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View Full Version : .357 Magnum VS .44 Special for Rocky Mountains trail gun


Southern Shooter
June 7, 2012, 10:28 AM
If you were limited to one of these two specific calibers, both with 4 inch barrels, which would you choose as a trail gun in the Rocky Mountains region? Any particular reasons why?

Thanks

jmortimer
June 7, 2012, 12:54 PM
Since you eliminated .45 Colt or .44 mag, I would take a .357 Have both .357 and .44 Special but you max out around 500 ft lbs with the .44. If you reload a 250 grain hard cast SWC would be a good choice for the .44

Southern Shooter
June 7, 2012, 01:03 PM
Well, I do reload for my single-action .44 Magnums using hard cast 240 grain SWC. So, .44 Special hand loads could be an option.

Buzzcook
June 7, 2012, 01:08 PM
Which gun weighs less?

jmortimer
June 7, 2012, 01:08 PM
That will shoot through just about any critter on a brodaside. Seems like you may have a solution.

Southern Shooter
June 7, 2012, 01:10 PM
Actually, the .44 Special weighs less.

Yes...maybe I already have the solution. Hand loading can increase the usefulness of some tools.

Wyoredman
June 7, 2012, 01:42 PM
I suggest the .44 spl because it is able to shoot much heavier bullets than a .357 mag. If confronted by a grizz, you first need to use you pepper spray. Failing that, if a bear is charging, a heavy bullet will be more effective at getting him to change his mind about having you for lunch!

If you are not in Grizz country, than it really doesn't matter which gun you carry, as the only dangerous predators yu are likely to see are the two legged type!

a7mmnut
June 7, 2012, 01:58 PM
I love my .44's, but Cor-bon and Buffalo Bore both make heavy 180 gr. loads in the .357 that should easily out penetrate the slower .44. If you want more firepower, try the 10mm and Cor-bon Hard Cast loads.

-7-

jmr40
June 7, 2012, 02:42 PM
I'd carry my Glock 20 in 10mm, with a 4" 357 revolver as my 2nd choice. The 10mm outperforms 357 and is actually closer to 44 mag if the magnum rounds are shot from 4" or shorter barrels. When you step up to 6" or longer barrels then the magnum rounds are the winner. If I'm gonna carrry a handgun that big, I'll just carry a carbine.

My Glock is lighter, shorter, more accurate in rapid fire, more powerful, less recoil, less muzzle blast, more reliable in outdoor conditions, and holds nearly 3X as many rounds.

Southern Shooter
June 7, 2012, 02:48 PM
The problem there is...I don't own a 10 MM. A number of my friends have them and they are great guns. But, I just never bought one. I do own .357 Magnums, .44 Specials, and some .44 Magnums in single-action.

tahoe2
June 7, 2012, 08:20 PM
Big bullet ! big thump ! I always prefer a bigger bullet when possible, not necessarily faster, just bigger!
Although the 158 grn @ 1300 fps is a good stopper, I would rather have a 240 grn @ 1000 fps. But that's just me.
I carry a .41 mag when out & about in the woods!

Keg
June 8, 2012, 05:07 PM
tahoe...Buffalo Bore lists their 44 special +p 255 grain at 1000 fps....
My choice...

tahoe2
June 8, 2012, 11:49 PM
nice !! They might even "outthump" my .41 - 210grns @ 1300fps.
I want to try some Cast Performance 250wfn gas checks @ 1200,
I've heard good things about those too!

mavracer
June 9, 2012, 05:06 AM
Yes

Cool Breeze
June 11, 2012, 12:28 AM
ballistically, they are pretty close, no? It's a personal preference I believe.

However, for what you describe, I'm assuming (uh, oh) you are prioritizing weight and it's more for predator protection at close range.......


it's well known that at close range......with equal penetration (ha)..........


the bullet with the larger metplat (diameter) will be the more effective in a defensive situation against a 4 legged mountain predator......

so if it was I......I would go with a heavy semi wadcutter in a .44 special.

probably a bear load from HSM......and hopefully it will go clean through the skull or base of the skull................

but that won't happen since avoiding the situation in its entirety is always the silver bullet.....................if a charging griz is close, it's most likely too late anyway but you hear the stories to the contrary on occasion

1tfl
June 11, 2012, 04:19 PM
For about a year and half my primary sidearm out in the woods was a Ruger New Flattop 44 Specail with 4 3/4" barrel. I keep it loaded with 250gr Keith Style SWC @ 1,000 fps.

Now I carry the same revolver in 45 Colt loaded with 255 gr Keith Style SWC @ 950 fps... at 1,000 fps the recoil gets to be a little too much.

American Made
June 12, 2012, 08:25 AM
'Now I carry the same revolver in 45 Colt loaded with 255 gr Keith Style SWC @ 950 fps... at 1,000 fps the recoil gets to be a little too much.'

How do you like that Flattop .45 ?? One of the dealers around my place has two of those for sale and I'm debating. I just don't think they make Rugers like years ago. All my newer Ruger pistols have hade QC issues and sitting side by side my older models you can see the fit and finish difference.

Anyhow, if the OP lived in my neck of the wood I'd point him towards the .45 colt or 44 mag. I still will. With the 44 mag you can still shoot 44 special or you could always load down the 44 mag to lower pressure levels = lower recoil. I have both and like both. I load my 45 colt on the warm side - running 300 grainers around 1000-1100 fps. Very fun shooting such history. If it says anything about my belief in the old 45 colt, my wife has the Ruger montado 45 colt as her carry weapon! No half pint for her.

