.357...10mm...now .44special? Maybe 624?


hariph creek
September 21, 2012, 05:15 PM
These rambling questions I'm about to go on about are all in the context of a woods or trail gun. I've got other platforms for daily CC. Whatever I settle on does need to be concealable, but not like "deep concealment." Just out of sight, so as not to freak out other hikers. Think under a light jacket or the tails of an untucked shirt. The other guns I'll mention have worked in this context. No Scamdium, I like to actually shoot my guns.

I've long been a fan of .357 magnum. It'll do anything I need done, in my neck of the woods. 4" K/L/GP100's have served me well in the past.

Then I got the 10mm bug! Divested myself of .357. Currently running a Kimber Eclipse Custom II. I've got the gun tuned, the load dialed in, it's prefect.
But man, I hate chasing brass all over!

Also this is a woods gun, wait for it...black bear (yes I know). I really do go places they are, with my family. We are "bear aware" and keep up good habits in the woods. I really doubt I'll ever need to defend against one. But, being the "biggest and baddest" thing around. It's my yardstick, as it were.
Yes, when possible a long gun gets top billing. And yes, two legged predators are the more likely threat.

So now I'm kinda getting the .44 special itch. A revolver might be a better choice where contact-distance might be an issue (please no revolver vs semi-auto).
Thinking maybe a 3" 624?
I used to hand gun hunt with .44 mag. My hands can't take that kind of abuse anymore. I could download a magnum but, the 624 has such lovely lines.
I think it will do what I want? Say maybe 240 grains or so doing 1000-1200fps or so?
Shouldn't stress the gun to much, right?

Of course the 10mm will have to go to fund this latest whim.
Either way I'm looking at going back to a wheel gun for woods carry and general range fun.
So I guess it's .357 or .44special.

Any thoughts or experience?
Plus any specs on 3" 624's would be appreciated. Production changes correlating with dashes and what not. Really want pre-MIM and hammer mounted firing pin. NO LOCKS!


PS...bear spray isn't as much fun at the range!

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September 21, 2012, 05:22 PM
Take a look-see at the earlier Palmer built Wesson .44s, and you might budget to keep your 10mm. I've got a 5" fixed barrel, built in Palmer MASS version, and it's a tank. Shoots .44SP like it's plinkin .22s. It's certainly heavy. Black bear here too, .357 mag. and 10mm are plenty big for em here.

Have fun shopping...

hariph creek
September 21, 2012, 05:30 PM
Thanks will look.

September 21, 2012, 05:30 PM
I live about 1˝ hours north of you in Olympia, WA. My needs are the same as yours. Unlike you when I'm hiking in the woods I open carry. I could care less what other hikers think. I carry a 4" Taurus® Mdl 425 41 Remington® Magnum. It has no more recoil than my several 357 Magnums, and; is just about as powerful as a 44 Remington Magnum.

The gun weighs about 35 ounces so it is light enough for all day carry; yet is also easily concealable to fit your needs.

September 21, 2012, 05:38 PM
I'd prefer .44 magnum for a bear over .44 special. With the former, you can shoot both depending on context.

hariph creek
September 21, 2012, 06:44 PM
I'm really pretty much set on the 3" 624. Otherwise I'll get another 4" GP100.

A good friend has a Taurus Tracker in .44 magnum, it's alright. Another has the same in Titanium chambered for .41 magnum. Haven't shot that, sounds brisk, though.
Taurus kind of leaves me flat. If I can't have a well made S&W...I'd rather go with a Ruger.

I agree .44 magnum is preferable to .44 special. But, the magnum isn't on the table. I'm done with .44 magnum. Why buy a heavier, and to my eye less attractive, gun. Only to download it to stiff .44 special levels?
I'm talking black not brown bear. Let's be honest, I'm not going to be attacked by one.
I'm comfortable with .357 or 10mm or .44 SPECIAL, assuming proper loads, for this application. I can do my part with these rounds, in these platforms.

