.44 Mag as a "Graduation Present" to self?


September 17, 2009, 11:37 PM
So, at the end of this coming May, I'll graduate from college. This being an auspicious occasion, I was thinking of trying to save up and splurge on a "special" firearm for myself, as a "Graduation gift to me" type of thing. Now, what I don't have yet in my collection is a .44 Magnum wheelie. Now, I love my S&W 620, but there's just some kinda draw about a .44. What would I use it for? Range toy, maybe an eventual hunting handgun for deer or hog/boar/etc, and maybe if I get to feeling really eccentric, I'd use it out on a buddy's farm or as a freezing-cold-winter "CCW" gun :p

So, to that end, the thoughts that I had had insofar as a good .44 were primarily in the S&W offerings. I kind of want something a little more unusual than "the norm", and my thoughts had strayed to variants of the 629.

Option 1): Get a 6" Half-lug 629, see about getting some custom stuff done (porting, maybe some lockwork), and possibly some slight engraving (though, I don't know the additional expense thereof, but I'm sure it's $$$). Make it a real "full-bore custom," in every sense of the phrase.

S&W Image:

Option 2): The 629 Stealth Hunter has always struck me as kind of interesting. Though, I'm not sure about the 7.5" Barrel, the profile on the bbl. looks awesome, as does the finish. Don't know if it's ported or not, or if I would want engraving. I would guess it has had some lockwork done already. It's be more of a "rarity" than a "one-of-a-kind," but quite probably significantly more affordable than Option 1, and still kind of special if due only to its rarity.

S&W Website image:

Anyhow. What say the wonderful minds of THR?

ETA: In response to TenDriver: As I work at an FFL, I'm aware of the outrageous cost of .44 ammunition. However, I do reload for my .357 and .38, so it wouldn't be difficult for me to start cranking out .44 rounds, as well--already have a bunch of brass for it, to boot!

If you enjoyed reading about ".44 Mag as a "Graduation Present" to self?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
September 17, 2009, 11:46 PM
Hey, whatever floats your boat.

I'm just content with .357Mag, and I really, really want one of those S&W 8 shot ones that's built on the N-frame. Which will probably be my graduation gift (and I'm thinking a matched pair...custom shoulder holster, one on each side...)

September 17, 2009, 11:48 PM
Get a good repro 'Dragoon'...



"44" all day long...

September 17, 2009, 11:52 PM
Hey, whatever floats your boat.

I'm just content with .357Mag, and I really, really want one of those S&W 8 shot ones that's built on the N-frame. Which will probably be my graduation gift (and I'm thinking a matched pair...custom shoulder holster, one on each side...)

That would be Sweet. my buddy is in his 17th wk of waiting for his M&PR8...

oops, jacked the thread :(

September 18, 2009, 12:00 AM
I really enjoy my Tracker.

If you're going to be shooting a 44, I hope you're going into a well paid career field, or you reload. I had been out of shooting for a while when I bought mine and nearly keeled over when I saw what ammo was going for. No problem at the time, but now facing possible unemployment I bought a 22 pistol and keep the 44 in the box!:rolleyes:

David E
September 18, 2009, 12:40 AM
Get a blue or nickeled 6" Model 29 that's pinned and recessed.

Get a good action job and grips that fit. After that, it's up to you, but you can do anything you want with one, altho CCW isn't the best fit for this gun.

Be sure and get the original Dirty Harry Shoulder Holster from Lawman Leather and you're done.


September 18, 2009, 12:45 AM
Look into the S&W model 29 DX Classic. It's hasn't been produced fro a number of years now, but they do appear in the used market, albeit at a premium price.

September 18, 2009, 12:47 AM
How about something classically ostentatious: 8 3/8" Nickel 29. There are quite a few out there, if you hit the auction sites. Because if you're toting a .44 around, people might as well know it ;-)


David E
September 18, 2009, 03:34 AM
Nothing wrong with an 8 3/8th's" nickeled 29, but the 6" or 6 1/2" is handier

September 18, 2009, 08:31 AM
A current 6" 629-6, SKU #163606, is a fine .44 Magnum. Fitted with some decent wood grips, like mine with the Ahrends square conversions with finger grooves below, it is an excellent .44 Special/Russian and wimpy Magnum revolver. Clean the chambers before loading the Magnums, of course, no matter the power level.


Of course, if you want to launch real Magnums, get some Hogue made-for-S&W .460/.500 Magnum monogrips. They are ~$37 from S&W Accessories - and pad the backstrap. Great recoil help. The muzzle rise isn't bad with real Magnums - I'd never get it ported - too loud and messy! For distance shooting - or hunting - consider a Weigand SS scope rail, mounts, and handgun scope (Weaver H2 2x28mm on mine below.). Definitely get the grips - they only add 3/16" trigger reach - but really help lessen the briskness of the recoil.


The 6"-er is fun!


Gary K
September 20, 2009, 05:47 PM
I can't speak to your specific choices as I own a super redhawk in .44, but to the .44 naysayers I say bah-humbug! Reloading makes it no more significantly expensive than most rounds.

Graduation gift to self? Heck yea. Any .44 is cheaper than a Porsche!

Congrats on getting to the end, and enjoy a well earned toy!

September 20, 2009, 06:10 PM
Hey, congrats and more power to you!

I have a 3" 629 carry comp. Very impressed with the S&W "Performance Center" tuning job on the trigger. Best SA trigger I've ever experienced. Very fun to shoot.

Since you are reloading, ignore the naysayers. Yes, it's a bit more expensive but you will have lots of fun esp. varying the loads. With a longer barrel than mine, you have even more room to experiment.

ETA: My point was that you might be able to get the tuning you want at the S&W performance center, might be quicker and cheaper.

September 20, 2009, 06:22 PM
ah... everyone has a smith .44 mag... be a man... fly by your britches... get yourself an RG .44 mag... make the adrenaline levels rise to an insane point with every trigger pull.:what:

September 20, 2009, 06:37 PM
44 is a great round to reload. You can make powderpuff loads and some real hammers. Big bullets and cases are easy to work with. Go for it.

That said, I'm partial to the Super Blackhawk Hunter,

but a 629 would be awesome.

Congrats, I graduated this summer too!

September 20, 2009, 08:08 PM
Here is what I believe you should get, one of my favorite pairs to draw to!!
629-1 x2

September 20, 2009, 10:01 PM
I've owned several .44's but scaled it back to the one that I was always drawn to and liked the best. Ruger Super Blackhawk. It just plain works for me.

September 20, 2009, 10:05 PM
the super blackhawk is a huge temptation to me as well with the redhawk coming a close second. The Super Blackhawk is about the only single action that has me extremely tempted... and maybe a ruger bearcat.. just because.

September 20, 2009, 10:09 PM
You are graduating from college. It is time to get a Colt.

Anaconda baby!


September 20, 2009, 10:16 PM
Got both s@w 629 and super redhawk cant decide which one to keep. Have to admit when I started reloading I always test fired the srh thing is built like a tank. Dont like ported barrells to loud and messy. Well anyways congrats

September 20, 2009, 10:18 PM
I hear that from a lot of reloaders... they have a ruger for testing and a smith for fun... HMMMMMMMMM.... interesting in every sense of the word.

September 20, 2009, 10:20 PM
Not to threadjack, but the Super Blackhawk Hunter is a dream to shoot. I'm only a mediocre shot, but I sent many 2 liter bottles full of water to their rest from 50 paces, and the Ruger made it easy. If you like the 629, by all means go 629, but if you are considering this as a hunting gun, the 7 1/2" barrel of the Ruger helps more than hurts. Further, the Ruger will take some pretty heavy loads, and really make the most out of the 44 mag.

Either way, get a 44. What a hoot. :)

September 21, 2009, 10:32 AM
Get a 4" inch

More choices of holsters!

September 30, 2009, 08:16 PM
Years ago, there was a watch commercial that ended with the lament: "I'd really rather had a Whitnauer." Your thinking is good. What would be better than a Smith .44 Magnum to commemorate this momentous occasion?

