Ammunition

.357, .41, .44 — The Trifecta of Magnums?

.357 magnum colt python in recoil

I thought of the reasons why I like these classic magnum cartridges, and how they came to be. Then, I wondered whether it would be of interest to those who read these articles, so here it goes. I have used them all for many years and have taken game ranging from varmints to grizzly. During that time and based on my experiences, I have developed some strong, well-founded opinions.

.357 Magnum

I will start this “Trifecta” with the first and smallest of the three to make its appearance, the .357 Magnum. The .357 Smith & Wesson Magnum was based upon Smith & Wesson’s earlier .38 Special cartridge. It was collaboratively developed in the early 1930s. Those responsible for its creation were Elmer Keith, Philip B. Sharpe, Douglas B. Wesson (of Smith & Wesson), and the Winchester Ammunition Company.

Elmer Keith smoking his pipe while relaxing on the bumper of a car.
The man, the myth, the legend… A relaxed Elmer Keith.

The .357 Magnum cartridge was introduced in 1935, along with the Smith & Wesson Model 27, which was the first revolver chambered for the then-new .357 Magnum cartridge. So, the .357 Magnum cartridge began the “Magnum” era of handgun cartridges.

As a note, the “Magnum” era began with the term first being used by the British firm of Holland & Holland to describe its .375 H&H Express rifle cartridge in 1912. However, it was first used to describe a handgun cartridge with the .357 Smith & Wesson Magnum.

Because the .38 Special, and the early experimental .357 Magnum cartridges loaded by Elmer Keith were identical in size and length, it was possible to load an experimental .357 Magnum cartridge into a .38 Special revolver with catastrophic results. Smith & Wesson’s elegant solution of extending the case slightly, made it ‘less possible’ to chamber the magnum-power round in a gun that was not designed for the additional pressure.

It’s also interesting to note that although the .38 Special and .357 Magnum would seem to be of different diameter bullets, they are in fact identical at 0.357 inches and both cartridges also headspace on the rim of the case.

Sales slip for a Model 19 from 1968
The sales slip for the first Model 19, which the author bought for $159 in 1968.

It’s of no surprise, since the introduction of the .357 Magnum cartridge, it has been regarded by many as an excellent choice for hunting, metallic silhouette, and self-defense. Comparatively, the .357 Magnum has less energy than the larger magnum revolver loadings, but none-the-less remains a fine small- and medium-game round.

It is also considered to be sufficient for deer at reasonable ranges when suitable loads are used by a proficient marksman. With proper loadings, it can also be effective against large or dangerous game, such as bear and wild hogs. However, many consider the larger and more powerful magnum cartridges to be more appropriate.

Revolvers chambered in .357 Magnum have the significant advantage of also being able to chamber and fire the shorter — less-powerful — .38 Special cartridge. Compared to the .357 Magnum, the .38 Special is also lower in cost, recoil, noise, and muzzle flash. Those attributes make revolvers, which are so chambered, an ideal choice for novice shooters. Shooters who are not yet used to firing full-power .357 magnum loads and cannot afford the additional expense of buying a second lower-powered gun to train with. It is also an excellent round for those considering handloading ammunition, as it is economical and consistently performs well.

Smith and Wesson Model 19 revolver chambered in .41 Magnum, left profile
The original Model 19 — many thousands of rounds later.

I decided I needed to have a .357 when an article for the Model 19 Combat Magnum caught my attention and started my search. At the time (the later half of 1968), they were hard to find but eventually one turned up at a local gun emporium. I used that first .357 Magnum revolver to shoot darn near everything — including the first hog that I ever shot.

.44 Magnum

The second magnum to arrive on the handgun scene was the .44 Magnum. Its development was very similar to the .357 that preceded it. Once again, the .44 Magnum was the result of years of tuned handloading and experimentation with the .44 Special by prominent writer and outdoorsman Elmer Keith.

