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Do you find .44 Magnum more accurate than .357 Magnum?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by P. Plainsman, Sep 19, 2005.

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  1. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Member

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    That's my experience so far. Some of my .357 guns will shoot like a flaming residence with .38 Special, but produce inferior, though still respectable groups when I switch to various .357 Mag. ammo.

    I had assumed this was just a matter of recoil adversion on my part. But then I got my 4" S&W 629, a .44 Magnum revolver that weighs no more than most of my .357s. I put a Hogue wooden stock on it too; while the grip is comfortable, this isn't a gun that babies the shooter under magnum recoil. My thumb usually shows some bruising the day after a .44 Mag range session.

    Yet the gun shoots great with .44 Mag, offhanded at 15 to 25 yards. In fact it gives better offhand groups with the magnums than it does with most .44 Special ammo, save for the mild-loaded, accurate Black Hills .44 Special FPL cowboy round.

    I also remember a session about a year and a half ago with a range rental .44 Magnum Super Redhawk -- I was a pretty green shooter at the time, intimidated by the magnum recoil, yet, again, when I was able to control my flinch the gun gave (for me, at that time) good groups.

    Do folks find the .44 Mag to be a generally more accurate cartridge than the .357?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2005
  2. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    IME the .357 Magnum and the .44 Magnum are about equal in terms of accuracy. One thing that might affect offhand accuracy is the fact that the .44 has more muzzle blast and recoil than the .357, but that is highly subjective due to the recoil tolerances of different people, and the fact that the average .44 Magnum revolver weighs more than the average .357 revolver. Lots of variables to consider before going one way or another, but IME they are about equal. IME also most magnum revolvers shoot tighter groups with magnum loads than special loads, but again keep the variables in mind.

    I believe the Speer #11 manual states in the chapter on the .44 Magnum that the .44 Magnum is not thought of as a target cartridge, but it is capable of target accuracy.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  3. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Member

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    Is it relevant that .357 revolvers have usually been thought of as "service" handguns, favored (once) by police, for home defense, etc., while .44 Mag revolvers are "hunting" handguns? Thus, we might sit still for a gunwriter who gave us the usual steer about "sufficient combat accuracy" if he was reviewing a .357 Mag, but such comments would seem clearly out of place in a review of a .44 Mag sixgun.

    Perhaps the manufacturers tend to give their hunting guns extra attention. Not denying that there are some exquisitely made .357 revolvers out there, though.

    This all assumes there's truth to the original claim that .44 Mag tends to shoot better.
     
  4. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    My Colt M357 delivers gilt-edge accuracy (>2" at 25 yards.) You can't ask for better than that from any handgun.
     
  5. LAH

    LAH Member

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    It's a near impossible question to answer. I 've had excellent accuracy with both.
     
  6. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Inherently there's nothing more or less accurate about either cartridge. I'm not sure the .357's status as a service catridge has much of an impact. Without exception the most accurate revolvers I've ever shot were archaic Colt PPS's and OP's in .38 Special, all of which had been exposed to half a century or more of use. Likewise, the old M&P's I've owned have delivered excellent groups. That said, I think you'll find that aside from the Colt .357's and Pythons, the companies producing .357's since the 1950's tend to view them as workaday revolvers and simply don't put as much time into making them tackdrivers as the master gunsmiths did back in the old days with .38 special duty revolvers. Of course the same thing could be said of almost all firearms these days.
     
  7. Werewolf

    Werewolf Member

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    IMO it depends on the shooter and the gun.

    For example shooting the bull into a ragged hole at 15 yards is a piece of cake for me and my S&W 686P with 158gr .357 (I cheat and use a rest). I cannot do that with my Taurus Raging Bull in .44 Mag shooting 240gr bullets.

    OTOH my eldest daughter can't shoot the 686 worth a darn. She can, with the .44 Mag, shoot out the bull at 15 yards (standing, isocoles posit) and if she really tries put 5 of 6 within a 2" to 3" circle at 25 yds (using a rest).

    Go Figure...
     
  8. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

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    Shooting off hand would make it harder to test for accuracy. You may just shoot one gun better than the other. Shooting custom handloads from a rest or sand bags would give a better indication. Different guns of the same model shoot differently. I had a Model 29 S&W .44 mag that wouldn't shoot accurately. I tried every brand of ammo and hand loads and I still couldn't hit anything with it. The Model 29 I have now will drive tacks. Go figure. :confused:
     
  9. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Given The Fact That Both Had Adjustable Sights!

    Quite the opposite, as I've never owned a .44 magnum that would out shoot
    a Smith, Colt, or Ruger .357~ :uhoh: Grant it, I've only owned Smith .44's. :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2005
  10. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    In my experience, the intrinsic accuracy of the .38 and .44 caliber revolvers is about equal. A great deal depends upon the individual gun and ammunition. Superb accuracy usually requires hand loading for an individual gun.
     
  11. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    Ageed on the handloading thing.-

    But after burning A LOT of powder in these, my two favorite calibers, I think it's EASIER to find an accurate 44 load. Seems to have a broader "happy zone".

