Why is .44 Special so good?

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StonewallRuger

Single-Sixer
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Feb 11, 2008
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I've been reading a bit on this forum lately and in the past, and I can't help but notice the apparent infatuation everyone seems to have with the .44 Special round. Can someone explain to me why this is? I am curious because I am ignorant, and, who knows, maybe I'm missing out. :)

Is it because of ballistics, value, or_____? I really don't know, so please enlighten me.
 

Jayhawkhuntclub

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Well first off, people around here think anything that will go "bang" is a must have. They're a sick bunch and have had a negative effect on me.

Aside from that, a lot of it is about the history of the 44 spl. And it is a nice pleasant to shoot big bore that will do 96% of what a guy needs a big bore to do.
 

BearHawk 357

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Feb 18, 2010
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Ohio
The bullets that they shoot are of a size that is very common due to the popular 44 magnum being the same size. The big difference is that it doesn't cross your eyes when you shoot one. They can be loaded down really low. A 44 special can also be loaded up to hunting speeds.

I think a lot of the appeal is the fact that they are not what "everybody has." That alone kind of makes them seem more special than they really are (no pun intended).
 

Dale53

Blackhawk
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Aug 29, 2007
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Hamilton, Ohio USA
The original popularity occurred because the platform was the Colt SAA. The .45 Colt in a SAA has extremely thin chamber walls and are especially thin over the bolt cuts. That limits "hotrodding" in that platform (the Ruger Black Hawk wasn't even a glimmer in Bill Ruger's eyes).

On the other hand, the .44 Special, with the same weight bullets (250 grs or so) could be safely driven considerably faster than a .45 Colt could drive them and do it with a margin of safety. Further, the factories that produced .44 revolvers seemed to have paid much closer attention to proper dimensions. They were easier to get to shoot well than most early cartridges.

A lot of VERY knowledgeable shooters became understandably enamored of the .44 Special. Today, even tho' there are plenty of alternatives, the .44 Special is still an excellent choice. Everything from mild to wild works quite well.

I have several and they meet or beat my expectations. For an all around field pistol it is hard to beat an S&W Model 24, or 624, a Ruger .44 Lipsey Special or a Colt or Colt clone in this wonderful old revolver round appropriately loaded for the job at hand.

FWIW
Dale53
 

eric conrad

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Stone wall, pick up a copy of Elmer Keith "six Guns". I always wondered why it took Ruger so long to come out with the single action 44spl. I know why but am so glad they finally built it.
Eric
 

Stoots

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Carolina Beach, NC
hutchman":vy7vqvsc said:
I wish we had a popcorn smilie.......

:lol:

Here ya go!

vvcv-2.jpg


:wink:
 

Barry in IN

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
23
Personally, taking it a piece at a time, I like it because...

I like moderate velocity big bores, be it revolvers or semiautos. By "moderate velocity", I mean up to 1000 fps or so. By big bore, I guess anything .40 and up counts, but I think .44 or .45 is the ideal. In revolvers, this is pretty much the .44 Special and the .45 Colt. They are fast enough to do something without being high pressured and stupid loud, and throw bullets big enough to use the velocity they make without beating me to death.

Using an engine analogy, they are big block V8s running at a mid range rpm. A small block (.357) might equal the HP in a smaller package, but it works harder, makes more noise, requires more attention, and puts more stress on things. The big bores/big blocks have the power, but don't strain themselves so much in making it.

Having narrowed it to those two, the 44 spl and 45 Colt...
I like the the .44 Special over the 45 Colt for a few reasons. Most have been listed already.

-It can work in a smaller gun. I have two .44 Spls- a new Ruger FT and a S&W 696- and I consider both to be .357-sized guns. They are just a little smaller than what I consider a typical .44/.45 big bore. I think the .44 SPL is on the edge of being able to manage this, and the .45 Colt can't quite pull it off as it either leaves too little metal in the cylinder or requires a larger cylinder to start with putting us back to a big gun. I have owned a S&W 25-5 (45 Colt) for 25 years and love it, but think it is just a little too big for convenience. Yet I wouldn't want a smaller cylinder in a .45 Colt.

-The .44 bore offers more "revolver-ish" bullet choices. The .45 caliber allows plenty of bullets, but a lot of them are meant for the 45 ACP. Many of those will work in a revolver, but some work bettter than others. With a .44, almost all bullets were designed from the start for revolver use, and there are a lot of 'em.
Of course, for most of us one or two bullets do almost everything we need and they can be found for either. But it's nice to have plenty of choices.

-The dimensions seem to run more consistent. The .45 Colt's various bore and cylinder dimensions over the years have lead to trouble. Some 45 Colts come with cylinder throats smaller than the bore and need corrected (although this seems to be a LOT better anymore). My S&W needed a little attention, but was not near as bad as some I've heard of. I seldom even hear of this with .44s.

