44 Spl for defense???


August 8, 2006, 10:40 PM
I recently bought a S&W 24-3 with a 4" barrel. This revolver seems to be really accurate with the loads I've tried in it so far. It's got a decent double and single action on it plus I really like the "N" frame revolvers. This is my first "N" but it really seems to "fit" me.

As far as the .44 Spl cartridge goes how would you rate it against others as a defense round? Especially the .357 Mag, .41 Mag, .44 Mag, 45 Colt, and .45ACP.

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August 8, 2006, 10:44 PM
It's a good one. :)

Stephen A. Camp
August 8, 2006, 10:46 PM
Hello. I believe that the .44 Special is capable of being a fine cartridge for self-protection.

My "house gun," a Taurus Model 431, is loaded with Corbon DPX +P and handles it fine although I have not shot lots of them, but I believe that the N-frame S&W would handle this load just fine.


Best and congratulations on your revolver.

August 8, 2006, 11:17 PM
In my opinion, .44 special is the best personal defense round that you listed. While the N frame may not be good for concealment, for a house gun, i would not feel at all under-armed with a N frame .44. Get some Corbon ammo, and you will be good to go power wise for just about any threat. I have a S&W 629 that i frequently load with .44 specials for around the house and target use. Trust me, a 180-240gr. .44 bullet will get the job done just fine.

August 9, 2006, 12:18 AM
http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#44spl With this ammo there will be no short commings , accuracy will be the decideing factor ? This is assumeing the threat is not armored .

August 9, 2006, 12:31 AM
The .44spl hosts similar bullet weights and velocities to the .45ACP. Bullet profiles are significantly different. The Thunder Ranch loading manufactured by Black Hills Ammunition is loaded with perhaps the most famous of lead bullets, the 250 grain Cast Keith type wadcutter. Perhaps irrational, but my faith in that bullet design is very strong. The performance on deer and hogs with a .44 spl can be an eye opener. Anything that works that well on 250+ pounds of live meat should translate well to hominoids.

August 9, 2006, 02:05 AM
I have 2 .44 MAgs, a 629, and a Taurus Tracker. I shoot mostly special rounds, as they are my favorite. It's a great round for self defense. Ammo is getting expensive, though. BTW I'm glad to see you bought a Smith!

Try a 696 if you ever get the chance! What a shooter!

August 9, 2006, 08:16 AM
I recommend CCI Blazer .44 Special Gold Dot JHP ammo for defence. It is fairly inexpensive, very reliable and consistant, very accurate. Runs at 875 F/S and 340 ft/lb out of a 4" barrel, and expands to over .670/inch.
My local shop sells it for under $18 for a box of 50. It shoots fine in my .44 mags without the extra blast of the magnum load.
It is a very potent defence load.


August 9, 2006, 09:12 AM
I'll second that 200gr GDHP from Blazer. If you reload, try the same Speer #4427 bullet in a new Starline brass case from GA Arms for ~ $20/50... you'll gain the brass. I keep them in my 296, and they just eclipse the 800fps from it's 2.5" barrel, the speed Speer suggests for proper opening.

Seriously, I don't think you'd find a lot of fight left in an unfriendly with a 240gr LSWC 750-800 fps torso shot. Sadly, as the .44 S&W Special approaches it's centennial next year, not many folks produce a revolver so-chambered. Many make do, as did 'Harry Callahan', Clint Eastwood's famous character, by shooting 'specials' in their .44 Magnum revolvers. Just clean the chambers before going to a longer case (ie, .44 Magnum).


August 9, 2006, 09:32 AM
I do not think you can find a better revolver defensive cartridge. Low recoil, heavy bullet, moderate velocity, big hole, deep penetration, and accurate.
What else do you need?

Magnum Wheel Man
August 9, 2006, 09:32 AM
from what I know... ( I've shot a lot of paper , studied wounds on deer for years, when dressing deer, & just am getting my Concealed Carry permit )... the 44 Special was my 1st choiceas a CCW... I was disapointed to note that both S&W & Taurus have disconinued thier compact 5 shot 44 special revolvers... so I bought a little air weight J frame Smith in 32 H&R Magnum, to carry, until I can hit a few Gun Shows this fall / winter, in search of a new or good condition Titanium Compact in 44 Special...

