Isn't the 44 Special for defense just awesome?


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Arizonagunrunner
December 20, 2010, 02:42 PM
I own a Taurus 431 3in and a Rossi 720 in 3in. I think these are the best handguns for a personal self defense platform. Both are loaded with Blazer GDHP. Both are carried with two HKS speedloaders for reloads. Both weapons are carried in combat holsters for a K-Frame application. Both are easy to conceal, and presentation of the weapon is quick and sure.
At a combat distance of 15 yards or less, this caliber will stop the bad guy in his tracks. And the weapons I have are super reliable. What more can you ask for in a weapon? Any people out there feel the way I do about this caliber?
I am sure in love with it.

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calaverasslim
December 20, 2010, 02:46 PM
About 35 years ago, when I found out there were other calibers other than 45acp in a 1911, I read an article by Skeeter Skelton. A million pages of print sed, try 44 special. I did and never looked back. I currently own a Charter Arms Bulldog, 44 special, One of the original.. The S&W M21 and 3 Colt SAA's in 44 special and am looking for a M24.

Now I know there a ast least 2 of us converts out there.

TimM
December 20, 2010, 02:50 PM
I absolutely love the 44 special. It is my favorite wheel gun round. But... it's not a magic talisman.

NELSONs02
December 20, 2010, 03:05 PM
A 255grain @ 900 fps out of a 45LC was/is nothing to shake a spoon at either.

I'll sometimes shoot specials out of my Ruger SBH's, very fun...

Messenger Guard
December 20, 2010, 03:30 PM
The 44special falls into that optimum level for stopping people. It falls way over that level for price.

BCRider
December 20, 2010, 03:41 PM
.44Spl was good enough for Harry Callahan so it should be good enough for us... :D

Zundfolge
December 20, 2010, 03:41 PM
.44Spl was good enough for Harry Callahan so it should be good enough for us... :D

Actually Harry packed a .41mag :D

Paladin7
December 20, 2010, 03:42 PM
I think you are definitely on the right track...

My cold weather carry is a S&W 696 no dash 44 spl loaded with GDHPs. For my anticipated threat level (low) and for some woods hiking, it should more than do the job. Plus I really enjoy handloading and shooting the 44 special and have a love affair with the 696 - very accurate and very controllable even in rapid fire.

About the only thing I'd nit pick (and that's what it is) is the issue with Taurus and Rossi reliability. If you have guns that work for you thats great, but I'm skeptical about a Taurus or Rossi for serious social encounters. YMMV.

Prosser
December 20, 2010, 03:53 PM
HMMMM.

.44 special, then load it with an anemic 200 grain HP, at 900 fps? Not my idea of a stopper. 10" of penetration? FAR too little.
http://www.brassfetcher.com/CCI%20Blazer%20200%20grain%20Gold%20Dot%20hollowpoint.html

And, that test is out of a 4" not 3", barrel.

I just checked ammo prices at midway, and the good news is factory ammo has come down considerably since I tried .44 special, in 1980. Used to be 23-25 bucks a box for 20, POJ Remington lead 255 grain round nose, at so slow you can see em velocity.

What I don't get is the fascination with light bullets and the .44 Special.

180-200 grain bullets aren't great for self-defense in this caliber, because no matter how fast you push them, the open up too quick, and don't penetrate enough:

Here is a test of the XTP, going 1571 fps, and it STILL only penetrates 10"
though that velocity gives me WAY more warn and fuzzies then the 900 fps the GD is going:

http://www.brassfetcher.com/180grHorn44mag.html

The ideal .44 special SD round, at least for me, was a 240 grain HP, loaded to between .44 Special and low .44 magnum velocity:
Read 1000-1100 fps, or, a 255-260 grain HP at 1000 fps. If you notice, that's pretty much the Holy Grail, or the old 45 Colt Ballistics everyone tried to emulate with .45 ACP.

PLUS, the heavier bullets, with a heavy crimp, are much more likely to actually give you the advertized velocity numbers, in a short barrel, because they provide more resistance, and don't move out of the barrel as quickly.

If you don't use that big case to near it's capacity, what's the point?
I can get a 200 grain HP, flying ashtray Speer going 1200 fps in a short barreled Detonics Combat Master, or, a 230 grain at 1100 fps, using .45 Super ammo.

The advantage to the .44 Special now is it can fit into smaller frames then the .45 Colt, and, really shines in 5 shot CCW type revolvers.

I see NO reason for ME to go back to it, since I can get the same ballistics with 45 Super, and even buffalobore is loading a 255 grain flat point lead bullet at over 1000 fps, for my tiny Detonics, which is more concealable then any .44 special revolver made.

Now, as to the love part:
I was hooked loading .44 Special, I LOVED loading 240 grain HP's at around 950 fps out of my bulldog. I loved it right up till I shot the Bulldog loose, and it froze. I sold it, and never looked back. Went to .45 Colt, which has a MUCH higher upside, and 451 Detonics, which is essentially heavy .44 Special loads, with a bigger bullet.

Vern Humphrey
December 20, 2010, 04:21 PM
The best thing the .44 Special has going for it as an SD weapon is, it isn't a .44 Magnum. And so it isn't so over-powered that you spend more time controlling the weapon that shooting.

Arizonagunrunner
December 20, 2010, 04:36 PM
You know, I understand what you are trying to say in this post. But it dosen't hold water. The Blazer 200 grain GDHP opens up very well at the 869 ft per sec. It has more then enough energy to dump into a person and stop a fight. It also will penatrate into human vitals and do the damage it was intended to do. As for cost for these rounds you hear people boo-hoo about the price. I myself reload for practice, and shoot factory for defense.
If I wanted to shoot a heavier bullet out of my 3in weapons then I would not be using them for defense. I would get a Blackhawk for CAS. Prove me wrong in this. At combat distance (15 yards or less) 96% of all shootings happen at this distance, the 44 Special will handle most if not all threats. I am not talking 1 stop shots. (THAT STUFF IS SO FLAWED) or fighting off a "BANZI" charge. What I am saying is a perp shot with this caliber and this round will not want to continue the fight.:)
If the shooter does his part, the weapon and round will do theres. 45 Colt is a great round. Just not one you can get a gun around to conceal really well

eldon519
December 20, 2010, 04:55 PM
HMMMM.

.44 special, then load it with an anemic 200 grain HP, at 900 fps? Not my idea of a stopper. 10" of penetration? FAR too little.
http://www.brassfetcher.com/CCI%20Bl...llowpoint.html

And, that test is out of a 4" not 3", barrel.


Read more carefully Grasshopper. The Golddot penetrated 13.75". The Hornady penetrated to 12.6".

You're reading the BB penetration calibration data for the gel block.

Not a bad time to reconsider your .44 Special bullet selection philosophy.

SharpsDressedMan
December 20, 2010, 05:18 PM
My .44 Special shoots apples and oranges. It doesn't matter which ones I shoot; sometimes I even alternate apples and oranges in the cylinder.:rolleyes:

Walkalong
December 20, 2010, 06:04 PM
I agree. .44 Special is a great caliber for self defense. Not that others are not. I have carried an old CA Bulldog in .44 Spl a fair amount.

The naysayers point to more powerful rounds, but make no mistake, no one wants to be shot center of mass with a decent .44 Spl load.

And like Vern posted, much more controllable than .44 Mag.

scottishclaymore
December 20, 2010, 09:30 PM
I've always thought the .44 Spl was a great round, and rather under appreciated. I still haven't found a .44 Spl gun that is up to my exacting standards for a carry gun, but if I ever do I will strongly consider putting it into the rotation. Maybe Ruger could be prevailed upon to make a .44 Spl version of their 3" GP100...

jhvaughan2
December 20, 2010, 09:48 PM
If your lucky, you can carry it in your pocket.
http://webpages.charter.net/vaughanhome/296L.jpg

Guillermo
December 20, 2010, 10:02 PM
Actually Harry packed a .41mag

The myth that won't die.

John Milius, screenwriter for the 1st Dirty Harry film, has repeatedly said that the 41 mag story is urban legend

tipoc
December 20, 2010, 10:03 PM
eldon519 made the catch that Prosser missed on...that the CCI Blazer round with the 200 gr. pill penetrated 13.75 " in the ballistec gel and the Hornady 180gr. XTP penetrated 12.6" which are a few inches more than Prosser misread.

Both rounds are within the 12-14" of penetration with expansion in 10% ballistic gel that the FBI and Justice Dept. recommended for defensive ammo over 15 years ago now. The bulk of commercial JHP ammo produced for law enforcement and self defense are built to these standards whether .45acp or 9mm or .44 Special.

Like other rounds .44 Spl. can be loaded up or down with different bullets for different jobs. Whether for target work, hunting or self defense it is a very good round. Very balanced.

Is it the most powerful? Nope. Is it the "Best"? it doesn't have to be. It has been around for as long as it has because it is good at what it does.

tipoc

Surefire
December 21, 2010, 12:58 AM
Cor Bon, Buffalo Bore, and a few other makers have given the .44 special serious teeth.

Those of us that want more performance than 800 - 900 fps have many choices considerably more powerful.

Shooting hot .44 special in my Alaskan is very much like shooting .38 special wadcutters - barely any recoil to speak of. There is practically no recoil when I shoot hot .44 specials out of my Ruger Bisley Hunter - even full powered .44 magnums are a breeze to shoot in both of these guns.

I think the .44 special is a great defensive load, but my issue is there are not a lot of appropriate sized guns and ammo selection / price is an issue.

In my ideal world, the .44 special would have the ammo selection of the .38 special, and be priced reasonably. But because it is not a popular round compared to the .38 special it is hard to find decent loads (both practice and defense) in my area. For this reason, I find it easier to stick with the .38 special for target, and .357 magnum for target+defense.

Prosser
December 21, 2010, 01:34 AM
My misread. Sorry.

Still not enough for my idea of a defense round. I weigh 200, and, the smallest guy that's ever attacked me was 240, at least. I wouldn't go after a 250 pound deer or hog with those 44 Special loads, and, my guess is most of the two legged types would be on some kind of meth, or speed. No thanks.

I'll stay with the loads that have worked for over 100 years:
Around 250 grains, soft lead, or thin jacket, and at least 1000 fps, .45 caliber is better then .429".

If Linebaugh, Jurras, and a bunch of other guys think 240-260 grains, Keith style or soft lead at 1200 fps makes a fantastic hunting round for the lower 49, I see no reason to
go with anything less in the .44 Special.

Gun selection hasn't changed much. Still not a lot of options out there.

AZGunner:

I just explained why I'm not carrying .44 Special, and, I did carry it, until my bulldog shot loose. Keep in mind, I don't live in a free state, permits are hard to come by, and I spent years shooting .451 Detonics, 200 grains, 1200 fps, out of a variety of Detonics guns.

Here only guns that are exempt from the Kommie Approved list are SA's.
My answer is to setup rigs for either common stuff, that have many options, like 1911's, Kahrs, or, SA guns. I'm not Munden, and, in fact, we don't get to even speed shoot on most of our ranges.
Therefore, I've gone to another Detonics, a 1911, and, a 357 snub, along with a Kahr PM9 for my solutions. Deep cover guns, only.

I think it's pretty unlikely that many .44 Special DA pistols make the approved list, and, those that do are a bit bigger then either the Detonics, or the 360PD, but, some not by much. I've always tried to stay with calibers that have lots of ammo made for them, and, are industry standard, or, allow such rounds to be shot in them as well.

I once lived in a free state: Kali in 1979. I had a 44 special, and liked it. Just wished better snubs had been around at the time then the bulldog, and better ammo.

The great thing about firearms, are that we have choices, and, depending on states, we have our choices for our situation. There is no one right answer for everyone, and, I respect your choice, and can see why you did it.

If I win the lottery, I'll be down buying a dillon in .44 special/44 magnum, and, a Freedom Arms 97 in .44 as well, along with a S&W snub.

God Bless, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

Besides, if I'm using a 5 Shot, I want a big, heavy, fast bullet. How about a 275 grain speer, in .475 Linebaugh, at 1560 fps, with light recoil, that puts a 4 inch hole in deer, and opens up to the size of a 2 bore rifle slug?
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/expanded475275grainbullet.jpg

CajunBass
December 21, 2010, 05:06 AM
John Milius, screenwriter for the 1st Dirty Harry film, has repeatedly said that the 41 mag story is urban legend

Started no doubt by someone who didn't have a 44 mag, but DID have a 41 mag for sale..."This is what they REALLY used in the movie. They couldn't get a 44 magnum either." :D

easyg
December 21, 2010, 08:14 AM
I'm rather underwhelmed by the .44 Special.
It's just not that great of a self defense caliber IMO.

Stainz
December 21, 2010, 09:01 AM
For years, my now nearly 8 yr old 296 was carried in an OWL OWB holster - albeit infrequently. Then - I discovered Robert Mika and his excellent pocket holsters. He made me one for the 296 - and another for a 642, which I hadn't bought at the time. The 296 in a pocket holster fit ~3 of 4 of my pants front pockets. Ultimately, I did get a 642 - and it and it's pocket holster carry in any/all of my pants' front pockets, making it a 24/7 carry. Still, woods stomping finds my 296 in my cargo pants.

http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/Stainz_2007/IMG_0596.jpg

I shot >1,800 200gr CCI Blazer Gold Dots before banning them. One split it's case in my 696, making extraction difficult. It did no damage to the SS chamber, but likely would have marred the Ti cylinder of the 296. Besides - GA Arms, whose ammo I had used for years, made the same thing - Speer #4427 200gr GDJHP optimized to double it's surface area and penetrate over a foot for 800 fps incidence in gel, but in new Starline brass. As a reloader, that had my attention - especially since the Blazers were then more expensive! I carry the GA Arms 200gr Gold Dots in my 296. Even with such 'mild' .44 Specials, the AirLite Ti 296 has a bit of a hand slap - more than the 642 with +P 158gr LHPSWC's.

Stainz

PS Woods stomping will find a 240gr LSWC up first - followed by four of the Gold Dots.

eldon519
December 21, 2010, 10:33 AM
Prosser,

I'm confused why you find a 200gr .44 bullet too light for caliber, but are then happy with a 200gr .45 bullet, which is comparatively even lighter for caliber. As far as sectional density goes, a 180-185gr .44 bullet is roughly equivalent to a 200gr .45. A 200gr .44 bullet is about equal to a 225-230gr .45 bullet.

What I don't get is the fascination with light bullets and the .44 Special.

180-200 grain bullets aren't great for self-defense in this caliber, because no matter how fast you push them, the open up too quick, and don't penetrate enough:

Here is a test of the XTP, going 1571 fps, and it STILL only penetrates 10"
though that velocity gives me WAY more warn and fuzzies then the 900 fps the GD is going

I just explained why I'm not carrying .44 Special, and, I did carry it, until my bulldog shot loose. Keep in mind, I don't live in a free state, permits are hard to come by, and I spent years shooting .451 Detonics, 200 grains, 1200 fps, out of a variety of Detonics guns.

scottishclaymore
December 21, 2010, 11:12 AM
jhvaughan2, I had not thought about the 296. Now I will have to see if I can find one somewhere...

SlamFire1
December 21, 2010, 11:23 AM
Besides, if I'm using a 5 Shot, I want a big, heavy, fast bullet. How about a 275 grain speer, in .475 Linebaugh, at 1560 fps, with light recoil, that puts a 4 inch hole in deer, and opens up to the size of a 2 bore rifle slug?

Light recoil?! :what:

That is more powerful than any of my 44 Magnums and they kick like something awful.

Well it all depends on what you want to do.

Handguns are not as powerful as rifles, if you want rifle or shotgun power than you are not going to have something as portable as a pistol.

In my opinion the 44 Special is a ballistic duplicate of the 45 Long Colt. It is obvious that Smith wanted to upgrade the 44 Russian and have something competitive with the 45 Colt. And there is really not that much difference between a 429" 240 L going 850 fps and a .454" 250 L going 850 fps.


The 44 Special is fine for its purposes. A big, heavy, bullet going at moderate velocity.

Drail
December 21, 2010, 11:47 AM
If a 200 gr. slug (in any caliber) traveling at 900 fps doesn't get the job done then you need to carry a 12 gauge. I have carried a Bulldog Pug since the 80s and shot a few bowling pin and steel matches with it enough to believe that it will do the job. I'm still carrying it. I just wish S&W or Ruger would build a clone of the Charter Bulldog. It was a very good idea.

sig220mw
December 21, 2010, 12:29 PM
I once had a Ruger Bisley 44 mag. I used it a few times with the mags then one day I bought a box of 44 specials and shot them through it. I immediately fell in love with the special. Since then I've read volumes of articles about the round by writers both living and dead.

I got one of the Ruger 44 specials that came out last year.

I now have a Ruger Bisley in 45 colt and the blackhawk in 44 special.

I love loading and shooting both of them. The 44 however is my fun gun since it is shorter and I don't load it as hot as the 45.

I wouldn't hesitate to use it for self defense. It fires a big caliber bullet that makes up for high powered velocity by making big holes.

I currently load Oregon Trail laser casts of 200 and 240 grains.

Admittedly my go to self defense handgun is my Sig 220 but if need be I would use the 44.

Waywatcher
December 21, 2010, 12:42 PM
Not to be a turd in a swimming pool, but has anyone here shot something that was alive with a .44 Special? I haven't.

It might be "just awesome" but I'm wondering how this conclusion was made and what it was compared to?

Dave T
December 21, 2010, 01:54 PM
On another forum one of the members said the 44 Special is to revolvers what the 45 ACP is to semi-autos. I think he hit the nail on the flat part. I love both calibers and have trouble deciding between them (45 ACP revolvers confuse the issue for me).

I've never quite understood folks who just have to magnumize everything. John M. Browning's original idea for the 45 ACP was a 200g bullet at 900 fps. A currently available factory round that duplicates that is Hornady's non-Plus P 200g XTP. It chronographs right at 900 fps in a 5" barreled 1911. So...

I don't see a thing in the world wrong with a 200g 44 Special at 900 fps. I'm willing to bet a lot of money there isn't a bad guy out there who can tell the difference when shot with a 200g .43" bullet and a 200g .45" bullet. For that matter I bet good money that a 240g .43" bullet is going to perform pretty much the same as a 230g .45" projectile, at comparable velocities.

Dave

tipoc
December 21, 2010, 03:19 PM
Not to be a turd in a swimming pool, but has anyone here shot something that was alive with a .44 Special? I haven't.

It might be "just awesome" but I'm wondering how this conclusion was made and what it was compared to?

Ya gotta love this stuff!