Keith’s many years of experimentation with large-bore handgun cartridges using heavy bullets and higher-than-normal powder charges to achieve superior ballistic performance again paid big dividends. He continued using his formula of pushing heavy bullets at high velocities that he used for the .357 Magnum with the .44 Special. His efforts resulted in the .44 Special Magnum, which was a formidable cartridge for handgun hunting. It fired a 250-grain bullet at 1,200 fps.

The Ed Laporta with a cougar taken with a Model 19 revolver chambered in .41 Magnum
One of several cougars taken with the .357 with the author’s trusty Model 19.

Once again, Keith successfully lobbied Smith & Wesson to produce revolvers chambered for the magnum. Likewise, he convinced Remington to produce a commercial version of his new high-pressure loading. And so it was; Smith & Wesson’s first .44 Magnum revolver, the precursor to the Model 29, was built on December 15, 1955. The gun was announced to the public on January 19, 1956, and sold at a retail price of $140.

Ironically, the .44 Magnum’s popularity remained tepid among shooters for many years after its introduction. The cartridge did not really come to the attention of the general public until 1971, when it was prominently featured in the film Dirty Harry starring Clint Eastwood. In one of the movies most memorable lines the title character, “Dirty” Harry Callahan describes his Smith & Wesson Model 29 as “The most powerful handgun in the world!”

Since that time, the .44 Magnum has been eclipsed in power but has nevertheless remained one of the most popular commercial large-bore magnum cartridges ever conceived. Practically, the .44 Magnum is well suited for game — up to and including elk. With precise shot placement and deep-penetrating bullets, it has even been used to take the largest game on the planet.

Famously, publisher Robert E. Petersen took a world record Polar Bear with a Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum. Later, it was used to take Cape Buffalo and elephants successfully.

Once I got my hands on a .44 Magnum, I used it on everything from Jack Rabbits to bears and everything in between with great success. I also carried it as a back-up and camp gun while on many big game or dangerous game hunts. Eventually, I got tired of the extra weight and came to a realization. If I could not stop my quarry with my rifle, the revolver wasn’t going to help — even if I could get to it. That thinking relegated my big magnum handguns (for the most part) to the rear of the safe, only to emerge occasionally during a class to wow the newbies.

Smith and Wesson Model 29 revolver chambered in .44 Magnum, right profile
The author’s original Model 29 in .44 Magnum. It proved to be a longtime friend and faithful companion on many, otherwise lonely, hunts.

.41 Magnum

Now, we come to the last — and my favorite — magnum of the trifecta, the .41 Magnum that debuted in 1964. In the early 1960s, the .357 Magnum suffered from restricted terminal ballistic effectiveness. Jacketed hollow point bullets were not yet commonly available, and manufacturer’s standard loadings consisted of simple lead bullets.

The powerful .44 Magnum (primarily a heavy hunting round) was considered overkill for police use and generated too much recoil for control under rapid fire. In addition, revolvers chambered for the .44 Magnum were considered too large, bulky, and heavy for the police to carry.

The .41 Remington Magnum was primarily developed for use in large-frame revolvers intended for hunting and law enforcement purposes. Once again, we see Elmer Keith and Bill Jordan, with some help from Skeeter Skelton, petitioning Smith & Wesson, Remington, and Norma in 1963 to produce a pistol and ammunition in .41 caliber. A pistol that would fall between the .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum cartridges in ballistic performance.

brown phase Black Bear taken with one shot from the author’s trusty Model 57 .41 Magnum
A nice brown phase Black Bear taken with one shot from the author’s trusty Model 57 .41 Magnum.

The Smith & Wesson Model 58, that was targeted for the law enforcement market, was introduced on July 10, 1964. Unfortunately, it never caught on well with police departments. The departments that adopted it had trouble getting their officers to successfully qualify with the big revolvers. Ultimately, the greater round capacities of most semi-automatic, magazine-fed pistols eclipsed the six-shot revolver for law enforcement.

