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Do I need a .44 Special?

This is a discussion on Do I need a .44 Special? within the Pistols & Revolvers forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; I don't think it's about horsepower. The .44 Special can be used in handguns with a smaller frame than the .44 Mag which makes for ...


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Old December 10th, 2016, 09:51 PM   #16
 
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I don't think it's about horsepower. The .44 Special can be used in handguns with a smaller frame than the .44 Mag which makes for an easier handling pistol. Think Ruger Flattop .44 Special.

Even the N-Frame M24 is in fact lighter than the M29 because it has a tapered barrel like the M27/28 for example. I think in earlier guns the cylinder may have been shorter too.



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Old December 10th, 2016, 11:58 PM   #17
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I'm the wrong guy to ask because I own 44spl and 44mag guns that are very similar. I also own a 38spl GP100. The obvious question is why would you want a 38spl GP100 when you could get a 357 and still shoot 38spl? Same with 44spl and 44mag. The answer is simple. I like guns and I like to have different configurations even though it doesn't always make sense and may appear to be redundant. I can tell you that my 44spl Flattop is the most comfortable and best balanced of any of my revolvers. That alone makes it worth having even though I could shoot 44spl in any of my 44mags. Another example, I have a Bisley 454C SBH with which I shoot a lot of 45 Colt. Despite that I fully intend to buy a Bisley 45 Colt SBH. Why? Because it's 45 Colt and not 454C. We're talking guns here. Logic and reason don't always prevail. Especially when you're talking about something as cool as 44spl. If it was good enough for Skeeter it's good enough for me. So, yes, you do need a 44spl.
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Old December 11th, 2016, 12:46 AM   #18
 
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Many years ago I had a Taurus 441 (stainless) K-frame size 5-bean wheeler. Started life with a 6in pipe, one day while @ Numrich's site I found some brand new, never used / never installed 3-inchers with front site.

Then found a smith willing to screw it on. Though he bitched about it, he got it installed so perfectly that it looked like it came from the factory that way. I did the trigger job & added a Hogue grip.

He had to backcut the barrel a bit to get everything lined up. That resulted in a very tight B/C gap, he warned me to keep the face of cylinder clean. Which I did with Clean Bore Lead Away. The tight B/C gap enhanced accuracy & kept bullet speed up because very few gases were escaping at the gap. Wish I would have done a better job of hiding it, maybe I would still have it today.

Petrol and Powder mentioned "rather anemic allowable SAAMI pressures". The 44-spl cartridge like the 45LC has been around for well over 100-years. There are still really really old guns in circulation for these cartridge's that cannot handle hot loads. That's why factory loads for those cartridge's are anemic when compared to newer type's.

It would seem to me the only anemic part would be the age of the firearm, not the cartridge. Logically speaking, there's no reason why you cannot work up a load for a newer firearm manufactured from a modern design & materials.

Example: CCI/Blazer had a pretty hot [self defense] load available when I owned my 44-spl (still do, I checked). 200-grn hollow point at over 900fps with 376ft-lbs energy - BUT ONLY in modern firearms - there was a warning on the box about that.

Don't know if CCI went outside of SAAMI spec with that load or not; but the difference in recoil between a standard load & the Blazers was noticeable going side-by-side, fill the cylinder with a few of each.

Which brings me to my closing argument...

Many years ago while living in Northern NV there was an article in the local paper about a home intrusion in the Carson City / Gardenerville area. Home owner breaks out his 357-MAGNUM and fire's away.

Thanks to the massive recoil & muzzle flash of his MAGNUM revolver, only one of six rounds hit the bad guy. So much for the power of a 357-MAGNUM revolver in a home defense situation.

Now, lets be grown men & use our brains here. Standard load for the 44-spl cartridge is a 240grn SWC bullet going around 850~875fps with gob loads of energy, 375ft-lbs or more, just like the 45LC which has sent many a man to meet his maker.

The 441 I mentioned above was VERY pleasant to shoot with these SAAMI spec low pressure loads(AFTER 3in barrel was installed). Recoil was very mild & not a lot of muzzle flash, pretty much the exact opposite of a 357.

Ok, so what's better... a big heavy slow moving bullet that's gonna make you feel like you got hit with a brick going about 60-mile an hour
OR...
A small bullet (125/130grn) going a gillion mile an hour that probably won't hit you due to the massive recoil of the exceedingly difficult to control revolver it's being shot from.

You guys can say what you will, but I've owned several a 357's (including a 6in 586), the Taurus 44spl was far more controllable than even the 586 with it's full length lug.

Like "tape" said.. no, it will hurt like hell when you get hit with one. VERY TRUE statement.

