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Old 04-14-2010, 03:15 PM
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Default What is the difference between 44 mag and 44 special?

sorry I'm a noob when it comes to revolvers but can someone tell me the difference in these two guns?
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:48 PM
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The short answere is that, depending on what ammo your using, the mag has 2 to 3 times more energy and 2 to 3 times less fall in trajectory than the special. The mag is a decent hunting revolver while the special is lots of fun to shoot. So get the best of both worlds by purchasing a 44 mag revolver because you can shoot both mag and special ammo in it. You can only shoot special ammo in a 44 special revolver.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:52 PM
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rosader:

The .44mag. case is around 1/8" longer than the Special, allowing a larger powder charge and thus is a higher velocity, higher pressure round. Revolvers chambered for the magnum will therefore have a longer cylinder. Maybe those who know more than me will provide further information on differences in the design of the gun to accommodate the higher pressures of the magnum cartridge.

Specials may be fired in magnum guns, BTW, since the case and bullet diameters are the same.

Hope that made sense, and helps a bit.

Andy



[Looks like Blackpowder and I were writing at the same time -he provides an excellent perspective.]

Last edited by snowman; 04-14-2010 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:55 PM
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Yea, about 1/8 inch longer on the Magnum.
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:34 PM
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Oh ic so magnum is the way to go then
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:46 PM
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To be precise...the 1/8" of extra case length of the .44 Magnum over the .44 Special, as with the .357 Magnum versus the .38 Special, is not so much to allow for a greater case capacity as it is to prevent the more powerful magnum rounds from being chambered in "special" revolvers.

That is to say that, by and large, one can load a .44 Special/.38 Special case with a "magnum" load...which would then be unsafe in a "special" rated firearm. To avoid this, the designers lengthened the case by 1/8". The same is true with the .454 Casull and the .45 Colt cartridge.

In any case, what others have said here is true...the .44 Magnum is a higher pressure/velocity cartridge. It is considerably more powerful than the .44 Special, with an attendant increase in recoil.

Personally...I like my .44 Mag revolvers. I can fire the more sedate specials if I prefer, or I can blast some magnums. If you're new to firearms, you'd probably be better served by a .38/.357 revolver(or even better, a .22 LR.) A new shooter can pick up some bad habits by learning on a .44.

Tim
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosader View Post
Oh ic so magnum is the way to go then
That depends on the intended use of the firearm/experience of the shooter.

Tim
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by rosader View Post
Oh ic so magnum is the way to go then
Since you described yourself as a beginner, you would do better starting out with 44spl *ammunition*, even if you do have a 44mag revolver. A full-power 44mag can be a bit of a handful for a beginner.
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:30 PM
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They're both very useful cartridges. The birth of the .44 Magnum is often credited to Elmer Keith. I don't know if that name is familiar to you, but he died about 25 years ago (roughly). He was a gunwriter in the early part of the 20th century, almost up until the time of his death. He was famous for loading .44 Specials very hot and getting some very impressive ballistics with them. He pestered the gun and ammo companies to produce a ".44 Special Magnum". They resisted him for many years, until the mid '50s when S@W agreed to produce the gun and Remington the ammunition. Elmer got one of the first ones and was ecstatic. He wrote a number of books, my favorites are "Sixguns by Keith" and "Hell, I was there". Read them, and you'll learn a lot about two great cartridges.
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by cowart View Post
Since you described yourself as a beginner, you would do better starting out with 44spl *ammunition*, even if you do have a 44mag revolver. A full-power 44mag can be a bit of a handful for a beginner.
I'm a beginner to revolvers but I conceal carry a Glock compact .45 which I practice with every weekend. More recently I purchased a Taurus .357 snub and its been giving me trouble (cylinder lock pin is jammed) so I sent it in to be fixed and I plan on selling it when it gets back and getting me a nice S&W. I don't have any problems shooting a high recoil gun, I can handle a good kick
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosader View Post
I'm a beginner to revolvers but I conceal carry a Glock compact .45 which I practice with every weekend. More recently I purchased a Taurus .357 snub and its been giving me trouble (cylinder lock pin is jammed) so I sent it in to be fixed and I plan on selling it when it gets back and getting me a nice S&W. I don't have any problems shooting a high recoil gun, I can handle a good kick
That may be true, but there is a decided difference in the recoil of the .44 mag over any .45 ACP or .357 load. A big difference. Still, as long as you are seasoned with them, and ready to try it, just start off with a few full power rounds until you get the feel for it. You don't want to develope a flinch from firing too many rounds through the .44 the first few times out with it. Work up to it and you should have no trouble becoming proficient with it.

