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Old August 6, 2012, 02:12 PM   #26
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Buy the 357 revolver. Then buy a Marlin 1894c (357).
You'll thank me later.
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Old August 6, 2012, 02:36 PM   #27
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I have a model 29. Its a fun gun and I've taken it in the California mountains when hiking. However, that was for potential bear/mountain lions and two legged varmints.

I've shot several .357s though. Unless you are leery of bear/M lions I'd go with the .357. If you are leery of said and can take a long gun, you should be taking the .44 lever action anyway.
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Old August 6, 2012, 06:35 PM   #28
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I would purchase a Smith & Wesson Model 19 or a Model 66 with a four inch barrel. A four inch barrel permits a more precise aim than a shorter barrel and it it is handy for self defence at home.

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Old August 6, 2012, 07:51 PM   #29
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I started with 357 and most responses will be for 357, but I sold all of mine a few years ago and used only 44's for years. I did eventually buy another 357, but only because I ran across a great deal on a Smith 28.

Here is why. I owned both Smith 686's and Ruger GP-100's. They are good guns and the 357 is a good round. But after buying a 4" 629, the 357's just didn't make sense anymore. Because the 629 didn't have a full length lug, it was actually lighter. It is only about 1/8" thicker through the cylinder and would in fact fit in many of the same holsters. With proper grips, there was no difference in grip size.

You don't have to always shoot full power 44 loads. I firmly believe that hot 44 specials, or mid range 44 mags are MORE effective as a fight stopper, and they do it with less recoil, and muzzle blast than hot 357 loads. Not that much difference in ammo prices either. If you do need full power loads, the 44 takes it to another level 357 cannot begin to approach.

After doing a little shooting over a chronograph I've decided neither 44 or 357 makes any sense in barrels shorter than 4". And much longer is better, so the small snub 5 shot 357's with 2-3" barrels are out. If I need something small a comparable size 9mm semi will actually shoot faster than a short barreled magnum revolver. It will be more compact and hold up to 3X more ammo.
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Old August 7, 2012, 08:10 AM   #30
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2 things: 1) 140 years ago having your guns fire common cartridges may have been a great idea bordering on a necessity. Today not so much and why own 2 guns that are more expensive to shoot than just one. 2) Everyone, especially those who don't reload, should have a 4" .357.

That's not saying that many other cartridges won't do just as well. Personally I'm just as happy with a .22lr but for the more centerfire inclined the .32H&R/.327, 9mm, .40S&W, .44sp, .45acp, etc, will do everything you're gonna need doing. Don't over think this but if all else fails fall back to #2 above.
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Old August 7, 2012, 08:29 AM   #31
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I was in the same boat few month ago I was deciding between colt python 6 inch and s&w 29. S&W was 1/2 price but was more expensive to shoot. I was actually buying a gun not a caliber, but had to consider all costs. I went with colt and love it. But one of the main reasons is the versatility of shooting 357 and 38 special. And the fact that python is considered one of the best if not the best wheel gun did help as well. 2 more guns on my wish list. Colt 1911 and S&W 29 with 6.5 barell. Don't forget once u start buying them its hard to stop. So even if u make a mistake u can correct it few month down the road. Get them all it's the only way to keep your mind from wondering what if....
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Old August 7, 2012, 02:57 PM   #32
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And the fact that python is considered one of the best if not the best wheel gun did help as well
Someone's been drinkin a little too much kool aid me thinks.
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Old August 7, 2012, 03:18 PM   #33
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I agree with post #29 completely, though I never have owned a 357. Only 44s. I bought a S&W 36 1-7/8" bbl for my wife and she gave it back.

What am I supposed to do with less than 2" of barrel, lol. So now I am thinking about how I probably should get a 357 just so my 6 cavity mould isn't the court jester of the bunch. A 4" 357 may still be too short for me. I may have to go for the 6".
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Old August 7, 2012, 04:59 PM   #34
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This will be a gun that I take on camping trips and use for self defense in the house (along with my 12 ga).

I was leaning toward the .357 (RugerSP101 in particular) due to recoil and cost of rounds.
Yeah and look at the huge variety of self defense loads for the 357 next time you are at the gun shop/show or ordering online. Then see what there is for 44 mag personal defense. I would go with the 357 in your position.

I have a 44 mag but still shoot my 357s far more often.
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Old August 8, 2012, 10:04 PM   #35
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japes4, like i said before go with .357 mag, or if you plan on geting in reloading find a .41 mag.

