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Looking for a good .44Special.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by A strange person, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. A strange person

    A strange person Well-Known Member

    At some point, I'm going to want a decent defensive handgun for my truck, limited CCW, and for woodsbumming when I don't feel like carrying my rifle. The .44Special is perfect to me because I already reload for the .44MAG (Can use the same reloading equipment and components), and I just plain ol' like it's ballistics.

    What I want is a .44Special DA with a 4"-5" barrel that weighs about 2 pounds, and less is better. It can be a five-shot, if necessary. No alloy-frames. It doesn't need to be a tack-driver; if it can kill a squirrel at 25 yards it can do anything. It shouldn't be a piece of junk that will need to be repaired after a few months of normal use.

    Can anyone list revolvers that have been produced in the last 60 years or so that fit this description and can be found used for $500 or less? There doesn't seem to be many .44Special revolvers being produced today. The Charter Bulldog fits the bill, but the company just doesn't seem to have the reputation for quality that I like.

    It's not something I can afford right now, I just figured I'd get some research out of the way while I had the idea. I can't find any way online to simply get a list of every weapon ever made chambered for a specific cartridge. If anyone knows of a site that has something like that, please let me know.
  2. waidmann

    waidmann Well-Known Member

    I had and was reasonably pleased with a Taurus Tracker, 5 shot, SS, ported, .44 Mag that only had specials put through it. I had and was not nearly so pleased with a Rossi 720 (I think) DAO, 3" all steel. I currently have a Charter DAO and a pair of S&W 6-shooters. The Charter definately will not decapitate a squirrel at 75 ft. in my hands, but for a light CCW I feel I am getting good service. The $500 ceiling in a .44 spl. does sort of limit one's options.
  3. paul105

    paul105 Well-Known Member

    This might be as close to your specs as is available. It is a .44 Mag, but this might be a positive. Weight is 34 oz. and MSR is $688 (actual price should be less). Anything lighter will be some type of alloy or combination of alloy and steel. Rossi was supposed to reintroduce their .44 special, but couldn't find any listed at Libpsey's, Bud's, or Davidson's.

    FWIW, Some have had quality issues with Taurus and their customer service has also been questioned at times.



    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    I am using a 19 year old Taurus Model 441 for exactly the type of use you describe. I have had it for 7 years, am the 4rth owner that I know of. The others sold it because they did not hand load and considered 44 Special too expensive. I cast and load and put over a thousand rounds a year thru it since I've had it. It is a 6", SS. I bought a new OEM 4" barrel for it after I bought it just 'cuz I could, someday I'll change it out. The 441 has really good ergonomics(for me) and is very accurate. 5 shot medium frame, easy to use. I also have a S&W 624 3", RB, fine, fine revolver, but it feels like a boulder in my hand after the 441. The S&W is very heavy and much larger over all except for length. 441's do show up on the auction sites from time to time, both blue and stainless.

    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    I am of the opinion that a Ruger GP100 in a 5 shot 44 Special configuration would be a fine addition, maybe in 41 Magnum also, 5 shot.
  6. Black Butte

    Black Butte Well-Known Member

    If I was going to use the Taurus Tracker for defense, I'd prefer 7 shots of .357 over 5 shots of .44.
  7. Exeter

    Exeter Well-Known Member

    Charter makes the Target Bulldog with a 4inch barrel and improved sights. I am familiar with the Bulldog Pug of 20 years ago, and it would reliably drop five rounds into a 3- 4 inch circle at 25 yards DA.
  8. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    There are more .44Spl's available today than at any other time in history. Ruger finally has several variations of the mid-frame flat-top. Plus several New Vaqueros. S&W has produced a few different 24's and 22's (or was it 21's?). You can special order them from Colt and they just reintroduced the New Frontier this year. USFA has the chambering available in several different models. Charter Arms also has several different versions of their little .44Spl.
  9. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

    buy a 4 inch stainless 629,load it with 44 special.no ammo mistakes
  10. IAmNightMan

    IAmNightMan Member

    S&w 696

    One possiblity is the S&W 696. It is a 5-shot L-frame, and is about 36 oz unloaded. It does have a 3" barrel, a little shorter than what you had stated, but it balances well for me. It is stainless steel, and the "no-dash" model lacks MIM parts and the IL, if that matters to you. The one thing to be aware of is the thinner forcing cone present on the 696; it is advised you stay away from any hot loadings of .44 specials (Keith-type loads) to prevent damage to the cone.
  11. A strange person

    A strange person Well-Known Member

    The Colt New Service would be just about ideal, but I doubt I could find one.

