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Featured Stopping Power .357 Magnum VS. 44 Magnum

Discussion in 'General Handgun' started by ninjatoth, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth G&G Newbie

    Lets start by using a basic ammo-Hornady,the highest energy ammo of the brand I can find.The .44 magnum in Hornady's 200 grain xtp has a muzzle energy of 999ft lbs.The Hornady's .357 magnum 140 grain leverevolution ammo has a muzzle energy of 644 ft lbs.But which gun would you rather have?The actual shootings data shows the .357 higher in one shot stop percentage.The .357 magnum is 96%,while the .44 magnum is 92%.You have to take into account that the data for the .357 is taken from over 600 shootings,while the .44 magnum is from only around 60 shootings.But what is better?I think that even though a .44 mag will overpenetrate,it is still more deadly than the .357.What do you think?

  2. pico

    pico G&G Newbie

    Doubletap ammo has much hotter loads than the one you show for their 44 mag, and buffalo bore has some seriously hot .357 mag loads. I have both calibers of revolvers, and would say the only one for a trail gun is a 44 mag. The .357 might work, but you might also go thru all 6 rounds to stop a bear from making a meal of you. With that much said, I enjoy shooting the .357 much more than the 44 mag as it is much easier to make followup shots.

    Doubletap has 44 mag ammo made for hunting, as well as the hollowpoints for self defence. Their 300 grain controlled expansion round is 1350fps for 1215fpe from a 6.5" barrel. Buffalo Bore makes a lighter .357 Magnum round with a 125 grain bullet that travels at 1,700 fps for 802fpe, but it does not show the test barrel length. I have shot this lighter round from my .357, and can tell you it is loud and has a bit of recoil... but is mild compared to a 44 mag and the noise it produces.

    Both are clearly effective, but some of the 44 special and 38 special rounds out now are pretty potent loads and would offer better self defence capabilities to most homeowners, IMO, than the magnum loads.
  3. Midas

    Midas Chief Troll B' Gone Forum Contributor

    I personally would feel much better with the .357 in my hands, as I feel I can control the recoil a lot better, and will be a lot more accurate with it.

    Leave the .44 Mag to hunting situations.
  4. G. Green

    G. Green G&G Newbie

    They are both good enough that I wuld just pick the one I shoot best. Two schools of thought on penetration. 1. School says a bullet should expend all it's energy in the target and any bullet that exits is wasting energy. 2. Likes a big exit wound. I don't believe either is completely right or completely wrong.

    I had a friend shoot a BG on speed many years ago. They fought over the gun, fell over a guard rail which broke them apart and the officer came up with the gun and shot the BG when he tried to leap on him. Blew out a section of spine, and the guy was so hopped up that he tried to crawl to fight on. Officer was carrying a 4" Mod 29. He told me later "I'll carry a .44......until they make a .66"
  5. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth G&G Newbie

    I have heard people say that a .357 deposits all it's enegy into a target,as where a .44 mag goes through and somehow deposits less energy than the .357 because it still has power out the backside.My thought is different,I say,if the bigger bullet has enough power to go through someone,then it has just done more than a .357 could ever do,and the .44 mag has deposited more enery along the way through the body than a .357 could ever do.The .44 mag is simply more powerful,even if 20% of it's energy isn't absorbed into the body because of pass through,it has still deposited more energy than the .357.I do however agree that the .357 is a better defense gun because of follow up shots,so all I am trying to explain is a one shot scenerio,what gun is better if you only had one bullet.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
    MosinRuger likes this.
  6. pico

    pico G&G Newbie

    Ninja... my thinking is a bit with you on energy. If the .357 bullet expands, hom much deformation will occur to the bullet? Will the cavity and energy be as great as the .44 bullet plowing thru? I am not sure, but I would agree that a .44 magnum hole is large, even if there would be no bullet flattening out as it hit the target. Either one would be devastating if placed in the right spot. I would agree with the other posts that the .357 would give the majority of shooters a better chance with followup shots. I would prefer to have more followup shots than a revolver would allow me to take.
    MosinRuger likes this.
  7. KW Gary M

    KW Gary M Suspended

    + 1 I have 2 .357's, a snubbie and a 4" GP 100 that I keep for home defense and carry with the snubbie. I like the .357 Mag as a self protection round. I would rather have the .44 Mag if I were in the woods and had to battle a bear. The .44 is loaded in my bedroom just because I feel an unloaded gun is a very expensive piece of scrap metal.
    Roys likes this.
  8. DWFan

