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Isn't the 44 Special for defense just awesome?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Arizonagunrunner, Dec 20, 2010.

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  1. Arizonagunrunner

    Arizonagunrunner member

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    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.
     
  2. calaverasslim

    calaverasslim Member

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    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.
     
  3. TimM

    TimM Member

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    I absolutely love the 44 special. It is my favorite wheel gun round. But... it's not a magic talisman.
     
  4. NELSONs02

    NELSONs02 Member

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    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...
     
  5. Messenger Guard

    Messenger Guard Member

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    The 44special falls into that optimum level for stopping people. It falls way over that level for price.
     
  6. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    .44Spl was good enough for Harry Callahan so it should be good enough for us... :D
     
  7. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    Actually Harry packed a .41mag :D
     
  8. Paladin7

    Paladin7 Member

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    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.
     
  9. Prosser

    Prosser Member

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    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 Blazer 200 grain Gold Dot hollowpoint.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.
     
  10. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    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.
     
  11. Arizonagunrunner

    Arizonagunrunner member

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    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
     
  12. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    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.
     
  13. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    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:
     
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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.
     
  15. scottishclaymore

    scottishclaymore Member

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    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...
     
  16. jhvaughan2

    jhvaughan2 Member

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    If your lucky, you can carry it in your pocket.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    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
     
  18. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    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
     
  19. Surefire

    Surefire Member

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    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.
     
  20. Prosser

    Prosser Member

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    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?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  21. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    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
     
  22. easyg

    easyg Member

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    I'm rather underwhelmed by the .44 Special.
    It's just not that great of a self defense caliber IMO.
     
  23. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  24. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    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.

     
  25. scottishclaymore

    scottishclaymore Member

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    jhvaughan2, I had not thought about the 296. Now I will have to see if I can find one somewhere...
     
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