I usually open carry when out in the woods. Some state/federal parks are better off covered. Plus I spend time in Oregon, too. I have a permit there a well. The catch is, they don't honor out of state people with open carry.

Really looking for input on the 3" 624.
In particular with a load in the range listed above. However most action this piece would see is soft shooting Trail Boss loads.
Sorry I wasn't clear before.

September 21, 2012, 08:56 PM
The 3" 624s go for some pretty stiff prices. I had the 4" 624, nice gun, but the rifling was shallow and didn't work well with my soft lead bullets.

I sold mine and bought a GP100. The latest crop of Rugers seem to be pretty nice.

hariph creek
September 21, 2012, 09:20 PM
Yep, had a GP100 recently, good gun.
I would love a GP100 with a 5-shot .44 special or .41 magnum flavor.

playboy penguin had an unfired 624 (no dash) on the local forum here recently. $700...didn't last long!

September 22, 2012, 01:08 AM
You are aware that u can fire .44Spl out of a .44Mag. -
It'd probly be easier & "cheaper" to find a 3" or 4" barreled 629 than a 3" 624.
Very hard to tell the difference (visual) between the two and will still have the option of .44Mag.
I agree with your choice tho - the .44Spl is a lot easier to shoot than the .357Mag..
I shoot mostly .44Spl out of my 629's and .44Mag, out of a 3" barrel, is like holding onto a grenade.
Here's a comparison pic so you can see there's not much difference.
And don't sell the 10mm!


Top: S&W Model 629-4 3"
Bottom: S&W Model 624 3"

September 22, 2012, 01:24 AM
Keep your 10mm! Kevin just introduced a 220gr Hard Cast rated at 1200 FPS. That's a Glock 20 4.6" rating and it always over-achieves. In a 5" barrel I bet it goes 1250 FPS.


hariph creek
September 22, 2012, 08:18 AM
Aesthetically, I like the tapered barrel on the 624 better. I know it's trivial, but I like it.
I don't worry about the versatility of being able to run magnum loads. However, magnum brass is probably easier to find locally. And price and availability of a 629 could tip the scale in it's favor. I can always load specials in magnum brass.
I'd give serious consideration to a 4" 624, too. I guess there's always a 629 Mountain Gun.
Sure do like that tapered barrel on the big N's.
Maybe I'll just throw these in as trade options for the Colt Detective Special I'm selling on the local forum? See what happens?

hariph creek
September 22, 2012, 08:51 AM
I'm already loading 200 grains at 1200 FPS for my Kimber. It makes the energy I want with a good penetrating bullet. The gun is "tuned" to this load and it doesn't beat it, or me, up. Underwood's 180 grain Gold Dot looks pretty impressive for SD though.

My gun budget is pretty tight, don't know if I can justify two guns that fill the same role. This being woods/trail and "bedside." I do carry my 10mm for CC occasionally, I've got others for that use.
I like the 10mm, I'm just tired of chasing brass. It's not cheap, I have to mail order it and lose a few every time I go out. We spend a lot more time hunting for ejected cases than actually shooting.

I like semi autos fine, especially for CC. I think I might go back to a wheel gun for woods/trail use. And especially just plain shooting at the range fun.

September 22, 2012, 09:47 AM
You need a catch net then. Cheap to make.

September 22, 2012, 09:59 AM
Why buy a heavier, and to my eye less attractive, gun. Only to download it to stiff .44 special levels?

Because if you ever do need to defend yourself with that gun, the greatest likelihood is that you will need more than one shot. That weight with those loads is going to make it that much more likely that you'll get the follow-up shots that could very well save your life. Remember that you did, after all say that your yardstick is black bears. While relatively small, black bears are still bears and can be tough little buggers. And you also mentioned that the more likely scenario is human predators. Once again, if it's more than one of them those followup shots could be really critical.

Aside from anything else, it'll make range time that much more enjoyable.

