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  #1  
Old 08-01-2008, 10:59 PM
battleship battleship is offline
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Talking 44 special vs 44 magnum

While in Contra Costa Collectibles - Walnut Creek, today a man bought a very nice 3 inched barrelled 44 special in stainless, pre lock. i think i might of jumped on it, if i had of seen it first, though i know nothing of this caliber gun except you dont put magnum rounds in it i believe.

So why make a gun that looks as robust as a 44 magnum that can only fire a round which must be under powered to some degree, what were the reasons behind the production of this caliber handgun.

On all appearances, i would not be able to tell by the design of this gun that it could not withstand the explosive force of magnum rounds so what do they leave out of the barrell and cylinder that they would keep in a 44 magnum build, for comparison i have a 44 magnum 4 inch mountain gun the barrell is very thin but it has no problem taking the magnum loads that it was desgined for. The buyers 44 special barrell seemed alot more thicker than my 44 magnum barrell, is it something in the milling process that gives it its strength or leaves it out?
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2008, 11:04 PM
Elucidus Elucidus is offline
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The history of 44 mag is pretty interesting.

Anyways, 44 mag was created because Elmer Keith and others had created some loads for 44 special that a lot of the older 44 special guns couldn't take without blowing. Manufacturers wanted to take advantage of this, so they created the 44 mag round, 1/10" longer cartridge, to prevent people from using the high powered loads in 44 special. (obviously a liability issue).

A thick-walled 44 special could probably take some pretty hot loads. A thick-walled 44 mag could take even more, due to the sheer volume of powder you can load into the cartridge.

Rugers, DW, and some of the higher end Taurii (Raging Bull) can take much hotter loads(44 mag)than a S&W 29 series due to the increased wall thickness of their cylinders.

As to why someone would create a 44sp handgun, hard to say. 1/10" can lower the OAL of the weapon by a lot, but I don't really see the point. Perhaps nostalgia.
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  #3  
Old 08-01-2008, 11:28 PM
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Before the mountain gun came out the magnum was not available with the light barrel, only the special. The special is one of the best (underrated rounds) ever made. In this day and age you are probably better off with a mountain gun in magnum so you can use both rounds. unless you want a smaller frame (696) five shot 44 special. A well loaded 44 special can do pretty much anything you need it to do just as well as a magnum most of the time, and doesn't kick nearly as much.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:32 PM
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I believe it was the 696 five shot that was purchased can any one direct me to some pictures of the 44 magnum round next to the 44 special i would like to see the length comparison.
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  #5  
Old 08-01-2008, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by battleship View Post
I believe it was the 696 five shot that was purchased can any one direct me to some pictures of the 44 magnum round next to the 44 special i would like to see the length comparison.
If it was a 696 in California that was one lucky sob. It's a rare and much sought after gun even out of state. I would love to post pictures for you, but do not have a working camera at the moment.
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  #6  
Old 08-01-2008, 11:46 PM
battleship battleship is offline
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Rare is what the FFL dealer said, thats what i over heard and got me looking at it, it was mint and i think the buyer got it for $850, darn it.
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  #7  
Old 08-02-2008, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by battleship View Post
Rare is what the FFL dealer said, thats what i over heard and got me looking at it, it was mint and i think the buyer got it for $850, darn it.
There are 3 for sale on gunbroker right now for a little less than that right now. All are out of state and it is rare to see that many for sale. I have one and can say it is one of my favorite guns. I have a warm place in my heart for the 44 special and the old Keith load. I personally own 3 specials and 3 magnums. I very rarely shoot anything but specials.
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  #8  
Old 08-02-2008, 5:57 AM
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Default 44spl v 44mag

I also have a 696 that I carry in winter. With my .44 speed strips it is a pleasure to carry.
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  #9  
Old 08-02-2008, 10:56 AM
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44 special was made because people wanted a revolver round that was about like a 45 colt but 45 colt is a "cowboy gun" 44 special sounds more like a metropolitan like detective comic and there was a bunch of cheap 44 specials imported and the charter arms bulldog