August 10, 2006, 04:28 AM
The .44 Special is my most often carried self-defense caliber.

August 10, 2006, 05:20 AM
The most underrated of all defensive handgun cartridges. It's the modern equivalent of the legendary big bore bulldog rimfires. It is not simply a downloaded .44 Magnum. It's in a class by itself and it hits like a freight train. I'd suggest using somewhat softer lead slugs than the .44 Mag hardcasts.

August 10, 2006, 12:36 PM
imho its the best self defense cartridge going for revos. And i'm gonna give another recommendation for the CCI 200 grain gold dots (or speer if you prefer) they seem to be very reliable expanders and akin to the venerable .45 acp defense loads.

August 10, 2006, 07:17 PM
+1 on the CCI Blazer 200gr load. S&W recommends against using anything heavier than 200gr in their 296 .44 special (which I own). There aren't many 200 and under grain loads for the .44 special (though I understand Corbon sells a good 160gr).


August 10, 2006, 09:35 PM
I am another happy user of the 200 grain Gold Dot. From the 3" barrel of my 696 it clocks 850 FPS.

I love my S&W 58, but the .41 Magnum does not have a loading available that will compete with the .44 Spl 200 grain Gold Dot. It is a shame that the best combat revolver has no decent ammunition available.

I need to borrow some ones Bulldog, and see how it handles with the Gold Dot load. If the Bulldog holds up well with the Gold Dot load, it would be a fine choice.

August 10, 2006, 09:50 PM
The Bulldog handles the Gold Dot fairly well but make sure you keep the screws tight.

If you can find a Taurus 445 (especially the all steel one) it's great with the gold dots.
An all steel 445 loaded with the Gold Dots was my daily carry gun before my accident.
I really miss it.

August 10, 2006, 09:59 PM
I used to use the .44 Silvertip for social purposes. While it was a good match for the Bulldog, the Gold dot 200 grain load provides over 20 % more velocity.

Of course, this comes at the cost of greater recoil. Still, I shot some handloads through a couple of Bulldogs that also produced quite a bit of recoil.

As the years go by, it seems I can no longer take the recoil of wheelguns. My 696 seems to be a handful with 240 grain handloads, at 750 FPS.

My Delta Elite, however, is as comfortable as it ever was. 180 grain bullets at 1240 FPS are fun, even though I would prefer something a little milder for serious purposes.

I guess that is what they made the .45 and .44 for!:neener:

August 10, 2006, 11:17 PM
.44 Special is a great self defense round . . . on par with .45 ACP. My Model 21 with Buffalo Bore's 180 gr. JHP (1150+ fps/543 ft/lbs) has lived in my nightstand for many years and will likely continue in that role.

Recoil - even with that hot of a round - is very manageable and the Mod 21 has one of the slickest DA triggers I've ever seen.

August 11, 2006, 07:25 AM
My side of the bed has had a 296 loaded with those Blazers/GA 200gr GDHP's for years, while my wife's side had a 2" 10 with 158gr LSWCHP +P's. Since she hates shooting that 10 so loaded, I added a revolver she likes to shoot - my 5.5" .45 Colt Redhawk - with 255gr LSWC's and 250gr GDHP's - both at 850-900 fps. I think she likes the intimidation factor, although I do agree that it is an easier shooter than the 2" 10.

I really wonder just how good 240gr LSWC's from a .44 Special would be as 'stoppers'. My .44 Russian 'poof' loads, making 692 fps from my 3" 696 - and 'major' power factor, are an easy shooter for anyone. They can get to 780+ fps easily, but even that slower variant would probably do. I did try five similar 240gr LSWC bullets in .44 Special cases from my 296 - no topstrap damage or deposits were noted, although some lead was present around the cylinder bore exits on the Ti cylinder, and were difficult to clean. Pulling the remaining rounds after each shot revealed that at the fifth shot, it's crimp was letting loose. Glad it wasn't a six-shooter. Back to it's Blazer/GA 200gr GD menu.

So - if you have a .45 Colt, don't discount it. Still, a good .44 Special, if you can find one, or a 4" 629, MG or not, is a great choice, too.


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