Smith & Wesson did, however, produce a high-end, premium revolver, the Model 57 in .41 Magnum, primarily intended for the civilian market. Without a Hollywood movie to glamorize it, the .41 Magnum never enjoyed the popularity and success of either the .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum cartridge.

Even though the .41 Remington Magnum never took the spotlight from the more popular .44 Magnum and .357 Magnum cartridges, it has been around for a long time. Marshall and Sanow called the .41 Magnum “one of our most unappreciated calibers.” This brings us to the question, ‘Is this round a diamond in the rough, or does it deserve a place in obscurity?” The answer is “It’s a diamond in the rough!”

If so many shooters didn’t like the .41, why do so many believe it’s the best revolver cartridge ever made? That includes yours truly. I’ll tell you why. The .41 Remington Magnum does what its rivals do, but does it better in so many ways.

The cartridge is a great choice for handgun hunters who want a lot of power with less recoil than the .44 Magnum. It is also a great option for reloaders, especially those who cast their own bullets.

Smith and Wesson Model 57 revolver chambered in .41 magnum wearing ivory grips
The author’s first Model 57 wearing a set of ivory grips — as a reward for faithful service.

I personally believe the .41 Remington Magnum is the best, most versatile revolver cartridge available. A bold statement (I know), given the fact that there are so many other good, useful revolver rounds out there. The truth is, when all factors are weighed — lethality, accuracy, recoil, and versatility — nothing rivals the .41 Remington Magnum.

With standard factory ammo, the .41 delivers 25 percent more energy than the .357 Magnum with a wider, heavier bullet. This means it hits harder, makes a wider wound cavity, and all things equal, will penetrate as deep or deeper than the .44 Magnum. All this with the same recoil as a medium-framed .357 — when the .41 is fired from its larger-framed revolver. Take that Dirty Harry! Stay safe, train often and practice, practice, practice!

We all have a favorite magnum caliber, but which one is yours and why? What about the .327 Federal? Do you agree with the author that the .41 Magnum is the “best, most versatile revolver cartridge available?” Or, are your more in the camp of the .41 magnum being a compromise cartridge that is akin to the .40 S&W? Share your ‘spirited’ answers in the Comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (30)

  1. i totally agree with Mr LaPorta. i’ve used my S&W Mod 57 since i first bought it back in 1973. i’ve taken deer and pig with it as well as an everyday carry for awhile.
    i’m now on the lookout for a S&W Mod 58. this model is the equlivalent to the S&W Highway Patrolman, the Mod 58 was produced to be used as a police duty weapon, it just never caught on.

    dave m

  2. I carried a model 57, 4inch, S&W, as a patrol officer in Amarillo, TX beginning in 1982. I transitioned to a Glock model 21 in 1987 when I was reassigned to the Swat team. Transitioned again to a G17 in 2008 when I became the APD Rangemaster. All served me very well for 31 years.

  3. Another grade article by Mr. LaPorta I own several 357 one being a first year colt python the other being a Ron Powers custom belt 357 on a 686 . I love them both. My 44 magnum model 29 in a Ruger super red Hawk they both killed a few wild pigs in their day. My father who passed some years back, swore up and down by his Smith in 41 magnum and it was his favorite Caliber. It would be hard to argue that the 41 magnum Wouldn’t be the most versible of the pistol Magnus. I look forward to Describe all your articles them to be very factual but most of all educational. Thank you !

  4. I went to Gunsite in 1977 and 1978, and used a 1911 Combat Commander and a 1911 Govt. I had a very good friend in Laramie who was a police officer and a great shooter. His duty gun was a S&W .41Mag with a 5in barrel – only one I ever saw – we used to shoot each other’s handguns, and that 5in .41Mag revolver was the only revolver that ever tempted me. I still wish I had traded him for that, decades later.

