The .357-44 Bain & Davis

By Chuck Hawks

This high performance .357 wildcat was inevitable from the day the .44 Remington Magnum revolver cartridge was announced. The allure of a lighter bullet at higher velocity with less attendant recoil is a powerful one, a fact attested to by the subsequent factory introduction of cartridges such as the .357 Maximum and .357 SIG. Neither of these, however, comes close to the performance of the .357-44 Bain & Davis.

The .357 B&D was created by the simple expedient of necking-down the .44 Magnum case to accept .357" diameter bullets. It was originally intended for use in revolvers, but as far as I know no revolver manufacturer picked-up on the cartridge. T/C Contenders shooters, however, discovered that the necked down .44 made an excellent silhouette cartridge, and this has helped to keep it alive. The .357-44 B&D is also, of course, a fine handgun hunting cartridge for CXP2 game.

Case forming is a snap. Just use a full length resizing die to re-form the straight .44 Mag. cases into a gentle bottleneck cartridge. One pass is all that is required, and case trimming is not necessary.

Here are the basic specs for the .357-44 Bain & Davis, taken from the sixth edition of the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading. The rim diameter is .514", same as the .44 Mag. The head and body are also unchanged, until .929" forward of the base when the gentle 10-degree shoulder begins. This leaves a short .15" neck into which the .357" bullet can be seated. Maximum case length is given as 1.280" (trim to 1.270"). Maximum COL is 1.580".

The .357-44 B&D is a potent cartridge that can drive a 158-160 grain bullet at a MV of 2100 fps. The Hornady Handbook shows that 18.0 grains of W 296 powder can drive one of their 158 or 160 grain bullets at a MV of 1600 fps. A maximum load of 24.9 grains of W 296 launches the same bullets at a MV of 2100 fps. These Hornady loads were tested in the 10" barrel of a T/C Contender and used reformed Federal cases and CCI 350 primers.

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Copyright 2005, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.