.44 SPL in a .44 Mag?


October 20, 2011, 01:22 PM
I just bought/Traded for a ruger redhawk in .44 mag and I was wondering can I shoot .44 SPL in a mag like you can with the .357 and .38spl. This is my first wheel gun so I'm new to this.

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October 20, 2011, 01:27 PM
Yes you can. It works the same way as the .38/.357. It also means that you'll need to clean the grunge ring away now and then just like with the .38/.357 when switching back and forth.

Last I heard .44Spl is hard to find and costs as much or more than .44Mag. And all big caliber ammo is expensive enough that I'd suggest you want to get yourself into reloading soon if you don't do so already. And once you're reloading your own it's just as easy to reload .44Mag cases with powder and bullets that matches .44Spl performance. That way you only have one size of brass to worry about and you have more control over the load power. If you're worried about "ammo confusion" then a quick swipe with a colored Sharpie across the headstamps makes them easily identified.

October 20, 2011, 01:37 PM
Absolutely, yes you can. I shoot about 1000:1 Spc. vs. Mag. through my .44.

"Special" brass ejects a lot more positively than Magnum brass, which is nice if you're in a hurry and would like to perform a clean reload.

October 20, 2011, 01:40 PM
Thats great the reason I ask is because, the person I got the gun from gave me a bunch of brass and about 100 rounds of .44 SPL.

October 20, 2011, 01:41 PM
Enjoy! And save the brass...

October 20, 2011, 01:43 PM
Collect the Magnum brass and download it to Special level and you'll save the effort of cleaning the aforementioned ring that you'll develop shooting the shorter Specials in Magnum cylinders.

Great gun!

October 20, 2011, 01:47 PM
IMHO, the benefit of easier and more positive ejection outweighs any inconvenience cleaning the chambers may induce.

October 20, 2011, 01:47 PM
Ya now that I have this pistol I'm going to have to start reloading.
Never tried it before.

October 20, 2011, 02:19 PM
.44 special and magnum are very friendly cartridges to begin handloading for. Have fun!

Hondo 60
October 20, 2011, 03:08 PM
Just bought a new to me Redhawk 44 Mag myself!
I guess great minds think alike! ;)

Check out the Handloading and Reloading section of this site.
A whole bunch of GREAT folks who're more than happy to help out a new reloader.
My motto is:
The only dumb question, is the one NOT asked & ends up gettin' someone hurt or worse.
And you can save a butt load by reloading, or as most of us do, shoot a whole lot more. :D


October 20, 2011, 04:18 PM
My Redhawk is new to me as well. It likes .44 SPLs, and they shoot accurately. The recoil with factory loads is relatively soft, comparable to shooting a moderate .357 from my Security Six. I have yet to try any downloaded .44 magnum handloads, but will build some soon.

October 20, 2011, 07:30 PM
If you don't reload, you can always buy 'Cowboy Action Shooting' type .44 Magnums from Georgia Arms, etc. It'll be milder and less expensive than .44 Magnum hunting loads. Save the brass - you never know when you may start reloading. I counted my .45 Colt empties nine years ago - I had over 2,700! I ordered, sight unseen, a Dillon 550B - and started reloading, never having touched a press or die beforehand. It's a fun adjunct to your shooting hobby. You won't save money, you'll just have more ammo - and what you want, not 'what's available' - to shoot more.

BTW, it'll also chamber and fire the precursor to the .44 S&W Special - the released in 1871 S&W first mass produced metal cartridge centerfire round, the '.44 Russian' - if you can find them. Starline makes the brass. By all means, clean the carbon/lead out as you go from shooting short-cased ammo to longer cased ammo - especially important with .44 Magnums and their high pressures.


October 20, 2011, 08:20 PM
.44 Special is almost mandatory in my S&W 329PD due to the extremly fast snap recoil using .44 Mag in this very light handgun. I reload to .44 Special specs now, using .44 Mag brass almost exclusively. Saves wear and tear on the gun, which has already been back to the factory for warranty replacement of the frame once.

Good luck.

Deaf Smith
October 20, 2011, 08:26 PM
I just bought/Traded for a ruger redhawk in .44 mag and I was wondering can I shoot .44 SPL in a mag like you can with the .357 and .38spl. This is my first wheel gun so I'm new to this.
Use .44 spls in my 629-1 all the time. Shoots fine!

I reload them to.


