.44 Mag vs .44 Spl vs .357 Mag

.44 Mag vs .44 Spl vs .357 Mag

This is a discussion on .44 Mag vs .44 Spl vs .357 Mag within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have a three part question. #1 What is considered more powerful, .357 Mag or .44 Spl. #2 Can a .44 Spl be loaded to ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    .44 Mag vs .44 Spl vs .357 Mag

    I have a three part question.

    #1

    What is considered more powerful, .357 Mag or .44 Spl.

    #2

    Can a .44 Spl be loaded to your typical .44 Mag strength?

    What would be the danger of doing this?

    #3

    If you owned a .44 Mag pistol or carbine, and you used a .44 spl (loaded to .44 mag strength), it may not be as accurate as a .44 mag. Is this true?

    Is it because of the extra space in the chamber or is there a different reason?

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Array RebelRabbi's Avatar
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    # 1 - Factory Loaded 357 is more powerful no question.
    # 2 - Elmer Keith Handloaded his 44 Sp. to Magnum power levels; do not do this, it is dangerous.
    # 3 - Factory Loaded 44 Specials work just fine in my S&W 629 and Marlin 1994 carbine, bot are chambered for Magnums.

    Buffalo Bore ammunition co. loads Heavy 44 Specials if you need something very hot in 44 Special.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array searcher 45's Avatar
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    I have considered getting either a Charter Arms Bull Dog 44sp, or a Taurus 605 357mag as carry gun.

    44sp ammo is hard to come by 357mag will shoot 38sp +p all have good stopping power.

    Concerns about over penetration is a real problem and I believe 44sp is not a bad OP and still has great stopping power.

    357mag is only a little more powerful than 38sp +p coming out of
    short barrel.

    Hard to know which is best for self defense and money invested.
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  4. #4
    Member Array REDTAIL's Avatar
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    I carry a Charter arms Bulldog 44 spcl with a 21/2 inch bbl on a daily basis, I bought it about 2yrs ago, love it its light & dependable & conceals well, & it is accurate, with all of the factory ammo that I have ran through it with no hicups at all.

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array razor02097's Avatar
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    from wiki

    .44 special
    Ballistic performance
    Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
    200 gr (13 g) Semi-Wadcutter HP ¹ 870 ft/s (270 m/s) 336 ft·lbf (456 J)
    246 gr (15.9 g) LRN ² 755 ft/s (230 m/s) 310 ft·lbf (420 J)

    .44 magnum
    Ballistic performance
    Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
    240 gr (16 g) Bonded JSP 1,500 ft/s (460 m/s) 1,200 ft·lbf (1,600 J)
    250 gr (16 g) SWC Keith Style 1,500 ft/s (460 m/s) 1,250 ft·lbf (1,690 J)
    300 gr (19 g) XTP JHP 1,350 ft/s (410 m/s) 1,215 ft·lbf (1,647 J)
    320 gr (21 g) WFNGC HC 1,300 ft/s (400 m/s) 1,201 ft·lbf (1,628 J)
    340 gr (22 g) LFN +P+ 1,478 ft/s (450 m/s) 1,649 ft·lbf (2,236 J)

    .357 magnum
    Ballistic performance
    Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
    125 gr (8.1 g) Bonded Defense JHP 1,600 ft/s (490 m/s) 710 ft·lbf (960 J)
    130 gr (8.4 g) JHP 1,410 ft/s (430 m/s) 574 ft·lbf (778 J)
    158 gr (10.2 g) Gold Dot JHP 1,400 ft/s (430 m/s) 688 ft·lbf (933 J)
    180 gr (12 g) WFNGC Hard Cast 1,300 ft/s (400 m/s) 676 ft·lbf (917 J)
    200 gr (13 g) WFNGC Hard Cast 1,200 ft/s (370 m/s) 640 ft·lbf (870 J)



    the 357 will deliver more energy then the 44 special. Overloading ANY case is dangerous.
    There is something about firing 4,200 thirty millimeter rounds/min that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  6. #6
    Member Array alnitak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RebelRabbi View Post
    # 1 - Factory Loaded 357 is more powerful no question.
    Not necessarily true...
    .44 Special vs .357 for Carry

    Also check out Buffalo Bore's "heavy" .44 special ammo.

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array razor02097's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alnitak View Post
    Not necessarily true...
    .44 Special vs .357 for Carry

    Also check out Buffalo Bore's "heavy" .44 special ammo.
    Just like anything there are too many variables to say one is more powerful then the other.

    On average the .357 magnum will deliver more energy to a plate then the 44 special. This has nothing to do with soft targets though. The larger diameter bullet may deliver more energy to a soft target. I have yet to see a test of .357 mag vs 44 spl vs 44 mag in a soft target.
    There is something about firing 4,200 thirty millimeter rounds/min that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Thanis,

    What is your real question? Are you looking for a SD gun or hunting gun or range gun, or combination of these?