Still not convinced?? Then consider this, when you point a 44 at somebody, they get an eyefull of FOUR GREAT BIG HOLLOW POINTS If that doesn't get their full & undivided attention, then they deserve to die.

There's your argument in favor of the 44-spl

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Old December 11th, 2016, 01:16 AM   #19
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halifax View Post
I don't think it's about horsepower. The .44 Special can be used in handguns with a smaller frame than the .44 Mag which makes for an easier handling pistol. Think Ruger Flattop .44 Special.

Even the N-Frame M24 is in fact lighter than the M29 because it has a tapered barrel like the M27/28 for example. I think in earlier guns the cylinder may have been shorter too.
That is so true!! At one time I had a Taurus 441 (went into detail in another post), it was the same physical size as a standard K-frame Smith & much easier to control than even a 624.

I cannot see how a K-frame size wheeler could hold up to demands of the 44-mag cartridge.

S&W used to make a 5-shot 44-spl revolver, it was basically the same physical size as a standard K-frame. I forget the model number & I'm drawing blanks at this early hour (2am). Hopefully there's somebody on this forum who remembers these.
UPDATE: it was 696

The first year versions fetch a major amount of $$$ - because starting with second year of production, they all had that worthless Clinton hole / lawyer lock.

Heck even the pour mans version (Taurus 441) I had cost $400 + $150 for a 3in pipe (parts & labor), the Smiths were close to double that & that was 10-years ago.

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Old December 11th, 2016, 09:20 AM   #20
 
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I've enjoyed this discussion. I've been warming steadily up to finding a Charter Arms in .44 Special. Big bullet, accurate at short yardage, and a plenty-effective self defense round. I shoot mostly Specials out of a Redhawk, and it is very comfortable to these old hands. It is certainly better in that regard than the LCRx snubbie in +P .38.

I think the Charter is the best candidate as a specialty caliber carry piece. It's lightweight, and affordable. I think the cartridge is fun, and easy, to reload. I would consider a Ruger, first, of course, but I doubt that I will ever see one. It's been awhile since they've offered a truly new revolver. Revolvers will always be my choice.
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Old December 11th, 2016, 10:01 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halifax View Post
I don't think it's about horsepower. The .44 Special can be used in handguns with a smaller frame than the .44 Mag which makes for an easier handling pistol. Think Ruger Flattop .44 Special.

Even the N-Frame M24 is in fact lighter than the M29 because it has a tapered barrel like the M27/28 for example. I think in earlier guns the cylinder may have been shorter too.
This is my take on it as well! I have Super blackhawks that feel like a tank compared to my flattop 44 specials. The lighter frame just feels and packs better. A GP100 based special would be much nicer than my Redhawks.
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Old December 11th, 2016, 12:01 PM   #22
 
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One doesn't need a .44 Special, or .38 Special, or .357 or .45 Colt, or .41Mag or .etc. ..... It comes down to wanting one . I've shoot a lot of .44 Magnum.... But found myself never needing to load up to the .44Magnum true potential. Why all the flash and bang when you don't 'need' it? All it does is hammer your hand, rattle your head for no reason. Same goes for the .454 vs the .45 Colt. Yes, you can download the .44Mag to .44Special velocities no problem. Been there done that. Worked for me a lot of years. Then the 'question' in the mind... Why then do I need this big of gun for these lower pressure rounds??? When Ruger finally came out out the .44 Special on the medium frame platforms (flattop and New Vaquero), I saw the writing on the wall so to speak -- the answer to my question. Taffin headlined an article ('Victory at last') when the .44 Special Rugers were released. Here was a cartridge and a matching revolver(s) that will do 99.9% of what I ever want to do with the .429 caliber. A no brainer for me. I reload, so tailoring the load to my needs was perfect. From 600fps to 1200fps is doable in these revolvers. My goto load is the Skeeter load as I found it great for needed power and accuracy. Cases are readily available from Starline, bullets/primers/powder are the same as for Magnums. So no problem there (if you are a reloader).... So ... now my .44Mags mostly gather dust in the safe. Have a .44 Special Bulldog for my CC needs (loaded with SAAMI pressure ammo only). I like it!

Read some or all of the articles here to get a feel for the history and other shooters perspectives : .44 Special Articles

Taffin on the .44 Special
Taffin in defense of the .44 Special

Brian Pearce on the .44 Special

Ross Seyfried on the Ruger .44 Special Bisleys

'Sixguns' by Keith is another good read from a historical stand point. There are many others too....

