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Thread: 44 Special

  1. #1
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    44 Special

    Anyone on here have much experience with the 44 special?

    I'm close on buying a pre-war S&W Hand Ejector in 44 special. I'm interested in it more as a collectible/historic gun, but I've also heard a lot of talk recently about folks using it as a self defense round and also see that a lot of the common self defense rounds like gold dots and critical defense are available loaded in it. It seems on paper ballistically similar to(although less powerful than) .45ACP.

    From looking at the cost of range ammo, I think I'll need to get into reloading(something I'm planning on doing anyway) to be able to afford to shoot it enough to be confident in it, although the self defense loads are not that different in price from what I'm use to paying for .38 special and .357 magnum.

    Is anyone using this round for carry?

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    I can't help with the round usage question, and I'm sorry for that. I can though, speak for reloading. DO IT. Biggest cost, upfront of buying equipment. It's nice to shell out round's with the family while sitting at home, than having to truck to the store to buy factory ammo.

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    I'm definitely long overdue on starting to reload. I've been saving my brass for a while. My big hold-up now is that small primers in any form, and most pistol primers, and next to impossible to find. At least the large pistol primers seem to be about the most available of them.

    I've also started shooting 30-06 recently, and I'm not planning on buying any more factory ammo once my current stock(~200 rounds) is gone as it's just too expensive. That's enough motivation right there to reload! I think that buying a 44 special will definitely push me over the edge.

  4. #4
    Regular Member EtdBob's Avatar
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    I shoot a heck of allot of .44 special because I use that caliber for cowboy action shooting.
    In that caliber I have a Winchester 1873 clone, a 5-1/2 inch Ruger Flat Top and ( my pride and joys ) two Ruger Vaquero 3 3/4" sheriffs models - A little over 500 of these were made, and I got two of 'em!

    It is a very easy cartridge to reload. I cast 200 grain round nose flat point and 240 grain semi-wadcutter bullets, and usually load 'em over light loads of W231 or light to moderate loads of Unique.
    I often use the "Skeeter" load of 7.5 grains of Unique under both the 200 and 240 grain slugs, especially in the rifle and Flat Top. It's a great load. I like to push the slugs just sub-sonic.

    This is hotter than SAAMI specs though, and you may not want to shoot to much of this through such an old gun, but I think much of the love for this cartridge is based upon the use of such "hot" loads. Most factory stuff is real mild ammo.
    I'd not hesitate to use one of my .44 thumbusters for carry, and I know a feller that carries a new .44 special Charter Arms revolver. I think he uses the Gold Dot load. I'd carry the Skeeter loads, but of course they would over penetrate any human!

    I used nothing but .44 magnums for twenty years, but got to the point that I was shooting mostly nothing but light .44 mag or slightly hot .44 special loads, so I moved down to the .44 special for the lighter guns.

    Straight wall revolver cases like the .44 mag and special and .357 mag and .38 special are probably the easiert things to learn to reload. From most of my molds I can load them right as cast with no resizing needed.It doesn't get any easier than that, and its nice to think that I can keep a pile of revolvers and a rifle going as long as I have Unique, a pile of primers and can scrounge up lead. The 'ol lever gun / revolver combo using the same ammo is hard to beat if you ask me, and the lever gun fits all the hunting I do.

    If you get that .44 special, you might want to look at getting a Ruger Flat top or Charter Arms in the same caliber down the road!
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  5. #5
    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    I had a S&W highway patrolman converted to 44 special when I was in my 20's, it is a exceptional cartridge for self defense. I still shoot 44 special through my marlin rifle, along with 44 mag. With the 44 special the rifle will hold one more round for 11 in the tube.
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    Reloading, .44 Special and .30-06

    Definately get into reloading; the cost is about 1/5 that of buying factory ammo. Lee makes an excellent hand press that will get you started inexpensively into reloading...but it is a bear to get rifle cases through the resizing operation...do some work out at the gym before you try that.

    I have reloaded the .44 Special a bit but rarely shoot it out of my Ruger Super Redhawk; I hear it is an excellent self-defense round.

    I have found .30-06 ammo at Walmart at about the same price it was before Obama became President. They'll only let you buy three boxes at a time so I go back the next day and buy three more...then go down the road to another Walmart and do the same.

    Have you tried Graf and Sons for Ammo, reloading components, etc?

