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Old 02-10-2011, 10:49 AM
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Default .44 Special vs .44 Magnum

Need some info. I have a .44 mag. Thinking about buying a .44 sp. What's the difference? Can you shoot a mag. in the sp. or vice versa? Also what is a ball park price on a .44 sp.? Any help is appreciated & thanks in advance.
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:11 AM
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Sir.
If you have a .44 mag., you should be able to shoot .44 Spec. in it. It does not work the other way.
.44 Mag. mostly likely has a heavy conture barrel, some .44 Spec. barrels are contured a little more slender.
.44 Mag is not real fun to shoot.
.44 Spec is fun to shoot.
Price on .44 Special is from cheap to very expensive, depends on manufacture, Model and age of gun. Similar to an equivalent .44 mag.
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:14 AM
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The case of a .44 Special cartridge is approximately 1/8th inch (0.125 inch) shorter than a .44 Magnum. Hence, the Special round can be chambered in a Magnum revolver, but not vice-versa. The Magnum's greater case length means that more powder can be accommodated, hence, it can generate higher velocities unless one is hot-rodding the .44 Special, such as Elmer Keith did in his development of the .44 Magnum. I'm not recommending this, only making the point for historical accuracy.

Hope this helps.


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Old 02-10-2011, 11:27 AM
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Im not aware of any .44 special guns that I would load up to .44 magnum pressure. Even the Blackhawk in .44 special is on the smaller frame than the Super Blackhawk in .44 magnum. I love shooting the Special but I do it mostly in magnums. Unless I ever find a deal on a 696 at the same time as I have money. Or if Ruger ever gets smart and clones the 696 in a GP100. That would be pretty sweet.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:00 PM
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It's a real pleasure putting 44 specials through my 29 - sort of the equivalent of shooting 38's through a 27 or 28 instead of 357's. For every box of 44 specials, I might shoot 6 cartridges of 44 magnums but sometimes you just want to be the center of attention at the range!
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RdrBill View Post
Sir.
If you have a .44 mag., you should be able to shoot .44 Spec. in it. It does not work the other way.
.44 Mag. mostly likely has a heavy conture barrel, some .44 Spec. barrels are contured a little more slender.
.44 Mag is not real fun to shoot.

.44 Spec is fun to shoot.
Price on .44 Special is from cheap to very expensive, depends on manufacture, Model and age of gun. Similar to an equivalent .44 mag.
Bill@Yuma
Having shot *only* a Super Blackhawk and a S&W M29 A BUNCH - I disagree. The 44 Mag is WAY more fun to shoot than the 44 Special. WAY MORE
*YMMV*
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:31 PM
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The .44 special can be hotroded in some popular guns to reach the low end of .44 mag loads. The .44 special can be loaded to do what 95% or more of what people buy the .44 mag THINK they need.
The .44 mag is a more powerfull cartridge, no argument. However the beautifull thing about .44 specials in smith & wessons is they have tapered or "pencil" barrels that make the guns feel much more handy, lighter and portable, yet do the same job in most cases as the .44 mag.
I have a 24-3 .44 special. I also own the heavier straight barrel 29-2 .44 mag. There is a big differance if you actualy wear them all day.
In colt single actions they are a sweet heart too.
Here are my .44 specials. There is two conversions amoung them. The long barreled colt saa, and the 5" HD looking smith has a model 21 barrel on it and rechambered to .44 special.
Like most of us on this site I own .44 mag, a bunch of .45 colts, .357s, .45 acp`s etc. .44 special is my favorite. That is partialy because of the guns made for them. They are all sweethearts.


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Old 02-10-2011, 04:35 PM
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The 44 special is often found in lighter handier guns than the magnum. Most manufacturers make their magnums a bit heavier to help attenuate a bit of recoil. While I've owned both, I prefer the special. It is capable of almost anything the magnum will do except the very top loadings meant for hunting.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadAye View Post
Having shot *only* a Super Blackhawk and a S&W M29 A BUNCH - I disagree. The 44 Mag is WAY more fun to shoot than the 44 Special. WAY MORE
*YMMV*

i must agree...i have both but i'll take the M29....44 mag.is a hoot to shoot!
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:09 AM
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Like (I assume) most M29 owners I will shoot mostly magnum ammo, but will ease my mind with some softer shooting Specials. I load my own magnums but shoot store bought .44 specials. Even if you're used to the heavy pounding the magnums will give you, you have to enjoy the gentle bumping, extremely accurate pattersn the specials will give you. Few who really like their .44 mags will NOT also revere the softness of the .44 special. MY 2 cents, anyway.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:42 AM
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If you are just shooting at the range, the 44 special is THE ROUND TO USE. Put a big old 240 gr. lswc in a case with about 11 grains of 2400 and it is pure joy. Load up a 29 or a Super with magnum (earcasplitinloudenboomers) and have the 29s target grips sting you a few times or the Supers trigger guard rap you a few times and you will go back to the specials.

