Flattop .44 special durability

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williamc

Single-Sixer
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Feb 23, 2010
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As soon as Ruger or one of their distributors makes a 5 1/2" stainless flattop .44 special I'm going to run out and get one.

I only own Rugers because they are engineered extra stout. I have no doubt they'll outlast me and then some.

My question is in regards to long-term durability of mid-frame .44 special Blackhawks like the Flattop models. Even with such a large cartridge do you guys think they'll last shooting full SAAMI spec special rounds? I know all large frame Blackhawks are pretty overbuilt.

Without going into too much detail, I imagine the pressures involved are similar to the .357 magnum and .45 colt models. I just want to make sure that I get a sixgun with the same kind of durability I've come to expect.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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Lake Lure NC USA
Welcome to the Forum!
The mid-framed 44 Spls are very capable of handling the factory speced ammo for them. If that's what is used,, then that gun will outlive a few generations.
Where most folks have "problems" with guns getting damaged is doing things that they were NOT engineered or designed to do. Things like fanning,, overloading to exceed safe pressures, etc.
In this case,, if I wanted to hotrod a load,, I'd step up to the 44 mag frame & use loads in it. designed for it.
 

gak

Buckeye
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Oct 13, 2007
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Aridzona
I can only speak to my .357 New Vaquero--same frame as the .357 and .44 FTs except cosmetic rounding--and there've been no issues whatsoever. .357 = more pressure, but also more beef, so call the two a (rough) wash in terms of durability? If Ruger doesn't "do the right thing" soon with a NV .44, this one is headed for a conversion with zero qualms. Unlike the .45, there's still plenty beef left in the .44 cylinder.


As to the stainless .44 FT, they just came out with that a month or two ago--I believe another Lipseys (TALO I believe) run. Check it out.
http://www.lipseys.com/itemdetail.aspx? ... items=talo
This link just notes the 4-5/8 but I think there's a 5.5 too?
 

williamc

Single-Sixer
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Feb 23, 2010
Messages
214
Location
Atlanta, GA
Thanks for the replies.

I'm waiting on a 5 1/2" model. I've already chimed in on the post from BlkHawk73...

I absolutely intend to reload, but I don't have much interest in exceeding standard loading levels. A 250 grain bullet moving at 900 fps is plenty stout for me.
 

Dale53

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 29, 2007
Messages
925
Location
Hamilton, Ohio USA
The Ruger will easily handle the SAAMI loads and more. If you want the full story, then Brian Pearce's article in the Handloader #260 (June 2009) covers this in detail complete with high performance loads.

I have been shooting .44 Specials for probably forty years or so. My favorite is the Skeeter load (7.5 grs of Unique behind a 250 gr Keith bullet). This load gives about 950 fps in a full size revolver and is pressure tested (H.P. White Laboratory in the NRA .44 Special article) to be well within reasonable limits for any full size "N" frame Smith. The Ruger falls within these same limits.

Read Brian's article (just buy a back issue from Wolfe Publishing) - you'll be glad you did.

If you want a copy of the NRA article write me with your Email address and I'll send it to you (from the NRA Reloading manual).

Dale53
 

williamc

Single-Sixer
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Feb 23, 2010
Messages
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Atlanta, GA
Awesome, thanks!

I guess that's my question. I know you can only shoot "traditional" .45 colt loads in a New Vaquero. I'm wondering about how far you can push the .44 special in the same frame before you start sacrificing durability. It would be nice to be able to flirt with +P, but I'm not willing to hot rod the loads if it means I'm beating up my gun.

I think I need to do a lot more reading offline. I'll order that issue.
 

JimMarch1

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
525
Location
Tucson, AZ, USA
Put it this way: the mid-frame 44Spl Ruger should be fractionally stronger than a post-WW2 Colt SAA in 44Spl. The performance limits of that gun are fairly well known and they're pretty high.
 

M'BOGO

Buckeye
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Jan 18, 2009
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METRO DETROIT
The Brian Pearce's article in Handloader #260 is very inclusive, and an article in Handloader #236 was very educational about the .44 spc as well.
 

williamc

Single-Sixer
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Feb 23, 2010
Messages
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Location
Atlanta, GA
I ordered #260. That's exactly what I was looking for.

Part of the issue is that I've never shot a .44 special. I've owned a 1911, so I imagine that the special will be similar in terms of power and felt recoil. I'm interested in getting into big bore single actions, reloading and such.

Being primarily a rimfire shooter, I don't think I'd enjoy beating the snot out of my firearm or myself with elephant loads. The .44 special seems like a capable and versatile cartridge to explore.

Plus, I'm a sixgun romantic and I have to believe generations of serious sixgun nuts are on to something. That, and the flattop is a handsome firearm.
 

JimMarch1

Blackhawk
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Feb 19, 2007
Messages
525
Location
Tucson, AZ, USA
Well the 44Spl when loaded right has a bit more heat on it than 45ACP BUT the Ruger SA will be a better platform to shoot it from.
 

Rclark

Hunter
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Jan 1, 2009
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Butte, MT
Plus, I'm a sixgun romantic
Then your next one will be a Ruger in .45 Colt ;) . There is just something about holding and shooting a .45 Colt SA .... :) . Enjoy your .43 Special! It'll last several life times of shooting.
 

williamc

Single-Sixer
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Feb 23, 2010
Messages
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Atlanta, GA
JimMarch1":27mggnvy said:
Well the 44Spl when loaded right has a bit more heat on it than 45ACP BUT the Ruger SA will be a better platform to shoot it from.

That's precisely what I'm thinking. Thanks again for all the advice.
 
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