    But the loads I use in my 357 shoot like a house on fire. And it's a much simpler combo than you may think.
     
  12. Moonclip

    Moonclip Member

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    Hard to say many variables, but I'd say about equal. Some calibers have accuracy reps,38spl, 45acp. Some have inaccuracy reps, 40S&W.

    Gun writer did an extensive test on this one time though and on average 40s&W had like a 1/4" disadvantage at most in accuracy it seemed!

    That 9x19 is not as accurate as 45auto I find not true. I've shot some excellent groups with guns that were not like a SIG P210. I have a Llama 9mm 1911 clone that is very accurate.
     
  13. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Both of my S&W .357 (M66) and 44Mag (629 Classic) are very very accurate. I'd hate to live on the difference. :)
     
  14. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    Never brag about the inherent accuracy of any round... prove it. I tried this with my 3" .44 Special 696 - after bragging about it's accuracy. At 100yd, I shot three cylinderfulls of 240gr LRNFP homebrews before I quit - shamed, actually - made a five foot circle around the 12" steel plate, never hitting it. I pulled out my 2" 10, and hit it with the last two of my six 158gr LRN homebrews. The audience had departed when I got out my PD/CCW - a 2.5" 296 .44 Special - with Blazer 200gr GDJHP's. I hit the plate two out of the five times I shot it... I wondered about my homebrew .44 ammo.

    I yanked a few rounds apart and mic-ed them - then the remainder of the box of commercial lead - .427" instead of .430/.431" - it was too small - .44-40 sized. Moral - check your ammo and/or components.

    Yesterday was further proof of just how 'good' a .44 Magnum, even with my down-loaded rounds (280gr Berry's clad FP @ 940fps), can be. My new 6" 629 half-lug, with .500 Magnum grips, despite it's still-not-broken-in trigger, did an admirable job of pinging that 100yd plate... all but equal to my slick 625JM and milder .45 ACP 230gr FMJ's at 800fps. Of course, the 5" half-lug 686+ was at home, so my down-loaded .357M's (158gr RN @ 900fps) couldn't be compared. My general observation, considering my worsening CTS, is that an accuracy comparison would be swayed by recoil - making the .45 ACP 625JM and .357M better than the .44M, accuracy-wise. Of course, I also must consider that 2" 10... and how it could skew the old accuracy test. My final answer... it depends on the shooter!

    Stainz
     
  15. bakert

    bakert Member

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    I love .357 revolvers but some are just plain damned picky about ammo. Others will shoot well with most anything. .44s as a general rule don't seem to have these quirks.
     
  16. denfoote

    denfoote Member

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    no!!!!!
     
  17. Onty

    Onty Member

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    According to number of gun-rug writers, the most accurate revolver cartridges are 10mm in S&W 610 and next to it is 41 magnum in S&W 57/657. Yes, I am aware that you have to take some of their articles with grain of salt (advertisements), but looks like that there is pretty consistent opinion across about those calibers/revolvers.
     
  18. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    If you took 2 S&W 686s from different production lots I bet you'd find one that would shoot better then the other. This pretty much goes for any make and model of handgun ... some days the better gun builders are working the line, some days the poorer quality builders are working the line.


    What you may have is a particular .44mag that's one of the better ones and several .357mags that are not.


    Now if you go to the range with 3 different .357mags and 3 different .44mags and you still consistently shoot the .44 better then maybe you're on to something.

    Go get your hands on a couple more .44s

    You're making the common mistake of making a broad assessment based on a small statistical sample.
     
  19. YodaVader

    YodaVader Member

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    "Shooting off hand would make it harder to test for accuracy. You may just shoot one gun better than the other. Shooting custom handloads from a rest or sand bags would give a better indication. Different guns of the same model shoot differently. I had a Model 29 S&W .44 mag that wouldn't shoot accurately. I tried every brand of ammo and hand loads and I still couldn't hit anything with it. The Model 29 I have now will drive tacks. Go figure."

    I'll have to agree. When testing load accuracy I also add a scope. The accuracy of both my 686 and 629 Classic is pretty outstanding , possibly with the slight edge going to the 44 probably because I have tested a lot more loads through it. My former 29 Classic was also quite a shooter. The scope that was on the 629 is now on my 686 so the 357 will get the chance to show its potential in the coming range sessions. I might post some pics later.
     
  20. Marshall

    Marshall Member

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  21. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Member

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    Nope. Sure ain't. That's why I phrased it as a question and hedged it.
     
  22. YodaVader

    YodaVader Member

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    Some results with the 29 Classic and 629 Classic - all 6 shot groups at 25 yards using a rest with a 2X Leupold.
    [​IMG]
     
  23. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Member

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  24. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

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    Don't forget that when a bullet goes from supersonic to subsonic accuracy suffers.

    A handgun bullet that starts out subsonic will have better longrange accuracy.

    Commercial ammunition is loaded to be a happy compromise in all guns. In some guns it will be extremely accurate while in others it will be barely adequate.
     
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