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Old August 30, 2019, 09:22 AM   #1
MC_MuHyeon
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.357 Rem Maximum vs .44 Mag for grizzly/polar bear defense?

Which one is better? I lean towards the .357 Max because of versatility. To be more specific, you can do cheap plinking (.38 special), self defense (.357 mag) and grizzly defense (.357 Max) in one gun. Of course the .357 Max is quite expensive and rare, but defending oneself from a grizzly is not an everyday event for me.
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Old August 30, 2019, 12:50 PM   #2
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Bears are not impressed with the name of your pistol, or the size of the hole in the barrel. They also don't care one bit about how versatile it is.

There is a LOT more involved than the performance stats of the rounds and defense is not even remotely comparable to hunting.

Both rounds have the power to do the job, in expert hands. Bullet construction is IMPORTANT, but not as much as shot placement. If you choose a shorter barrel gun for ease of carry, you are giving up some of the power. And some of the ability for a rapid, aimed second shot.

Do consider how heavy recoil works against rapid, accurate shooting.

The best defense against bear attack is situational awareness. There is no "stand your ground" rule when it comes to bears. I

there are lots and lots of "handgun vs bear" threads in the forum history, hours of reading. You might find some food for thought in them.
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Old August 30, 2019, 02:06 PM   #3
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Which one is "better"???


Please define "better"............ to your way of thinking.

2 points to help you with that definition:
#1 Better ballistics (in categories of range, penetration or cavitation) are not related to better abilities any more than a faster car makes a person a better driver.
#2 Better abilities are usually gained from a lot of practice.

If power and if abilities are both ranked on a scale of 1 to 10 I think it's safe to say a hit with a 5 in the 10 zone is far better then a hit with a 10 in the 5 zone.

So for a study of ballistic performance is we look at 2 bullets of identical construction we can say:
Faster is better then slower.
Bigger is better then smaller.
Faster AND bigger is WAY better then smaller and slower. Which is exactly why we don't hunt Grizzlies with 22 short or Cape Buffalo with Pellet guns. But there is absolutely a point of "cross-over" for all men and women. That is also way we don't hunt cape buffalo with 20MM Solothurns either. They are too big to handle in carrying and they would kick pretty hard too.
So the issue is 98% about the shooter and 2% about what they shoot.

In hunting elk, moose and buffalo as well as having rifles and handguns around where we have a LOT of grizzlies I personally rather see hunters show up with any gun they can shoot very well as long as the bullets they use will not break apart more than about 40%.

Many in Africa even today use 9.3X62s for everything including elephants. But they live around such animals and they are cool heads and shoot well. One of the most popular rounds for use on Brown bears in Alaska and Canada today is still the old 30-06 loaded with 220 grain RN ammo. And such guns in the hands of good men are 100% fine.

The glory associated with super guns in the hands of "pros" is because the pro is NOT the hunter, and if he shoots at all he is shooting at something already wounded by a shot that went bad. 80% of those bad shot come from poor placement and 20% from poor bullet choice. The very worst one involve both.

Which is better for you?

If you can handle the extra recoil shooting a 320 grain 44 as well as you can handle a 200 grain 357 Maximum I would lean towards the 44. It the 357 gets you better hits, or the same degree of accuracy in less time, then I'd suggest the 357.
If both give you problems I would suggest something easier to hit with. a standard heavy frame 357 mag or even a good 40 S&W. Even a 9MM with the best loads is going to be a lot better for you then a fist fight with something dangerous. Hit matter more then guns and penetration is vital on animals of 300 pounds and larger.
Don't fall for the "mine is bigger then yours" bait and don't "keep up with the Jone's".
Use what you can use WELL!
If you can shoot a 454 Casull fast and accurate, that is going to be "better" then the 44 or the 357 max.