P.S. remember a 44mag is really a .429" mag
Rugers:SR1911 CMD,MK 3 .22lr 6",Sec. Six '76 liberty .357 4",SRH .480 Ruger 7.5",Mini-14 188 5.56/.233 18.5", Marlins: 795 .22lr 16.5",30aw 30-30 20",Mossberg:Mav. 88 Tact. 12 ga, 18.5",ATR 100 .270 Win. 22",S&W:SW9VE
9mm 4",Springfield:XD .357sig 4", AKs:CAI PSL-54C, WASR 10/63, WW74,SLR-106c

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Old August 8, 2012, 11:00 PM   #36
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If you would reload I'd go for the .44 being as you already have a rifle for it. It will do anything a .357 will do and more. You can load a box of medium powered loads with SWC for 7.50 a box. I think my jacketed ones cost me about 9.50 a box including a max load of powder.

.357 ammo using JHP bullets is just over 7 bucks a box. If you shoot much you can save enough money to buy both guns! Otherwise the .357 is your best choice unless you make a good amount of money. My point is that it doesn't take much to save enough money for reloading gear. 150 dollars and you can have everything you need.
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Old August 8, 2012, 11:01 PM   #37
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SIG 1911 XO / SA 1911 custom / Colt Gold Cup / SIG P226 e2 / Browning High-power / Beretta PX4 Storm / G34 / G19 / G21 / G22 / G30 / S&W M-19 / Hk USP 40 / Rem 870 / Rock R. AR-15

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Old August 8, 2012, 11:54 PM   #38
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I did a little research a few years back on penetration (mainly concerning soft body armor) and found that the .357 mag. w/158 gr. SJHP bullets, fired from a S&W mod. 28, 4" barrel, distance from target 1 foot, backing was a flat tire...8 layers of fabric were penetrated. Next test was with a S&W mod.29, 6.5" barrel, 240 gr. LSWC bullet, all other criteria the same...4 layers of fabric penetrated.

.44 mag = approx. 1000+/- fps. (BIG bullet moving fairly fast= lots of blood out, lots of air in it's place.)

.357 mag= approx 1300+/- fps (SMALLER bullet moving faster= lots of blood out, lots of air back in it's place.)

EITHER round MAY exit the target, thus it's total energy dump IS NOT inside the target... EITHER round MAY NOT exit the target, thus dumping ALL it's energy inside the target.

It's the classic "which is better, .45 or 9mm?". Basically it comes down to personal preference and shot placement.
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Old August 9, 2012, 12:11 AM   #39
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Shoot 'em both. Find a range that rents guns or a friend with both.

I would rather something I can handle (357) vs. something that drives my hands back into my face (44). But if you reload you can load lighter 44 special or magnum for practice shooting.....then you only have one caliber to deal with...have fun!
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Old August 9, 2012, 04:28 AM   #40
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It's required to own at least one 357 magnum with a 4inch tube. Just no getting around it.
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Old August 9, 2012, 09:09 AM   #41
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As a newbie I'd recommend a 357. It doesn't have the power of a 44 but it's no slouch either. Plus being able to shoot less expensive and softer shooting 38 specials will be an advantage in learning to shoot.
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Old August 9, 2012, 09:11 AM   #42
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Old August 9, 2012, 09:42 AM   #43
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Go with the 44 you already have a rifle in that caliber,so same bullets for both.
I had a 44 mag and it was no problem shooting a hundred 44 mags through it at the range. (scoped Model 629 8 3/8" barrel)You can always shoot 44 specials.
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Old August 9, 2012, 01:45 PM   #44
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Here's another vote for .357. Recoil is stout enough from .357s. I like shooting .38spl through mine and 38spl +P hits as hard as a mild .357. Lots more options with the .357.
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Old August 9, 2012, 11:10 PM   #45
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Neither - get a 10mm

Pick yourself up a Glock 20 and you'd be done.

The G20 has 15+1 capacity (or 10+1 if you are unlucky) - more than twice that of any 6-gun, is more compact than a 686/python or 629/anaconda/blackhawk and is cheaper than ALL of them. Yet you can add a lot more gizmos to make the gun work for you: lasers, lights, slings, high-cap mags, the list is endless. 10mm loads can be plenty hot too, certainly enough to take anything you'd run into camping short of a black bear or grizzly.

