44 mag snub nose - your thoughts


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lobo9er
July 16, 2010, 07:48 AM
getting pretty comfortable with a .357 snub nose. how much different is a 44 mag snub nose in terms of recoil and noise. Never shot one and the SW alaskan is looking very nice. The use would be for camping where black bear hang out and maybe everyday carry. considered a 44 spl. but ammo is tough to find around here and expensive. And I figured I could always shoot 44spl with the 44 mag and not the other way around.

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Lar1911
July 16, 2010, 08:39 AM
I own a Dan Wesson 44 , I had the 2.5 inch barrel made for it. 44 spl ammo cost as much as 44 magnum, so no real savings.

The 44spl is a great self defense round, it almost identical to the 45acp, in the revolver world the 44 spl is considered a great self defense round, the first thunder ranch S&W revolver was the model 21 in 44 spl. (Next was in 45acp)

I agree about the 44 mag for defense against big furry things with teeth. but as with anything, practice to get use to it.

Because the Alaskan is a specialized gun, I dont think you will be dissapointed in it. If I was your shooting buddy Id be jealous.

lobo9er
July 16, 2010, 06:29 PM
yeah its on my radar for sure, not ready to drop any coin yet other things have priority right now. I like to plan out my purchases though, learn as much as I can so I have some what of an idea of what I am gettting into. how much different is it compared to a 357 snub any idea?

frankt
July 16, 2010, 08:40 PM
A big difference. The 357 round in one of the little lightweight 357's revolvers are not fun to shoot at all. It is better in something like my steel framed S&W 66.
I have shot the 4" 329 lightweight .44 Magnum and it is not a lot of fun either. I would surely fire it to get a bear off me but a range trip would mean .44 Specials or downloaded Magnums.

bluetopper
July 16, 2010, 09:04 PM
I have a Model 29 at my local smiths shop right now having a 3" barrel installed on it.
I reload so I can load any power level of much cheaper cast lead bullets I desire. Looking forward to the big fireballs at dusk.:)

Old Fuff
July 16, 2010, 09:25 PM
True magnum performance requires enough barrel length to burn the slow burning powder these cartridges are usually loaded with. Snubby length barrels produce a great (but useless) muzzle flash because of ignited powder burning outside the barrel.

I have no interest in shooting a large, and probably upset bear with any handgun, but should that become necessary the handgun will be a large-bore, magnum class, revolver with at least a 4 inch barrel, and hopefully longer. Snubbies have they're place, but this is not one of them. :uhoh:

Fat Boy
July 16, 2010, 09:29 PM
I think recoil levels are different things to different people. I haven't shot a gun like the one you describe, the S&W, but it feels awfully heavy in the hands, and it seems like it would certainly soak up a lot of recoil- Personally, I don't think the muzzle blast between a short barrel .357 mag and short barrel .44 mag would be awfully different, but I would certainly try to rent/borrow such a gun and try shooting it before buying one-

Old Ranger
July 16, 2010, 10:47 PM
I agree with Old Fuff. I would personally want a bigger, longer gun. But We had a Ranger once who was attacked by a very large Black Bear - - - a boar; we never learned why. He dropped it with a four inch barreled Colt and .357 hollow points. So I guess that works - - - but I'd still want a bigger gun myself. I think the guy was just lucky.

A .44 Mag and a short barrel will have tremendous muzzle flip, a big flash and low velocity. Forget fast second shots. I think it's too much for carry and maybe not enough for things with canines and claws that just might want to eat you.:)

rd2007
July 17, 2010, 01:33 AM
A coworker of mine said a .44 Mag out of his Alaskan is probably softer than a .357 Mag out of my SP101. After buying the 629, I think he is insane. I actually like recoil and a powerful gun and get great pleasure out of my SP101, but the .44 Magnum is actually hurting my hand. I'm not talking the feel of the recoil either. I mean my hand, especially the lower part of my thumb, and other parts of my arm are actually hurting for days afterwards. This last time my right arm has also been falling asleep at random times and that is not something that normally happens. I think I have met my match with the .44 Mag and am probably going to offload it. It's a lot of fun with .44 Specials, but that round is nearly impossible to find on the shelf.