Just yesterday I put 50 rounds down range with my 44special Blackhawk and then followed up with another 50 from my 24-3. I went home happy and satisfied. When I cleaned up my revolvers I shot yesterday and put them up, I told the 29 Smith and the SuperBlackhawk "Maybe next time".
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:00 AM
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You want some real fun? A 240gr LSWC/LRNFP over 3.5gr Titegroup in a .44 Russian case. A 'poof' load, it makes 692 fps from my 3" 696 and 714 fps from my 4" 629. It makes 'major' power factor from the 3" tube - and is really mild - anyone can shoot that load. Just remember to clean your chambers before loading the longer .44 Specials - and again in the 629 - when you want to launch Magnums.

BTW, you can get around the cleaning the chambers problem in a 29/629 by simply loading wimpy .44 Magnums - that's all I load - sorry, Elmer Keith!

Stainz

PS To lessen the 'sting' of a RB 29 or 629, try the Hogue monogrips made for the .460/.500 Magnums - $36.78 from S&W Accessories and they fit K/L, N, X, and Z frames. They pad the backstrap - great recoil help.

Last edited by Stainz; 07-16-2011 at 08:03 AM.
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  #13  
Old 07-16-2011, 11:55 AM
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Since I responded to this original thread last febuary, I added this flat top ruger in .44 special. That makes 7 specials and one mag in a 5" 29-2.
I have wrote a lot before about the special versus the mag. Seems I aint got my point through to many. Here again:
1. The special will do 90% of what 100% of mag buyers fantisise they need a mag for and 15% of them might really need it once or twice. (With handloads).
2. All the guns built for the special are sweethearts to pack in compareison to the model 29s and super blackhawk frames.
3. One exception might be a mountain gun. I just dont have one.
4. I also own a number of 45 colts. Colt SAA, 25-5 and some SAA clones.
I load both calibers very similar. All are sweethearts to shoot.
The 25-5 has the straight heavy barrel as the 29 so loose`s that weight advantage of the 24s. In the colt SAA`s I like the extra meat in the clyinder over the paper thin chambers in the .45. It`s probley just a mental thing--but the thought is there.
In both special and 45 colt you dont have the irritateing sharp muzzel blast of the .357 or 44 mag. The felt recoil is just different in a nicer way.

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Old 07-16-2011, 12:40 PM
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Here's some Chrony data from my 3" 629 Talo

44 Mag Corbon 300 grain - 910fps
44 Mag Hornady 240 grain - 1175fps
44 Mag Fiocchi 240 grain - 1122fps
44 SPL Hornady Critical Defense 165 grain - 915fps
44 SPL CCI Blazer 200 grain - 720fps
44 SPL Winchester 200 grain - 772fps



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Old 07-16-2011, 01:15 PM
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A consideration is ammo availability.

I cannon find 44 special to save my life in the stores around me.

I have a Model 29 that I love to shoot. Personally I like the magnums, but after a hundred rounds my wrist gets sore. I started reloading to offset the ammo costs, and a side benefit is loading light 44 mag with a bulky powder so it fills the case despite the light load. I use this to introduce the M29 to people who want to try it without the mag blast and recoil.

Pet light load:
240 Berry plated cast lead bullet
19 grains IMR 4227

That powder is bulky enough so that a double charge overflows the case, and keeps the case empty space low.

This a fun plinking round that people like to shoot. Plus, I like that I can volume shoot without hurting my wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome)

If you buy a 44 mag you have a lot of options. With a 44 special ammo can be difficult to find, and while you can hot load a 44 spcl it will never reach a factory 44 mag for performance.

I like choices.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye 2620 View Post
The case of a .44 Special cartridge is approximately 1/8th inch (0.125 inch) shorter than a .44 Magnum. Hence, the Special round can be chambered in a Magnum revolver, but not vice-versa. The Magnum's greater case length means that more powder can be accommodated, hence, it can generate higher velocities unless one is hot-rodding the .44 Special, such as Elmer Keith did in his development of the .44 Magnum. I'm not recommending this, only making the point for historical accuracy.

Hope this helps.




Bullseye


I beg to differ.

A 44 Mag can and will chamber in a 44 Special!

Here is a picture of a M 696 with two 44 Mag cartridges (240 gr LSWC). As you can see they will go into the cylinders and the cylinder will close. Do not do this!

This is not the 38 Spl, 357 Mag analogy



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Old 07-16-2011, 01:25 PM
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EXCELLENT POINT!!

I just checked:

Lee manual
OAL 44 spcl: 1.615
OAL 44 mag: 1.610

...no, I did not transpose the dimensions, the special is longer than the mag.

Hornady manual:
44 spcl: 1.500
44 mag: 1.610 only .11 longer.

Speer manual:
44 spcl: 1.615
44 mag: 1.610, again, the special is longer than the mag!

There you have it.

I'm not a gunsmith...but logic tells me the difference between calibers in a 44mag/spcl is the thickness of stressed parts and the ability to absorb higher pressures for the mag guns.

