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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to reloading, and trying to select between a .357 revolver or .41, mix of plinking and close range deer hunting. Anyway, I see that .357 in heavy loads develops terrific chamber pressures......won't that wear my casings out faster than than the .41 rounds? About how many times can I expect to reload moderate horsepower loads in either? Thanks much.

Pete
 

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i suspect that brass life would be a toss up if both are loaded to the same pressure. thing is, you wouldn't have to push the 41 as hard velocity wise to make it as or more effective as a hot 357 load. in that regard the extra bullet weight would work in the 41's favor... however, for cheap shooting and being able to find what you want or need just about everywhere you just cant beat the 357. the 41 isn't gonna be tremendously more expensive to shoot, basically bullets are gonna cost a bit more and probably won't have the widespread availability of the 357.

i have both and really like both, in my opinion the 41 puts deer down with as much authority as a 44... just the same at 50 yards a well placed 158gr bullet out of a 6" 357 is gonna give the same results, just not as dramatic... just a "smaller hammer". i think that for deer hunting the 41 would make you happier in the long run but i do enjoy the 357...
 

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IME, heavy, high pressure loads in either caliber will accelerate wear and shorten case life with the first signs of failure being split casemouths. While I don't have a .41, it isn't rare that my .357 cases go through 12 or more midrange reloads before being discarded. Another aspect on which revolver to purchase may be that .357 Magnum ammunition is quite common, available almost anywhere, and if not, will accept .38 Special ammunition which is available just about anywhere. Since you're a reloader, .357 brass and bullets are less expensive than the .41 and the brass is probably easier to find once-fired and discarded at your local range. This is NOT a "put-down" on the .41 Magnum by any means, I'm merely citing some of the benefits of the .357 which I know a bit about. Should cost or availability of components not be an issue, I suggest you shoot both and choose the one you like best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all, from what I have been reading, a .357 loaded with a heavy (180g) bullet has quite a vicious recoil compared to a .41 that spits out similar ft. lbs. Is a .41 really that much more tame with regard to noise, muzzle blast and felt recoil?

Looking hard at Ruger GP 100 with six inch barrel..........Thanks again.

Pete
 

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I can really say you won't notice much recoil with heavy bullets in the .357, in fact, lighter bullets have a more vicious recoil. Brass life in both rounds is quite impeccable, target loads should get at least 50 reloads, heavy loads might only go 35 times.
 

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big dan voices my opinion mostly. I would choose the 41 for hunting "hands down" though.

357 will do the work. Just need to select the right firearm for the job!

Cheezywan
 

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pete the GP100 is a wonderful revolver. my carry gun was a 3'' GP100 that i carried in a milt sparks summer special 2. i haven't carried for a few years but now that i've settled in where i'm at i'll probably get liscened to carry again... wonderful revolver!! i'd like to pickup a 6" one myself to experiment with, ya know, shooting pronghorn, deer and what not. my 41 is a 6" 657 smith & wesson that i really enjoy. it's about 10 years old or so and is a very smooth piece. i do wish that ruger still offered a double action 41... i think that one would follow me home if they did.
 

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I find a full frame S&W 6 inch to be quite mild with factory .357 Magnum. I have just recently gotten the .36 caliber bug and started reloading for my wife's J frame. Of course I couldn't use just .38 Special 148 Grain DEWC in a model 27 so I began light loading with Trailboss for the 357 S&W. I use the solids rather than the hollow base wad cutters as higher velocities don't risk damaging the bullet. Light frame and short barrel 357 Magnums, beyond steel frame model 19 and model 66, are another story and don't get regular full power load use, at least by me! The S&W L frame 6 inch is another good compromise as is the GP100 already mentioned. My wife loves 210 grain cast .41 Magnum with a stiff charge of Unique, in a 21 ounce S&W Model 357! I am a fan of the 6 inch Model 57. It weighs a bit more than a S&W 629 six inch model but the extra ounce all over seems to help the gun point better. If light weight carry is a goal and you can use the longer sight radius, a 3 screw Blackhawk 6 1/2 inch is fantastic. The aluminum grip frame cuts unnecessary weight and they shoot just fine loaded with 5 rounds for safety as they don't have the transfer bar safety or steel frame.
 

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To be honest it, like mentioned is a toss up. I like my 41 in case you didn't notice. I have had one since I turned 21 and am now on my second with 30yrs on it. Being 21 with plenty of time and little money, I saved enough to pick up supplies as I needed, I made use of each and every case.

I have loaded it from mouse fart loads up through the top end listed magnum ones and once I figured out what I really needed I settled in on the 200gr Remington bulk bullets as a staple. I really wished they hadn't dropped their 170gr bullet as it was IMO just as good as the 125gr loads are from the .357, at putting medium sized critters down fast. But the 200 doesn't give up much of anything to it, other than some velocity, but with the better downrange performance I can live with it.

The .357's I own are both in GP100's. I have also wrung them both out as good as then can be I guess. One of the best and most accurate loads I ever developed used the now discontinued,(notice a trend here) Speer 146 SJHP. Loaded over a dose of AA-9 or 2400 they would easily shoot 2" or better rested out to 50yds, and I too my first handgun deer with one at 76 steps.

That said it is now hard to beat the Gold Dots in overall performance. They shoot good and hit hard. If I wasn't casting for them now I would probably use that bullet exclusively. I do however have a big supply of the Remington bulk bullets as well in 140 and 158gr which both shoot very well.

