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  1. #1
    nuc
    nuc is offline Junior Member
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    357 and 44 mag question

    Considering recoil, is the 44mag. really significantly superior in protection against animals (black bear, cougars, rarely grizzly) than a quicker shooting 357 with maximum factory loads?
    Will use for hiking in NW mtns., not hunting, so weight is consideration.
    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by nuc View Post
    Considering recoil, is the 44mag. really significantly superior in protection against animals (black bear, cougars, rarely grizzly) than a quicker shooting 357 with maximum factory loads?
    Will use for hiking in NW mtns., not hunting, so weight is consideration.
    Thanks
    I'm a retired mechanical engineer, with too much time on my hands. And, the world is full of data, much of it yearning to be analyzed.

    First, the recoil issue. One large factor is gun weight. Another is the cartridge energy.
    And, voila, forgetting a few other lesser factors, we can get an idea of "perceived recoil".
    We'll use double-action Rugers as an example. Yes, other revolvers "are good".

    The GP100 is their 6-shot .357 Mag gun. Three barrel lengths, 3.0", 4.2", and 6.0". 36, 40, and 45 oz.
    Right off, you can see a "good hiking gun" in big predator country is not going to be "light to pack".
    The Redhawk is their "first" .44 Mag. gun. Just with a 4.2'' barrel, 46 oz.
    The Super Redhawk is their "big hunter". Just with a 7.5'' barrel, 53 oz. .44 Mag or .454 Casull.
    The Super Redhawk Alaskan is their "walkaround emergency" gun. 2 1/2" barrel, 45/44 oz. .44 Mag or .454 Casull.
    The Alaskan is my hiking gun in .454 Casull. After we had some lion attacks in our mountains I "moved up".

    Notice all this stuff is heavy. My Alaskan .454 vs. a GP100 3" barrel .357 Mag is 44 oz. vs. 36.
    A 22 % increase over the .357 Mag 3" barrel gun.
    But, the same weight if the .357 has a 6" barrel.
    You can decide what is meaningful for you.

    We are not going to try and figure out "perceived recoil". Right now, that is above our pay grade.
    We WILL look at factors that can influence "superior protection". I'm ignoring practice ammo and "human self-defense" ammo.

    I looked at couple of hunting loads, the same manufacturer and bullet in .357 Mag, .44 Mag, and .454 Casull.
    I'll just show one brand. With caliber, bullet weight in grains, muzzle velocity in feet/second, and energy in foot-pounds.
    We are dealing with standard physics. Kinetic Energy = Mass x Velocity Squared.

    The Federal Premium Vital-Shok with a "premium hunting" Barnes XPB Hollow Point.
    .357 Mag, 140 grain, 1400 fps, 609 ft-lbs.
    .44 Mag, 225 grain, 1280 fps, 818 ft-lbs.
    .454 Casull, 250 grain, 1530 fps, 1299 ft-lbs.
    As you can see, you can't beat that particular law of physics.
    The .44 Mag delivers 34% more energy, in this case to an animal problem, if you can hit it.
    You can decide if that is "worth the extra revolver weight". I think it is.

    And, the .454 has even more go-power, of course.
    59% more than the .44 Mag. 113% more than the .357 Mag. That is twice as much as the .357.

    The load I carry in my Alaskan is a bit hotter. Win. Premium with Nosler Supreme bullet. What is your life worth ?

    260 grain, 1800 fps, 1870 fps. Energy is three times .357 Mag, 1.6 times .44 Mag.
    Here's my gun.
    http://www.ruger.com/products/superR...an/models.html

    Three caveats. Of COURSE my Alaskan is overkill. I LIKE that. Think "Maximum Snubby" on your hip.
    1. The .454 will take care of any mammal in the world. That has been demonstrated. By idiots ?
    2. You do have to hit something for all that energy to be effective.
    3. Anything is this catergory is "expensive". GP100 maybe about $700, Super RH about $900/1000 ?

    Obviously, all this just my rambling opinions.
    Your needs and your mileage may (probably will) vary.
    After all is said and done and worked over, get the gun you want. And a good belt and holster.

    P.S.
    Cutting off some folks at the pass, yes, I do know that energy is in lb-ft, and torque is in ft-lbs.
    But, along with a LOT of others who should know better, ammo folks call it ft-lbs. Not my fault.
    Last edited by DanP_from_AZ; 05-13-2011 at 11:13 AM. Reason: The Post Script

  4. #3
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuc View Post
    Considering recoil, is the 44mag. really significantly superior in protection against animals (black bear, cougars, rarely grizzly) than a quicker shooting 357 with maximum factory loads?
    Will use for hiking in NW mtns., not hunting, so weight is consideration.
    Thanks
    You don't mention your experience level in handgun shooting, and I think that is (or should be) a major point in the selection process.

