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Old September 21, 2010, 02:46 AM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: September 29, 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 2,153
Really depends what you want if for.

The .357/.38 in a carbine is a great plinker, self defense, and small game getter. The ammo is inexpensive and easy to find in a variety of styles and weights. recoil is light.

The .44 Mag is the one for hunting deer. As someone else said don't figure hunting much beyond 100 yds though as it drops significantly past that. It would be good for defense against marauding black bear or any 2-legged varmints out in the woods. The ammo is much more expensive, more like rifle ammo. I had a .44 mag win 94 trapper with a 16" barrel and the recoil was more than my 20" Win 94 in .30-30. Seemed about in between a .30-06 rifle and shotgun with slugs.

I've never shot .45 Colt but ballistically it would seem to be about the same as the .44 Special unless you get it hot loaded beyond SAAMI specs. Good for plinking, self defense, and small game to 50 yds or so.

The .30-30 is a good all around cartridge especially for hunting deer to 150 yds, maybe more. In the country it could also be a good self defense round if you don't have neighbors close by.

If plinking and self defense against humans or pest control is your purpose then the .357 is ideal. If hunting deer, coyotes, bear or cougar to 150 yds then the .30-30 is best. If you don't mind the expense and like big booms then the .44 mag is a lot of fun and can handle anything out to 100 yds.
"The ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone. ... The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation ... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition."
- James Madison
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