Best PD/HD Revolver....357mag Or .41mag?

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    1. #1
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      Best PD/HD Revolver....357mag Or .41mag?

      I always thought the .357mag was virtually unbeatable as a PD/HD revolver. Just the right power level, plenty of punch, but a little less likely to fully penetrate a BG with JHP rounds than a .41mag or .44mag. However, after viewing some ballistics tests with .357mags I'm a little unsure about how it might compare to a .41mag. Would a .41mag JHP tend to fully penetrate a BG or just flatten out more and provide more shock/stopping power/wound potential (all parameters being equal)? I know most any .357mag is a potent BG stopper, but speaking hypothetically, which one might be the better PD/HD revolver?

    2. #2
      Senior Member Mike Barham's Avatar
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      I can't imagine a reason on God's green earth you'd need more power than a full-house .357 for home defense. It's been efficiently decking bad guys since 1935. It also comes in slicker and handier guns, and recoils considerably less than a full-house .41. Load with the revered 125 grain JHP and you'll be fine. Practice frequently, because even this load kicks a bit, is loud, and flashes pretty brightly.

      If you absolutely need maximum power to flatten someone with a single shot, a blast from a 12 gauge is far better than any handgun, regardless of caliber.

      I prefer quieter, less flashy handgun rounds for defense, as opposed to magnums.
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    3. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham at Galco View Post
      I can't imagine a reason on God's green earth you'd need more power than a full-house .357 for home defense. It's been efficiently decking bad guys since 1935. It also comes in slicker and handier guns, and recoils considerably less than a full-house .41. Load with the revered 125 grain JHP and you'll be fine. Practice frequently, because even this load kicks a bit, is loud, and flashes pretty brightly.

      If you absolutely need maximum power to flatten someone with a single shot, a blast from a 12 gauge is far better than any handgun, regardless of caliber.

      I prefer quieter, less flashy handgun rounds for defense, as opposed to magnums.
      +1 dude

    4. #4
      Senior Member Baldy's Avatar
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      Having shot the .357 most all my life, I can tell you they are hot. They will stop anybody any size. I like the the 158gr bullet over the 125gr as I think it has a better shock value. The 125gr tens to cut through things like a knife. After all most of them are going around 1500ft a second. The 158gr slowed down to about 1150ft a second gives more shock value I think. After all you got to stop the threat frist before you can controll the fight.

    5. #5
      Member Richard's Avatar
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      Sorry guys but I prefer the 41 Mag. Why? It is a bigger and gentler caliber; its recoil is similar to a 44 Special. In a house I like big and slow. Regards, Richard

    6. #6
      Senior Member Mike Barham's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
      Sorry guys but I prefer the 41 Mag. Why? It is a bigger and gentler caliber; its recoil is similar to a 44 Special. In a house I like big and slow. Regards, Richard
      You're seriously going to claim that a full-house .41 Magnum recoils LESS than a full-house .357? Unless you're comparing apples and oranges (light .41 load vs. full-house .357, or N-frame .41 revolver vs. J-frame .357), I don't see how in the world the .41 can be "gentler" than the .357. It's far more powerful, so according to simple physics, it has to recoil more. Full-house .41s are big and FAST, not big and slow.

      Having fired full-house .41s and .44 Specials, I can say pretty definitely that the .41 kicks considerably harder unless downloaded to ".41 Special" specs. The .44 Special is a relatively weak round, as factory loaded, compared to both .41 and .357 Mags, so it shouldn't be surprising that it kicks less.
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    7. #7
      Member Richard's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham at Galco View Post
      You're seriously going to claim that a full-house .41 Magnum recoils LESS than a full-house .357? Unless you're comparing apples and oranges (light .41 load vs. full-house .357, or N-frame .41 revolver vs. J-frame .357), I don't see how in the world the .41 can be "gentler" than the .357. It's far more powerful, so according to simple physics, it has to recoil more. Full-house .41s are big and FAST, not big and slow.

