44 special +P vs 357 mag for hunting

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

  1. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,931
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Really? I do not recall a single nice thing he had to say about the small bore. I know he appreciated the 38 S&W Special from the [email protected] Duty or Outdoorsman but did not see where he was a big fan of that magnum cartridge.

    I will crack open his books again. Any particular one I should start with?


    Kevin
     
    gobsauce and .38 Special like this.
  2. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    21,932
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    Lord, don't ask me. I was going to say "Sixgun Cartridges and Loads" but I think it mostly precedes the cartridge. I may be completely remembering it wrong. I have to keep reminding myself that the brain is not the steel trap it used to be. There's holes in it. :p
     
    .38 Special, Dave T and d2wing like this.
  3. d2wing

    d2wing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,531
    I have both. I shoot the .357 better and at a little more range but really I can't see where it matters. 50 yards would be a long shot with a pistol. I have won some competitions and not many guys can hit accurately at that range. I used to cast and shoot Elmer Keith loads in the .357 but somebody swiped my luber sizer and I just didn't do it anymore. My 44/44 mag is a load to carry too so I would stick with the .357. The .357 has a better reputation but I doubt that it makes any difference to the deer. Either one is plenty provided you are a very good shot. My feeling is that if you are going to shoot a deer, shoot him in the heart or don't shoot. Whatever feels better on your hip I guess. I like the .357 in a chest holster.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
  4. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,931
    Location:
    NE Ohio

    Wow! I have to disagree with you on that. When I competed in PPC, one of the stages was 24 shots at fifty yards. To practice this we would shoot it frequently. To improve at this range, we would practice at 100 yards, with 38 caliber DEWC over 2.8 grains of Bullseye. Your sight picture had to be perfect to get 10s at that range.

    I read that when the 357 S&W Magnum was introduced in 1935, Ed McGivern practiced with it and figured he would have a better than even chance of scoring a first round hit against a rifleman at 500 yards. I am not a big fan of the 357 S&W Magnum but I was able to become proficient against a vertical, 5 gallon pail at that distance with the 45 long Colt. I could often hit 4/6. Sometimes 5/6.

    It just takes practice and familiarity with one revolver.

    Kevin
     
    .38 Special, CraigC and IlikeSA like this.
  5. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    8,796
    Location:
    Ca.
    I like the .44 Special in the Blackhawk, it just goes together like peanut butter and chocolates.

    I shot mine at 20 yards with a Brazos 215 gr SWC over 6.9 gr Unique and a 240 gr plated HP over the same charge, the gun LOVED those loads. (Top four are rested) 1 1/8” and 1 7/8” on left, 1” and a single flyer ruined 2 1/8” (with 5 in 1”) on the right. Bottom are offhand, 3 1/8” on left, 2” on right.

    CCA91968-DCEF-40A0-86CC-90F472C869D3.jpeg

    My Montana 255 gr LSWCGC over 7.4 gr Unique is another great load, it’ll do 1 1/2” rested if I do my part. Those will put down a wide variety of critters if so employed.

    FB65BE73-2DCB-4E83-BE8A-D20292C63CF5.jpeg

    Go with the .44S. You won’t be disappointed. :thumbup:

    Stay safe.
     
    Rodfac, Iwsbull, wcwhitey and 4 others like this.
  6. BKS

    BKS Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    Messages:
    79
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I'll cast another vote for the 44 Special.
     
  7. d2wing

    d2wing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,531
    I believe you. But I still don't think many are going to hit the kill zone of a deer at that range. A 5 gallon bucket isn't the same thing and the deer isn't waiting for you to make the shot. You and maybe some other competition shooters can do it 100% in hunting conditions. Close and maybe don't cut it. I don't have much confidence after competing myself against guys who thought they were good pistol shots. Most struggle to hit a 3 inch target at 25 yards at all. Maybe 2 or 3 shots out of 10 while braced at a stationary paper target. I will believe it when I see them make 100% at 50 yards in a 3 ich target under hunting conditions. I am not a fan of just wounding deer, and most are even poorer at tracking than they are at shooting. If you think everyone on here is a great shot you are way over confident in my book.
    Another thing. Some shooters might feel they can beat a rifleman at 500 yards with a pistol. Maybe if they are really, really good and the rifle guy isn't. As a combat vet, I'd be the rifle guy. I'd be willing to wager on a contest. Me and you at 500 yards. You a pistol. Me a rifle. At targets of course.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2022
  8. 35 Whelen
    • Contributing Member

    35 Whelen Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    3,662
    Location:
    North Texas
    I've killed several deer and a sow with a .44 Special loaded with a 255-260 gr. cast SWC running 950 fps MV at ranges from 12 to 44 yds. Worked perfectly every time. A single exception to that load was a cast SWCHP running 1105 fps out of one of my Uberti's, of course it worked fine too. I also used a lever .357 loaded with a cast flat hollowpoint and I was less than impressed with the results. A few years ago I took a long shot at a boar with one of my .357's loaded with a 170 gr. cast SWC. Hit him, found blood, but never found him. So, I would say, at least in my experience, the .44 would be better, and really don't think +P loads would be required.
    As far as small game goes, several years ago I was bumming around on a ranch in SW Texas that was covered in blue quail. I was carrying my old beater Uberti .44 Special and kept the cylinder indexed so the first cartridge would be one loaded with a 250 cast RN running about 750 fps. As luck would have it I walked to within about 20 yds. of a covey and took a shot.

    dIUZmwwl.jpg

    I literally had to part the feathers to see the bullet holes.

