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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

    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.
  2. nathan

    nathan Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. SullyVols

    SullyVols Well-Known Member

    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
  4. skidder

    skidder Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. gspn

    gspn Well-Known Member

    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. :)
  6. Savage99

    Savage99 Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Easier than what?
  8. nelsonal

    nelsonal Well-Known Member

    Well, easier than buying a .44 special and making it safe to shoot .44 magnums in it. :neener:
  9. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

  10. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    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
  11. radar1972

    radar1972 Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. S&Wfan

    S&Wfan Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. 76shuvlinoff

    76shuvlinoff Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. Satasaurus

    Satasaurus member

    How much of a difference is the 4" barrel vs the 6" barrel? A lot better accuracy?
  17. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Get a 4", even if you ride an Electra Glide. Same accuracy but more handy. My favorite is a 3", even for hunting.
  19. This is an easy one. BOTH!
  20. rainbowbob

    rainbowbob Well-Known Member

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

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