Anyways, Waywatcher how ya describe yourself is your business but the .44 Spl. has been one of the 3 or 4 premier hunting rounds used in North America for the last century. The others being the .357 Magnum and the round the Special gave birth to the .44 Magnum. The .45 Colt was not used as much for hunting till the advent of the Ruger Black Hawk. Other rounds have been used as well but if you named the top 4 most widely used the Special would be there. It has been one of the most written about and discussed rounds as well.

Elmer Keith made a career off of the .44 Special. Skeeter Skelton wrote extensively on it and championed the round. John Taffin for years pushed Ruger to chamber a gun in it which they finally did.

Personally I've take only one hog and one deer with the Special. The 278 pd. hog (we weighed it) was taken at about 60 yards with a 265 gr. hard cast LSWC bullet at about 950 fps from a 6.5" barrel. It was a quartering shot that entered at the right rear haunch and lodged in the left shoulder afteer breaking the bone in that shoulder. The shot took out one lung and nicked the heart. Hog ran ten or so feet and died.

The deer was taken at about 45 yards or so with a 246 gr. hard cast lead round at about 960-1000 fps that entered the chest and exited just in front of the left haunch. The deer dropped.

There is nothing that walks in the lower 48 that cannot be taken with the .44 Special at under 100 yards. Keith wanted to develop the .44 Magnum not because the .44 Special wasn't enough gun but to extend the effective range of the .44 Special! From a 75 round kill everything gun to a 150 yard and beyond kill everything gun. A large heavy bullet of proper construction traveling at moderate velocity will penetrate deeply to kill very well. It did this 100 years ago and does it still.

tipoc

jad0110
December 21, 2010, 03:28 PM
I've never quite understood folks who just have to magnumize everything.

30 years ago, a 30-30 levergun was considered good protection in bear country. Now you apparently need at least a 338 Lapua Magnum, even though bears haven't gotten any bigger/tougher.

FPS and ft-lbs of energy sells. Bullet construction, design and material just aren't as sexy.

---

I just joined the .44 special club myself recently. I picked up a Taurus 431 3" for $268, got some 200 grain Gold Dots, and have a Simply Rugged Sourdough Pancake IWB holster and a pair of HKS speedloaders on order. I do reload, so that does somewhat offset price and availability problems. I do like the 431; it's reliable, accurate and reasonably compact. Plus it isn't bad looking either.


http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q139/jad0110/Taurus%20Model%20431/DSC02292.jpg


http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q139/jad0110/Taurus%20Model%20431/DSC02339.jpg

tipoc
December 21, 2010, 03:32 PM
A studious person could read a bit more about the .44 Special by looking here at some of the articles available online...

http://www.darkcanyon.net/The%2044%20Special%20by%20Elmer%20Keith.htm

http://www.darkcanyon.net/The_44Special_A_Reappraisal.htm

http://www.darkcanyon.net/Converting_357s_to_44Special.htm

You can note that Skeeter speaks of a 250 gr. load at 1000 fps from the .44 Special as a very good fast handling hunting load and that at a bit lower velocity as a good self defense load. Both are true.

Keep in mind that now days we think of a 230 gr. load at 850-900 fps from the 45acp as a good self defense load and a 180 gr. bullet at 950 fps from the 40S&W as a good load. Both are widely used. So a 200-230 gr. bullet, of proper construction, moving between 850-1000 fps can be very effective as a self defense load.

tipoc

Stainz
December 21, 2010, 04:49 PM
I 'discovered' the .44 Special when I bought a new 629MG in .44 Magnum over eight years ago. With wood grips, it shot nothing but my homebrew Specials and Russians - and a few Blazer GD's (Hey - they were $11.99/50 at Academy Sports!). I followed it up with a new 296 & new 696, followed by a LNIB 20 yr old safe queen 6.5" 24-3 - and a new 6.5" Heritage 24. The blued 24's ultimately left, being replaced by a new 6" 629, while I replaced the MG with a regular 4" 629. They are my .44 Specials:

http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/Stainz_2007/IMG_0712.jpg

Someone wanted a S&W copy of the CA .44 Special Bulldog - that's essentially what the 696 is - even down to utilizing the same HKS #CA44 speedloader. Of course, at <6 oz more weight you can have a regular 4" 629 - with a larger hammer & trigger, another inch of barrel & sight radius, another round in the cylinder, a fc that will take .44 Magnums (The X96 family has a paper thin fc edge and really shouldn't see Keith-level .44 Specials.), etc - and probably for less moola. The 696 has a cult following keeping it's secondary market price high.

The nice thing about a 629, besides availability, is it will take warm .44 Specials. I have been known to put The Hogue-made S&W .500 Magnum grips on my cleaned 629's and letting rip with 'real' Magnums, too... even putting a scope on the 6"-er. Funny thing, I always thought it best to stay within the SAAMI spec's for a given round. That means milder than some have reported here for .44 Specials. It really begs the question - why do I have a 625MG in .45 Colt, 625 in .45 ACP, and a 629 for .44 Special, when they are so similar?? I certainly don't 'need' them... but I like the collection. 'Want' and 'need' are mutually exclusive terms.

There will always be a .44 Special... it is an enthusiast caliber, best suited for the reloader. Don't get me started on the .44 Russian... I start with saying it's a 'cute' round - and a wimpy 240gr LSWC over 3.5gr Titegroup in a Starline .44 Russian case makes 692 fps from my 696's 3" tube. Mild all-day shooter - yet makes major power factor. Face it, some things have no proper rationale.

Stainz

NELSONs02
December 21, 2010, 04:55 PM
My dilemma:

Why shoot/buy 44 special when I can just load my magnums with a 240gr hard cast in front of 10 grains of Unique?

1911Tuner
December 21, 2010, 05:06 PM
It's amusing that many people consider the .38+P 158-grain lead SWCHP at 850 fps...which is about what you can expect from a given 4-inch barrel...as an excellent defense round, but a .44 caliber 200-grain lead SWCHP at 850 fps would be "Marginal at best"

Or that a 230-grain .45 caliber jacketed RN at 800 is a pretty good round...but a 240-250 grain lead SWC at 800 fps would be just a step above dismal.

Interesting.

The .41 Magnum "Police" loading, consisting of a 210-grain LSWC at 900 fps...which was about what could be expected from a 4-inch service revolver, and not the advertised 970...did a pretty good job for San Francisco and San Antonio PDs, despite being old technology. Marshall and Sanow rated it at 75%, and while I know that their findings have proven to be a little flawed, its record is very good nonetheless.

I think the .44 Special is a very good SD cartridge. Even in its original loading of a 246-grain lead RN at 755 fps, its performance would be pretty much identical to the .45 ACP hardball...and there are lot of guys in the know who not only like that one, but actually recommend it.

DC Plumber
December 21, 2010, 05:31 PM
I'm pretty new here and have learned the risks with stating one's opinion, but here it goes.

I'm kind of with Prosser.

I have a Smith and Wesson Lew Horton model 24 .44special, which is a 3 tapered barrel on an N frame with six holes. I also have a 696 which only get special loads. My model 24 gets Speer 240g GDHP over 17g of 2400 which have chono'd out at 950 fps. It is a very tolerable recoiling load in an N frame. My next favorite self defense load is my Ruger Alaskan 454 loaded with 250g Hornady JHP XTP's over 11g of universal which have chrono'd at 1050 fps.

In an autoloaded, I like Corbon 45acp 230g +P's which out of my Glock 30 chrono'd at 950fps. I haven't chono'd them yet in my Commander sized Kimber 1911, but I'm sure they'll be just fine.

Those are my preferences.

That said, I wouldn't feel under gunned with my 4" 586 with 158g JHP XTP's going 1100 fps either, but it isn't my first choice.

Flame away.

Prosser
December 21, 2010, 05:44 PM
Prosser,

I'm confused why you find a 200gr .44 bullet too light for caliber, but are then happy with a 200gr .45 bullet, which is comparatively even lighter for caliber. As far as sectional density goes, a 180-185gr .44 bullet is roughly equivalent to a 200gr .45. A 200gr .44 bullet is about equal to a 225-230gr .45 bullet.

Eldon519: EXCELLENT POINT.
I went with the 200 grains at 1200 fps because of the observations on how well they worked on human targets. I called the owners of Detonics, and discussed which of their three rounds:
185 @ 1300
200 @ 1200 fps
230@ 1100 fps

they would suggest. They had provided LEO with their guns and ammunition, and LEO had provided photos and results of their pistols and ammunition
in actual use. They said the 200 grain flying ashtray at 1200 fps produced
excellent wounding results, and quick incapacitation, combined with relatively
light recoil. The 185's didn't have a crimp grove, and didn't appear to be anymore effective.

As for the 230's, I wonder. I picked the 230's now, but, I would feel pretty good about carrying the 200's, since they are real close to that original Detonics round.

I think there is a pretty big difference between 800-900 fps and 1200, WITH HOLLOWPOINT AMMUNITION.

What I'm seeing in the posts here is another consideration: LFN in a big caliber, vs. Hollowpoints. One of the reasons I like 240-260 grain HP's
is the lighter ones create big holes, but I get a bit concerned about penetration. I'm always concerned about a bullet that penetrates 10-14" using that penetration in a guys arm, who is pointing a gun at me.
I think the old FBI penetration standard of 18" is more to my liking.

Question here:

If you had two choices, 230 grain Speer HP at 1100 fps, or, a LFN 255 grain
lead bullet, hard cast, at 1050 fps, which would you choose for defense?

Buffalobore makes both of those, by the way.

Check my history here:
JMBrowning was commissioned to construct an automatic that would simulate
the .45 Colt, 250-260 grain Lead bullet at 1000 fps. He came up with 45 ACP.
He was confined to NON-EXPANDING BULLETS, since the gun was designed
for war, under the Hague convention. Therefore his 200 grain, 900-950 fps
original design, ball or flat point, would penetrate adequately, and, reduce ammunition carry weight by at least 25%.

After he designed the round and gun, the military decided they wanted a heavier bullet, that penetrated more, hence the 230 grain ball. Their main concern was it having to stop, or turn horses, as well as people.

SlamFire1
Quote:
Besides, if I'm using a 5 Shot, I want a big, heavy, fast bullet. How about a 275 grain speer, in .475 Linebaugh, at 1560 fps, with light recoil, that puts a 4 inch hole in deer, and opens up to the size of a 2 bore rifle slug?
Light recoil?!

That is more powerful than any of my 44 Magnums and they kick like something awful.

Well it all depends on what you want to do.

Handguns are not as powerful as rifles, if you want rifle or shotgun power than you are not going to have something as portable as a pistol.

Slamfire:
You can load stuff that doesn't recoil THAT much, yet far exceeds the .44 Magnum. That load was a MINIMUM load, using AA9, chronographed out of my 7.5" Freedom Arms 83. The gun is fast, and has an excellent, matchgrade barrel installed by Jack Huntington. Why I think it's light recoil:
If you stay on the minimum end of the pressure scales, I find you get more of a push, rather then a snap when you go for the top. The benefit of loading on the top end is, with the right primer, more consistent combustion, velocity and accuracy, because the case is fuller. The price is recoil.

The 275's I don't think, allow the powder to completely burn in the gun.
There is a lot of blast, noise, and a bit of a fireball, but, the bullet is still REALLY moving, and the recoil is less felt then 325's at 1450 fps, that I shot right after.

The gun weighs 3.2 pounds loaded, and, is easy to carry.
475 recoil
275 grain bullet
1560 fps
28 grains of AA 9
Recoil Energy of 25 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 23 fps.

Observed velocity:
275’s
1560
1441
1534
1596
average 1531 fps.

Then the ejector blew off the gun, which put an end to the session. I guess you may have a point that low recoil is perception::evil:

I think you can get close to these loads in a .44 magnum, but, you need to work at the top of the pressure scale, and that gives you really SNAPPY hard recoil, more like a .454, which is the most extreme example of this.

Also, when you can drop 420's at 1350 in the gun for around 40 ft-lbs of recoil, and, 525's in a .500 Linebaugh Maximum, at 1350 fps, all of a sudden on that scale, the 275's are pleasant to shoot, and, low recoil.:D

tipoc
December 21, 2010, 05:53 PM
From DC:

I'm kind of with Prosser.

Actually I don't think you are. The loads you mention are pretty much standard for the Special. Prosser believes these are inadequate and prefers other platforms.

A lot of folk simply don't get the appeal of the Special. You can tell this because they argue that other rounds are more powerful. Or they argue against it because they do not reload and commercial ammo is expensive compared to other rounds. Or they argue that semis in .45acp are more practical. Or they argue that they can get more rounds in a L frame .357/.38 and N frames are too big for concealed carry, etc. All these arguments are beside the point and are arguments for or about something else.

tipoc

sig220mw
December 21, 2010, 06:08 PM
Yes grass hopper, reading is the key.

It's just a really good round and chambered in the special you don't have to pack around the heavier magnum revolver.

Prosser
December 21, 2010, 06:18 PM
In 1927 I abandoned the .45 Colt for my own use in favor of the .44 Special, and have seen no reason to change back. I soon found that I could load much more powerful cartridges for the .44 Special than for any other revolver. These powerful hand loads extracted easily and shot more accurately than any .45 Colt I have ever owned or used. The factory .44 Special load is little more than a squib, with a velocity of 800 feet or less and owing to the shape of its round-nose pointed bullet, gives very little killing power. I have shot sage hens with Western factory .44 Specials and wounded them through the bodies, and then have them run off and hide themselves in the brush. Yet if you hand load this cartridge with a properly shaped bullet of 230 to 250 grains weight then it is a killer, and if a hollow point bullet is used, the same sage hens can be scattered all over the ground and torn up too much for table use. The 230 grain bullet can be loaded safely to 1200 feet and in long barrel guns possibly up to nearly 1300 feet with Hercules #2400 powder. The 250 grain bullet can be given a velocity of around 1100 feet with the same powder.



I once designed a 260 grain bullet for Belding & Mull, using their blunt nose shape and Croft and I also worked out a similar shape for the same firm weighing 280 grains, both for the .44 Special. These bullets were very good killers and quite accurate at reasonable ranges but did not do so well or tear as large holes as those I later designed for Lyman Gun Sight Corporation. Last, I did considerable experimenting on chucks, jacks and other pests with the .44 Special, handloaded with my 235 grain hollow point bullet and 18.5 grains of #2400 Hercules to see if it was as good or a better killer than the .357 Smith & Wesson Magnum. In all cases it proved to be a much more powerful load and gave nearly twice the amount of destruction as the .357 Magnum, even when the latter was loaded with a 160 grain Keith hollow point bullet at standard velocity for this cartridge. Jack rabbits shot in the chest had their whole hind part or rear half blown away. On rump shots the front end of the Johnnie was completely torn to ribbons. I have never before seen such destruction of tissue from any sixgun or automatic pistol cartridge and really believe it is the most powerful handgun load in existence...
Elmer Keith

I actually did read all this stuff, along with Skeeter's stuff, a LONG time ago.

The appeal of the 44 was thicker side walls, modern tighter chambers, allowing more horsepower, and allowing more flexibility then the .45 Colt did in that day.

Kind of ironic that the reason Linebaugh built custom .45 Colt revolvers was for the exact same reasons: however, with 5 shots, or over sized cylinders, tight chambers, that's why we have the .454, and heavy 45 colts.

The appeal today is you can put the .44 special on smaller frames, like the FA 97, or some of the guns pictured, and still have the flexibility Keith had.

The appeal of the .44 Special, in modern guns, is you can use much higher pressure then the .44 special is rated, and, in a way, the smaller case is actually an advantage, since you can get the velocity you want, yet get better accuracy, and more consistent combustion, since the case is fuller, using less powder, then the .44 magnum. Also, the smaller diameter gives you a better safety margin, side wall thickness, then heavy loads in a .45 Colt.

Tipoc:
My point is the reverance for the .44 Special is based on the ability to hot rod it. The problem has been trying to find a gun that fits what you want, usually.

If Elmer Keith considers the Remington round nose 246 grain a "squib",
I think I'm on pretty good footing here.;)

Please remember that my choice of .45 Detonics and heavy 45 Colt
where for platform, and cost effective reasons. At the time, and this still holds kind of true today, 230 grain hard cast ball was .02-5 cents a round from Nevada casting. This stuff would run 1800 fps, without leading.
CHEAP practice food for the .45 Colt, and .45 ACP.
.44 Special bullets were few and far between. The 240 grain HP's I loaded where for the 44 magnum, but, thin jacketed.

I shot a lot back then, and, the .45's were cheaper, and had a much higher
hunting upside.

As I've said before, I NEVER felt that properly loaded, the .44 Special was inadequate in anyway. Ideally, it's pretty much perfect, if you can find the right gun, load it with the right rounds, and put it in the right holster.

Is it still more expensive to load then the .45's?

SharpsDressedMan
December 21, 2010, 06:23 PM
I have a vivid memory of nailing a groundhog in the chest at about 20 yards with a 260gr. Keith type bullet that I cast myself, and probably had loaded over 6.5-7.5gr of Unique (been so long ago, I can't remember the exact charge). There was a "smack", and the groundhog just fell over and quivered a little. Good enough?

DC Plumber
December 21, 2010, 06:24 PM
Point taken.

Also, since I don't hotrod the 696, It is loaded with factory Hornady 180 JHP XTP's which are supposed to be around 1000 fps, but have never chrono'd them. That's the wife's defense gun.

Cosmoline
December 21, 2010, 06:35 PM
I think it's highly underrated as a self defense round, and I wish Ruger made an SP-101 type pocket revolver in that cartridge.

I prefer the soft lead hollowpoints to the gold dot. The advantage of the round is that it delivers a very large chunk of soft lead at relatively low velocity. This means that with the right bullet you get excellent expansion and shape retention. Which means big wounds out of proportion to the ft. lbs. It also means you have moderate recoil that's very easy to tolerate and it means you can comfortably package it in a concealable platform.

Why shoot/buy 44 special when I can just load my magnums with a 240gr hard cast in front of 10 grains of Unique?

Because putting the .44 magnum in a 25 oz. platform is going to be very painful and impractical. Besides, velocity is overrated in self defense rounds. Big soft lead slugs are fantastic killers.

In my opinion the 44 Special is a ballistic duplicate of the 45 Long Colt.

The difference being that you can squeeze the .44 special into a smaller platform for CCW.

Robert Wilson
December 21, 2010, 09:11 PM
I'm a big fan of the Special myself, but I wonder how the OP knows that "At a combat distance of 15 yards or less, this caliber will stop the bad guy in his tracks."