Edit to add: and all this being said, if it were me, I'd just pick up a 3" gp100. It'll be slightly easier to carry than the N frame, take some serious .357mag loads, and be a whole lot cheaper both to buy and to feed. Not that I'm knocking the .44spl. Great round.

September 22, 2012, 10:14 AM
You could have a Ruger GP100 converted to 10mm.


September 22, 2012, 10:18 AM
You need to look real hard at REAL velocity numbers from short barreled revolvers before you decide. Magnum revolvers NEED long barrels to be effective. From 6-8" barrels their perfromance is impressive. Drop down to 4" or less and the actual results are disappointing. Downright depressing.

According to this website:


A 200 gr bullet fired from a

10mm = 1096 fps
4" 44 Mag = 1009 fps
4" 44 Spc. = 767 fps

Double tap 200 gr hardcast ammo chronographed 1315 fps from my Glock 20. Double Tap has the hottest factory loads in all chamberings I've come across.


Their hottest 44 special load shows a 240 gr bullet @

920 fps from a 6.5" barrel
800 fps from a 2.5" barrel

Their 44 mag loads show a 240 gr bullet @
1455 fps from a 7.5" barrel
1350 fps from a 6" barrel
1215 fps from a 2.5" barrel.

They didn't test a 4" barrel, but it would be pretty safe to say it would be somewhere between 1215 fps and 1300 fps.

I own 3" as well as 4" S&W 629's as well as a Glock 20 in 10mm. My chronograph shows very similar resluts. Since my G-20 is acually smaller than the 3" 629, and comes very close to the 44 mag with actual velocity and energy, that is what I chose.


I COULD choose to carry a 44 mg with a longer barrel and would see significant gains, but if I'm carrying a handgun that large I'd rather carry a carbine and get real gains in performance.

September 22, 2012, 11:47 AM
DoubleTap blows and are misleading in results.

Actually DoubleTap would be #3 on the list now behind Underwood and Buffalo Bore. They may move to #4 if PBR gets their lineup in order.

Revolvers with the gap do lose a pretty good bit. The cost of converting a GP100 you can just buy a 610 10mm. Some of the ammo I fire out of my Redhawk with a 7.5" barrel is shockingly low!

September 22, 2012, 11:50 AM
I made my sheet available for your review:


September 22, 2012, 03:23 PM
Another plus for the revolver over a semi is that you can (I do) carry it with the first chamber loaded with snake/bird-shot. Most semi's will not cycle using the shot-gun rds.


September 22, 2012, 04:18 PM
S&W used to make a 5 shot 44 Special on the L frame. Still can be found but are pricey. The Ruger New Vaquero is made in 44 Special with barrels down to 3.5 inch, IIRC. I want one of those with a 4 and 5/8 inch barrel. About the perfect woods walker, IMHO.

September 22, 2012, 06:27 PM
Get either a FA 353 or a RH .357 mag both can be loaded to significantly > velocity than a 10mm using 200 gr bullets.

Just chop 'em to whatever length you need :)

September 22, 2012, 06:44 PM
I have a SW 29 Mountain Gun that has a 4 inch barrel that's tapered like the 24 or 624.

As for the 624, I have a six inch that has made 1200 fps over the chrono using a 240 grain hard cast bullet. The rub is that with this load you are well into Elmer Keith territory, it was only 1 grain shy of his maximum. I've clocked 240 grain jacketed 44 Mag factory loads through 6 inches that were slower.

I strongly suspect that if you get a 3 inch 624 up to 1200 fps the bluing will peel off, even if it's a stainless finish. I really wouldn't try for it. Come to that, I'm not loading up to 1200 fps any more for my 624, enough is enough.

September 22, 2012, 07:52 PM
Why buy a heavier, and to my eye less attractive, gun. Only to download it to stiff .44 special levels?

You do know you can shoot .44 special (And .44 Russian) rounds out of a .44 Magnum, don't you? And that way you could still be ready to shoot that stray bear that everybody seems to worry about by carrying a few rounds of .44 mag with you.