  7. #7
    Regular Member tomrkba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnspecial View Post
    Anyone on here have much experience with the 44 special?

    I'm close on buying a pre-war S&W Hand Ejector in 44 special. I'm interested in it more as a collectible/historic gun, but I've also heard a lot of talk recently about folks using it as a self defense round and also see that a lot of the common self defense rounds like gold dots and critical defense are available loaded in it. It seems on paper ballistically similar to(although less powerful than) .45ACP.

    From looking at the cost of range ammo, I think I'll need to get into reloading(something I'm planning on doing anyway) to be able to afford to shoot it enough to be confident in it, although the self defense loads are not that different in price from what I'm use to paying for .38 special and .357 magnum.

    Is anyone using this round for carry?
    $45 for 50 rounds in my area. Yikes! You really need to reload for it (except for defensive ammo).

    I carry my S&W Model 24 with 3" barrel in a DeSantis Thumb Break Scabbard.






    You can also shoot 44 Special out of a revolver chambered in 44 Magnum. This is a Ruger Alaskan. Ammo is Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel.

    Last edited by tomrkba; 03-28-2013 at 10:21 PM.

  8. #8
    Campaign Veteran OlGutshotWilly's Avatar
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    .44 spl is a great round, and fun to shoot. Would work well as a self defense round also if you are a revolver guy.

    They can be loaded light with a 200 grain bullet that is just a pleasure to shoot and practice with, up to a 240 grain bullet that packs quite a wallop for self defense. I only own one, but it is an older Rossi model 720 which actually was a great gun. I shoot it a lot and reload for it frequently. It used to be my "trail gun" until I bought my .41 magnum

    Don't be afraid of getting one, and learn to reload!

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  9. #9
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    sky marshalls were carrying 44 specials for a while.
    depending on the load, they are very close to a 45 ACP.
    I would NOT want to get hit by either of them and I'll bet I wouldn't be able to tell the difference!!!
    Last edited by Cava3r4; 04-29-2013 at 11:18 PM.

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    After much debating, I've decided to forgo a dedicated 44 special gun. Rather, I've narrowed my focus down to the S&W 629 "Mountain Gun", which has the 4" tapered barrel used on the 44 special 624.

    I expect that once I find one I will mostly shoot 44 specials out of it, but like having the option of 44 magnum(especially since I don't have a 44 magnum).

    Now I just need to find "the right one" with no lock. I'd especially like to find a pre-MIM one, but that might be asking too much.

  11. #11
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    I think the 44 mag is a better idea one can always shoot 44spl loads in that. Plus you have the option of using the mag loads. For every full house 44mag load I shot I shoot 5 times that many light 44s a 250swc at 900fps is just a great load to shoot.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnspecial View Post
    After much debating, I've decided to forgo a dedicated 44 special gun. Rather, I've narrowed my focus down to the S&W 629 "Mountain Gun", which has the 4" tapered barrel used on the 44 special 624.

    I expect that once I find one I will mostly shoot 44 specials out of it, but like having the option of 44 magnum(especially since I don't have a 44 magnum).

    Now I just need to find "the right one" with no lock. I'd especially like to find a pre-MIM one, but that might be asking too much.
    I agree with your decision. The ability to use the hotter .44 magnum rounds when desired is a good thing. I shoot both magnums and specials in my S&W 629 and often load it with .44 special +P for self-defense.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnspecial View Post
    After much debating, I've decided to forgo a dedicated 44 special gun. Rather, I've narrowed my focus down to the S&W 629 "Mountain Gun", which has the 4" tapered barrel used on the 44 special 624.
    Agree with your choice - I bought a 629 Mountain Gun several years ago and it quickly became my favorite handgun.

  14. #14
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    I managed to find a nice pre-lock Mountain Gun at the gun show this past weekend. It doesn't have the hammer mounted firing pin(which I prefer) but at least is no-lock and has cut rifling in the barrel(as opposed to EDM rifling) to make cast bullets happy.

    I haven't shot it yet, but I'm definitely excited about taking it out for the first time.

  15. #15
    Regular Member tomrkba's Avatar
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    The 629 is a good choice. There is a difference in how the pencil and heavy barrels shoot. If you're going to shoot mostly 44 Special and light 44 Magnum, then the Mountain Gun is a great choice.

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    Last edited by tomrkba; 09-11-2013 at 10:47 PM.

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