.357 mag, .44 mag or .454 casull in a 20 inch rifle

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Flabbergasted1776, Sep 17, 2021.

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  1. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Read it again. He said "en-route from your suburban home to the grocery store", not in the grocery store. That was hyperbole anyway which you also missed.
     
  2. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    As the owner of two lever action rifles, one in .357 and one in .44 mag, my first question is what are you hunting? I have handguns in both calibers so it's one bullet for multiple guns, meaning I can pack a backup handgun in the same caliber as my rifle. That said, my 4" Ruger .357 is a lot lighter to wear all day than my Anaconda.
    What scenario do you see yourself hunting?
     
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  3. mcb

    mcb Member

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    SAAMI specs have some very generous tolerances. Most manufactures will run much tighter to nominal tolorance when they make their own internal prints. Most manufactures are holding nominal +.001 instead of the +.004 of SAAMI.

    I cast, with Cerosafe, both of my 44 Mag barrels, a S&W M29 and my Rossi M92 and they were very close to the same. The S&W M29 was .421 bore and .429 groove. The Rossi M92 was .423 bore and .431 groove.

    Interestingly the M29 is right on nominal for grove diameter but at the far end of the tolerance for the bore diameter. But this is consistent with most modern guns were the groves are typically .0035 to .0040 inch deep. Likewise the the M92 it is right on nominal for groove diameter but technically out of spec for bore diameter being .001 under spec but maintaining that typical groove depth. This seems like about as well as we can hope given the two different bore/groove specs pistol vs rifle for this cartridge. I believe this is the only cartridge with such differences between the pistol/revolver and rifle SAAMI spec.

    I have put a decent amount of jacketed and lead bullets through both of these guns and never have had any real issues with sharing ammo between the two. They both have shot everything decently well. I have worked myself down to one primary load, a simple 240gr XTP pushed buy 800X that works well in both guns.
     
  4. js8588

    js8588 Member

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    If handloading is a given & the $$ to aquire doesn't put you off, grab a Big Horn Armory 500 S&W & call it good. You can load it down for whitetail or load it hot & take the Big 5.

    I'd give it a few months & see what Ruger comes out with when they roll out the new Marlins.
     
  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    For starters, I have a couple 357 Magnum rifles but no 44 Magnum. I have handguns in both.

    I’d make the choice on what I expected to shoot. If small game was a possibility, the 357 Mag would be a better choice. Also, the handguns can be trimmer than a 44 Mag and thus easier to carry.

    But, as game gets larger, the range limit of 357 Magnum shrinks.

    44 Mag can deal with larger game at longer ranges but the bigger revolvers are more difficult to carry. The larger bullet would be more destructive on smaller game.

    Even though the OP reloads, commercial 454 Casull is not easy to find. I use a 204 Ruger for my prairie dog hunts and one was saved because a local sports store where we were hunting had a good supply of factory 204 Ruger ammunition. Less than common cartridges can make saving a hunt difficult if ammunition issues arise.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021
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  6. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    SAAMI specs don't account for jackcrap. What matters is the barrel that's on the rifle. As I said, I've seen lots of references to this but in my own guns, it has been a non-issue.
     
  7. dranrab

    dranrab Member

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    The 44 magnum will do all you need it to do with less cost and fuss than the Casull.
     
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  8. Flabbergasted1776

    Flabbergasted1776 Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone, while I’m not still not quite sure which one to go with, this answered a lot of questions I had about these cartridges. Thank you for your help :thumbup:
     
  9. Tinman357

    Tinman357 Member

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    I personally opted for the .357. Had a JM marked marlin 1894C and the remlin 1894CB. Talleyed up the pro and cons of each. I chose to keep the most accurate (close call) and the one with the best fit and finish, and tightest lockup. I sold the JM marked marlin to a member here. He seems happy with it.

    Yes. In my opinion the remlin was the better gun. (I'm going to get a lot of hate on that statement :()Paired with an old style, half lug GP100 6 inch, or a S&W 686+ 4 inch.

    Oh. I don't hunt.
     
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  10. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    That’s an interesting perspective. Here I thought SAAMI specs mattered so much that major firearm manufacturers typically won’t sell a firearm chambered for a round that doesn’t have a SAAMI spec. I learn something new everyday. And of course, if you haven’t seen this particular problem in your sample size of 5 44 rifles? Maybe 10 .44 rifles? Well then, it clearly is a non-issue in the thousands and thousands of .44 rifles that have been made.
     
  11. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    Everyone have valid points in choosing a 44 magnum or .454 but for me I would choose the .357 magnum. The OP stated which would be the most "UTILITARIAN" rifle to choose for hunting. In this case you can load light loads in the 38 caliber range for small game like rabbits, turkey , ptarmigan that would still leave some meat and not have to suck feathers only. Also one can load heavier loads that will be adequate for deer and hogs with hard cast bullets.

