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Old 11-04-2010, 04:12 AM
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Default 357 mag vs. 44 mag



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I'm debating whether to buy a .357 magnum or a .44 magnum - probaly Smith and Wesson, but I'll consider other brands. At the moment, I'm considering a S&W 689 vs. 629. Incidentally, I like Papa's new toy: http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...d.php?t=134850 !

I want a "bear stopper" if I unexpectedly encounter one in the woods, so I want as much power as I can, but, I also want to be able to shoot the thing as reliably and accurately as possible.

(BTW, I already have an XD 9mm for home defense.)

What are your opinions? Thanks in advance.
Old 11-04-2010, 04:36 AM
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I don't live in big bear country. Just plain old black bear. However, many folks have walked into bear country with a 357. That caliber will offer great penetration. I wouldn't feel undergunned with it. 357 offers deeper penetration than a 44 magnum does.

I would definitely try one out before buying. IF you do buy a 44 magnum, you need to reload. Not only the ammo is close to $1 a shot, you will also like to load it down to lighter loads so you can enjoy practicing with it. I would not get a 44 magnum any smaller than what was pictured in that thread.

However, IF anything bigger than black bear is around; i'm bringing my rifle. IF you feel unsafe in an area with black bears, just bring the 9mm loaded with good stuff. You much more likely to get hassled by coyotes or pigs down south than black bear. Black bears are smart, they know not to mess with humans. It's the humans that are dumb enough not to leave them alone that get into trouble. You see a bear, first make a bit of noise. A decent portion of the time the bear doesn't know you're there. I have done tons of hiking and camping in an area well known for black bear. I rarely brought a gun with me. If I did it usually was primarily for some squirrel hunting. However, when specificly hunting small game in bear area, I do bring a 12 gauge with me instead of the 22lr now.
Old 11-04-2010, 04:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailinghudson25 View Post
I don't live in big bear country. Just plain old black bear. However, many folks have walked into bear country with a 357. That caliber will offer great penetration. I wouldn't feel undergunned with it. 357 offers deeper penetration than a 44 magnum does.

I would definitely try one out before buying. IF you do buy a 44 magnum, you need to reload. Not only the ammo is close to $1 a shot, you will also like to load it down to lighter loads so you can enjoy practicing with it. I would not get a 44 magnum any smaller than what was pictured in that thread.

However, IF anything bigger than black bear is around; i'm bringing my rifle. IF you feel unsafe in an area with black bears, just bring the 9mm loaded with good stuff. You much more likely to get hassled by coyotes or pigs down south than black bear. Black bears are smart, they know not to mess with humans. It's the humans that are dumb enough not to leave them alone that get into trouble. You see a bear, first make a bit of noise. A decent portion of the time the bear doesn't know you're there. I have done tons of hiking and camping in an area well known for black bear. I rarely brought a gun with me. If I did it usually was primarily for some squirrel hunting. However, when specificly hunting small game in bear area, I do bring a 12 gauge with me instead of the 22lr now.
Thanks, SailingHudson. I live in Idaho, and in the vast majority of the state, black bears are what may be encountered. (Only in extreme northern Idaho are grizzlies encountered.) NOW, however, wolves are increasingly becoming a threat! I'm thinking that maybe a .357 would be better suited for my needs - at least I can practice with relatively inexpensive 38 ammo!
Old 11-04-2010, 05:42 AM
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The 44 mag doesn't kick THAT hard... Shoot one and decide if it is too much. My 44 mag is the funnest gun I have, just because it does have some guts behind it. Also, you can shoot 44 special out of a 44 mag if you want lighter loads to practice with. The .357 may well be what suites you, but don't fear the 44 mag.
Old 11-04-2010, 05:52 AM
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Whatever pistol you decide to use for bear, just remember to file down the front site ................ This is extremely important.

That way when the bear shoves the pistol up your butt, it doesn't hurt as bad.

Get an 870 Remington 12 ga. , smooth bore with rifle sights.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:03 AM
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I hunt bear here in pa with a SW 357 6in, and i use 38 spl. at the range

I own 3 different 357. Ruger, SW EAA. Personally i love the EAA. but thats just me lol.

You will have plenty of power to stop a bear, use FMJ HPs
Old 11-04-2010, 06:49 AM
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I vote for the .44.

Self defense is self defense. In a self defense situation you want to bring the most (stopping) power to bear (no pun intended) you possibly can, as quickly as you can.

YOU can adjust to the .44 magnum's characteristics. The gun can not adjust to the bear's.