Or, you could shoot one of the truly big powerhouse rounds a few times first. Then the mighty .44 won't seem all that bad.
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:08 PM
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Ya I do realize there will be quite a bit more kick but I think I can handle it maybe I'll go rent one at the range and see what it's like. I think a 357 would be sufficient for protection but the 44 just gives you the "cool" factor idk I'm still undecided but I still have plenty of time at least 2-4 weeks before I get my Taurus back from repairs and 1 or 2 weeks to sell it.
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Old 04-14-2010, 10:44 PM
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Okay, I am the other side of the coin. Yes full house loads in a .44 mag are more powerfull----- if you need them. If you hand load you can load up the special to do probley 90% of what most people buy a mag for.
So why am I defending the special if a mag will shoot specials and mags too? Because EXCEPT FOR THE SOMWHAT HARD TO FIND MOUNTAIN GUNS, the specials are less weight, less bulk, and more of a sweetheart to pack. That is because the specials have a thinner "pencil" barrel and shorter clyinders.
I own a mag and many .44 specials. 45 colt too. I load my specials to where you can hardly tell the difference from the 45 colt.
Seldom, if ever, in the real world do I think you realisticly need the extra power of a mag over what you can load the special or 45 colt up to.
Except for that maybe 1% of the time, you can lug a club around, or a sweetheart!
I dont have a .44 mag model 29 mountain gun, but since that is almost the same size as a 24-3 special, I conceed that would be the best of both worlds------- If you can find one.
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Old 04-14-2010, 11:53 PM
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The .44 Magnum case is just an eighth of an inch (.125") longer than the .44 Special case, but it's maximum average pressure (according to SAAMI) is 36,000 psi, vs. 15,500 psi for the.44 Special. Luckily for me, everything I need to do with a handgun I can do with the .44 Special.
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Old 04-15-2010, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullzaye View Post
To be precise...the 1/8" of extra case length of the .44 Magnum over the .44 Special, as with the .357 Magnum versus the .38 Special, is not so much to allow for a greater case capacity as it is to prevent the more powerful magnum rounds from being chambered in "special" revolvers.


Tim


Thanks for that correction, Tim; I had forgotten that. I don't know that I'd be able to compress my H110 load in a Special case, though. What do you think?

Andy
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Old 04-15-2010, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosader View Post
Ya I do realize there will be quite a bit more kick but I think I can handle it... I think a 357 would be sufficient for protection but the 44 just gives you the "cool" factor
In that case, why not go for the 500 magnum? See Product: Model S&W 500 Revolver
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Old 04-15-2010, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowman View Post
Thanks for that correction, Tim; I had forgotten that. I don't know that I'd be able to compress my H110 load in a Special case, though. What do you think?

Andy
You very well may be correct, sir. I'm afraid that reloading is not my area of expertise...which is why I carefully chose my wording, "...not so much to allow for a greater case capacity...".

I endeavored to leave myself enough "wiggle" room by not claiming that the extra case capacity was absolutely unnecessary, because I suspected that there may be some types of powder that might use the entire case.

Tim
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:06 PM
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Tossing my hat in the ring if I may...

EK developed the Mag using the Special case and IIRC 2400, so I'll step out on a limb to say that you could in fact load up the special to magnum territory. This is to say nothing of a hot load of a fast powder.

A word of warning...

Elmer went through quite a few pistols doing this! Not a healthy endeavor.
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:25 PM
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There is an exellent article in Handloader # 236 on loading the .44 special. It was written by Brian Pearce who is about as good as any writer has ever been. He backs up his statements/loads with pressure tested data. The 24-3 and several other revo's can take mid-range magnum loads without a hitch. Anyone who is really interested in this subject can/should buy a back issue from Wolfe publishing.

I know that it is no trick to safely load a 250 grain Lyman 429421 to 1200 fps in my 24-3, which is the original Elmer Keith load.

