44 special +P vs 357 mag for hunting

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by trekker73, Jul 31, 2022.

  1. trekker73

    trekker73 Member

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    Probably an age old argument and by +P in the 44 I mean skeeter or keith style loads. How do these options compare (edited to say for medium game) to 50 yards? Im thinking the 44sp loads would have lower blast, similar hitting power, whilst not having to go all the way to fullhouse 44mag
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2022
  2. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    I would think the 44 special would be a bit much for squirrels or rabbits, but better for deer out to a max range of 50 yards. The .357 magnum would be a bit flatter shooting as well for smaller game. I'd go with the .357 magnum for its versatility in the situation described.
     
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  3. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    I'm not a ballistic expert, but I've always figured that bigger holes make things deader.
    I think the 44 Spc would be easier on the ears. Probably carry more energy to the target at 50 yds.
    Of course there is the whole shot placement thing to consider.
    Yeah, I'd probably go with 44 Spc.
    This is assuming we aren't talking about squirrel hunting, but more like coyotes, hogs, deer, etc.
     
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  4. NeroM

    NeroM Member

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    In 44 Spl cases, I worked up a +P load with Cast Performance 255 gr plain base LBT bullets, starting at around 13 gr of Alliant 2400 powder, that yielded approx 950 fps from 6" barrel. Worked this up until reaching 1050 fps; comfortable to shoot, accurate, effective on deer size game - plus sub sonic to about zero F. These also cycle nicely through a Marlin 44 mag carbine and Rossi Ranch Hand. Guessing pressure is a little under 20k, only a guess.
    Caution about a year ago:- needed to load up a batch of these - sadly it appears CPC has stopped producing this plain base bullet (BOO, Hiss - Cpc). They make a similar "260" gr bullet with a gas check, use this in 44 Mag loads - works well there at approx 1200 fps. 2400 supply is running low- have not had a chance to work up the Gas check version in 44 Spl.
    Better IMHO - than 180 gr 357 loads on deer size game, if nothing bigger than rabbit, coon, etc - 357 might be flatter shooting. However prefer the 44 in either case.
     
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  5. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    An example of six of one and half a dozen of the other. But IMHO, with proper bullets, your odds of getting a pass through and two holes leaking blood, are better with the .357.
     
  6. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I go with .45 Colt, loaded to around 21,000 PSI for larger game, and .38 Special (from my Colt M357) for small game.
     
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  7. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    I have long carried and shot the Classic 7.5 Grains of Unique over a 255 Grain 429421 bullet. Dead nuts accurate and in my opinion powerful enough for anything I may encounter In the woods. 50 yard bowling pin killer. That bullet and 10 grains in .44 Mag is also a very effective classic. I literally shot 7000 rounds of those two loads combined. How do I know, many years ago I purchased a ton of bullets from the estate of a very good caster. Last year I ran out and have yet to find a copy as good as this gentleman made. The few hundred I have left loaded are now reserved for field use. I am a big fan of 255 or heavier bullets already .429 or larger with decent flat noses over 850 fps. Unless I lived in big bear country I feel the .44 Special and light Magnums are perfect. Especially for hogs and deer up to 50/60 yards.

    As @Vern Humphrey states the .45 Colt is a great choice for all the same reasons.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2022
  8. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Keith concluded over 80yrs ago that the .357 was the best killer if restricted to factory loads but his heavy .44Spl load was best of all. It's still true and the .44Spl will do more without making your ears bleed.


    How do you figure that? The .357 needs an expanding bullet to be effective and that decreases the odds of a pass through.
     
  9. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Member

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    IMO a .429 hardcast wide meplat lead projectile at 1200fps +/- will outperform anything in .357 magnum on medium to large game.
     
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  10. Rodfac

    Rodfac Member

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    My thoughts exactly as to the .44 Spl...bigger slug in weight and frontal area make it a better killer at lower levels than the .357. With any modern .44 Special of Ruger or S&W make (not one of the Charter offerings however), the Keith designed 429421 Lyman bullet or the Thompson gas-checked version, 429244 or 44215, will make up into a first rate .44 Spl hunting load at what would be +P levels if such a SAAMI testing were available...

    For well tested and tried loads with a variety of .44 Spl guns, do a search for Brian Pearce's excellent Handloader article on this venerable caliber. His research offers several pressure levels for various makes of guns.

    Many us who reload, have worked up .44 Spl. loads that will produce 1200 fps out of a 6" bbl., and safely too, with 2400, Accurate #9 and Herco. But as one poster above noted, Skelton's classic (7.5 gr of Unique in Spl. brass backing any good 240 gr LSWC for 950-1000 fps) is as good an all-purpose load as any and better than most. We've used it here on our farm to put down several horses in fact. It's more than enough for deer out to 50 yds from a handgun, if YOU have the skill to ensure good shot placement.