  5. Great article. One small question.
    Wasn’t the first .357 Magnum the S&W Registered Magnum?
    I don’t believe the model numbers were used by Smith and Wesson until the 1960’s.

  6. I had several of all three plus 45’s until they were stolen from my father’s home where I had them stored until I returned from overseas. I like all caliber’s but my favorite is 41magnum. I used to handload lighter rounds to make a quasi 41 (Special) for target shooting. I sometimes shot up to 500-600 rounds a week shooting 3 days a week.

  7. Like a lot of guys, back in the 70’s, I saw all the Dirty Harry flicks and just HAD to have one! My friends and I all went through our “.44 Mag phase”, which lasted about 10 years or so, during which time I probably can attribute to my present loss of hearing in my right ear, as we didn’t wear hearing protection much, back then, and none while hunting…around that time, one of my friends introduced me to his .41 Blackhawk, which I came to greatly appreciate. I also acquired an early Blackhawk in .357, as well as a couple of Colts and a SS S&W, which is still a favorite. I always liked .357 as a very accurate and fairly potent hunting handgun, here, where there is still abundance of deer, hogs, and bear(won’t shoot bears with that…). Tree hugging put an end to cat hunts 30 years ago. At any rate, I just inherited a nice SS Ruger DA 4″ .357, which impresses me, and I’ve started reloading for it. Now I’m getting older, I really don’t need a .41, but agree, they’re better, and if this wasn’t a freebie, I probably would get another .41, as you get the best of both worlds, the accuracy of a .357, with nearly the stopping power of a .44mag. I need more guns like Custer needed Indians, so that’s my say on the matter. PS I probably read everything Elmer Keith ever wrote!! LOL

  8. I was just over 21-years-old when I first saw “Dirty Harry” and IMMEDIATELY decided that I had to have a Model 29. After searching all around I located only one in my general area. It was either a six-inch or six-and-one-half inch beauty in the wooden presentation case.

    I’m sure I paid a premium price for the weapon, but I didn’t care. I was young and that revolver was my prize possession. I vividly remember the first time I shot the gun. Those first cartridges were the hottest that I could buy. You know, nothing but the biggest for “the most powerful handgun in the world”.

    Predictably, I underestimated the actual recoil. The web of my right hand was bleeding by the third round. Lesson learned.

    After I was hired on the police department I started collecting handguns by the shelf full. Never did I own anything as nice as that Smith & Wesson Model 29.

    Marriage, a home, and a baby soon followed and my collection dwindled as more important needs arose. The last of my “valuable” weapons to go was the Model 29. I’m saddened to this day that I had to sacrifice my prize to help cover the cost of my divorce. Kind of an extra knife in the guy courtesy of my cheating ex-wife.

    Okay, got that off my chest. I really loved that revolver.

    1. Tom,
      Comments are moderated before they are made live… and I do not work 24/7. My apologies for not being able to get it up earlier. ~Dave

  9. I own the 357 and 44 both superb guns, great calibers, l get a kick out of the guys talking down to the 357 and the 44, got to have the Almighty 454, 460, 480, 500 my God what are u going after bulldozershave been on bear hunts saw a 357 magnum take down a 600 pound black bear one shot, if I need something I’ll get a pump shotgun with slugs it is a lot lighter to carry, no gun is going to do the job without good shot placement, I hunt deer with a 220 swift one shot down they go, at long distance, see all these people cutting on small calibers, when my 220 swift enters from the speed blows apart nothing but alot of vital damage ,quick kill, just like people saying a 243 isnt a long range deer cartridge, seen many deer go down at 400 + yards, remember the old saying a 22 is dangerous at 1 mile dont need cannons, alot of good hand guns out there you can keep your 500 magnum, not needed and not carrying a boat anchor all day in the woods.