The .44 special in the right gun, makes a lighter/handier trail gun than the same gun in .44 magnum, and that includes the mountain gun since they still have a longer, heavier cylinder than the 24-3, while the 24-3 is still capable of taking the same range of game.

Last edited by Gun 4 Fun; 04-15-2010 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:15 AM
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snapping twig, came about the closest in reality, as thats exactly what happened, so the 44 MAGNUM cylinders are a different heat treat as well, ( stronger for the pressure...) yes, we shoot & used 44 special s ALL the tme in our guns, and always enjoyed them "better", and stilll left the chance to actually use the 44 magnum ,if needed......
yes, took a bit of careful cleaning ( time) for the chambers but never an issue for us..................so that being said, I say get the "magnum" and have MORE selection.....(same goes for the 357/38...........)
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:08 PM
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Default N frame .44s

My question is on S&W N framed revolvers. A model 29 is a .44 mag. A model 24 is a .44 special. Both are N framed revolvers. What is the difference in the cylinder and barrel besides the .29 having it's cylinder reamed out a little longer? Are they of a different diameter, longer or shorter. Does the bullet have to jump any further in one than the other? Does one leak more gas with .44 spl loads than the other? I'm wanting the best revolver for .44 special rounds but .44 special revolvers are very difficult to find at a reasonable price. Where as .44 mags are plentiful. What are the facts without opinions?
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kageman View Post
My question is on S&W N framed revolvers. A model 29 is a .44 mag. A model 24 is a .44 special. Both are N framed revolvers. What is the difference in the cylinder and barrel besides the .29 having it's cylinder reamed out a little longer? Are they of a different diameter, longer or shorter. Does the bullet have to jump any further in one than the other? Does one leak more gas with .44 spl loads than the other? I'm wanting the best revolver for .44 special rounds but .44 special revolvers are very difficult to find at a reasonable price. Where as .44 mags are plentiful. What are the facts without opinions?
The 24 has a shorter cylinder than the 29. The barrel shank on the 24 sticks back into the cylinder window farther to make up for the shorter OAL of the cylinder. Bullets in both cylinders have to travel about an equal distance from case to the throat/FC of the barrel. They are the same otherwise in all aspects.
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Old 12-03-2013, 06:43 AM
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I believe it has already been mentioned, the heat treating of a model 29 is different to take higher pressures. Also the new model 29's and 629's have the endurance package.

I have 4 .44 specials and think they are special. the 3 pics on the right, a 24, a 624 with duty grips, a 696 and Colt SAA no pic :-)
But I do own more .44 mags, so I do like and use both.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapping Twig View Post
Tossing my hat in the ring if I may...

EK developed the Mag using the Special case and IIRC 2400, so I'll step out on a limb to say that you could in fact load up the special to magnum territory. This is to say nothing of a hot load of a fast powder.

A word of warning...

Elmer went through quite a few pistols doing this! Not a healthy endeavor.
Elmer was in fact surprised and delighted by the Magnum -- his idea was simply for a high-energy .44 Special load, not the longer and much more powerful Magnum Remington and S&W came up with. He had a good idea -- they had a great one.
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Old Yesterday, 02:42 PM
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Very nice ....
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Old Yesterday, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gun 4 Fun View Post
There is an exellent article in Handloader # 236 on loading the .44 special. It was written by Brian Pearce who is about as good as any writer has ever been. He backs up his statements/loads with pressure tested data. The 24-3 and several other revo's can take mid-range magnum loads without a hitch. Anyone who is really interested in this subject can/should buy a back issue from Wolfe publishing.
Here it is right here:

http://www.goodrichfamilyassoc.org/4...%20Special.pdf

and a host of other 44 special articles:

Index of /44_Special_Articles
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Old Yesterday, 06:44 PM
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Is it not possible to make same soft loads in a .44 Mag cartridge which are as accurate as a .44 Special? .....is it because there are not many data for soft .44 Mag loads?
The main reason for shooting .44 Special is that the revolvers are smaller and lighter? .....not because the .44 Mag does not have the same potential as the .44 Special?
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Old Yesterday, 09:57 PM
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About 20,000 psi difference in chamber pressure.
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Old Yesterday, 10:08 PM
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The pain in your hand is the most difference.
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Old Yesterday, 10:17 PM
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Old Yesterday, 10:50 PM
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All these so-called experts and not one of them got it right!


