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Old 05-15-2012, 07:37 AM
Jamesconn Jamesconn is offline
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Default 357mag vs 45LC vs 44 mag



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I want to get a revolver/levergun combo but I don't know which caliber to get them in I like versatility i already reload and I'll be set up for this when I get the guns so pro n cons of each?

Im planning on getting the marlin levergun and probably a smith&wesson for the revolver
Old 05-15-2012, 07:39 AM
controlledpress controlledpress is offline
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i'd say .357.

Plenty of punch, and it takes .38 to boot.
Old 05-15-2012, 07:40 AM
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if it were myself I would go .357. I don't want to deal with the .44 recoil in the revolver unless my life depended on it and .45 is pretty expensive unless you reload.
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Old 05-15-2012, 12:51 PM
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Since you handload, I'd suggest the .44 magnum. If you didn't reload, I would suggest the .357. But the .44 will do anything the .357 will, along with taking larger game and being a little better for bear defense. In the revolver, you can either use .44 specials or downloaded .44 magnums. In the rifle is where the round really shines.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:02 PM
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There is no wrong answer here! I have all of the above, but prefer the .357 combo. Out of a lever gun, the .357 performs almost on par with a .30-30. Squirrels and rabbits are easy pickings with .38's.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:04 PM
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Don't forget .44 Special...a Charter Bulldog is powerful, easy to shoot, and inexpensive.
Old 05-15-2012, 01:16 PM
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I agree with Mikek but are you aware of the Marlin jam? I have two Marlins 35 rem experience these jams with less then 50 rnds in each i hear some people never have a problem. took me a long time to fix problem with the help of internet sites since Marlin says there is no problem. Still love my Marlin !!!
Old 05-15-2012, 01:18 PM
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I'm partial to the .357 myself (obviously), but I concur with MikeK. Given your ability to handload, and desire to utilize the same calibre in both sidearm and long-gun, go with the .44.
Old 05-15-2012, 01:32 PM
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.357MAG and .44MAG are both a little more versatile, since they can also fire .38SPC and .44 SPC. In fact, the July/Aug issue of American Handgunner that I bought yesterday has a FANTASTIC article about hand loading for .44's, and the variety of tasks for which that caliber can be used. .357 has similar virtue, but it doesn't max out quite as high. A maxed out .357 can be compared to a light .30-.30, if I remember right from my research into the same subject.

Something I learned when looking into the matching pistol/carbine idea was that it's possible to load .45LC BEYOND the performance of .44 Mag, if the gun can handle it. Ruger single actions are famously strong; apparently there are companies that make ammo marked "Ruger only", though I've never seen it. However, I can't imagine the punishment involved in shooting something like that . That's why I have no interest in .454 Casull, etc. Also, .45LC doesn't have the versatility of the other two rounds, as only your pistol could shoot a different caliber (.45ACP), and only after modification to the cylinder to accept moon clips.

You could also look at Ruger Convertibles. The .45LC comes with a .45 Auto cylinder, and the .357 comes with a 9mm cylinder, though I've heard accuracy is iffy with 9mm.
Old 05-15-2012, 01:46 PM
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I'd go with the .44 mag setup too. You can back off on the loads for recoil reduction (what I do) and still have horrendous power available if you choose to. Once you go big bore you'll never regret it...........especially if you reload.

The only jamming problems I've had in my 1895 Marlin have been with lead semi wad cutters, which tend to be less eager to load into the tube and sometimes jam-up on the sharp edges of the bullet. No big deal though. You just have to work them into the tube and operate the lever a little slower to get around that problem. Of course, this can be avoided with smooth contoured bullets.
Old 05-15-2012, 02:23 PM
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I like the Marlin .44 cowboy levergun in combo with the Ruger vaquero in .44 I load a .44 mag cartridge with 10 grains of Unique and a 185 or 200 gr bullet and both shoot like a dream....kind of a halfway load between .44 spl and .44 mag. Can load up or down from there.
Still I do like the .38/.357 combo as well and already have several .38/.357 revolvers so the .357 lever gun is on my list of future aquisitions.
Old 05-15-2012, 05:39 PM
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Another vote for the .38/.357 magnum combo, very versatile cartridge.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:01 PM
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I have a 44mag lever action. It kicks pretty damn hard. Recoil pad is almost a must. 357 is significantly cheaper/easier to shoot.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:19 PM
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I've never been a .44 fan. I like 357 mag. I have a revolver and a couple of rifles. Winchester 94. Ok but I don't like levers. Ruger bolt action 357 is great! If you don't handload, get a little lee loader and learn. Its easy and gives versality. Most of all reloading is "green" as it recycles brass.
Old 05-15-2012, 06:22 PM
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I have a ruger redhawk in 454. It is a handfull. I load light 45 long colt for most work and use the 454 for hunting and "social work". great gun but I really like the 357 mag.
Old 05-15-2012, 08:35 PM
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The only downside to that Ruger .357 bolt action is feeding issues with .38's. It'll load and fire them, but the rounds are short enough that the extra space in the magazine needed for the .357 gives them room to shift. The rims can slip behind the rim of rounds lower in the mag, or in front of rounds higher in the mag, causing them to hang up during feeding. I think it's called "rim-jump".
Old 05-15-2012, 10:32 PM
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They are all good choices but if you are going to get just one pair then I would suggest the .44 Magnum due to the power and variety of weapons in that chambering. There isn't really anything that the others can do that the .44 Mag cannot.

