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View Full Version : Intruder ~ .357mag or .44mag?


insin
03-05-2009, 10:49 PM
When comparing the two calibers (.357mag or .44mag) would you rather if faced by a single intruder to your home in the middle of the night?

The reason I ask is it seems (to the non revolver owner) that there would be an obvious advantage of bullet size and damage if hit on target. However I would also consider the firing would produce a considerable more kick then .357 when considering followup shots.

I am still leaning toward .357mag because followup shots would be more manageable, plus the 158 grain round is not to shabby at 1250fps.

Thanks for the feedback, I'm still trying to ask all possible questions before making my purchase.

B.D.Dubloon
03-05-2009, 10:56 PM
I'd do 357 because it has plenty of stopping power and less recoil so you will be able to reacquire your target if you miss the first shot. Also, cheaper ammo means more range time and practice rounds.

BDD

Spearo
03-05-2009, 10:57 PM
Don't be deceived, .357mag is one of the best man-stopper rounds out there.

.44mag would be way over kill for home defense. .44mag is best suited as a side arm when hunting. Or can be used as a main handgun for handgun hunting as well.

WokMaster1
03-05-2009, 11:04 PM
357 would be my choice. I can handle that better than a 44 magnum. Plus being able to shoot the 38 spl +P which is not a round to sneeze at either.

Wall penetration might also be a concern for the 44 mag plus the fun (loud) fact of shooting a 44 mag in the hallway.:eek::D

Having said that, if you trained well enough, even a 38 spl revolver could become a great defense weapon.

rayra
03-05-2009, 11:14 PM
.357 is sufficient.
And I'd expect it to be pretty close to contact range and in near-dark conditions, so 'speed of follow-up acquisition' doesn't mean squat. If you've got time to carefully aim a second shot, you had time to execute the intruder with the first one.

PutTogether
03-05-2009, 11:14 PM
My likliehood of actually hitting an intruder multiple times while bleary eyed and a strange amped up mix of startled/half asleep is MUCH higher with a .357 over a .44.

One could argue overkill, and overpenetration, and killing the neighbors all day and all night, but the bottom line is, no matter HOW good a shot you are in a multiple shot situation with a .44mag, you are going to be faster with a .357.

insin
03-05-2009, 11:29 PM
That's pretty much what I am thinking also. This further concretes my .357mag choice vs. 44mag. Thanks for all the good input and putting up with my revolver (newb) question threads. Gotta get as much info and research done before making a purchase like that.

Thanks...

mdouglas1980
03-05-2009, 11:36 PM
I'd also go with a .357 mag, that's what I keep in my night stand is my ruger security six, and I keep the speed loaders on top of my gun safe which is right on my way out of my room. Just so that I'm not popping out of bed with a loaded gun all sleepy eyed, I get a few moments to gather myself while I pop the speed loader in.

Kid Stanislaus
03-06-2009, 4:32 AM
My four inch 629 sports CT laser sights and packs 165 grain Cor Bon JHPs that I've clocked at 1300 fps. Recoil is manageable, so I keep a Colt Series 80 under my pillow!!

Max-the-Silent
03-06-2009, 5:14 AM
The real question is which wheelgun are you most familiar with and most comfortable using?

Either one will have over-penetration issues, either one will have enormous muzzle blast and flash, and either one will get the job done.

trashman
03-06-2009, 6:11 AM
Either one will have over-penetration issues, either one will have enormous muzzle blast and flash, and either one will get the job done.

This, exactly...either round is going to be blinding in a dark house.

--Neill

Californio
03-06-2009, 6:56 AM
.44 special in a 44mag revolver. 200gr. Speer hollowpoint. Less flash than 357, less kick than a 357, more bullet mass than a 357, more second shots and if you hand load in a 44 mag case, 265gr. over 8.0gr. of W231 makes even more bullet mass at around 900fps.

kurac
03-06-2009, 7:00 AM
This, exactly...either round is going to be blinding in a dark house.

--Neill

This is why I retired my .44 Magnum HD piece. I had it loaded with 210 Grain Winchester Silver tips pushing 1,600 fps. The muzzel flash is about the size of a volley ball, concusion was pretty bad at an indoor range with earmuffs over ear plugs, I can only image what it would be like in a bedroom with no hearing protection.

