Magnum 44


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Ohio Rifleman
August 4, 2006, 01:15 AM
I'm torn. Though, when I get the money, I'll likely go with a 357, I'm entertaining the idea of something a little more...challenging. Namely, the .44 Magnum. The only handgun I've ever fired is a Ruger P-series 9mm. After a few rounds, I can shoot that relatively accurately. What is the recoil like with the 44 mag? And how available is 44 special ammo? I don't plan on hunting or CCW with it, only target shooting and possibly home defense. Feel free to slap me upside the head and ask me what I'm thinking, I probably deserve it. :neener:

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Arcticfox
August 4, 2006, 01:50 AM
The 44 Mag is a blast to fire! But only in 6 inch or more. I own a 4 inch 629. With Mag rounds, it will leave welts in your hand after 50 rounds. And a 44 MAG is terrible for home defense ( it will go totally thru all your walls, and your neigbors, and you will be deaf). But 44 special is another story. The ammo is getting expensive, and hard to find, but 44 special is my caliber of choice for plinking, and defense. My 629 also has a crimson laser, which makes it a hit at the range! Of course, if you fire the mag rounds at an indoor range, people get annoyed.

I think you are more so looking for a 357. Great for home defense, and cheap ammo. I highly recommend Smith & Wesson 686 (6 inch), for its quality, and resale. You will pay more, but it will hold it's value. If you want a 44, get a 629, 6 inch. JMHO.

ugaarguy
August 4, 2006, 02:08 AM
OH Rifleman,

The 44 Mag is a handful, but shootable. 44 Special is fun, but as ArcticFox said its getting expensive and hard to find. I think a 357 Magnum would be a good start. 38 special is great for mild recoil fun plinking. It's also cheap and widely available, and it looks to stay that way for the forseeable future. The 357 Mag in a full house load will give you plenty of recoil when you want it. I'll second the recommendation of a S&W 686, and also add that the larger S&W Model 27 is a great wheelgun if you can find a nice used one since they're no longer made.

Crosscut
August 4, 2006, 07:02 AM
I own both a Taurus 608-6" portted .357, and a S&W 629-4 Mountain Gun. You put a box of 50 through the 629 and you know you've done a days work, the .357 is a lot more user freindly and is even more fun to shoot with 38 special ammo. If you are only going to own one, it sounds like the .357 mag is what you should buy, good overall utility gun.

OH25shooter
August 4, 2006, 07:54 AM
I own a .357 and did have a S&W 629, 44 magnum for deer hunting. All I could tell you is if you've only fired a 9mm, the 44 magnum will be one hell of a step up. It weighs more, points different, and the recoil is significantly stronger. At the range a 20 round box of "magnum" rounds will be enough. In my area, I had a hard time finding 44 special, except lead cowboy ammo. Personally, I didn't shoot lead, only FMJ. If you elect to purchase the 44, you might want to practice your trigger squeeze shooting a .22. I guarantee, if you are not use to the recoil of a 44 magnum round, after the first trigger pull, you'll find yourself yanking the trigger. Only because you know what is coming...lots of recoil and it is loud! That's just opinion.

Father Knows Best
August 4, 2006, 08:18 AM
I like big, powerful guns. I love the 44 magnum. But it's at the very top of my list. I wouldn't buy anything bigger in a handgun, because the 44 mag is just barely manageable. I've shot some more powerful handguns (.475 Linebaugh, for instance), and it was fun but one or two shots was enough for me. I can shoot 30-40 rounds of 44 mag before I call it quits. By contrast, I can easily go through 500 rounds of .45ACP or .44 special in a range session.

I don't know about the availability of 44 special ammo, because I load my own. It's one of the easiest cartridges to load, and is a great way to get started in reloading. I also load 44 Russian, which is the parent of both the 44 special and the 44 magnum. The .44 Russian case is just a little shorter than the 44 special, so it chambers and fires just fine in both 44 special and 44 magnum revolvers. It uses the same bullets, and the same large pistol primers. The smaller case results in less powder shifting, though, so you get better consistency and accuracy. They make great target shooting loads.