That said, I have both a .357 Magnum and .45 Colt levergun/revolver pair and I honestly like them both. The .45 Colt in Ruger pistols and Model 92 lever actions can be loaded a little hotter than .44 Magnum with handloads, so I never felt the need for the .44 Mag myself. I do find myself shooting the .357's more though because the price of bullets and components is much better and the .357 is plenty powerful enough for my needs. I don't have a pic of my .45 Colts but here is a pick of my Marlin 1894CSS and GP-100.


They are a great little pair of utility weapons and I am really fond of them.
Old 05-16-2012, 04:59 AM
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Even if you don't handload a .44 mag is a good choice--all you have to do is shoot .44 Spec.

You also forgot the .41 Rem mag which Marlin did make a gun for and one of the Italian Winchester reproductions is also chambered for it.

There are also .460 S&W and .500 S&W lever gun makers...Big Horn Armories makes one

B U T you have to completely forget the rifle for this equation--it's useless unless you can control your handgun.

Doesn't matter that you can shoot a .500 S&W in a rifle, can you shoot it in your pistol...If all you can control, shoot well, aren't afraid of/flinch is a .357 Rem mag then you've answered your question.

I shoot the .41 Rem mag very well (it's the only HP revolver calibre I've ever owned) but I can't stand the .44 Rem mag...I'll be the first to admit it's too much gun for me...It's bloody hard on me after three, four shots but I don't mind the .44 Spec. as the mid range loads match my .41...I'm also not a great fan of the .454 Casull or the .500 Linebaugh but the .45 LC can be quite pleasant to shoot.

I picked up a Marlin 1894G in .41 Rem mag as a fun piece for my Freedom Arms and Ruger S/A but it, with all of it's relatives, is only a 125 yd to 150 yd game getter due to its lack of velocity and a fairly poor (rainbow like) trajectory.

The other factor is type of revolver S/A or D/A as not all calibres are made in both formats by every maker so if you want a D/A .41 Rem mag by Ruger you're out of luck but a S/A is available but what if you don't like the S/A...I know people who'll never think about buying a S/A, others that wouldn't buy a D/A and others who'll buy neither as they only like semi auto.

I have never liked the idea of a pistol calibre rifle/carbine--because all you're doing is shooting it from a longer barrel but it's still a damn short, fat, pistol cartridge...While great for the cowboy to give them extra range and lots of shots in only one calibre to worry about made sense...You want a lever action then Winchester Model 88 or the 1895 (limited editions were made by Browning), Savage Model 99 or the still made Browning BLR in a good, hard hitting, flat shooting, rifle calibre retains the nostalgia but gives you far greater range from pointy, wind cutting, bullets like .260 Rem or .30/06 and in calibres that will drop bears like the .480 Marlin, .405 Win, .50 Alaskan etc...Couple that with a handgun, for close in work, makes far more sense to me.
Old 05-16-2012, 11:43 PM
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I am in a big fan of the 357 combo, I have a S&W 686 357 6in and a Rossi 92 357 20in. If you hand load the flexibility of this combo is exceptional. My medium hot load for the rifle is a 158 gr SWC GC Lyman 358156 over 14 gr of 2400 with a Win small pistol primer. I get about 1750 fps at the muzzle - more than enough for any game in Fla. The only real limit is distance. You can get out to 225-250 yards (125 gr JSP over 22 gr H110 with a Win SP Mag primer give you 2313 fps) but with my cast loads I limit my self to 125 yards or so.

44 mag in a rifle is nice but don't like the handgun side as much. It is also not quite as flexible as the 357 (in my opinion).
Old 05-17-2012, 12:19 AM
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.357/.38 if you want ammo availability.
.44 mag if you want power and do not reload.
.45 if you load for maximum power.

If you really want something: Go with the .454 Casull
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