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Pick your weapon. Snubbie in 357 mag or 44 sp?

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by Dogbite, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Dogbite

    Dogbite DNT TREAD ON ME

    May 20, 2000
    Ok, tell me what you would pick for SD and why. Both are snubbies. One is 357 mag, one is 44sp. Please no cupcake answers like whichever is closer, whichever you shoot best, etc. I can shoot both no problem. I know about shot placement. Thanks guys!
  2. aarolar


    Nov 1, 2011
    South East Georgia
    I'm saying 44 cause it aint gonna shrink none.

  3. barth

    barth six barrels

    Oct 7, 2011
    The Free Zone
    1) There is a much better selection of SD ammo in 357.
    2) Full house 357 125 gr 1450 fps 4" - is still running 1200 fps 400 E from a two inch barrel.
    No 44 special is going to come close to that.

    What do I carry in my S&W 640-1 357?
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  4. CDW4ME


    Jun 5, 2009
    .357 with either Remington or Federal 125 gr. JHP.
    I guess I'm going with greater KE over diameter in this case.
  5. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Factory ammo, 357mag hands down. Handloaded ammo, I like bigger bullets making bigger holes. A soft 250grLHP @ 900fps would be a good fight stopper (this is 45, but same idea).
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  6. Darkangel1846


    Jul 19, 2004
    I like then .44 special...big bullets and you can still hot load them.
  7. ronin.45


    Apr 24, 2008
    I'd go 357 just for availability of ammo. In real life I would pick a .45ACP snubby like my 325PD. It has all the modern ammo choices in a lightweight gun that relaods quickly.
  8. smokeross

    smokeross GTDS Member #49

    May 15, 2011
    I haven't been very impressed with the .44 Special in factory loads. Maybe cause I'm used to full house hand loads in my magnums. There is a world of difference. My .357 hand loads are hella hot too, and no light weight bullets either.
  9. Tiro Fijo

    Tiro Fijo

    May 31, 2011
    The .44 Special Corbon DPX is unmatched in certified FBI denim/calibrated gel tests. It did close to .80 our of a 2" snubbie and went 14"!! The revamped Win. ST did .72". I know of no street results with either.
  10. glock20c10mm


    Dec 4, 2004
    Out West
    That's easy. 357 Magnum. Simply capable of being a far more destructive load with proper selection of ammunition. 44 Special is for giving love taps. 357 Magnum is for seriously putting the hurt on an adversary. Go with a lead core JHP, bonded or not, with some fragmentation if possible, that still reaches the vitals 99% of the time.

    357 Magnum is like a wolverine. 44 Special is like a geriatric patient. Which one are you going to bet your life on to protect you?
  11. .44 Special. More ammo is becoming available and even a cowboy loading would do the job, just like it orginially did. I tried the Critical Defense and its good, and I notice Buffalo Bore now has a Bulldog safe anti-personnel .44 SPC round.
  12. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    "Cupcake" answer? That some local colloquialism?

    I mean, if you can shoot both, does it really not matter to you that you might be able to shoot one or the other caliber faster, more controllably and more effectively under really demanding conditions?

    Dedicated defensive weapon, right? Are you really more concerned over caliber than all the other attributes and considerations that might be involved in the actual usage of the chosen weapon/caliber?

    Okay, fine.

    I've owned both. I like both calibers. I can shoot both calibers. I used to be an avid handloader for both calibers many years ago, but I've long since restricted my use of either caliber to factory ammunition designed for defensive use (reloads/handloads/remanufactured ammunition being prohibited for duty & off-duty use at my former agency).

    That being the case, as has been mentioned, the .357 Magnum simply has more defensive loads available, using more of the ndew designed hollowpoint bullets, than the .44 Special. The major manufacturers just haven't been focusing as much attention on the .44 Spl.

    Not surprising, considering the .357 is still selling in snub wheelguns, while the .44 Spl doesn't seem to be quite as popular. It probably helps that the .357 can be had in smaller framed guns, perhaps making it more appealing among the folks desiring a diminutive secondary/backup weapon for a dedicated defensive role, or something handy as a convenient off-duty weapon on their own time. The .44 Spl? Not so much, it seems.