Double Tap sells a 230 gr WFNGC round that has the following ballistics for a Glock 20 which has a 4.6" barrel:

1120fps / 641 ft.lbs. Muzzle
1008fps / 519 ft.lbs 100 yds

For the 357 Magnum, they listed a 200 gr WFNGC round as follows:

1200fps / 4" Ruger GP-100
1315fps / 6" S&W 686

Muzzle Energy: 640 ft. lbs.
563ft lbs at 50yds from a 4" bbl

Looks to be about the same to me in KO power but when the 357 Magnum is dry, there are still 10 more to go in the Glock 20.

Hope this makes sense....


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Old August 10, 2012, 04:37 AM   #46
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If you can't think of a reason to own at least one .357, you aren't trying hard enough.
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Old August 10, 2012, 12:13 PM   #47
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I have both the .357 magnum lever gun and S&W 627 revolver, and a .44 magnum lever gun and a S&W 329PD. The 329 is light weight and great for hiking/camping. However it is not my choice for shooting .44 magnum. However I do shoot Heavy .44 Specials just fine with it. I first bought Buffalo Bore 185 grain Heavy .44 Special ammunition and shot some of these. They shoot just fine and the recoil is not a problem with me. I then developed a reload using 200 grain GDHP bullets that pretty much emulated the Buffalo Bore load. It has worked out just fine in my 329PD and I now practice with the reloads, but carry with the Buffalo Bore loads when in the outback.

I think the 329PD would make a great backup for a bow hunter in jurisdictions that allow carrying a firearm during bow season. Nothing wrong with the .357 magnum either, but I personally prefer the larger, heavier bullet at .357 magnum ballistics that the .44 Special offers. Just a personal choice.

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Old August 10, 2012, 12:41 PM   #48
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To carry a .44 mag over a .357 is about 1lb difference... That xtra pound you'll have carried is as much as a super-bowl wingfest weight gain, no big deal!
If your purpose is a camping gun to protect yourself from animals... After having been attacked you'll be waaaay more stoked on your decision to have carried a 44 mag.
The great-grandson of Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen.
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Old August 10, 2012, 08:57 PM   #49
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I'm not a proponent of horsepower in handguns. The 357 is a fine gun that you can shoot either way with or without the recoil.....and shoot it cheaply. Hell I'd even go into the woods in the lower 48 and feel comfortable loaded up with 38 xtp or 357 xtp loaded by HPR, Hornady, or BVAC as I would with a 454 casull loaded in hardcast. All that horsepower and noise ain't gonna drop a griz unless you nail him square in the CNS.
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Old August 11, 2012, 04:26 AM   #50
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Hi, I have that rifle combination, the Marlin 1894 model in .357 and the S&W 686, I believe. I also have an unusual Marlin, it is the bigger, stronger 336 action in 44 mag; I sold off my S&W 629 some years back because it had been changed out, a cylinder job, which many here can explain, then it shot loose again, so, I sold it and kept the custom hand grip.

I like the idea of the combination, and to be frank, the 357 in the Marlin is quite a nice game getter. As many mentioned, the biggest reason, the 38 Special is less expensive when you buy loaded ammunition and much easier to shoot. I have the 6 inch barrel because I like the balance better than the 4 inch. Someone mentioned a S&W model 10, I had one with the heavy barrel and that was a great shooter; I used them both. Now I would like another 44 mainly because, at my age, I would like showing them more than shooting them.

If I wanted a 44 mag revolver for hunting and lots of practice shooting, I would buy the Ruger Hunter model, which I also had and sold. They are single action and very strong, which is another difference, the gun will last and it is heavy. Most honest men will say that the 44 mag is about the upper limit on good handgun control, while the 357 is more manageable, given a similar weight.

If you are not very experienced with revolvers, or handguns, in general, I think the 44 would be a mistake. You may like the power, but shooting it with full factory loads is tiring. I used to load a lighter 180 grain 44 load with about the same power as the 41 magnum. Some mentioned the 44 Special is not easy to find and they are right.

One reason I like the 44 mag in a rifle is that it has good killing power on deer, at a closer range, as we have here. It is also great for hogs. The 357 is more ideal for close varmints and smaller game. One company, in Georgia, used to sell a little 38 with a 110 grain bullet P+ load and it is ideal for small game in the rifle, while, in my opinion, the 44 is better on deer.

If you are looking for a handy smaller revolver, then get a 357 as unless you are very good with handguns, the recoil is too much in a lighter gun for most folks.

If you like the rifle and handgun combination, you might look for the 357 in a Marlin, I think you will like it.
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