Considering how many bad guys have not been stopped in their tracks by much larger cartridges, I think the OP's confidence is misplaced. I figure the .44 Special is about as good as any other handgun cartridge for defense, but that's not saying much. Personally, if I have to shoot somebody to protect my life, I hope I have a 12 gauge handy.

Prosser
December 21, 2010, 09:45 PM
RW:
EXACTLY. Considering no less then Elmer Keith thinks the factory round is "squib",
some concern must be in place as to what ammunition you pick.

1911Tuner
December 21, 2010, 09:50 PM
Considering no less then Elmer Keith thinks the factory round is "squib",
some concern must be in place as to what ammunition you pick.

Elmer Keith felt like anybody who didn't enjoy firing his SA revolver that he had chambered for the .45-70 Govt. must be a sissy.

Blown6L
December 21, 2010, 10:34 PM
It's my choice for carry with CCI Blazer 200g Speer Gold Dot.

http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii21/KySilverado/Picture321Large.jpg

SharpsDressedMan
December 21, 2010, 10:44 PM
With regard to "stopping power", I believe there is a standing philosophy that the sharp edged, flat pointed SWC and Keith bullets impart a bit more shock, and cut a higher contact wound on the surface and interior than rounds that have to expand along the way. According to the older gun handlers and writers, like Keith, the .44 Special with a SWC imparted significantly better "knockdown" than the comparable .45ACP with the ball bullet. Of course, the newer high tech hollowpoints improve on the older HP's and the ball round, just how much better they are than the wide flatpoint lead bullets still remains to be determined. Big game hunters with handguns swear by "wide flat point, heavy bullets" to this day, and this is often on animals that do not want to give up. Such bullets don't feed well in autos, so we can't use them that way.

eldon519
December 21, 2010, 11:57 PM
The whole "thicker brass" for .44 Special thing is an unfounded myth propagating from when Keith blew out balloon-head .45 Colt cases when loading them with fine-ground black powder and .458 .45-70 bullets. The evidence is in the fact that the .454 Casull was cooked up using triple-charges in standard .45 Colt cases producing far more pressure than Keith ever did stoking his .44 Specials to what would become the .44 Magnum.

1911Tuner
December 22, 2010, 04:24 AM
I think it's highly underrated as a self defense round, and I wish Ruger made an SP-101 type pocket revolver in that cartridge.

I agree....and the problem with the smaller framed/big bore revolvers is mostly in the barrel channel. The forcing cone would have to be so thin that it wouldn't stand up to much use. Make the barrel shank large enough, and the frame would be thin. Neither is good. I think it could be done, but it would probably be necessary to modify the frame in that area in order to make it feasible.

Big soft lead slugs are fantastic killers.

A couple million American Bison pretty much proved that.

Monster Zero
December 22, 2010, 11:38 AM
Has Smith discontinued their 5-shot .44 special "nightguard" revolver? It's not on the website any more...

Prosser
December 22, 2010, 01:38 PM
Eldon519:
I thought it was the bigger chambers in the .45 Colt, actually oversized, that created the myth of 'thin walled weak, .45 Colt casings? Sort of the same result you can get using an unsupported chamber and relatively high pressure .45 ACP loads.

tipoc
December 22, 2010, 04:50 PM
One way to tell if a round is worth anything is by how many legends and myths surround it,whether of individuals or of tall tales. So here, in this little thread the novice gets a small sample of this stuff. There is more of it.

From Elmer Keith again...

I consider the .44 Special our finest large caliber revolver cartridge by a wide margin. It will do all that any .45 Colt or .44-40 will do and more. Any weight bullet that works well in either the .44-40 or the .45 Colt will do good work in the .44 S & W Special.

He was right and wrong, even then the .45 Colt was capable of more power, particularly loaded with black powder, than the .44 Special. But Keith was limited by the smokeless powders and by the guns available to him in 1936.

The .44 Special will also give higher velocities with any weight bullet from 200 grain up to 250 grain or even 280 grain than will the thin-walled-cylinder guns chambered for either the .44-40 or the .45 Colt.

Note here an accurate statement from Keith. Both the Colt and S&W guns made at that time in .45 Colt had very thin walls on the cylinders. In the same diameter cylinder the smaller diameter of the .44 Spl. round left more metal between the chambers and between the OD of the cylinder. Only when the Ruger Blackhawk appeared did we finally have a gun that could handle the .45 Colt loads Keith had been looking.

By the way Keith only ever did blow up one Colt.

The factory .44 Special load is little more than a squib, with a velocity of 800 feet or less and owing to the shape of its round-nose pointed bullet, gives very little killing power. I have shot sage hens with Western factory .44 Specials and wounded them through the bodies, and then have them run off and hide themselves in the brush. Yet if you hand load this cartridge with a properly shaped bullet of 230 to 250 grains weight then it is a killer, and if a hollow point bullet is used, the same sage hens can be scattered all over the ground and torn up too much for table use. The 230 grain bullet can be loaded safely to 1200 feet and in long barrel guns possibly up to nearly 1300 feet with Hercules #2400 powder. The 250 grain bullet can be given a velocity of around 1100 feet with the same powder.

Here Keith has two complaints: that the factory loads are underpowered (and don't we hear that about every time we log on here about a batch of different rounds) and two that the design of the bullet is critical. Personally I think Keith's most important contributions may have been in bullet design. A 250 gr. bullet at 800 fps when properly built can do a lot of damage. Even the RNL that Keith disparages can do a handy job at most things and will deform more readily than a jacketed bullet.

This article by Keith, which I linked to earlier, is an example of the legends and lore. It was written in 1936 and reflects Keith's thinking at that time. He changed his opinion some as the decades rolled by. In 1960, while he still favored the .44 Spl. and Magnum he wrote in his book Sixguns that if he only had one gun and was limited to commercial/factory ammo it would be a SAA in .45 Colt.

tipoc

joed
December 22, 2010, 05:45 PM
The .44 Spl was conceived as a target revolver, it had a great reputation for accuracy but thats all. Once Elmer Keith started fooling with the .44 all that changed. The charge is kept low mostly for older guns of questionable construction. Given a newer, beefier gun you can get some respectable velocity from this round.

I do have a Taurus 445 which is a 5 shot .44 similar to the Bulldog. Nice gun, well made, but I wouldn't shoot anything hotter then a standard load in this gun. Still, with decent ammo I believe it would stop anything on 2 legs.

tipoc
December 22, 2010, 09:52 PM
The .44 Spl was conceived as a target revolver, it had a great reputation for accuracy but thats all. Once Elmer Keith started fooling with the .44 all that changed. The charge is kept low mostly for older guns of questionable construction. Given a newer, beefier gun you can get some respectable velocity from this round.

Well I poked around in a few books sitting here and;

The daddy of the .44 Spl. was the .44 Russian. Seems that in 1870 the Tzar Of All The Russias ordered 150,000 revolvers from Smith and Wesson. They were chambered in the slow moving round called the .44 American. The Russians wanted improvement both to the S&W single action revolvers and to the ammo. The result was the 44 Russian. It was a black powder military round and sent a 245 or so gr. bullet downrange at about 750 fps.

Fast forward here to the introduction of smokeless powder. S&W found that the .44 Russian could not handle the bulkier smokeless powder and maintain it's velocity so they stretched the cartridge some and in 1907 introduced the 44 Spl.

S&W also introduced a new gun for the new cartridge the .44 Hand Ejector 1st Model called the New Century. Also called the Triple Lock which some call the finest revolver ever made. It was introduced as a fixed sight duty revolver (with a few target variations being made) with 4 barrel lengths, 4", 5" 6.5" and 7.5".

So it was introduced as a duty round and not as a "target round". It did see widespread use by law officers especially in the west. The N frame revolver was introduced for the .44 Special and was known for decades as the "44 frame". This was long before the magnum was introduced. The round made S&Ws reputation. Handloaders took to the round for the reasons cited and saw it had greater potential.

By the way a few good loads are available for it commercially. Look here for a few...

http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?pageNum=1&tabId=3&categoryId=7552&categoryString=653***691***

tipoc

Jim Watson
December 22, 2010, 10:13 PM
by the way Keith only ever did blow up one Colt.

There was an American Handgunner cover with two of Mr Keith's guns that had been blown up, the cylinders replaced, and the topstraps welded. Did somebody else blow up the second gun before he got it? Were they not really his?

S&W found that the .44 Russian could not handle the bulkier smokeless powder and maintain it's velocity

What smokeless powder was bulkier than black?
The 1909 .45 even had a special high bulk powder listed RSQ to avoid double charges. Phil Sharpe said:

"R.S.Q. is short for Resque. Apparently, the government was having a bit of trouble with its loading machines that had a habit of every once in awhile dropping a double charge of Bullseye into a single case “which meant that was the last shot you fired out of that particular gun.” As a result the Ordinance Department wanted a new bulk type powder that would not blow a gun up if a case was was accidentally double charged.

Thus R.S.Q. was born in the DuPont lab. The moniker “Resque” (Rescue) came as a result that the powder rescued the situation of the double charge.

This powder was only manufactured for a few years and was discontinued shortly after the 1911 Colt became the military side arm.

Thank you Phil Sharpe"

eldon519
December 22, 2010, 11:22 PM
I don't think black powder is actually that bulky. Keep in mind you could fit 30-40 grains in a .45 Colt case. I don't even think that much H-110 would fit under compression.

Brass Rain
December 23, 2010, 01:15 AM
Just wondering: is there any real advantage for buying a .44 Special revolver when one could simply buy a .44 Magnum and at least have the option for .44 Magnum if they ever wanted to use it? I know having more space left over in the cylinder before the bullet jumps the gap to the barrel reduces power by some amount, but it's got to be a tiny fraction. By all accounts, the .44 Magnum-chambered revolver should be more durable and well-built to take those monstrous loads, right? And I don't see how an extra mm or two in cylinder length would hinder carry ability. I mean that's just splitting hairs. Am I wrong in thinking any of this?

eldon519
December 23, 2010, 01:36 AM
Brass Rain, the whole gun has to be beefier to deal with the increased pressure. Bigger cylinder, thicker walls. You can fit 5-rounds of .44 Special in a Charter Bulldog, an S&W L-frame, or other smaller framed revolver. S&W builds .44 magnums on the N-frame although I think Taurus has a 5-shot Tracker similar in size to an L-frame. Now if you were looking at the two different chamberings in the same gun, I'd certainly go with the .44 mag.

Prosser
December 23, 2010, 03:25 AM
BR:
First off, the 44 mag SAAMI spec is what? 40K?

That's pretty low in this day of 460, .500 S&W, etc.

Eldon has it right. In current revolvers, you can find, if you search hard, and live in a free state, 357 magnum szied revolvers, with .44 special/low 44 mag punch.

OK, you may not find a 12 oz, 357 360PD, but you can find a 14-20 oz revolver with an awesome punch in .44 special. I've gone into why I don't have one, but, I must say, I would seriously think about one, if I lived in another state.

I believe heavy, slower bullets, larger in caliber, are the way to go out of snubs.

The heavier the bullet, the more the resistance, and, the less percentage wise loss in velocity. That said, with hollow points, I think effective penetration starts with 240 grains, and up.

tipoc
December 23, 2010, 11:24 AM
What smokeless powder was bulkier than black?


From "Cartridges of the World" by Barnes 10th edition pg. 290...

"With the coming of bulkier smokeless powders, the 44 Russian cartridge case proved too small to permit efficient use of full charges of the new propellants..." so the 44 Special was developed. John Taffin in his books Big Bore Revolvers and Book of the 44 argues along the same lines. That the smokeless propellants S&W was using were bulkier and to get efficient operation they lengthened the cases to create the Special. Remember this was in 1905-07. There is some disagreement about whether the Special was conceived of originally for black powder or smokeless. But it's first appearance was as a smokeless cartridge and loaded with just a tad more power than the 44 Russian but still below it's potential.

My point about the blown guns was that Keith did not run around blowing up multiple guns. I read recently it was only one. When did the American Handgunner article appear showing that it was only two blown guns in over 50 years of reloading and being on the cutting edge of that and bullet design?

tipoc

1911Tuner
December 23, 2010, 12:17 PM
Bulky Smokeless Powders depends a lot on which powder you're using. Unique and Red Dot are pretty bulky for a given charge weight. Bullseye...not so much. A body could smithereen a .44 Special revolver without using enough Bullseye to touch the bullet base, and could probably do it with Unique without using enough to compress the charge.

I know that the "Skelton Load" consisting of a 250-grain LSWC and 7.5 grains of Unique isn't even close to being compressed...and that one exceeds the industry standard for pressure and velocity by a fair margin.

Stainz
December 23, 2010, 04:34 PM
Having had my 296 & 696 since they were new - some eight years back - I do have some experience-based opinion re their suitability as a defensive revolver. If you accept that they are really just .44 Specials, and feed them accordingly, they can be effective - and provide good service. If you wish to experiment - the X96 family's dimunitive forcing cone is power-limiting - at least for a long life. That may be why the 396NG didn't make the cut for the 2010 S&W catalog last spring. Fear not - a couple more ounces - and another 1/8" in OAL - and ~ $79 more MSRP - will land you a 329NG - with a six-chamber cylinder. It will handle standard .44 Magnum fare; whether you do or not is another story!

Stainz

1911Tuner
December 23, 2010, 04:57 PM
With all due respect to Elmer...a 246-grain bullet at 800 fps isn't exactly what I'd consider a "squib" load. Keith was a horsepower junkie, plain and simple. In his mind...too much was just about right.

While not a powerhouse, it's still respectable, and the bullet shape is more responsible for the poor performance than the velocity. After all, the attenuated .45 Colt offering...250 at 850 fps or so...was praised as a real manstopper in its day, and that bullet wasn't much better than a round nose. Four more grains moving along at an extra 50-60 fps just couldn't all that much better than the .44 Special. I'd venture a bet that a 240-grain bullet with a wide, brutal meplat moving out at an honest 800 fps would do what needs to be done at close range if placed well.

Way back in the early 18th century, the British determined that "Heavy ball/Light charge" was pretty good anti personnel medicine, and their .75 and .69 caliber smoothbores seemed to bear that out. One solid hit with ol' Brown Bess was usually sufficient to take the wind out of a man's sails.

joed
December 23, 2010, 05:05 PM
Just wondering: is there any real advantage for buying a .44 Special revolver when one could simply buy a .44 Magnum and at least have the option for .44 Magnum if they ever wanted to use it?
There is no advantage to buying a Spl over a magnum unless you're talking about a small revolver like a Bulldog or Taurus. I have a Taurus 445 that shoots 5 shots of .44 Spl, couldn't do that with a mag.

But when it comes to large frame revolvers the mag is a little more versatile. I have a few S&W 29's and 629's that will shoot either the mag or spl. I also have a 24-3 and a few 624's, these are strictly spl. They can be loaded hotter then standard velocities but I don't do that as I have the larger mags to shoot hot loads.

The spl has a cult following. I bought the ones I have because you don't see them very often. There great to shoot.

To be honest though I don't load my mags that hot, just a little hotter then what a spl could do. I like the .44 but not at max velocity.

fastbolt
December 23, 2010, 05:50 PM
I really liked the .44 Spl as a handloader many years ago.

Not so much when using factory defensive loads in the 80's.

The .45 ACP benefits from a much better array of defenisve loadings and power levels in the way of factory ammunition.

BTW, I discovered I still have a couple of boxes of the Blazer GDHP from when it was a new offering many years ago. I remember thinking it might make for a decent alternative load in my .44 Magnum revolvers when I still carried them off-duty. I settled on the Winchester 210gr STHP load, though, and never got around to using the GDHP .44 Special. (I also had such poor service from a couple of original Charter Arms Bulldog .44's that I got rid of them and no longer owned any .44 Spl revolvers. Just Magnum revolvers.)

I've still got 3 .44 Magnum revolvers, though, so I suppose I might eventually use the GDHP .44 Spl loads someday. ;)

Being a long time revolver owner & shooter myself, I can certainly understand the attraction and interest in a nicely done S&W N-frame, too. :)

Lots of nostalgia involved in the .44 Special, though.

Rexster
December 23, 2010, 07:36 PM
I like .44 Special just fine. Yes, authors Keith, Skelton, and Taffin have much to do with it! If my hands accommodated N-frames better, I might well have become a .44 Specialist. Or, I might still be toting my .41 Mag S&W Model 58. Instead, I have carried my big bores in the form of autoloaders , and my DA revolvers are .357 Mag and .38 Special.

When I bought my first SA sixgun, it was chambered for .45 Colt. I knew about USFA's good reputation at the time as up-and-coming really good gunmaker, and the first one I found happened to be .45 Colt. It could have been .44, but it wasn't. My subsequent Colt SAA was also .45 Colt, so I could compete in local cowboy action matches in which two sixguns were used. I never actually started shooting in matches, but have stayed with .45 Colt, as I saw little reason to be inventorying a long list of different revolver cartridges. As 1911Tuner indicated, there is not much difference between these various sub-true-magnum .40-something cartridges. Unless a particularly good deal comes along, or a particular sixgun "speaks" to me someday, I doubt I will acquire a .44 anything in the foreseeable future. Yes, sometimes a sixgun will indeed "speak" to me, in its silent but persuasive way.

Prosser
December 24, 2010, 06:20 AM
1911Tuner
Moderator
With all due respect to Elmer...a 246-grain bullet at 800 fps isn't exactly what I'd consider a "squib" load. Keith was a horsepower junkie, plain and simple. In his mind...too much was just about right.

While not a powerhouse, it's still respectable, and the bullet shape is more responsible for the poor performance than the velocity. After all, the attenuated .45 Colt offering...250 at 850 fps or so...was praised as a real manstopper in its day, and that bullet wasn't much better than a round nose. Four more grains moving along at an extra 50-60 fps just couldn't all that much better than the .44 Special. I'd venture a bet that a 240-grain bullet with a wide, brutal meplat moving out at an honest 800 fps would do what needs to be done at close range if placed well.

Way back in the early 18th century, the British determined that "Heavy ball/Light charge" was pretty good anti personnel medicine, and their .75 and .69 caliber smoothbores seemed to bear that out. One solid hit with ol' Brown Bess was usually sufficient to take the wind out of a man's sails.

Ahh, the day before Christmas, usually when I've had a bit too much Mount Gay Rum, and get banned from gun forums. God would not have made rum if he didn't want me banned from gun forums.

That said: let's do it again.

Moderator:
Internet

* Forum moderator, a person given special powers to enforce the rules on an Internet forum, newsgroup or blog

That doesn't mean impose your will, or position on the forum. That said, you made some excellent points.