Maj Dad
September 30, 2009, 10:12 PM
Get a S&W M29, bbl length your choice. Mine is 4", and PattonTime has a surely very Manly 4" - don't skimp, and don't let all the recoil/muzzle flash/blah blah blah hold you back. Get used to your weapon starting with target (mild) loads, then work on up to work-horse loads. I don't flinch, I get an adrenalin rush from it, the bigger the better... :cool:

I also have Rugers; after you land your first job, branch out & start collecting. Put Colt high on your list... :scrutiny:

September 30, 2009, 10:24 PM
DO IT!! Just don't sell it later like I did. I bought a 7 1/2" Stainless Redhawk .44 to celebrate my 21'st B-Day, and I sold it 2 years later because the new wife just HAD to have a washer & dryer. Like we needed clean clothes----

captain awesome
September 30, 2009, 10:46 PM
that smith pc 44 hunter is a sweet looking gun. I have been looking at them for a while, being tempted. As far as new smiths go, unless they make that change that every one has been hoping for, that and the pc 460 are the only ones I have interest in any more. they are higher priced, but what about a freedom arms 44, or a magnum research precision center bfr in 44? they are single action, but extremely high quality and not whole lot more than your other two options. and they are both rather unusual as well. Just throwing it out there.

September 30, 2009, 10:51 PM
Get a S&W M29, bbl length your choice.While I find your post beneficial, could you possibly narrow down the above quote? Both of the options listed in my OP are technically variants of the 29 (only in stainless or other finishes), in the barrel lengths I prefer.

October 24, 2009, 09:21 AM
I carry a Smith & wesson 44 N frame 3 inch, I love it, I load it up sometimes with 44 special for carry, but even with the mag loads its fine.and if you dont hit what your shooting at the noise and fire will certainly do the trick!

October 24, 2009, 02:49 PM
If you do decide to go with a Ruger, since you are a reloader, I'd also recommend looking into .45 Colt. With Ruger-only data, it pretty much duplicates the ballistics of .44 magnum with less pressure which makes for a gentler report. I've actually had people mistake some of my cast lead Ruger loads for blackpowder loads. Positives are you can take advantage of affordable .45 auto bullets (cast or jacketed) for plinking, and the report is pleasant as mentioned. There are also heavier bullets out there beyond the spectrum of the .44 like the 400 gr Cast Performance bullets. Downsides are that Ruger-only data is less common than .44 magnum data, and it uses more powder to achieve the same thing.

Just something to consider.

October 24, 2009, 03:22 PM
I'd have to say that for any of the bigger caliber options you'll want to reload very soon if not immediately. Not only does this lower the ammo costs to a non frightful level but it allows you to tailor your loads to suit yourself and how you shoot. Playful plinking loads for regular shooting, gentle loads for gun shy friends to try, huge fireball loads for indoor and dusk shooting, hardcore hunting rounds and other options all become much more instantly available and financially feasable.

I like the idea of the cheaper bullets when shooting the .45Colt option but in looking at the Ruger/Freedom Arms/TC only special loads at the Hogdon reloading data site I'm seeing that they are calling for a max CUP of 28K to 30K while the .44Mag options are up in the 38K to 39K range. Seems like this gives the nod to the .44Mag for more load flexibility.

October 24, 2009, 03:45 PM
Well that's what I was getting at. It produces about the same velocity with less pressure. Pressure is responsible for nasty blast, throat erosion, general wear and tear, etc. To achieve basically the same thing with less pressure is a virtue in my book.

The Hodgdon .44 data does beat most of the .45 Colt data with the heavier bullets by about 50-100 fps or so, but honestly I've never seen .44 bullets in most of the weights above 300 grains that they show for the .44. The famous 240-grain loads are pretty much neck and neck, probably about the exact same when you figure in the .44 loads use an 8 inch barrel vs the 7 inch for .45. Because of the .454 and .45 acp, there is a wide range of weights the .45 Colt can handle which are readily available. The added versatility to me is being able to shoot bullets from 155 grains up to 395.

Honestly there have more similarities than differences. Just two possibilities out there.

Oh yeah, it's also pretty cool to have a plethora of high-quality self defense hollowpoints to experiment with from the .45 ACP. Experiments such as "I like what the 230-grain Golden Saber does at 900 fps...I wonder what it'll do at 1500". Practical value? I don't know. But it's fun:D

October 24, 2009, 09:56 PM
Another Colt Anaconda .44 mag 8" barrel good shooter not a wrist killer so follow up shots are quick , carry nice an easy in a chest hostler .http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/skinnygun/Colt44magAnaconda001.jpg

October 26, 2009, 01:43 PM
I would recommend a Dan Wesson... that way you can change the barrel depending on your need. Below is a picture of a model 744.

If you enjoyed reading about ".44 Mag as a "Graduation Present" to self?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!