September 22, 2012, 07:54 PM
I also hope you know that a revolver for 10mm requires the use of moon clips, do you not?

September 22, 2012, 09:06 PM
Naw, as I recall Ruger chambered to 10 mm in some Blackhawk variant. Typical SAs don't need moon clips.

September 22, 2012, 09:09 PM
I also hope you know that a revolver for 10mm requires the use of moon clips, do you not?

Its not usuallly required to shoot, but it makes reloading easier.

357 Terms
September 23, 2012, 07:27 AM
You need to look real hard at REAL velocity numbers from short barreled revolvers before you decide. Magnum revolvers NEED long barrels to be effective. From 6-8" barrels their perfromance is impressive. Drop down to 4" or less and the actual results are disappointing. Downright depressing.

According to this website:


You can't use BBI numbers when talking about revolver calibers.

Ballistics by the inch incorporates the OAL of a revolver cartridge into the barrel length, so their data for a 4in barrel is actually much shorter ( their 4in 357 data is actually from a 2.4in barrel)

September 23, 2012, 07:59 AM
XgibsonX What is an fa353? thanks in advance.

September 23, 2012, 09:17 AM
A great attribute of a S&W 610 is that it will take .40 S&W as well as 10mm. After the last election's ammo mad dash, that was about all you could find in commercial SD ammo on the shelves around here. I'd keep the 610! As to a used/hard to find 4" 624 or a current 4" 629-6... I opted for the new 629s. I sold my '83 vintage 6.5" 24 and bought a new 6 " partial lug 629 8/05. No more worries re Keith-level loads. I later traded my 629MG, bought new 11/02, for a new stock 4" 629 4/06. The benefits of the 41.5 oz 4" 629, which weighs the same as the 4" 624, over the 39.5 oz 4" 629MG include OR/WO sights vs blk/blk; larger hammer; larger trigger; and a bit more weight forward to lessen muzzle flip. I know my 629's are '.44 Magnums'... but I shoot .44 Russians, Specials, and wimpy Magnums from mine.

My .44 Special revolvers:


Yeah, I know... the 296 & 696 on the left are real .44 Specials... but, in my world, so are the 629s! Same story here with .357 Magnum vs .38 Special. Of course, it's my little world...


September 23, 2012, 02:00 PM
"XgibsonX What is an fa353? thanks in advance."


It is this:


A real beauty, eh? It'll safely outrun the cartridge.

hariph creek
September 23, 2012, 02:22 PM
19-3Ben, I've fired the loads I'm looking at in a L-frame sized Taurus. No problem with follow up, recoil, etc... Even the 3" 624 weighs more. I'm looking for around 240-250 grains as close to 1000 FPS as I can get. Buffalo Bore is doing this with a 696 already.

Then there's the GP100? In order to get enough energy with that bullet. I put 4" as the minimum length, to achieve enough velocity. That for me it's the appeal of the .44 Special. Good energy with less "snap."

As far as range time being enjoyable? I load my own. I've got access to a virtually unlimited supply of 180 & 200 grain laser cast .44 bullets. I've also got a lot of IMR Trail Boss. Sounds like fun at the range, to me!

I was talking with a good friend yesterday, his dad gave him the advise..."instead of pushing the limits on a given round, step up to a more powerful round and dial back."
That to me is a good argument for the 629 over the 624.

hariph creek
September 23, 2012, 02:28 PM
Dan-O I've never had any interest in a rimless cartridge in a revolver.
Or vice versa, I don't get it?

hariph creek
September 23, 2012, 02:36 PM
jmr40, Ballistics By the Inch is a pretty interesting site. They don't always have the best ammo choices though. There is also the issue of the chamber in a revolver not being taken into account. Even with losses due to the barrel/cylinder gap.

Double Tap's numbers have been called into question lately. Either way, I load my own.

