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  #1  
Old 11-04-2019, 12:41 PM
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Question Any advantage to purchasing a 44 Special over a Magnum

Been pondering the shorter barreled Smith & Wesson 44 magnums and knowing I'd probably shoot the revolver more with the 44 Special rounds, would it be a mistake to settle for the Special only over the 44 magnum/ 44 special?

Also, if and when I start handloading what improvements can I expect over factory ammunition?

I'm also well aware that a 5 to 6" barrel makes more sense and I'm not intentionally going hunting with it.

Many Thanks
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Last edited by Friesland; 11-07-2019 at 8:47 PM..
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2019, 2:18 PM
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My backpack Bear gun is a SW329PD, not a every day shooter for sure, packs one heck of a wallop though
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Old 11-04-2019, 2:24 PM
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I have several of both. The typical .44 special revolver may be a few ounces lighter that the same frame in .44 magnum. Unless you are a collector, I see little of no value in not going to a .44 magnum, as you can always use .44 special for a lighter load. Also, I would never consider anything shorter than a 4 inch barrel.
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Old 11-04-2019, 2:35 PM
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Does S&W currently offer any 44 special revolvers? Some of their past offerings in that caliber are collectible and not especially cheaper than a 44 mag, IIRC.

Or are you thinking of getting the GP100?

— Michael
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Old 11-04-2019, 2:38 PM
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Looking at an older pre-lock and you may be right, if it's collectible it would decrease the value


Quote:
Originally Posted by elSquid View Post
Does S&W currently offer any 44 special revolvers? Some of their past offerings in that caliber are collectible and not especially cheaper than a 44 mag, IIRC.

Or are you thinking of getting the GP100?

— Michael
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Old 11-04-2019, 2:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Friesland View Post
Looking at an older pre-lock...
Well as long as you don’t mind paying extra for something with collector value...I vote for a 296.

— Michael
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  #7  
Old 11-04-2019, 3:03 PM
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No reason to get a 44 Special over the 44 Magnum. I've had my S&W 629 for over 35 years and praise that purchase all the time. Shoot 44 Special rounds if you want - no problem. But the big prize is there for you and without hesitation.
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Old 11-04-2019, 3:12 PM
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They recently made the 624, which can be found for semi-reasonable prices.
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Old 11-04-2019, 3:15 PM
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/why/ You can shoot specials out of the mag not the other way...
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Old 11-04-2019, 3:36 PM
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I have a 3" model 69; I can use 240 SJHP's in Magnum or Special loading if desired. While the Specials are fun to shoot all day, If I want something with more power I have the option.
Also, if you have rifles/carbines chambered for the Magnum, you can stock one type of load that gives optimum power in both.
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  #11  
Old 11-04-2019, 4:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpage View Post
/why/ You can shoot specials out of the mag not the other way...
+1
When I bought the ammo, I bought the 44MAG ammo.
When I reload. I reload with 44SPL because the 44SPL uses the large primer the same primer of .45ACP so I can have one primer for both 44SPL & 45ACP. The .44MAG uses a difference primer.
So I need a gun that can shoot both kind of ammo.

Similar the 357MAG gun can shoot both .357MAG and 38SPL ammo. The .38SPL gun can shoot only 38SPL ammo (not 357MAG ammo).

Quote:
Also, if and when I start handloading what improvements can I expect over factory ammunition?
You can reload either the lighter or +P. You also can select the bullet shape (round nose or flat nose) and weight (200,230gr), many choices.

Last edited by newbie1234; 11-04-2019 at 4:59 PM..
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Old 11-04-2019, 7:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie1234 View Post
+1
When I bought the ammo, I bought the 44MAG ammo.
When I reload. I reload with 44SPL because the 44SPL uses the large primer the same primer of .45ACP so I can have one primer for both 44SPL & 45ACP. The .44MAG uses a difference primer.
So I need a gun that can shoot both kind of ammo.

Similar the 357MAG gun can shoot both .357MAG and 38SPL ammo. The .38SPL gun can shoot only 38SPL ammo (not 357MAG ammo).


You can reload either the lighter or +P. You also can select the bullet shape (round nose or flat nose) and weight (200,230gr), many choices.
I successfully use the same Large Pistol primers for nearly all handgun cartridges that use a large primer, including .44 Magnum. Never had an issue, and accuracy is so close that I can hardly tell the difference. To verify that, a Ransom Rest is used to remove shooter variation.
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  #13  
Old 11-04-2019, 9:40 PM
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I load and shoot just about every common handgun caliber and have for almost 50 years. I have never needed or used anything other than regular small and large primers. They all light off the rounds just fine. Maybe if I was a competition shooter using race guns tuned for a special caliber I would rethink some of my loads.
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  #14  
Old 11-07-2019, 5:11 PM
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There’s something special about shooting Specials from a gun chambered for Specials. The cylinder is slightly shorter, the frame a little smaller...

