I’m going to buy a lever gun to use at range and deer hunt with so I can justify it to myself. I’m either buying a -357 or .44 mag. I’d appreciate any advice as to which caliber to buy. Thanks in advance.
Given the two choices I'm going to assume that we're not going after rabbits, I'm going to suggest that the the .44mag makes the most sense. What with light .44 special all the way up to the big 300grn'rs and just about everything in between. The .44 has the .357 beat. And don't get me wrong, I love the .357.
I have both a blackhawk and a redhawk wheel gun and like both. Your question was about a lever rifle though. I bought a 44Mag Henry lever rifle a few years ago and was amazed at the accuracy and smoothness of the action. In much the same as the pistols, one can practice with 44Specials instead of 44Mags.
I also have one of the Ruger PC carbines (9MM)which is also a tack driver. You may want to consider that also.
To resolve your uncertainty..........get one of each!
Both will take deer just fine if you do your part hit them where it matter. I am partial to 45 Colt but I am ready with my 357 mags too. !80gr. XTP beind max charge of 2400 has been the most accurate load there is and also for 158gr. so you wont go wrong which ever you choose.
I agree with the comment about the primary use of the rifle. If deer hunting is primary I'd get a 44mag. If deer hunting is only a possibility then I'd get a 357. Plinking and target shooting 38spl through a 357 carbine is an absolute blast. It's one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. Cheap, relatively powerful (compared to 22LR) and essentially no recoil. Even grade school kids can participate and I've used a 38spl to introduce a lot of people to centerfire rifle shooting. Plus, a 357 carbine is certainly adequate for deer hunting if the shot is taken at a reasonable distance. IMO, a hundred yards or less is about right. The good news is most whitetails in the eastern half of the U.S. are taken comfortably inside 100 yards.
One small caution. Some lever action rifle are sensitive about cartridge OAL. If you know you want to shoot a lot of 38spl in a 357 or a lot of 44spl in a 44mag I'd cycle a couple of magazines of the shorter specials through any rifle I was considering buying. Firing and ejection isn't the issue. It's feeding. By cycling some rounds through it you'll find out whether or not that particular rifle is finicky about the shorter caliber cartridges.
I've had 44mag and 357 lever action rifles. If I could only have one of those two choices I'd go with 357. YMMV.
Get a new Marlin lever-action in .44 magnum for deer hunting. They reliably feed the Hornady LeveRevolution 225 grain rounds. Many older lever-actions won't feed them reliably. The LeveRevolution rounds provide much flatter ballistics for longer range shots.
If we're talking about the standard Marlin 1894 with 18 1/2" or 20" barrel, there is a difference in recoil when shooting standard 357 and 44 mag loads. The standard 1894 in 44 mag is no cream puff when it comes to recoil. On the other hand, I can shoot standard 357 mags in the 357 Marlin all afternoon long. Factory ammo in 357 is also much cheaper than either 44 mag or 44 Special. There's a reason used JM Marlin 1894s in 357 mag command higher prices and are harder to find. Owners rarely part with them.
I have a 357 mag and 44 mag Rossi 92 lever action and a Ruger m77 in 357 mag and 44 mag.
I agree with what a few other people are saying that if you're going to use it mainly for deer hunting I would pick the 44 mag, but if you're going to mainly use it for fun at the range and rarely deer hunting at around 50yds then I would go with the 357 magnum.
If I could only choose one it would be the 357 mag because it's a little more versatile than the 44 mag. Especially if it's for some type of SHTF or survival type situation because the ammo is lighter weight and 38 special works better for small game hunting than 44 special does because it will damage less meat.
I have several handguns in .357 Mag and in .44 Mag so I understand your dilemma. However, I primarily hunt with the .44 Mag, so my rifle choice would be in that caliber. Actually, I am hoping to get a .44 Mag lever action very soon!
As noted, the big benefit to the .357 rifle is you can also shoot .38 Special. I do shoot a lot of .38 Sp, so I have plenty on hand. But, I've also worked up a nice plinking load for the .44 using 240gr bullets and Unique.......so that's going to be my choice!!
I have 2 Lever Action .357’s a older pre cross bolt safety Marlin 1894 & a Rossi R92. Love both rifles both serve a purpose the Marlin is scoped the Rossi I use the open sights. If I were to hunt deer once in awhile and the .357 will kill a deer. But the .44 Magnum has more power but more expensive to shoot. Marlin is now making 1894 Lever Actions in .357. But as mentioned earlier a good JM stamped 1894 Marlin in .357 are hard to find. I think the quality of the newer Marlins aka Remlins has improved. I think the Henrys are a very nice rifle but they are heavier. Given that if I bought a Henry I would opt for the Henry Big Boy Steel rifle or carbine lighter then the Brass receiver Henry’s. If you like a tube feed loading the Henrys are very nice rifles if you want the tradition side loading gate Marlin, Rossi, Winchester (Miroku) Japan or Uberti Italy good luck to you!!!
A 357 will easily hit a 10” plate at 200 yards and most certainly drop a deer .
Am loading a bunch this weekend for hunting and defense .my cousin had to hit a doe three times with a 44mag to drop it with a S&W 686 6” barrel at about 20 yards said he was really disappointed. Don’t know what load but he carries some pretty hot loads for a S&W ,,I know he uses a Winchester Trapper in 44 mag occasionally will see if or how many he has killed one with that .
Plenty of power in either caliber for a deer one would think especially in a rifle barrel.
I say I am loading for hunting but my Henry is too heavy and pretty to drag thru the woods and am building a permanent high end 6x8’ stand with staircase and solar power to put on my cousins property will be great for old farts
and young hunters like his grandchildren , this is were I’ll try out the Henry on a deer.
Unless hunting “Grizz” a 357 is plenty of power.. although that 44 sure does have some “smack” when it hits so I would not hesitate to use either one especially if you have a matching handgun.
The venerable 45 Colt is my choice. The Marlin 1894 CB and two New Vaquero's sit in my safe next to each other. Granted I don't hunt with them but they are flat out fun to shoot. I did put a Skinner sight on the Marlin and it made a world of difference in accuracy. Reloading is the way to go for these guns as the money saved adds up quickly and working up the right loads is fun. If it were between 357 or 44 mags it would be the 44 for me.
My lever action rifles include a Winchester '94 in .30-30 for deer hunting up to 125 yards. I have a Winchester '94 .44 magnum to go with my Ruger Blackhawk .44 magnum. I also have a Winchester '94 in .45 Colt to go with my gen2 and gen3 Colt SAAs in .45 Colt. I have been drooling on a couple of lever-action rifles in .44-40 at the LGS to go with my gen1 Colt SAA in .44-40.
i've been wanting a lever in .357 for some time now to go with my .357 revolvers.... if you're hunting it can take deer as stated but i know a guy who has taken a PA black bear with his at 70 yrds. i believe they were a 180grn design, not sure of the manufacturer.
it's hard to beat the .357 for versatility.
check out Paul Harrell's video on 357mag vs 44mag. great video!