357 Mag or 44 Special Carry Revolver

This is a discussion on 357 Mag or 44 Special Carry Revolver within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hi Guys- I'm currently looking to transition my carry gun......again. It seems like a never ending circle to get to something you feel comfortable with. ...

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Thread: 357 Mag or 44 Special Carry Revolver

  1. #1
    Member Array JCook5003's Avatar
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    357 Mag or 44 Special Carry Revolver

    Hi Guys-

    I'm currently looking to transition my carry gun......again. It seems like a never ending circle to get to something you feel comfortable with.

    I started with a SIG P239 in .40, then I went to a S&W 640 in 38+p, now I have a SIG P250 in 9mm, I really want to transition back to a wheel gun, I just feel more comfortable with them, I also shoot them better.

    I really want something more than 38+p and I donít really want to pocket carry anymore, so I think a K or L frame Smith would be exactly what I'm looking for. The local shop has a S&W 386 Night Guard that I'm interested in, also a friend of mine has a S&W 396 44 spl, that he is interested in selling.

    Now to the hard part. Choosing. I like the 357 mag for obvious reasons, but I'm concerned about it's muzzle blast and flash. I like the huge size of the 44 special but bullets are so expensive and it's only 5 shots versus 6 in the 386, 686, or 66.

    So what do you guys think?
    Thanks
    Josh

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  3. #2
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    I carry both a model 66-1 with 2-1/2" barrel and a 342 Ti j frame. I like having the six over the five, however, I never feel under armed when carrying the j frame. The Night Guard is almost 11.5 ounces lighter than my 66, so I not sure about the felt recoil, but I think it'll be more versatile than the 44 special, mainly in ammo choice (ie can use .38 & .357), and you'll have seven shots.


    PS I'm a VT alumni

  4. #3
    Member Array JCook5003's Avatar
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    ShooterX does muzzle flash bother you? Have you ever shot your 66 after dark or in the evening?

    I'm not a VT student but I'm a local here. I've lived here forever. We locals have mixed opinions on students.

  5. #4
    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    I had a first-row seat, right behind home plate, on a fateful summer night in 1993. I am quite comfortable with the .357 Magnum.

    Muzzle flash? Train for it! Embrace it! It is part of what you are inflicting on your opponent. That being said, premium duty/defensive ammo is loaded with flash retardant in the powder these days.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Array ErikGr7's Avatar
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    I vote for the .357 and then you can have the
    best of both Worlds (.38, .38+p or .357)

    Of course of .44 is a powerful round as well...

  7. #6
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    JCook, I knew several locals when I was there, I worked at Buddy's bar when it was still open, next to Ton 80.

    I have shot the 66 in the dark, low light, and the flash didn't bother me, I agree with what Rexter says about the duty-defense ammo. I enjoy shooting this gun alot, I have the same grips on it that come with the Night Guard. I post a picture of it in the superduper snubbie thread, along with my other carry snubbies.

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...ie-thread.html

  8. #7
    Member Array 18DAI's Avatar
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    Like you, I used to feel the need to transition my carry gun.

    For some time, the state made the decisions for me, but at my current agency I can carry whatever I wish (as long as it is TDA or DAO, 9mm or >).

    For most of the last 18 months I have been carrying a S&W pre lock 2.5", or 3" 66. I made the "permanent" transition to revolvers some time ago.

    Then I rediscovered the 3" S&W model 13. I came upon a well used 3" 13-3. It still has + 90% of its original blue, and someone installed a spurless hammer. I put a bevelled thumb latch on, a set of Eagle Secret Service boot grips, and have a "poor mans" PC-13.

    The DAO trigger is superb, and with 158 grain 357's I can quickly put all 6 into 2.5" at 15 yards. The spurless hammer, and lack of adjustable sights are preserving my suitcoat liners and combined with the grips make this the most easily concealed handgun I have ever carried. Those same factors make it extremely quick to present as well. I highly recommend you look at one of these during your selection process. Good luck! Hope this helps. Regards 18DAI.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array LeCalsey's Avatar
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    Just more avalable ammo and more options in .357
    2A is not negotiable

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    Seven rounds is better than 5 and magnums are better than specials.
    "First gallant South Carolina nobly made the stand."
    Edge of Darkness

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    Do you handload? If not, I'd avoid the .44 Special and go with a .357. If you do handload, then its more of a toss up. I really like the .44 Special cartridge, but factory ammo options (especially for practice ammo) are really limited. There are plenty of good defensive rounds for it.

    Being a fan of big bullets, I'd go .44 Special, but as a handloader, ammo availability is not an issue for me.
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

  12. #11
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    If it were me I'd opt for a 3" .357 Magnum loaded with Federal 357B and never look back.

    "Muzzle Flash is a Range issue", as Evan Marshall likes to say. "You will not notice it in a gunfight." My favorite caliber, bar none, is the .357 Magnum. It has versatility that other calibers don't. The caliber has been used to take every Big Game Animal in North America and is the self defense caliber all other handgun rounds are compared with. Nothing has bettered it in all these years.

    Why I would choose the 3" gun over a shorter or longer one?