If you can't do well (fast moving target of 6" in size, at 20 yards, is a good test) with any of them get something of lighter caliber and shoot it a LOT until you can do well. Use that until you do as well with the ext larger and so on and so on.
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Old August 30, 2019, 03:05 PM   #4
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Even better is a 500 gr projectile from a 500 S&W!
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Old August 30, 2019, 06:16 PM   #5
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In 1977 I watched a hunting partner shoot an 8.5’ brownie on Admiralty Island with his .340 Weatherby. Three hits and the bear was still up. His friend put five 220-grain CoreLokts from his .300 H&H into the bear before it went down. A handgun is better than a knife, but even a powerful rifle is no guarantee. A charging bear can be moving at you at 50 feet per second, you don’t have much time to aim until he is standing on your chest.....

The best bear defense is situational awareness - keep away from them if possible. The reality is that bear attacks are very rare. Tens of thousands of people hike in bear country each year with maybe a handful if attacks. More people in Alaska are injured/killed by moose each year than by bear.
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Old August 30, 2019, 09:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TX Nimrod View Post
In 1977 I watched a hunting partner shoot an 8.5’ brownie on Admiralty Island with his .340 Weatherby. Three hits and the bear was still up. His friend put five 220-grain CoreLokts from his .300 H&H into the bear before it went down. A handgun is better than a knife, but even a powerful rifle is no guarantee. A charging bear can be moving at you at 50 feet per second, you don’t have much time to aim until he is standing on your chest.....

The best bear defense is situational awareness - keep away from them if possible. The reality is that bear attacks are very rare. Tens of thousands of people hike in bear country each year with maybe a handful if attacks. More people in Alaska are injured/killed by moose each year than by bear.
So after reading your post I thought for sure you were exaggerating about a bear running at 50fps so I had to look it up... To my surprise they can! That is insane! lol

All us humans have going for us is our brains and dexterity! lol
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Old August 31, 2019, 07:28 PM   #7
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polar bear defense
Seriously?

There's only one kind of 'Sirius' that deals effectively with polar bears - Demark's Sledge Patrol Sirius.

SPS soldiers patrol the arctic regions of Greenland, where encounters with aggressive polar bears are not uncommon, either in their camps or while out on patrol.

Their sidearm is the 10mm Glock 20.

https://laststandonzombieisland.com/...-of-greenland/

http://wudewasa.blogspot.com/2017/04...lock-10mm.html
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Old August 31, 2019, 07:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by agtman View Post
Seriously?

There's only one kind of 'Sirius' that deals effectively with polar bears - Demark's Sledge Patrol Sirius.

SPS soldiers patrol the arctic regions of Greenland, where encounters with aggressive polar bears are not uncommon, either in their camps or while out on patrol.

Their sidearm is the 10mm Glock 20.

https://laststandonzombieisland.com/...-of-greenland/

http://wudewasa.blogspot.com/2017/04...lock-10mm.html
If I'm going to be in polar bear country with a 200gr bullet, it's going to be a 460 S&W.
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Old August 31, 2019, 08:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by agtma
Seriously?
There's only one kind of 'Sirius' that deals effectively with polar bears - Demark's Sledge Patrol Sirius.
SPS soldiers patrol the arctic regions of Greenland, where encounters with aggressive polar bears are not uncommon, either in their camps or while out on patrol.
Their sidearm is the 10mm Glock 20.
https://laststandonzombieisland.com/...-of-greenland/
http://wudewasa.blogspot.com/2017/04...lock-10mm.html
Quote:
If I'm going to be in polar bear country with a 200gr bullet, it's going to be a 460 S&W.
Dude, that's cute. ... But you do understand the SPS's primary weapon for use against Polar bears is a 30-06 bolt-action rifle?

Their issued 10mm G20 is a back-up sidearm, for when they don't happen to have the rifle at hand or simply can't get to it when the bear attacks.
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Old August 31, 2019, 08:50 PM   #10
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From your choices, I would go with .44Mag. Mostly because it's very widely available and because the bullets/ammo made for it tend to be very hunting oriented and tend to be tailored for .44Mag velocities.