  10. WHERE’S MY COMMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Have had them all. 357 & 44 since the 60s. M27 6″, M29 8 3/8. Since then have had probably 30+ 44s (still have 6 or 8 S&W, Ruger & Taurus), & at least a dozen 357s, have 5 or 6, & carry a M60 3″ or the 360 in the pocket when not carrying a 45. To me, the 357 is strictly a people gun. In the 70s I got a 41 M57 6″ & 8 3/8. Have had 2 M57s & have a Taurus now to play with. Had it, shot it, shot game with it & it does not impress me compared to the 44s. They flat kill stuff better. Now I don’t have a problem with recoil & load hot to start & go up from there. I do not, at all, find the 44s hard to shoot fast & accurately. I actually run my 4″ Smith 240SWC at 1100, on my tactical pistol range sometimes, right along with the 357s & 45s & it does fine with multi target, rapid shots. In Alaska when I lived there in the 70s(& 80s,90s, 2000s), the 44 was what you carried for bear protection & I never felt underguned. Sure, when the 454 Ruger came out I carried it, & the 500 when it came out (went back to the 454), but would not worry a bit, if I was carrying it. (255- 270s hard cast, run as fast as the gun would stand) The 41 is a fine cartridge, but why have the junior when you can have the senior, better, cartridge.

  11. I grew up shooting magnum revolvers. I enjoyed them all. I come from a law enforcement family and had the luck, when starting my career, to initially carry a model 66 S&W 4″ (for duty) and 2.5″ (as backup) in .357, which i still have, until we migrated to gen 1 Glock 17s. I was proficient, due to growing up with magnums, but when off-duty preferred to carry my father’s department issue model 58 4″, which i had gotten from him with 210 grain handloaded hollow points. I had hunted with the .41 and observed first hand what good shot placement with it accomplished. So, I figured if it would stop anything with four legs, it could stop anything with two. Not to mention, how do you go wrong with .357 level recoil and similiar ballistics to the .44. To this day, I have a mix of magnum firearms, but almost 30 years into my career, still carry my 657 snubnose on a regular basis. So, with that being said, I couldn’t agree more with the author, the. 41 is the ultimate magnum load and is sorely underestimated. Thanks for the article.

  12. Why didn’t you post me comment?

    Have had them all. 357 & 44 since the 60s. M27 6″, M29 8 3/8. Since then have had probably 30+ 44s (still have 6 or 8 S&W, Ruger & Taurus), & at least a dozen 357s, have 5 or 6, & carry a M60 3″ or the 360 in the pocket when not carrying a 45. To me, the 357 is strictly a people gun. In the 70s I got a 41 M57 6″ & 8 3/8. Have had 2 M57s & have a Taurus now to play with. Had it, shot it, shot game with it & it does not impress me compared to the 44s. They flat kill stuff better. Now I don’t have a problem with recoil & load hot to start & go up from there. I do not, at all, find the 44s hard to shoot fast & accurately. I actually run my 4″ Smith 240SWC at 1100, on my tactical pistol range sometimes, right along with the 357s & 45s & it does fine with multi target, rapid shots. In Alaska when I lived there in the 70s(& 80s,90s, 2000s), the 44 was what you carried for bear protection & I never felt underguned. Sure, when the 454 Ruger came out I carried it, & the 500 when it came out (went back to the 454), but would not worry a bit, if I was carrying it. (255- 270s hard cast, run as fast as the gun would stand) The 41 is a fine cartridge, but why have the junior when you can have the senior, better, cartridge.

  13. I think id like to try that .41…it sure is purdy.
    How does it compare to smokeless 45long colt? I believe (by which i think i read somewhere) Elmer keith was stretching his 45 Colt SAA early on…maybe i saw it on Forgotten Weapons…
    I found the 44m too much to be honest.
    Could you compare 41 to 10mm in general ballistics?