    That's easy. The 2 1/2" gun gives up a little too much in velocity and has too much unburnt powder. Hence, even more muzzle flash. The extra barrel legnth on a 3", even though only half an inch, does seem to make a difference in that Range Issue. Also, the 3" gun carries like a 2 1/2" gun unless you carry on your ankle or in your pocket.

    It has been said that the 3" Gun shoots like a 4" gun, and I agree. The longer sighting plane is an asset to longer range shooting and accuracy. The 4" Gun is a good compromise for Open Carry/Concealed Carry, like a LEO carrying his or her duty gun off duty.

    If you will note, back in the day, the F.B.I. issued a 3" Model 13 to it's Agents. They found that the gun shot like a 4" one and carried like a 2" one. I think I already mentioned that, didn't I? S&W makes a 3" .357 Magnum and so does Ruger. Of the two I went with a Ruger because I like to shoot a lot and while the K-Frame carries well, it doesn't handle a steady diet of .357 Magnum loads well. The L-Frame has an adjustable rear sight, while handy for Range usage, I prefer fixed sights on my defensive weapons.

    I shot over 800 Rounds of "full house" .357 Magnum last year out of my Ruger GP100 3" Model that I had "tricked out" just a little. It's DAO with a "bobbed" Hammer and a Hi-Viz "type Front Sight.

    I don't think you'd go wrong with a 3" gun, and if you can't tell, I'm a fan of them. I stopped carrying my 3" Revolver to carry another "classic" off duty. I currently carry a High Power, but in .40 S&W. Revolvers, 1911's and High Powers seem to do it for me. There is nothing wrong with a good revolver and I would gladly carry one on duty if they let me.

    Biker

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array wormy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerRN View Post
    If it were me I'd opt for a 3" .357 Magnum loaded with Federal 357B and never look back.

    "Muzzle Flash is a Range issue", as Evan Marshall likes to say. "You will not notice it in a gunfight." My favorite caliber, bar none, is the .357 Magnum. It has versatility that other calibers don't. The caliber has been used to take every Big Game Animal in North America and is the self defense caliber all other handgun rounds are compared with. Nothing has bettered it in all these years.

    Why I would choose the 3" gun over a shorter or longer one?

    That's easy. The 2 1/2" gun gives up a little too much in velocity and has too much unburnt powder. Hence, even more muzzle flash. The extra barrel legnth on a 3", even though only half an inch, does seem to make a difference in that Range Issue. Also, the 3" gun carries like a 2 1/2" gun unless you carry on your ankle or in your pocket.

    It has been said that the 3" Gun shoots like a 4" gun, and I agree. The longer sighting plane is an asset to longer range shooting and accuracy. The 4" Gun is a good compromise for Open Carry/Concealed Carry, like a LEO carrying his or her duty gun off duty.

    If you will note, back in the day, the F.B.I. issued a 3" Model 13 to it's Agents. They found that the gun shot like a 4" one and carried like a 2" one. I think I already mentioned that, didn't I? S&W makes a 3" .357 Magnum and so does Ruger. Of the two I went with a Ruger because I like to shoot a lot and while the K-Frame carries well, it doesn't handle a steady diet of .357 Magnum loads well. The L-Frame has an adjustable rear sight, while handy for Range usage, I prefer fixed sights on my defensive weapons.

    I shot over 800 Rounds of "full house" .357 Magnum last year out of my Ruger GP100 3" Model that I had "tricked out" just a little. It's DAO with a "bobbed" Hammer and a Hi-Viz "type Front Sight.

    I don't think you'd go wrong with a 3" gun, and if you can't tell, I'm a fan of them. I stopped carrying my 3" Revolver to carry another "classic" off duty. I currently carry a High Power, but in .40 S&W. Revolvers, 1911's and High Powers seem to do it for me. There is nothing wrong with a good revolver and I would gladly carry one on duty if they let me.

    Biker
    I would 2nd this post. I have a SP101 3" barrel. It carrys great and I love the longer sight plane. You cant beat the versatility of the .357 mag.
    Glock 22, 27 Gen 4
    Ruger SP101 .357mag
    S&W 637 Airweight
    Ruger Single Six
    Ruger Blackhawk Bisley 45 Colt
    Mossberg 835 Grand Slam

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    .357 fan

    Personally I prefer a .357 to a .44 special because of ammo availability, ammo price and more shots in the gun. I think both are equally effective in stopping a threat.

    My standard .357 carry revolver is a 2.5 inch barrel S&W 66-3 in a pancake holster on the belt. I alternate between Hogue bantam grips and Ahrends wood grips, liking them both. I find the gun to be accurate and reliable, with good corrosion resistance and easy concealment. I carry a speed loader or speed strip for one reload. I believe the chances of needing more than 6 rounds in a confrontation are very, very small, however.



    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

  15. #14
    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    For a self defense gun I would go with the .357 for reasons that have been stated. The .357 ammo has had a lot of development and the SD ammo is designed to expand and penetrate on the targets.

    If I wanted a "woods" gun it would be the .44 Spl, but for a SD gun the .357 would be my choice. I like my 640 and 60 3".

    Regards,
    Jerry

  16. #15
    Member Array titleist's Avatar
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    With your parameters... how about the Nightguard in 45acp? Very nice, amazing trigger.

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