      Having fired full-house .41s and .44 Specials, I can say pretty definitely that the .41 kicks considerably harder unless downloaded to ".41 Special" specs. The .44 Special is a relatively weak round, as factory loaded, compared to both .41 and .357 Mags, so it shouldn't be surprising that it kicks less.
      Michael, you know I am refering to mid range 41 Mag loads for self defense. I do not consider a 44 Special loaded with Corbon 165gr bullets or Winchester 200gr Hollow points anyone's weak sister. Those along with the 41 Mag mid range loads are fine fight stoppers. Lastly, I find more than a cylinder full house 357 Mags in a K-frame a little less than pleasant to shoot. Regards, Richard

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    8. #8
      Senior Member Mike Barham's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
      Michael, you know I am refering to mid range 41 Mag loads for self defense. I do not consider a 44 Special loaded with Corbon 165gr bullets or Winchester 200gr Hollow points anyone's weak sister. Those along with the 41 Mag mid range loads are fine fight stoppers. Lastly, I find more than a cylinder full house 357 Mags in a K-frame a little less than pleasant to shoot. Regards, Richard
      Just "Mike" is fine. Okay, I see your point. But you're comparing apples and oranges, to a degree. A downloaded .41 in an N-frame is indeed more pleasant to shoot than a full-power .357 is a K-frame. But the original post asked about a comparison "all parameters being equal." To me, that means guns of equivalent weight and full-power loads in both. (Maybe, though, he means equal energy output.)

      Most people don't select K-frames anymore (I believe S&W has discontinued the K-frame .357s, in fact). Most choose heavier guns, like L-frames or GP100s, for home defense, which are closer in weight to N-frames. These guns are far more pleasant to shoot than a K-frame, but their smaller frames are not as bulky and unwieldy (in the hands of many) as an N-frame.

      I had forgotten about the hot Cor-Bon .44 Special, but Cor-Bon isn't really on my radar screen since my personal experience with their quality control hasn't been good. If I recall the ballistics correctly, the 200 grain Winchester isn't that hot.

      All will work fine for HD, I just don't see any reason to replace a .357 with a .41 or a .44. Maybe with a .45 ACP revolver, because of the fast moon-clips reloads, though!
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    9. #9
      Member Richard's Avatar
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      Mike, where do I start? I do not like the the muzzle flash from hot 357s at night and I do not want a bullet that is going to exit my house because it has so much energy. Is there a 357 I think is a great house/PD revolver that no one else mentions? Yes, my M60-10, as setup, is a great house/PD revolver. Take a look and give me your opine. Regards, Richard

      M60-10:

    10. #10
      Senior Member Mike Barham's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
      Mike, where do I start? I do not like the the muzzle flash from hot 357s at night and I do not want a bullet that is going to exit my house because it has so much energy. Is there a 357 I think is a great house/PD revolver that no one else mentions? Yes, my M60-10, as setup, is a great house/PD revolver. Take a look and give me your opine. Regards, Richard
      Nice gun.

      Lightweight hollowpoint .357s aren't much, if any, more likely to go through a house than a .41. Cops used .357s for decades without significant liability problems in that regard. The heavy bullets used in most big-bore loadings have significant momentum and usually penetrate pretty deeply, unless specifically constructed to avoid deep penetration.

      Muzzle flash might be an issue if shooting in complete darkness, but I assume we all plan to ID our targets before we fire. Thus, there will be ambient light to ID our target, whether from house lighting or a flashlight. This ambient light means our eyes are already somewhat adjusted to light, and reduces the muzzle flash issue.

      I grant that a ".41 Lite" or .44 Special will have less flash. I am just not sure this minor advantage is outweighed by the fact that large frame revolvers are heavier with a higher bore axis, and just not as slick and fast-handling as a medium frame .357.

      But what the hell do I know? I sold every last one of my revolvers last year, when I decided they were obsolete for defense!
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    11. #11
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      Thumbs up .41 Vs .357


      in the 1960's I was a small town police officer. We didn't even have police radios and used a town owned flashing blue light and siren on our own private cars for patrol. since we almost always were ALONE I felt that I would need the best Firearm posible for my protection. I gave up my .38 special for athis new .41 S&W Model 58. Remington had 2 loads. The powerfull full house 210 gr JSP load and the 210 semi wadcutter lead that was at least unofficially the M&P load. I found that the full house load was wonderfully accurate, clean and powerful but walked back smartley, the Remington M&P load was too dirty, inaccurate, and gummed up the barrel with soft lead in no time. I searched for a load that would be better. as there was no prejudice against hand loads I soon found that the Speer semi Jacketed SP 220 Gr and hp 200 grain in front of about 10 grs. of Herco powder gave me every thing I needed. clean burning , clean bullets, low recoil and wonderful accuracy.

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