.44 Mag vs. .357 for Hunting + other fun!

Discussion in 'Wheelguns' started by NWPistol, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. NWPistol

    NWPistol XDTalk Newbie

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    So, I wanted to get some thoughts from you experts out there on your opinions between a .44 mag vs. .357 mag for a deer hunting pistol. I'm in the market...but wanted some thoughts.

    To be fair, I'll share mine - if it's any consolation!

    I am tending toward the .44 mag just because I already have a 1894 Marlin .44 mag lever action - and it keeps my calibers in line. I have a buddy who has a .357 - and it's a fun gun to shoot. This last year, we had to track a deer I shot at night, which is perhaps a story for another time regarding the interesting chase that included a Lumenok marker running through the woods...yes, it was bow season during firearms...so, it's cool. The vital shot with the bow was impressive (they all are...) but this maniac wouldn't stop. We got close enough and my buddy dropped a .357 round through the deer to end the chase. Call me a liar if you will, but I know what I saw. This deer went airborne on impact and it was over! So, the .357 has some muscle...and I often wondered what would have happened if that were a person in self-defense mode with a secret under the bed...but, deer are the odds on favorite for use!

    Considering these elements -- I think either can work very well...but, would like to hear from those with experience. I know, personal preference will rule the day - so if you have any really cool stories about deer drops with your gun - that might help!

    Thank you!
     
  2. DevJames

    DevJames XDTalk 5K Member

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    Why not go right in the middle with the .41 Magnum.

    It brings bigger power over the .357 but shoots flatter than the heavy .44
     
  3. cce1302

    cce1302 XDTalk 4K Member

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    I really love the .357 magnum, but since you have an 1894 in .44 magnum, I'd go with that. Probably a 629.

    I've been dreaming about an 1894 in .357 magnum to go with my revolvers for years, but they're quite scarce.

    The .357 is a fairly short range hunting caliber, maybe 50 yds maximum from the handgun. You can get a little more out of the .44.
     
  4. DevJames

    DevJames XDTalk 5K Member

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    If the primary use is hunting, check out some Ruger Blackhawks. Fun guns, very strong, accurate and affordable. Plenty of caliber and barrel options too.
     
  5. dw32005

    dw32005 XDTalk 1K Member

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    I've used a 44 the past couple seasons. Havn't had a lot of luck, but not the guns fault. The ones that were close enough to shoot, were just to darned small for my liking. I had a 7.5 super black hawk, loved the thing but it just wasn't as good a shooter as the 629 for me in the accuracy and the recoil areas.
     
  6. Cuda66

    Cuda66 XDTalk 10K Member

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    I'd go with .44, myself. .357 will get the job done, but it has it's limitations.

    And while I won't call you a liar; you saw what you saw. But, I will daresay you misinterpreted what you saw; most likely the deer LEPT upward on impact (not uncommon); you thought it was knocked backwards by the impact--which is physically impossible.

    If you doubt this, go to your local bowling alley and get a used pin. It weighs around 3.5 pounds. Shoot it with that .357, and see how far it moves...then extrapolate that movement into a mass 30-40x greater.
     
  7. DevJames

    DevJames XDTalk 5K Member

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    Ah bowling pins. Proof energy numbers don't mean a hill of beans in stopping power.

    I need to get some more. They can take a thrashing from all manner of weapons.
     
  8. Cuda66

    Cuda66 XDTalk 10K Member

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    It definitely disproves the myth of "knockdown power".

    I've only had one handgun caliber move a pin in a way that could be considered spectacular--and that was .500 S&W.

    Threw that pin about 20 feet...
     
  9. john_bud

    john_bud XDTalk 5K Member

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    I'd go .44 over 357 every day. Heck, I went .454 casull for my hunting pistol. This last season it bagged a bambi, dropping it in its shadow....after blowing through a 1.5 inch sapling that I didn't even notice prior to firing.

    And same gun is great for bears. Bigger is better.
     
  10. Keltyke

    Keltyke XDTalk 3K Member

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    Or just ask your local high school physics professor to explain why this isn't so. "For every action there is an EQUAL and opposite reaction". If the round knocked over a deer, the recoil would knock over the shooter. As for people in the movies being blown backward 10' by a shotgun blast - well. I won't even go there.
     
