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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own a S&W 686 5 inch 357. I'm considering getting a S&W 629 44 mag in 3 inch. Will the shortened barrel of the 3 inch cause me to lose enoug energy to make this a wash? I'm looking to hike/camp with the gun and wondering if I'd be better off to just stick with what I've got.
Thanks for your advice/help.
 

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According to this website it's pretty much a wash.
You can get the fps from the website but the 44 will still put
down something pretty fast, but the 357 mag is no slouch.
How well you can hit with it is a factor as well.

BBTI - Ballistics by the Inch :: Home

44mag.png 357mag.png
 

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The .44 with its wider meplat (face) will have far greater knock-down power and less chance of passing through the target to expend its energy elsewhere. When shooting .44 mag, I like to mix them in with .44 special, so I can teach my nervous system to be prepared for either. The .44 special +P is no slouch either.
 

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I think the issue is the OP will have to Buy another gun and unless he is in Grizz country
the 357 mag loaded with 180grain bear loads should easily suffice.

Of course if the OP just wants a reason to tell his wife he NEEDS a Ruger Alaskan 44 Mag
then by all means he absolutely needs it. :biggrin:
 

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As implied byothers here...looks to be just about a wash. I think we tend to put too much faith in numbers when we talk about guns and power factors and such. Between a 5" 357 and a 3" 44....the reckon the biggest difference is which feels more comfortable to you.
 

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Something else to look at is sight radius. A 3" pistol for me is a close and personal gun. With a 5" I can each out to 50 yards.

The only thing certain is as soon as you make the trade you will see a gun that's more like what you want.
 

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Anything that starts with a 4 (or Larger) is Bettererer in my book! :)

That's how I roll at least..... YMMV

BloodGroove4570
 

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Have it all image.jpg . The Model 69 is an L frame 5 shot 44 magnum with a 4 inch barrel. I wear padded bicycle gloves when shooting the hard cast heavy rounds but it has much more authority than my 686 .357 magnum. However even my snubbie 44 magnums I have put against the heavy .357 magnum rounds and the 44 magnum push deeper and make a wider hole. With caribou prefer the 357 for less damage but with moose the 44 magnum with a good round is better. If the recoil is too much though it is a poor idea to trade up. Better hits rule. My Model 69 has virtually retired my other outdoor handguns as it fits my hands better than the larger N frames I have, is more handy and every bit as accurate. In some circumstances I bring out my Night Guard 44. Personal choice is the 44 magnum even shorter barrel for outdoor but this is my Alaska bias. Nice problem to have, best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'd like to thank everyone for their input. Although it appears to be a wash, I think I may buy it anyway. It's a very nice S&W 629 at a very reasonable price. There are times when the 3 inch barrel is easier to pack then the 5 inch barrel. Also, to be honest, I like that although not rare, the 3 inch version of this pistol appears not to be overly common.
 

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I have a M69 and the best part of that is you can use your holsters for your 686. A 3" 629 is like carrying a brick. I have had a few and have never been satisfied with accuracy or handling versus the longer barreled models. Another thing is that even with mild loads a 3" 44 is brutal to shoot. Muzzle blast is tremendous. They are neat guns but I much prefer my M69 as an overall woods bopping gun. It takes K frame grips and holsters but 4-1/4 barrel makes it much nicer to shoot.
 

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I've got a 5" .44 Mag S&W 629 that is terrific to carry in bear country. Have taken a couple of mule deer with it over the years. Great piece of gear.

The .357 is a whole lot less cartridge, though plenty for most sitations.

Guy
 

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Having both, I can say with confidence that the .357 will handle anything in the lower 48 for the outdoor activity your speaking about. However, if your going to do your hiking/camping in Alaska then the .44 is a good choice.

Just saying.....
 

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Richard, I have a S&W model 629 (44Mag) with a 4" barrel. I use "full house" loads with cast bullets (Lyman #2 alloy) in it for bear protection. It is a "kicker" but very manageable with some practice. My wife uses a S&W model 586 (357Mag) with a 4" barrel (because of the less recoil) for the same thing with the same kind of loads with confidence.
IMO, both guns you mention will serve you well except for the BIG bears.
Jack
 

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FWIW, IMHO, judging from personal experience in black bear country, up close and personal, EVERY bear is a BIG BEAR and even the .44 on my hip did little but make me slightly more comfortable in backing away, slowly. YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here it is, my new (to me) 629. I put 24 260 grain magnum loads through it, and 26 specials. I need to get used to it, but I don't find the magnum loads unbearable. The special loads are a breez to shoot, very enjoyable.

image.jpg

image.jpg

image.jpg
 

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Having both, I can say with confidence that the .357 will handle anything in the lower 48 for the outdoor activity your speaking about. However, if your going to do your hiking/camping in Alaska then the .44 is a good choice.

Just saying.....
I find myself hunting, fishing, camping and hiking in grizzly country fairly often, here in the lower 48. The big bore revolver is a comfort at such times.

Regards, Guy
 

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Having both, I can say with confidence that the .357 will handle anything in the lower 48 for the outdoor activity your speaking about. However, if your going to do your hiking/camping in Alaska then the .44 is a good choice.

Just saying.....
I just have to ask how many bears you've shot with the .357?

-Will-
 
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I'm buying a camp and the area is crawling with everything you can imagine.
We went up and a black bear was walking down the road.
He ran real fast when I beeped the horn a few times.
This was on a main road, such as they are up there.
In the woods I'll rely on a 357 mag because I can hit what I am aiming at
with it. 180 grain bear loads should do the trick.
 
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