... and a 250 grain LSWC to the tune of 950 - 1000 fps will settle anyone’s hash, and still be somewhat comfortable to shoot from a recoil standpoint.

Cartridge on the right.

20443494-CF94-4BE3-B63D-97EBDB8B9882.jpg
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Old 11-07-2019, 5:33 PM
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There is nothing wrong with buying and shooting a 44spl just because!

A 44spl about the size of a GP100 is a great gun.

In fact, I want to convert a GP 100 into a 41spl....just because!


Take care
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  #16  
Old 11-07-2019, 6:00 PM
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I too carry a S&W 329PD in the woods and added it as my 3rd CCW gun. I normally carry in a chest holster that doesn't interfere with any day or backpack I have. It kicks like a mule to be sure but is perfect with 44spl loads if you want to shoot paper.
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  #17  
Old 11-07-2019, 6:45 PM
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What is your intended use for this revolver? For everything except hunting, I’d go with the .44 special. For target shooting it’s just as accurate as the magnum and as a backpacking / trail gun it has enough power for anything in California
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  #18  
Old 11-07-2019, 6:52 PM
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If you aren't going to shoot .44 magnum in the revolver, just get a 44 special.



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  #19  
Old 11-07-2019, 8:06 PM
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Cleaning the crud rings out of a magnum cylinder when shooting specials in it is a PITA. There's just no easy way to do it, although there are now a couple of cutters that work sort of ok. If you don't clean out the crud rings, you can't get a magnum shell casing into the cylinder.

Elmer Keith loaded specials to magnum velocities, not that I'd recommend it.
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  #20  
Old 11-07-2019, 8:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodell View Post
Cleaning the crud rings out of a magnum cylinder when shooting specials in it is a PITA. There's just no easy way to do it, although there are now a couple of cutters that work sort of ok. If you don't clean out the crud rings, you can't get a magnum shell casing into the cylinder.

Elmer Keith loaded specials to magnum velocities, not that I'd recommend it.
I just download magnum cases.
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  #21  
Old 11-07-2019, 8:56 PM
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Trapper To enjoy having and shooting. I'm not a collector, my pig hunting are long past and I've discovered I'm just not a hunter. I like older pre-lock Smith & Wesson revolvers. 44 S&W Special is available and I've been wanting to learn to handload.

If I notice a nice Smith & Wesson short barrel mdl 24 44 Special come along for a good price who knows...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapper View Post
What is your intended use for this revolver? For everything except hunting, I’d go with the .44 special. For target shooting it’s just as accurate as the magnum and as a backpacking / trail gun it has enough power for anything in California
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  #22  
Old 11-07-2019, 9:33 PM
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If & when the revolver is chambered for Magnalum loads there is a good chance it digested a few heavy loads .

Whereas the revolver chambered for only the special or lower pressure cartridges there is a good chance
the revolver frame wasn't taxed as much as the frame of a magnum revolver.
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  #23  
Old 11-08-2019, 9:47 AM
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I don't disagree with your statement. I like having a magnum engineered gun that shoots 44 Special loads. I like the over-engineering aspect of the firearm.
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Old 11-08-2019, 3:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert101 View Post
I don't disagree with your statement. I like having a magnum engineered gun that shoots 44 Special loads. I like the over-engineering aspect of the firearm.
I see some merit in that idea. That's why I got a Model 69 and shoot lighter 44 mag loads or if not too expensive I'd like to try some heavy 44 specials. I also have a Bulldog but keep moderate to light specials in it. My big daddy is the collection of 29s if I ever need to get serious. Auto or wheelgun, big or medium, depends on my intuition or mood.
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Old 11-08-2019, 4:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hambam105 View Post
If & when the revolver is chambered for Magnalum loads there is a good chance it digested a few heavy loads .

Whereas the revolver chambered for only the special or lower pressure cartridges there is a good chance
the revolver frame wasn't taxed as much as the frame of a magnum revolver.
Going by every used .44 I've ever handled in store,not a worrisome amount. Every great once in a while you'll find a well shot example,or a well carried example,but 90% are practically new inside.
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Old 11-08-2019, 4:13 PM
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I suspect this to generally to be true, unless someone is an active hunter and reloader.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewN View Post
Going by every used .44 I've ever handled in store,not a worrisome amount. Every great once in a while you'll find a well shot example,or a well carried example,but 90% are practically new inside.
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Old 11-08-2019, 4:42 PM
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A .44 Special will be more accurate than shooting Specials in a Magnum model. Beyond that, it is simply personal taste. I have zero interest in .44 Magnum loads, but I would love to have a .44 Special for pleasure shooting.
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Old 11-08-2019, 5:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodell View Post
Cleaning the crud rings out of a magnum cylinder when shooting specials in it is a PITA. There's just no easy way to do it...

Wrap a chunk of a pure copper scrubber (Chore Boy, etc) over an old bronze brush and chuck that into a portable drill motor. Boom. Done. Don’t even need a solvent...