Don't get me wrong the .44 Mag, .454, .480, etc. all have their place, but for me, the .44 Special and .45 Colt is all I really 'want' in a cartridge for a general woods carry, CC, and home defense . All said and done, for me, .44 Special will always be the little brother to the .45 Colt. Just one man's opinion.
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Old December 11th, 2016, 12:30 PM   #23
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WTSANDSTORM View Post
I've enjoyed this discussion. I've been warming steadily up to finding a Charter Arms in .44 Special. Big bullet, accurate at short yardage, and a plenty-effective self defense round. I shoot mostly Specials out of a Redhawk, and it is very comfortable to these old hands. It is certainly better in that regard than the LCRx snubbie in +P .38.

I think the Charter is the best candidate as a specialty caliber carry piece. It's lightweight, and affordable. I think the cartridge is fun, and easy, to reload. I would consider a Ruger, first, of course, but I doubt that I will ever see one. It's been awhile since they've offered a truly new revolver. Revolvers will always be my choice.
I kinda bought the Taurus 441 (mentioned in previous posts) on a whim. Never did hand loads; back then Miwall Ammo Co. (then located in Grass Valley, CA) came to town at least twice a year to the "Big Gun Show" at Bally's Casino / Resort(changed name since then) in Reno, NV.

Anyways, they sold boxes of 44-spl ammo for like $8.95/box, 240grn SWC & 240grn hollow points. These were NOT reloads, it was ammo manufactured from brand new components: brass, primers & the slug.

AND, they gave you credit for brass returned, especially there's ($1.00/box if memory serve's me right), bringing cost down to $7.95/box. For an apartment dweller who didn't have room for reloading equipment, that was the way to go. Yeah, those were the good ole days

That Taurus grew on me quick after a couple trips to the range post 3-inch pipe installation to convince me that the 44-spl is a the perfect defense round. Fro the same basic reason that the 45-acp has been a favorite for about 100-years. Big heavy bullet (200~240grn) traveling 850~900fps.

If 44-spl ammo wasn't so damned expensive, I'd get another 5-hole 44spl wheeler in a heartbeat.

Last but not least...
In post #19 I stated that S&W used to make a 5-hole 44spl. Now that I have some coffee in my blood I went looking for one, and here it is... Smith & Wesson 696 44 SPL STAINLESS REVOLVER 3 INCH RARE For Sale at GunAuction.com - 11583645 - the seller is absolutely right - that is a very rare gun indeed.

That is a first year example, beginning in the second year of production they had the dreaded Clinton hole - aka: lawyer lock. What an absolutely awesome piece of American firearms manufacturing at it's very finest.

I am very surprised that its only $850, I would think that rare piece in that condition would fetch $1000 easy, notice no cylinder ring - Dear God, if only I had the $$

BTW: other than the grip, that is exactly what my T-441 looked like.

I grabbed the pix & attached them in case that page doesn't load in the future - hope everybody enjoys these pix as much as I do, what a gorgeous revolver.

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Old December 11th, 2016, 01:01 PM   #24
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WTSANDSTORM View Post
I've enjoyed this discussion. I've been warming steadily up to finding a Charter Arms in .44 Special. Big bullet, accurate at short yardage, and a plenty-effective self defense round. I shoot mostly Specials out of a Redhawk, and it is very comfortable to these old hands. It is certainly better in that regard than the LCRx snubbie in +P .38.

I think the Charter is the best candidate as a specialty caliber carry piece. It's lightweight, and affordable. I think the cartridge is fun, and easy, to reload. I would consider a Ruger, first, of course, but I doubt that I will ever see one. It's been awhile since they've offered a truly new revolver. Revolvers will always be my choice.
Here's one for you to check out... Charter Arms Bulldog - Found it while searching for the S&W pix.

NOTE: that's not me, I don't know them, I will not benefit in anyway from any business you may choose to do with them.

If you do get one(Charter), look me up. I have 4ea HKS (CA44) speed loaders that will work with it. Also a Nylon two compartment pouch & 6ea A-Zoom snap caps for practicing.

Be happy to get digi pix & e-mail them to you.

