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357 vs. 44 Spl. For CCW

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by kwhi43@kc.rr.com, Oct 11, 2011.

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  1. kwhi43@kc.rr.com

    kwhi43@kc.rr.com Member

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    Got a good one you guys can toss around for awhile. Which would be better
    for CCW the 125 gr full house 357 mag such as Federal 357B or the Blazer
    200 gr JHP Gold Dot 44 spl? Or the Buffalo Bore 255 gr at about 900 fps in
    44 spl. This being in a short 2.5 barrel in the 357 and a 3 inch barrel in 44 spl
    I'm not interested in the engery figures for both calibers, energy never stopped anybody, it's the holes and damage in the target. Well, what do
    you all think?
     
  2. Paladin7

    Paladin7 Member

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    For CCW, given the two choices, I vote for the 44 Special.

    Larger, heavier bullet, less pressure which equals less noise and flash. The 200gr Gold Dots were specifically made to perform in short barreled 44's, so that is what I carry when I carry a 44 Special.

    When I'm thinking about CCW with a 44 Special, I'm thinking about cold weather, or field carry and having to have it close by in the bedroom at night. I'm also thinking about low light conditions and the possibility of having to shoot in an enclosed space, like in my car or bedroom, hence my choice.

    I want to avoid the much higher operating pressure and resultant hearing damaging crack of the 357 and the blinding muzzle blast (I realize that some of the newer 357 defensive rounds have less flash), and want the bullet to perform even through heavy clothing.

    YMMV.
     
  3. Tony_the_tiger

    Tony_the_tiger Member

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    If you can spring the cost, the Corbon DPX round in .44 special seems excellent for CCW purposes. A 200 gr copper bullet @ 950 ft/s.

    http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Corbon 44 Special DPX Report.htm

    This is what I carry about 75% of the time. I also carry .38 special and .357 depending on what I can get away(conceal) with and where I am going.
     
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Whichever one fits in the gun you'll be carrying. ;)

    They'll all do fine. Practice until your sidearm is an extension of your body and don't worry too much about what the numbers on the gun say.

    A solid hit with a .357 is just as good as a solid hit with a warm .44 Spc. If an extra 0.038" of bullet diameter makes the difference in a shooting, well...guess you should have aimed 0.038" better.
     
  5. pendennis

    pendennis Member

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    I can't make up my mind, so I carry both in rotation. The Model 65 is carried with .38 Special 158gr LSWCHP +P (the FBI load), and the Model 696 I carry with 200gr Winchester STHP.

    APairofThrees.gif
     
  6. cougar1717

    cougar1717 Member

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    Big and slow vs small and fast has been a plague to forums ever since Al Gore invented the internet.
    Which ever gun/caliber combination you are more proficient with is the one that I would CCW. It's six dozen one way, 72 the other.
     
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    They are both excellent choices. Which do you prefer?

    [​IMG]
     
  8. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Have both, love both. Either will work fine.
     
  9. DennisE

    DennisE Member

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    I perfer the 44 special! Dennis
     
  10. Lawdawg45

    Lawdawg45 Member

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    .44 spl hands down.;)

    LD
     
  11. nonseven

    nonseven Member

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    Most people carry a snub nose in a 357. 357 doesn't do so well in a 2" barrel. So it's more like big n slow vs smaller n slow.

    My vote is for the 44.
     
  12. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    In a full size service pistol I might go with the .357, but in a short barreled CCW gun I'd probably go with the .44
     
  13. Shienhausser

    Shienhausser Member

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    Paladin I was VERY inmpressed by Hornady's .357 125gr critical defense. Very low flash and low recoil (to me).
     
  14. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    Another concideration is NOISE. A three inch .357 can do perminant damage to your hearing if fired in a confined space. The .44 Special operates at much lower pressure and while still loud, would not be nearly as bad on the ears.
     
  15. bsms

    bsms Member

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    If it penetrates 12+ inches (I'd prefer 15+) and you can control it, it will do the job as well as anything else in a handgun. Where penetration is marginal (38+p), I prefer heavier bullets for greater sectional density. Where penetration is excessive (357/44 mag), I prefer lighter bullets for LESS penetration. Expansion is nice if it happens, but not worth a lot of bother.

    All of which is just IMHO.

    I'm happy with 357 ammo in my 686, but tend to use 38+P with my Model 60. For 44 special, I'd probably use one of the higher power loads available, with around 500 ft lb of energy. In my Ruger Alaskan, that would have mild recoil and plenty of penetration.
     
  16. Paladin7

    Paladin7 Member

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    Shienhausser, thanks for the tip, I'll definitely check out the Hornady offering...
     