I do agree about barrel length for magnum loads. I'm not looking at magnum loads though.

hariph creek
September 23, 2012, 02:50 PM
CH47gunner, are you suggesting snake shot for any kind of a defensive purpose, other than snake? No poisonous snakes here in the Pacific North Wet.

hariph creek
September 23, 2012, 03:02 PM
XGibsonX, hunted once upon a time with a 454 field grade Casull. Amazing piece, cringed everytime it knocked on a tree branch. Short of rimfire I don't shoot single action revolvers any more.

hariph creek
September 23, 2012, 03:22 PM
Unspellable, the .44 Mountain Gun is on my list. If I go 4", it'll be a MG.

Having owned a 624, what do you think of 240 @ 1000?
Buffalo bore is doing it, more our less, with a 3" 696. The 624 is a stronger gun. Other than load development and a cylinder or two, every couple few months. I'll be running powder puff loads in it.

hariph creek
September 23, 2012, 03:33 PM
gandog56, I have NEVER in my life seen .44 Russian on the shelf in any shop.
I'll be rolling my own.

The bear is a red herring. I really want a 3" 624. I'm trying to justify it.
It has to serve a purpose though. Trail/house gun is about all I can figure.
I'm going to keep my Kimber 10mm. I've got too much into it and it just works.
I'll see about getting the 624, if I find it displaces the 10mm, I might make a choice. "Who does daddy love more?"

September 23, 2012, 03:35 PM
I have a few of my 240 grain cast @ 1200 fps loads left. Next time I start loading I will drop down to about 1000 fps. That's from a 6.5 inch barrel. (my oopsie, last time I said 6 inch.) At 1000 fps it should be fine in a 624. There are some revolvers I would not use it in, for example I have a 5 shot Taurus on a K size frame. The chamber walls are on the thin side and I would not use anything hotter than factory loads.

In a 624 or 29 with a 3 to 4 inch barrel you could probably get 1000 fps with a bit more powder than it would take in a 6.5 barrel. But such a load should be reserved for the stronger 44 Specials.

I do see a 4 inch 624 now and then at the gun shows.

For the 29, I personally would use 44 Mag brass, even for a 44 Special level load, I have a thing about using short brass in long chambers. At 1000 fps it's beyond factory 44 Special levels so the little powder in big case thing is a non-issue.

September 23, 2012, 03:37 PM
I have seen 44 Russian. I have a 50 round box of it by Fiocchi.

hariph creek
September 23, 2012, 03:59 PM
unspellable, I know .44 Russian exists. Just never see it around. Like you, I run full length brass in any given revolver. I HATE ring around the chamber.

I appreciate your input on the 624.
Keith pushed the .44 Special well past what I'm interested in. Metallurgy has advanced quite a bit since his day, too.
I wonder if it's a matter of more powder, or the "right" powder.
As I devotee of the K-frame. I can appreciate the difference between what it can handle, and what it can handle alot of.

If I step up to 4", I'll just get a 629 Mountain Gun. Sure would simplify things.

September 23, 2012, 10:04 PM
BTW: While Elmer Keith survived his experiments with the 44 Special some of his revolvers did not.

How ever, for the S&W 624 and 24s manufactured about the same time as the 624, S&W did admit they were made of the same metal ,of the same thickness, and same heat treating as the 629 & 29 cylinders which is why we are fairly confident using 44 special loads in them that go into Elmer's territory. (An additional point is that the yoke is similar. Most people think the Ruger Blackhawk only loads for 45 Colt are not suitable for the S&W because of pressure. Not so. The S&W 45's yoke tail & cylinder well bottom interface is the weak point. Overly heavy loads in the S&W will cause end shake.)

One VERY important exception. S&W did send out some 624 cylinders that were not up to snuff and had a recall on them. My 624 fell in the serial number range and I had to send it in to S&W for a check. It passed OK, not to my surprise since I'd already been running my heavy loads in it.

BTW, BTW One of the signs that you are a gun nut is that you run such heavy loads in a S&W 44 Special because Elmer did , but you run lower velocities in your S&W 44 Mag because they are known to be a bit delicate.

hariph creek
September 25, 2012, 10:24 PM
I'll keep the 10, it just works.

