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.357 vs .44 mag?

dennbidennbi Member Posts: 9 ✭✭
I am new to getting into cowboy shooting and don't have a lot of money for a lever action rifle. I have .357 pistols but .357 lever actions are more than .44mag lever action and I could occasionally use the 44mag lever to hunt with, but the 44 ammo is twice as expensive and I do not reload.Is there a better reason for one over the other aside from the cost of the ammo?
Also I like a 24" barrel, would that be too long for cowboy shooting?
I think 24" would be better for hunting if I just had one rifle to do both?
Thanks
DB

Comments

  • 44caliberkid44caliberkid Member Posts: 925 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    A .357 lever action rifle shouldn't be more than a 44 mag rifle, if all other things are equal. You need to shop around more. If you don't reload, then you could use relatively inexpensive lead bullet 38 special reloads for cowboy shooting and a premium high performance 357 ammo, like Winchester Supreme or Federal, for hunting. They will certainly kill deer.
  • dennbidennbi Member Posts: 9 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks for the advice 44caliper kid
    DB
  • wpagewpage Member Posts: 10,191 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    What are you planning to hunt?
  • TfloggerTflogger Member Posts: 3,056 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Finding a .357 mag rifle is tough in my neck of the woods. Prices are up and you can find .44s cheaper.
    Since I have a a$$load of 38 and 357 brass, I prefer the .357 rifle.
    They cost $100 more here in western NY.
  • MobuckMobuck Member Posts: 11,480 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I doubt a 24" barrel will help much except for a longer sight radius. Most factory loads are designed for handgun use and the extra barrel length won't gain much or maybe even lower velocities.
  • dennbidennbi Member Posts: 9 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    thank you all for the responses ,I appreciate your input, gives me
    lots to think about
    dennbi
  • Wolf.Wolf. Member Posts: 2,223 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Your post brought up a number of issues and I will try to touch on several of them

    I have not experienced the problem with .357 Magnum or .38 S&W Special catridges jamming up my Uberti (Taylor distributed) Winchester Model 1873 lever action reproduction rifle such as melkor is experiencing. Generally speaking, you are not going to be mishandling the gun anyway and should not experience the problems associated with holding the guns at odd angles or if you short stroke the gun. Jamming up these things is usually an issue associated with the gun not functioning properly.

    Hunting? Many states don't allow the use of handgun ammo for hunting, so make sure yours does. If yours does, .357 is obviously not as powerful as .44 Magnum, but it will humanely kill bear and deer if you do your part. Be sure to check your state's game laws, as I said. If you want to hunt and cannot use the rifle chambered in a handgun cartridge, then you'll need to get a separate gun to hunt with. In that case, I'd get a Winchester Model 94 in caliber .30-30 Winchester or a Marlin Model 1895 in caliber .45-70 Government. That way you can both hunt and use the gun for the occasional CAS long range events.

    For Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS), most people shoot either .38 S&W Special or .45 Colt (a.k.a. [incorrectly] .45 Long Colt). Some shoot .44-40, which I believe can be chambered in the .44 magnum chamber okay. The .38 caliber rifles and most of the .38 revolvers are chambered in .357 magnum (some revolvers, like my US firearms revolvers are chambered only for .38 S&W Special, however). Most of the CAS shooters shoot .38 S&W Special for cost and recoil reasons. In normal CAS/SASS competition you will be shooting 60 rounds through your rifle at each shoot, plus practice. So, you have to ask yourself where you do most of your shooting, which almost every time is going to be CAS and practice. The economics of shooting .38 vs. the larger calibers is going to weigh heavily on the side of the .38 caliber (.357 Mag and .38 S&W Special) caliber. You will wind up reloading and the cost difference between reloading .38 vs. .44 or .45 is sizable.

    Buy your rifle through Taylors or Cimmaron and get it exactly the way you want. Look at their online catalogs for all the variations. You will probably have to order the gun through your local gun store.

    The 24-inch barrel is too long for CAS and probably too long for hunting, as well. You want a barrel 18" to 20" long for CAS, for sure and it will work just fine for hunting. You want the octagonal barrel (because it is heavier) instead of the round or half-round barrel. The heavier, octagonal barrel will pay big dividends in holding a steady aim when moving quickly though the targets or holding aim on an animal in the field.

    DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT THE 24" BARREL BEING MORE ACCURATE THAN THE 20" OR EVEN THE 18" BARREL. For the range these guns were designed for (essentially 100 to 150 yards and up to 200 yards), there just is no difference in accuracy. The sighting radius can be a bit of an issue, but I believe it is more than made up for in the better handling characteristics of the shorter gun.

    These Uberti reproduction Winchester lever guns are deadly accurate. My 18" octagonal Taylor's gun is a tack driver at 100 yards. With the low-powered CAS loads you may have to alter your vertical point of aim or change the adjustment of the rear sight, but with the kind of shooting you will be shooting in CAS and practice, you will be able to instinctively make the adjustment easily without adjusting the rear sight.
  • 44caliberkid44caliberkid Member Posts: 925 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I think Melkor is talking about Winchester produced rifles (Model 94's) in handgun calibers. The 94 action is too long, not designed for short handgun cartridges and doesn't work well with them. Any of the '66, '73 or '92 repros work fine.
    And NO, the 44-40 will not work in 44 magnum rifles. The rim is bigger (same as 45 Colt). The 44-40 is also a bottle necked cartridge. If you want reduced loads for CAS shooting in a 44 mag then use 44 Specials.
  • machine gun moranmachine gun moran Member Posts: 5,198
    edited November -1
    44caliberkid is right on. .44-40's and .44 Mags are entirely different cartridges and are not interchangeable.

    I dumped my '94 'Trail's End' in .357, not because of feeding problems, but generally quality problems. There was so much side-wobble in the lever that I found my fingers were being pinched between the lever and the bottom tang as I closed my grip when working the lever. I have a collection of pre-'64 and pre-war '94's that this never happens with, as the guns were properly made.
  • Wolf.Wolf. Member Posts: 2,223 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    dennbi didn't mention the Win Model 94 specifically or I would have addressed that. I personally don't consider the Win 94 action to be suitable for regular CAS 6-stage event shooting. Competitively shooting a Win. 94 or a variation of it with a Win 94-type action in CAS is pretty tough; frequent malfunctions are to be expected.

    Once again, dennbi, if you are new to CAS, get a short-barreled rifle/carbine as I noted earlier, either a reproduction Winchester Model 1866, 1873(suggested) or 1892 in either .357Mag/.38Special(suggested), .44-40 or .45 Colt. Often you can pick them up used from someone who is unhappy with his gun. In that case, I would test it by firing 100 rounds through it (not all at once, please). Work the action fast and slow both. Any sticking, jamming, sloppiness.....pass on it. You can save a few hundred dollars by buying a good used gun, with the emphasis on "good".
  • melkormelkor Member Posts: 191 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I was Talking about the 1894 which is not suitable for 38 357 too short, I have had 3 over the years all a problem. The 73 will work and a Marlin will work [:D]
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