October 20, 2011, 08:37 PM
Relic, at LEAST half the fun of any big bore handgun is in the reloading. With reloading you can come up with loads from mild to wild. And, if you're a cheap thrills sort like me you can experiment with various powders and bullet weights to produce the absolutely biggest fireball and flame "wings" as you can get... :D Lighter bullets and loads of H110 or 2400 really excell at this last idea. Recently I bought a pound of 4227 thinking that since it's "almost" a rifle powder it should make BIG flames. But sadly it's just a good basic powder with no real pyrotechnics... :(

So yeah, jump on in and get at least a simple setup for reloading to go with your .44Mag. Sure it'll cost a bundle to get set up at first for the press, dies, primers, bullets and powder. But what you're buying will easily last for a HUGE bunch of ammo. And after about 500 rounds you'll have amortized the loader and dies and from then on it'll be cheap shooting! ! ! !

And if you shoot any other handgun ammo then I'd suggest spend a bit more and jump on board with "progressive" reloading where each pull of the lever performs three or four operations and one fully completed round comes off the end of the indexing shell plate with each pull. It'll cost that much more to set up for progressive loading but if you shoot a lot with some other caliber then it just makes all the more sense to get into reloading.

Even with 9mm I reload. I shoot enough of it with IPSC and IDPA and local Speed Steel matches that it just pays to do so. The fact that I can also reload my .45acp, .38Spl cowboy loads and now .44Mag on the same machine is just the "slam dunk" assurance that I did the right thing when I set up for reloading.

October 20, 2011, 10:51 PM
Ok so here is a question for everyone. Copper jacket ammo vs solid lead?
What Is the big difference in the two and does it matter for a revolver?

Deaf Smith
October 20, 2011, 11:59 PM

If you drove the bullets fast, say past 1000 fps or so, lead bullets then to start leaving parts of themselves in the bore. This is called leading (well it IS lead buildup, right?)

You will loose some accuracy as the lead buildup gets worse. Jacketed bullets were made to stop that very thing.

So real .44 magnum loads need jacketed bullets. Mild .44 Specials don't.


October 21, 2011, 12:43 AM
I'll second that need for light loads FTG. I had my 629 rebarrelled to a light 4" mountain gun clone and even a lead swc at 1100 fps rubbed a good blister on my thumb with only 50 rounds. I love the handiness of the piece though. With a pancake holster it fits just right behind my hip. I had forgotten how much fun wheelguns are.


October 21, 2011, 02:28 AM
One of the neat things you'll learn about the .44mag is their ability to replicate. :D


October 21, 2011, 07:05 AM
This is called leading

For a really comlpete discussion of the hows and whys of leading, read Brad's (member, MissouriBullet) write up of optimizing hardness for pressure/velocity:


Some of his bullets are hardness Bn 18, suitable for a load producing 23,000 CUP.

October 21, 2011, 07:40 AM
So real .44 magnum loads need jacketed bullets.
This is completely untrue! As long as you match your hardness to the velocity and the bullets are not undersized, leading is a non-issue. My most-used centerfire load, which I crank out by the hundreds on my Dillon 650, is a .44Mag load consisting of a commercial bevel base 240gr SWC over 10.0gr Unique. It only runs 1150fps out of sixguns but runs 1450fps out of rifles and I cannot remember the last time I had to clean lead out of the bore. Plain based bullets can easily be run up to 1600fps. If I wanted to run a gas check, 2000fps would be easy.

The only bullets you cannot run at full speed are swaged.

October 21, 2011, 01:10 PM
The issue of leading is a mysterious one. From the reading I've done I've seen references to how using a harder cast for high speeds resulted in leading because the hard cast didn't obdurate to seal the grooves. Hot gases leaking past actually melt or fracture away the lead in small amounts and that loose lead is what builds up. In one particular case switching to a bigger diameter that fit closer to the groove diameter was enough to provide a good seal. In another the reloader actually switched to a SOFTER lead so it would more easily obdurate more and give a seal.

But it does support the point that cast bullets can do the job even with magnum loads and even at velocities up into the lower 'teens. You just need to check frequently with the first loadings until you know you can trust them not to build up any lead.

October 21, 2011, 01:16 PM
I think that's some of what Brad is getting at with his "techical" page.

The issue isn't velocity, so much as pressure. Not too much, and not to little, either.

October 21, 2011, 01:23 PM
Sam, yes it is. And in fact I believe that his article is one of the ones I'd read about a year and a half back. And yes, I'm guilty of not reading the link until you posted your last reply... :D

October 21, 2011, 01:24 PM
Oh, ha! :)

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