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  #1  
Old 02-23-2008, 04:56 PM
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I've been reading John Taffin, Duke Venturino and Clint Smith writing about their ".44 Special obsession" and now I understand it a bit better.

I bought a Model 21-4 a month or so ago, NIB for $425, because it just looked like too good a deal to pass up. A real beauty with those Rosewood grips. Dealer said he got it from an estate sale and it had never been fired.



My only complaint after firing her was she bit just a bit into the web of my hand, so I got online and found some Hogue Decelerator grips for the Model 29. I figured if they were designed to handle .44 Magnums, .44 Special should be a walk in the park. Shot her with the Hogue grips today and she's now a pussycat.



What a great pistol. If I could, I'd personally thank Clint Smith for convincing S&W to bring the Model 21 back out of retirement with his Thunder Ranch Revolver series.

As you can see, I got a Bianchi holster for her, four speedloaders and a couple of speedloader pouches. I also stocked up on .44 Special range ammo at a gun show with 500 rds. of 240 gr. flat-nose and SWCs, plus got some quite snappy 200 gr. HPs from Georgia Arms, so I'm good to go. I see happy days of pistol shooting ahead.
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Old 02-23-2008, 04:56 PM
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I've been reading John Taffin, Duke Venturino and Clint Smith writing about their ".44 Special obsession" and now I understand it a bit better.

I bought a Model 21-4 a month or so ago, NIB for $425, because it just looked like too good a deal to pass up. A real beauty with those Rosewood grips. Dealer said he got it from an estate sale and it had never been fired.



My only complaint after firing her was she bit just a bit into the web of my hand, so I got online and found some Hogue Decelerator grips for the Model 29. I figured if they were designed to handle .44 Magnums, .44 Special should be a walk in the park. Shot her with the Hogue grips today and she's now a pussycat.



What a great pistol. If I could, I'd personally thank Clint Smith for convincing S&W to bring the Model 21 back out of retirement with his Thunder Ranch Revolver series.

As you can see, I got a Bianchi holster for her, four speedloaders and a couple of speedloader pouches. I also stocked up on .44 Special range ammo at a gun show with 500 rds. of 240 gr. flat-nose and SWCs, plus got some quite snappy 200 gr. HPs from Georgia Arms, so I'm good to go. I see happy days of pistol shooting ahead.
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Old 02-23-2008, 05:03 PM
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My bad, they are Pachmayr grips. I've got CRS disease, Can't Remember Squat.
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Old 02-23-2008, 05:14 PM
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j, welcome to the "club". now that you are hooked, you "must" have a target version, either a pre 24 or 24-3, a 3", 4" and 6.5". then a 696. the list goes on. mortage your house and fulfill your dreams. thanks for sharing. lee
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Old 02-23-2008, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by scott williams:
funny, houge is making grips now that look just like pachmayr's
That's OK netfotoj, I felt pretty sure that Hogue wouldn't make knockoffs of Pachmayr...but didn't know whether houge would or not.

Bob
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:54 PM
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Nice pistols gents... on my "list". Thanks very much for sharing!~!
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Old 02-23-2008, 07:20 PM
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Skeeter forgive me, for I have sinned. I have strayed and thoughtlessly purchased a Taurus 445 Total Titanium. I was tempted by this 44 special and did not seek counsel. This is not the first time I have been with a Taurus.


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Old 02-23-2008, 07:39 PM
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The key to understanding the 44 Special obsession is to buy a 44 Magnum.


Okie John
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Old 02-23-2008, 08:20 PM
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I must admit that I like my 296.
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Old 02-23-2008, 08:34 PM
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Sir, nice rig. I hear ya about those grips, though. A buddy's 325PD has the same grips, and they don't suit my hand at all--it's downright painful to shoot with them.

Hope this helps, and Semper Fi.

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Old 02-23-2008, 10:12 PM
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The 44 Special is useful, accurate, interesting and fun. If thats obsession, so be it

The 21-4's sure look good; I'm going to have to pick one up sometime soon. I actually went to buy one once and walked out of the store with a 22-4 instead. Another good gun for another thread

Use whatever grips work for you; there is no best grip for all shooters. That said, those Eagle Heritage on Scott's 21-4 look mighty fine.