they are kind of like trasitional guns even though the change to smokeless powder happened long ago there is still the limitations of lower pressure in the specs
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  #10  
Old 08-02-2008, 11:33 AM
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Why? Because you can still have a powerful self defense handgun that's larger than a .357 Magnum. A 240gr bullet at 1000 fps will make short work of pretty much anybody and it makes a good deer cartridge too.
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  #11  
Old 08-02-2008, 1:11 PM
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I love .44special and magnums. I want to get the Taurus Ultralite .44spl SS but they dont make it anymore... 20.6oz I think it is, which is lighter than the Charter Bulldog and is better constructed.
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  #12  
Old 08-02-2008, 1:50 PM
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When Keith developed the 44 "Magnum" he wanted a 44 caliber, 240 grain SWC bullet that would go 1200 fps out of a 4-5 inch tube. He was developing this in 44 Spcl revolvers because he kept blowing up 45 Colt Single Action Army revolvers. The 44 Spcl. had more cylinder wall so he went with that. You can load a 44 spcl up to that pretty easily but it is really hard on non-magnum revolvers. A great load in 44 spcl is a 240 hard cast LSWC at 1000 fps out of a 4" tube. It is pleasant to shoot and will handle almost all your needs. If you exceed that envelope then it would be better if you just unlimbered your rifle and finish the job with vigor. If you want to own and enjoy the 44 spcl then you really need to hand load. It is a very flexible cartridge. You can go from a single ball load at 300 fps (like a big pellet gun) to a real stomping 240 gr at 1150. The cases last quite a long time too.
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  #13  
Old 08-02-2008, 10:18 PM
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SAAMI specs on the 44SPC are about 16K PSI max.
44 Mag are more like 36K PSI -- more than twice the pressure.

44 Special is a very respectable self-defense round, comparable to the 45 Colt.
To safely chamber the 44 mag requires a much stronger, and heavier action,
for little gain from an SD perspective. If you're hunting, which is what
the 44Mag was developed for, you'd want a longer barrel.

Trust me, you wouldn't want to fire many full-house 44 Mag loads in a lightweight 3" revolver anyway.
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  #14  
Old 02-17-2011, 4:27 PM
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I have been a handgun hunter for 12 years now. I initially shot a Weigand Combat BHM conversion on a SS S&W 629 with a Tasco red dot sight, wonderful setup except in dim light the dot flooded out the tube. I went to a Tasco 1.25 - 4. It was a terrific handgun, I have killed about 25 deer, 10 Hogs, and a coyote with the setup. I had never killed a deer with iron sights so that was my next endeavor. I found the S&W 329 PDI on the market and it was the gun I dreamed of. There were issues though that popped up. The gun is made of Scandium and Titanium and feels almost plastic it is so light. I named the gun "Potato Chip". In single action it is a great shooting gun, the first time I tried a double tap was a different story alltogether. On the first shot the gun got out of position on my hand and the second shot the damn gun just flat out split the web of my hand between indes finger and thumb. Not a pretty sight. I bled like I had been shot. I still love the gun. I want to find some good espanding .44 spl. rounds so it will serve as a good self defense wheelgun. I carry it in a Kramer cross-draw holster and it sits there like home. It is by the bed in a box filled with UMC 180 gr. truncated cone flat soft point bullets (this is my hunting load and I've never lost anything I ever shot with this load, plus, they're cheap) Anyone know any good .44 spl rounds for sef-defense?
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  #15  
Old 02-17-2011, 6:39 PM
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Little necro posting eh.
Here is my 624 pre lock 3 inch in 44 special. It is shown in the lower right
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  #16  
Old 02-17-2011, 6:48 PM
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Very nice. I'm jealous. S&W N frames are the perfect size for 44 spc.
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  #17  
Old 02-17-2011, 7:47 PM
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I was fortunate to buy this .44 spl off a CGer in 2007.

L frame S&W 696-1


Same 696-1 with Spegel grips


N frame S&W 24-3 LH 3"
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Old 02-17-2011, 8:08 PM
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Nice 696. I have wanted one for awhile now. Just need to find on here in ca that is not Crazy expensive.
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  #19  
Old 02-18-2011, 8:51 AM
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Even Dirty Harry thought the Special load was all you needed for self-defense "I use a light Special. With a gun this size and weight it has no more recoil than a .38 out of a .357. "
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Old 02-18-2011, 9:23 AM
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.44Spl is an outstanding cartridge for field use if you reload. Older revolvers are still functional and in circulation, so 6 ~ 700fps rounds are pretty much standard. Buffalo Bore and others make more spirited ammo - with a warning on what firearms it can be used in.

In a modern firearm of sufficient strength, 900 ~ 1000fps loads are not only safe, they are pleasant to shoot.

Here's my example, 1985 624 no dash, a Lew Horton gun. LH commissioned some really nice revolvers over the years.