Father Knows Best
August 4, 2006, 08:23 AM
If you elect to purchase the 44, you might want to practice your trigger squeeze shooting a .22. I guarantee, if you are not use to the recoil of a 44 magnum round, after the first trigger pull, you'll find yourself yanking the trigger. Only because you know what is coming...lots of recoil and it is loud!

I agree. I had a heck of a time when I first got a 44 magnum. A friend went to the range with me, and pointed out that I was flinching and jerking the trigger. We cured it with the old "random empty" trick. When you load up, leave one or two chambers empty. Spin the cylinder while looking away so you don't know where the empties are (or just have a friend load the revolver and hand it to you with the cylinder closed). Keep your eye on the front sight and shoot. If you're jerking the trigger, it will be obvious when you come to one of the empty chambers, because the gun will just "click" but you'll see the front sight get pulled WAY off the target. Practice dry firing at the range until you can keep the front sight on the target, then start mixing in the occasional live rounds in the cylinder. You want the BOOM to surprise you. That little technique improved my magnum handgun shooting by about 1,000%!

Baba Louie
August 4, 2006, 09:13 AM
You'll probably shoot the .357 more often than a .44 mag unless you reload, simply due to the cost involved in feeding the beast(s). But I'd still plan on owning both before I died, if I were you (in fact, I do own both, several .357 but only 1 Model 29 in.44).
My 29 is a 6.5" with Hogue rubber grips and it has one of the sweetest triggers you can imagine. Shooting it is a joy... for about 75 rds. of full power loads. Switching down to .44 spls makes the fun last longer. Shooting it before the .357's (S&W 586, DW15-2 and Taurus 605) makes them seem tame by comparison... sorta tame... like a mountain lion is tame compared to an African Lion kinda tame. You get my drift.
Both will bring a smile to your face.
Home Defense? Get the 36 caliber or a shottie. Keep the .44 for hunting or shooting long distance rock busting.

22-rimfire
August 4, 2006, 09:38 AM
If you buy a 44 and have never shot one, you are in for a big surprise the first time you shoot it IF your only experience is a 9mm Ruger. The 44 mag is managable in a large framed revolver. You have to get used to it though.

I would get a quality 357 revolver and work my way up. You will notice a substantial increase in recoil over your 9mm. Get the 44 later.

salthouse
August 4, 2006, 09:45 AM
I recently purchased one of the Taurus ultralite 4" 44 mag. EVERYONE questioned my sanity as to why anyone would want something like that, especially since its my first wheel gun. Half of the group that wanted to commit me were at the range the first day I took it out. At the end of the day they all changed there opinions and I got questions like: how much did you pay for that? Do you plan to carry it?, etc.... Don't get me wrong, its not for all day shooting, unless you shoot 44 spl. but its certainly not unmanageable in any way. I have shot my father-in-law's 44 mag Blackhawk 6" which is another beast altogether. I didn't like that at all. My next revolver will be in 357 for carry and HD.

Stainz
August 4, 2006, 10:19 AM
I shot Specials and Russians through my .44 Specials - and my 629MG. I finally ordered a Hogue backstrap-enclosing .500 Magnum grip from S&W, the only current source ($35). They made the difference - I could shoot 'real' Magnums without severe pain. I bought a new 6" half lug 629 just to use that grip - great pair. Ultimately, I replaced my 629MG with a new standard 4" 629, identical to the 6", just shorter. These new 629's both sport those .500 Magnum Hogue grips and are 'real' .44 Magnums, when needed. Other times, they are perfect for .44 Specials and Russians, too. You must clean the chambers between short cases (Specials and Russians) and Magnums, of course. If you have to have a .44 Magnum, either is a great place to start. You can buy 'mild' .44 Magnums in the guise of 'Cowboy' ammo from smaller ammo makers, like Georgia Arms.

