bears. ;)
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  7. BossHogg

    BossHogg Well-Known Member

    357/ 38 spl what the hell. when it happens that's what you need . All else in irrelevant.
  8. gspn

    gspn Well-Known Member

    Chindo...great post! I type this as I sit on the couch dry firing my 4 inch 629 in 44 mag. :D
  9. BCCL

    BCCL Well-Known Member

    Of those choices, a 357 is easily the clear choice IMO.

    Since your specifically saying "for SHTF", the far greater availability of 357 (and 38 special) is the only real criteria you need for it to win.
  10. Brilton

    Brilton Active Member

    WOW thank you chindo. Very exhaustive and thorough. I think I will do the .357 then and honestly its the ammo argument you can get it walmart depending on where you live. Thanks guys!!
  11. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Well-Known Member

    Yup, .357 (and a small .22lr revolver)
  12. carbuncle

    carbuncle Well-Known Member

    I'd go .357, my SHTF trio would be a 4" .357 revolver, 12-gauge pump & a .308 or .30-06 bolt action rifle.
  13. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    Depends on your idea of SHTF... Are you going to be buggin' out to the woods, and doing the whole nature man thing? If you are, .44 Magnum is the very clear choice.

    If you're sticking to civilization and preparing for combat, then .357 will be better.
  14. gazpacho

    gazpacho Well-Known Member

    357. A revolver paired with a lever action rifle in the same caliber is a smart combination.

    That said, I'd rather have an AR-15
  15. RatherNotSay

    RatherNotSay Well-Known Member

    Keeping on the idea that you are looking for a PISTOL SHTF weapon and not just a rifle I wouldn't recommend a revolver. I'm pretty sure that would stack up great against a bunch of zombies but I doubt that is a realistic SHTF. As stated above a good quality 9, 40 or even 45 will be your best bet. Larger capacity than a wheel gun, decent ballistics considering shot placement and more common calibers.

    If it absolutely came down between the 2 I would say the 357 just because of the dual caliber capability of 357/38.

    Use the 44 on bears :D
  16. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    I think Chindo covered that about as well as it could be covered.

    We don't really DO "SHTF" scenarios but as a 'do everything' revolver, a 4 inch .357 is a pretty darn versatile platform.
  17. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    I think the 357 mag is the gun you should be looking at for reasons stated in previous posts. The 357 is more than adequate for what you mention above. But I can't imagine needing more than a couple boxes of ammo, so it doesn't matter which you choose.

    It really depends a great deal on the scenario that you are preparing for and where you will be physically located; rural home, tent in the woods, suburban home, inner city, etc. An AR of some kind makes a lot of sense for stationary home defense scenarios; not so much if you are roaming the streets.
  18. doc2rn

    doc2rn Well-Known Member

    I keep it simple and by my pistol/rifle in combo's like both my Colts will go with my 1894c, my S&W 451 will go with my Ruger 77/22 Mk II, and my Ruger standard/ or Mk II goes with my Marlin mod 60. I am still looking for the right AR platform in 9mm to go with my FNP-9, keep tossing back n forth between that and the sub 2000.
  19. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    Any caliber you are good with is a fine choice. Now that that box is checked,are you considering......

    Are you bugging out?
    sheltering in place?
    What about food, water, sanitation, clothing, medicine, fire, fuel, transportation?
    Are you alone or have dependants to protect?
    Are you part of a community of likeminded ?
    Hows your fieldcraft?
    Can you fix things that break?

    Having a weapon is good, planning the boring, detailed stuff is hard.
  20. Texasred

    Texasred Well-Known Member

    4" 357 7" alloy Smith 386+ would be a great choice that I'd take anyday over a 1911 or a colt python
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