I have two S&Ws in .357 with 4" barrels (565 and 656) a S&W 625 Mountain Gun with 4" barrel and a S&W Governor. The first 3 are essentially the same guns in different calibers, the frames are almost identical and the weights vary by only a couple ounces. The Governor has a shorter barrel and much ligher (allow) frame. None are ported.
In every load I shoot - from cheap, bulk commercial to moderately hot hand loads to high-end personal defense - the .45 Colt has a quieter report and softer felt recoil than the .357 Mag. That's even true comparing the light-weight Governor to the full-weight 686.
That said, both are great calibers and make fantastic SD loads and I own several revolvers in both calibers. The .357M offers the easy and low cost option of chambering .38spcl or +P, one of the most popular of all times SD loads (with less report and recoil than the .45 Colt) and these are broadly available at modest costs. On the other hand, in addition to the softer recoil of full house loads, the .45 Colt may be the most versatile handgun ctg ever developed, especially in the hands of a skilled hand loader, capable of being loaded from very light Cowboy loads to hotter than a .44Mag +P and with much better stopping power due to the 0.454" bullet (v. 0.429" for the .44mag)
Last edited by mes227; 10-27-2011 at 02:24 AM.