Now for another choice. How about a more frugal on both the pocketbook and wrist big bore? Try a 4" or 5" 625 - or the best value, a 625JM, in .45 ACP. You can buy a box of fifty for little more than .38 Special plinkers - at Wally World - on Sunday. .45 ACP ammo is everywhere... try to find .44 Russian or Special (I have loads... but I reload!).The recoil is easily handled by most, but you could always add those aforementioned Hogue .500 Magnum grips to ease it even more. The muzzle stays down, as the full lug adds an ounce or two over that 4" 629. Check the S&W website, that 625JM really is a bargain for the gold bead Patridge sight, much less it's easily changed design (Most other S&W front sights are pinned.). The Miculek stock is pricey, too... if you like it, the 625JM becomes a great value. Of course, it'll take any .45 ACP round - in a moonclip, for super-fast reloading. Great way to ease into a big bore.

Stainz

PS Those Hogue made-for-S&W .460/.500 Magnum backstrap enclosing and recoil absorbing grips are on all .460 & .500 Magnums. One size fits all: K, L, N, or X-frames.

Father Knows Best
August 4, 2006, 10:50 AM
You can buy 'mild' .44 Magnums in the guise of 'Cowboy' ammo from smaller ammo makers, like Georgia Arms.

True, but it's plinking ammo only! Smokeless "cowboy" loads in 44 mag have just a tiny amount of powder floating around a huge case. That results in very erratic velocities and accuracy because the powder is moving around, and will burn quite differently depending on whether it is sitting against the primer, or against the bullet, or spread evenly throughout the case.

I use 44 mag cases only for black powder loads, where I fill the whole case (and use about 1/8" compression), or for heavy hunting loads with 240-300 grain bullets. For target and plinking ammo I prefer 44 Russian and special cases.

Ohio Rifleman
August 4, 2006, 11:32 AM
If, by some chance, I were to purchase a 44, there's no way I'd get one much less than 6". I agree with most of you here; I'll probably stick with my inital decision of a 357. Most likely a Ruger GP-100. I most likely won't have the cash to get one for a few months, though. And I can't really get into reloading. I don't have the space to do it, really.

And before it comes up; yes, I am a huge fan of the Dirty Harry films. There. :p

Troggy
August 4, 2006, 01:26 PM
Last year before I got my Tracker 44mag I barrowed a GP100 from a buddy when I went on my hog hunt. I feel the .357 is on the light side for hogs but it's all I could find at the time. I had an opertunity to pull it out when we were walking a dry river bottom that was realy brushy but I had NO sling on my rifle. It was a 6" Bbl. and a realy fun gun to shoot. The night before the hunt we were at the informal range at the cabin(trailer) and I spent most of the time making a coffee can dance around with it. I was shooting 158gr federal american eagles wich is not a good choice for hogs at all but that's all the gun shop had, no 180grs but they were real easy to shoot. For me, anyhow the recoil was not even noticeable and Im not a recoil junky. If you plan on just shooting it, then no need for a 44, plus you can shoot cheap .38spc too. Have fun!!

Deanimator
August 4, 2006, 01:48 PM
Proper grips are essential. You want something that both fits your hand and fills the gap between the front strap and the back of the triggerguard. The absence of this feature is apt to be quite painful...

Deanimator
August 4, 2006, 01:50 PM
If, by some chance, I were to purchase a 44, there's no way I'd get one much less than 6".
It depends upon what you plan to do with it. I don't hunt, and I don't use a revolver for really serious competition. I've got a 4" Model 29-2, and it's a great gun. I mostly shoot Specials out of it, but I like having the ability to shoot Magnums if necessary.