.44Spl is legendary for its accuracy as well. I can verify this.

Magnums being able to fire both Spl and Mag more or less killed off the Spl frames, but it is resurging in popularity of late due to many factors, lighter weight revolvers and nostalgia being among them.

I don't suppose it will gain popularity like the .38Spl with ammo cost and availability being what it is, but one never knows what the future holds.

Bottom line, buy one, it's a great reason to get into reloading/casting.
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:45 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.44_Special

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/44_Magnum


Here's a picture of a .44 Magnum Cartridge. Couldn't find a photo of .44 Magnum and Special side by side. Just imagine the Special as 1/10 inch shorter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ca...Comparison.jpg
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:24 AM
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For you guys that have 44 Special what do you consider good factory self defense ammunition? 200g or 180?

I don't see a lot of the traditionally available SD brands making 44 Special

There were these listed at Midway:

Speer Gold Dot 200grain at 875fps/340ft. lbs
Wichester Silver Tip 200grain with no ballistic info provided
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:49 AM
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Also, how do these type loads in 44 Special compare with felt recoil to a similar size/weight gun in .357 with 158g SD loads?
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohoki View Post
44 special was made because people wanted a revolver round that was about like a 45 colt but 45 colt is a "cowboy gun" 44 special sounds more like a metropolitan like detective comic and there was a bunch of cheap 44 specials imported and the charter arms bulldog

they are kind of like trasitional guns even though the change to smokeless powder happened long ago there is still the limitations of lower pressure in the specs
44 Special-44 Magnum

not exactly; 44 special came about with the advent of smokeless powders. The reason it's longer than the 44 russian (or american) was to prevent people from mistakenly loading the new smokeless catridge into handguns not proofed for the increased pressures of the new round. same reason as why the .44 magnum won't fit into a .44 special chamber.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.44_Special
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File Type: jpg SPMG.jpg (7.1 KB, 135 views)
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  #25  
Old 02-18-2011, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs1975 View Post
For you guys that have 44 Special what do you consider good factory self defense ammunition? 200g or 180?

I don't see a lot of the traditionally available SD brands making 44 Special

There were these listed at Midway:

Speer Gold Dot 200grain at 875fps/340ft. lbs
Wichester Silver Tip 200grain with no ballistic info provided
I use the Gold Dot in an old Charter Bulldog, canít help you with the comparison to .357, but half a box of this combo leaves my hand sore for three days.

Here is a link to brass fetcherís old site and their gelatin test of the Gold Dot.
http://www.brassfetcher.com/.44%20Special.html
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Old 02-18-2011, 2:47 PM
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I have 2x bulldogs and a taurus 431. I run across S&W pre lock 624's here and there usually overpriced. I like them but I am leery of them due to the S&W recall. I even want a S&W 544 in .44-40!

I like the .44spl cartridge and some of the guns chambered for it but for most people and uses a .44mag makes more sense and is more versatile.

I feel .44spl and .45lc DA revolvers loaded something like a Federal LSWHP make a lot of sense as home defense handguns.
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Old 02-18-2011, 9:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs1975 View Post
For you guys that have 44 Special what do you consider good factory self defense ammunition? 200g or 180?

I don't see a lot of the traditionally available SD brands making 44 Special

There were these listed at Midway:

Speer Gold Dot 200grain at 875fps/340ft. lbs
Wichester Silver Tip 200grain with no ballistic info provided
I like the 200gr Gold Dot. You can get them in the CCI Blazer aluminum cased stuff or Speer branded flavor. They're available for hand loading as well. I run them at around 950 FPS out of my 21-4.
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Old 02-19-2011, 8:43 PM
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Question

Just in case the OP is still around and looking...

The thickness of the barrel has nothing to do with a revolver's ability to handle higher pressures, most of that ability is in the metallurgy of the cylinder and frame. I never saw the point in N-Frame .44 Specials. Even if you shoot specials most of the time, why wouldn't you want magnum capability in the same envelope? It's like buying a 586 that's only chambered in .38 spl.



Anywho...

Even the 696 is too heavy for it's payload for my tastes.




18 ounces, w/factory stocks. I keep it loaded with 200 gr Gold Dot Blazers, and have some Buffalo Bore 255 gr SWCs in case I need a pocket bear gun. When you pick it up you can really feel the difference in weight between the two loads.

BTW mine is one of the 296s with the chambers cut so loose a .44 Mag round will drop in. One of these days I'll see if people are willing to take up a collection to pay me to try it.
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