The other reason for switching to an auto was more rounds, I don't think I could ever be able to re-load my revolver in the dark and right after dumping 6 of my Silvertips.

ricknadine1111
03-06-2009, 8:15 AM
Try the 45 colt

E. Fudd
03-06-2009, 8:16 AM
Both will have lots of muzzle flash and excessive recoil and slower to recover for subsequent shots, not to mention even louder indoors than a 9mm or .38 Spl. or .38 Spl. +P.

Between the two, if you must choose, I'd use a good SD .38 Spl. or +P load in the .357 or a good .44 Spl. load in the .44 Mag.

Note: .44 Special factory ammo has gone through the roof price-wise, which would make practicing even more expensive, and is often hard to find. .38 Spl. is still relatively less expensive.

Careful on which load your select. 158's can penetrate on the deep side, compared to the 125 jhp's.

Suggest you rent both at an indoor range where you can lower the lights in your lane/booth and try various ammo, if you haven't already done so. The muzzle flash on full-load .357's and .44 Mag's is HUGE... :eek: Then try doing dedicated pairs (2 aimed shots).

Not even the mighty 125 gr. JHP .357 Mag can't guaranty 100% 1-shot stopping...

rbgaynor
03-06-2009, 8:16 AM
This, exactly...either round is going to be blinding in a dark house.

--Neill

True, but the size of the fireball and color can vary widely with the ammo. Cheap factory ammo will give you a larger fireball that is more white-yellow in color. Modern quality defensive ammo generally will produce a much smaller flash in a more eye-friendly reddish-orange color. The differences can be pretty dramatic.

lazuris
03-06-2009, 8:23 AM
460 or 500 smith. If your going to die "you don't want to die with no sissy gun, you want to die with a mans gun."

civilsnake
03-06-2009, 8:59 AM
460 or 500 smith. If your going to die "you don't want to die with no sissy gun, you want to die with a mans gun."

And if you miss at least the pressure wave will disorient the intruder enough to hopefully miss as well :p

mike100
03-06-2009, 10:51 AM
either one, but downloaded to 950-1000 fps 357 mag 158 gr or a 900 fps 240 gr 44 load. I would roll my own from 100 percent new components.

You'd probably lose your hearing with full house factory hunting loads. i also know I can make follow-up shots with the lighter 44 mag loads.

jazman
03-06-2009, 11:22 AM
.357 is the way to go for me. Plus you can shoot .38+p or .38 so can practice more and then practice some more.

nicki
03-06-2009, 1:20 PM
For home defense I really don't like high velocity rounds, you are responsible for all rounds fired, lower velocity rounds don't travel as far or through things.

For defense use, I would load a 44mag with 44 specials, that way you would have less recoil and faster follow up shots.

Of course for home defense I keep a 45 auto. I'm not the fastest, but it is faster than 911.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FoSBr48a0w

Snapping Twig
03-06-2009, 3:51 PM
Californio and Nicki are singing my song.

I like a cast 240g SWC over 7g W231 for a general plinker. It would be my choice in a 44mag for SD. Very little kick on the operator side, much smashem on the business end.

My own personal choice is a 1911 with cast 230g TC moving @ 850fps. That'll leave a mark. :)

To make a 38 do the work, you gotta move it fast. To move it fast you have to pump it up and that leads to recoil and flash. Some can deal with that, but I'm not one of them.

thefurball
03-06-2009, 4:10 PM
How would your neighbors feel about rounds penetrating their wall when you miss?

If you don't like #2 shot in a 12 gauge at least go for pre-fragmented projectiles that will break up when they hit the wall

Danield
03-06-2009, 4:19 PM
I've got a 44 and I couldn't imagine firing that indoors, with no ear plugs. If you are considering a follow up shot, why pick a round that has so much power?

Beelzy
03-06-2009, 4:24 PM
Jeez, if you want a lot of noise and concussion blast, just get a Mini-gun.

45ACP first, then the 000 Buckshot in my house.

Magnums and domiciles is a No-No.........IMO

Snapping Twig
03-06-2009, 4:37 PM
If you guys are talking to me, realize I'm talking about a 900 fps special round.

rumble phish
03-06-2009, 4:52 PM
best home defense?

The biggest caliber weapon you can easily handle in a stressful situation.

F*** over penetration. As they say, I'd rather be judged by 12 (even in the PRK) than carried by six (or in my case, 8! :laugh: )

pullnshoot25
03-06-2009, 4:59 PM
I say .44 SPL... like a .357mag, just less barky and leaves a bigger hole.