    Firing very powerful handguns quickly and accurately is not something that happens overnight. As DanP mentioned above, "2. You do have to hit something for all that energy to be effective." Put another way, a miss gets you nothing, and a less-than-vital-zone hit might get you a more riled-up critter than you started with; not a good thing. If you are already a very experienced handgunner, then the .44/.45 mags might be reasonable choices; if you're not experienced with powerful handguns, then I'd say the .357 wins by default. Load it with the most penetrative ammo you can find, practice WITH THAT AMMO at least some of the time, and give some thought to the circumstances you might find yourself in if you need the weapon (one-hand firing, access to the holstered weapon with either hand if one hand is otherwise engaged, etc.) and practice with these needs in mind.

    I currently own a full-size (7.5") Redhawk .44 Mag and a 3" GP-100 .357; in the past, I've owned or fired 4" and 6" GP-100s, and 4" .45 Colt and 5.5" .44 Mag Redhawks. You really have to want to carry a full-size magnum revolver quite badly to put up with the weight and bulk; a 3" or 4" .357 is MUCH easier to deal with size- and weight-wise, as well as being easier to learn to shoot well with serious loads.

    A photo of my Ruger revolvers, from a few years ago; the center 4" GP-100 is gone now, but I still have the other two.

    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

  5. #4
    HK Dan is offline Member
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    Yes.

    Mechanically the .44 is better against critters and worse against human beings due to that huge penetration (it literally goes through and through on humans and leaves with most of it's energy still aboard). Your best bet would be a 12 gauge with slugs, but weight is a concern. Given that I'd take the .44 in a heartbeat.

  6. #5
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    I had a S & W model 29 with a 6 inch barrel and with a 2-/2" barrel. The 6 incher was not difficult to shoot at all (the 2-1/2" was difficult).

    I think that the first shot has to be on the mark; follow up shots do not have to be as quick as you might think. Unlike human adversaries, most bears don't carry any handguns. On the other hand grizzlies can run very, very fast. If he is charging at you, then you just have to keep pulling the trigger. Your point of aim will be fairly constant.

    I would definitely choose the .44 over the .357. (or even a 10mm semi-auto which will have even quicker follow up shots). A Glock 10mm with Double Tap ammo might make my first choice.

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    For me, weight is a BIG consideration... Most .44 Magnum revolvers run over 40 oz... The only exception I know about is the S&W 329 PD which is 26 oz. unloaded... and 9.5" long. The Glock 20 in 10mm gives you 15 rds. (!) for ballpark similar weight - 28 oz. unloaded - and is 7.6" long. ATC, I also would go with the Glock 20 loaded with some strong high-end ammo and not have any worries about reloads (or anything else).

  8. #7
    nuc
    nuc is offline Junior Member
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    My gun instructor suggested the Glock 10mm as the best protection gun in the forest- I shot the 357, 44 and 10mm today. Some difference with the 44mag obviously having a little more recoil. Is the 10mm really capable of stopping or penetrating a bears' skull and spine? One handed, I shot the 10mm a little better but with time the three may all be fine.
    Thanks for the input

  9. #8
    Kharuger's Avatar
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    .44 Magnum has more power/energy than 10mm but 15+1 rds. at the ready - compared to six - is a big difference that comforts me.

    There's a lot of great reading material online regarding bear encounters. The gist of most expert opinion which I read is that (all things considered and generally speaking) hi-end BEAR SPRAY is actually more effective against bears than guns. Here's an interesting snippet of info I came across regarding 10 mm:

    ... "To protect members of its Sirius Patrols in Greenland, Denmark has adopted a 10mm Glock automatic pistol. This larger calibre round has proven effective against charging polar bears."

  10. #9
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    The 10mm Glock is probably the easiest of the three to shoot rapidly one-handed, but I think the 10mm cartridge would rate third in penetration behind special-purpose loads in .44 and .357.

    Some more reading on bear defense with a handgun:

    Garrett Cartridges Inc.
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kharuger View Post
    For me, weight is a BIG consideration... Most .44 Magnum revolvers run over 40 oz... The only exception I know about is the S&W 329 PD which is 26 oz. unloaded... and 9.5" long. The Glock 20 in 10mm gives you 15 rds. (!) for ballpark similar weight - 28 oz. unloaded - and is 7.6" long. ATC, I also would go with the Glock 20 loaded with some strong high-end ammo and not have any worries about reloads (or anything else).
    I think the 10mm is excellent advice from both Kharuger and your gun instructor.
    If you don't know, Col. Jeff Cooper had the 10mm (.40) developed to give more go-power than his beloved .45 ACP.
    The FBI adopted the full power 10mm briefly after the Miami fiasco. Full power was "too much" for service use by agents.
    So, there are 10mm "FBI Lite" loads. You do not want these, or full-power 10mm human self-defense loads. You want "hunting" for hiking use.