230 grain ball, at 800-850 fps has an excellent rep in LEO for stopping, and, a HP, with the same specs, even more so.
Problem I had with the .44 Special Remington load was, though I didn't have a Lockheed chrono at the time, at least not that day, that the velocity, out of a .44 bulldog, was eyesight, seeable. Anyone know what velocity you can see bullets at? My guess is 500 fps, out of my 3" bulldog.

I do agree the 240 grains, at 800-900 fps, with proper bullet construction. are going to do the deed.

As for the old loads, those were very soft lead, that expanded like crazy, and, I thought, were moving around 1000 fps. My cowboy history is 3rd party, from guys like Keith, and Linebaugh, so, I might be wrong.

To all, a Merry Christmas, and, a Happy New Year, and, may both days bring you NEW guns.:D

PS:
I guess that makes my .500JRH factory loads, 440 grains at 950 fps warm and fuzzie for 1911Tuner?

Diggers
January 4, 2011, 02:26 AM
Funny that anyone would argue the .44 special is too anemic for self defense......:what: :confused:

Its pretty much IDENTICAL (or even slightly better) to the .45 ACP. YES! the .45.....the frickin holy grail of SD calibers!! :banghead:

The brassfetcher test has the .44 special (blazer 200 GDHP) at 905 fps out of a 4 inch magnum.
So say in a bulldog with a 3 inch tube that would be around 850 fps. (This calculates to 320.8 foot pounds of energy)

Most good .45 ACP ammo is also right in this same fps range or even a little slower.

i.e. the brassfetcher test of speer GD .45 ACP 230 grain: 14.3 ± 0.031" penetration at 775 ± 0.500 ft/sec impact velocity. (306.7 foot pounds of energy.)

So of course the .44 special is a good SD caliber.

Prosser
January 4, 2011, 05:43 AM
Argument is some of the ammo offered for the .44 Special is anemic. The caliber is NOT inadequate, in fact, properly loaded it's PERFECT, THIS SIDE OF A .500 Linebaugh Maximum.

1911Tuner
January 4, 2011, 08:48 AM
Forum moderator, a person given special powers to enforce the rules on an Internet forum, newsgroup or blog

That doesn't mean impose your will, or position on the forum.

And...How is offering an opinion and/or making a few points on a big bore revolver cartridge...and valid ones...attempting to impose my will?

I think the .44 Special is a good defensive cartridge when properly loaded. Even in the "anemic" 246/755 offering, it's not exactly gonna bounce off anybody. It'll shoot clean through the average human torso from typical SD distances, and break heavy bone if it happens to impact it.

And that's pretty much all I said...in a nutshell.

Anyone know what velocity you can see bullets at? QUOTE]

Depends on the light. If the sun is behind you at just the right angle, you can see'em at much higher velocities. I've visually tracked 240 grain SWCs fired at 1300+ fps from a Model 29, from just in front of the muzzle blast zone all the way to a 50-yard target.

[QUOTE]My guess is 500 fps, out of my 3" bulldog.[/

Your estimation is a bit low. The .44 Bulldog that I had back in the mid 80s produced a tick over 725 fps with Remington 246 grain RN fired across an Ohler chronograph.

PapaG
January 4, 2011, 09:22 AM
Still have a 70's Bulldog, 3", that rides with me down on the farm most trips. First one is a Speer shot capsule full of #6s for the barn rats, the rest are 255 grain Lyman Keith 421421 with a sensible load of Unique for about 750 fps. Sometimes I use the same bullet in hollow point form cast of pure lead and lubed my special way. I'm on the lookout for a beaver that is cutting my saplings but ready for anything else.

fireside44
January 4, 2011, 11:50 AM
I own a Taurus 431 3in and a Rossi 720 in 3in. I think these are the best handguns for a personal self defense platform. Both are loaded with Blazer GDHP. Both are carried with two HKS speedloaders for reloads. Both weapons are carried in combat holsters for a K-Frame application. Both are easy to conceal, and presentation of the weapon is quick and sure.

My main piece is also a 720. I ran the same Blazer GDHP but found I liked my own reloads better. I also use the HKS speedloaders. I would say you have excellent taste. Just wondering what holster you are using for your Rossi.

Buck Snort
January 4, 2011, 03:39 PM
NELSONs02 wrote: "A 255grain @ 900 fps out of a 45LC was/is nothing to shake a spoon at either."

My thoughts exactly. I'll opt for that little bit of extra penetration, thank you.;)

Diggers
January 4, 2011, 04:42 PM
Oh....then I agree with you Prosser.

There is crappy ammo out there for most calibers, thats pretty much a given.
I carry a 442 so I know about trying to find good ammo for a snub .38

I think the whole Keith messing with the .44 special thing gave people the idea that it was a weak round that needed fixing. In reality what Keith was doing was making a round that was really good for hunting and NOT so good for SD. He may of not thought so but I just don't think one needs to be able to shoot through two people to call a caliber OK for defense.

The BoxOtruth did some tests with .45 LC and the water, its pretty close to the .44 special. It IS interesting how the Keith SWC blew through so much when the flat round nose went through less. Humm wonder why... http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot28.htm

1911Tuner
January 4, 2011, 05:25 PM
I think the whole Keith messing with the .44 special thing gave people the idea that it was a weak round that needed fixing. In reality what Keith was doing was making a round that was really good for hunting.

Keith's supercharging of the .44 Special wasn't so much to increase its killing power as to increase its range. Elmer understood that added velocity serves mainly to flatten trajectory and maintain a good measure of lethality at longer ranges than most people thought a handgun was good for. Remember that he was an early proponent of shooting revolvers at much greater distances than most people even considered...and he wanted his big bore revolvers to not only be accurate enough to reach way out to those distances, he wanted the bullet to have enough steam left to do the job when it got there...which was most often a large game animal. In that venue, the original .44 Special was indeed anemic, and the .45 Colt wasn't a lot better.

He also liked heavy bullets to insure enough penetration. Keith liked through and through wounds, and he drew on the old Buffalo hunters' use of heavy slugs so that he could get a high level of penetration with a handgun...so he could literally see "Ropes of Blood" trailing from both sides of an animal that didn't fall to the shot. He wanted them to bleed out quickly, because he didn't want to have to trail them very far and risk losing a good part of his winter meat supply to a scavenging pack of wolves or coyotes.

The added punch and penetration at close range was also added insurance against large, dangerous animals, such as the big Browns and Grizzlies that were prevalent in his neck of the woods. Penetration and the ability to break large bones could mean the difference between surviving an attack, and being on Papa Bear's menu.

So, Keith's efforts weren't really geared for defense against human beings, though they could be used for that. They were primarily done with hunting in mind, and secondarily for emergency use against large animals that often take umbrage at having their territory invaded.

Historically, a heavy, blunt lead slug fired at moderate velocity makes for a good defense round at close range...against people. Pictures of the human wreckage brought about by the 490-grain Minie' bullets at an initial 960 fps (claimed) velocity bears grim witness to that.

A 240-grain lead bullet at 750 fps isn't something that I want bouncing around in my rib cage. Nossir!

Prosser
January 4, 2011, 09:10 PM
Diggers:
Thanks, great link. Liked the conclusion:

Lessons learned:
1. JHP bullets aren't really much improvement on these big rounds. Even if they don't expand, they are still .45 inch wide.

2. Hard cast lead bullets will penetrate plenty deeply. Old Elmer Keith told stories of seeing horses shot with .45 Long Colt pistols in gun battles that had two holes in them....one going in and one going out the other side.
No lack of penetration.

3. A man armed with this round is not under-armed regarding penetration. But they are slow to shoot and even slower to reload. That's why many old gunfighters had mulitple pistols on their horses' saddles.

4. And, as always, it's sure fun to shoot stuff with these great pistols.

I've always thought the speed that these heavy bullets maintain as they pass through the target is an undervalued part of the equation. A 240, or heavier LFN maintains it's speed through the target, resulting in a wider wound channel then expected, and usually for the entire distance through the animal.

To convince me that a hollow point is a better bullet for caliber, the HP has to be VERY heavy. For a 44, maybe 300-325 grain, for 45, maybe 325-350 grains. If it expands, then it has enough bullet weight to maintain pretty good velocity through the target, and maybe give you two holes.

Thing is, everyone that I know that tries these goes back to LFN cast, since they just WORK, and about 100% of the time.

The only piper to pay is the additional weigh means you have to have grips that work, for you, with that gun, fitted to your hands, so you can control the gun.

At the end of the day, Keith had it pretty much perfect. Great penetration, plenty of damage, two holes, and an easy to shoot gun.

1911Tuner: Don't take my comments personally. It's a long history of gun forums that only tolerate what a certain moderator, or group think is the Holy Grail, and deviations are not allowed, acknowledged, or tolerated.
Been through a number of those.

My experience with the Remington out of my Bulldog was I wouldn't have to worry about it bouncing off anything, except the stuff that was behind the target I was shooting at, and not DIRECTLY behind it.:D I could not keep that junk on a man sized sil target at 7 yards.

Went home, loaded 240 grain HPs, at about 950 fps, ala Keith, and it was easy to keep all my shots on the head at 7, and, actually better then that.
Problem was the loads shot the gun loose, since I shot my gun a LOT back then.

Thanks for the speed feedback, but, I have to think I got a REALLY bad batch of .44 special ammo in that Remington box. Huge fire and smoke ball, terrible accuracy, and very slow bullet speed.

Finally, I just don't get all the 165-200 grain SD loads for the .44 Special. WHY? You can move that weight bullet out of a 45 ACP at near the same velocity or more, that these loads are going. Also, if you are going to use a light bullet, use a LFN, or flat point Jacketed bullet. I think the .44 Special would shine with 240-275 grain HP's at about 950-1100 fps. It just seems like such a waste to use such a big case, and not take advantage of it.

NMGonzo
January 4, 2011, 09:23 PM
I carry my .44 magnum (about the size of the 629) some of the time (garment permitting) and for the life of me I cannot imagine anyone staying put as I let go the first round.

Even with earmuffs I want to run myself from my own gun :)

Regarding Ruger not making a 5 shot version of the 44 magnum:

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGRHHHHHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH~

Diggers
January 4, 2011, 11:50 PM
1911Tuner, good info about Keith and his goal with the .44 special. I guess he got what he wanted out of it. :D MAGNUM!

Although I do still think people have a misconception about the .44 special because of all that lead to the development of the magnum, which inturn has made it somewhat unpopular today.

Its odd that there are all those modern light weight snubs in .38 special (or .357) out there but VERY few .44 specials. The only one I see right now is the Bulldog. (Which I want for when I’m on the river fishing, easy to carry but still a .44 :p) With CCW on the rise you would think the gun makers would jump on that.

Anyhow, didn't Keith own any rifles? ;)

HelterSkelter
January 5, 2011, 12:09 AM
harry callahan carried a 44 magnum. much stronger round, even with the over penetration i would say the 44 magnum is a better man stopper since it will transfer more energy before coming out the other side.

@ the guy who said he switched from .45 acp to 44 special, the .45 acp is a much better, stronger, and cheaper round.

Bovice
January 5, 2011, 12:42 AM
Actually, I think "Harry Callahan" used .44 specials in his .44 mag. He made mention of that during the movie.

HelterSkelter
January 5, 2011, 01:42 AM
are you sure? i don't remember him ever mentioning that. it wouldn't make sense for him to call him gun the most powerful production handgun (even thought the .454 casull was stronger) if he was using 44 specials in it.

EDIT:

you are right he does say he uses 44 specials, that's really weird.

1911Tuner
January 5, 2011, 07:01 AM
On the .45 Colt/.44 Special comparison...

The .45 Colt has long been touted as a good defensive cartridge, even when the original ballistics were attenuated by downloading the loading from 40 grains of BP to 32 briefly, and then to 30 grains for 850 or so fps and a 250 grain RN bullet. (Not 255)

But somehow, a RN bullet that's .020 inch smaller in diameter and 4 grains lighter is labeled a weak sister because it's moving 50-100 fps slower.

It's a little like the comparison between a .308 rifle firing a 165 grain bullet at 2600 as opposed to a 150 grainer at 2750. Flip a coin. Not trying to force an opinion as a "Holy Grail" or anything...just making the observation that we're not talkin' about a whole lotta difference here. Up the ante with a good SWC for the .44 and the gap is even narrower.

Bump it up to 850 or 900 fps...easy to do with th right powder...and the .44 can easily surpass the original "Manstopper" .45 in effectiveness against human assailants.

Vern Humphrey
January 5, 2011, 01:19 PM
There's no question the .45 Colt was effective -- as it proved many times in battle. On the other hand, a revolver built to do justice to the .45 is quite a bit to carry concealed for self defense -- I have a Ruger Blackhawk (5 1/2" barrel) and a Colt New Service (7" barrel). I regard them as "woods guns," or "horseback gubns." In town, I carry a M1911 concealed.

Diggers
January 5, 2011, 06:48 PM
HelterSkelter,

I'm curious why you think the .45 acp is a much better, stronger, and cheaper round.

I'll give you cheaper for sure, way more .45s being made then .44 specials thus its cheaper to produce.

However why in your opinion is it much better and stronger?

From what I have seen from tests, good quality .45 acp ammo is pretty much identical to good quality .44 special ammo in terminal balistics. The .44 may even have a slight edge in the power it can produce.

1911Tuner
January 5, 2011, 07:37 PM
The .44 may even have a slight edge in the power it can produce.

Indeed! Using a 250-grain cast SWC and 7.5 grains of Unique...commonly known as "The Skeeter Load" the chronograph insists that my 5.5-inch Cimarron Model P is kissing 950 fps...and a bit over 900 from the 4.75 inch Model P. That puts the anemic old Special on a par with the .45 Colt and trounces the +P .45 ACP.

That's a power load, by the way. I don't use it much in the Cimarrons. My range load is the same bullet with 6 grains Unique. Accurate and pleasant...it's easy on the guns and it knocks the falling plates down hard.

Diggers
January 6, 2011, 12:17 AM
1911Turner,

What kind of fps do you get with a 250 grain bullet over 6 grains of Unique?

I'm curious now how the recoil in a bulldog thats pushing a 200 grain bullet around 800ish would be when compared to a 442 shooting +P ammo. I carry a 442 and don't find the recoil of +p ammo to be all that much.

Just really hard to be objective about recoil.

whitecoyote
January 6, 2011, 02:09 AM
The .44 Special is one of my favorite calibers.
http://i55.tinypic.com/pt3sg.jpg
http://i51.tinypic.com/mkwsqf.jpg
S&W model 28 .44 Special. :)
http://i56.tinypic.com/20jk87s.jpg

1911Tuner
January 6, 2011, 06:14 AM
What kind of fps do you get with a 250 grain bullet over 6 grains of Unique?

Never clocked that one, but just going by set-of-the-pants feel and comparing time between hammer fall and plate whack...I'd guess somewhere in the vicinity of 750-800 fps, or very close to duplicating factory 246 lead RN ballistics.

Incidentally, 7.5 grains of Unique pushing a .410 210 grain lead SWC closely duplicates the advertised velocities for the old "Police" .41 Magnum round at about 950 fps from my Model 58. (970 advertised)

saltydog452
January 6, 2011, 01:57 PM
Mr. Keith, bless his pea-picking, 10 gallon heart, wasn't the slightest bit bashful in telling someone which way the wind was blowing, even indoors.

It was also a good thing, for lots of folks, for Keith to keep his name in print, and to stir and flux the pot on occasion.

Like Jordan, Skelton, and especially Cooper, the man did have his own interesting style.

We all owe a debt to these folks. I Might not agree with everything that was attributed to them or appeared with their by-line, but, damn, it'd be hard to argue with them.

salty



PS:

Cayote, what kind of rear sight is on the last two S&Ws?...who did the work?...where'd you get the grip panels?

thnx,

sd

Prosser
January 6, 2011, 04:47 PM
Indeed! Using a 250-grain cast SWC and 7.5 grains of Unique...commonly known as "The Skeeter Load" the chronograph insists that my 5.5-inch Cimarron Model P is kissing 950 fps...and a bit over 900 from the 4.75 inch Model P. That puts the anemic old Special on a par with the .45 Colt and trounces the +P .45 ACP.
:confused:
http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=214


Tim Sundles wrote:
...The below velocities were fired from my personal Colt Gold Cup 1911 (5 inch)


1. 45185-----------1180 fps (185gr. Jhp)
2. 45200-----------1078 fps (200gr. Jhp)
3. 45230------------979 fps (230gr. Jhp)
4. 45230FMJ------981 fps (230gr. Fmj-FLAT NOSE)
5. 45255------------960 fps (255gr. HARD CAST-FLAT NOSE)


So, we can put the Plus P, with 255 grain Flat nosed bullets in the same category as the .45 Colt, and the .44 special.

Funny thing about heavy bullets: They seem to work better at developing velocity then the lighter ones.

1911Tuner
January 6, 2011, 05:05 PM
Prosser...If you intend to shoot a lot of that stuff in your Gold Cup...might wanna keep a close eye on the upper lugs. Back in the day, when I was doin' wrench duty...we used to refer to the Detonics .451 conversion as "The Lug Buster."

Lotsa foolish children have pushed the envelope with guns and ammunition, and discovered the error of their ways...like I did with the .451 et al.

Or, as the man said:

"Just because you can doesn't mean that you should."

Diggers
January 6, 2011, 05:15 PM
HA! Gotta wonder when the ammo comes with advice to change your recoil springs up 4 to 6 pounds from factory spring AND perhaps use a shock buffer. :what:

BB ammo is HOT stuff (obviously:scrutiny:) but that really isn't the norm for +P .45 acp. It seems like most +P stuff is under 900 and some even under 800 for a 230 grain bullet. (not sure how anything under 800 is +P but thats what is says.:confused:)

I really do wonder about BB ammo. They make .38 ammo that call standard pressure but get +P speed out of it. Makes me wonder if they might be using a different scale of what standard pressure in a .38 special is.

1911Tuner
January 6, 2011, 05:33 PM
HA! Gotta wonder when the ammo comes with advice to change your recoil springs up 4 to 6 pounds from factory spring AND perhaps use a shock buffer.

The stresses on the upper lugs and the slide will be there regardless of the recoil spring and whether or not a shock buffer is used.

And make no mistake. Destructive forces are in play, and the higher the recoil impulse, the more destructive they are.

Prosser
January 6, 2011, 06:55 PM
HMMM.

