What Caliber Bullets Does a Desert Eagle Use?

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Learning of the famed handgun, you will definitely get curious to know what kind of bullet it would use. The Desert Eagle is fed with detachable magazines of different capacities depending on the type of rounds loaded. The capacities vary from 7 rounds in .50 Action Express, 8 in .44 Magnum to 9 bullets in .357 Magnum

This gun is arguably one of the world’s most popular powerful handguns. Probably, its numerous appearances in movies and computer games would justify the hyped argument. Although there are other revolvers that can deliver higher speeds, the Desert Eagle is as powerful as the semi-automatic handguns are.

Let’s have more profound insights into the different cartridges used in the Desert Eagle pistols.

.357 Magnum

The .357 magnum is also commonly known as .357 S&W magnum and 9×33mmR in Europe. As its name suggests, it is a .357 -inch diameter, equivalent to 9.07mm, smokeless powder cartridge. Based on the .38 Special, it was first developed in 1934. It premiered the handgun ammunition magnum era. This cartridge is highly regarded for its highly effective terminal ballistics.

The cartridge is renowned for its excellence in hunting, self-defense, and metallic silhouette. When properly loaded, .357 is competent enough to take down more massive and dangerous animals, including angulates and bears. However, most people consider more powerful magnums such as the .500 and .46 S&W magnum for the same.  

In the early 20th century, .357 magnum was regarded as the most effective against ballistic vests and steel car doors. Over the years, .357 revolvers are gradually getting replaced with modern powerful, semi-automatic pistols ideal for police use. However, they are also popular for self-defense for civilians, outdoorsmen and security guards. 

.357 Magnum Performance

Although .357 magnum has lower energy than other larger magnum rounds, it has a smaller diameter and higher speed. These properties make it ideal for excellent penetration and thus fit for deer hunting, though at reasonable ranges.

Compared to its parent, .38 special, .357 has a higher speed (100 yards) at the muzzle. Its effectiveness on game can be equated to that of .45 colt, only that its high velocity makes its trajectory much flatter. The .357 has successfully proved itself sufficient for plinking and target shooting.

The initial .357 was a 15- grain bullet with a 1510fps (feet per second) muzzle velocity. Today, most of the loads are relatively mild than that of the initial load.

Pistols chambered in .357 magnum have an additional advantage since they can also chamber and fire a .38 special cartridge. Remember, the .38 special is shorter and less powerful than the .357 magnum. Therefore, .357 handguns’ ability to fire .38 special makes them perfect for novice shooters who aren’t ripe for .357 loads. Thus, with a Desert eagle revolver, there is no point of buying another lower-powered gun for training.

Though .357 firearms can fire .38 special ammunition, the reverse is advisable. This is because they require a larger recoil to cycle properly.

.357 magnum is also a popular dual-use cartridge. Other than revolvers, it is suitable for light rifles such as the American Old West lever-actions. In a rifle, a .357 magnum round will project through the barrel at a speed of 1,800fps. This makes it more versatile compared to the .32-20 Winchester or.30 Carbine. 

.357 Magnum vs .38 super

On the accuracy front, .357 magnum has almost similar precision potential with the .38 special wadcutter bullet. In fact, a good .357 magnum handgun can fire .38 special wadcutter rounds with good results. .357 magnum pistols’ versatility of using cheaper and milder ammunition, coupled with their accuracy and power, make them perfect for various disciplines. So is the Desert Eagle. .357 magnum is a perfect bullet for those looking forward to having handloading ammunition. This is because it consistently performs well and also economical.

To many people, .357 and .38 diameter chamberings seem to differ, but it is actually not the case. The diameter chamberings are identical. Also, .38 super was initially designed to back powder while .357 magnum uses smokeless powder, hence more efficient.

.357 magnum also has a relatively smaller bullet case than the .38 special.

.44 magnum

Frequently referred to as .44 mag, .44 Remington Magnum is a large-bore rimmed cartridge designed for wheel guns. Since its introduction, it remains popular among rifles. Even with its “.44” designation, it is worth noting that .44 mag revolvers use .429 (10.9mm) rounds diameter base.

