Help me decide .44 or .357

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by aandabooks, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    I had another thread awhile back with a GP100 vs S&W 28 theme. I'm still thinking I want a revolver but a couple more considerations.

    If I want to hunt deer, is .357 enough at what range or .44 that much better choice? Not real worried about ammo cost as I will be reloading. .44 will be more but not significantly so.

    I want to be able to shoot this at the range. What models of .44 are not overly punishing? I will be able to load lighter but I don't want a gun that hurts to shoot. Something like a Model 29 would be my first thought for a classic but I read that the recoil is stiff.

    I might want to mount an optic on whatever I get. Anything not optic friendly would be out. Need good sights for if I don't put an optic on.

    Models that come to mind are the Ruger Super blackhawk, GP100, Redhawk, Taurus Raging Bull, S&W 686, 629 and whatever else you guys might recommend.

    Going to need to be in the $600-$700 range and I might trade off a shotgun to get to a slightly higher number. 6" barrel would probably be the shortest I would want with deer hunting as a possible use.
     
  2. Garadex

    Garadex New Member

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    Ruger super redhawk also. I think it comes with free scope mounts and you can buy a rail for it possibly?
     

  3. 25-5

    25-5 New Member

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    I have a model 27 and a 629 4". The 629 or a Redhawk would be my preference. If you get a Ruger Blackhawk you will find a Bisley much more comfortable. I would prefer the double action over single. I reload the .44. Mag. brass only for special 240 gr lead and jacketed hollow point Hornady for mags. Load to the different specs w/o the need to change dies or keep track of brass. .44 special is an easy shoot and you can use a low end spec on the mags for comfort. A bit higher for your hunting loads. Tightgroup for specials and 296 for mags. Practice with the mags makes them much less formidable. Magna porting and a good set of grips helps too.
     
  4. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

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    If hunting medium game is your priority then 44 Mag seems a good choice.

    If self defense is important than .357 Mag is a better choice since you will train more with it.
    IMO .357 Mag is the most powerful round thats still practical for Self defense for a variety of reasons.

    but for hunting 44 Mag is better.
     
  5. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    Lots of great info in here. Couple ?s, what makes the Blackhawk uncomfortable and is there a difference between brass of special and mag? My intention would be to shoot lead for range and premium bullets to hunt with.
     
  6. rjd3282

    rjd3282 New Member

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    I hunt with single actions the Bisley has a different grip angle and fills your hand better. However it tends to beat up the knuckle on my middle finger worse than the blackhawk or vaquero. If hunting is the purpose for this gun, I'd go with the 44 it hits twice as hard as a 357.
     
  7. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    for strictly hunting, i would suggest the 44 over the 357 for most game, simply because you can detune them down to 357 levels if needed. much harder to go the other direction with the 357.

    the Ruger Redhawk with 6-8" barrel and the fact it does come with scope mounts if you should choose to mount a scope in th future.
     
  8. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    Really being able to shoot at the range is first and being able to take it deer hunting a couple times per year is second. Something I can shoot 20-50 rounds at a session is first and foremost.
     
  9. Cheeseman

    Cheeseman New Member

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    This depends on what you're comfortable with, what range etc. I have both. A full house .357 will take down an average whitetail at an acceptable range with a well placed shot. Both will do the job , the .44 being the more sure bet based on power. Personally, I would rather pass up a shot with the .44 that the .357 wouldn't do just on principal. The point made if you tend to flinch with the 44 then it's a bad choice. I may be a bad choice for advice, however, I don't attempt 600 yard shots with a long gun, nor stretch the envelope of my ability. As Clint says: "A man's GOT to know his limitations!"
     
  10. phildenton

    phildenton New Member

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    Buy both if you can afford it. I personally have no problem taking up to a 50 yard shot on a deer with my 357, i know i can hit it, but i would only take such shot with proppet ammo selection (eg: 158gr jsp, hell even 158 gr hydrashock), against a bear or elk, not so much.
     