. . obviously not a majority opinion. But its mine none the less.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:56 AM
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I own both calibers

I reload for both

Both guns have barrels, with that I mean my 357 has 8 3/8 and my 44 has 7 1/2 inch barrel

I use both weapons in the field depending on what I'm hunting

You need to assess portability with your weapon. I would not suggest anything with less than 4 inch barrel with 6 inch being optimum. The longer barrels give you more control, better accuracy, more velocity, less recoil and less muzzle blast with fully loaded cartridges.

Unless you are using strictly for self defense then the game changes a bit

You cannot go wrong with either cartridge

If bear is your concern, I would opt for the 44 mag

Practice, Practice, Practice

Good Luck!
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:56 AM
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I worked with about 5 guys at my last base than when they were stationed in Alaska when they went into the woods that they carried nothing smaller than a .44 mag. They said that was the recommended round up there. I myself love my .44 SAA.
Old 11-04-2010, 11:43 AM
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You are 100 times more likely to have to use a gun on another human in the back country. So IMO thats what I would prepare for.

Bear Spray for the bears, bring the 9mm for the crazies. Save your money to spend on a nice rifle or more preps!
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:07 PM
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I've camped and hunted in black bear country in AZ, NM, CA and CO for most of my life. While hunting I have a centerfire rifle, and usually carry a .22 handgun. When just camping I carry a .357 mag. revolver with 158 or 180 gr. bullets, jacketed softpoint, not hollow points, and have never felt undergunned.
If you're in black bear country, I'd say you'll be fine with the .357 mag. loaded with suitable bullets. However, if you're going into grizzly territory I'd carry a nice pump action 20- or 12-ga. shotgun loaded with slugs.
I've shot .44 mag and Spl. many times. They're nice guns and fun to shoot. I just can't justify the added expense for the gun and the ammo for no more increase in power than they give. Other alternatives are the .41 mag, if you can find one, and a NEW .45 Long Colt. they give more power than the .357, but less recoil and noise than the .44, and the .45 LC can be handloaded to produce .44 mag. ballistics in new guns made to handle the pressures.
Old 11-04-2010, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goosed View Post
You are 100 times more likely to have to use a gun on another human in the back country. So IMO thats what I would prepare for.

Bear Spray for the bears, bring the 9mm for the crazies. Save your money to spend on a nice rifle or more preps!
If you want a wheel gun by all means get one and enjoy it. But I agree with Goosed, statistics show spray is more effective in the vast majority of bear attacks. Wolves? You have a better chance of being struck by lightning. If you did have to kill a wolf, your XD would do it. A magnum isn't necessary for that. I carry a .357. If I'm around big bears, I carry spray too. If I'm really worried about it, I carry spray and a 12guage.
Old 11-04-2010, 05:32 PM
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florida, is that you?
Old 11-04-2010, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailinghudson25 View Post
" You much more likely to get hassled by coyotes or pigs down south than black bear. Black bears are smart, they know not to mess with humans. It's the humans that are dumb enough not to leave them alone that get into trouble. You see a bear, first make a bit of noise. A decent portion of the time the bear doesn't know you're there. I have done tons of hiking and camping in an area well known for black bear. I rarely brought a gun with me. If I did it usually was primarily for some squirrel hunting. However, when specificly hunting small game in bear area, I do bring a 12 gauge with me instead of the 22lr now.
Or the famous upstate "Coy-Dogs".
Old 11-04-2010, 07:27 PM
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Ruger GP-100 and it will outlast you.
Old 11-04-2010, 09:56 PM
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Ruger GP-100 and it will outlast you.
Agreed. But holy SMOKES that thing is almost as ugly as a Glock!!


. . . almost.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:35 AM
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Here's the beef. Can shoot 44 specials also for home defense. This is the best all round gn I've ever had. More stopping power than the .357. Can also load it up to the power of a .454 Casull. It is so well made and hefty, that the kick isn't much.
http://www.christiangunowner.com/rugeralaskan.html
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:03 PM
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If you dont have any wrist issues and are a fairly beefy fellow go with the 44 mag with a nice big comfy grip. That thin wood grip looks nice but will hurt your hand eventually. Ive shot with both types of grip and the big comfy ones work great, the wood sucks.
If you are a smaller fella and have small wrist then go with the 357 with the comfy grip.
Old 11-05-2010, 12:54 PM
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Get the 44, if your worried about kick get one that is ported. If you encounter a grizzly or a sasquatch you will thank me.
Old 11-05-2010, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainFuzzy View Post
Agreed. But holy SMOKES that thing is almost as ugly as a Glock!!


. . . almost.
Like a Glock though, it kind of grows on you.
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