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.44 Magnum vs .357 Magnum

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Satasaurus, Apr 1, 2013.


.44 Magnum vs .357 Magnum

Poll closed May 1, 2013.
  1. .44 Magnum

    45 vote(s)
  2. .357 Magnum

    203 vote(s)
  1. Satasaurus

    Satasaurus member

    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?
  2. Torian

    Torian Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. remmag

    remmag Well-Known Member

    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
  4. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Well-Known Member

    I think the 357 would be better for you because of ammo costs and it is easier to shoot accurately because of reduced recoil.
  5. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. eldon519

    eldon519 Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. Satasaurus

    Satasaurus member

    Just for home defense and target practice. I might carry it once in a while just for slits and shiggles though.
  8. L-Frame

    L-Frame Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. oldbear

    oldbear Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. rswartsell

    rswartsell Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  11. Jaymo

    Jaymo Well-Known Member

    I like .357, but I LOVE .44 Mag.
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    4" .357.
  13. Sergei Mosin

    Sergei Mosin Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. red rick

    red rick Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. RCL

    RCL Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    The .357, definitely.

  18. Black Knight

    Black Knight Well-Known Member

    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.
  19. Squeaky Wheel

    Squeaky Wheel Well-Known Member

    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.
  20. Gun Geezer

    Gun Geezer Well-Known Member

    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).

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