357 Magnum vs. 44 Magnum
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When someone is using a gun or a rifle, they will think about the best cartridge to be used. The internet is the best place that helps you to consult about the choice. Generally, there is a debate between 357 Magnum vs. 44 Magnum about the best one standing. Both of them have originated in the USA and people have loved them for a while. We wanted to clear out the air between them to provide a clear and comprehensive picture of the real thing to expect from both of them. We think that this will be great for shooters and hunters who are always looking for the best products to avoid misses. So, let us begin with it.

357 Magnum vs 44 Magnum: History

The .357 Magnum cartridges were made to be used by the police department as they needed a better terminal performing handgun load in the 1930s. So, the cartridge was developed by Elmer Keith, Phil Sharpe, along with Smith and Wesson, by performing changes on the .38 that was used back then. Unrivalled velocity and terminal ballistic performances are a key part of .357 and it did make it popular to be used as a tool of shooting, hunting as well as for self-defense. The design of the cartridge is such that it penetrates quite deep.

The .44 cartridge was introduced a little late in and around 1956. It was also developed for better velocity and energy. It was introduced by Elmer Keith, along with the Smith and Wesson Company, by developing the .44 special. Later, Remington, as well as Smith and Wesson, began to spread the cartridges commercially and they became a friend for the shooters and the hunters.
So, now that we know a bit about both of them let us see the difference that they have in their performance. We have divided it into different points so that it is easier for you to understand.


When you are buying cartridges, the first thing that you notice is the way that it looks. So, here are some of the things that we noticed in them. The first difference that we can see is in the makeup of the cartridges. The .357 Mag is smaller compared to the .44 Mag. The later one has a more voluminous cartridge, which helps store more gun powder, and it is also able to take better pressure after ignition. As the neck is longer in the .44 Mag, it can hold bullets of heavier grain compared to the .357 Mag. So, let us see how the two differ in terms of performance.

Ballistic Performance:

When we are talking about cartridges, we cannot skip talking about its ballistic performance as it is one of the key parts of developing a new cartridge. As we said above, both the cartridges were made when people felt that they needed better velocity and energy. A bullet needs to travel well and have good penetration to be effective. Knowing about the ballistic performance is especially required for the hunters who want to know about their probability of getting their target.


Just like we have learned in physics, velocity is needed when it comes to the performance of a bullet. The velocity will also tell the probability of the penetration of the bullet after shooting. We want the right amount of velocity for any cartridge as too much velocity can make the bullet get away without expanding or fragmentation.

The .357 Mag has higher velocity compared to the .44 Mag at a distance of around 100 yards, but they do perform quite similar at the 50 yards mark. The .44 Mag can be a little slower as it deals with heavier bullets, which results in heavy recoil. If you want a faster velocity, you always have the option to choose smaller and lighter bullets. You should also note that the length of the gun barrel may also have a role in the velocity of the bullet.


The trajectory is an especially important part of deciding on cartridges when someone is dealing with rifles. Still, we think that it is also a key thing in determining for handgun cartridges. You may never expect it at a distance of 500 yards, but we believe that a distance of 50 to 100 yards is a good measure. There is no specific difference in 357 Magnum vs. 44 Magnum when it comes to the trajectory in the 50 yards mark. Both of them have been popular among people who need it for self-defense, and we can see the reason.

At about 100 yards, the drop rate of .44 Magnum does increase compared to .357 Magnums because of its capacity of taking heavy bullets, but the performance is quite similar as it is just 2-3 inches. If someone takes time to fire there shot, then they would get their predicted trajectory performance.

Ballistic Coefficient:

This coefficient is derived after studying the variables of bullet dimensions and it helps in determining if the bullet is streamlined or not. A bullet with a better ballistic coefficient can have minimal air drag, which allows it to cut through the air and it is also less prone to wind drift. It has been seen that the .357 Mag and the .44 Mag doesn’t have much difference when it comes to ballistic coefficients. Both of them have a similar ballistic coefficient, which isn’t great, just like several other cartridges that are used for handguns. The coefficient often depends on the design of the rounds.