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Old December 16th, 2016, 08:46 AM   #25
 
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Do you need a .44 special? Yes, everybody needs one.
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Old December 16th, 2016, 10:06 AM   #26
 
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Originally Posted by Bonk View Post
I'm the wrong guy to ask because I own 44spl and 44mag guns that are very similar. I also own a 38spl GP100. The obvious question is why would you want a 38spl GP100 when you could get a 357 and still shoot 38spl? Same with 44spl and 44mag. The answer is simple. I like guns and I like to have different configurations even though it doesn't always make sense and may appear to be redundant. I can tell you that my 44spl Flattop is the most comfortable and best balanced of any of my revolvers. That alone makes it worth having even though I could shoot 44spl in any of my 44mags. Another example, I have a Bisley 454C SBH with which I shoot a lot of 45 Colt. Despite that I fully intend to buy a Bisley 45 Colt SBH. Why? Because it's 45 Colt and not 454C. We're talking guns here. Logic and reason don't always prevail. Especially when you're talking about something as cool as 44spl. If it was good enough for Skeeter it's good enough for me. So, yes, you do need a 44spl.
Find a friend who'll let you shoot theirs. Then ask yourself that question. I'll be the guy in front of you in the checkout line Bought one earlier this year and I must say, ITS FUN AS HELL TO SHOOT IT!! Its kinda the one everyone wants to try, but only a few of us cool people own. Ron
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Old December 16th, 2016, 11:38 AM   #27
 
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Back in the 90's I had a Taurus 441 but then S&W came out with the M696 so I bought one. It has turned out to be a good handling and accurate revolver. What's interesting is they didn't sell very well while in production but have since become very desirable. I still have it.

Since then I have acquired two M24's (4 & 6.5" bbls) and two Blackhawk Flattops (4.62 & 5.5" bbls) in 44 Special.

The one problem with the 696 is the thin forcing cone so you need to avoid hot rounds. Knowing Ruger, I believe they would fix that problem if they were to build a GP100 in 44 caliber. For me, the 44 Special hits the sweet spot for both a carry and range shooting cartridge. So yes, you need a 44 Special.
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Old December 16th, 2016, 11:40 AM   #28
 
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Yes.
You need one.
'Course...I'd say that about any caliber.
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Old December 18th, 2016, 02:29 PM   #29
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slohunter View Post
Do you need a .44 special? Yes, everybody needs one.
Sure do!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by SB Smith View Post
Back in the 90's I had a Taurus 441 but then S&W came out with the M696 so I bought one. It has turned out to be a good handling and accurate revolver. What's interesting is they didn't sell very well while in production but have since become very desirable. I still have it.

Since then I have acquired two M24's (4 & 6.5" bbls) and two Blackhawk Flattops (4.62 & 5.5" bbls) in 44 Special.

The one problem with the 696 is the thin forcing cone so you need to avoid hot rounds. Knowing Ruger, I believe they would fix that problem if they were to build a GP100 in 44 caliber. For me, the 44 Special hits the sweet spot for both a carry and range shooting cartridge. So yes, you need a 44 Special.
As mentioned in posts 19 & 23, I also had a 441, came with 6in pipe, replaced it with a 3-incher. That transformed it into a whole new gun, budget priced S&W M696.

Didn't know about the forcing cone issue on the 696's. What I remember is: second year production onward had the lawyer lock-aka Clinton hole. If you take it out/disable it, then use the gun for self defense, the lawyer's will have a field day with you.

Gunsmith who put the 3in pipe on my 441 said nothing about FC issues, only the cone-to-cylinder gap. It was real tight, keeping front of cylinder clean very important.

Hot loads were fine up to a point. Too hot & the gun becomes unwieldy, defeating the purpose of 44 special vs 44 magnum in the first place.

I ran CCI Blazer for defense - 44 Special (item #3556), 200JHP, 920fps muzzle, 376ft-lbs energy. Mild recoil made it very manageable.

NOTE: GDHP on box = Gold Dot Hollow Point

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Old December 18th, 2016, 02:45 PM   #30
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonk View Post
I'm the wrong guy to ask because I own 44spl and 44mag guns that are very similar. I also own a 38spl GP100. The obvious question is why would you want a 38spl GP100 when you could get a 357 and still shoot 38spl? Same with 44spl and 44mag. The answer is simple. I like guns and I like to have different configurations even though it doesn't always make sense and may appear to be redundant. I can tell you that my 44spl Flattop is the most comfortable and best balanced of any of my revolvers. That alone makes it worth having even though I could shoot 44spl in any of my 44mags. Another example, I have a Bisley 454C SBH with which I shoot a lot of 45 Colt. Despite that I fully intend to buy a Bisley 45 Colt SBH. Why? Because it's 45 Colt and not 454C. We're talking guns here. Logic and reason don't always prevail. Especially when you're talking about something as cool as 44spl. If it was good enough for Skeeter it's good enough for me. So, yes, you do need a 44spl.
This is a great discussion, I've enjoyed reading through it all and BONK I couldn't have said how I feel about all this better myself,
Especially this
" We're talking guns here. Logic and reason don't always prevail" BONK
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