Magnum Handgun Rounds; As a practical matter? - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Default Magnum Handgun Rounds; As a practical matter?

In terms of practical self-defense rounds, what did we really achieve as a practical matter with the invention of the .357 Mag, .41 Mag, .44 Mag, and all of the rest?

Not one in a hundred people can shoot those rounds with confidence and precision. The .45 Long Colt, .45 acp, and even the .38 Special Chicago load, were and are by all accounts adequate man-stoppers.

For the 1% of hunters who like to hunt with a handgun, yes I can see a practical purpose for those magnums. But on balance, we probably have a million impractical self-defense guns out there in those calibers. And, not surprisingly, for the past 40 years, the gun rags have been full of articles about how to "tame" the magnums, or shoot lighter loads in them.

Self-defense, almost by definition, mandates a handy, small to medium gun, quick, easy to shoot, with manageable recoil, capable of quick follow-up shots. The vast majority of magnum handguns flunk that test miserably.

(And please, spare me the tales about how your 85 pound wife shoots a 2 inch Smith in .44 Mag with standard loads all day long, cutting the center out of the targets).

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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 02:22 PM
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You make a good point. For the most part I can buy the magnums more for hunting and/or bear defense than for personal defense. I agree most people cannot shoot magnums well, especially something with 4" or less barrel lengths.
Also I have mild arthritis in my hands and there is no longer anything fun about shooting magnums. I still shoot a .45 Colt SA and it is still very pleasant to shoot with reasonable loads and still can put the hurt on most things on this planet.
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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 07:27 PM
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I agree...even my only .357 is loaded with mid-range 357 loads (Rem Golden Sabres). Gives me a bit more than +p or at the +p+ 38spec velocity but in a larger gun...sorry...no snubs anymore....
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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 08:13 PM
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I do agree with you on this matter. There are a lot of people out there that believe bigger is better no matter that the scenario is. I believe you have to evaluate each possible situation and adjust what you need to protect yourself. My house guns are 40 cal, 380 pistols and in some cases a shotgun. I use these for two reason. First is what you are talking about. Recoil recovery in a face to face confrontation can be a problem when it comes to accuracy. The other issue to me is bullet travel distance. Shooting magnums no matter what caliber in a house is a problem. They will travel through interior and exterior walls with out to much trouble. No matter what the situation is, you are responsible for each bullet.

Don't get me wrong, I own the bigger calibers. I use them for shooting at the range or hunting like you said.

Jim

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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 02:05 AM
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I agree with you to a point. Now for a bit of background before I get flamed, I am 210# (not someones 85# wife) and I carry a Ruger Security Six .357 as my main duty weapon 90% of the time, and switch to either a 1911 .45 or a Glock 22 .40 for days when we have something exciting planned just for the sake of ammo commonality with the rest of my officers (I get to work with a partner once or twice a month, the rest of the time I'm alone with back up at least 20-30 minutes away) . As per my notes, I have fired 95K rounds through that Security Six since I have had it, and the vast majority of that total has been full power loads, so I am used to it and am comfortable with it. My back up is a Ruger SP101, loaded with the same loads, and it too is an old trusted friend that is comfortable. Now most of my guys give me all kinds of grief for carrying a revolver on duty still in 2017, but the thing just plain works. So I have to disagree with you about the .357 Magnum as a controllable and comfortable round, but I have spent a lot of years using it, and using it a lot, so I am a bit biased.

As to the .41 Mag, I can't say because I have never fired one, but I do have a couple .44 Mags. Now with the .44, I hunt with it, and target shoot with it, and have no trouble with it there, but I know for a fact that I can NOT control it in rapid fire like I can the .357, or any of my various semi-auto pistols. I have tried with various .44s, and I just can't do it. So have to concede you have a very good point at least when I am the one handling a .44 Mag. I have seen a lot of people try to show me how well they can control a .44, and only one has succeeded. I won't give a name, but the man is a close friend of mine, who bought his Ruger (Super?) Blackhawk .44Mag between deployments to Viet Nam, and has the paperwork signed by his old CO approving him shipping it into Viet Nam and back, and has been carrying ever since I have known him. He also occasionally carries a Redhawk .44 Mag, and when using a timer, his recovery times with that Redhawk are .04 seconds slower than mine with my Security Six. I don't see how he does it, but he does. To me, the .44 Mag is a hunting gun, and I treat it the same way as I do my .45 Colt that gets fed with "Ruger-only loads.

To me it is a matter of use what you can control. My limit, at least for now, is a .357 Mag, but a 9mm, .40, or .45 are easier, but also not quite as efficient and don't provide the range I may need. I say that because I work in a rural area, and have at least as much of a chance of having to put down a charging bull as a charging meth head. Also, with the open spaces involved, I may need a longer reach than most semi-auto rounds are capable of. Yes, I have a rifle too, but may be away from my patrol vehicle without it when it's needed, and the .357 increases my chances of getting back to it. Now if I could control a .44 Mag as well as I do a .357, I would carry that instead, but I can't, and am honest enough with myself to admit that.