    DWFan G&G Evangelist

    If you go to Buffalo Bore's website, they detail velocities from tested weapons, not just barrel lengths. The 125gr .357 Magnum's 1700 fps velocity is from a 6" barrel Ruger GP100.
    Buffalo Bore Ammunition | Strictly Big Bore - Strictly Business
    Controlability is far more important than caliber. That was one reason that led to the development of both the .357 SIG and the .40 S&W for law enforcement. It's also a reason why some prefer shooting .38 Specials (or +P) in concealable revolvers chambered for the .357 Magnum. It's argued by some that the 7.62x25mm is equal, if not superior, to any .35 caliber due to penetration; but one of the complaints by police depts. that used the full-power 7.62x25mm ammo was the lack of controlability.
    I believe it was Cooper who, when asked the ideal self-defense caliber, replied " the most powerful you can use" in reference to ability of the shooter, not the weapon. Some might remember the used S&W M29's that hit the used gun market about a year after the 1st Dirty Harry movie was released. They saw Clint firing the "world's most powerful handgun" accurately with one hand and bought the revolver, only to find out the hard way that Hollywood isn't always honest and they couldn't handle the recoil with two hands, much less be accurate with it.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  9. Da Mc

    Da Mc G&G Newbie

    .357 vs. .44mag

    I think that any living thing will not have time to notice the difference between the two once it hits.
    rl69 and TACAV like this.
  10. nathangdad

    nathangdad G&G Newbie


    type question has come up before in the forum.

    What I would like to add is that energy calcuations may not be that important. What is important is your ability to hit with the gun in a crisis situation.

    Think about your ability to handle either magnum. This may be what is really important.

    Yes, there are people who get good with a .44 mag but there are many who do not. Remember, in a crisis missing the target just might be your last error.
  11. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist

    Since it is impossible to do controlled studies in stopping power on human subjects (due to social restrictions), all the statistics on stopping power have to be taken from anecdotal evidence. As such, the stats are skewed by two major factors: the people shooting the guns, and the ammunition used in them.

    Most people can not handle a .44 Magnum with any skill, due to a lack of physical ability and practice. The .357 magnum is easier for more people to handle, and thus, gets used in more shootings, AND with better accuracy. If the same person shooting the .44 Magnum, and the .357 Magnum were equally skilled at handling both, the percentage of "one shot stops" would probably be the same.

    "Follow-up shots" have nothing to do with "one shot stopping power." As the name implies, we are looking for the ONE SHOT stop.

    A bullet blasting all the way through a target body vs. a bullet stopping in a body, are two very different critters. IF the bullet is the same size, weight, diameter, distance from the target, and velocity, AND it follows the exact same path in each case, then the one that stops in the body will deliver more energy to the target than the one that passes through. To try to compare a .357 at it's velocity to a .44 at it's velocity, hitting in different parts of the body, or passing through, is like trying to compare horse shoes and rubber tires. There is no way to do it without a controlled study on actual bodies.

    One could go by the ballistic gel tests to ascertain impact energy, but it is still a "best guess" when it comes to an actual shooting of a bad guy.

    Bottom line is: use the most caliber/gun you can accurately, and rapidly handle. Shooting reports routinely point to the first accurate hit as the deciding factor in the outcome of a gun fight.

    As a CCW Instructor, I have seen many mis-matched gun/shooter combinations. Most of them were due to considerations or preconceived notions that had no basis in the shooter's actual training experience. Most of them could have also been easily remedied by an increase in practice time and ammo expenditure.

    Unfortunately, most CCW candidates do NOT want to take the time and money to get truly proficient with the weapon of choice.

    Personally, I carry the .45 ACP for EDC in the winter, and .357 Magnum in the summer. I carry the .44 Magnum when hunting, hiking, fishing, or any other outdoor activity that could potentially put me in contact with critters big enough to attack me.
    99dragon99, BaserRonin and rl69 like this.
  12. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

    It is my opinion that a bullet can't expend energy if it doesn't have it.I can go along with the lesser energy firearm being easier to handle,but if the question is which will stop the BG the best then my vote would be with the highest energy bullet.It has the most energy to release. ,,,sam.
    rl69 likes this.
  13. MLN1963

    MLN1963 G&G Newbie

    If it shoots right through the person is the bullet expending energy?
  14. nathangdad

    nathangdad G&G Newbie

    Hi MLN1963

    You post has hit to the core of a question many do not wish, or perhaps, choose to address.