Get a .44mag and you get the best of both worlds... .45ACP specs on the .44spl side and you can still knock the snot out of bigger game with the .44mag.

Kid Stanislaus
03-06-2009, 6:27 PM
Either one will have over-penetration issues, either one will have enormous muzzle blast and flash.......


There is low flash ammo available these days. I don't know how much WHALLOP it packs but it is out there.

Kid Stanislaus
03-06-2009, 6:31 PM
Posted by E. Fudd.
[QUOTE]Not even the mighty 125 gr. JHP .357 Mag can't guaranty 100% 1-shot stopping...[QUOTE]

Nobody should be look'n for a "guaranty" from ANY SD gun.

Kid Stanislaus
03-06-2009, 6:33 PM
For home defense I really don't like high velocity rounds, you are responsible for all rounds fired, lower velocity rounds don't travel as far or through things.

Big heavy bullets at low velocity are known for their penetration.

JTROKS
03-06-2009, 7:10 PM
Skip the 44 mag and get a 454 Casull.

I'm joking. A good home defense handgun is something with power, but will still allow you fast follow up shots just in case you need it. A handgun is still a handgun, if you are worried about the 357 not having enough power to stop your attacker then I suggest loading up #4 buckshot in your (fill in the blank) shotgun.

CSACANNONEER
03-06-2009, 7:25 PM
Shot placement is much more important than having a large caliber magnum.

luchador768
03-06-2009, 9:12 PM
Whatever you can hit with. A hit from a .22 is better than a miss from a .44 mag.

$0.02

BigRich
03-06-2009, 10:03 PM
The 125 gr. jhp 357 (like the Federal 357B index or Remington versions) out of a 4" bbl are about as good as it gets in a handgun. A 44Mag or anything approaching that velocity will go right through your adversary (and on into and likely through walls.) Humans aren't big animals, are light boned and thin skinned. The 44 mag was intended for game that required a lot more killing. Corbon had a 44mag defense load out that mimiced a 45acp +P round. That says something about the amount of power needed for defense against humans. You are going to be disoriented by the blast from the 357B Federal load. It is loud and fairly stiff recoiling if you are not practiced with it. If I were chosing from one or the other I would go with the 357mag and practice like crazy till I could make instinctive double taps atnd HIT at close range. The 357 can use 38 spcl which is cheaper to gain muscle memory with. Buffalo Bore makes a pretty rowdy 38 spcl 158 GCSWCHP that would really put an eye out.

CABilly
03-06-2009, 11:22 PM
Taurus Judge with .410 buckshot.


Oh, wait.

11Z50
03-07-2009, 4:55 AM
Between 44 mag and .357, I'd opt for the .357 in 125 Gr JHP. I do have several revolvers, and have used them for HD. During daylight hours, I often keep my S&W M327 Niteguard 8-shot .357 handy, loaded with 125 gr JHP. I have also used my Ruger Blackhawk with the .45ACP cylinder installed, loaded with a good JHP.

Really though, the big issue is the weapon. I live in a rural area and have had a few "alarms and excursions" where I armed myself to check out a suspicious noise, a request for help from a neighbor, or a knock on the door late at night. I currently use a Beretta Vertec 9mm with TLR weapon light for HD at night.

Whichever weapon you choose, make sure you are extremely familiar with it and you can get it into action quick, in the dark, and when you are suddenly pumped full of adrenalin. As for noise and muzzle blast, I can tell you from personal experience you won't notice it that much in a flight or fight situation.

pennys dad
03-07-2009, 5:02 AM
Either, mix glazer rounds with HP's. Both guns will provide a serious blast sound and flash. I used a charter arms 44 spec for home and personal defense before and felt comfortable with the choice, now I use .357.

bruss01
03-07-2009, 6:17 PM
I like both rounds and both guns. A .357 4" was my first handgun ever. I do have several .44 cal handguns too. Home defense, I have a .357 in the office and a .44 special in the kitchen drawer. I have confidence in either to get the job done. A .44 magnum has the benefit of making two holes with one shot (hole going in, hole coming out) but follow up shots take longer and the concussion indoors without hearing protection would be disorenting. Probably (logically speaking) the best choice is the .44 special, but in mortal terror I would want the .357 magnum because I have trememdous confidence in it regardless of the hearing loss consideration. Maybe I should load the first round with .38 special... but then again I want that first shot to be the last shot so I haven't done that to mine.