-The case has a smaller capacity. Both the 44 Spl and 45 Colt have big cases for what they do. You don't use much of the case capacity with smokeless powder and have empty space in both. With the .44 Special, you have less of it. It's a small difference that won't matter to most people, but it is a difference and matters to me. [/i]
 

Snobal

Bearcat
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Oct 25, 2008
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Arizona Wilderness
In the 1970's when jackrabbits were a pest in Idaho, a bunch of us used to do our part to reduce the jackrabbit population with our revolvers. :wink:

Anyway, we found that any solid body hit with a .44 or .45 would instantly stop jackrabbits. The same loads worked consistently well on mule deer. :D

You don't have to get a .44 bullet going "warp 9" to get regular kills from solid body shots.

JMHO - YRMV
 

gak

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Aridzona
I have always loved (and have) .44s--SAA and clones + .44 Mag Rugers--but these are some of the better responses I've seen. Good thread. Looking forward to a New Vaquero .44--which I'm sure is coming :) or will have to get built off my .357.
 

Dave T

Single-Sixer
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Oct 20, 2009
Messages
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Barry in IN":2n2xv0zj said:
Using an engine analogy, they are big block V8s running at a mid range rpm. A small block (.357) might equal the HP in a smaller package, but it works harder, makes more noise, requires more attention, and puts more stress on things. The big bores/big blocks have the power, but don't strain themselves so much in making it.

Barry,

That's an excellent analogy and the perfect explanation. Mind if I borrow that one for future reference?

The other appeal, at least for me is the 44 Special represents the start of an era, represented by this old timer:

2009_1022AF.jpg


If you like the 44 Magnum, this is where it came from. If you like any N-framed S&W, this is where it came from. Called the 1st Model 44 Hand Ejector or the New Century, it's most often referred to as the Triple Lock. With this as a heritage it's hard for most handgun enthusiasts to not have a strong attraction for the 44 Special.

Dave
 

CraigC

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Because it's perfect. It has the authority of a big bore but for the most part has a pleasant demeanor. It fits in wonderfully sized, weighted and balanced sixguns like svelte barrelled N-frames, Colt SAA's and mid-frame Rugers. It is a highly efficient cartridge without a lot of wasted case capacity. It is a handloader's dream, it covers the whole spectrum from mild to wild. It's all most shooters and outdoorsmen need. Perfect.
 

Yosemite Sam

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CraigC":2fump0mf said:
Because it's perfect. It has the authority of a big bore but for the most part has a pleasant demeanor. It fits in wonderfully sized, weighted and balanced sixguns like svelte barrelled N-frames, Colt SAA's and mid-frame Rugers. It is a highly efficient cartridge without a lot of wasted case capacity. It is a handloader's dream, it covers the whole spectrum from mild to wild. It's all most shooters and outdoorsmen need. Perfect.
That's what I've found. I first shot it a few years ago out of a .44 mag gun, and wasn't that impressed. Then I shot it out of my Lipsey's BH and found nirvana. It just feels right. Big boom, little recoil, big hole.

I still like .45 Colt too, though, I just tend to load them lightly.

-- Sam
 

Lo-Bo

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 6, 2009
Messages
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Why is the .44 special so good? Because like the .45 Colt it does just about all that needs to be done with a handgun "without" the recoil, muzzle blast, and noise. Both can also be chambered in smaller guns than the magnums. I would also like to thing that as shooters mature they no longer have to impress anyone by shooting the biggest, baddest gun around. It also doesn't hurt that Keith ,Skeeter, Taffin, Pearce, etc. have written so much praise about them.
 

StonewallRuger

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Arkansas
I see. I like the recoil and blast from my .44 mag, but I've never shot specials out of it.

I am a HUGE history buff and a Western history enthusiast, and I think I might have to jump on the .44 Special bandwagon as soon as I have the money to do so.

I'm not a reloader, and I don't think I'll be able to afford the equipment to do that for a long time, so hopefully I'll still be able to find good .44 special ammo around.

Thank you all for your responses. I feel much more enlightened now.
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
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Cape Cod, MA, USA
StonewallRuger":g6jjr8ya said:
I see. I like the recoil and blast from my .44 mag, but I've never shot specials out of it.

I am a HUGE history buff and a Western history enthusiast, and I think I might have to jump on the .44 Special bandwagon as soon as I have the money to do so.

I'm not a reloader, and I don't think I'll be able to afford the equipment to do that for a long time, so hopefully I'll still be able to find good .44 special ammo around.

Thank you all for your responses. I feel much more enlightened now.
You know that feeling you get with heavy rounds in the .44 Mag, like a bomb just went off in front of you? Pressure wave smacks you in the chest and sinuses, you can really FEEL the round go off?

The .44 Special isn't like that. :)

While I enjoy the sinus-clearing blast of a good .44 mag too, the Special is much more enjoyable to just go out and shoot, imo. In fact, I find it nicer even than .38s, most of which have an annoying little "crack" to me. (Of course, I could probably fix that by loading my own and using different powders.)

-- Sam
 

2 dogs

Buckeye
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You can get the 44 special in really cool guns like this King Super Target conversion on a 1950 model. Can you imagine my excitement when I found this one????
036-1.jpg
 

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