BE CAREFUL

Last edited by dcxplant; 07-16-2011 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:00 PM
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A quick point:
While the difference between the .44 special and magnum in most cases is as described above, in the case of the M624 & M629 the frames are exactly the same per S&W.
I wanted a 5 barrel for my 624, I called S&W, no they said, not available, but you could change out the cylinder to the slightly longer mag cyl. and use a 5 Mag barrel which is available.
Evidently the 624s were just 629s with a different cyl & barrel, marked differently of course.
I am not advising the loading of .44 spl cases to .44 magnun levels.
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:04 PM
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Big fan boy of .44mag here. I have numerous mags and always have.

I got the itch to own a .44Spl some years back and finally did it.

99% of my shooting is at the range, I don't get to hunt like I used to, but I'll get back out soon.

Truth be told, factory .44Spl is WEAK and therefore the cartridge is not respected and for that reason it isn't as popular as it should be.

Seek out specialty loads or reload and you've got an entirely different creature, one that's not only pleasant to shoot, but effective downrange.

From the beginning of my magnum ownership, I made a light load in a magnum case. Who didn't read EK or SS back in the day? I took their info and made a 900fps 250g cast round using 7g W231 and a magnum case - I didn't have any Spl brass.

Very fun to shoot, but truth be told, I preferred magnum rounds, hot nasty, heavy magnums. Still do.

Now that I have a dedicated .44Spl., or two, I enjoy a 900fps round and my focus is accuracy.

Consider the .45Colt. It's no slouch. At 900fps with a 255g cast round, it can pass through a horse at 100 yards and have enough energy to kill the BG hiding behind it. Not bad for a non magnum.

The .44Spl., loaded with a 250g cast SWC @ 900fps is IDENTICAL - save for a slightly different BC and SD, which makes it a BETTER penetrator.

If you choose to go the .44Spl. route, you will not be disappointed or under gunned.
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyb View Post
i must agree...i have both but i'll take the M29....44 mag.is a hoot to shoot!
Make that 3 of us...the 44 mag is the upper end of the recoil to enjoyment ratio for me...love the recoil, but anything larger, I don't enjoy.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:02 PM
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.....double post
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Last edited by mesinge2; 07-16-2011 at 07:04 PM. Reason: double post
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
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Make that 3 of us...the 44 mag is the upper end of the recoil to enjoyment ratio for me...love the recoil, but anything larger, I don't enjoy.
My thoughts exactly. I fired my friend's 4" 500 maggie five times, that's was enough for me to decide that I don't need a 500.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:53 PM
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Us older guys had to follow Elmers teachings. Bought my first SAA Pre war SA about 1956 or so. Had it made into a 44 Spec. Reloading was breeze. Good Lord I shot the Hell out of that old gun, still have it but it's a safe queen now. Took 5 deer with the old girl. Owned 44 mags since then but the nostaglia isn't there. Gosh, how I ramble on anymore. But the old 44 spec. is a great cartridge & very enjoyable to shoot.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:04 PM
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One of the finest shooting 44 specials I ever had was a Colt SAA.....3rd gen, a buddy talked me out of it....and won't hear of selling it back!

re: "Consider the .45Colt. It's no slouch. At 900fps with a 255g cast round, it can pass through a horse at 100 yards and have enough energy to kill the BG hiding behind it."
Question: I've seen that before in reference to a 45-70 rather than 45LC. Is it possible to post a link to the source on that quote? I'd like to believe 45LC could do such but have some skeptical buddies to deal with.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:56 PM
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I found a S&W model 58 chambered in 44 special(special order)..Anybody want to tell me what it would be worth? Thanks Keith
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:16 PM
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I suspect it was not a special order, unless it letters as such. It was either converted, or a so-called "lunch box" gun that a factory employee made up.

One of the hardcore collector members (Doc44?; I can't recall) has a 58-29 I think it is called. An M58 made in .44 magnum, a one off for a special customer and I think not authorized.
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadAye View Post
Having shot *only* a Super Blackhawk and a S&W M29 A BUNCH - I disagree. The 44 Mag is WAY more fun to shoot than the 44 Special. WAY MORE
*YMMV*
I've got a 4" 29-2 and I expect that guys who think it's FUN to shoot Winchester White Box 240gr. Magnums in such a gun also think it's "fun" to pay a lady in a leather bustier to flog them with a cat of nine tails.

I've probably shot 20-1 Specials vs. Magnums in that gun and the majority of the Magnums were fired in a 2-3 month period to diagnose a factory defect in the forcing cone.

200gr. Speer Gold Dot Specials are very pleasant to shoot in that gun.

240gr. Winchester White Box Magnums are like punching the side of a Bradley.

Last edited by cmort666; 12-02-2013 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 12-02-2013, 08:01 PM
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Zombie thread...kill it!
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44 magnum, 629, 696, bullseye, cartridge, colt, fiocchi, gunsmith, hogue, hornady, m29, m629, model 21, model 29, mountain gun, ruger, russian, saa, winchester

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