.357Max is sort of unusual, was developed primarily for target sports (handgun silhouette shooting), and bullets for it are likely tailored for .357Mag velocities and applications. That's not to say that it can't work for what you want it to, it's just that the .44Mag is so much more of a known when it comes to handgun hunting.
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Old September 1, 2019, 08:06 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by agtman View Post
Dude, that's cute. ... But you do understand the SPS's primary weapon for use against Polar bears is a 30-06 bolt-action rifle?

Their issued 10mm G20 is a back-up sidearm, for when they don't happen to have the rifle at hand or simply can't get to it when the bear attacks.
Last time I checked this is a REVOLVER forum.
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Old September 1, 2019, 05:31 PM   #12
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.44 Mag is better.

Since the topic is about .357 Maximum, for those who might know more about it than I, what is it that .357 Max was advertised to do that .357 Mag couldn't? Okay, throw a heavier bullet faster, but when did that really do anything well enough that it could replace a larger caliber like a .44?
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Old September 2, 2019, 10:08 AM   #13
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On the ground with anything that could eat me warrants a minimum of my 450 Bushmaster at less than 200 yards. Over 200 yards, my 280 Remington with 154 Interbonds. On my hip will be my Blackhawk 45 with 280 SWC at 1050fps.
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Old September 2, 2019, 01:39 PM   #14
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to the max

357 Max has the edge over the 44 mag in velocity and energy...slightly.

I use the Max because it's recoil is less then that of the 44 mag.
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Old September 2, 2019, 03:01 PM   #15
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Where I live there are lots of Grizzly bears and have been around Polar bears years ago when working oil patch in NWT, Yukon and Alaska. Even with a 44 magnum I would still feel under gunned.
I don’t know much about the 357 max but did shoot one once. I guess if it was all that one had it would be better than nothing though I think I would be not wanting to find out if it was the right choice or not other than talking about it on a forum rather than real time.
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Old September 2, 2019, 07:32 PM   #16
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I love these topics.

What's next, what pistol to use against space aliens or zombies?
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Old September 2, 2019, 08:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Last time I checked this is a REVOLVER forum.
I get that ... But the thread title tossed out two cartridges in relation to the subject of 'polar bear defense.'

I was merely providing additional information as to a particular handgun/cartridge combination carried by certain military professionals who often encounter polar bears while on duty in the arctic carrying out their assignments.
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Old September 2, 2019, 09:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Since the topic is about .357 Maximum, for those who might know more about it than I, what is it that .357 Max was advertised to do that .357 Mag couldn't? Okay, throw a heavier bullet faster, but when did that really do anything well enough that it could replace a larger caliber like a .44
Yes - the .357 Remington Maximum was introduced to "legitimize" the grossly overloaded .357 Remington Magnum loads being used in the Metallic Silhouette matches.
The .357 Max throws a 158 grain slug at (a claimed) 1800 fps. In order to achieve that velocity - you need to exceed SAAMI levels for the .357 mag by 5000 psi (.357 mag = 35,000 psi ---.357 max = 40,000 psi)

Normally - muzzle energy is a moot figure - actually - any "energy" claims are moot - they simply don't have much merit. (Please - no discussion here about that - please open another thread for that topic)..

HOWEVER - once in a great while, even a blind squirrel finds a nut & a use for downrange energy levels pops up...

The very flat shooting and fast scooting 158 grain .357 max - has a whopping 1100 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle & @ 200 meters (the distance to the Ram target in Silhouette) it still has enough authority to knock over the target. In Silhouette - unless the target falls, it's not scored as a hit.
IIRC - the "sweet spot" for the .35X on the Ram target is about the size of a couple of post cards, high on the back of the target. It takes a lot of oomph to topple the target with a small caliber like the .35X.

OTOH - the .44 mag & "juiced" .45 Long Colts - using a much heavier slug, had no problem generating enough energy at 200 meters to knock the target down.