    35W
     
    Iwsbull, BKS and Barbaroja like this.
  9. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,931
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Thank you.

    In my opinion, both are targets. I will not shoot a moving target. I am a still hunter. I take a step, observe the area, wait, watch, take a step, repeat. I try not to cover much ground. Once I spot a suitable animal, I start to stalk. Pop would have us stalk to a comfortable range, then continue stalking until me cut that distance in half. And if the opportunity presented itself, shorten the distance even more. You can get fairly close to feeding animals. My eldest brother was excellent at it.


    Good. I do not like seeing animals suffer. I try for an anchoring shot, shoulders usually. Once down, I move quickly to the game. If necessary, a coup de grace is given.

    I know very few on the forum personally.



    Your challenge is with Ed McGivern. I merely said I could hit the pail at that distance, repeatedly. The hard part now is getting from a walking position to sitting or kneeling, settling the revolver and taking the shot. From a bench, much easier, but from field positions, not as smooth.

    Kevin
     
    CraigC, d2wing and GeoDudeFlorida like this.
  10. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2020
    Messages:
    7,737
    Shot placement is the whole thing.
     
    d2wing likes this.
  11. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    21,932
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    I never want to come off as a braggadocio but 50yds is a chip shot. These little boogers are about half the size of a whitetail and they never stop moving. If you can't hit a moving target at distance, you can't make one dead. Deer make it much easier. I just need an optics if it's beyond 50yds.

    012b.jpg
     
    fattboyzz, Iwsbull, d2wing and 6 others like this.
  12. Smaug

    Smaug Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Messages:
    1,796
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Why would you bother with hot 44 Special for hunting?

    Better to just use a lighter 44 Mag load.

    Between 44 Special +P and .357 Magnum, for medium game (up to Whitetail Deer size) I’d take .357 every time. It’s just more versatile and since it’s flatter, it’ll be easier Shot placement. For medium game, I’d load up a lighter bullet at medium velocity. Something a bit lighter than the standard semi-jacketed hollow point in the factory .357 loads.

    In 44, A 255 or 260 gr. bullet is overkill too. You don’t need heavier than 240 gr. for anything in North America. For medium game, I’d go with something in the 180-200 gr. level at Maybe 1100 fps.
     
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  13. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Messages:
    5,600
    @CraigC @StrawHat It seems to me that Elmer contradicted himself on occasion, regarding the .357 (for the purpose of this post I'm going to count Keith's ultra-hot .38s as the same thing). If I remember correctly, he devoted quite a bit to the subject in Sixguns and was, at least in that chapter, fairly complementary - though he still thought the .44s and .45s were better for both hunting and mankilling. In other chapters - and other books - he seems to prefer the bigger cartridges for just about everything, reserving the smaller bore size for pests and target work.

    I did Google the "This .357 S & W Magnum load proved to have much more actual shock effect and killing power on all game I shot with it than any factory loaded revolver or auto pistol cartridge, including the .44 Special and .45 Colt" quote, as I think if I'd ever seen it in his writing it would have been kind of shocking to me. If nothing else, I wanted to see the context. All I could find, though, was this article from Guns.com, and there is no citation. If anyone knows where the line came from, I'd love to read it.

    Personally, though, when it comes to the .357 I still turn to Skeeter rather than Elmer. Once again, "My Friend, the .357".
     
  14. 35 Whelen
    • Contributing Member

    35 Whelen Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    3,662
    Location:
    North Texas
    If one chooses say a .430", 250 gr. cast SWC at 1000 or 1100 fps for hunting, what difference does it make if it comes from a .44 Special or.44 Magnum? The answer is, it makes no difference at all and one cartridge is no better than the other.

    The problem with the .357 its bullets don't offer the penetration of the larger heavier bullets offer. That's not a problem on broadside shots, but if a quartering shot is required, the larger bullets will perform much better.
    As to trajectory, at higher velocities the .357 might shoot a little flatter, but at realistic handgun ranges, say 75 yds. and under, trajectory isn't really an issue.

    35W
     
  15. d2wing

    d2wing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,531
    Good for you. Impressive. So you and the other guy are implying that a 100% kill shot on deer at 50 yards and beyond is a chip shot for everyone and it is entirely ethical for everyone. Yes you and the other guy clearly are bragging and implying that it ethical and easy for everyone. In my experience shooting against competent pistol shooters I don't have that kind of faith. I have seen how some experienced shooters, ex-military, some police and some actual competition shooters can't do it every shot in competition. Hit a 3 inch circle at 50 yards every time. I was trained to toss a dime in the air and hit it with a rifle. Do I think everyone can do it? No. Can some others do it, yes. Bragging about means what? that it is exceptional or easy? A chip implies that anyone can do it. I just don't believe that.
     