Quote:
Elmer Keith loaded specials to magnum velocities, not that I'd recommend it.

Depending on the gun one may load and shoot near-Magnum pressures, but the beauty of a modern Special is that it will easily digest the Skeeter Skelton favorite of 7.5 grains Unique under a 250 grain LSWC for +/- 1000fps... ballistically halfway between .45 auto and .44 Mag... and that load will pass through an elk at under 75 yards.
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Old 11-08-2019, 5:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 200Apples View Post
There’s something special about shooting Specials from a gun chambered for Specials. The cylinder is slightly shorter, the frame a little smaller...

... and a 250 grain LSWC to the tune of 950 - 1000 fps will settle anyone’s hash, and still be somewhat comfortable to shoot from a recoil standpoint.

Cartridge on the right.

Attachment 848108
I feel the same way about .38 Special/.357 Magnum. Sure I can shoot .38s out of the .357 but the gun is a lot heavier and bulkier.

I have one .357 Magnum revolver (GP100, blue, 4"). Absolutely love it but I also have five .38 Special revolvers (LCR, 442, SP101, K-38 and 1872 Cimarron Open Top). And I'm looking to adding to these with a new LCRx.

Dan
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Old 11-08-2019, 7:21 PM
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I am old enough to remember NRA Pistol Silhouette. Plenty a
M29 and M19 started making the same rattling sounds of a old
pair of dentures worn by a democrat in no time at all.
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Old 11-08-2019, 7:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryff View Post
A .44 Special will be more accurate than shooting Specials in a Magnum model. Beyond that, it is simply personal taste. I have zero interest in .44 Magnum loads, but I would love to have a .44 Special for pleasure shooting.
My experience in using a Ransom Rest for a variety of quality .44 Magnum revolvers suggests that is not always the case. I have found a pair of 29's that are tac-drivers using Specials, although this logically contradicts what one would expect, due to a longer distance to the engagement of the rifling. I think a lot of it is properly sized bullets, chamber/barrel alignment, consistency of components, a good forcing cone, and of course a good muzzle crown.
I have also had like results with .38 Special in a few magnum chambers.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:48 AM
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Magnum vs. Special vs. Accuracy vs. Pistolas.

Police Pistol Combat, or PPC, as in Jurassic NRA Action Pistol Shooting, where a lot accurate and
scored long range revolver shooting takes place.

Plenty of Winners used .357 revolvers loaded with powder puff .38 Special hand loads. And lots of competitors
used revolvers chambered in .38 Special. As far as accuracy goes, there are about 172 others factors.
Of these other factors, it usually starts with tightening the Nut Behind The Butt.
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Old 11-09-2019, 3:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T6pilot View Post
My backpack Bear gun is a SW329PD, not a every day shooter for sure, packs one heck of a wallop though
i'll second this opinion. imo the 329 is a 44 special that can also handle 44mag. it does pack a wallop at just over 25oz.
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Old 11-09-2019, 3:32 AM
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If it was good enough for Clint Eastwood in the dirty harry series should be good enough for you. The armorer provided 44 special loads for reducing rcoil and reduce muzzle blast for the shows.
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Old 11-09-2019, 8:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edgerly779 View Post
If it was good enough for Clint Eastwood in the dirty harry series should be good enough for you. The armorer provided 44 special loads for reducing rcoil and reduce muzzle blast for the shows.
In "Magnum Force" Harry says straight out that he's using Specials.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewN View Post
In "Magnum Force" Harry says straight out that he's using Specials.
I noticed that also, and thought it was ironic. Someone told me that Harry only used Special loads during shooting competitions, but it doesn't appear that way here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs8AqzN9Ga4

Quote:
But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?



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Old 11-09-2019, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friesland View Post
Been pondering the shorter barreled Smith & Wesson 44 magnums and knowing I'd probably shoot the revolver more with the 44 Special rounds, would it be a mistake to settle for the Special only over the 44 magnum/ 44 special?

Also, if and when I start handloading what improvements can I expect over factory ammunition?

I'm also well aware that a 5 to 6" barrel makes more sense and I'm not intentionally going hunting with it.

Many Thanks

I looked on the S&W website and couldn't find a Special only gun. I think they only make 44 Magnums now.

Their old 44 Special guns were made with the same material as their 44 Magnum guns, so they could take the same high pressure as the magnum guns. If you reload you can make high pressure (magnum) Special loads, but you can't use the Magnum load data because the 44 Special bullets are seated 0.100" shorter which would increase pressure over the Magnum's safe limit.


.



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Old 11-09-2019, 12:43 PM
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Go Bulldog or go home!

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  #39  
Old 11-09-2019, 2:05 PM
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Thanks, but...I'm drawn to older Smith & Wesson revolvers.


Quote:
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Old 11-09-2019, 2:08 PM
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I too like older S&W revolvers. One of my favorite is my S&W model 27 with 3 1/2 inch barrel in .44 special. a really sweet gun.
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