  14. My first revolver ever was a .357 Hawes Western Marshall. I still have it after 60 years but rarely shoot it. By the mid-nineties I purchased a Nickle S&W mode 57 with an 8″ barrel. It was like a mini-rifle with a scope & weighed about the same. The scope is removed, and I use it with open sights as God intended. S&W was owned by Tomkins holding, a British company, and in 2000 signed an agreement with the Clinton Admin. which was a gateway effort to gun control. The public was outraged, and S&W was blacklisted. Dealers who had models in stock were willing to send them to a scrap yard. I lucked into my second model 57, a 4 inch blue, for cheap. I got a Taurus Raging Bull 4″ 5 shot in the early 2000s. By far the best one to carry due to its weight. My son borrowed it and I haven’t seen it for 15 years. I found a model 58 3 years ago to replace the Taurus. I cast and load for the 41. I have everything to cast and load the 44 mag as well but have never owned one. 327 mag has been my latest aquisitions. I have revolvers and rifles in 357, 41 mag, and 327. Nothing in 44. Ballisticly, the 41 is slightly better than the 44 according to studies. The 41 is about the max that I want to handle. The 44 may shoot slightly bigger and harder but also comes with more recoil. 357s have a prominent presence in my collection as well. No matter which calibre I have with me, even the 32ACP I always have something. Even a 22lr is better than nothing, although, 22 mag is better. As long as I am armed with something nothing will ever happen. The day I go out naked, S will HTF. It’s Murphys Law.

  15. Most folks don’t remember that one of the main pushes in the development of the 41 mag was to be for LEO use. But the “Police Load” was never brought to market. A lead SWC bullet, in a 41 mag Lite loading, was to be the “Police Load”. While the 38/44 (38 +P+) of the early 1930’s was a key player in development of the 357mag, the race for higher speed/power was in full force by the time the 41 mag came out. Too bad. I found that a “Full Power” load, in a 357 or 44 mag rifle, is ideal. In a handgun, the classic 240 gr Keith SWC over 8 gr of UNIQUE, is a great carry loading in any 44 mag handgun. Still, I use a 44 mag case and not a 44 spl case, so as to not have any issues. As only older reloading manuals show a “38/44” loading, and current manuals only show a lower pressure level 38 +P loading, I use the +P loads for the majority of my 357 handguns. 38 +P loads are currently the almost ideal handgun loading for a 357 revolver. (Great reason to reload.)

  16. Have had them all. 357 & 44 since the 60s. M27 6″, M29 8 3/8. Since then have had probably 30+ 44s (still have 6 or 8 S&W, Ruger & Taurus), & at least a dozen 357s, have 5 or 6, & carry a M60 3″ or the 360 in the pocket when not carrying a 45. To me, the 357 is strictly a people gun. In the 70s I got a 41 M57 6″ & 8 3/8. Have had 2 M57s & have a Taurus now to play with. Had it, shot it, shot game with it & it does not impress me compared to the 44s. They flat kill stuff better. Now I don’t have a problem with recoil & load hot to start & go up from there. I do not, at all, find the 44s hard to shoot fast & accurately. I actually run my 4″ Smith 240SWC at 1100, on my tactical pistol range sometimes, right along with the 357s & 45s & it does fine with multi target, rapid shots. In Alaska when I lived there in the 70s(& 80s,90s, 2000s), the 44 was what you carried for bear protection & I never felt underguned. Sure, when the 454 Ruger came out I carried it, & the 500 when it came out (went back to the 454), but would not worry a bit, if I was carrying it. (255- 270s hard cast, run as fast as the gun would stand) The 41 is a fine cartridge, but why have the junior when you can have the senior, better, cartridge.

  17. Can’t wait to compare the .44 vs. the .41 and after testing the .357 hammerless it seems to be a good fit for a carry weapon but not in the same class as the other ‘hunting’ types. Appreciate the knowledge Ed.