As for case life, if I dug though all of my brass for either one, I could probably still find some in there from over a decade ago which are still going strong. Like mentioned above the loads you use determine some of the life expectancy, but also how much your working the lip of the cases. The harder you crimp the worse it is or the quicker they split. Nowadays I simply use enough to hold the bullets in place through two or three 4-5 shot cylinders full. In other words I fill all six holes, then shoot the first 4-5 depending on the loads, and measure the last one after each shot. If I see any growth in length I add a bit more, if not and it holds true through two or three of these cycles I go for it as long as the load is accurate.

Me personally I would go with the 41. You will have plenty of power to hunt with but can still drop the loads down into the feather weight types for use with cast. There are a few folks who offer some great cast bullets in 41, but as mentioned not quite as big of selection as with the 357. In my minds eye however, even shooting a 200 - 220gr bullet at 800fps is better than using a 140 - 150gr at the same speeds. But you also have the option to bump that up some and still have a VERY easy load which is a bit more robust shall we say than the 158 or 200gr out f the 357.

If I did purchase either one, I would simply order a 500 count box of brass from Starline and be done with it. That amount with a little care will last you through your initial "lets see what this can do phase" as well as having plenty to work though for the next 10 years or so.

One last thing, if your going to buy jacketed, I highly suggest watching for the Remington's when they are in stock. While the prices have come up over the years, they still remain a great bulk buy in a good bullet. That isn't saying that the others aren't great either just that you can usually pick up the Rem's in bulk where not so much with the others.

Hope that helps.
 

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I'm not sure who's talking to whom on this post. It's four years old. Someone was using the search function and restarted it. The original OP is probably not even checking it out anymore. He might if he's still on here. In case anyone is interested, I have cases that are over twenty years old and still in good shape. The expansion and crimp has more to do with case life than any other factor. I've owned many, many 357 revolvers over the years and have never found it to be lacking in any respect for deer sized animals. Shot placement trumps every other factor when hunting with a handgun.
 

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I was not on this site 4yrs ago so find this thread interesting as I have owned both calibers. I shot a nice 180lb Whitetail at 35yrds with a GP100 and 165gr Core Lokt in 357Mag. Broke the shoulder and penetrated both lungs so it most certainly will work but that is not what I bought the gun for. If I was going to set up the conditions the OP suggested then I would definitely step up to the 41Mag.
 

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I shoot both calibers. Usually its the nickled .357 brass that cracks/splits first. (don't have any .41 nickled cases). On new boxes of brass I load hot for first 5 loads, next 5 loads are medium range and then last 5 are light loads. Got 4 boxes of .41 that have been reloaded over 17 times.

CD
 

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i suspect that brass life would be a toss up if both are loaded to the same pressure. thing is, you wouldn't have to push the 41 as hard velocity wise to make it as or more effective as a hot 357 load.
And that is the way it's gonna be. No matter what you do, the .357 will never be a .41 or .44 at any defined pressure level. Same as the .41 or .44 can equal the .357 at much lower levels of pressure.

I love the .357, but it will never be a .41 or .44 for energy on the target. I bypassed the .41, as the .44 just had so many more available options for bullet weight and availability.

Brass life is a matter of total applied stress, like anything else. If you load to max, life is short.
 
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I have a 357 GP 100 6 inch and have no problem with the recoil. I am real small, 125 lbs and pretty darn old so don't like a lot of recoil. 44 mags are terrible in comparison and I prefer not to shoot them anymore. I have never shot a 41. So, my thought is at least with the 357, you should have no problem and like other said, you can plink pretty cheap with 38s.
Kurt
 

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I have a 357 GP 100 6 inch and have no problem with the recoil.
The past year or so, I've been trying to come up with fewer loads that shoot well in more .357's.

The nice thing about the good 'ole .357, is that even the meanest .357 loads are manageable in a 6" GP100 or 6.5" BH, and produce enough energy to be adequate for medium game in a carbine at 100yds.

I have worked up a recipe with W296 and a 158gr jacketed bullet that works well in my 6"GP, 6.5" 3 screw, and 4 5/8" New Model BH (tank), and it shoots great in my 77/357. In my SP101, it's worse than a .44M SBH. In a Scandium S&W, or LCR, most would give up shooting.

It's really about matching the load, gun, and shooter, and what they need the combination to do.
 
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If you are recoil sensitive, then get the 357 Magnum in a heavy gun. Heaviest loads in a Ruger GP100 six incher seem very light to me.

For hunting, I would go with the 41 Magnum.

The brass for the 357 does not seem to last as long as the 41 Magnum using heavy loads. Also, the heavy 357 Magnum loads need trimming more often. If you handload, light loads are the way to go and not much difference between the two. Save the heavy stuff for hunting.

As I see it today, the 357 Magnum has an advantage over the 41 Magnum as brass is easier to get. 38 Special brass is all you need for practice. The factory 41 Magnum brass is more expensive and a bit hard to find as once fired.

For heavy hunting loads, I like new or once fired cases. JMHO.
 

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If one is comparing muzzle energy the larger call always produce equal ME at lower pressures. If velocity is important for flat trajectory the smaller caliber will produce desired MV at lower recoil.

If penetration is the goal ME is not the right factor. Penetration is based not on energy but on mementum density. Larger calibers need more energy because they need to produce larger holes in order to penetrate..

The issue is not which produces more of the X factor. It is how much is enough.
 
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