  17. azgunner

    azgunner member

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    The best of the best

    I own both calibers. Taurus 431 / Rossi 720c and Ruger Speed Six. All three I rotae as my CCW. I never feel under gunned with what i carry. The 357 is stoked with the Federal 357B in 125grain. And the 44's are stoked with Blazer 200 grainers. I know that if I have to face a threat, and have to use my weapon. The gun/and bullet choice I have chosen will work just fine. I just need to do my job and make bullet placement count.
    I like the look and feel of all three weapons. The Rossi is a great carry piece. It is K-Frame on and J-Frame grip. The Taurus is an awesome weapon as well. It is a very intimidating looking weapon. Especially with the GoldDots looking back at you.
    The Speed Six is super slick. I would not want to get hit with one of the 125 grainers. All three see carry use. All three are life time keepers.

    You would not go wron with a 357 or a 44.:)
     
  18. brnmuenchow

    brnmuenchow Member

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    That is hard I like both. So, no help here I say either one!
     
  19. Dave T

    Dave T Member

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    This is nothing more than my personal opinion. It's based on over 40 years of handgunning, a good chunk of which was professional (LEO and Training Business). Any time I can accomplish the same thing at lower operating pressures, with less blast and flash I prefer to go that route so my first response to the OP is, the 44 Special.

    That raises the question of carrying compatibility. 44 are best in N-frame revolvers. Many people can't, or at least won't, carry that big and heavy a gun. I'm willing to if necessary, recognizing the necessity of dressing around the gun vs going the other way and down sizing the gun to fit beach wear (LOL).

    Another point in my consideration, I don't like anything shorter than a 3" bbl for the Magnum and 3.5" is even better. The introduction of the L-frame gives you a combination of control and concealablity that is an improvement over carrying the larger N-frame. Still, the blast and recoil of the Magnum makes the 44 more to my liking. The 44 just shoots better for me.

    YMMV,
    Dave
     
  20. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Member

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    .357 produces alot of muzzle blast,especially in shorter barrels.It has sharper recoil with stiff loads,slower to shoot multiple shots.I would load .38spl +P rounds in a .357.
    44 spl is pretty mild and easy round to shoot.The .44 special is a great old cartridge and is very accurate.Big and slow and gets the job done.I wish their were more .44 special options on the market.
     
  21. Frank V

    Frank V Member

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    The .357 is a fantastic defense cartridge, it's the one all defense cartridges are judged by. The .44 Special is a great defense cartridge too, especially with Buffalo Bores offerings. They have the load you mentioned & they offer a 200gr lead wadcutter at 900fps that's ok (by their information) for the smaller Charter Arms Bulldog. In fact some of their velocity was taken with a Bulldog.
    Both can be had in small easily concealable guns, the .357 probably in just a bit smaller guns. I'd hate to have to pick only one, but it'd probably be the .44 Special. Especially if I could have different guns for different circumstances. A smaller CA Bulldog for summer & a larger N frame for winter.
    It's an interesting debate, & either would be a great choice. The .44 Special could be pressed into a wider range of uses than the smaller .357 especially handloading. I'd hate to be limited to one cartridge for all purposes. If I did have to choose either the .357 or the .44 Special, it'd be the .44 Special by a wide margin!
    Frank
     
  22. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    .44 Spl. Love my Bulldog Pug, and a handloaded 210 gr. SJHP at 980 FPS (yes, from the 2.5" barrel) should definitely do the trick.

    Nothing against the .357, and I still have 3 of them. I just like the disproportionately large holes glaring from the front of the Pug.
     
  23. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    I've carried my AirLite Ti 296 loaded with 200gr Gold Dots from GA Arms in my Mika pocket holster off and on for years.

    IMG_3867-1.jpg

    Over the last few years, however, the majority of the time I have carried a 642 loaded with +P 158 gr LHPSWCs (Remington R38S12), simply because it is a bit smaller & lighter than it's big brother, the 296. While I have some .357M revolvers, they either plink with my mild reloads or are loaded for HD with those same Remington +P's, as I have never bought or loaded 'real' .357 Magnum loads. I suppose that makes my answer to the OP's question simple - the .44 S&W Special would be my choice.

    Stainz
     
  24. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Member

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    a 5 shot 357 is smaller than a 5 shot 44spl, and can be loaded to superior ballistics. 44spl is a good round and all, but, uh, when has the "stopping power" of 357 ever been an issue? it's about as good as you can get from a pistol cartridge without the thing being a pain to shoot.
     
  25. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I'll pick the .357 in a K frame sized gun over a slow, weak big bullet every time. I hunt deer and hogs with .357, wouldn't do that with a standard .44, though some of Elmer Keith's concoctions leading up to the .44 mag were pretty stout. I've seen the damage from the .357 and I don't care about the recoil/blast. That will be background noise in a gunfight with the adrenalin pumping. However, I admit to loading .38 special for home defense. :D Let's face it, .38 special is a good defense round, so .44 special is, too. Just in a one up comparison, I'll take my .357s. They will fire .38, too, though I do have 3 revolvers chambered in .38 special. I have plenty of respect and confidence in the .38, myself, let alone .44 special or .357 magnum, at least for self defense.
     
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