Sarge
June 12, 2012, 08:55 AM
It would depend on the specific gun. If the .44 could stand Elmer loads, that would be my choice. If not, I'd take a .357 with 180-200 grain Buffalo Bore or a hand-loaded equivalent.

Frankly, neither is optimal for what you're doing. I've carried the aforementioned .357 combo in Alaska during the spring, secure in the knowledge that the best I could hope for was to have 'kilt the bar what kilt him'. A pre-lock .44 Mountain Gun make a lot more sense and a Ruger Alaskan makes even more. There is a point where having a substantial firearm takes precedence over weight saved. You and only you can decide where that point is, for your particular situation.

bamaranger
June 13, 2012, 03:15 AM
The lightest one, and the .44 spl will be lighter due to more metal removed for chambers and bore.

The .45 Colt Mtn gun was even lighter. I shoulda bought one.

Mobuck
June 13, 2012, 06:57 AM
Years ago I had to make that exact choice and chose the 44Sp. I figured the 4" barrel and heavy, flat nosed 44 cal slug would be more advantageous than the 6 1/2" barrel and faster but lighter 357. Didn't use it so the choice was moot. We did get closer than intended to a sow griz w/cub but extracted ourselves w/o confrontation. My last trudge through possible bear country was accompanied by a SuperBlackhawk 4 5/8" loaded with 240 JSP and I did have it in my hand on one occasion but as before, no shot was required.

samsmix
July 15, 2012, 02:47 PM
... I will choose the one that penetrates the deepest, and that is the .357/180gr hands down. This load will out penetrate the .44mag/240gr; the .44 SPL isn't even in the running. No pistol wound channel diameter will matter on these big bruins; you must perforate or break something vital with the bullet itself. "Shocking power" is non-existent in this scenario.

If I were worried about 2-legged critters with the odd black bear thrown in, then sure I'd go .44 SPL.

I know this thread is a bit aged, but it seemed a realistic word on penetration was in order.

Alaska444
July 19, 2012, 01:17 PM
July 15, 2012, 12:47 PM #21
samsmix
Senior Member

Join Date: June 29, 2006
Location: Montana (Montucky?)
Posts: 583
Since both rounds amount to a mere pin prick on a grizzly bear...
... I will choose the one that penetrates the deepest, and that is the .357/180gr hands down. This load will out penetrate the .44mag/240gr; the .44 SPL isn't even in the running. No pistol wound channel diameter will matter on these big bruins; you must perforate or break something vital with the bullet itself. "Shocking power" is non-existent in this scenario.

If I were worried about 2-legged critters with the odd black bear thrown in, then sure I'd go .44 SPL.

I know this thread is a bit aged, but it seemed a realistic word on penetration was in order.
__________________
You'll probably never NEED a gun. I hope you never do. But IF you do, you will need it worse than anything you've ever needed in your life.

IF we're not supposed to eat animals,
howcome God made 'em outta meat?


+1, I agree the .44 special isn't a bear gun. Living in Idaho, my BUG is a .357 and my woods gun is the .44 magnum. MT and ID has the griz. Gotta go with something that can penetrate at least even if not in the same class as appropriate rifle. Much better than a stick.

kraigwy
July 22, 2012, 12:34 PM
I live in the mountain west. Normally all I carry unless I'm hunting is my 642 in my pocket. Never felt underguned.

But that wasn't the option. Based on your choice, I have both, a Model 29 and a Model 28 (also have a Model 27).

Of the three I'd take my old service revolver, my Model 28 w/150 grn SWCs and 14.5 grns of 2400.

Killed deer, moose and buffalo with that thing. I've shot it enough to be comfortable with it. It's heavy and wont fit in my pocket so that's why I carry the 642 with the same bullet loaded to standard 38 velocities.

farmerboy
July 22, 2012, 06:04 PM
The 44 if it's lighter and I could hit with it.

Sure Shot Mc Gee
July 23, 2012, 06:54 PM
44 Special. Bigger is always better.

samsmix
July 23, 2012, 11:21 PM
"bigger is always better"

Correct. I'll take the BIGGER (meaning deeper) would channel, and leave the anemic man-killer on the night stand where it belongs. Don't get me wrong: I have LOTS of love for the .44 Spl. It just isn't a tool for this job anymore than the .38 spl, and for the same reasons.

Edward429451
July 24, 2012, 01:24 PM
I was about to say the 357/180 until you revealed that you handload. This clearly makes the 44 Special the better option. Some of these answers are from people who only read about ballistics. ;)

Southern Shooter
July 24, 2012, 01:45 PM
Yes, I do handload them. And, the .44 Special can be a little more than normal with that.

A 240 grain cast SWC and 7.5 grains of Unique at 900+FPS can't be too much of a slouch.

GeauxTide
July 25, 2012, 12:27 PM
Got a Ruger Bisley in 44SPL and it is a pleasure. Have loaded 240Rem SP to 1200fps and the cases fall out. I also concur with SS. Skeeter's load of 7.5gr. of Unique is great. My favorite is 8gr.

Clifford L. Hughes
July 26, 2012, 04:31 PM
Southern Shooter:

I would take the .44 Spl loaded with a good 240 grain hand load or a hunting load from one of the custom ammunition makers. A large bullet delivers its energy deep.

Semmper Fi.

Gunnery Sergeant
Clifford L. Hughes
USMC retired

samsmix
July 28, 2012, 05:10 PM
I am swayed a little by the handloading angle.....hmmm... Still think you'll punch deeper with the .357 though. A round of testing perhaps?