You do not want your bullet to miss the target even when you are aiming it perfectly. So, the cartridge that you choose should also come with great accuracy. As we said, both the loads are quite popular among people who use their handgun for self-defense when accuracy is expected to be maximum. As the shots are close-ranged and the shooter can often be a novice, measuring efficiency can, at times, be challenging. Still, we thought of comparing the accuracy of 357 Magnum vs. 44 Magnum. Both of them experience minimal bullet drop, so you can expect them to hit the target just fine up to 50 yards.

If you want to go above 70 yards, the .357 Mag is much more accurate. The accuracy of the cartridges differs in terms of recoil. The .44 Mag has greater recoil than compared to .357 Mag. So, a person who is used to heavier recoil will get better performance from the .44 Mag. If we note these, then .357 Mag is a better choice to go for when it comes to self-defense. The cartridges are also very similar when it comes to ballistic performances of them. We think that that the accuracy of the shot will significantly depend on the experience and skill of the shooter.

Stopping Power:

As the velocity drives the bullet, it should also have to stop power. This power ensures that the bullet hits the target, penetrates and then expands and then transforms into fragmentation. So, to make all those things happen, the bullet should stop at the right time and this will depend on the cartridge. Here we will learn about the facets of the stopping power that helps these cartridges to work properly and because of that, they are considered some of the best cartridges for hunting and shooting.


The kinetic energy that is present on the bullet is an important part of its stopping power. The energy is transferred into the target object and it causes the damage that is seen. This damage is very important when it comes to a person who is using the handgun for self-defense or hunting. The amount of velocity and the expansion power often lets us know about the energy that will be achieved by the bullet.

In the 357 Magnum vs. 44 Magnum, it has been seen that a .44 Mag transfer greater energy into the target than a .357 Mag even when it is fired from a distance of 100 yards. It may come up to about 600 ft. Lb. At 100 yards, which is amazing stopping power. The .357 Mag cartridges are nothing less; they also perform well. When tested at 50 yards, it resulted in being 500 ft. Lb. which is quite good. It was also seen that when a heavier bullet is used with .357 Mag, it can transfer more power, which transforms into greater damage.


This is another factor involved in stopping factor, which makes a difference. A bullet needs to penetrate the right amount so that it can transfer the kinetic energy into the target so that it gets the damage and fragmentation. The sectional density of a bullet transferred by the specified cartridge is the way that the penetration is measured. The bullet is generally fired into a ballistic gel, which is said to mimic the human flesh or the target. The bullets weight and diameter is the way to determine the sectional density.

If a bullet expands rapidly and turns into fragmentation, then it may stop before penetrating well. It should also be noted that the design of the bullet will also be a factor in penetration. It is often seen that the bullets from .44 Mag have a deeper and lasting penetration compared to the .357 Mag bullets. The recoil of .44 Mag is much more compared to that of .357 Mag because it can take heavier bullets and it also transfers into more energy and pressure. When the weight of the .44 Mag decreases, so does its penetration and at 200 grams, it works quite similar to the standard size .357 Mag.


Recoil is quite an essential factor when you are using a handgun. If you are someone who is using a handgun for the first time, then you will never want to experience heavy recoil as it may prevent you from shooting successively. When a handgun is for self-defense, you will want to use it successively when you shoot. Recoil is also a factor that affects accuracy. As we have told before, both the .44 Mag and .357 Mag are mighty. But if we compare between the two cartridges, the .357 Mag has less recoil compared to the .44 Mag.

The model of handgun that you are using will also be a factor when it comes to the recoil. So, when it is being measured, the barrel length, grip style, gun weight, and the bullet is also considered for getting the best results. The recoil that a person uses will often depend on the model of handgun that you are using. The larger diameter of the .44 Mag is often the reason behind its heavy recoil. Apart from the recoil that is felt, it is also a factor behind the energy that will be transferred into the target when the bullet penetrates.