And oh yeah, the stags on starbuck's 296 look good, but my hand hurts just thinking about shooting that puppy

Bill
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:33 PM
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A new 21 for $425.00 - that's a great, great find. I paid a bit more (ouch), fitted a Tyler T - Grip and a set of old diamond service grips (took some work with an epoxy insert to match up the round butt. A plastic plug in the lock hole and it looks pretty retro.
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:31 PM
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Did somebody say 44 Special?
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:01 AM
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.44 Specials are just plain nice, more so if you handload.

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Old 02-24-2008, 03:20 AM
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I have owned 5 of them now only 3. The M24 4" I let go had a tool mark in the barrel and leaded
badly. The Colt SAA went during a divorce. I now have a M21 4"; M624 4"; and a M24 6 1/2".
To replace the Short M24 I just got a new M29-10 with the 4" barrel. Elmer Keith, Skeeter Skelton, John Taffin and others sang the praises of the 44 Spcl long and hard. Needless to say, they are fun to shoot, kick less than the 44 Magnum; easier to carry and short of a close cuddle with a Grizzly will do 95% of what any of us require. The Keith loads were hard kickers before our current Heavy Bullet and 1/2" bore diameter diameter craze. A 100 year old cartridge that is well balanced, accurate, and comes in some really neat packages leaves little for us to want for. Sorry no pictures, my M21 and the new M29 are out of the Classic series and have helped me scratch the 44 itch again.

Estacado
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:52 AM
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It's funny how folks don't understand how anyone could have a fondness for the .44 but yet there are gazillions out there that believe the .357 is the only caliber the handgun world needs.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:05 AM
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love that 44 spl!
I grew up reading Skeeter and Keith in the gun rags, and I'm sure it was the "legend" of the 44 spl that they ingrained on my youthful mind.

I started to handload shotgun shells, and my dad suggested I try to handload a lighter 44 mag load for us to target shoot. I used Skeeters load of 7.5 grns Unique & a 240 grn LSWC. It shot great, and I started to collect other guns.

My Colt New Frontier 7.5" was a great gun, as was a model 24. Both are gone now after marriage & children.

Today my SAA Colt and 624 still feed the need!

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Old 02-24-2008, 11:06 AM
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let's try that again....
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:13 AM
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I appreciate the .44spls too and have a few. My favorite is a blued 24 with 4" barrel. Its a little worn but I bought it that way and it goes with me whenever I go to the country.
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:27 PM
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MMMMMMMMMMMM! 44SPL. Just to much fun!!!!!!
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:23 PM
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IDP4570-----what grips do you have on the bottom gun. Do they go all-around?
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:18 PM
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Favorite piece.
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:33 PM
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There is no cure for the .44 especial addiction, just relax and enjoy it..........
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
netfotoj
Beautiful gun and holster set you have there .
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:51 PM
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Here's my latest (see other thread) model 21-4 in nickle!

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Old 02-24-2008, 05:39 PM
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I'd always heard what a great round the .44 Special was when I traded for a 4" 24-3 some years ago. It was love at first shot.
Since then I've added two more 24-3s and, while not pictured, I also have a shooter grade 5" 2nd Model .44 HE that lettered as going to the Joplin, Mo Police Dept in 1924.
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Old 02-24-2008, 05:51 PM
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Thanks for all the kind replies. I had no idea how widespread the ".44 Special Obsession" had spread. I guess I shoulda known, since as noted Elmer Keith and Skeeter Skelton were preaching the Gospel of .44 Special long before the current evangelists, John Taffin, Duke Venturino and Clint Smith came on the scene and took up the pulpit. Here's how I came to join the "believers."

I had my eye on a pair of .44 Special Smith & Wesson revolvers I'd seen in a gun shop, so I went to try to decide which one to get. First choice was a S&W 396 Airlite SC Mountain Lite .44 Special: Scandium frame, Titanium cylinder, chrome-lined 2.5" barrel, Hogue Bantam grips, Hi-Viz front sight, adjustable rear sight, 5-shooter, light as a feather. What's not to like?


Took her out to the gun shop range. Fifteen rounds of 200 gr. Remington and Ultramax full-house .44 Special gave me all the answer I needed. My left hand started to sting about the third round. Good thing I'm ambiguous. Switched over to the right for the second five, then back to the left for the third five. Enuff! Now I know why one gun magazine writer called this Mountain Lite the "Mountain Bite!"