  11. AntonE

    AntonE New Member

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    I hunt the deep woods of Wisconsin with a S&W 686 8 3/8" SS in .357. I handload 158 Gr. JHP over 15 grains of Winchester 296. This yields me about 1200 fps. My range in the woods is about 50 yards usually. Wisconsin law requires 1,000 fps to be legal. Also, if you like muzzle flash, this will do the trick. Can't speak for the .44, just don't own one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  12. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    I'm an IL hunter so shotgun is what I'm used to. That normally means that I am setup for 150 yards and in. I would not be looking for ridiculously long shots. Reasonable and humane is what I limit myself to.

    Here's a question that may not be answerable: What is the recoil on a .44 in something like a Ruger SuperBlackhawk with a 7 1/2" barrel comparable to? I use that gun because I know I can lay my hands on one tomorrow for $600 NIB. I understand that there are a ton of variables to this but lets assume the loads would be factory and not overly hot rounds.
     
  13. gunlinn

    gunlinn New Member

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    Ruger makes a convertible Blackhawk that has interchangeable cylinders. Comes with 44 and 357 cylinders.. Best of both worlds for a very reasonable price
     
  14. gunlinn

    gunlinn New Member

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    Sorry,,, it's a 357 to 9 mm conversion...
     
  15. 25-5

    25-5 New Member

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    Here's a question that may not be answerable: What is the recoil on a .44 in something like a Ruger SuperBlackhawk with a 7 1/2" barrel comparable to? I use that gun because I know I can lay my hands on one tomorrow for $600 NIB. I understand that there are a ton of variables to this but lets assume the loads would be factory and not overly hot rounds.[/QUOTE]

    If it is so available. See if they won't let you shoot it. Use factory mag loads. You may not like it. Watch your knuckle contact with the trigger guard. The seven inch barrel will help a lot over my 4". It is fun to shoot, but not for everybody. Make sure your elbows are not locked and lean in to the target, this will help with recoil.
    I had a Blackhawk, then Blackhawk Bisley (better on recoil), and settled on the 629.
    Mag cases are always longer so you cannot put mags into a special only pistol.
    If you reload mag brass only, you need only adjust the bullet seating die. Do not over crimp. Also I use mag primers.
     
  16. 25-5

    25-5 New Member

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    Also, I shoot 200 specials loaded in mag cases to 10 mags. But I do shoot a lot. .44 is a favorite.
     
  17. Firenailer

    Firenailer New Member

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    I had a Ruger Super Blackhawk 7 1/2" 44 Mag that I used to hunt with. I'd suggest putting on packmeir grips, but it's a good gun for hunting. Like someone else said you can load it with 44's at the range until you get comfortable and then start moving into the mags.

    It is a lot of gun and takes some practice, but it's clearly powerful enough for deer at proper ranges and shoots great.

    I sold mine because shooting it without hearing protection while hunting left my ears ringing! I had lost enough to know it was time to let it go.

    I'm presently looking around for a 686 6" 357 mag that I can use primarily at the range. I have a model 60 snubby that shoots 38+p ammo so adding the 686 simplifies my ammo needs for target shooting. ( And should I get the urge to take it out in the woods, I can load the 686 up with some mag loads, and go looking for Deer at Bow ranges if I have time to put in my ear plugs!)
     
  18. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    44 Mag 240 grain hard cast semi wad cutters loaded to 800 fps is a great range load and very accurate. I would use 240 grain semi jacketed soft points not hollow points for hunting loaded up to max or near max. Buffalo Bore 300 grain for bear. Make sure you inspect the rear sight on the Red Hawk to make sure it is centered. Mine was milled wrong and I had to send it back twice before they replaced it. You can get rifles in either caliber to match your handgun. Approximately a 400 fps bump in velocity from a rifle. H&R makes a very reasonably priced single shot. I have one in 357. Ruger makes bolt actions in both. There are several lever actions available.
     
  19. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You can get ear valves that fit in your ears like ear plugs and cut the high db noise but let you hear normally. Not good for the range but great for field use.
     
  20. BlueTurf

    BlueTurf New Member

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    I concur. The .357 mag is better for self-defense and the .44 mag for hunting, absolutely.