    Juiceking and daverich4 like this.
  16. Barbaroja

    Barbaroja Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2020
    Messages:
    1,348
    You seem to be inferring quite a bit here.
     
    CraigC, GeoDudeFlorida and 35 Whelen like this.
  17. d2wing

    d2wing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,531
    You have it backwards. I have made my point. Hunting should be ethical. What that is may vary by a person's proven ability, which I believe varies. I personally don't think it makes much difference which a person shoots. I have both and prefer the .357.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2022
    Juiceking likes this.
  18. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    21,932
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    My question is, why would you not? Like 35Whelen said, what's the difference?

    On versatility, you've got that backwards. Something else ole Elmer figured out nearly 100yrs ago. A big bore, which can be loaded anywhere from mild to wild and does not need to expand to be effective, offers much more versatility than a small bore that 'needs' velocity and bullet expansion to be effective.

    Anything over 200gr and under 300gr would be considered in the same "class". No "overkill" about it, 10-15gr in either direction. A deer doesn't care if the bullet is 240gr or 400gr. It's going to pass through either way. There surely is stuff in North America can calls for heavier bullets. I'm gonna want a 300gr for elk and a 330-355gr for anything bigger or dangerous like moose or brown bear.


    You're reading way too much into it and projecting your limitations onto others. I make no inferences or suppositions about the capabilities of anyone but myself and those that do it. No, the intent here is not to brag, just stating fact. Because I know what's possible with a little dedication. The folks that hunt with handguns, which I've been doing since childhood, just look at things a bit differently than your average handgun shooter. You learn a lot chasing rabbits with a K-22. No, 50yds is not a long shot for a handgun. It may be a long shot for you but those are your limitations, not mine.

    Here's another example I like to use. A fox taken at 35yds in a fast trot. One shot in the boiler room, leading it about the width of the front sight.

    P1010043.jpg

    Here's 2020's buck, taken at about 50yds as well.

    Buck%202020%2001.jpg

    This was a closer shot on a moving fallow, about 40yds.

    001.jpg

    It's not just me either. We chased this damned zebra for hours, it never stopped running.

    37E8DF8C-0FA6-46C4-B54F-80080AB9FE1E.jpg

    Here's a shot of my old man from 20yrs ago. He says it's more sporting if they're in a dead run. He rolled two that morning. The other was the size of a football.

    Black%20River%20-%20004.jpg
     
  19. d2wing

    d2wing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,531
    Nice shooting. I admire what you have done. No further argument from me. My point was that it does require dedication and practice which you demonstrate. Thanks for the post and your good example. Pardon me as I am an old block head sometimes.
     
  20. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Messages:
    1,059
    Location:
    Kentucky
    It really boils down to personal preference. The .44 Special is very capable and will poke a bigger hole and won't be as loud, there's a LOT to be said for bigger bullets even at moderate velocity. The 357 Mag would work too, probably best to stick with 140gr+ bullet weights in order to ensure enough penetration.
     
    GeoDudeFlorida, CraigC and BKS like this.
  21. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Messages:
    2,906
    IMG_20220809_164007.jpg
     
  22. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,931
    Location:
    NE Ohio

    Thank you, I would have searched a long time and not found that reference. What edition is that book?

    Now, I will have to find when he spoke so highly of the black powder factory 45 long Colt. Taffies says that when he unloaded EK revolvers after his death, the 45 long Colt was loaded with the Remington black powder loads.

    Kevin
     
    .38 Special likes this.
  23. DR505

    DR505 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    991
    Location:
    Idaho
    Keith .jpg

    This is from page 288 of Sixguns by Keith, the Standard Reference Work.
     
  24. NeroM

    NeroM Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2019
    Messages:
    323
    Location:
    Corner of Know and Where
    I know this thread is a 44 Spl +P (whatever that is) vs 357 Mag.
    Have weighed in that between the two, prefer 44 Spl.
    Actively shoot and hunt with 38 Spl, 357 Mag, 41 Mag, 44 Spl, 44 Mag, 45 Colt and 454 - fully agree with EK - if I were limited to one choice - it would be the 45 Colt. Even with the cartridge developments since those words were written.
    The 0.452, 255 gr SWC launched at 950-1000 fps is a highly effective load - various editions of this load have been in use now almost 150 years. I hope in another 150 some scribe will be able to talk about how effective 45 Colt has been for the past 300 years.
     
    DR505, Barbaroja and GeoDudeFlorida like this.
  25. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    21,932
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    It's worth pointing out that his reference is specific to factory loads. Because factory .44Spl loads have always been anemic. His favorite of all was his 1200fps .44Special handload.
     
    .38 Special, DR505 and Barbaroja like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice