Compact .44 Special Revolver?


February 28, 2007, 05:21 PM
I've been looking for a revolver in .44 Special for concealed carry, but I can't seem to find much to choose from. Smith & Wesson doesn't appear to offer anything in under a 4" barrel. Taurus has discontinued their .44 special snubnose, and Ruger does not make a .44 snub at all.

The only other option I can find is the Charter Arms Bulldog, but they seem to have a bad reputation.

Does anyone have any input? If there's something I've overlooked, or if the Bulldog is worth it, I'd like to know.

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February 28, 2007, 05:23 PM
Ruger makes the Super Redhawk Alaskan in .44 maggie.

February 28, 2007, 05:26 PM
The SRH is a brick, though. I think a better .44 Special CCW piece would be one of the old Charter Arms bulldogs. While the company has a so-so rep, a lot of folks like the bulldogs and have had good results with them. There are several threads about them.

IIRC Taurus has made a compact .44 Special as well, but they may have only made a magnum.

February 28, 2007, 05:27 PM
yeah, the SRH is a bit much for concealed carry. If they made something roughly the size of the SP101 in .44, I'd buy it in a second.

Taurus makes a .44 special snubbie but it's been discontinued, so it might be hard to find.

Are the new manufacture Bulldogs junk?

Derby FALs
February 28, 2007, 05:31 PM
The S&W mountain revolver is easy enough to pack and you can load it with hot specials.

February 28, 2007, 05:33 PM
Smith & Wesson makes a 3'' M24 and M29 and M629.
Jeff Quinn @ liked the new Bulldog.

February 28, 2007, 05:41 PM
A friend of mine has a snubbie Taurus in .44 Special. It seems to be a well made gun and is a good shooter. The only problem I have with it is the expensive ammo. Good luck finding one of these pistols.

February 28, 2007, 05:58 PM
I usually see at least two or three each of the Charter Arms and the Taurus whenever the gun show (Crossroads of the West) comes into town; that is where I got my Taurus snubbie some time ago.

February 28, 2007, 06:28 PM
If what you are looking for is a gun small enough to carry in your front pocket and can fire a PD level load and is accurate enough to put a full cylinder into a 8" circle at 20 feet then you should consider the Charter Arms Bulldog, new or used, with a 2 1/2" barrel. Don't think of it as as a range gun or a target gun but as something that will get all the rounds into the target and hold together for three or four cylinders full. In other words, something that will get you out of a tough situation and home safely.

If you want a target gun or a range gun that will handle hot loads in comfort then get a Smith or Ruger or Colt or Rossi n the barrel length that appeals to you.

I have both and so should you.


February 28, 2007, 06:36 PM
Smith used to make the 296 snubbie with a titanium frame. It weighs only about 18oz so it is definitely a good carry weapon. You can find them in good shape if you are persistent.


February 28, 2007, 07:33 PM
Taurus makes a 2.5" 5 shot 44 mag tracker. It is very compac and can shoot 44 special. It is being made now.

February 28, 2007, 08:51 PM
Taurus makes a 2.5" 5 shot 44 mag tracker. It is very compac and can shoot 44 special. It is being made now.

February 28, 2007, 10:16 PM
I could do without the high profile front sight on that particular example. I've seen these .44 mag Tracker snubbies in the flesh and I almost bought one. No bigger than an L-frame S&W snubbie (say, maybe a 686).

February 28, 2007, 11:40 PM
I have a 3" 624 Smith and a 2.5" Taurus 445 in 44 special. I love them both :) and neither of them is for sale.:neener:

March 1, 2007, 02:27 AM
Why does Taurus freaken port everything :cuss:

March 1, 2007, 02:53 AM
My dream CCW revolver would be a five shot .44 special on a Security Six or GP 100 frame with a 3" barrel. The magnum has its uses, but I agree with EK that the .44 Special is just an awesome close range thwapper. .45 Colt is OK, but I don't think you gain that much with the added diameter and the round itself has a very small and thin rim which for me slows reloading.

Jim Z.
March 1, 2007, 10:18 AM
This is my new S&W Mod 29-10, 3" .44 mag. I carry .44 specials for daily defensive carry. I works great and you can always step up to .44 mag's for a woods gun. Just another choice.


March 1, 2007, 10:33 AM
If you want something in .44 Special with adjustable sights you might consider (if you can find one) a used Charter Arms Target Bulldog. These were made in the 70's at the Stratford, CT factory. Seems well made, has been dependable for me after I sent it to the factory for work on the hand. Very light, carries five rounds of .44 Special, you can handload more powerful loads than factory, but some of these are uncomfortable to shoot. Has a 4" barrell. It's not a pre-war S&W, but I would compare it favorably.

March 1, 2007, 10:47 AM
I've been looking for a revolver in .44 Special for concealed carry, but I can't seem to find much to choose from.

Here is my 696-1 with 3" barrel. :D

March 1, 2007, 01:31 PM
I have a 4" Target Bulldog and a 3" standard model. They're my house guns. The adjustable sights on the 4" suck. They don't hold an adjustment. I put shims on each side to keep the windage on target. They're not bad guns but not up to Smith/Colt/Ruger standards. The prob with carrying them was with spare ammo. Bianchi doesn't make .44 speed strips and speed loaders are bulky. I'd buy ammo carriers that slide on the belt. DeSantis makes one but I'm sure that there are others that do. :D

March 2, 2007, 10:28 AM
+1 on the .44spl CCW. I think that's a great platform. If I ever find a nice one, it will replace my .38 snubbie.
I almost bought a Charter bulldog 44 spl snubbie once. Then I dry fired it. Horrendous! I had to pull so hard that I thought that something inside the gun was going to break. Made me think that there was something wrong that particular gun. Everything else about it was nice...

March 2, 2007, 12:12 PM
The speedloader thing doesn't really bother me, as I can reload faster with loose cartridges than I can with speedloaders or speed strips. I normally use the "Most Versatile Ammo Pouch" from Simply Rugged to carry my spare cartridges. As for adjustable sights, I prefer fixed sights on my carry revolvers anyway, since it's one less thing for me to worry about.

And Cosmoline, I would absolutely love a .44 on any Ruger DA frame with a 3" or less barrel. Not a day goes by when I don't kick myself for selling my Speed Six :banghead: . I own a Vaquero in .45 Colt, and though I love shooting that gun, I don't know if I'd like it's performance out of a short barrel.

Another option might be a .45 ACP revolver, since I'm told it has similar ballistics to the .44 special.

March 2, 2007, 12:19 PM
We have 2 bulldog Pugs. The new version in 44 special. Both have been back twice. Both have had 2 new cranes and 2 new firing pins installed and they still misfire with factory ammunition. The only thing I can get to work with some reliability is reloads with Federal primers. I bought these because of favorable reviews I read on the internet. They are junk. Terrible actions, barrell to cylinder gap is .012, and there is so much headspace you can see the rounds moving back and forth in the cylinder with it closed. No wonder it misfires, it has to push the round about 1/8th of an inch before it can work on the primer. Don't believe all what you read in these reviews. :cuss:

March 3, 2007, 07:19 AM
I bought a 296 and a 696 on the same day, some four years ago. Both were closeout priced then - $349 & $439 respectively. I have occasionally seen 296's for $350-$400 used since then, but lately, that 696 has skyrocketed in price - one even at $895. It's a nice gun, but a 629 4"-er is only an inch longer - and six ounces heavier. Go for a 629MG and you'll only be four ounces over the 696. Seriously, my 296 is my CCW.

The 296 is ammo-restrictive - mine has a steady diet of 200gr GDHP Blazers ($17/50 at Academy chains locally.). They barely eclipse the 800 fps required for reliable expansion from the 296's 2.5" barrel - but still provide a solid 'thump' upon recoil, especially via those OEM boots. The HKS 'CA44' speedloaders work great - I usually have one loaded in my other front pocket. Admittedly, the 296 requires a big pocket for CC. Being hammerless, think of a 642 on steroids, it draws quickly. It has an Al frame, with a SS barrel liner and Ti cylinder. That cylinder's hard edge can pare away the cast-in-place cylinder stop on the Al frame, putting said Ti cylinder in your hand - or worse, on the ground. Check used ones carefully there - and, please, no 'Hollywood' raps on the ejector rod.


March 3, 2007, 10:46 AM
I have the same Taurus listed by ssteven1. Found it at the gun show last week. Dealer had about ten each of blued and stainless, going for $350. Bought one and it is wonderful with .44 Specials and a handful in .44 mag.
Lockup and trigger pull are the best I have ever seen on any of my Taurus revolvers. Good car gun and carry weapon, loaded with Georgia Arms 200 grain GoldDot or 240 grain GoldDot magnums. I should have bought two. I assumed it is an older/short production run gun as I cannot find it on any web sites or catalogs.

Ohio Rusty
March 4, 2007, 07:00 AM
Mtelow: The .44 Pug will be my next pistol, I've already started collecting .44 brass and reloading equipment for that gun. My Dad had a Buick LeSabre like your Pug. He had it in th shop 4 times last year until they finally got it right. Because of his car, it would be easy to say every Buick ever made is junk. If your pistol has problems or that cylinder needs send it back again, and you take them to task until they get it right !! Sometimes you need to stand on folks to get them to do it right. I absolutely refuse to send my money to Brazil or any other foreign country. We BMC constantly about stuff being outsourced to mexico or China, but don't stand behind our American workers and makers. Sometimes man made stuff doesn't come out right, that is what warranties are for. Use yours to make Charter Arms do what is expected of them, and I think in the end you'll end up satisfied. I look forward to getting my .44 Pug as I'm saving my pennies for that future purchase. If the new one comes in, and after I check it over and I'm unhappy with it, I'll make the dealer order another one. I personally beleive that the .44 special is one heck of a fine personal defense round and will slow down an attacker quickly. It's got plenty of killing power ..... and that has been tested because Son of Sam proved that !!
Ohio Rusty

March 4, 2007, 07:52 PM
I have a Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Special 3" barrel that I purchased in 1980. It's in excellent condition; fires reliably; and is capable of getting the job done within the standard shooting distance. It is also a small frame which makes it relatively concealable for a wheelgun. I have carried it both as a primary and a backup piece.

My chief concern about the gun is the DA trigger pull -- it's a bit stiff. I have been talking with a gunsmith who thinks that he may be able to exchange the springs for Colt springs since Charter Arms apparently took over the Colt plant in Brazil at some point (at least that's what he told me).

I don't know what the new Charter Arms pieces are like. But I would definitely explore them.

JS Mosby

March 4, 2007, 08:02 PM
I wish Smith & Wesson would bring back the Model 696. It really looks sweet.

None of the current offerings in 44SP are stainless.

March 4, 2007, 08:07 PM
Not exactly a pocket gun, but Smith has the 21 in a "non Thunder Ranch" version with a 4" pencil barrel and round grip. Still a N frame, but could probably be concealed well with the right holster rig.

Here's a pic. . .

March 4, 2007, 08:52 PM
Stainz, if you ever want to trade-off or sell that S&W 296Ti please put me first in line!

On another note, I have a Charter Arms Bulldog (circa 1983) that I just bought. I like the gun and after firing about 50 round the other day it was not as bad recoil wise as I expected. Ammo is horribly expensive and difficult to find locally but it can be done. The most of what I find are the 240gr cowboy loads which I think are too heavy to put through the Bulldog (just my opinion). I am now on the lookout for any other 44 specials.

March 4, 2007, 08:53 PM
Until someone makes a quality .44 Special snub, I'd recommend a Ruger SP101 .357. It's more powerful, and very high quality.

March 5, 2007, 01:51 AM
I've got a 296 as well, and yes, I absolutely love it. It's not nearly as tough to shoot as you'd expect. Before the 296 came out, I aquired a really wierd .44 special revolver from my then local Pawn & Gun... 1934 vintage Colt New Service, chopped, ported, electroless nickled with an adjustable sight grafted on. I guess I'm saying that if you look long enough, you'll find that someone has had to have something like what you want custom built, then sold it and left it sitting in the used gun case somewhere. It was cheap, too.

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