    As shooters and part time survivalists we tend to acquire tunnel vision and automatically default to a defensive posture so larger calibers will automatically be the first choice we go for for defensive purposes from bears, big foot and dragons. Knowing the combinations and ballistics of the calibers one shoots allows you to engage in a variety of combinations of powders and bullet designs that will achieve the desired goals one seeks.
     
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  12. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    By the way, for anyone interested in learning a little more about bore diameter and twist in .44 mag rifles, take a look at the following thread, and earlthegoat2's post in particular.
    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/44-mag-vs-45-colt-in-rifle.895108/page-2

    Quote for earlthegoat2 in that thread: "The 44 rifles are all .431 bore diameter unless you get custom because that is SAAMI. Then on top of this, especially in Marlin and NEF/H&R rifles, there is fluctuation in actual bore diameter from .430-.434. That is a wildly large range for modern machinery and manufacturing technology. If you look at the SAAMI specs carefully it will note a +.004 acceptance variance to the .431 bore. So a .435 bore could still be within spec."
     
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  13. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Gimme a break. SAAMI specs don't amount to a hill of beans. What matters is the dimensions of the rifle in hand. SAAMI .45Colt specs never change but you'll sure as hell see a lot of variation among production guns. A LOT! Do SAAMI specs prevent Colt from having oversized chamber throats and Ruger from being undersized? Nope.

    The fact that I do not have this problem in my rifles is proof that whatever issue you think is universal, isn't. In fact I never even heard of this issue until I read it on the internet.


    And then you prove my point.
     
  14. bluejay75

    bluejay75 Member

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    I own 4x 44 magnum rifles and 3x 357 rifles. But if I had to pick one it would be a 357. I near filleted a raccoon when I skimmed a 240 XTP across one. A lot of meat damage on small stuff. But a 180 grain cast bullet at 1500-1600 FPS from a 357 will kill anything alive. It will be cheaper to reload and more accurate at long range. No matter what you choose you may want to consider casting your own bullets. It makes a 357 rifle a harder hitting 22lr replacement. 5-10 cents a shot for economical loads that will kill deer sized game and below.
     
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  15. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    I'm not sure how you can fail to understand that this proves my point, not yours. Manufacturers follow SAAMI specs in part as a way to reduce their liability. SAAMI spec indicates that a bore of up to 0.435 is "within spec." Do you really believe that trying to fire a bullet with a diameter of 0.429 through a barrel with a diameter of 0.435 would have no effect on accuracy?

    And, as is common with internet know-it-alls that can't handle being shown up, you start arguing against something that I never stated. I do not believe that this is a universal problem. It is something that a prospective buyer of a .44 mag rifle should be aware of. You are the one who claims that his is universally NOT a problem because you haven't experienced this problem yourself. I haven't personally experienced cancer, but I don't doubt that some people get cancer and that it can have very bad outcomes. That you knew nothing about this potential problem before reading this thread does not prove that it is not a problem. It simply proves you hadn't learned of it before.
     
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  16. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Considering the primary use is for hunting larger game I would definitely get a 44 over a 357 magnum. I've killed several deer with .357 bullet and a couple with .429 bullets and the larger bore just hits with so much more authority. If it was just going to be for plinking and shooting small game like racoons or coyotes, then I would definitely go 357 magnum, but I am just not a big fan of 357 magnum on larger game. I know people will say that a 357 rifle is a game flattener but that just hasn't been my personal experience.
     
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  17. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    You are very misinformed about what you think CraigC knows or doesn't know.
     
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  18. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    The point I'm making is that I do not care what SAAMI says the bore could or couldn't be. That's theoretical nonsense that does me no good. I want to know what MY RIFLE actually is.

    What this reminds me of is the people who obsess about chamber dimensions. They panic about oversized or undersized throats without finding out how the damned thing shoots first.
     
  19. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    That's fine, but the point of this thread was to offer information to the OP who was considering which rifle to buy. Anyone who is considering buying a .44 mag rifle should be aware that an "in spec" rifle may have a bore that is larger than the majority of bullets on the market. This may lead to accuracy issues.

    Once you have the rifle, all that matters is whether it shoots well or not. Before you buy the rifle it is worth noting the possibility of poor accuracy and taking that into consideration.
     
  20. bluejay75

    bluejay75 Member

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    Only my older rifles have those issues. If you’re buying a new 44 magnum rifle 429-430 on jacketed and 430-431 will perform just fine. I have a couple that wants 433 cast and 431 jacketed for best performance.
     
  21. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    I can see this being a non issue with jacketed bullets.
    For cast do you size for the rifle and run a slightly oversize bullet in your revolver?
    I run 358 coated cast in my Whelen and it slugs at 358.
     
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