  18. After trying a couple of .44 Magnums, I got the chance to try a Ruger Redhawk in .44 Mag. Other than the massive muzzle blast, I was pleasantly surprised with the lighter perceived recoil compared to that of the others. I attributed that to the absolutely smooth wood grips, thus leaving skin on the hands intact, and with the large hump to prevent the firearm from rotating in the hand on recoil.

    It seems Hornady make ammo, that must be at the VERY upper limit on pressure, as they just seem a lot hotter than other brands.

    One thing I have learned from reading CTD stories, magnum bullets should be referred to as Hard Cast, not lead, as there is an important difference.

  19. In 1962, nine years before Dirty Harry, I went to work for an old Sheriff who didn’t furnish our sidearms. I picked up a 4″ Model 29 and carried it for the next four years, reloading and shooting over 800 rounds a month, becoming quite proficient on targets and jack-rabbits. We used the Bill Jordan style of shooting then, with one hand. I have had .357’s and .41 Mags as well but still prefer the ‘ole .44, all be it primarily with .44 Specials now for old hands and wrists. It was reported that when I came on duty packing the “big” gun, the baddies stood down (mostly because of the gun’s reputation}.

  20. Am glad to own revolvers in all three calibers: Ruger GP-100 and Colt King Cobra in .357; Smith Model 57 in .41; and Ruger Redhawk in .44 Maggie. All delightful performers!

  21. I’ve had and used a S&W Model 57 in 41 Magnum for many years, It is an accurate, powerful round and suitable for shooting almost anything that really needs shooting! I handload it with a heavy hard cast Lyman bullet #410426 and it is very accurate.

  22. Another great piece from TRMIMITW.
    I prefer the 429 magnum myself in a nice model 69 L frame with 240 grain hornady bullets.
    I’ve shot the .41 and agree it’s magnificent. Dropped a hog with .44 and no longer own any 357s. In the range of 38/357 my autoloaders took over.
    Elmer Keith was a great creator. Fun facts: A rare popular culture mention of him was on the show Sledgehammer. Sledge carried .44 and had the only S&W that could talk. Well maybe that wasn’t real. Watch the episode To Live and Die on TV and listen for the name Elmer Keith.

  23. My first magnum of any caliber was a surplus Georgia State Patrol 4″ Model 28 I bought in college for $125, but I soon had it bored out to 44 Special. This was eventually replaced by a 4″ Model 19. Other 357s have followed over the years but I still shoot that lovely 19. My first 44 Magnum was a 4″ Model 29. It’s mainly loaded these days with rat shot to dispatch rodents, but it first drew blood in Africa nearly 40 years ago when it administered the coup de grace on a 700 pound waterbuck. The round I assembled was a 255 grain Keith lead SWC traveling at 1200 fps (according to the manual). Back then this was the heaviest published load data I could find. I only got into 41 Magnums in 2017, but included in my stable are a 4″ Model 58 and 6″ Model 57. The latter is much more pleasant to shoot, so I can understand why the cartridge never really caught on with police.

  24. I find the 357 to be a great gun to carry for fishing, camping, etc…my personal choice for this is a S&W M60 3”…the first load in the chamber a birdshot load, the other 4, a 158 gr hardcast… I have done some hunting with the 357(even took a whitetail doe with the M60), and find it a good choice, especially if the game is under 100 lbs…
    The 41 magnum,at least to me, a jack of all trades and master of none… although I feel that the 10mm semiautomatic is interesting, and they are ballisticly similar.
    The 44 magnum is way more versatile when it comes to hunting,in my opinion. While not as good as the 357 in terms of self defense against a person, it walks all over it for hunting, especially if you handload

  25. I like the Ruger Blackhawk 45 convertible 4 5/8″ barrel. It shoots 45 Colt and 45 ACP with 2 different included cylinders. 45 Colt today can be loaded to near 44 Mag velocities and 45 ACP is a great
    cartridge and reasonably priced in 2024.
    Great revolver, single action, accurate, durable and 2 great cartridges for hunting, plinking and self defense!

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