The .357 and the .44 & .45 competed in different classes.
So - the .357 max and the .357 mag competed head to head.

Anyhow - to answer your question - the .357 max, can accurately throw a heavy bullet faster and flatter than the .357 mag.

Can you push a handloaded .357 mag to the same velocities? Probably. I sure would try it in anything other than a Freedom Arms, an older Dan Wesson and/or a Ruger Redhawk - or a T/C. You are asking for trouble if you do.
Trying to stuff the amount of power involved into that small case is nothing short of complete idiocy.
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Old September 2, 2019, 09:57 PM   #19
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Can you push a handloaded .357 mag to the same velocities? Probably. I sure would try it in anything other than a Freedom Arms, an older Dan Wesson and/or a Ruger Redhawk - or a T/C.
Don't do it in a T/C Contender. The gun will stand it (though for how long, I don't know) but you will have to drive the empty out with a rod, I guarantee you won't be able to pull it out with your fingers. I've been there with my Contender shooting hot stuff that worked FINE out of my S&W M28-2.

Same hot stuff works through my new model (large frame) Blackhawk. Wouldn't try it in a flattop model, or any K frame, or anything smaller.
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Old September 2, 2019, 10:28 PM   #20
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I carry a .357 686+ and it is a heavy revolver and practice at a minimum twice a week double action only. The gun I have is the 3" barrel and I find the recoil very very stout and can be painful after shooting a couple of hundred rounds.

Normally I carry a 1911 but switched a few months ago. Even now at close range doing double action only there is no way I could feel safe with my .357 as bear protection. Not because it won't do the job but because I am no way proficient enough to get the job done.

At 5 yards my shot pattern resembles a shotgun blast, and that is just a paper target I am shooting at, and not a 1000 pound carnivore charging at me faster than a horse can run, while I am having to deal with uncontrollable bodily functions and fear and adrenaline flowing through me.

People get a false sense of security by carrying a larger caliber firearm, but sadly they trust their life on a .357, or 44 magnum, or a 454 casull or a 500 magnum as bear protection when in reality they never practice enough to become proficient because the recoil is unmanageable or practicing is plain expensive so I seriously doubt any one can empty a revolver at a charging bear and all shots hit their mark...shooting more than 50 years and serving through several conflicts in my military career makes me sound full of myself, but that is just the way I see it.
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Old September 3, 2019, 01:47 AM   #21
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I love these topics.

What's next, what pistol to use against space aliens or zombies?
That's obvious tho: phased plasma rifle in 40 watt range.
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Old September 3, 2019, 01:54 AM   #22
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Yes - the .357 Remington Maximum was introduced to "legitimize" the grossly overloaded .357 Remington Magnum loads being used in the Metallic Silhouette matches.
The .357 Max throws a 158 grain slug at (a claimed) 1800 fps. In order to achieve that velocity - you need to exceed SAAMI levels for the .357 mag by 5000 psi (.357 mag = 35,000 psi ---.357 max = 40,000 psi)

Normally - muzzle energy is a moot figure - actually - any "energy" claims are moot - they simply don't have much merit. (Please - no discussion here about that - please open another thread for that topic)..

HOWEVER - once in a great while, even a blind squirrel finds a nut & a use for downrange energy levels pops up...

The very flat shooting and fast scooting 158 grain .357 max - has a whopping 1100 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle & @ 200 meters (the distance to the Ram target in Silhouette) it still has enough authority to knock over the target. In Silhouette - unless the target falls, it's not scored as a hit.
IIRC - the "sweet spot" for the .35X on the Ram target is about the size of a couple of post cards, high on the back of the target. It takes a lot of oomph to topple the target with a small caliber like the .35X.

OTOH - the .44 mag & "juiced" .45 Long Colts - using a much heavier slug, had no problem generating enough energy at 200 meters to knock the target down.

The .357 and the .44 & .45 competed in different classes.
So - the .357 max and the .357 mag competed head to head.

