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.
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.
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.