If you're buying a first handgun, my inclination would be to tell you to buy the .357 - Why? Simply because it will be more fun to shoot, and cheaper to feed, and because of that you will practice with it more than you would with a big bore. If you have a woman or children in your life, they will be able to handle it better than the bigger gun, if it comes to that. Practicing with it more and having it usable by a greater number of family, in my mind, tip the balance to the .357 and make sure the family gets to practice with .38's in it.

SJgunguy24
03-07-2009, 6:22 PM
What's the difference if you hit the bastards pump center and continue through a fail drill and punch out the sticky gray stuff. A 22 will be enough. I use a 9mm with 147gn sxt's. I have kids to worry about.

11Z50
03-07-2009, 6:28 PM
What's the difference if you hit the bastards pump center and continue through a fail drill and punch out the sticky gray stuff. A 22 will be enough. I use a 9mm with 147gn sxt's. I have kids to worry about.

I'd have to agree, a center punch with a .22 is far more effective than a .44 Mag that misses.

mblat
03-07-2009, 6:48 PM
OMFG.... are we seriously discussing possibility that .357 isn't good enough for home defense?
:21:

xibunkrlilkidsx
03-07-2009, 9:40 PM
a former co worker of mine carried a 357 revolver when he worked secret service back in the 70's.

1lostinspace
03-07-2009, 9:50 PM
For me I would put 38 specials in my 357 during rapid fire control is more important to me then over penetration killing the neighbor or his dog.
I rather hit what I am shooting at and in the right place.

I always find my self scratching my head when people start talking stopping power, the Ragen assasination comes to mind, the guy used a .22 and had 3 guys laying on side of the road fighting for their life.

ErikTheRed
03-08-2009, 5:02 PM
Dunno..... pretty hard to argue against a short-barreled 12 gauge for home defense. Even a 20 gauge will take care of business in short order. If you think about it, anything is better than nuthin'. I'd feel comfortable defending my home with a .22 if I had to. In the eyes of the intruder, a gun is a gun.... and NOBODY wants to get shot with anything. Ever had someone pull back one of those big fat Sunday newspaper rubberbands and aim it right at your face? What was your reaction? You could hold up a liquor store with one of those.

PutTogether
03-08-2009, 11:19 PM
Dunno..... pretty hard to argue against a short-barreled 12 gauge for home defense. Even a 20 gauge will take care of business in short order. If you think about it, anything is better than nuthin'. I'd feel comfortable defending my home with a .22 if I had to. In the eyes of the intruder, a gun is a gun.... and NOBODY wants to get shot with anything. Ever had someone pull back one of those big fat Sunday newspaper rubberbands and aim it right at your face? What was your reaction? You could hold up a liquor store with one of those.

I haven't been on this site for two long - but in my short time here so far this is the single best post I've ever seen.

JTROKS
03-08-2009, 11:39 PM
Can't beat a 12 gauge loaded with #4s, if the walls are thin and you live in an apartment complex then use #6 light loads. Since this is a handgun forum, it's been mentioned a few times that hitting the target with a smaller caliber round is better than missing with a 44 magnum. I understand your mentality of putting the perp out with the first shot, unless you're a big guy and very proficient with a sledgehammer then that 240 grain JHP being launched at 1400 feet per second won't do you any good. In fact you're a bigger threat to your neighbors than the bad guy you're trying to take out.

Futurecollector
03-09-2009, 12:35 AM
Neither .50 AE lol, Id go with a .357 and then some .38's to boot.

CABilly
03-09-2009, 12:57 AM
.700 Nitro Express

HK Dave
03-09-2009, 9:38 AM
44 is overkill, unless your neighbors are far away, stick with the 357

Vacaville
03-09-2009, 9:45 AM
.44 special in a 44mag revolver. 200gr. Speer hollowpoint. Less flash than 357, less kick than a 357, more bullet mass than a 357, more second shots and if you hand load in a 44 mag case, 265gr. over 8.0gr. of W231 makes even more bullet mass at around 900fps.

+1

.44 special is a great round.