Stainz
August 5, 2006, 06:29 AM
F.K.B.,

While propellant volume and position is important in a large case for consistent velocities, the problem can be addressed by propellant choice. I traversed this path several years ago when I found that even my max load of 7.1 gr of W231/HP-38 in a .45 Colt case under a 250gr LRNFP would produce a 50 fps variance, well out of the standard deviation, for just shaking the gun muzzle skyward vs downward prior to firing. I switched to a propellant heralded for it's case position/volume insensitivity, Titegroup. It gave me no significant difference in velocity for the muzzle up or down prior to firing... and, it's SD's were tighter, too. A good crimp, and consistent case length, is also required for low SD's. My usual max load of 6.1gr of Titegroup in the .45 Colt cases really does get lost - especially considering that the case was designed for 40 gr of bp.

No doubt that the shorter cases of the .44 Russian and Special would produce low SD's with other powders, thus having the propensity to group better, but the gap between the case end and the step in a .44 Magnum chamber leaves room - and an edge - for fouling and possibly even some lead shaving - certainly detrimental to good grouping. Try to find someone who makes decent .44 Special chambers these days, much less .44 Russians. My biggest thrill with the Russian loads comes when I hand my 3" 696 with 240gr LSWC over 3.6gr Titegroup in .44 Russian cases to a competitor having difficulty making major power factor with his $2.5k+ 'race gun' in 9mm/.40 S&W. The poof load makes 692 fps for a 166 pf - super 'fun'.

Back to my suggestions for the original question: If you want a big bore that uses ammo available quite reasonably anywhere, again, consider one chambered for .45 ACP, like the S&W 625's I mentioned. You can buy everything from ball ammo to some hot personal defense loads, too. If you want a 4" .357 Magnum, consider the half lug 620, which is a 7-shooter.

Stainz

dogngun
August 5, 2006, 07:52 AM
Ohio Rifleman:
I have owned an older Smith 4" .44 mag, and I don't any more. I have a 5" S&W Model 29 Classic, with the full length barrel lug, and a 6 5/8" SAA type JP Sauer .44 mag. I love both. I have been shooting a lot of handguns, mainly revolvers, over the last 35 years, and I recommend a used S&W Model 29 of 5" or 6" barrel length if you want a .44 Mag. A blue one, like Dirty Harry.
When the first movie came out, the model 29 's sales went through the roof. A few months later, lots of very slightly used .44 mags began to show up when the movie fans realized they didn't like the recoil and blast.

.44 Specials are a much better alternative-Federal makes a great lead semi-wadcutter hollow point 200 grain load, an excellent defence round.
Also, Federal's HydraShok .44 Mag is designed for defence use. CorBon and several other makers sell magnum loads for defence/carry, and it's not poor a choice as many people will tell you.I also like CCI Blazers for carry ammo, both in the .44 Mag and Specials. Both use Gold Dot Hollow Points, both are very accurate and reliable, and relatively inexpensive.
Finally, my 5" .44 Mag Smith is the only handgun I own that wears rubber grips (for good reason), and in one of the Harry movies he admits to shooting Specials in his Magnum.
No disgrace.
Good luck with whatever you choose.

Mark

svtruth
August 5, 2006, 08:48 AM
I have a Ruger Redhawk, SS, 71/2" bbl and it is a lot of fun. Treat yourself to a box or two of Buffalo Bore Heavy .44. After a cylinder of that, regular .44 Mags feel like .357, and every thing else feels like .22.
I can tell that it is going to push me into reloading.
Good luck.

YodaVader
August 5, 2006, 11:28 AM
I'm torn. Though, when I get the money, I'll likely go with a 357, I'm entertaining the idea of something a little more...challenging. Namely, the .44 Magnum. The only handgun I've ever fired is a Ruger P-series 9mm. After a few rounds, I can shoot that relatively accurately. What is the recoil like with the 44 mag?

If I had the choice, being in your postion I would opt for the 357 mag. I have been shooting magnum revolvers for close to 20 years now. I will admit to shooting my 357s far more than I do my 44 mag.