Still be on the lookout for a 3" 624, once I've saved up a little money, though.
It appears the energy of a 240gr .44 @900-1000 is roughly equal to a very hot 180gr .357 from a 2"-3" barrel. With less a "flash bang whiplash" effect.

I've got those 200gr laser cast, too. Could probably easily hit 1200 fps? Poor sectional density at that weight, though. But still...

September 26, 2012, 09:42 PM
Howdy folks,
if it is any matter, i shoot and carry conceal a charter bull dog with the tiger stripe factory camo. I love this thing, 22 or so oz's, accurate enough, and never stops shooting. I have glocks, rugers etc, but when i leave in the morning , i strape this 44 special on.

September 27, 2012, 11:16 AM
How about a S&W 625? Similar performance to the .44 Special and much more common ammo (.45ACP). Can also share ammo with many great Autos

Moon Clips make for fast reloads in case the zombies are after you.

hariph creek
September 27, 2012, 03:51 PM
Low and Outside, the Charter is pretty handy. I don't think it's rated for the kind loads discussed here, though?

hariph creek
September 27, 2012, 03:59 PM
clang, I've never understood the appeal of rimless cartridges in a revolver. Except for competition, of course. Seems to complicate a rather elegantly simple apparatus.
I don't think you can load up 45acp to the same levels as 44 special?
Plus I've got access to, literally, thousands of (free) laser cast 180 & 200 grain bullets.

hariph creek
September 27, 2012, 04:02 PM
So my wife needs a trail gun. Maybe she needs a 3" 624? That's right it would be "her" gun. Too bad she's all of 4'-11" short. I don't think she could properly index the trigger?
Shame though, if she could, it would be allot more controllable than the 3" SP101 she has her eyes on.

September 29, 2012, 03:39 PM
Its not usuallly required to shoot, but it makes reloading easier.

I believe it IS necessary for a S&W 610!

A great attribute of a S&W 610 is that it will take .40 S&W as well as 10mm
And moon clips are certainly a necessity if you want to also shoot .40 S&W in a 10mm gun, since semi-autos headspace them on the necks of the cases, and .40's are shorter.

gandog56, I have NEVER in my life seen .44 Russian on the shelf in any shop.
I'll be rolling my own.

Somebody must, as I got a few pieces of brass for it from a range that somebody left on the floor. I only have like 5 cartridges made up from them.

September 29, 2012, 10:59 PM
I believe it IS necessary for a S&W 610!

Why would it be? As far as I know it headspaces off the case mouth. You wouldnt have to use them to shoot it. If you wanted to use 40 S&W you would, obviously.

September 29, 2012, 10:59 PM
I have a 624 3", a 24 3", and 4" 24's and 624's. I also have a couple of 696's.

The 624 is only a little bigger than the 696, plus one more round.

I tend to use the 624 3" more than the others, only because it just feels right.

I handload, and carry 7.5 grs of Unique with a 240 gr SWC. This load from this gun has amazing penetration - I have never recovered a bullet through the several deer and hogs I have harvested (around 200 lbs max).

Luckily, I was able to acquire the N-frames before they became so expensive.

The hard part is finding a pre-lock N-frame without having to sell your pickup.

September 30, 2012, 11:03 PM
I'm soory, but I would have to suggest you find a nice 44 mag.. Practice and shoot with the softer recoiling 44 spl., and then carry magnums for bear defence loads. In terms of firerm weight, there isn't going ot all that much, both are beffy wheel guns.

My primary concern here is that the 44 spcl isn't a real bear stopper, being that it is hard to get enough fps with a 240 gr. bullet. You'll be lucky if you can push a 240 gr. bullet over 1000 fps. I for one would not want to have a 44 spcl. as my chosen defense against a charging bear. You just might make him twice as deadly?


October 1, 2012, 12:05 AM
get a S&W Model 610, 10mm.
Whats wrong with moon clipps , there great

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