As to over-penetration concerns, while valid, those can be minimized by ammo selection. For example, and I will use LE as an example again here. Most agencies that USED to issue the MP-5 in 9mm, have switched over to the AR-15 in .223, in large part due to that the .223 is much safer in an urban environment and less likely to over-penetrate than the 9mm. Just as a 9mm FMJ will penetrate deeper than a 9mm HP, the same is true of any caliber we can think of. I don't want to get into a brand X is better than brand Y argument here, but we can all agree that some types of ammo are safer in our guns than others. And each of us has to figure out where our personal perfect load is when we balance expansion and penetration. Nothing is perfect, and what is perfect for one of us is either under or over powered for another, but thankfully we can all choose. If I was in an urban environment, I would probably switch to either my 1911 or my Glock 22 permanently, as I would be less likely to need either the range to reach across a field or the extra power that I want in case of livestock.
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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 06:51 AM
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No flaming here Lonegun. I think most people have a much more limited arena when it comes to what they might encounter in a days time. Unlike you where it sounds like every day brings a new adventure. The good thing is that you at least have the option to switch weapons or ammo to something you feel more comfortable with.

Now I just have to get that picture of a bull chasing you around a field out of my head.

Be safe out there my friend.

Jim

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those Who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 07:07 AM
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You're absolutely right. I am definitely not normal, but the job makes the daily variety MY normal. And the time to fire that many rounds over so many years comes from not following my friends leads and not chasing the next drink or the next woman. Don't get me wrong, I think I had just as much fun as they did, but my fun lets me spend money on my dogs, guns, and ammo, instead of divorce lawyers and child support.

Want a image to try and get out of your head? I got charged by a bull a few months back, and was stupid enough to punch it in the nose. I'm pretty sure that hurt me more than it did the bull, but it gave me a funny look and walked away anyway. I'm pretty sure that's why women live longer than we do.
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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 06:42 AM
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I go both ways on this. Most here know I own and shoot 475 and 500 linebaughs. To me a 44 is not a heavy recoiling gun unless its something like a 329 smith. Also the 44 was never brought to the market with self defense or police use in mind. From the start it was a hunting round. that said ill ask you this. What is more dangerous a man with a gun or a deer. Why would someone think its better to use a 9mm on a man that's trying to kill you and laugh if you talk about using it on a 100 lb whitetail that is closer to bambi then a killer. I think theres more to consider with all of this then a generalized statement like magnums are somehow inferior to standard rounds for self defense. I myself carry a 9 ALOT. probably as much as all the rest of the calibers put together that I own. WHY? because its a very compact gun that's easy to conseal and I'm not going to war. I don't need a high capacity gun and compromise between power and carry ability. Now in my bedroom at home where I don't have to concern myself with concealing anything theres a 357 mag and a 12 guage shotgun loaded with 00 buck. I sure am not going to put a little 9 or 38 there. My familys well being might rely on one pull of the trigger so I want it to count. None of this is wrote in stone. I sometimes carry 40s sometimes 45s sometimes 357s, 44 spec, 44mag depending on what I'm doing. If I'm heading to camp and the concealed carry gun will morf into my woods bumbing gun theres a real good chance ill be packing a 44. But for day to day going shopping, going to a movie ect its usually my 43 glock or my shield 40.


You say not one in a 100 can shoot a 44 mag. Well ill say this to that statement. I teach concealed weapons classes. We do classes maybe twice a month. I see ALOT of people shoot who are getting a ccw license. Most classes have around 20 people in them and out of those 20 you might see one or two that can actually shoot (and I'm talking 9mm 38 ect) maybe 10 who have shot a handgun before but probably not a full box of ammo in there life and the rest!!!!! Ive seen some who actually miss the target at 7 yards!!! That shoot there first shot and drop there gun in the dirt because there so startled. that screw there face so tight in fear of recoil that its surprising they don't burst blood vessels!! The final test is so lame to qualify that if they moved it out to twice the distance I could qualify throwing rocks at the target. Were about told when we get instructor training that nobody fails. SO your statement that not one in a 100 can shoot a 44 good enough is maybe true but the same people don't shoot a 38 good enough to be effective either. Even a 38 snubby or small 9mm has plenty enough recoil to startle a beginner.


Now a better way to say something like this post would be to say a magnum isn't practical for you. Maybe you cant control one well enough or the recoil scares you. That sure doesn't necessarily mean that I cant shoot a 4 inch 500 linebaugh as well as 80 percent of the people legally carrying can shoot a 38 snubby. Ive got a buddy who spends most of the summer on his Harley. He carrys from the minute he gets up in the morning. THE ONLY gun he carrys is a 3 inch blued 29. He bought it off of me about 10 years ago. Hes a big boy. probably goes 300 lbs. He has no problem concealing it because hes wearing leathers all the time. He can flat out shoot that gun. WHY? because he shoots it every week. If you saw that gun most of you would cry. there hard to find and his looks like it was drug behind that Harley. He would as soon carry a pea shooter as carry a 9 or 38. Is he wrong? I don't think so.


