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Hello; I`m new on here, and I`m trying to decide between .357 or .44. Mainly for range shooting,plinking and possibily an hog once in a while. Any suggestions ? Thanks, buddyboy
 

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Probably 50 to 100 yds,about all I can do without a scope. Also mostly feral hogs, nothing to big as I`d like to butcher them. : Also it seems ammo is about the same price. Thanks
 

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Go with the 44. It can be loaded down and using lighter projectiles recoil is minimal, ideal for plinking at the range. Though it can be turned into a potent weapon for piggies with full house loads, will flatten any hog with the right bullets.
 

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I dont have the 357, but I would say go with the .44. It can do all the other one can and more. you can always shoot 44 special for paper and then use .44 mag for hunting.

Cheers,
Mad
 
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Either will do what you're wanting, but the 357 magnum will cost a lot less to shoot if you handload. It's also a "lot" more small game friendly when loaded down.
 

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I went with the 44 Cowboy in the 24" barrel version. It took me a bit to reconcile with the bore, as it is a bit big. Other than that, it has the versitility that the 44 is known for. It can be a pop can gun, or a pretty good thumper, with the heavy loads. Personally, I think it is at it's best, when loaded light to medium with cast bullets and just used as a fun gun, but that's just me.
Regards
Bestboss
 
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Jerry Lester--

Just a quick question. I don't want to sidetrack the thread.

I have an 1894C in .357 Mag. and have standardized on 158 gr. bullets for the best compromise on weight, velocity, and trajectory for hunting deer at close range. Would the Hornady FP/XTP in that weight be the best bullet for hogs? If not, what would you suggest?

Thank you.........
 

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I wouldn't use the XTP on deer. If was designed for handgun velocities and could fall apart, not to say it couldn't do the job though I'd take out insurance on a tougher projectile. I know you like the 158g, though I would recommend the nosler partition HG in 180g( higher S.D as well giving more penetration) but sacrificing a little velocity. It will impart shock and penetrate deeply. The 2nd I'd recommend is a JSP and 3rdly a good hard cast projectile. Out of a rifle, the 357 puts out 1175 foot pounds of energy compared to the 44's 1650 with factory loads ( ref winchester.com) though these can be improved on with handloading. Shot placement is much more critical whilst whilst using the 357, though it can do the job.

http://www.nosler.com/data357mag180gr.html
 

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Mtn Hawk said:
Jerry Lester--

Just a quick question. I don't want to sidetrack the thread.

I have an 1894C in .357 Mag. and have standardized on 158 gr. bullets for the best compromise on weight, velocity, and trajectory for hunting deer at close range. Would the Hornady FP/XTP in that weight be the best bullet for hogs? If not, what would you suggest?

Thank you.........
The 158g XTP-FP is an outstanding performer on deer at revolver velocities, but in a rifle with full house loads, it's just not quite tough enough in my opinion. For hogs(not speaking from first hand experience) I'd say it'll let you down. I haven't hunted hogs with the 357, but I'm reasonably sure that with a good broadside shot into the vitals, a 158g Remington SP should work fine.

You might be better off though going with a cast bullet in the 160g-180g range if you're expecting to shoot a hog bigger than maybe a couple hundred pounds.
 
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In my opinion I would say go with the .44, not because I don't think that the .357 won't work on hogs but it would give you extra insurance in bullet weight.
 

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reneerick and Jerry Lester--

Thanks for your replies! I have learned much from this forum and appreciate everyone's help and advice.

The Hornady catalog says the 158 gr. FP/XTP will perform reliably from 1150 to 1800 fps, although of course I always trust the info I get from people who have actually used them. The reason I prefer 158 gr. bullets over 180 gr. is more velocity and thus better trajectory, although I've heard good things about the Nosler 180 gr.

Jerry, I recently bought 500 Remington SPs based on your recommendation from another thread. I'm looking forward to using them.

I prefer FPs over HPs because I think the HPs are too frangible to give adequate penetration if they hit bone, especially at the higher rifle velocities. Not many shots at game animals are absolutely perfect and I want every advantage possible, especially with a handgun cartridge.

I've had leading problems with cast bullets at much lower velocities than I'm capable of getting with the 1894C, so avoid them, although they were manufactured bullets. People who cast their own might not have this problem.

I am getting about 1425 ft/lbs at the muzzle with 158 gr. bullets. It's been awhile since I compared the ballistics differences between the .357 and .44 but I don't remember it being much.
 