It was based upon the .44 special, but slightly elongated and loaded to pressures to enhance speed and energy. Since then, .454 Casull, .460 S&W Magnum, and the .500 S&W Magnum have overpowered the .44 mag. When loaded with heavy and deep-penetrating bullets, and to its maximum, this cartridge is ideal for short-range game hunting.

When using .44 mag with your Desert Eagle revolver, you can go after the more massive game, including the elk-sized ones. In fact, .44 magnum can take down even the largest of games such as the Cape Buffalo. Of course, this calls for deeply penetrating cartridges and perfect shot placements.

.44 Mag Technical Specs

When used with handguns, .44 mag can deliver heavy and large bullets with high speeds. On the downside, it produces much recoil and muzzle blast when fully powered. It is, therefore, not ideal to be a police weapon. Also, rapid-firing might be strenuous and hard to users, more so those with small hands or smaller build.

Although .44 mag and .44 special are marketed as a .44 caliber, they are .429 – .430 caliber. The size difference came to be as a result of changed measuring procedures. Originally, bullet caliber measurement was done from the outside while today, the measurements are taken from the inside.

Dual-Purpose Use

Dual-purpose rifle/handgun cartridges have been popular for quite a while now. In the past, cartridges like the .44-40 Winchester caused a lot of trouble when loaded into handguns. .44 magnum is exceptional since it was initially designed for revolvers.

In this regard, you can stock .44 magnum rounds to use in your Desert Eagle revolver alongside other .44 caliber rifles.

.44 Magnum Range.

The shooting precision of the .44 mag is excellent. Most manufacturers, including Colt, Ruger, and Smith & Wesson, produce 3 to 4-inch bullets at 50 yards.  The only limiting factor is that .44 magnum cartridges are not terminal ballistics.

When shot from a 16-inch handgun at 150 yards, heavier bullets will have more impact energy than the lighter ones. Therefore, if .44 magnum is loaded with heavy and non-expanding rounds, it will undoubtedly shoot through bigger animals like elk.

With .44 mag, bullet’s trajectory is a concern for hunters. This is simply because the leading hunting rounds are heavy, hence relatively slow.

.50 Action Express

The Desert Eagle can also handle .50 caliber rounds. This is already enough proof that the handgun is not overrated. It truly deserves the fame as a highly powerful handgun. With a .50 Action Express (AE) bullets, it can fire at a 1900fps muzzle velocity. This is equivalent to 580m/s.

The .50AE diameter is equal to that of the .44 Remington Magnum cartridge. Remember, the Desert Eagle can use both rounds. Therefore, the Desert Eagle loaded in .50AE is converted to .44 with just a barrel and magazine change.

Compared to .44 magnum, .50AE’s recoil in a Desert Eagle handgun is substantial but only slightly more severe. The recoil is less than expected because the pistol’s weight and auto mechanism smoothen the recoil to a certain degree.

.50AE Performance and Uses

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) set out the 36,000 psi (248 MPa) as the maximum chamber pressure for .50AE. Today, factory loads available can produce muzzle energy at almost 1,800 ft⋅lbf. A few bullet manufacturers are already producing .50AE rounds.

Like other revolver cartridges of this magnitude, the primary uses of the .05AE include medium and big game hunting and metallic silhouette shooting. Like the .44magnum, which is also compatible with Desert Eagle, .50AE is also ideal for self-defense against predators as big as a bear.

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Desert Eagle is an incredible handgun that has made it to the popular culture. More than often, you will hear both Desert Eagle and magnum in the same sentence. The Desert eagle configuration allows it to easily convert from .50 to .44 calibers. This feature distinguishes it from other similar pistols in the market.

In the US, the largest legal caliber permitted for pistols is an aside .50 caliber. A Desert Eagle can, therefore, work with the maximum set caliber. Its magazines go from .357-.50AE with the smallest and largest bullet capacity ranging from 7-9 bullets, respectively. The low bullet capacity should not be a significant worrying concern. This is because when fully loaded, the Desert Eagle would do severe damage.

Its ability to load the .357 magnum, .44 magnum, and the .50AE is an excellent hack since it widens its variety of uses.

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