What it comes down to is these kinds of generalizations are wrong. Its the same with the guys that claim anyone hunting with more then a 44 mag is some kind of a testosterone pumped up ape. WHY? because they cant handle one they think that nobody else should be showing them up. Look at a 500 linebaugh. Its power level is about the same as a black powder 4570. Hardly t rex level power that some think it has. Jump down my throat because I have a few times in the past carried one of my two my round butted 4 inch 500s concealed. Why? Because I can. Carrying is a very personal thing. No one here is a ballistics expert and nobody here should be so vain as to think they can tell someone else that there choice of concealed weapons is wrong. No manny my wife cant shoot a 2 inch 44 mag all day long cutting the center out of the target. As a matter of fact she wont even shoot a 44 mag. She carrys a lc9. But I can shoot a 44 mag all day and tear the center out of a target and can do it with a 475 or 500. About ANYONE who is willing to put in a day or two at the range and 3 or 400 rounds of 44 mag can manage a 44 mag just fine. Ive watched teen aged girls shoot my 500s while grown men stood back in fear.


So is there a use for magnum handguns for ccw? YOU BET THERE IS. Maybe not for you maybe not even for most. But looking at sales of snub nosed 357s id say theres a lot of people that don't agree with you. Some do realize that that 200 lb man pumped up on drugs just might at least justify a gun that marginal on bambi. Are they nessisary. NOPE. Why? because truth be told theres probably not one guy on this whole fourm that's not a cop or military that's had to shoot someone. Most of us carry a gun every day for 40 years on the off chance that maybe just once you might have to use it. With that in mind I'm willing to compromise and carry a smaller gun to make it easier to conceal and carry. But I'm not trying to fool myself into thinking its plenty powerful enough to blow people off there feet like you see on tv. Or that if shEE did hit the fan I wouldn't be better off with my buddys 3 inch 29!

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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Per Ballistics by the Inch:

1. Two inch barrel: 45 Long Colt: Corbon DPX +P, 225 grain bullet at 778 fps = 302 ft lbs.

2. Two inch barrel: .357 Mag: Corbon DPX, 125 grain bullet at 1050 fps = 306 ft lbs.

So, in a snubbie, the .357 Mag gives you a whopping 4 foot pounds of energy more than the 125 year old 45 Long Colt.

Again, no practical real world difference in any self defense scenario.

Maybe you can find an even hotter factory .357 Mag load that would give an extra 10 or 20 foot pounds of energy out of a snubbie without rattling the whole frame loose after 200 rounds or so, but even then, no practical difference.

That was my point.

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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 06:52 AM
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yup but a 357 is going to be a more compact 2 inch gun then any 45 colt 2 inch gun, much lighter too. recoil will be similar in similar weight guns (for ever action theres an equal and opposite reaction) If you want a fair comparison for a ccw gun you should be comparing a large framed gun like a 45 colt to a 44 or at least a 41 mag. the 357 isn't my favorite round so don't think I'm a cheerleader. Ive owned MANY through the years and always find a reason to sell them. Only one I have right now is a 66 2.5 inch adjustable sight gun that's not as little gun in my book. But you have to admit that if you want the most power in the smallest lightest package for concealed carry a alloy 357 j frame 357 is at the top of the heap. There vicious little things though. But you cant just quote ballilstics. A gun has to be handgy and concealable too or I can go right back at you and say why would you want to carry a 45 colt when I can carry a ruger Alaskan 454 or even my 4 inch 500 linebaugh. Maybe not called magnums but both are about as magnum as you can get.


Now if you look at real world civilian concealed carry guns you have snub nose 357s and 38s, and the tiny 9s and a few 40s like the shield ect. Balllisticaly the 357 is the king of that group. The 40 gives it a run but it leaves the others in the dust. Get into a 45acp and I don't care what some say but the glocks, smiths, springfields ect that are called small 45s aren't really so small and ballisticaly still don't beat the 357 . They might like the 40s come close but sure don't beat it. Step up to a 41 mag (which was designed for police work) or the 44 mag and there not even in the same universe. But even more so then the small 45s your getting way to big for everyday carry. Bottom line is the 357 has been a top seller in a defensive handgun for many many years and its still a tough act to follow. You may think its day has passed but ammo and loading gear sales show its far from obsolete and it will be carried by people long after you and I are dust. Personaly if I'm going to haul around a 2.5 inch 45 colt revolver I might as well carry a full sized 1911. Even it is easier to conceal then a larger framed revolver.
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Originally Posted by mannyrock View Post
Per Ballistics by the Inch:

1. Two inch barrel: 45 Long Colt: Corbon DPX +P, 225 grain bullet at 778 fps = 302 ft lbs.

2. Two inch barrel: .357 Mag: Corbon DPX, 125 grain bullet at 1050 fps = 306 ft lbs.

So, in a snubbie, the .357 Mag gives you a whopping 4 foot pounds of energy more than the 125 year old 45 Long Colt.

Again, no practical real world difference in any self defense scenario.

Maybe you can find an even hotter factory .357 Mag load that would give an extra 10 or 20 foot pounds of energy out of a snubbie without rattling the whole frame loose after 200 rounds or so, but even then, no practical difference.

That was my point.

Mannyrock

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