  11. 57K

    57K XDTalk 2K Member

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    Since you have the 1894 in .44 Magnum, a .44 Magnum revolver is a logical choice. Regardless of seeing somewhat different data for rifles and revolver loads, no real difference exists, both are loaded the the same Max. pressure spec.

    My personal choice is the .41 magnum. You'll never kill anything with a .44 Magnum where the game animal could tell any difference by being shot with a .41 Magnum. Lower recoil and flatter trajectories are a couple of side benefits as well as through handloading, the .41 Magnum can actually achieve higher energies with lower recoil. The differences in sectional density between a 210 gr. .410" bullet and a 240 gr. .429" bullet are so slight as to be moot. Energy and sectional density play major roles in penetration. In other words, a .41 Magnum will do the same work with a bullet 30 grs. lighter and hence the lower recoil.

    The .357 Magnum should not be dismissed either. Factory ammo and handloads loaded to the same level are best limited to 50 yards Max. But for stronger revolvers like the Ruger Blackhawk, one can handload to the .357's Max potential, provided you have the data that goes up to the original pressure Max of 46,000 CUP. I have such data in 2 different Accurate load guides where in 2001 the loads were chrono'd from a 6" M686. the Max. charge of AA#9 gave 1633 FPS with a 158 gr. XTP. The sectional density of a 158 gr. .357 Magnum is equivelant to the 210 gr. in .41 and the 240 gr. in the .44 Mag. and with 936 Ft/Lbs of muzzle energy, it definitely extends the range of the .357 Magnum. You definitely don't want to attempt such loads in DA revolvers smaller than the 686 or the Ruger GP-100 and the Blackhawk is an even safer bet. ;)
     
  12. NWPistol

    NWPistol XDTalk Newbie

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    So, this is such an interesting topic I cannot ignore a response. No, I did not see the Hollywood version of something being blasted 10 feet the other way. And, in the condition the already shot deer was in - it didn't leap.

    I suppose I struggle most with the concept of taking a bowling pin to demonstrate this effect. A bowling pin doesn't have four legs, nor was it previously shot. It's center of gravity is also likely much lower and the base it rests on is likely a bit more stable. So, that in itself is a rather invalid comparison, IMHO. Yes, I agree that every action has an opposite and equal reaction - but one variant I never hear about is the fact that a shooter is prepared for the force exerted and the shotee is not...think there's a difference there?

    Consider two triangles of equal weight and mass... one of those triangles is sitting on it's fattest base...the other is sitting on it's point. When hit with equal force, say from a .357 magnum...will they both have the exact same reaction? Also, will the shooter have the same reaction as both? Not overly scientific here - but I'm not sure all claims can be validating by a bowling pin...and I simply don't buy the shooter experiencing the same reaction simply because the act of being prepared isn't factored into the equation...

    I'd like to hear more thoughts on this one!
     
  13. JoeOU1

    JoeOU1 XDTalk 2K Member

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    There's not a "deer rifle" (typical calibers that are legal for deer hunting) out there that have less energy than any .357 Magnum round ever made. Many of which have 2-6 times the energy of a typical .357 Mag load. Many that deliver more energy at 500 yards than a .357 at the muzzle. I have shot many deer and hogs and with many different rounds, that all make the .357 look like a pop gun and they DO NOT pick deer up off of the ground and throw them. Will a .357 kill a deer? Yes. Is it a good choice? Not really. If it's all you have, then by all means. But, if you are wanting to hunt deer with a handgun, there are many more rounds better suited.
     
  14. Cuda66

    Cuda66 XDTalk 10K Member

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    As I said earlier, it's more likely you saw the deer's reaction to the strike--when something hurts you, you instinctively move away, no?

    Another example: I used to have some silhouette targets made out of 7/8" boiler plate; each weighed upwards of 100 pounds. They were hung off chains, and were free swinging.

    A 9mm wouldn't even move them. A .357 or a .45 would barely move it. A .44 mag would move it less than an inch, for maybe one or two swings. Now, these are soft plates, and I'd only use lead bullets--the bullets were pretty much dumping all their energy on the strike.

    However, walk up to it and gently push it with your hand, and it would swing easily.

    People think that 500ft/lbs is an incredible amount of force--it really isn't.

    Bullets don't knock large, heavy objects over on the sheer power of the strike. It is very, very simple physics.
     
  15. dw32005

    dw32005 XDTalk 1K Member

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    Have to agree with cuda on this one. Have shot many of deer with things more powerful then a 44, and have never seen a deer go back.
     

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