IIRC, springs tend to loose half their tension in normal wear. What Tim Sundles is suggesting, who, by the way, if you read the quote closely, is from his website, is ensuring that the gun is at least at starting specs, rather then having weak springs, and thinking you won't hurt your gun.

Check me on this, but can't you change the timing on a 1911 (change the link length)
so the gun stays locked longer, then opens at standard pressure, rather then opening early?

By starting with higher strength springs, you end up with a bottom end tension that is much closer to stock new spring tension, after they 'break in',
yes?

1911Tuner:
What do you think of the Sprinco recoil rods?

http://www.sprinco.com/recoil.html

Just got done reading your second post. The .451 Detonics "conversions"? I don't remember them having a kit. I just bought Detonics Mark VI's, and Mark VII's.
The load we used was around 45 Super specs, 200 grain HP at 1200 fps. Shot one gun, 3-4 days, 2 hours a day, at least, for 5 years, no problems, and never changed
the springs, after putting the stiffest Wolfe springs in they made.

Mike McNett seems to have similar ideas:
http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_34&products_id=428

Commercial reloaders have access to powders we don't. Some do things, and allow ballistics, that are better then what we can handload. BB uses 297, I know, in some of his big bore stuff, which works REALLY well.

1911Tuner
January 6, 2011, 07:31 PM
Changing the barrel timing by juggling link on-center lengths is a good way to wreck the gun. The link times the barrel drop. Too long or too short, and the barrel may not get out of the slide's way in time to keep it from tearing the lugs off. By the time the proper length link starts to do its thing, the bullet is gone and the pressure has dropped.

Pressure isn't the only concern with the hot-rod ammunition. Recoil impulse and those tiny radial upper barrel lugs that bear the brunt is the main concern...and if there are only one or two that take the hit...especially of the first lug isn't one of'em...you can do some expensive and possibly dangerous damage.

Only rarely do all three lugs share the load equally unless hand-fitted.

Prosser
January 6, 2011, 07:39 PM
1911Tuner:
I'm not doing this. A qualified, Certified Gunsmith did this to my 1911 Kimber Custom II.
I think that was how he did it, but, I might be wrong.

I mainly shoot lead 230 grain ball, with a fairly stiff load. Can't remember what the last 1000 was loaded with. Anyway, it cycles just fine, and, I shoot 45 Super level Buffalobore to check reliability. Also works well out of the Detonics CombatMaster.
Both have the stiffest springs made by Wolfe, and, the Sprinco is in the Kimber as well.

Both guns were gone through by Jack Huntington and Jason of JRH Advanced Gunsmithing.

SharpsDressedMan
January 6, 2011, 08:25 PM
I have clocked the RCBS .44 cal. cast 250 over 7.5gr Unique (the Skeeter load), from a 4" barrel S&W Model 24, and it gave right around 900fps (890fps, if I remember right).

Diggers
January 6, 2011, 09:02 PM
Thanks SharpsDressedMan, that seems right in line with 1911Tuner's findings using a bit longer barrel.

pacpiper
January 6, 2011, 09:04 PM
Actually contemplating to start carrying my .44 special now.

I love my .357 mag but I'm really thinking of carrying this safe queen as my primary and I'm not in the least concerned about it's effectiveness no matter what numbers you crunch.

Change up this
http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k165/pacpiper/SW%20Model%2060/th_DSCN0050.jpg (http://s88.photobucket.com/albums/k165/pacpiper/SW%20Model%2060/?action=view&current=DSCN0050.jpg)

to this!
http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k165/pacpiper/SW%20Model%20696/th_DSCN0046.jpg (http://s88.photobucket.com/albums/k165/pacpiper/SW%20Model%20696/?action=view&current=DSCN0046.jpg)

Diggers
January 7, 2011, 03:50 AM
uh oh no pics.

BTW 1911Tuner, would you consider the Skeeter load to be the upper end for the .44 special?

1911Tuner
January 7, 2011, 07:28 AM
BTW 1911Tuner, would you consider the Skeeter load to be the upper end for the .44 special?


In a Colt or and Italian clone? Yep, and would use it only sparingly in those. Pressure isn't my concern. Recoil impulse is. 6-6.5 grains is a fine, accurate load in every revolver I've used it in, and the guns will fare better and longer with it.

In one of the mid-framed Blackhawks, I'd be okay with bumping it up a notch, but would prefer to use 2400. The slower burn rate is a little "softer" when the velocities are ramped up.

The only revolver caliber that I've worked with more than the .44 Special is its little brother...the .38 Special...and I started casting and handloading for that one in 1965. Me and the .44 Special go back a ways. It's a grand old cartridge and I like it very much. It was my hands-down favorite until I discovered the .41 Magnum.

1911Tuner
January 7, 2011, 07:49 AM
I'm not doing this. A qualified, Certified Gunsmith did this to my 1911 Kimber Custom II. I think that was how he did it, but, I might be wrong.

I should hope that he didn't try to use the wrong link to delay the breech opening.

Too short, and the barrel is stopped by the link...which I've seen jerk the lower lug off the barrel...clear through to the chamber.

Too long, and the link can't get the barrel clear of the slide in time to prevent tearing the upper lugs off.

The link's only reason for being there is to get the barrel lugs out of the slide's at the right time to let the slide pass over the top.

On the Buffalo Bore hot loads...

The pistol is amply strong to take the pressure. The recoil impulse is the concern because you still have those tiny radial lugs to absorb the shock...and the shock is borne by the lugs horizontal engagement between 10 and 2...not the whole lug.

Even with better steels and heat-treating, damage can be done, and instead of deforming the lugs the way it did with the older, softer guns...the lugs tend to crack or shear. Equalized lugs make it much stronger, but the engagement area is still small.

And that doesn't even address the slide. I've seen slides crack in the port adjacent to the breechface from the use of too many hot loads. A guy once brought me a busted slide on a 1991A1 Colt that...if he'd fired another 50 rounds...he'd have spent a few hours at the office of an oral surgeon trying to get the rear section removed from his jaw.

He'd forgotten to change the powder measure when he loaded up a batch of 230 cast RN, and fired several magazines loaded up with 7.2 grains of Unique...just 7/10ths of a grain higher than his normal load. 10 magazines later, he noticed what felt like grains of sand hitting him in the face. Ignoring the warning, he kept firing, despite the sharp recoil. By the time he noticed the crack, it was almost through to the rail, and had started on the opposite side, adjacent to the first lug wall. It could have been ugly.
He got lucky.

fireside44
January 7, 2011, 08:03 AM
Me and the .44 Special go back a ways. It's a grand old cartridge and I like it very much. It was my hands-down favorite until I discovered the .41 Magnum.

What kind of role do you use your .41 in?

I was pretty much torn between the two cartridges when I made my first .44 special purchase. I was looking for a carry piece and didn't think a .41 mag would be worth it considering I was looking for 3" barrels. I don't really miss the flash and snappy recoil of magnums though admittedly I still crave a blackhawk or model 58 in that caliber.:)

1911Tuner
January 7, 2011, 11:32 AM
What kind of role do you use your .41 in?

Time was...many things. These days, they're limited to recreational (range) use.

Given a choice between the two, I'd opt for the .41 for the simple reason that it's more versatile. It can be pumped up to equal the .44 magnum, or even exceed many of the factory offerings...and downloaded to .44 Special levels without missing a beat. It's an easy cartridge to load for, and I've found it easier to get accuracy from it than the .44 magnum, and shoots flatter to boot. It's doubtless related to the case volume to powder charge ratio and the loading density obtainable.

The drawback is that the guns that are chambered for it are large and heavy, while the .44 Special can be had in smaller packages...albeit generally with one less round if that even matters.

Unless you have a need for double-action, I recommend the New Model Blackhawk with the 4.62 barrel length for portability, and 6.5 if you need the extra velocity, range, and sight radius. The short version is actually a couple ounces lighter than the Model 58 Smith.

For my money, the .41 Magnum is the perfect revolver cartridge. That comes with an IMO and YMMV, of course.

Diggers
January 7, 2011, 03:40 PM
1911Tuner

About the Skeeter load.

BTW 1911Tuner, would you consider the Skeeter load to be the upper end for the .44 special?

In a Colt or and Italian clone? Yep, and would use it only sparingly in those. Pressure isn't my concern. Recoil impulse is. 6-6.5 grains is a fine, accurate load in every revolver I've used it in, and the guns will fare better and longer with it.


How about in a Charter Arms Bulldog Pug? (2.5 inch barrel ~ 22 oz) I don't know about recoil impulse....is that just the force pushing back on the frame of the gun? (in a revolver)

I ask because I'm interested in the Bulldog for use as a trail gun as well as a carry gun. I carry a 442 right now but the Bulldog seems only slightly bigger and produces lots more power for its increase in size over the 442.

For use as a trail gun (well fishing gun really) I would want be able to use heavy loads in it, of course. I think a 240 to 250 grain bullet going mid 800's would be OK for that purpose.

What are your thoughts on that with the Bulldog in mind?

fireside44
January 7, 2011, 03:53 PM
How about in a Charter Arms Bulldog Pug?

The forcing cone is thin. Beware.

My Rossi has a thick topstrap and the same frame was used to build the .357 magnum model as far as I know, but that big bore means not much meat left for the forcing cone nor is there a lot of meat between the cylinders.

My current load was 6.5 grains Unique and 232 grain SWC from an older lyman mold. Also shoot a lot of 200 grain RNFP with 7.2 grains and a 215 SWC with about 6.9 grains Unique. I hesitate to push it much further as all feel like substantial loads and all of them have proven accurate, with the 232 grain giving the best results for me so far.

1911Tuner
January 7, 2011, 04:38 PM
I have only a little experience with the Charter Bulldog, and mostlywith the one that I owned just after David Berkowitz brought it into the limelight. It was a neat carry gun, and shot decently...but as it turned out, it wasn't very durable. Firing only the factory loaded LRN 246/755 and the handloaded equivalent, it started to loosen up after just a few hundred rounds. Carried a lot and seldom shot was the wisdom of the day. I haven't handled any f the new ones, so I don't know if that would still apply.

Even with the standard ammo, recoil was pretty wicked with the 20-ounce Bulldog.

As fireside mentioned, the forcing cone is thin, and for that reason I'd recommend sticking with lead bullets. I'd also advise limiting anything loaded to higher than SAAMI spec. It'll stand up to more, but not for very many rounds.

Diggers
January 7, 2011, 08:05 PM
Good info. Thanks

Oh, just found this on gunblast. http://www.gunblast.com/Cassill_Bulldog.htm

This guy clocked the Skeeter load at 910 fps out of a bulldog AND said that its the hottest load he would want to use in that gun and not often. LOL

I'm kind of suprised it was that high out of a 2.5 inch tube but thats what he said he got.

Down loading that to around 825-850ish would seem like a fine trail load to me.

HUMMM wait a tic. I just reread what was posted before about the fps in 4.25inch barrels so this doesn't seem to make much sense to get the same fps out of a 2.5 incher........humm

DM~
January 8, 2011, 12:26 AM
I'm a HUGE 44 fan, and at one time i went through the 44spl. phase too, and i've read pretty much everything written by Keith and also Skeeter Skelton...

I think Elmer Keiths writeings are waaay over rated! He has said just as many really stupid things, as he ever did smart/accurate things!

Anyway, i started out with a couple different Bulldogs in the 70's, and wasn't happy with the quality... I think i would have liked them better had i not owned a S&W M-29, as those old S&W's just plain spoil you for fit/finish and accuracy...

SO, i decided to have a custom 44 spl. built and had a M-28 converted. I liked it OK, except being an "N" frame, i wasn't happy with the size or weight. You may as well carry a 29, if you are going to carry a 28!

SO, my dream was to have a S&W "K" frame 44 spl., and to this day i keep hearing that it just can't be done... BUT, i knew Vern Ewer, and he's a master pistol smith that can do things that just plain seem impossible.

After talking it over with Vern, he said he'd build me one, and here is my M-19, 44 spl.,

http://www.fototime.com/BE455B3C554B45A/orig.jpg

I see NO reason to buy a spl., then push it over 1,000 fps, if you need more than that, then carry/shoot a 44 magnum! (and i do)

I love the gun, it shoots great, but one day i was at the range, shooting at 50 meters at a target stapled on an old dry pallet. I was shooting 250 grain KT style hard cast lead bullets at a bit over 900fps. They sounded funny hitting the pallet, so i walked out to find they were bounceing off the dry/hard/oak boards, NOW "that" didn't impress me at all! I pulled out my M-19 357 mag., and shot all over that same pallet, at the same distance, and every bullet went on through! NOW "that" was MUCH more impressive! Anyway, after MUCH more testing, i pretty much quit carrying a 44 spl. for defence, and went back to my 357 mag.!

After hunting and takeing much game with my 44 mags, i'd say my "defence" choise is a good one, and i believe a properly loaded 357 mag., is a much better defence cartridge than a 44 spl. loaded to 900 or so!

DM

Diggers
January 8, 2011, 02:30 AM
Huh...that is odd. Even though 50 meters is a pretty long shot for a .44 special in a revolver...still to bounce off oak boards is strange.

From balistics tables it looks like that bullet would be moving around 800 fps out at 50 meters if it started at 900ish, which is about 355 food pounds of energy. That seems like plenty.:uhoh:

Seems to me a hard cast bullet moving at 800 fps would pass right though a person from any angle, thats really weird it bounced off those boards.

.357 is a hotter round with less sectional density for sure...but still.

McCall911
January 8, 2011, 06:37 AM
I love the gun, it shoots great, but one day i was at the range, shooting at 50 meters at a target stapled on an old dry pallet. I was shooting 250 grain KT style hard cast lead bullets at a bit over 900fps. They sounded funny hitting the pallet, so i walked out to find they were bounceing off the dry/hard/oak boards, NOW "that" didn't impress me at all!

I had a similar experience with 246 grain factory loads. I came to the conclusion (right or wrong) that this failure was due to the low velocity of the factory load.
However, I'm like Diggers: "but still..."

1911Tuner
January 8, 2011, 06:47 AM
HUMMM wait a tic. I just reread what was posted before about the fps in 4.25inch barrels so this doesn't seem to make much sense to get the same fps out of a 2.5 incher........humm

Not all that strange. It's not uncommon to get a 100 fps variation between two identical guns firing the same lot of ammunition. Ruger barrels have a reputation for "shooting fast." I once had a Model 57 Smith with a 6-inch tube that turned in lower velocities than the 4.62 inch Blackhawk with the same ammunition.

It also happens with chronographs. I've come to distrust them to provide precise readings, and instead mainly use them to inform me of consistencies and variations. You can get a fairly wide variation with the same gun and load with the same chronograph tested on different days. Lighting....temperature...even the relative humidity can affect the reading. Ballistics laboratories conduct their tests under closely controlled conditions.

If my readings seem to agree with or are close to the results gotten by several people with several different guns and several different lots of powder and several different chronographs...I accept that the readings are fairly accurate. If my readings are far removed from the norm....and they are consistent over a half-dozen tests conducted on different days...I figure that either the device is haywire or the gun is just one of those that produces low velocities...and it's most often the gun.

You can drive yourself around the bend fretting over velocity levels, and owning a chronograph can make it worse. Look for consistent velocities and low variations between shots instead of worrying over high or low. If they're close to what is claimed in the manual...and the extreme spreads are low...don't worry, be happy.

ironhead7544
January 8, 2011, 07:06 AM
Bullets can bounce off hard wood. Ive had 45 ACP bullets bounce off 2x4s from a Thompson SMG and a 1911. Depends on how it hits and if the wood is supported or loose. The 357 is a lot faster and doesnt have a problem. Shoot a 9mm FMJ at wood and it will go through.

Concerning the Skeeter Load, it went 840 fps from a 696 and 880 from a 4 inch Taurus 441. Should be a good carry load for the Bulldog but I would drop it a grain for practice. And probably to a 200 gr cast for comfort. The Bulldog is again available with a 4 inch barrel and Id get that one now.

1911Tuner
January 8, 2011, 08:51 AM
Bullets can bounce off hard wood.

Yes they can, and they can do even stranger things. I was with a guy who was shooting M2 Ball into a dying oak from about 50 feet just to see if they'd penetrate. One bullet squirted the core back at him, striking him in the left bicep just above the elbow. The bullet lodged in his shoulder, and just missed hitting the rotator cuff.

The cop at the ER had a very puzzled expression on his face as we tried to explain what had happened. We had a little trouble convincing him that a tree had shot my friend. Later on, we found the jacket protruding about a quarter inch from the tree bark.

Lead bullets especially will bounce off dense, well-seasoned wood, and the softer they are, the more likely they are to fail to penetrate because the nose flattens out and increases the contact footprint. Penetration in hard wood isn't really a reliable yardstick on performance in tissue anyway.

I dn't know if Federal still offers it, but they used to field a .44 Special loading that consisted of a 200-grain swaged lead hollowpoint that would hit an honest 900 fps from a 4-inch barrel. I tested some of it in several mediums, including ballistic gel and wetpack. Expansion and penetration were more than adequate, and if I were to carry a small .44 Special revolver, that one would be my choice...even over the Silvertip.

shep854
January 8, 2011, 09:55 AM
In my Speer manual (24th Ed?), the .44spl loads were tested with a 3" Taurus 445. According to the description, this was to reflect the interest in the cartridge as an SD round.

I have a 2" 445, and plan to load mid-range ammo for it. Due to ammo expense, it's been a safe queen. I'm getting into reloading mainly for this gun--though my other guns will benefit, as well.;)

Correction--12th Edition

McCall911
January 8, 2011, 06:43 PM
Lead bullets especially will bounce off dense, well-seasoned wood, and the softer they are, the more likely they are to fail to penetrate because the nose flattens out and increases the contact footprint. Penetration in hard wood isn't really a reliable yardstick on performance in tissue anyway.

I definitely agree. I was just frustrated at the time that the .44 Specials I shot didn't penetrate that doggone piece of wood. :D
If I had a 44 Special/Magnum revolver, I wouldn't think twice about using a .44 Special with the proper bullet as an SD round. However, those 246 grain LRN bullets, at 700 fps or so, sure ain't the ones I would use!

1911Tuner
January 8, 2011, 06:59 PM
However, those 246 grain LRN bullets, at 700 fps or so, sure ain't the ones I would use!

They sure wouldn't do a body any favors. Google up some of the victim's pictures after David Berkowitz shot'em with that load...and some of'em went through auto glass before they found their mark. Unpretty...

McCall911
January 9, 2011, 04:32 AM
Google up some of the victim's pictures after David Berkowitz shot'em with that load...and some of'em went through auto glass before they found their mark. Unpretty...

For various reasons, I'd rather not but I'll take your word for it. Thanks.

DennisE
January 9, 2011, 07:36 AM
Been bothering me so I'll say it...unless we've actually used one of our beloved 44 specials in a self defensive action how, aside from our imagination, do we know it is so awesome in that application? Dennis

1911Tuner
January 9, 2011, 09:02 AM
I'll say it...unless we've actually used one of our beloved 44 specials in a self defensive action how, aside from our imagination, do we know it is so awesome in that application? Dennis

Good question, and one that merits a reasoned response.

The simple answer is that...we don't know until we know. We can only estimate by using the known data.

It fires a heavy, large diameter bullet at a modest velocity. Historically, that combination has proven itself to be adequate in most situations. Of course, we hear the horror stories of deranged killers absorbing multiple hits in the torso without apparent effect, but I'd venture a guess that those would keep coming ragardless of what they were shot with.

In the end, no handgun that is both portable and controllable is the hammer of Thor, and bullet placement is far more important than caliber or velocity or energy or bullet design or anything else that gives rise to the age-old debate: "Which is best?"

Given good placement, the .44 Special will do well. Given bad placement, it may not have any effect at all.

Diggers
January 9, 2011, 09:42 PM
DennisE, I think 1911Tuner pretty much laid it out. I'll just add that the .44 special is SO similar (identical really) to the .45 acp (which has a pretty good record in the SD arena) that it’s a really really safe bet it will be a good SD choice too. I mean no one ever doubts the .45 for that role, right? It also has the additional perk of being able to be loaded to higher power levels too.

1911Tuner interesting about the fps out of different guns. I know that can vary, I just didn't think it wouldn't would vary that much. Kinda crazy. I do recall reading someplace that charter arms says their barrels help with higher fps somehow. No idea how.

Oh and it seems federal still does make their 200 grain lead HP at 900 fps. Looks like a good one.

scottishclaymore
January 9, 2011, 11:53 PM
whitecoyote,

That's a pretty nifty looking bulldog you got there. Mind if I ask what the story on it is?

whitecoyote
January 10, 2011, 03:21 AM
whitecoyote,

That's a pretty nifty looking bulldog you got there. Mind if I ask what the story on it is?
It's a custom build from Mag-Na-Port. I believe they call it the "Back Packer".
The grips are custom Elk antler.

tipoc
January 10, 2011, 11:46 AM
Been bothering me so I'll say it...unless we've actually used one of our beloved 44 specials in a self defensive action how, aside from our imagination, do we know it is so awesome in that application? Dennis

1911 Tuner made some good points regarding this and maybe I can add a couple of more...

The use of the round on game animals. Hogs, deer, elk and black bear have all been taken with the 44 Spl. and dispatched with authority at reasonable ranges. How a round impacts, the force of it, and how it penetrates in game animals can be an indicator of it's usefulness for self defense. The changeable variant may be bullet design.

How a round operates in 10% ballistic gelatin. For the last two decades or so gelatin tests have been a standard test for bullet design and potential effectiveness. The .44 Spl. matches well with other calibers in this regard.

Lore...this round is over 100 years old and in that time a round develops a reputation either good or bad. A rep doesn't prove anything in and of itself but it can be an indicator of whether you should spend any time on a thing. The 44 Spl. developed a rep early on for it's usefulness in self defense. It's one reason reputable fellas spent a lot of time messing with it.

Few rounds are "awesome" when it comes to self defense but some are better than others. The .44 Special is one that can help the shooter makes hits fast and accurately with a round that can make a difference.

tipoc

wcwhitey
January 10, 2011, 06:17 PM
255 Keith SWC, 7.5 Grains of Unique, Starline Brass (Skeeter Load). I consistently knock down metal bowling pins at 50 yards. My shooting partner gets mad when his .45 acp doesn't hit with the same authority. He shoots Blazer Brass 230 hardball. A little heavier bullet by 25 grains and approximately 70-80 fps faster I think that the .44 Special should deliver at that range. Same bullet with 10 grains of Unique in .44 Mag Brass (Elmer's practice round) that runs right at 1050 fps will pass through both sides of a deer at that distance, done it. Both of the above mentioned loads are my field loads.

The aforementioned 6.5 grain load is a nice factory duplication load when using the heavier bullets and very accurate as stated. The same dose of Unique with the 215 SWC is a nice alternative in the lighter framed guns like the Bulldog or K frame size guns. It gives a softer recoil pulse which might keep those revolvers tighter for longer.

The .44 Special is a great round, it shoots heavy bullets very, very accurately at modest velocities. I would not hesitate to press any one of the above loadings into service for self defense. Unfortunate for me I have to carry what my job tells me to carry so it's not an option. If I had a choice though it would be a .45 1911 for an auto and the .44 Special in a revolver. JMHO Bill

1911Tuner
January 11, 2011, 02:52 AM
Good post, whitey. Thanks. It would seem that the "anemic" .44 Special carries a bit more authority than the numbers would suggest. On paper, it's not all that impressive. Velocity and energy figures imply that it's not very powerful...but if it'll shoot through a whitetail deer standing broadside...it has enough steam to completely wreck your day.

It's best to forget such trivial matters as energy dump. Energy isn't what incapacitates an attacker, especially with a handgun cartridge...although it is part of the equation. (Everything is something. Nothing is everything.) Shock and blood loss are the best factors to rely on. Does the bullet penetrate enough to reach the vitals?

Not even expansion is reliable. Sometimes the bullet doesn't expand, and when it does...the main advantage is that it presents a better chance of cutting a major artery by virtue of its larger frontal area.

In the end, it's a lot like the raging debate on 9mm/.40/.45 caliber and which is 'best."
If they're all shot well, one will do about as well as the other. If the bullet fored from a .44 Special case hits the right place, it'll usually do. If the bullet doesn't hit the right place...another 300 fps won't likely make much difference.

Prosser
January 12, 2011, 06:55 AM
In the end, it's a lot like the raging debate on 9mm/.40/.45 caliber and which is 'best."

The greatness of the .44 special is that in a gun that is the same size, or smaller then some of these, you can get outside the 'sandbox'.

The major failing of the 3 calibers mentioned by 1911Tuner is they can't shoot 255-260 grain bullets, EXCEPT for the 45 COLT, and, as a general rule, unless you go 5 shot, it's going to be in a big gun.
The .44 Special can be loaded to shoot 250-260 grain bullets at 1000-1200 fps, depending on how far outside the standard specs you want to get.

It's thicker walls, and potential for hot rodding, and heavy bullets, is what has made the .44 "Special", along with being at the upper end of the sandbox with standard loads.

HelterSkelter
January 13, 2011, 03:39 AM
a 250 grain bullet at 1200 fps? that's not outside of standard spec, that's loading your bullets with the intention of damaging your gun. the loads in the 250 grain range that i have seen go about 750 fps. if you want a 250 grain bullet to go that fast your gonna want a .44 magnum loaded light on powder.

personally i'd rather have a .357 going twice as fast, but too many people have talked up the .44 special for me to poo poo it anymore. i figure if the .44 special kills them 100% dead, then killing them more dead with a .357 couldn't hurt right?

Prosser
January 13, 2011, 04:38 AM
240 grains runs around 950 fps, with standard specs.

But, yes, I tend to like low end, light powdered, .44 magnum loads vs. the .44 Special.
Still, 240 grains at 950 fps, in a light strong 5 shot gives me the VERY WARM and Fuzzies;-)

That was what I was running out of my Bulldog, till it rattled loose.

1911Tuner
January 13, 2011, 06:38 AM
a 250 grain bullet at 1200 fps? that's not outside of standard spec, that's loading your bullets with the intention of damaging your gun.

Depends on the gun, and how much you intend to shoot a particular load in it. Modern guns are typically proofed at 25% more pressure than the SAAMI limit.

It also depends on the powder. 1200 fps with 2400 doesn't bring the same dynamics to the table as 1200 fps with Unique, even if the two produce similar peak pressures...nor does identical peak pressure have the same effect.

I remain a little puzzled and amused over the fascination with high velocity.

shane justice
February 2, 2011, 11:13 PM
I carried a Taurus 445 in one of the super alloy packages. Loved it.

No amount of BLAH-BLAH can change that. All rhetoric aside.

Somebody said it wasn't enough gun because it only penetrated 13+ inches?

Hell boys, I ain't a little boy and i don't guess I am that thick front to back

Point is n the end. You choose what you want...and I choose what I want.

No need to argue 6 pages worth.

Want experts?

Buffalo Bore seems to make a number of heavy hitters in 44 sp. THey seem to know about cranking the 44 up to do whatever.

TO me the old round is a lot like a .30-06. You can load it to do whatever you need it to do. Old .06 can be loaded with 125 grain bullets and act as a good varmint round...or all the way up to the 220 grainers and work on old Griz...yes I said that...Mr. O'Connor would agree.

Flexibility is a good thing.

However, shoot somebody with old 44 sp with a reasonable load and they will cease hostilities.

Others will too. But the 44spl is an old /new cartridge that keeps on chugging.

Good night all.

RinkRat
February 3, 2011, 01:15 AM
Just wish I had more then 5 beans to send the way of the BG especially if he's not alone :uhoh: But to shoot a brownie :confused:

Ulver
February 3, 2011, 02:12 AM
We had one agency with a S&W model-24 in .44 Special. The load was the 200gr. Winchester Silvertip. It wasn't dynamic against flesh & blood, and really pathetic against hard cover. I recall one was recovered sticking in a windshield.

Another dept., that I am quite close to, tried the S&W model-25 in .45 Colt, in the early 80's. The load was a 225gr. LHP; "BIG BROTHER", to the famous "FBI" load. You'd think if it worked well in .38 Special, it should work REAL well, in .45 Colt. Nope...:uhoh: Bad guys didn't seem that impressed, except for pistol-whippin', and it also like the .44 Special, had penetration issues.

Both agencies went to 9mm's! :what: The Federal 115gr. +P+ JHP, became legend! It put perps down for several decades, with an amazing track record. It was just this past year, both went with newer weapons, and the .40 caliber.

In a nutshell: Way back when, the big-bores simply didn't deliver. I believe it was because factory laods were "weak", and also, they weren't coming from Marshal Dillon's 7-1/2-inch Colt...

Oh yeah---I kept my tricked-out .45 Smith when they came off the street. Great fun gun to shoot!

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k178/ulver_2006/paul21-1.jpg

tipoc
February 3, 2011, 02:48 AM
We had one agency with a S&W model-24 in .44 Special. The load was the 200gr. Winchester Silvertip. It wasn't dynamic against flesh & blood, and really pathetic against hard cover. I recall one was recovered sticking in a windshield.


The Silvertip has been improved some in the last 25 years.

The demise of the larger bore revolver in law enforcement had little to do with the effectiveness of the rounds used. Had a bit more to do with the transition to semis. The 44 spl., the 45 Colt and the 45 acp from a wheelgun continued then and continue now to be effective. But if ya want 6 rounds from them in a da revolver that does mean an N frame.

tipoc

Prosser
February 3, 2011, 11:50 AM
I can't help but think you can screw up the Mona Lisa if you load it wrong.

If you want to use light bullets in a big caliber, they either have to move as fast as the lighter calibers, since they are already preexpanded, and, are going to have penetration issues, or, us flat point bullets, they can be light to medium for caliber, still moving at a decent rate, ideally around 1350 fps.

The advantage of the big bores is heavy bullets, or, lighter bullets at high velocity. Both usually occur at the expense of recoil increasing.

If I"m going to use hollow points in a large caliber, they are going to be relatively heavy, for me, starting at 275 grains, and, they are going to be going rather fast, 1560 fps is a minimum pressure load, using AA9, in the .475 Linebaugh. OR, they are going to be heavy for caliber, and going as fast as I can get them to go: Think Hawk HP's.

Those are my ideals. That said, I'll take a 230 grain HP at 1100 fps, if that's all I can get out of it. It isn't a perfect world.

I just find it amazing that a government agency would be so stupid as to take the .44 Special, or .45 Colt, load it with garbage ammo, and blame the caliber.

Loading a 200 grain Silvertip in .44 Special is pretty much defining stupid.
brassfetcher.com had a test of a 185 grain HP, in .44 Mag, going 1571 fps, I IIRC. Penetration was around 12.6" inches. That is an extreme example of how much a big caliber can dump into the target, and not penetrate adequately.
http://www.brassfetcher.com/180grHorn44mag.html

Contrast that with a 240 grain Speer, at 1354 fps, and, look at the difference in what the bullet does to the gelatin, as it blows through it, at pretty much constant speed, then goes through 8" of the arresting block.

http://www.brassfetcher.com/Speer240grainJHP.html

So, to answer the original question: ANY caliber is only as good as the common sense that goes into loading it for the purpose it's intended. There are NO magic calibers, or if there are, they use heavier bullets at higher velocities.;)

tipoc
February 3, 2011, 12:20 PM
I thought we had been through this.

Here is a link to Brass Fletcher showing a 200 gr. Speer Gold Dot Hollowpoint going 905 fps. It penetrated 13.75" of 10% ballistic gelatin and expanded to .671 diameter.

http://www.brassfetcher.com/CCI%20Blazer%20200%20grain%20Gold%20Dot%20hollowpoint.html

This is a load intended for self defense and not hunting. These loads do work in that capacity provided, as always, good shot placement.

There is no real proof that a bullet is ineffective till it gets up to 1300 fps or so but there are a few who believe that to be the case.

For 150 years, longer actually, the 44-40, 44 Russian, 44 American, 45 Colt, 45acp and others have worked well from 6 guns when used right. None broke 1000 fps, and if so not by much and only out of the longer barrels, but each made an impact and some are still widely used. The 44 Spl. is what it is and works well at that. If you want something more powerful look elsewhere. If you want something that fits in a smaller gun I'd encourage you to look elsewhere for that.

tipoc

lloveless
February 3, 2011, 02:55 PM
1911Tuner wrote: "1200 fps with 2400 doesn't bring the same dynamics to the table as 1200 fps with Unique". With all due respects 1200 fps is 1200 fps regardless of how it got there.
ll

1911Tuner
February 3, 2011, 03:56 PM
With all due respects 1200 fps is 1200 fps regardless of how it got there.

'Preciate the regards, but...no...it's not the same. You stress the gun more with quicker powders than slower ones for a given velocity even at SAAMI spec pressures. Take Bullseye vs 2400 for instance. You'll probably blow the gun apart before the veocity even approaches the level that you can safely attain with 2400. With the same pressure levels, you get far lower velocities with Bullseye.

webfox
February 3, 2011, 05:24 PM
...

PapaG
February 3, 2011, 07:02 PM
Dirty Harry answered, when asked why he used a 44 magnum, "It hits what I shoot it at," and a few seconds later stated that he used "specials".

The 44 special is just about the factory equivalent of the standard 45 acp.....one has a 230 at around 850, the other a 246 at around 775. One is normally lead, the other jacketed.

I have a 3" bulldog, a 4" 624, and a couple of maggies. I don't feel undergunned with any of them, depending on purpose.

1911Tuner
February 3, 2011, 07:36 PM
Dirty Harry answered, when asked why he used a 44 magnum, "It hits what I shoot it at," and a few seconds later stated that he used "specials".

I think Harry said:

"The .357s a good weapon, but I've seen .38 Specials bounce off a windshield."

TexasRifleman
February 3, 2011, 07:42 PM
With all due respects 1200 fps is 1200 fps regardless of how it got there.

Not really. Powder burn rates matter. A powder that burns very fast and has an instant pressure spike can get a bullet to 1200fps. A powder that burns a bit slower and spreads the pressure out over time can get a bullet to 1200fps.

Guess which one will make the gun last longer, or even keep the gun from blowing up?

There is a reason manufacturers publish powder burn rates.

BooBoo1000
February 3, 2011, 07:54 PM
I'm rather underwhelmed by the .44 Special.
It's just not that great of a self defense caliber IMO.

I load my 44 special to the exact specs for Elmer Keith's load using a 4 cavity mould of the Keith Design, When I discovered this load would penetrate a telephone pole, I decided it was a good sd load.

tipoc
February 3, 2011, 08:41 PM
I'm rather underwhelmed by the .44 Special.
It's just not that great of a self defense caliber IMO.

I load my 44 special to the exact specs for Elmer Keith's load using a 4 cavity mould of the Keith Design, When I discovered this load would penetrate a telephone pole, I decided it was a good sd load.

So you are so underwhelmed by the .44 Special that you shoot the .44 Special which will penetrate a telephone pole. I'm confused, either you like the Spl. or you don't.

From PapaG;The 44 special is just about the factory equivalent of the standard 45 acp.....one has a 230 at around 850, the other a 246 at around 775. One is normally lead, the other jacketed.

Information here is a bit out of date. About the only commercial loads for the .44 Spl. loaded to the 750-755 fps range are Cowboy Action Loads. Several manufacturers use the older lrn bullets in fdeference to the older guns but there is a good chunk of good ammo available. ep and there are more options if you reload.

Again 'll post a link to one of the internet vendors of ammo who lists some of the loads. Click on the images for the technical specs.

http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?pageNum=1&tabId=3&categoryId=7552&categoryString=653***691***

tipoc

PapaG
February 3, 2011, 08:53 PM
1911 tuner.....watch the Dirty Harry movie with Tyne Daley and get back to me.

BooBoo1000
February 3, 2011, 09:10 PM
I am sorry, I am the one that copied the remarks about the 44 special lacking penetration.

I load my 44 Special to the exact recipe used by Elmer Keith, using a 4 cavity mold from Hensley and Gibbs that Elmer ordered for me. I found out one day that this load would penetrate a standard telephone pole. So I decided it would be O.K. for what ever I wanted to use it on. Sorry for the confusion...

wcwhitey
February 3, 2011, 09:43 PM
Dirty Harry, Actually Harry stated that he used Special loads and it was the same as your WADCUTTERS (to David Soul) meaning .38 Special Wadcutters in the Pythons the new bunch were using. This was a scene at the indoor range. He was talking about shooting practice, had nothing to do with what he carried. Sad that I know this but I do. Bill

shep854
February 3, 2011, 09:57 PM
Colt/Taurus like the .44Spl:
http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2011/02/02/colt-p1750-44-special-limited-edition/
They are coming out with a limited-edition SAA in .44Spl.

1911Tuner
February 4, 2011, 04:44 AM
1911 tuner.....watch the Dirty Harry movie with Tyne Daley and get back to me.

That's the one I was referring to, Papa. His response after she asked him: "Why the cannon?"

Don't remember any further gun/caliber/ammunition dialog after that...but it's been years since I watched any of the Dirty Harry movies...so memory could be failing me.

Anyway...Hollywood has never really provided the best information for selecting weaponry or tactical moves. The .44 Special is an adequate personal defense cartridge. Even in its original 246/755 loading, it's a dead ringer for the .45 Schofield and close enough to .45 GI hardball that a recipient wouldn't know the difference. Ideal? No, but nothing else is, either.

I really can't understand the controversy and argument surrounding the .44 Special. There are many lesser cartridges that have been carried and used to successfully defend against personal attack. Whether it's a good choice for law enforcement or not really isn't the issue. In a dark alley at midnight at 5 feet, against a pair of goblins intent on a robbery and a beatdown...it'll do nicely.

Walkalong
February 4, 2011, 10:37 AM
I really can't understand the controversy and argument surrounding the .44 Special. There are many lesser cartridges that have been carried and used to successfully defend against personal attack. Whether it's a good choice for law enforcement or not really isn't the issue. In a dark alley at midnight at 5 feet, against a pair of goblins intent on a robbery and a beatdown...it'll do nicely.
Exactly.

It baffles me that some folks think it is not adequate for self defense.

RandyF
February 5, 2011, 04:49 AM
Concerning Prosser, who obviously wants to blow himself up, and possibly some innocent bystanders ...

I've reloaded thousands of rounds of various calibers, from .44 spl, .45 acp, .45 colt to .44 mag, and the min-max loadings are there for a REASON. Please, let me know when you're at my range, so I can move as far away as possible. I own a S&W 329PD, which is a 26oz. .44 mag, and it'll handle any round made within S.A.A.M.I.E. specs...

http://www.scopedin.com/articles/equipment-tests/44-magnum-cartridge-crimp-creep/buffalo-bore/

http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/showthread.php/20947-S-amp-W-329pd/page2

...but I wouldn't ever exceed this. Remember, there are OLD reloaders, and BOLD reloaders, but not OLD BOLD reloaders...

1911Tuner
February 5, 2011, 05:07 AM
Remember, there are OLD reloaders, and BOLD reloaders, but not OLD BOLD reloaders.

And...as a wise man noted:

The pressure required to accelerate a (sic) 250 grain bullet to 1,000 fps in 4 inches of barrel is more than sufficient to blow your eyes through the back of your head. (Or remove fingers and/or parts of your hand, face, etc.)

RidgwayCO
February 5, 2011, 10:32 AM
"Remember, there are OLD reloaders, and BOLD reloaders, but not OLD BOLD reloaders..."

What, never heard of our own resident "Clark"?...

Jaymo
February 5, 2011, 05:53 PM
A few things.

Soft lead bullets don't require 1,000 fps to expand. Lead round balls flatten completely from my .45 caliber precharged pneumatic air rifle.Not hollowpoint. Not fast. They penetrate deeply, as well.
I dare anyone here to want to fight after getting hit with such a load.
12 inch penetration is very misunderstood. It's not a self defense recommendation.
It's an FBI law enforcement duty ammo requirement. Cops have different needs than we do.
12 inches will completely penetrate the body cavity of an average human body. We have to worry about hitting the vitals and stopping the fight. We don't have to worry about shooting someone who's behind cover.
We have to worry about where that bullet will go after it goes through the bad guy without stopping.
44 special is very accurate and hits hard. It's performance mimics that of .45 ACP.

Only with hard gilding metal jackets, do you need 1,000+ fps for reliable expansion.
Even with blue-flame loudenboomers, heavy clothing will turn the HP into ball. Soft lead bullets at low to moderate velocities were proven, long ago, to be very effective manstoppers.
I've owned 8 44 specials and 2 44 mags in my time. I wish I still had my Taurus 431 and Charter 2.5" bull barreled Bulldog.

Prosser
February 6, 2011, 09:05 AM
Standards for the .45 Colt: 250-260 grains, 950-1000 fps. JMB standard, soft lead bullet.
200 grain flat point, .45 ACP 950 fps.
230 grain ball is an army round. Whatever. Idiots telling JMB what works.

.44 special is a heavy bullet, same velocity round as the above for 45 Colt to be effective.

Hasn't changed in 100 years, and won't, unless bad guys start wearing Kevlar.
Oh, they do?

Wonder why I want more then the .44 Special with anemic/gummers loads.
:fire:

""Remember, there are OLD reloaders, and BOLD reloaders, but not OLD BOLD reloaders..."

Wrong. I'm all of that, and a bag of chips. How many guns have you blown up? Me, none, and, I just match my loads to the particular gun.

I had a .45 Colt that ran 360 Grain, LFNs at 1550 fps, and, 230 grain cast at 1800 Plus fps. Gun worked for years, and, now is retired in Texas, to stud
other .45 Colt/Linebaugh Sevilles.

DM~
February 6, 2011, 09:48 AM
I really can't understand the controversy and argument surrounding the .44 Special. There are many lesser cartridges that have been carried and used to successfully defend against personal attack. Whether it's a good choice for law enforcement or not really isn't the issue. In a dark alley at midnight at 5 feet, against a pair of goblins intent on a robbery and a beatdown...it'll do nicely.


If all of my shots were at 5 feet, then i'd be happy with my 44spl. too, but they aren't. Move out to 35 or 50 yards, and things change dramatically... I carry a firearm for when things go "wrong", not just for when things go "right".

I wouldn't even let any thugs get within 5 feet of me or my family, and that's ANOTHER reason why i don't spend much time in a crowded city!

In MY test, factory 357 mag. loads out performed the factory 44spl. loads, so i carry a 357 mag.. Sure i could load my spl. up, but it's a spl. NOT a mag... And to be honest, i do carry a 44 mag. at times too, that is around my farm...

DM

sw282
February 6, 2011, 10:07 AM
http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=8471479


Heres my 44 Spcl. A Lew Horton 1 of 250. l prefer the sq butt. l carry 200gr Blazers in it. l used to have a little 4'' Bulldog. My daughter borrowed it from me. 0f all the guns she has "borrowed" thats the one l miss least;)

SharpsDressedMan
February 6, 2011, 12:15 PM
Loading a .44 Special "up" to 900 fps (240-250gr bullet) in a S&W N frame is not hot loading, and I'd wager that performance at longer range gives up noting to the .357, even though the .357 shoots flatter. It is just realizing its potential to use the "Skeeter" load in the Smith. Buffalo Bore has factory ammo that fills this bill for non-handloaders.

PapaG
February 6, 2011, 12:43 PM
I have a favorite 44 special load that I carry "down on the farm" and it consists of a Lyman 429421 hollowpoint cast of pure lead, sized to .429 and lubed with the old alox/beeswax formula. I then tumble lube it (stay tuned)....and prep the cases thusly: Size case, expand with a modified acp expanding ball (ground to a diameter of .432) so I can slide the overlubed bullets down part way. I then seat, run the first part of the case in a sizer die without decapper, and roll crimp. The load is a very mild 7 grains of Unique.

These expand really nicely. Shot a woodchuck in the back of the head, basically removed its face and blew the eyeballs out. Wouldn't carry for defense as I still believe that 'litigability" might be bad for me. Silvertips or old Fed lead hollowpoints are for that purpose.

Most of these are shot out of a 4" 624. They work nice out of a 3" bulldog also. Not a lot of leading.

PapaG
February 6, 2011, 12:45 PM
Found a web site with all of the pertinent Dirty Harry quotes. Of course, the most famous is: "Since this here is a 44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off..."

I've read many commentaries and have found claims that the producers couldn't get a 29 and thus he used a 27, also that it was a 57. I don't care. It was supposed to be a 29 in 44 mag.

In the Enforcer, he stated that he used "light specials"...but the recoil was simulated to be a full house magnum.

Its just a movie. (or movies and really fun)

SharpsDressedMan
February 6, 2011, 01:02 PM
I always considered the logic of using "light specials" for what he was doing at the time, which was shooting qualification/competition at the police "Hogan's Alley". Many police agencies at the time did the same with .38 Specials in their .357 guns.....then loaded up with magnums for duty. Dirty Harry never said what he packed in the gun "for duty". Was it specials, or magnums? You be the judge.

DC3-CVN-72
February 6, 2011, 01:25 PM
I'm with SharpsDressedMan on this one. .44 spl. for the range, .44 mag. on the street. :)

Prosser
February 6, 2011, 07:24 PM
http://www.sixguns.com/tests/tt44spec.htm

It's REALLY easy to get 225-240 grain bullets to 1100 fps, with the right powder. If you can't shoot that, you can go down to 900 fps, with no problems.

WHY would you use anything but heavier bullets in the .44 Special?
Plus, out of a short barrel, they go near as fast as the lighter ones...

since so many are so lazy they can't read John Taffin's article on .44 special loads, here are the loads he has in his article:

LOADS FOR THE .44 SPECIAL

BRASS: REMINGTON .44 SPECIAL BARREL LENGTH: 6 1/2"-7 1/2"

BULLET: 240 GRAIN SWC CHRONOGRAPH: OEHLER MODEL 35P

LOAD MV

6.5 gr. WW231 875

5.5 gr. WW452AA 850

6.0 gr. WW452 900

7.5 gr. 800X 852

8.0 gr. 800X 886

6.5 gr. Unique 852

7.5 gr. Unique 975

7.5 gr. Herco 882

8.0 gr. Herco 982

9.0 gr. HS-6 786

5.0 gr. Bullseye 757

5.5 gr. Bullseye 854

6.0 gr. Bullseye 917

14.5 gr. H4227 824

15.5 gr. H4227 868

16.5 gr. H4227 1046

17.0 gr. H4227 1072

11.0 gr. AA#7 808

12.0 gr. AA#7 896

13.0 gr. AA#7 985

10.0 gr. HS-7 850

10.5 gr. HS-7 885

11.0 gr. HS-7 944

9.0 gr. WW540 790

6.0 gr. HP-38 813

5.5 gr. AA#2 791

6.0 gr. AA#2 856

HUNTING LOADS:

Speer 225 gr. JHP-SWC 7.7 gr. Unique 1089 FPS

Speer 225 gr. JHP-SWC 17.0 gr. H4227 1105 FPS

A 240 grain, .44 special wadcutter blows a nice, big hole through your target, on both sides, regardless of the size of the bad guy. Even if it hits his arm, it's not going to stop.

It flat out works, as would a 225 grain JHP for deer.
Funny that Taffin finds a 225 grain at 1105 fps, equal to the 230 grain Speer HP @ 1100 fps, I like out of the .45 Detonics adequate, or even likeable...

Barkoff
February 6, 2011, 08:29 PM
Are .44 specials usually on average heavier pistols than .357's?

DM~
February 6, 2011, 08:35 PM
Are .44 specials usually on average heavier pistols than .357's?

Yes, generally, bigger and heavier...

DM

SharpsDressedMan
February 6, 2011, 10:18 PM
If both .44 and .357 are on the same size frame (Ruger Blackhawk, S&W "N" frame), then the .44's are lighter because they have less steel in them (i.e., the holes are bigger).

rikman
February 7, 2011, 01:18 PM
44spl is my favorite wheel gun cartridge. My fav wheel guns I have are S&W 24-3,624,M29 & Ruger New Blackhawk.

DM~
February 8, 2011, 10:13 AM
If both .44 and .357 are on the same size frame (Ruger Blackhawk, S&W "N" frame), then the .44's are lighter because they have less steel in them (i.e., the holes are bigger).


True, BUT, you CAN get 357's in smaller frame sizes that you can't get 44's in... SO, the real answer is, yes 357's do come in smaller lighter guns than 44's...

DM

tipoc
February 8, 2011, 11:04 AM
Prosser,

In post #157 here...

Standards for the .45 Colt: 250-260 grains, 950-1000 fps. JMB standard, soft lead bullet.
200 grain flat point, .45 ACP 950 fps.
230 grain ball is an army round. Whatever. Idiots telling JMB what works.

.44 special is a heavy bullet, same velocity round as the above for 45 Colt to be effective.

I believe you inflate a bit the velocities of these older standards.

The original 45 Colt black powder loads were from the 7.5" barrel and did reach around 950-1000 fps. Though there is some dispute about that among those that know some putting it a bit higher. I think you are also aware that "JMB", Browning, had nothing to do with developing that gun or load. He did work on the 200 gr. load at around 900-950 fps that you refer to. Elsewhere in this thread you seem to think that a 200 gr. bullet is too light in the .44 Spl. but here you seem to have changed your opinion which I welcome.

Browning did of course help the army develop the 45acp 230 gr. load at about 850 fps from a 5" barrel which you seem to dislike as being too slow. The reason the army wanted the heavier bullet than the 200 gr. JMB had developed was that it mimicked the load for the 45 Colt they had used from the single action when they cut down the 7.5" barrels the cavalry used for the 5.5" guns the artillery carried. It is also about what the .45 "Short Colt" did. Which is how we got the standard 230 gr. ball load at 850 fps or so from the 1911. You dislike this load from the 45acp but seem to think it's allright from the 44 Spl with a 246 gr. bullet. I can't always see the consistantcy of what you advocate.

In your last post, #165, you change your tune. In that post, by quoting Taffin, you seem to acknowledge that there are good loads for the 44 Spl. for both self defense and hunting. At least loads that can do the job without moving at 1300 fps. Glad you came around. :)

tipoc

Ken451
February 8, 2011, 11:45 AM
At a combat distance of 15 yards or less, this caliber will stop the bad guy in his tracks.

In your dreams. There is NO handgun round which will "stop the bad guy in his tracks" unless it's a lucky shot that hits the CNS.

No handgun round for defense is "just awesome". Most of them are good, but nothing is a sure stop. You have been reading too much hype :(

Water-Man
February 8, 2011, 12:13 PM
DM, you shoot someone at a range of 35-50yds. and you better have a REAL good lawyer to defend you.

tipoc
February 8, 2011, 12:36 PM
DM, you shoot someone at a range of 35-50yds. and you better have a REAL good lawyer to defend you.

Why do people say this?

Don't you need the same lawyer to defend you at 3 yards. Or will you settle for a worse one with less schooling and experience based on the distance. Will the by the hour rates be adjusted for distance? $250. an hour for 7 yards or less. $300. an hour for up to 12 yards, etc., etc.

Maybe as folks are closer a fella can get sloppier on who they shoot or not and when they shoot or not. Under 5 yards you can shoot them for looking your way, critique your T shirt and get a free pass. Past 5 they have to at least have a knife. At 10 they have to be pointing a gun at you, and etc.

If you ever have to defend yourself with a gun the shooting should be defensible no matter the distance and the reasons for shooting clear and justified. Distance is only one piece of it and by the way the .44 Spl. is quite good at distance.

tipoc

Water-Man
February 8, 2011, 12:46 PM
To ask why seems to indicate a lack of common sense. All things being equal, it would be alot harder to justify having to shoot someone at that distance than at say 5-10 feet.

Prosser
February 8, 2011, 01:39 PM
Tipoc: I am a bit hazy on this stuff. Been awhile since I did research on it.

So, let's see. You say I inflate velocities, but, support that their is a bit of a
dispute, saying the 250-260 grain loads might have been going faster(goes in other room and pets .45 Super with Buffalobore 255 grain bullets at 1090 fps).

The .45 Colt was the standard. It worked against horses, and, WITH A SOFT LEAD BULLET,was devastating on humans. Let's be clear that my conflict is created by BULLET TYPE. Everyone wants to discuss this like a LFN is the same as a pure lead cast bullet. THEY ARE NOT, AND, the results are hugely different, penetration wise.

JMB was designing a military firearm, and ammunition.

From the Hague convention of 1899:
"...Declare as follows:
The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions.
The present Declaration is only binding for the Contracting Powers in the case of a war between two or more of them.
It shall cease to be binding from the time when, in a war between the Contracting Parties, one of the belligerents is joined by a non-Contracting Power.
The present Declaration shall be ratified as soon as possible.
The ratification shall be deposited at The Hague..."

The 1911 was used by US forces from 1911, surprise,:D, to the current day, and, it was designed for the conditions prescribed in the Hague, non-expanding bullets.

Also keep in mind the M1873 SAA .45 Colt was pressed back into action because the .38 was not stopping the Moros, in the Philippine-American War.
The heavier .45 Colt bullets did do the job on the Moros, however.
The .38 kind of reminds me of the .44 special anemic loads:
150 grains at 777 fps.

So, when I say a 200 grain bullet is adequate at 950 fps-1200 fps, that is for a NON-EXPANDING BULLET.

Tipoc, you point out that the 45 ACP load was developed to mimic the .45 Colt load. However, the key point here is the Hague convention was being inacted, and, the soft lead bullets that had made the .45 Colts reputation where now being replaced by non-expanding bullets, I think a very big point.
With the lighter bullets, 200 grains, and higher velocity, you still get excellent penetration, with a flat point bullet, which I believe was JMB's original design. I trust that JMB knew what he was doing, and, that the 200 grain flat point would do damage similar to the .45 Colt, if it was loaded with a non-expanding bullet.

I maintain that to get adequate penetration with a large caliber, 240 grain bullets are the place to start. Taffin has had excellent luck with even 225 grain bullets, but at around 1100 fps, with the .44 special. If I was going to use an EXPANDING BULLET for the .44 special, I would follow his lead, and use 240 grain or heavier hollow points for defense, and, see no reason why not 1050-1100 fps, using 4227.

There seems to be a considerable increase in wound channel size when going from 770 fps, the anemic 246 grain soft lead .44 special load, and moving up to a 240 grain expanding bullet, moving 1100 fps. I've always thought I would still get the same penetration with a 200 grain flat point, moving faster say 950-1100 fps, as I did with the 230 grain ball at 850 fps. I also think the wound channel would be considerably larger with the lighter bullet, moving faster.

Here is a rather nice shot by Cottonstalk, on a deer with a .45 Colt WFN at 1150 fps.
http://i739.photobucket.com/albums/xx36/cottonstalk/45deer011.jpg

Now, I see no reason you can't get that kind of wound channel with a 200 grain bullet, non-expanding, out of the 45 ACP. With Longshot, you can move
a 200 grain bullet at 1013 fps, at 17K. I think JMB had shot enough deer to figure out that he would get an effect like the above, using that weight bullet. The fallacy is that when you make the bullet expanding, you give up your speed through the target, and, your wound channel, while bigger in the front, does not maintain it's size through the target.

So, in short:
.44 Special, for me, would be best with non-expanding 185-200 grain or heavier bullets, moving in the 1000-1100 fps range. However, why not use a 240 grain non-expanding bullet? 4227 gives you nearly the same velocity with a 240 grain bullet as the lighter ones?
If you are going to load expanding bullets, they better be heavy. 240 grains is a good place to start. THIS is my complaint about the .44 Special as a self-defense weapon: The ammo makers just don't care, or just don't get it. The factory .44 special offerings are too light for an expanding bullet. Besides, handloading those big, 240 grain HP's gives me the warm and fuzzies.:D You KNOW that bullet is going to do the trick.

"Quote:
At a combat distance of 15 yards or less, this caliber will stop the bad guy in his tracks.
In your dreams. There is NO handgun round which will "stop the bad guy in his tracks" unless it's a lucky shot that hits the CNS.

No handgun round for defense is "just awesome". Most of them are good, but nothing is a sure stop. You have been reading too much hype"

This used to be true, but isn't anymore.

I have a number of calibers, that, when loaded correctly, will hit like a .375 H&H rifle, something I also have. Below is commentary by a handgun hunting expert, jwp475, who has taken LOTS of game with large bore handguns.
I had the Speer 275 grain HP's loaded for defense loads. They expand to the size of a 2 bore rifle,
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/quartersand275grainbullet.jpg
and, at 1560 fps, would have an EXCELLENT chance of
being the most effective handgun stopping round ever made. They have made 4" across holes on entry in deer. Destroys a lot of meat, an excellent one shot stop defense round.


"
.500 JRH:
Factory 950 fps, 440 grain LFN cast bullet
the other factory load:
425 grains at 1350 fps?

MikeG on Shooters Forum has shot that load through the chest cavity of about an 850 pouund Buffalo and had an exit with the 440 at 950 FPS. I have shot the 425 grainer completely through both shoulders of an Asian Buffalo and broke the main support bone with an exit. Jack has shot the 440 grainer bullet at 1380 FPS ened to end with an exit of a Buffalo of about 800 pounds

.475 Linebaugh

275 Grain Speer Hollow point, at 1450-1560 fps
325 grain Speer Flat points at 1450 fps

I have not tested either of those bullets, with the light wieghts and the probability of excessive expansion I am skeptical of their usefulness in a 475 Linebaugh. One truly does not need nor want a lot of expansion at the expense of penetration with a true big bore revolver

.500 Linebaugh
350 grain LFN at 1350 fps
435 grain LFN at 1100 fps

No experience with a 350 grainer, but if the 435 is a true LBT design then it will work very well

.500 Linebaugh Maximum
525 grains LFN over 29 grains of 296: chrono said 1350 fps,
but, it might have been off?


The 525 grain WLFN (by Cast Performance) bullet out of the 500 Linebaugh is the hammer of Thor on game of all sizes in my experience. Truly a heavy hitter"

As to the effect of the 375 H&H, with expanding bullets, on humans. I could only find one shooting. This was an accidental discharge, while hunting, from behind. The bullet hit in the shoulder area, and
severed the vein, artery, bones, pretty much everything, and pretty much took the poor man's arm off. He bleed to death before they could get him to a hospital.

Prosser
February 8, 2011, 02:07 PM
This is an excellent article on bullet design, and wound channel.

http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech_notes/index.htm

Note there is a pretty big difference in wound channel size as you move from 600-700 fps to 900-1000 fps. Above that, you get into sort of a diminishing returns situation....

Ken451
February 8, 2011, 02:12 PM
Prosser,

You are right that the super handgun rounds (those above 44 magnum) are pretty effective but those are not normally used for self defense (and are bigger guns than most would carry concealed). I would also begin to worry about overpenetration :)

But even then, do you get an immediate stop without a CNS shot or breaking the pelvis? The deer I shot with a 300 gr 44 mag ran about 50 yards before he dropped.

I definitely agree that they would have the penetration (even with expansion and clothing) to reach the CNS.

Maybe we need to start a movement toward Linebaugh calibers and Ruger .480/SW 500. for concealed carry use :D

Prosser
February 8, 2011, 02:20 PM
It would certainly reduce crime. If someone was pointing a .500 Caliber FA 83
at me, and I was criminal, I would become an ex-criminal, very fast.;)

I was looking through Brassfetcher, and found this .44 magnum loading:

http://www.brassfetcher.com/Federal%20240%20grain%20Hydra-Shok.html

Take off about 60 fps, and, you have what I believe is one of the better self-defense rounds, EVER. Even with fairly limited expansion, you can see the kind of devastation this combination provides, plus, it penetrates like crazy. The .44 Special is capable of this combination, if properly loaded.

The .44 Special, is pretty near perfect. It can move the bullets fast enough to create a very large wound channel, 1000-1100 fps, and, that seems to be about perfect, with much more velocity not really increasing the wound channel much.

Prosser
February 8, 2011, 02:30 PM
Ken451:
So, you think they are too big to carry?
ALL of these guns were done by Jack Huntington Advanced Gunsmithing:

The king of all snubbies a 50-110 BFR:
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/50%20110%20BFR%20snub/BFR.jpg

Here is a snubbie .500 S&W. I'd probably fire .500 JRH out of it.
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/500%20SW%20snubbie/500SWsnubby4Jacks121406029.jpg

Here is my little girl, in .500JRH:
VERY packable:

http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/FA83500JRH852010/FA83RH500JRH852010.jpg

And last, but not least, Hellboy:
Safarikid's snubbie, .500JRH, 275 grain Barnes X type bullets, at around 1500 fps

http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/HELLBOY/HELLBOY.jpghttp://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/HELLBOY/HELLBOY3.jpg

They all are very packable, if not shootable:D

Ken451
February 8, 2011, 02:45 PM
How do you do follow up shots with a broken hand :eek:

Double taps? 2+1?

The SW500 snubbie at least ought to blind everyone! I just don't see the practicality of a super magnum in a snubbie. AFAIK, it takes more barrel than that to attain good velocity. But it is a neat looking gun :) I notice you say "I will probably fire..." Does that mean you haven't fired it yet?

Looks like the shortest FA is a 4.75" and the shortest Linebaugh is a 4". Neither seem to list weights :uhoh:

SharpsDressedMan
February 8, 2011, 03:24 PM
Not your grandma's .44 Special.......................................................................:Dhttp://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m247/matquig/DSC05273.jpg

Prosser
February 8, 2011, 03:48 PM
SharpsdressedMan: I LOVE that snubbie:D

The real advantage of these big bores is with bullets over 350 grains, and tight crimps, the right powders, you can get velocity about the same as a 5-7" barrel.

For example, I test shot one of these guns with .500 JRH ammo. Similar to the .500 S&W snubbie, but, a custom built on a Ruger SRH. It had a 2 inch barrel, and, it ran nearly the same velocity as the full sized gun, with a 5" barrel or so.

The snubbie was in the 1250-1300 fps range, the full sized gun at 1350, and, a 16" David Clay rifle only slightly faster. They did kick a little, since it's a 425 grain LFN bullet.

That said, I use 440 grain 950 fps .500 caliber loads in my girl. Not ideal for SD,
but
"MikeG on Shooters Forum has shot that load through the chest cavity of about an 850 pouund Buffalo and had an exit with the 440 at 950 FPS. I have shot the 425 grainer completely through both shoulders of an Asian Buffalo and broke the main support bone with an exit. Jack has shot the 440 grainer bullet at 1380 FPS ened to end with an exit of a Buffalo of about 800 pounds". I suppose it would put a good sized hole, turning bone to shrapnel,
as it goes through at full speed...Wound channel should be 1", all the way through, with the edition of secondary fragmentation if bone is contacted.

Also, the 950 fps 440 grain load gets full velocity out of the short barreled guns. Safarikid did some Barnes 275 grain expanding all brass bullets, and was getting near 1500 fps out of Hellboy.
With lighter bullets, if used at close range, you can also get devastating blast, and, a fireball that would light up and scar the bad guy.

SharpsDressedMan
February 8, 2011, 04:02 PM
The bottom line on packing the snubbie 500 is the weight. I started with the 8&3/8" monster (a real boat anchor), then got the 4", but I had so much fun firing the round, that I ditched the big ones and got the then-new 2 3/4" barreled snubbie. I handload, so I just kept upping the charge til I'd had enough (seems to be about 1120-1150fps with the Remington 385gr, but that is clocked from the short barrel). Not the hottest thing you can shoot from a comped gun, but remember what this "little" gun is.....light and uncompensated. For a true concealed, defensive use of the the gun, I load a 440gr flatpoint lead @ 700-750fps, and this is one hell of a kick butt round. The gun still weighs about 6-7oz. more than a six inch Model 29 S&W (the Dirty Harry gun), but isn't too bad to carry if you use a 1 3/4" belt and a well designed holster (Sparks HSR). If one needs a "one hot stopper", a full half inch, 440gr flatpoint pill is just what the doctor ordered. Even if the bad guy is wearing a vest, the crush ought to have the front panel in close proximity of the rear panel after impact. Who needs armor piercing ammo?

tipoc
February 8, 2011, 04:15 PM
To ask why seems to indicate a lack of common sense. All things being equal, it would be alot harder to justify having to shoot someone at that distance than at say 5-10 feet.

Why?

Think it through some.

tipoc
February 8, 2011, 04:37 PM
Prosser you are so far off it's hard to know where to begin to straighten your curly lines out. I won't try. You seem to argue against yourself post to post.

To put it bluntly your problem with the 44 Special is that it is not the 45 Linebaugh or even the 44 Mag. It is true the Special is not those. You have to get over that. The Special is it's own round and not anemic at all. Those of us who fancy the Special know that it is not and appreciate what it is.

It's interesting to me that in a thread about the .44 Special a good many detest this caliber and round so much that they can't wait to discuss the .357 Magnum or the 454 Cassull.

So let's be clear. If you want a well balanced round for self defense that holds 5 rounds in a gun the size of an L frame and 6 rounds in a N frame or a Colt SAA the 44 Spl. could be for you. If you want a round that will cleanly take any game in the lower 48 out to normal handgun ranges than the .44 Spl. will do that and does it well. These things will require different loads and different bullets but that is just part of the game.

tipoc

Prosser
February 8, 2011, 04:49 PM
All I can really say is you didn't read what I wrote, or don't get what I'm trying to say. I don't blame you. That was a bit longer then I wanted, as well, but, your questions deserved proper answers.

Let's see if I can be simple:
the .44 Special, in the right gun, with the right loads, does everything one might want in a cartridge, and does it with VERY low pressure.

It is a VERY capable round, and I would be fine with it, anytime, as long as I can find the right gun, and, load the right rounds.

Anemic is a word I use for the VERY slow .44 Special loads that have been offered by some of the ammo companies.

Properly loaded the .44 Special is all that, and a bag of chips.

For defense, the .44 Special exceeds the .45 ACP, can come very close to .44 Magnum loads, and does this with loads at 17k.

tipoc
February 8, 2011, 08:00 PM
Prosser I apologize for being crude. I should have read more closely.

tipoc

Prosser
February 9, 2011, 12:22 AM
tipoc: thanks.

The .44 Special is such an endearing cartridge. Loading those 240 grain HP's for my bulldog, and driving tacks with them, with relatively low recoil was a real joy, and, I now know my instincts were correct: the .44 special, at that level, is no joke.

However, if you lower the velocity you seriously lower the wound channel, both in diameter, and length. A .6" wound channel is seriously lame compared to a 1.0" wound channel, that blows through the entire target, thanks to the heavy bullet, and 1000-1100 fps velocity.

When I was loading for it, the bulldog was the entire dog and pony show, and, it was not up to either the loads, or the volume I wanted to shoot through my SD gun. The Detonics Mark VI gave me better ballistics, and, the gun lasted far longer, with a larger bullet.

By the way: .452" 200 grain speer flying ashtrays, at 1200 fps, blow some very nice holes in bad guys. If you are going to use a 200 grain bullet in a .44 special, it should be going 1100-1200 fps to justify using that light a bullet.

DM~
February 9, 2011, 10:03 AM
DM, you shoot someone at a range of 35-50yds. and you better have a REAL good lawyer to defend you.


If someone shoots at me from 35 or 50 yards, they should expect, and will get shot by me!

If a dog comes after me at those ranges, i won't be waiting until it gets to 10' before i kill it either.

DM

SharpsDressedMan
February 9, 2011, 10:16 AM
Prosser, if you have a preferred handload for the 200gr JHP in the .44 Special @100-1200, would you be able to share it?

DM~
February 9, 2011, 10:19 AM
If you want a round that will cleanly take any game in the lower 48 out to normal handgun ranges than the .44 Spl. will do that and does it well. These things will require different loads and different bullets but that is just part of the game.


Did you forget that there's big bears and moose in the lower 48? I've taken moose with a 44 mag, and also much other big game. I wouldn't even consider a 44 spl. for those jobs... Not even for elk...

I do love the 44 spl., but i also came to the conclusion long ago, if you don't handload it, speeding it up, the 357 mag. is a better defense cartridge at 50 yards.

DM

1911Tuner
February 9, 2011, 11:39 AM
'Twas said:

All things being equal, it would be alot harder to justify having to shoot someone at that distance than at say 5-10 feet.

Which prompted the question:

Why?


And suggested:

Think it through some.

In most jurisdictions, the justifiable use of lethal force dictates that the danger must be iminent and unavoidable and that the aggressor possess both the will and the means and that he demonstrate the intent to carry out the threat. Moreover, the threat must be grave...placing the reasonable man in fear for his life or of serious bodily injury.

At 20 feet, it's much easier to show that the threat is iminent and unavoidable. At 50 yards...not so simple unless he's armed with a gun and taking aim, or has actually fired the opening salvo. Not all lethal threats involve the use of a gun, however. A knife or blunt weapon satisfies the means, and possibly the will and the intent...but unless he's close enough to bring it into play...it doesn't satisfy the iminent and unavoidable part of the equation.

Let me state for the record that I believe that the 21 foot rule should be extended to the 30-foot rule under certain circumstances. 21 feet is too close for comfort when facing a young agile attacker armed with a knife or baseball bat. If it's an old, fat man...21 is probably enough.

Even if he has a gun and is firing on you...the situation will be judged on its individual merits. If you're cornered with no way out, or standing in the open...you have a viable defense. If you have an opportunity to escape, but willfully engage in a duel across a parking lot...you're coming onto shaky ground. You may be exonerated, but then again...you may not be. Painting with such a wide brush is a good way to find that you need a gallon of paint stripper.

All this does tend to suggest that the rights of the attacker are in better stead than the defender...and that's a pretty sad commentary...but it's the world that we live in.

Prosser
February 9, 2011, 03:25 PM
Funny, but I just got these by email today: Look Like McNett has come up with some very nice 44 special loads, as has Tim Sundles at Buffalobore.44 Special 200gr. Barnes TACXP Lead Free 20rds $27.95

An outstanding load for personal defense. This loading uses standard pressure. You can use it in any .44 Special that is in good condition! This powerful loading comes in boxes of 20!

Caliber : .44 Special

Bullet : 200gr. Barnes TAC-XP Lead Free

Ballistics : 1000fps - 538 ft./lbs. - 5.5" bbl.
900fps 2.5" bbl
1250fps from a Win. 1894AE 16" trapper carbine

.44 Special 180gr. JHP 20rds $20.00

An outstanding load for personal defense. This loading uses standard pressure. You can use it in any .44 Special that is in good condition! This powerful loading comes in boxes of 20!

Caliber : .44 Special

Bullet : 180gr. Remington® JHP

Ballistics : 1150fps - 529 ft./lbs. - 5.5" bbl.
1050fps 2.5" bbl
1395fps from a Win. 1894AE 16" trapper carbine

Buffalobore:

Heavy .44 Special Ammo - 180 gr. J.H.P. (1,150 fps/M.E. 543 ft.lbs.) - 50 Round Box - (personal defense load)

Real Gun Velocities

1. 6" Ruger .44 Magnum Super Blackhawk

a. Item #14A - 1203 fps
b. Item #14B - 1044 fps

2. 3.25" S&W Model 396

a. Item #14A - 1155 fps
b. Item #14B - 984 fps

Note: This Heavy .44 Special ammunition can be fired in every .44 Special or .44 Magnum gun made EXCEPT CHARTER ARMS .44 SPECIAL BULLDOG.

Funny, but Buffalobore gets the 255's going pretty much as fast as the lighter bullets:

Heavy .44 Special Ammo - 255 gr.S.W.C.(Keith-type)G.C.(1,000fps/M.E.566 ft.lbs.) - 20 Round Box - (for big game up to 500 lbs.)




Note: This Heavy .44 Special ammunition can be fired in every .44 Special or .44 Magnum gun made EXCEPT CHARTER ARMS .44 SPECIAL BULLDOG.

Tony_the_tiger
August 5, 2011, 01:11 PM
For what it's worth I think the S&W 296, .44 special 5 shot L-frame snub is the best answer to CCW with a snubby revolver, for my personal needs.

Mr. Camp (may he rest in peace) produced some very interesting data on the Corbon DPX round, weighing in at 200 grains and sporting a Barnes X-bullet.

Corbon lists the velocity of the round @ 950 fps out of a 4" Barrel. Mr. Camp chronographed the round from a 3" barrel with the following results:

Here are the velocities for each of those shots in ft/sec: 1006, 1012, 1027, 1046, 1034, 987, 1019, 998, 998, and 1004.

From these results we can safely assume that out of the 2.5" barrel of the 296, the Corbon DPX round will meet or exceed the published velocity of 950 fps.

Without going into the intricacies of self-defense shooting, I am very pleased to have the 296 matched with 5 DPX rounds and 2 extra speedloaders in my cargo pocket with a Mika's pocket holster.

Is the .44 special the best round ever? Maybe, maybe not, depending on how you define best. But most will agree it is quite handy, has a place in firearms history, and with the right load is extremely viable in a self defense situation. I can't think of a better CCW option for my needs at this point in time.

http://i978.photobucket.com/albums/ae269/kiwirat33/DSC02666.jpg

http://i978.photobucket.com/albums/ae269/kiwirat33/DSC02792.jpg

http://i978.photobucket.com/albums/ae269/kiwirat33/DSC02626.jpg

Velocity data retrieved from http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Corbon%2044%20Special%20DPX%20Report.htm

kwhi43@kc.rr.com
August 5, 2011, 01:51 PM
Anybody try out the new Buffalo Bore Anti-Personel 44 Spl yet? Or the new
190 gr. Lead hollow point. I been using the Blazer 200 gr GD and like it , But
always looking for something better. Got some old handloads I loaded up with
2400 powder with a 200 gr JHP at around 1150-1200 fps. These are a real blast
to shoot in short barrel guns in more ways than one. These are 40 yrs old.

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