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Discussion Starter #1
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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# 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.
 

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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
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:embarassed: Have a proper tool [3/8" brass rod and a hammer at least].
 

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Discussion Starter #14
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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Discussion Starter #15
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?
 

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Any of the rounds 357 Mag, 44 Spl or 44 Mag will do the job for SD and deer hunting. For self defense the advantage of 357 will be bigger selection of guns and holsters. The advantage of 44 Spl is it will get the job done with less hearing damage and muzzle flash. The advantage of 44 Mag is it will do anything the other two will and you get the advantage of longer range.
 

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Hi Searcher,
"357mag is only a little more powerful than 38sp +p coming out of
short barrel"

My personal chronographing of both show the .357 gives a significant increase in velocity compared with the .38 Spl with approximately the same bullet.

.357
S&W M 640 2 1/8 in barrel 125 gr Gold Dot Vel = 1185 fps

.38 Spl
Speer Data
135 Gr GDHP +p in 1 7/8 “ barrel Vel = 860 FPS
My chrono
Taurus M 85 2 inch barrel. 129 gr Fed Hydra Shok +P V = 915 fps
S&W M 642 1 7/8 inch barrel 129 gr Fed Hydra Shok +P V = 835 fps

The Taurus was faster, but even with the 915 fps there is still a significant difference of 260 fps, and comparing with the 642 350 fps.

These results are in harmony with other data I have read. FWIW

Regards,
Jerry
 

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The only problem that I had with the CA Bulldog 44 spcl with the 21/2 " bbl is finding a holster to fit this gun.? Most holster Mfg's do not list this size gun for any of their holsters & I don't know what other gun sizes are comparable to it like the S&W J frames this gun holds 5 44 spcl rounds so the cylinder is bigger than any 357 etc. I am calling up CA tomorrow & put them to the holster question etc. As this is my only peeve about buying that gun.?
 

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I like the 44 special. I think the 44 mag is way too much for concealed carry or defensive use- just my opinion. Most 44 mag loads are hunting loads, which are not appropriate for defense. The 357 mag is a fabulous cartridge and many many types of loads are available. Guns can be small also if you can handle the recoil. The noise is awful! But the 357 mag 125 gr jhp is the gold standard for defense- wow. As other, more experienced guys have said, the 38+P is excellent and there are rounds appropriate to shorter barrel guns. The ability to shoot the cheaper, milder 38 special makes a 357 revolver such as the SW 686 an extremely versatile gun. If I could only have 1 handgun, that would be it I think. Good Luck.
 

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.357mag is my FAVORITE handgun round. Followed closely by the .45ACP. They're good solid rounds you can depend on- they've been around for quite a while now.

But, the 'hard calibers" (.45LC, .44spl, .44mag, etc.) can't be argued with. They're all great. It's just a matter of getting your hands on a gun you like that will take them.
 
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