Anyhow - to answer your question - the .357 max, can accurately throw a heavy bullet faster and flatter than the .357 mag.

Can you push a handloaded .357 mag to the same velocities? Probably. I sure would try it in anything other than a Freedom Arms, an older Dan Wesson and/or a Ruger Redhawk - or a T/C. You are asking for trouble if you do.
Trying to stuff the amount of power involved into that small case is nothing short of complete idiocy.
I take it then for the ram silhouette shooting it was meant to be from a rifle, not a revolver?

Whether it was for revolver or rifle, why wasn't the .41 Magnum used instead? It shoots flatter than .44 or larger calibers, but has more power than .357 at those distances and .41 had been established in the market for 20 years prior to the advent of .357 Max.

Not saying .357 Max is bad, I've thought about getting one in a rifle because it can shoot .38 and .357 Mag, but for such a specific purpose as metallic silhouette shooting I can't see how .41 wouldn't have been a excellent choice.
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Old September 3, 2019, 06:50 AM   #23
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There's different categories for pistol and rifle.

The .41 mag is in a different class than the .357 mag/max.

At the time the .357 max was introduced the silhouette rules were very strict.
Guns had to conform to rules that limited the work allowed on the guns, the physical size of the gun as well as a price ceiling (which kept guns like Freedom Arms out of the competition & barrels longer than 8 3/8".

The original intent of the games - both pistol and rifle - was to keep the competition as free from an equipment race as possible. More or less - like a "friendly match for beers" at a local range using a 100% stock gun that any Joe Sixpack could walk into a store and buy right off the shelf.

The mid 70's were the "golden age" of the simple rules - just after the NRA got involved until about 1982 or there abouts when the rules really loosened up- which BTW coincides pretty much with the introduction of the .357 Max.

Since the rules of the game not only called for shooting a gun with the power to topple the heavy steel ram, the gun had to be robust enough to withstand the pounding of shooting a two day match of 40 shots at a time - of extreme loads.
The guns themselves had to be robust enough to withstand the rigors of shooting those extreme loads - - and maintain sufficient accuracy to be able to hit that tiny "sweet spot" on the ram @ 200 meters. In addition - the guns had to conform to the strict rules.

Another item to consider about the .41 Remington Magnum is - the only factory stock gun chambered for that round was the S&W N-frame. S&W N-frames of the day had a dismal track record of holding up. I'm not sure if the Ruger Blackhawk was available in .41 mag or not in that time frame. (mid 1978's to early 1980's) If it was, stores sure as heck avoided stocking them.
Then there's the huge "Dirty Harry" factor. Nobody, but nobody, wanted a .41 when everyone knew Harry carried a .44.

The .41 mag also suffered from a total lack of respect. Quite a few people considered it a "flop" or mistake.

You have the advantage of looking at figures based on what goes on today. Mid 1970 through early 1980's we far different time for shooters.
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Old September 3, 2019, 11:10 AM   #24
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When I want something "Magnum", I grab one of the .44s or the .480 Ruger.

But, most of the time, you'll find a 9mm on me when I'm in bear and wolf country.
Occasionally, it's 'just' .32 H&R.

Bears are not immune to smaller cartridges, nor are they armor plated.

I'm a fan of .357 Max. But it seems like a poor choice when considering polar bear defense. When in the middle of nowhere, oddball cartridges are not the best idea.
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Old September 3, 2019, 12:29 PM   #25
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"...A charging bear can be moving at you at 50 feet per second..." Yogi can run at 35 MPH. That's 100 yards in under 6 seconds.
Don't think the .357 Rem Maximum is loaded by somebody named Black Dog Ammunition at the tune of $78 to $81 per 50. $57.99 per 50(180's only) from PCI via Graf's. And it is NOT usable in a .357 Mag revolver. It'd be a custom made firearm too.
In any case, no handgun round will stop anything in its tracks. And you will never be fast enough.
"...why wasn't the .41 Magnum used instead?..." Because the cartridge was never terribly popular.
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