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Mtn Hawk said:
I've had leading problems with cast bullets at much lower velocities than I'm capable of getting with the 1894C, so avoid them, although they were manufactured bullets. People who cast their own might not have this problem.
Try using gas-checked cast bullets to reduce leading. I am loading some Cast Performance Bullets in 187 gr. gas checked and am anxious to shoot some.

I just bought an 1894C in .357, and love it, but haven't shot it enough to get a feel for loads/velocities. I am planning on getting one in .44 Stainless next, so the only decision I will have to make is which gun to use! Just get one of each :wink: !
 

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GSPKurt--

Thanks for the info on Cast Performance. Do you have any idea what velocity these bullets can be shot without leading? I like cast bullets but don't want to hassle with leading problems.

The July-August, 2006, issue of Rifle magazine has a great article on loading .357 Mag. for rifles. You might be able to get a back issue, if you're interested.

I hope you enjoy your .44 SS. I'm planning to get a 336 soon.
 

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Mtn Hawk,

I've been shooting home cast 180 gr GC at over 1700 fps without undue leading. That is with air cooled plain wheelweight alloy. 1425 fps with 158 gr jacketed pills sounds like a midrange load out of an 18" barrel, depending on what powder you're using.
 

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Here's an article by John Taffin on the 1894 in .357.
There are some very small groups at the end of the article!


Levergun loads: the .357 Magnum: it's not just for revolvers

By John Taffin

The .357 Magnum debuted in 1935 smack dab in the middle of the Depression. It was certainly not a six-gun that everyone could afford. Six years later we would be at war and production of Smith & Wesson's original and magnificent .357 Magnum ceased. Even after the war ended it would be quite a time before shooters saw the .357 Magnum again, in fact well into the 1950s. Smith & Wesson offered the original .357 Magnum as well as a less nicely finished version--the Highway Patrolman. and the brand-new Combat Magnum. Great Western had appeared on the scene with a Single Action Frontier Model in .357, and the relative newcomer. Sturm, Ruger, had introduced the first thoroughly modernized single action, the .357 Blackhawk.
Even though it made total sense, no one offered a .357 Magnum levergun at that time. To obtain one, it was necessary to have an original Winchester Model 92 .25-20 or .32-20 converted. A gunsmith at the time, one Ward Koozer of Arizona, had a lively business converting such leverguns to .357, and with the arrival of the .44 Magnum, both Winchester and El Tigre .44-40s were converted to that caliber.
I wanted a .357 Magnum six-gun and a companion levergun. However, it was necessary to graduate, get a job and make money. By 1957, I had my .357 six-guns--a Smith & Wesson Highway Patrolman and a Ruger Blackhawk. I could still hear the siren song of a .357 levergun. Time passed. Marriage. College. Babies. There was no money available for a factory produced levergun even if one did exist let alone dollars to spend on a custom conversion. It was during my college years that Marlin saw fit to introduce a levergun for a six-gun cartridge, however the 1963-issued version was in .44 not .357. The Marlin 336 I purchased after graduation as a companion levergun to a Ruger Super Blackhawk and Smith & Wesson Model 29 is still going strong these many years later. Finally, in 1969 Marlin satisfied my desires with the first factory produced, honest-to-goodness, .357 Magnum. the 1894C. To this day it remains one of Marlin's most popular leverguns.
To me, the 10-shot 1894C .357 Magnum is the handiest and most desirable of all centerfire rifles of any caliber or action type. There is very little needing to be done with a rifle that I cannot accomplish with this little Marlin. It is not the perfect choice and perhaps not even a good choice for hunting big game. However. I have no doubt I could keep my family fed, and fed well with nothing else but a .22 and a .357 Magnum Marlin.