    I know this doesn't answer your 3 questions asked, but honestly there are not solid answers to those questions, because there are so many variables and what not that one can do with ammo if they choose. What are you looking for and what are you wanting to do?

    Here are my answers to your questions.
    1. Generally
    2. If you don't like your gun or hands.
    3. Accurate loads are not always the most powerful ones. Each gun will have a sweet load (accurate), depending on powder, bullet weight ect.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  9. #9
    Member Array hellhound94's Avatar
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    One could say that you're picking fly crap out of pepper. I'm sure thousands of people out there are using .380 semi-autos for self defense and are quite comfortable in doing so. Well, .44 Special and .357 Magnum we ALL agree are more powerful than .380.

    So what's the solution? May I respectfully recommend that you get one gun for .44 Special and another gun for .357 Magnum and use them on alternate days.

  10. #10
    Member Array Jim Macklin's Avatar
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    The 357 and 44 Magnum were made so they would not chamber in some 100 year old, weak, gun.
    But in a modern gun, the 44 Special with 17-18.5 grain [IIRC correctly] will be substantially as powerful as the longer case 44 Magnum with with 20-22 grains.

    Keith went from hot loading Colt SAA 45 Colt to the 44 Soecial because the cylinder walls were thicker. He blew up too many 45s.

    Later, Casull made tool steel cylinders for the 45 and used a load with three kinds of powder loaded as separate layers. Don't wrong, they blew up some guns too.
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  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array razor02097's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Macklin View Post
    The 357 and 44 Magnum were made so they would not chamber in some 100 year old, weak, gun.
    But in a modern gun, the 44 Special with 17-18.5 grain [IIRC correctly] will be substantially as powerful as the longer case 44 Magnum with with 20-22 grains.

    Keith went from hot loading Colt SAA 45 Colt to the 44 Soecial because the cylinder walls were thicker. He blew up too many 45s.

    Later, Casull made tool steel cylinders for the 45 and used a load with three kinds of powder loaded as separate layers. Don't wrong, they blew up some guns too.
    yup you can tell the high pressure .45 cal guns from the older .45LC cause they only have 5 rounds. The 454 and the 460mag revolvers have 5 rounds to make the cylinder walls thicker.
    There is something about firing 4,200 thirty millimeter rounds/min that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array David III's Avatar
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    I was going to comment specifically but I believe the others here have answered your questions. Since I have a pile of 44 Magnums, I will say why I chose that caliber. With full power loads, it's more than the 357 or the 44 Special, and it's doing it safely as a 44 Magnum is built to handle higher pressures than a gun chambered in 44 Special. Meanwhile, I can and do download 44 Magnum cartridges to lower velocities (around 1,000 fps) for playing around without the big muzzle flash.
    I will note that I do not carry a 44 for self defense, though if you wanted to pack a revolver, I see no reason why a 44 wouldn't be a superb self defense tool.

  13. #13
    Member Array Jim Macklin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David III View Post
    I was going to comment specifically but I believe the others here have answered your questions. Since I have a pile of 44 Magnums, I will say why I chose that caliber. With full power loads, it's more than the 357 or the 44 Special, and it's doing it safely as a 44 Magnum is built to handle higher pressures than a gun chambered in 44 Special. Meanwhile, I can and do download 44 Magnum cartridges to lower velocities (around 1,000 fps) for playing around without the big muzzle flash.
    I will note that I do not carry a 44 for self defense, though if you wanted to pack a revolver, I see no reason why a 44 wouldn't be a superb self defense tool.
    I have loaded the big 44 down to the point it was possible to see the bullet in flight and it would bounce off a tarp. [IIRC a 250 grain 429421 and 2.2 grains of Bullseye]. Careful, you can stick a bullet in te barrel Have a proper tool [3/8" brass rod and a hammer at least].
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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    Thanis, What is your real question? Are you looking for a SD gun or hunting gun or range gun, or combination of these?....
    Just looking to read other's thoughts on the topic.

    I guess part of the reason I asked is based on a conversation I was listening to between friends, it sounded like they we loading .44 spl for SD to something I would consider .44 +P spl to the level of a .44 mag. Then others (who use Ruger revolvers for hunting) were loading more powerful .44 mag loads.

    The general conversation grouped around the danger of reloading to those levels (not so much because the round was dangerous, but someone might use an older .44 spl or wrong type of .44 mag firearm).

    I just wanted to see if what I listen to I understood correctly.
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    Glock G31 & G33 with .357 Sig 125 GR. SXT Winchester Ranger

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Ok, so what is the reason people choose a .44 spl handgun for SD loaded with a .44 spl reloaded to the level of a .44 mag? Is the .44 spl handgun easier to carry?
    NRA Member
    S&W 642 (no-lock) with .38 Spl +P 135 GR Gold GDHP
    Glock G31 & G33 with .357 Sig 125 GR. SXT Winchester Ranger

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