RickD6023
03-09-2009, 10:49 AM
My vote: .357

Not a huge difference in control over 38special but a much better IMHO round. Also, consider how loud the shot is at an indoor range and how someone nearby can feel it, then place it in the home environment with a BG who doesn't know you are shooting. Shock and Awe. Possible flash blindness followed closely by the realization that his body is no longer working the way he wants.

Yes, I have a 357 loaded with SD ammo at home (with two autoloaders) along with my Glock 22 and just in case, I have an Astra 300 loaded with .380auto.

chiselchst
03-09-2009, 10:55 AM
Insin, have you ever fired either of the two calibers you mentioned?

Both are much more than adequate for SD, to say the least IMHO...:confused:

Army GI
03-09-2009, 4:12 PM
357 Magnum, by all means.

Anybody who says 44 Magnum isn't being realistic.

The only way I'd consider a 44 Mag is if you had both of the following two circumstances:

1) You only own a 44 Magnum for hunting/range plinking and don't want to buy another gun.
2) You load it with some 44 Special 240gr JHP at~1000fps or so. That'll be more manageable and gives you the stopping power of a 45ACP+P.

But as your first choice, I'd say go with the 357 all the way. IMHO, the 357 is superior to the 44 Special. Sure the big-bore fans will give me crap for saying that, but the diameter really doesn't make that much of a difference if you place your shots well.

quiet-wyatt
03-09-2009, 4:53 PM
1.21 gigawatt powered lasers that will disintegrate all unidentifiable heat signatures (i.e. not family members or pets) within the perimeter...

4th of July light shows are fun at my house... :D


:57:

hawk81
03-09-2009, 6:03 PM
Use both. One in each hand.:)

7x57
03-09-2009, 7:03 PM
Big heavy bullets at low velocity are known for their penetration.

Not always. I seem to recall that Box O' Truth verified that .45ACP penetrated one or two fewer panels of drywall than 9mm. High-velocity rounds also tend to have a smaller frontal area. I suppose the drywall didn't initiate expansion either, though I don't remember exactly (and am too lazy to look).

7x57

7x57
03-09-2009, 8:18 PM
Having gone with a friend to shoot a .44 mag Desert Eagle at an indoor range, I would *NEVER* touch one off indoors if I had any other choice. I had on muffs over plugs, and it was almost painful. The muzzle flash was something mighty too, and that was with plenty of room lighting.

Now consider the fact that the perceived muzzle blast could be *louder* in a typical HD scenario, as you are likely to be between sets of parallel walls. I would not be surprised if there is measurable permanent hearing loss from touching off a single round of .44 mag in the dead of night.

On the subject of muzzle blast, I recall an article analyzing the Marshall and Sanow data that produced the fabled one-shot-stop percentage for the 125gr .357 load, and he noticed that the reason it did so well was not so much overall performance but a really startlingly good performance in close-range nighttime encounters. The suggestion was that the load itself wasn't better than other rounds unless you were close enough at night to actually catch the perp. with the muzzle blast. Sort of like a flamethrower that happens to also spit lead.

OK, so "kill it with fire" and all that, but I don't really want to be near that in the dark, even on the good side of the muzzle.

7x57

MAILMAN187
03-09-2009, 9:59 PM
Just use a 12 gauge with birdshot first, then the rest 00buck.
Much better for "half alseep, bleary eyed, dark hallway" intruder blasting......
Plus, most criminals know the klick-klack sound in the bedroom means it's time to run..... Or face the shotty.
I'd rather not have to shoot the bozo anyways. Alot less hassle if he squrrys off, than if he bleeds out on your floor. Plus no "wrongful death lawsuits" to deal with.
Just my 2cents.

dilligaffrn
03-10-2009, 9:33 AM
.44 special in a 44mag revolver. 200gr. Speer hollowpoint. Less flash than 357, less kick than a 357, more bullet mass than a 357, more second shots and if you hand load in a 44 mag case, 265gr. over 8.0gr. of W231 makes even more bullet mass at around 900fps.

For the WIN!!!

socalgunrunner
03-10-2009, 3:15 PM
F*** over penetration. As they say, I'd rather be judged by 12 (even in the PRK) than carried by six (or in my case, 8! :laugh: )

Brilliant thinking. To hell with the neighbor's kids sleeping next door, right?

Boy I'm glad that I don't live next to someone like you.

Cal45man
03-10-2009, 3:29 PM
A 357 magnum 4" inch revolver is perfect for home protection I would load it with Glaser safety rounds or 38+p .