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So-called “assault rifles” are very popular with those who think they need them for defensive purposes. However, the little .357 Magnum fits right in here as well and is much easier to pack, shoot, reload for and, most importantly, for which to carry an adequate supply of ammunition. Add to this extremely, mild recoil for the muzzle energy produced, and certainly even greater accuracy than is needed, and the .357 Magnum levergun moves to the top of my list.
Once Marlin started producing the .357 Magnum levergun, others followed suit. For a while Browning offered the Model B92. a 10-shot replica of the original Winchester 1892 in both .357 and .44 Magnum. Long out of production, both are eagerly sought at gun shows. Winchester chambered its Model 94 Trapper in .357 and Rossi did likewise with the Puma, another Winchester Model 92 spin-off. Today .357 Magnums are offered in several levergun versions from Marlin and Winchester as well as Winchester Model 1892 replicas from several importers. The latter is available in both blue and stainless steel versions. Currently my original .357 Marlin has been joined by a second 1894C, a gun shop find. One wears iron sights and the other a 4X scope. I also shoot Browning’s B92. Winchester’s Trapper. And a Rossi Model 92. All of these guns will find their way into the hands of my grandkids someday.
Although chambered for a cartridge most often found in six-guns, it is not quite as easy to come up with great loads for a levergun as it is for a revolver. Powder selection is quite simple as to use the same powders normally used for .357 six-gun loads. Those powders are 2400. H4227. AA No. 9. and WW296 with cast bullets, and the addition of VVN110. Enforcer. And Li’l Gun for jacketed bullet use. Large volumes of loads are assembled on RCBS’s Pro-2000 Progressive Reloader using Redding’s .357 Magnum dies. I prefer the primer strips of the RCBS 2000 to loading primer tubes as well as appreciating the fact primer seating is nearly foolproof with this progressive press. Redding’s dies seem to be held to very tight tolerances and .357 Magnum ammunition loaded with these dies fit every .357 Magnum six-gun and levergun I have tried them in. This has not always been true with some other makes of dies.




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Most .357 Magnum six-guns will shoot anything well that will chamber in the cylinder. Not so with leverguns. Some of my most used .357 Magnum reloads for several decades have been assembled with Lyman’s 58429, Elmer Keith’s original designed .38 semi-wadcutter; and RCBS’s shorter nosed version, 38-150KT, With my alloy, these weigh in at 173 grains and 155 grains, respectively. However, both are plain-based bullets without gas checks and, although they work well in revolvers, it is normally a waste of time to try to get adequate accuracy from them at Magnum velocities in a lever rifle. Believe me, I, have, tried, with results all the way from a “tight” three inches at 50 yards up to some bullets not even hitting the target at that distance.
A second problem that occurs has to do With overall length. Keith designed his 358429 for heavy-duty loads in the .38 Special prior to the advent of the .357 Magnum. When loaded in .357 brass and crimped in the crimping groove, the overall cartridge length is longer than the cylinder of the original Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum resulting in the nose of the cartridge protruding from the end of the cylinder. However, all current large-framed .357 Magnum revolvers that I’m aware of will handle magnum loads with Keith’s bullet properly loaded. This is not true with leverguns. This particular round will feed well only in Winchester’s Model 94, poorly in Marlin’s 1894C, and not at all in the replica Model 92s. All loads assembled with RCBS’s 38-150 KT feed fine in all .357 Magnum leverguns, however, unless muzzle velocities are held way below Magnum levels, accuracy is very poor with both bullets. Cast bullets will work both in the Marlin and Browning .357 leverguns, how ever, for any kind of acceptable results, they must have gas checks.
One of the all-time favorite bullets for the .357 Magnum is Lyman’s 358156GC designed by Ray Thompson. Thompson’s .38 bullet has two crimping grooves, and Skeeter Skelton had high regard for this bullet especially when used to assemble heavy-duly .38 loads by crimping in the bottom crimp groove. This gave the same basic powder capacity as when loaded in .357 Magnum brass and crimped in the top groove.





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This is not only an excellent bullet for revolvers, it is also one of the best cast bullets available for leverguns. With this bullet, my preference is for .357 Magnum brass crimped in the top crimping groove. Loaded over 16 grains of 2400 ignited by CCI 550 Magnum Pistol Primer, it gives a muzzle velocity of more than 1,900 fps from Marlin’s 18 ½” barrel. To put this into proper perspective, consider that the original .30-30 load in 1895 was a 160 grain bullet at 1,950 fps. This load is superbly accurate however. While it is found in older loading manuals for use in revolvers, it may be too warm when using the current version of Alliant’s 2400 in six-guns. Two lesser loads that still shoot extremely well in leverguns and are also perfectly acceptable for revolver use are assembled with 14.5 grains of H4227 for just under 1.600 fps or 14 grains of AA9 for right at 1.750 fps.
A commercial version of this gas checked bullet with one crimping groove is BRP’s 155 SWCGC. Loaded over the long time standard .357 Magnum charge of 15 grains of 2400, the muzzle velocity is well over 1,800 fps with three-shot groups of less than two inches obtained at 50 yards. As a cast bullet combination six-gun/levergun load for those who do not cast their own it would be hard to beat.
As with most six-guns, leverguns also do their very best with heavy bullets in the 180 to 190 grain range. Two commercial bullets that are available that fit this category are BRP’s 180-grain SWCGC and Cast Performance Bullet Co.’s 187-grain LBTGC. Both of these bullets are phenomenally accurate in the Marlin 1894C when loaded over 13 grains of WW296 for just under 1,500 fps. These are not maximum loads. However I prefer them as they also work exceptionally well exhibiting excellent accuracy and light recoil in a pair of Ruger .357 Flat-Top Blackhawks, one an original 4 5/8-inch version and the second one a custom 10 ½” bull barreled long-range shooter. I’m a great advocate of “Don’t fix what ain’t broke,” and this load is definitely not broke.
Either one of these bullets will give maximum penetration and would be my choice for use on feral hogs. They would also be adequate for deer but l would be more inclined to choose a jacketed bullet, preferably a hollow point. I have found Hodgdon’s Li’l’ Gun to be a stellar performer in the .357 Magnum. Hornady’s 158-grain XTP over 18 grains of Li’l Gun clocks out at the 1,825 fps and puts three shots in less than one inch at 50 yards. I often hunt in Texas where one could encounter whitetail, javelina, and turkey all from the same blind on the same morning. This load is accurate enough to head shoot turkeys and not ruin any edible meat.