    The .44Special is perhaps the most under appreciated handgun cartridge in history. It's a tragedy.

    If all else fails, that might be what I get. I may also just get one of the Ruger/Lipsey's SA's.
  12. A strange person

    A strange person Well-Known Member

    I'd never heard of it 'till you mentioned it. The barrel is a little short, but usable. I'd probably take it if I found one for a good price.
  13. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Well-Known Member

    Well, if you are willing to forgo the DA platform, I can say that the lipsey vaquero (mine is a 3.75" sheriff) is accurate as all get out, and probably strong enough to take any sane load. It is also easy to tote; that's my "woods" revolver.

    Up until now, I had nothing for ya–though I like the idea of the first gen Tauruses (fixed sight 431 and target 431) from 20 years ago. I've shot one owned by the simply rugged guy (Rob Leahy) and have wanted a clean one for a couple of decades since...

    The GB auctions that I have been following of late seem to be selling more beat up examples, but I'm sure a gem will turn up at some point.
  14. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Well-Known Member

    S&W 696 is a cult revolver. S&W only did a couple of runs and that means the piece is on the rare side and that means pricy. But worth it. 696 is my favorite gun.
  15. jad0110

    jad0110 Well-Known Member

    If you find one that passes the checkout, the Taurus 431s are very nice revolvers. I love mine. They have fixed sights, and came in 3" and 4" barrels. Maybe more, I'm not sure. I picked up this 3" mint condition example made in 1993 about 10 months ago for $268. The DA trigger is nearly as smooth as a S&W, and the gun balances very similar to a 3" S&W K Frame (very nice). Recoil is moderate and the gun is a natural pointer in my hands. Not much to not love.




  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I got lucky and picked up a 696 very reasonable 3 or 4 years ago. Awesome gun. I still want a 441 one of these days. I have been out bid on a 441 twice. I have almost bought a S&W Model 24 a couple of times. May still do it one day.
  17. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Well-Known Member

    I shot a lot of rounds thru my 4 inch barreled Taurus Tracker in 44 magnum. It took to 44 Spl loads like a duck to water, and always gave me the option of using the magnum in special circumstance. A 5 shot gun in a frame about the size of the S&W L frame. I do recommend this gun.

    That said, I also have a pair of 3 inch barreled Rossi Model 720 guns and these are the only Rossi guns I ever managed to fall in like for. A 5 shot 44 Spl about the size of a S&W K frame. Mine shoot well and handle even better. That I have two of them should say that I am satisfied with them, and I certainly am .

    I'd rather have 5 shots of 44 caliber than 7 of 35 cal. but that's me.
  18. azgunner

    azgunner member

    I own a Taurus 431 in blued like the one pictured. Got it new for $300.00 last October. Awesome weapon. I also own a Rossi 720C in 44 Special. Got it new in January for $350.00 Both weapons are fantastic. I couldn't ask for better CCW weapons. They shoot great, they carry really well. As for reliabilty neither one have any issues. The only other weapon I put in as high asteem is my Ruger Speed Six in 2 3/4 357 magnum. All 3 are my CCW weapons.
    I shoot Blazer Gold Dots in 200 grainers for defense and shoot 200 grain lead for practice. This is a reload your own caliber though. But it is so much fun.
  19. Tony_the_tiger

    Tony_the_tiger Well-Known Member

    The 696 looks nice but you won't find it in your quoted price range.

    I have it's cousin, the 296, in my pocket right now...but this is scandium so also violates your criteria, and would likely exceed the quoted price range as well.

    For your purposes (limited ccw, some woods use, and a truck gun), and under $500, you can pick up a new Ruger blackhawk in .44 special with a 4.62" barrel. :D

    You won't have any bullet limitations on that firearm for .44 special as you might in 5 shot snubs (the 296 is limited to 200 grains... it just so happens my favorite .44 factory load, the corbon DPX, is that weight. But, given the option, I might load heavy for caliber).


    Just go to the gun genie link, type on your zip code and the caliber, find the ruger, and click "instant quote". for my zip code, i'm getting offers around the $450 mark. Not bad at all and you'd have a lifetime warranty on it from davidsons as well.
  20. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Well-Known Member

    jad0110, that's the exact one. If I could find a 3" 431 as clean as yours for anything close to your sub 300 ticket, you could-as another THR member once observed-hear my hand moving to my wallet, it would be so fast.

    Nice pics, too. That is exactly the one I'd like to find, blue steel, fixed sights and all. Good catch.

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