Plus the sights were way off. Shooting high and to the right several inches. I guess I know why the previous owner never got it zeroed in. Back to the gun shop and Plan B.

Or maybe it was Plan A all along and I just had to get over my infatuation with ultra-lite.

S&W Model 21-4, 4" barrel, blue steel with Rosewood grips for $450.

I had looked at this beast earlier and the price was so low I figured it was used. But when I asked about shooting it, the shop owner said it was new and unfired and he had picked it up at an estate sale recently. I didn't argue with him. After a very brief haggle, I forked over $425 and walked out of there quick before he could change his mind. Davidson's price? I checked: $750+!!!

I may get arrested for robbery, but at least for now, she's mine.

As I noted earlier, she bit just a bit when I shot her so I found the set of Pachmayr grips and now she's a genuine pleasure to shoot, even with those snappy 200-gr. JHPs I got from Georgia Ammo.

I thought I might be shooting only light Cowboy loads when I bought my first .44 Special, and if it had been that 396 ultra-light, maybe so. But the 21-4 can handle all the full-house loads I've tried so far, up to 240-gr., with all ease.
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Old 02-25-2008, 02:50 AM
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"If a man prefers a revolver for self-defense, this (the .44 Special) is the cartridge he should probably settle on."

Jeff Cooper

Here's mine.
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:34 AM
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I have two AWA Peacekeepers and two Colt SAA's in .44 special. But my S&W 624 is my pride and joy:





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Old 02-25-2008, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by netfotoj:
I had my eye on a pair of .44 Special Smith & Wesson revolvers I'd seen in a gun shop, so I went to try to decide which one to get.
Next time you get the urge to look at .44 Specials, and it will happen, see if you can get your hands on a Lew Horton 24-6. Trust me, you'll buy one!

Bob
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by mm6mm6:
I have two AWA Peacekeepers and two Colt SAA's in .44 special. But my S&W 624 is my pride and joy:
Absolutely beautiful!
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:26 AM
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Netfotoj,

What were they asking for the 396? Is it still around? Please email me if it is and you don't mind sharing the shop location. I'd like to get one of those again.

steve@groundwaterresourcespllc.com
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
As I noted earlier, she bit just a bit when I shot her so I found the set of Pachmayr grips and now she's a genuine pleasure to shoot, even with those snappy 200-gr. JHPs I got from Georgia Ammo.
First time I have ever heard of anyone complaining about the recoil of a .44 spl in a steel revolver and had to put Goodyears on it. It's such a pussycat that it's barely more noticable than a .38 spl.
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Old 02-25-2008, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Majic1:
Quote:
As I noted earlier, she bit just a bit when I shot her so I found the set of Pachmayr grips and now she's a genuine pleasure to shoot, even with those snappy 200-gr. JHPs I got from Georgia Ammo.
First time I have ever heard of anyone complaining about the recoil of a .44 spl in a steel revolver and had to put Goodyears on it. It's such a pussycat that it's barely more noticable than a .38 spl.
It wasn't bad, just not 100% comfortable and I was fine with it until I ran across this note.

I found the following in a Guns magazine article on his new S&W Model 21-4 .44 Special Thunder Ranch Revolver, written by Duke Venturino in 2005:

"And last, I don't like the round butt either. With the first 100 rounds fired, the factory grips wore a hole in the web of my shooting hand. But there's an easy remedy. I called my friend Raj at Eagle Grips and had him send me a set of his new walnut Heritage grips, which are patterned after the old S&W "coke bottle" shaped grips of the 1950s. They can be had to fit a round butt S&W N-frame and instantly convert it to a square butt. Mine now make the new TR .44 an exceedingly comfortable handgun to shoot."

I figured if Big Duke could get a new set of grips without caring if somebody called him a wimp, I could too. I love my new Pachmayr grips.
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Old 02-25-2008, 01:33 PM
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I changed the grips on my 296 because it "hurt". Now I can't wait to go back and shoot a few rounds at the range.
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Old 02-25-2008, 03:24 PM
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I've never shot a 396 (18 ounces?) but I have shot a Charter Arms Bulldog (21 oz for modern one, I swear the older ones are lighter). While the Bulldog kicked a little with Speer Gold Dots, it was very accurate. I was kinda funny, I pulled out my 696 to show him my recent "deal" and he went to the truck and got the Charter 44!! Great minds think alike I guess.