    Now, if you're an owner/shooter who appreciates a good revolver and still finds them practical and useful for carry as a dedicated defensive weapon? Well, then you're back to the greater variety of defensive loads in the .357, as well as more support by the major ammunition companies.

    Personally, I'm a long time revolver shooter, myself. I carried issued and personally-owned revolvers as young cop, and I still carry one or another of my 5-shot .38 & .357 snubs. I find revolvers to be both practical and useful as off-duty & retirement weapons. I don't consider them "obsolete".

    However, while I used to carry .44 Magnum revolvers as off-duty weapons (and I knew a number of guys who carried them as duty-weapons back then), I gradually decided the Magnum loads were just too much for regular use in urban areas. On the other hand, the Special loads of the 80's & 90's were just too limited (in either design and/or availability) to really make them practical for my desires. I shifted away from the venerable Magnum & Special calibers for ordinary off-duty use. (I'd still consider the Magnum revolvers I own for some 'field' or 'backwoods' use, though.)

    When it comes to dedicated defensive ammunition, I've come to really dislike limiting myself to choices involving a single small manufacturer, or what may still amount to a 'specialty', or limited availability bullet/load. I'd rather be able to buy a load more easily found on gunstore shelves ... and one that's affordable to training, practice, live-fire testing for QC confirmation, etc ... and that's where the .44 Special is still seemingly a bit weak.

    So ... I'd have to remain with the .357 Magnum snub wheelgun, at least for the purposes of your thread.

    In actuality, while I own 4 .357 snubs (3 of which are 5-shot models), I pretty much only carry the 5-shot guns nowadays, and only 1 of them (SP101 DAO) ever gets loaded with Magnum rounds. The other 2 (pair of M&P 340's) see +P loads for normal carry.

    I no longer own the pair of 5-shot .44 Spl snubs I owned in the 90's, nor would I have much interest in ever owning one again, aside from nostalgia, perhaps.

    Suit yourself, though.

    It's not like you have to justify your own desires and preferences to anyone else, right?

    I won't get caught up in trying to justify the "superiority" of either caliber, either, as that subject has never produced much in the way of agreement, even back when revolvers were still commonly seen as service weapons. There's probably a reason the .357 Magnum became such a prevalent caliber in LE holsters back in the revolver days, though. :whistling: Again, suit yourself.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  13. Tiro Fijo

    Tiro Fijo

    May 31, 2011

    So, an .80" hole bored through a bad guy is geriatric? :upeyes:
  14. glock20c10mm


    Dec 4, 2004
    Out West
    Compared to the damage a proper load in 357 Mag is capable, YES.
  15. writwing


    Jan 23, 2008
    44 without reservation.

    But who makes a reliable 44 snubbie??
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  16. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    In most factory 44sp loads, I would have to agree. HAndloading it though? You can get pretty close to a 44mag if you so desired, hardly geriatric. Push a 250grLSWCHP or well designed JHP thru a BG @ 1000fps, it's going to leave a very large hole in & out.:shocked:
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  17. PghJim


    Apr 21, 2005
    I do not really think it makes a big difference. Did not the Son of Sam use a 44 special. For me though, I would go with the 357, unless I could carry handloads.
  18. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    The .44 Special is easier on both the gun and shooter (wrists and ears), which makes it my choice.
  19. Tiro Fijo

    Tiro Fijo

    May 31, 2011

    I agree, however there is one LARGE caveat: no one makes a concealable DA .44 Special that will take that hot of a load for very long. The CA Bulldog will beat itself to death and the S&W 696 will go out of time ASAP as well. If you call a 624 concealable then fine, but I don't consider N Frames to be so for the vast majority. Too damned big. The Barnes SCHP in the DPX solves this dilemma IMO.

    I have shot many hot rounds through a .357 snubbie and it ain't fun with the 125 gr. Magnum loads. Lots of "shock & awe." I think a person would be better served to shoot the Speer .38 135 gr. +p Short Barrel rounds as they are fantastic, have great street cred with the NYPD, are extremely accurate and you can get more lead on the target faster & more precisely than with a full bore magnum.
  20. Ak.Hiker


    Feb 8, 2005
    Homer Alaska
    I would go with the 357 Magnum because it is available in the Ruger SP 101. One of my favorite handguns. Loaded with a 125 grain JHP 357 Magnum load it is very effective.