    A bullet that goes through something is obviously "carrying" or "taking"
    energy with it. I have mentioned that in terms of high velocity magnum cartridges at shorter ranges. Exactly what is gained by a bullet that zips through the game perhaps without ever any significant expansion? The question of hopeful hydrostatic shock is a bit lost on the hunter who sees a wounded deer travelling over a hill.

    The older cartridges and quite often the modern slugs can stop in the game thus transmitting all of their energy to the target. This is also true of cartridges such as the .30-30, .35 Whelen, and so on.

    Of course this is a forum so I anticipate and respect those who will post
    views contrary to this post. However, this is my opinion. I feel it is important to try, to the best of one's ability, to match the caliber to the game or personal defense situtation. And, yes, the high velocity magnums do have a place where distance comes into play as they can arrive at the game with the proper amount of energy to impart most or all of their energy into the target..

    As I feel a home invader will be highly likely to be mentally altered via legal or illegal drugs plus have some type body armor I keep a Remington 12 gauge 870 loaded with alternating 00 buckshot and slugs. It is due to the body armor consideration that I chose these rounds.

    The theme of this post is, as I feel you can discern, is delivering energy to the target rather than having energy move beyond the target.
  15. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth G&G Newbie

    My main point,is to argue those who say the .357 is a better man stopper than a .44 mag because the FBI charts show a 4% advantage to the .357.My point simplified is this-say a .44 magnum does pass through and only delivers 80% of it's energy to the person(20% whizzed off somewhere)Is not 80% of a .44 magnum still more powerful than 100% of a .357?
  16. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth G&G Newbie

    By the way,I know just putting a number out ther like 80% isn't accurate,it's just a guess,and would be different depending on the size of the target.And me asking which gun is a better man stopper isn't a priority for me,I would definitly choose a .357 next time I get a revolver over a .44 mag.I am just wondering for sake of argument if a .44 mag is just as good of a man stopper as a .357.
  17. stinkybriches

    stinkybriches G&G Enthusiast

    .44 mag wins. larger diameter bullet. means larger wound channel.
    when it hits bone and it fragments it, it transfers more energy to that bone
    than a .357, thus the little bone chips make longer wound channels of there own. i will never buy into the "deposits all its energy into the animal" what i see is "didnt have enough energy to do the job.
    as a thought, i know hornady loads some 12 gauge sabots that are
    really just there .454 pistol bullets in a plastic jacket, very close to the diameter of a 44 mag bullet. these would most likely do a complete pass throu on a bg at say 10 feet. with the dumps all of the energy idea,
    would that make a .357 more powerful than a 12 gauge?
  18. Doc Jones

    Doc Jones G&G Addict

    Warning: Newbie about to pontificate on the internet...

    Both .357 and .44 mag have more recoil than .45 acp or .45 Colt.
    .357 has pretty significant muzzle flash (most home defense shooting is done in the dark)

    Shooting the .357 I'm blinded and shooting the .44mag I'm mule-kicked and struggling to get my sights back on target. Hmmm...

    Either of the .45 calibers throw a big slow bullet that will most likely be transferring all its energy to the target.

    Those were the points I considered in my recent decision. YMMV


    PS: In bear country I'd want a big rifle. Oh, and preferably some strong walls and a second story window to shoot it from if that's OK.
    cooker300 and Kad Skirata like this.
  19. CoachSuper

    CoachSuper G&G Newbie

    Of course the .44 mag is more deadly than a .357 mag.

    But, the extreme recoil, (fear of the recoil), etc. is not practical for defense. Well, most of the time the recoil, noise, flash, etc. of a .357 mag is too much for HD/PD.

    The decrease in effectiveness is due to overkill. Slow follow ups, recoil, heaviness of gun, shooting the perp, the wall, the car, the tree, and then into the neighbors house.

    It's like: "should I hit a fly with a rolled up newspaper or a car battery?"

    You shoot Grizzly's and Caribou with .44 mags and hogs and humans with .357 mags.

    My 2 pennies.

  20. ouch

    ouch G&G Newbie

    If either passes through any vital organs, you are going to die.
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