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Speer’s 158-grain JFP over 15.5 gr. Of 2400, a longtime standard .357 Magnum load, is slightly slower at around 1,750 fps but is just as accurate. Speer also has a line of copper-cupped bullets with pure lead cores in .357 diameter and is available in a 160-grain JFP or 146-grain JHP. The former loaded over the same charge of 18 grains of Li’l Gun is just under 1,900 fps from the 18 ½” barreled Marlin and also puts three shots in less than one inch at 50 yards. This is an excellent choice or broadside shots on deer and deer-sized game with as much or more expansion than a hollow point.
The .357 Magnum has been around six-gun style for nearly 70 years. For most of that time there has been a continuing argument over whether or not it is adequate for deer. When the same loads are placed in a levergun there is no argument. It certainly is.
For quality gas-checked cast bullets’ readers can contact Jay Sanders of BRP at P.O. Box 70, Whitehall MT 59759; (406) 287-3120; or Kelly Brost of Cast Performance Bullet Co., P.O. Box 153, Riverton, WY 82501; (307) 857-2940.
BROWNING B91 20” BARREL

JACKETED BULLET LOADS

Bullet Load/Powder Velocity Group Size
(grains weight) (fps) (3 shots @ 50 yds)

Speer 140JHP 19.5 WW296 1,902 1 5/8
Hornady 140 JHP 17.5 2400 2,020 1 ¾
Speer 158 JHP 15.5 2400 1,745 1 ¾
Hornady 158 JHP 15.5 2400 1,816 1 7/8
Hornady 158 JHP 17.5 WW296 1,802 1 ½










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MARLIN 1984C 18 1/2" BARREL

CAST BULLET LOADS
CCI 550 Magnum Pistol Primer
Bullet Load/Powder Velocity Group Size
(grains weight) (fps) (50 yds)

Lyman 358156GC 16.0 2400 1,902 3/4
Lyman 358156GC 14.5 H4227 1,588 1 1/4
Lyman 358156GC 14.0 AA9 1,744 1
BRP 155 SWCGC 15.0 2400 1,834 1 1/2
BRP 180 SWCGC 13.0 WW296 1,469 3/8
CPB 187 LBT 13.0 WW296 1,490 7/8

JACKETED BULLET LOADS

Bullet Load/Powder Velocity Group Size
(grains weight) (fps) (3 shots @ 50 yds)

Hornady 140 XTP 15.0 AA9 1,882 1 3/8
Hornady 140 XTP 19.5 WW296 1,962 1
Hornady 158 XTP 14.0 2400 1,677 1
Hornady 158 XTP 18.0 L'IL GUN 1,828 3/4
Hornady 158 XTP 17.5 WW296 1,858 1
Nosler 158 JHP 14.0 2400 1,760 1
Sierra 140 JHC 15.0 AA9 1,842 1

Bullet Load/Powder Velocity Group Size
(grains weight) (fps) (3 shots @ 50 yds)

Sierra 158 JHC 13.0 Enforcer 1,688 1
Sierra 170 JHC 14.0 2400 1,657 2
Speer 140 JHP 17.5 2400 1,995 1
Speer 158 GD-HP 18.0 L'IL GUN 1,845 1 1/4
Speer 158 JFP 15.5 2400 1,742 3/4
Speer 160 JFP 18.0 Li’l Gun 1,888 7/8
Speer 170 GDHP 14.0 2400 1,597 1
 
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