The .44 Magnum will "blow your head clean off".

The .44 Special: not so much.


Your welcome!
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Old Today, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosader View Post
Oh ic so magnum is the way to go then
That depends. If you know enough about the caliber to feel confident that 44 special power is all you really need, then there are plenty of good 44 special revolvers that will serve you well. I think it is similar to the mythical 45 acp in terms of power. However, if you're new enough to not know the difference between special and magnum ammo, then you probably should not pull the trigger on any 44 magnum ammo for a while, even if you do buy a 44 mag revolver. Better yet, consider a 357 mag/.38 spec caliber revolver for starters. Better ammo availability and much cheaper, too, not to mention that the recoil is significantly easier to handle for most shooters. Then there is the 41 magnum, which has never gotten enough respect, but should have been the 40S&W of its day...
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I'm a beginner to revolvers but I conceal carry a Glock compact .45 which I practice with every weekend. More recently I purchased a Taurus .357 snub and its been giving me trouble (cylinder lock pin is jammed) so I sent it in to be fixed and I plan on selling it when it gets back and getting me a nice S&W. I don't have any problems shooting a high recoil gun, I can handle a good kick
Yes sir. SELL it...

I had a TXXXXX for a short time given by a friend.< than 100 .38's and it was GONE traded about 20+ years ago...for my Baby 686-3 6".

Gave him and his gununloving wife the cash for what was received as a trade.

Buy lifelong quality...only 1 required...IMO.

We hear a lot here about S&W quality...they're busy...check before you buy. Nuff said...
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Old Today, 02:57 AM
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My niece, after 5 rounds of tame .44 in magnum cases so impressed the owner of the 29-2 6-inch, he asked if she'd like to try some 'full power' loads. "Yup," with no hesitation.

Here's her 7-yard target (5 rounds):

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Old Today, 07:21 AM
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The difference is a lot of pain, on both ends.
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sorry I'm a noob when it comes to revolvers but can someone tell me the difference in these two guns?
44 S&W Special can be found in a gun size that you might actually carry (5 shot DA or Ruger Flat Top six shooter SA). The either/or gun is bigger and heavier.

.44 S&W Special will probably require mail ordering your ammo or reloading, but I find 44 Mag is pretty standard in a gun store ammo selection.

.44 S&W Special gives me a shooting experience that seems close to .45 ACP like your Glock.

When I shoot. 44 Mag, I am good for a couple cylinders, and then it isn't fun anymore. I do love it though, and it shoots remarkably well until the flinch sets it. With .44 Special I run through ammo quickly and wish I had more. I reloaded some last evening.

I wouldn't be thinking Dirty Harry for your first time out. The do-everything-but-hunt gun is the 38 S&W Special, lacking the drama and ear-splitting noise of the .357. Get something you can comfortably carry and, if necessary, shoot without ear protection, and go from there.
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Old Today, 09:04 AM
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I have been shooting the .44Mag for about 40 yrs, and love it. I also Handload .44 Special. If you are new to the .44 cal Cartridge, I would look at the S&W M69 L Frame. I own one, and it is a great shooting Revolver. It has a 5 shot Cylinder and is chambered in .44Mag. I bought it as a dedicated .44 Special, but it handles Magnums just fine. Although it is lighter than a 4" N frame the recoil is about the same.
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Old Today, 09:39 AM
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Model 69s are great 44s. If I only had one 44 it would be the 69. I live in bear and wolf country and that is what my 308 is for.
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If you buy a 44 mag it's kind of like having a 3" shotgun. You can shoot both 2.75"(44 special) and 3"(44 magnum) shells in the gun.
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I second the recommendation of a S&W69 4-1/4" 5-shot .44mag. 37oz, and carries and conceals very well, all my waking hours in my under-the-shirt vertical shoulder holster.
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Since you are new to the .44 revolvers, as am I, I'll just throw something out there that I recently learned. Barrel length makes a huge difference in felt recoil when using full power loads. My 6" 629 did not feel strong at all but the kick on my 4" got to me after 24 rounds. I was surprised at how much different the guns felt.
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