    But the .44 Spl. is a handloader's caliber first and foremost, and that's a big drawback for those who don't load their own...while it's probably too much for small game unless head/neck shots are taken, but it'll do quite nicely for deer, hogs, or self defense.

    Best Regards, Rod
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2022
  11. Barbaroja

    Barbaroja Member

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    44slp+p>357
    I shoot a ton of cast 265gn h&g5#503 Keith swc over 7.5gn of unique. Great shooting load from my flattop blackhawk, total confidence in it to take most any game. I plan on using it for deer and pigs this year.
     
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  12. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I've used the .44 Skeeter load on wild boar with reasonable success. No "bangflops", but I prefer non-expanding bullets and I go for reliable shots rather than spectacular ones. That generally means trying to put a bullet through both shoulders.

    I have not hunted big game with the .357 Magnum. I have thought about it for decades, but just don't quite have the confidence in it. With solids, the hole just isn't as big as I'd like, and with JHPs the penetration isn't there, at least for less-than-perfect presentations. And yes, I know the grand old cartridge has been successfully used countless times, even by Skeeter himself.

    At this point, I'm unlikely to ever try big game hunting with the .357 Magnum. If I do, it will be with a 158 JHP driven as hard as the gun will take, and the shot will be broadside into the lungs.
     
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  13. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    The bullet makes the difference. Keith's bullet selection was very limited compared to what we have today, but even today, the selection of 44 Special bullets is limited compared to 357. There are many more 44 Magnum bullets that are well-suited to hunting, but you would have to determine whether the velocity of your Special loads would be sufficient for them to work effectively.
     
  14. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    It's my experience that cast semi-wadcutters work as well as anything in big bores. Punch a .429" or .451" hole clean through a deer, and the hunt is over.
     
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  15. Biblethumpncop

    Biblethumpncop Member

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    E1552EF6-77B0-4792-9237-F8B98B3324C1.jpeg I have a Model 28 6" in 357 and a Ruger Flattop 44spl with 4 5/8" barrel. I'm loading up some Skeeter loads for the 44spl and will hunt deer with it this year. I shot a javelina 35 years ago with the 357. I don't think I would use it on a deer since I have my 44.
     
  16. savagelover

    savagelover Member

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    With the price of meat one will have to hunt squirrels.
     
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  17. savagelover

    savagelover Member

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    Don't use the hollow point bullet. Hornady 158 xtp flat nose work great out to 50 yards.
     
  18. N555

    N555 Member

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    When you +p a 44spl you pretty much get 44-40 and that was the answer for almost everything in North America at one time.
     
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  19. BobWright

    BobWright Member

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    The .45 Colt cartridge was very effective in its day, a 250~255 gr. bullet at around 900 f.p.s. This up close, so it needs to start out at 1000~1200 f.p.s. to deliver that on the targeted animal. This performance is easily reached with .44 Special handloads. Big diameter bullets let air in, blood out.

    Bob Wright
     
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  20. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Member

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    Flatter?

    I hear this all the time with 41mag vs 44mag. Really? At 50 yards what is the actual difference? 1"? At 100 yards, maybe worth discussing. I'd bet very few people have any business shooting at game over 50 yards. Let's call a spade a spade.
     
  21. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    In all the reading I have done of things authored by EK, I do not recall him ever saying that about the 357 S&W Magnum. I remember him heaping praise on the 44 S&W Special and even the 45 long Colt but nothing on the small bore. He said that if he were restricted to factory loads in his house revolvers he would prefer the Remington black powder load in the 45 long Colt.


    Kevin
     
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  22. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    It’s a green apples to red apples comparison. They do the same job but very differently. Big hole, high mass, high speed. That’d be the .357. A .44 is just a bigger hole and higher mass, but in a Special you’re losing the high speed.

    Personally, I don’t load “+P” in anything. Borderline, yes, but I don’t color outside the lines. Even my .38/44 loads are lower charges than published .38Spl +P beyond the overlap for “large-frame/heavy pistol” loads. The gun’s configuration makes a huge difference. Need more info.
     
  23. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    He said that before the .357 came out.
     
  24. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    50 yards for a deer pick what makes you happy because I don't think it matters. I would much rather not try and eat a rabbit or Squirrel shot either as I'm not scraping together the leftovers for fur burgers. I think a walking setup with 357 carbine 38 pistol or 44 carbine 22 pistol would give the best results.
     
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  25. starnbar

    starnbar Member

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    Good luck to you trekker
     
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