Antihero
July 17, 2010, 01:40 AM
It depends greatly on the gun. I had a Taurus 44c that wasnt bad at all shooting full power loads.

lobo9er
July 17, 2010, 07:26 AM
I shoot a desert eagle often in 44mag and recoil doesnt really exist but i have a feeling that a D.E. soaks up alot of the recoil more than a snubby might. So I may have an inflated confidence level on how well I can handle recoil. If only you can try before you buy. I have shot a friends 44 mag full size hunting revolver, this was back before I was really into guns and it didnt seem that bad not sure what model it was, but it was definatly way bigger than a snub nose.

Walkalong
July 17, 2010, 09:16 AM
Ouch is all I can say. More power to ya. :)

Guillermo
July 17, 2010, 09:40 AM
The 44 magnum is a great cartridge but the powder needs more than a couple of inches to push out the projectile. Like the Fuff-o-lopolus said, snubby magnums produce great balls of flame shooting out of the barrel. That unburned powder, while makes for a cool night-time show, is just wasted velocity.

Personally I like the 44 Magnum out of a 5 inch barrel (or more). It is much easy to control and is boogying downrange faster.

It is also great out of a carbine. It achieves it's potential, which is formidable, and easily manageable.

MovedWest
July 17, 2010, 10:26 AM
Ouch is all I can say. More power to ya. :)

+1 - Ruger makes their Super Blackhawks intentionally heavier to absorb the recoil of the magnum rounds. Even at that it can be a handful at times. Can't imagine touching off a round that size in a snubbie. No problem with 44spl though.

-MW

bsms
July 17, 2010, 10:32 AM
I've had an Alaskan for about 2 months. It has significantly more recoil than my J-frame, 21 oz Model 60 does with .357s. I can shoot the latter until I'm out of ammo. The Alaskan? About 18-24 rounds/hand is my limit. 24 will leave my hand sore for a day or more - that is shooting full power 44 mag loads.

If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't. The gun is accurate. It shoots better than I do. However, the original rubber grips felt like sandpaper going thru my hand with each shot. I replaced them with the old style GP100 grips. Better, but I have small hands and the recoil goes to my thumb, not the web of my hand. I've ordered some Badger grips & will have to see if they help.

But mostly, the frame and cylinder are so big that I don't get much benefit from having a 2.5" barrel. A 4" in a S&W would give me the benefits of a longer barrel with almost no downside...maybe 1 oz heavier, but just as easy to carry on the belt and better ballistics and probably less muzzle jump. If the Badger grips don't help, I'll probably end up selling the Alaskan (at a big loss) and buying a 4/6 inch S&W...:banghead:

batmann
July 17, 2010, 04:02 PM
I have a Ruger SRH Alaskan and I don't find the recoil hard to manage, on the contrary, I find it easier to control than my Smith .44M Mountain Gun. That said, I did change grips to the older style Letts from the original Hogue's. I carry mine and I found the Hogue's bulky.
I don't think the ballistics, in the real world, are much different than a 4" and I don't find the flash or flip a whole lot different.
Others have had different experences with short barrel .44's, but mine has been mostly positive.

Wolfeye
July 17, 2010, 05:26 PM
For me, a .44 special snub could have a place as a CCW complement to a larger, .44 magnum hiking gun. I used to be enamored with the idea of a .44 magnum snub for the outdoors, but realized that packing a gun with a 4" barrel wouldn't be much more of a hinderance than one with a 2 1/2" barrel.

If I were to ever pick up a .44 snub, it would be a special. Probably the Charter Arms Bulldog, since nobody else makes one I can afford. A snub magnum would create a lot of muzzle hooplah when I'd rather be shooting something with the longest barrel I can be bothered to carry.

That said, I think either the S&W Alaskan Backpacker (that's the one you're talking about?) or the Ruger SRH Alaskan could make a decent compromise between a carry gun and blackbear defense gun, if you don't want two separate guns. I'd stick on big, kushy grips for the woods and compact wood ones for daily wear.

Cosmoline
July 17, 2010, 05:50 PM
I had a big Ruger Alaskan in .44 for awhile but never warmed up to it. The recoil wasn't bad due to the massive weight, but it handled like a brick.

OTOH if you go for smaller and lighter physics will have its due and smack you around really good.

The solution is to stick with the longer barreled revolvers the .44 was intended to be shot from. The frame need not be as big as the SRH, but it should be large. Within those parameters you can find some very nice shooting and well balanced revolvers.

RidgwayCO
July 17, 2010, 07:37 PM
My buddy has a S&W M329 and has let me shoot it with full-power magnums a couple of times. It's fun, but it's the type of fun that wears off REAL quick... I can honestly say I've never had another handgun go that high in recoil. Quick followup shot? Maybe if something was taking a big bite out of me...

Honestly, I'd love to see somebody test a 250gr Keith bullet going 1200 fps on a bear (preferably dead) to see its penetration potential. I think we'd be surprised.

zombie44
July 17, 2010, 08:54 PM
I've had my Ruger SRH Alaskan 44M for over a month and I'm halfway through my 2nd box of large pistol primers already :D It's a fun range toy and fun to reload too, I've reloaded from mild to wild using bullseye, bluedot, aa#9 and 2400 and it just keeps asking for more. It's a hefty piece too, but with the stock hogue tamer grips, it makes recoil surprisingly manageable for a big bore snub. And I'm confident it can take down whatever encounter needs to be taken down along the trail.

MrBill120
July 17, 2010, 09:19 PM
I just sold off my 3" S&W M29-10 "Bounty Hunter". It was a lot of fun at first! It was a novelty. HUGE muzzle flash!! :D
The love affair wore off when my hand would be swollen for 2 days after shooting only half a box of Wal-Mart Winchester/Remington rounds.
Thankfully, I only lost around $100 on the gun.

TomTerrific
July 17, 2010, 10:16 PM
I've had an Alaskan for about 2 months. It has significantly more recoil than my J-frame, 21 oz Model 60 does with .357s. I can shoot the latter until I'm out of ammo. The Alaskan? About 18-24 rounds/hand is my limit. 24 will leave my hand sore for a day or more - that is shooting full power 44 mag loads.

If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't. The gun is accurate. It shoots better than I do. However, the original rubber grips felt like sandpaper going thru my hand with each shot. I replaced them with the old style GP100 grips. Better, but I have small hands and the recoil goes to my thumb, not the web of my hand. I've ordered some Badger grips & will have to see if they help.

But mostly, the frame and cylinder are so big that I don't get much benefit from having a 2.5" barrel. A 4" in a S&W would give me the benefits of a longer barrel with almost no downside...maybe 1 oz heavier, but just as easy to carry on the belt and better ballistics and probably less muzzle jump. If the Badger grips don't help, I'll probably end up selling the Alaskan (at a big loss) and buying a 4/6 inch S&W...:banghead:
Since this discussion has ended up on recoil, I can add a few comments. I was trying my S&W 60-9 with the 2" barrel with different ammo last weekend. I had some Buffalo Bore Tactical Short Barrel Lower Recoil Low Flash magnum rounds. I've had difficulty shooting magnum rounds primarily because the recoil is so much I have trouble bringing it back for a second shot. The BB ammo still had too much recoil for me, so I am continuing to use Remington .38 special 158gr LHP, which seems to be made for the gun.
I shot Hornady 156gr XTP and 125gr FTX out of my 686 4". Plenty of muzzle flash and noticeable difference in recoil. The energy of the FTX is less than 15% more than the XTP, but there seems to be more than a 15% difference in recoil. I have new Ahrends grips on it. Neither recoil seemed like a lot but the 158gr shot a lot better.
My Taurus 608 4" handles recoil very well but again it gives a lot of muzzle flash.
My 657 shooting 210gr has recoil that to me is more of a shove than a whack, not sharp at all and no muzzle flash. Might be the 7.5" barrel. Shoots both the Gold Dot and Fusion very well.
Short story: there seem to be rounds which fit certain guns very well.

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