One of the common ways of calculating it is through a ballistics calculator in which the weight of the bullet, powder charge, the firearm weight, and the muzzle velocity are kept as factors. So, it can be said that if you are new at using handguns, then you may use a .357 Mag, and with the time you can use .44Mag when you get further used to the firearm that you are using.


By now, we have talked about the overall performance of the cartridges, both of which are quite popular among handgun users. So, it is time that we saw the areas where the cartridges are used. Choosing the right cartridge will often depend on the bullet that you want to use. You want the bullet to perfectly fit the cartridge so that it provides the best performance. It has been seen that a .44 Mag works better with a trail gun. This is great for self-defense when you have to shoot a bear or any other predators. The impact is much heavier, which leads to better damage. So, when you go camping or hunting, it is better to take .44 Mags with you rather than .357 Mags. It has also been seen that a .44 Mag works marvelously well when the carbine is added to it, especially in case of the big game. One of the foremost reasons is because of the greater penetration achieved by the .44 Mag.

Both of the cartridges offer great power when it comes to home defense. We do think that the .357 Mag will be better at handling successive shots for something that isn’t used to shooting through a handgun regularly. The accuracy of .357 Mag is also greater in such situations. A .44 Mag fails in such situations because of its heavy recoil, which can be felt by the shooter.

Both of the cartridges have good penetration and you do not need to worry about over penetration for them. A lot of the performance of the bullet will also depend on the design of the bullet as well as on the shot fired by the person. We will recommend you to get it.357 Mag for home defense and for hunting small games, whereas you can use a .44 Mag for bigger games and when you need a shot that is much more powerful. Also, if you want a firearm that is concealed, then we will recommend you to get the .357 Mag as it can fit smaller bullets and you can use it in firearms that you can hide. Still, you should remember that smaller barrels often result in heavier recoil.


When you are buying cartridges, it is always better to get them in more numbers as it costs less. If you want to spend less, then do load the ammo yourself. To save on time, you can buy factory loaded ones in which the .44 Mag will cost much more than the .357 Mag. In all cases, the .44 Mag requires more compared to .357 Mags.

Along with that, there are different varieties when it comes to .357 Mag, which isn’t available for .44 Mag. The renowned ammo manufacturers do produce them and you will get them at all the shops. We will always advise you to take help from the internet to buy different kinds of ammunition.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, we can say that there isn’t a huge difference between the .44 Mag and the .357 Mag. So, our 357 Magnum vs. 44 Magnum finally comes to an end and till now, we have seen that both of them are powerful. Both of them work great for shooting, hunting, and self-defense. You need to note the points that we have mentioned above, and we are sure that you will get good results from them. The choice of buying will rest on you and the firearm that you are currently using. We hope that you great satisfaction when you buy your ammunition.


  1. “Both of the cartridges have good penetration and you do not need to worry about over penetration for them.”

    That’s mostly true since .44 Magnum is so powerful, but not strictly true if we’re talking about self-protection against two-legged critters. As one medical examiner explained, he never saw a .44 magnum stay in a body or a .357 Magnum leave one. Even with the powerful .44 Magnum, it essentially becomes a 9mm in terms of stopping power when it over penetrates. In fact, it’s failure to incapacitate is 13% which is tied with 9mm and .40 S&W (https://www.buckeyefirearms.org/alternate-look-handgun-stopping-power). On the other hand, .357 Magnum and .357 SIG, are both tied with centerfire rifles at 9% because they’re more likely to stay in the body and fully transfer their energy. That’s only a 4% advantage, but that still increases your odds significantly over say mastering one-handed manipulations, for example. As Jon from Active Self Protection points out, he had to watch over 1600 videos of gunfights before he saw a reload. Add to that needing to perform a reload with a one-handed manipulation and the odds becomes astronomically insignificant in my opinion.


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