    The currently popular .40 S&W is like an FBI Lite load, but in a shorter case. Like .44 Special is to .44 Mag. The .40 S&W "works" in a 9mm size frame. The 10mm full-power beats up a 9mm designed frame/slide.
    Full power 10mm requires "special" semi-autos to handle the beating. The Glock 20 is the most "prominent" of these.

    The 10mm in FULL POWER loadings is generally considered "between" the .357 Mag and .41 Mag. Here's approx. comparision using .44 Mag.
    .357 Mag, 140 grain, 1400 fps, 609 ft-lbs.
    10 mm, 165 grain, 1425 fps, 744 ft-lbs.
    .44 Mag, 225 grain, 1280 fps, 818 ft-lbs

    So, I have two caveats for the 10mm as an excellent hiking/large animal defense gun.

    First, make SURE you are getting a hunting load/bullet. Then no problem with regular critters with sharp teeth.
    The grizzly cranium is a whole different problem. Properly fitted 48 mph running sneakers are THE solution.
    We have no grizzly bears, and I wear regular hiking boots.

    Second, I don't have "the stuff" to weigh, but I suspect the 10mm semi-auto WITH ammo is in the same weight ballpark as Super RH with ammo.
    The obvious BIG benefit is you get 15 + 1 with the Glock 10mm, versus 6 with a .44 Mag revolver.
    And, if you carry a spare mag, and practice a one-hand reload, you can get another 15 rounds while the lion is chewing your left forearm.

    Also, you should think about "problem scenerios". And, do plenty of practice one-handed. Lions are the reason for this.
    All people hiking in areas with trees and/or mountain/hills (even urban) should read this book. It will
    change your hiking "awareness" big-time.
    "Stalked by a Mountain Lion", "Fear, Fact, and the Uncertain Future of Cougars in America" by Jo Deurbrouck, 2007.
    The book is a wealth of factual information, and not "sensational".
    My area has had two lion attacks on humans in the last year and one/half. Rare, but . . . rember the Boy Scout Motto.

    As always, I am an opinionated old geezer, and YMMV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Niner View Post
    Some more reading on bear defense with a handgun:

    Garrett Cartridges Inc.
    Thanks much. Really interesting. I've not run across Garrett before.

    But, his two main ideas and ammo loading fit with other info I've seen.
    Mainly, that heavy flat-nosed hard-cast lead "solids" are best for the big boy Grizzlies, Kodiaks, and Polars.
    And, the .45/70 Government old time rifle round is much better for guide gun "customer backup" than any handgun.

    But, premium hunting bullets that expand such as the Nosler Partition make more sense with the critters where I live. No "big boys".

    And that "happy with 10mm pistols in Greenland as defense against polars". I wouldn't be. NFW.
    Not unless I was riding in an armored half-track.

  13. #12
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    I'm a big fan of the 10mm G20, personally, although I don't have bears or mountain lions to contend with. I carry one when I'm alone in the 'deep, dark woods,' because I have surprised feral hogs before, and I'm always concerned that, in their panic, they will run at me, rather than away from me. It's not likely of course, but who wants to take a chance on being eaten by a herd of hogs?

    I have a Lasermax rail-mounted laser on mine, for those before daylight and after sunset walks to the deer blind. I wear it in an across-the-chest homemade holster for easy access. I intend, but haven't gotten around to it yet, to buy an after-market barrel, with conventional rifling, and heavier recoil spring to allow for the use of 200 grain hard cast lead ammo. This, in my opinion, will get me all the way into the .41 magnum realm, or maybe even into the lower .44 magnum ranges.

    My G20 is quite accurate, and fairly enjoyable to shoot with 180 grain practice ammo. I think it would not be a major adjustment to kick it up to loads more suitable for dangerous game.

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    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Here are Double Tap's numbers on the 10mm with a heavy bullet:

    10mm 200gr. Nosler JHP 50rds. $41.00

    For the hunter that needs deep penetration AND expansion, with this one you can't miss! Brand new bullet made for us by Nosler that really gives great controlled expansion and deep penetration!

    Caliber : 10mm

    Bullet : 200gr Nosler JHP

    Ballistics : 1250fps / 694ft lbs. muzzle - 5"bbl
    1083fps / 521 ft lbs 100yds 5"bbl
    Glock 29 - 1195fps Muzzle



    These numbers out of a compact G29; the G20 should do a little better.

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