The 357 gives you the option of firing the mild 38 loads, which in a revolver like a 4 or 6 inch Ruger GP100 or Smith 686 should be milder than shooting the 9mm.

The recoil and muzzle blast shooting the 44 magnum loads will be significantly more intense than a Ruger P-series 9mm! Even the 357 firing the 125 hot loads has some really booming muzzle blast.

I would recommend trying to find someone with a 44 mag (and a 357) that will let you shoot a few rounds through it. This should help you make your decsion a lot easier. A friend of mine had a 44 and when I finally had become proficient shooting my 357 he let me shoot his 44 mag and I was shooting accurately with it - so , I decided it was time for a 44 mag.

grislyatoms
August 5, 2006, 11:45 AM
And I can't really get into reloading. I don't have the space to do it, really.

I have a pretty nice reloading setup and live in an 800 sq. foot apartment.:what:

Then again, I am divorced and there is no one running around complaining about a reloading press setup in the bedroom.:D

Ohio Rifleman
August 5, 2006, 02:01 PM
Well, I live in kind of a small house anyway, with three other people..lol. And I don't know the first thing about reloading. I'd probably blow myself up or something.

Deanimator
August 5, 2006, 04:44 PM
.44 Specials are a much better alternative-Federal makes a great lead semi-wadcutter hollow point 200 grain load, an excellent defence round.
I've got a box of those and a box of the CCI Blazer 200gr. Gold Dots(?). I bought them in anticipation of getting my 4" Model 29-2 back from S&W. Too bad they scratched the barrel and I have to send it back to them. The gun will have spent more time at S&W than with me since I bought it.

bakert
August 5, 2006, 05:30 PM
Even the recoil from a .357 can be a bit fearsome to a fairly new shooter. It can be gotten used to pretty quickly though especially with the right grips. The .44 mag is a different animal altogether. As a reloader I shoot a lot of lighter .44 loads in the 950 to 1000 fps range and it's fun but the full power loads can be brutal to some. The .357 aint exactly a pussycat though, regardless of what some say. It would probably be a much better choice for a new or not too experienced shooter.

usmccpl
August 6, 2006, 04:28 PM
I was 12 when i fired the first 44 mag that i have shot. We were using 240 hand loads loaded pretty hot and I was able to do it. How ever i wouldnt want to defend myself with it.Using it to dispatch a coon in an adbanded house four walls had large holes in them and i only fired once.






one shot one kill

Ohio Rifleman
August 6, 2006, 05:18 PM
There is an indoor range near here that also sells lots of guns, and rents out guns too. So, I plan on renting both a .44 mag and a .357, shoot a few rounds out of each and see which one I like better. Maybe I'll try out the .500S&W just for yucks. That's probably the best way to decide which one I should go with. I've only even handled a revolver once in my life. That was at a sporting goods store, drooling over a S&W Model 686.

Also, I have a question that isn't related to this per se, but it's something I've been wondering about. At this indoor range, they let you shoot whatever handguns you want, but they only let you shoot rifles in 22lr. Why is that? I know it probably has something to do with the backstop, but the most powerful handgun cartridges like the .500 S&W can give my high-powered SKS a run for its money as far as energy and velocity are concerned.

Jeff F
August 6, 2006, 07:09 PM
I think if your only going to have one get a good .357 unless you have a real need for a .44 mag like bear protection. The .357 is the one I shoot and have the most fun with. Load with .38 spl and plink all day, won't break the bank. I have a .44 and a .41 mag that I shoot some and hunt with. They are a blast to shoot but unless I am going to a range or hunting, a .357 is what is always in my truck or on my person.

Jeff F
August 6, 2006, 07:17 PM
I've shot at a few indoor ranges and all of them would let you rifles but only rifles chambered in pistol cartridges or lever guns up to .30-30. It had to do with backstop issues. No .223 even if in a handgun.

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