Anyway, it is an obsession. When I take the magnum when my wife is going with me, I take some specials usually in case she wants to shoot it.

I have to read all the 44 Special threads, others I can just skip.

Welcome to the addiction.
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:05 PM
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Here's my Lew Horton 24-3, it's fantastic and loves the Skeeter load.

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Old 02-25-2008, 04:06 PM
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I'm thinking the Charter Arms Bulldog will be my next .44 Special. I had planned to get one before I got the Model 21-4, but I ran across it first. As I said earlier, the Model 396 seemed like a great pistol until I shot it. Just too light.

And Charter Arms also makes a .22 magnum that I'd like to have. Any other forum members got anything good or bad to say about the Bulldog or the Pathfinder model in .22 magnum?
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:31 PM
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I now have 3 Bulldogs that I got to compliment my S&W's. I have never had any problems with them and several of my friends also keep them around in their trucks, camping, etc.. The quality is not Smith but Smith does not make a J frame size .44 special.
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:07 PM
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I've heard the Bulldogs can't handle some of the heavier loads, like Buffalo Bore. That's the only issue from what I understand.

http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#44spl
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:25 PM
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No sir you really don't want to feed a Bulldog any heavy stuff. It probably won't come apart, but it will be reduced to really loose fitting parts and grossly out of time. But if you treat it with respect it is a great carry piece. Been carrying one since 86.
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:54 PM
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Two of my favorite Lew Hortons. The 624 is one great shooter.

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Old 02-26-2008, 04:59 AM
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Lew Horton should be in charge of S&W. He seems to understand what we like and what we want.
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Majic1:
Quote:
As I noted earlier, she bit just a bit when I shot her so I found the set of Pachmayr grips and now she's a genuine pleasure to shoot, even with those snappy 200-gr. JHPs I got from Georgia Ammo.
First time I have ever heard of anyone complaining about the recoil of a .44 spl in a steel revolver and had to put Goodyears on it. It's such a pussycat that it's barely more noticable than a .38 spl.
Majic1, I have rubber on both of mine for that reason. I have CTS in both hands and arms, recoil of anything heavier than .38spl WC is painful. So all my shooters have rubber grips of one kind or the other. The only way I'll stop shooting is when I take my last breath!
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Majic1:
First time I have ever heard of anyone complaining about the recoil of a .44 spl in a steel revolver and had to put Goodyears on it.
I put rubber grips on my Model 24-3 for a different reason. The wood grips were beautiful, but I found them very slippery. The Hogue rubber grips I'm now using are admittedly ugly, but they afford me a fantastic grip.




The Charter Arms Bulldog is what it is. No, I wouldn't use any "heavy" loads in it. I keep mine stoked with Winchester 200 gr. Silvertips.
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Old 02-26-2008, 07:58 AM
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I put the Pachmayr's on mine to keep the original grips form getting beat up when I carry it. I've seen those original combats go for over $150 on ebay. I have no intention of ever selling them (or the gun for that matter), but I want to keep them nice. The Pach's fit my hand better too.
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:30 AM
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Jay:

BEAUTIFUL photo of an outstanding gun !


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Old 02-26-2008, 11:13 AM
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Thanks
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Old 02-26-2008, 02:39 PM
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Those are BEAUTIFUL .44 specials!!

I bought a new Model 21 Classic last year. It is now the upstairs bedroom gun. The old Bulldog has been retired to the safe.

One thing I noticed about the Classic .44 is it seems to have a 44 Magnum cylinder with the chambers reamed for only a .44 special cartridge?

Is this correct or am I way out in leftfield?
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Old 02-26-2008, 03:36 PM
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I have always wanted a 44Spl and all this talk and pics is exciting. Just had an email from a fellow forum member,my soon to be mine new to me 624 4 inch is heading to me as we speak. I can't wait already have the ammo loaded for it.
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22lr, 2nd model, 380, 44 magnum, 617, 624, 696, beretta, browning, buckmark, cartridge, combats, ejector, hand ejector, jinks, keith brown grips, lew horton, lock, model 24, pachmayr, round butt, skeeter, stag, taurus, titanium

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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 Thread, Understanding the .44 Special obsession in Smith & Wesson Revolvers; I've been reading John Taffin, Duke Venturino and Clint Smith writing about their ".44 Special obsession" and now I understand ...
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