What's Special about the 44 Special.

NorthBorder

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I didn't want to steal the other current thread about the 44 specials so I opened a new one. What does the 44 Special bring to the table that a 44 mag does not? Or even a 45 Colt? I have 2 of each but I certainly could be convinced that I really need a Special. What I seem to have gleaned over the years reading THR is some kind of special love for the Special. Yea, so......
 
Something old. Something new. If all you had was 44mag and .357 you could make perfect duplicate loads. But your talking feelings and not data driven conclusions.
 
Easy. The .44 Special strikes a fine balance between power and portability. It fits into tidier, lighter platforms than the .44Mag. Such as the medium frame Blackhawk (New Model and Old) and Colt SAA. In those guns, it can be loaded from mild plinking loads equivalent to the factory squibs, to the 950fps every day "Skeeter load" and the 1200fps Keith load. Any of which will do 99% of what needs doing with a handgun. Whereas the .45Colt is less strong and less capable. Folks love that big .45Colt case but at this power level, it's just a lot of wasted powder space.

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In DA's it can be squeezed into mid-frame guns like the GP100 and still be pleasant to shoot.

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It also shines in the N-frames. Where the typical tapered barrel shaves a couple ounces off and we're not stressing the platform beyond its limits like the .44Mag does.

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Well, the 44 S&W Special is two distinct cartridges. The one conceived by S&W, 246 grains at 755 fps. And the one that was morphed by the 44 Associates, which lead to the development of the 44 Remington Magnum. So, you can have a very mild, very accurate cartridge or a fairly stout, very accurate cartridge in the same case and revolver.

What separates the 44 S&W Special from the 44 Remington Magnum is really the revolver. For decades, the 44 S&W Special was fired from a very classy and svelte revolver that later evolved into the Mountain Revolver. The 44 Rem Magnum was housed in a clunky, heavy barreled revolver. Eventually, the Magnum cartridge was adapted to the lighter revolver but many are not fond of the lighter weight, maybe two ounces?

Personally, of the two, I would choose the Special but I never warmed up to the 43 caliber cartridges. I prefer the 45 caliber cartridges that end in ACP.

Kevin
 
Yeah, the .44 Spl is a dandy round, no doubt. It has a lot going for it. But, dang, I sure do like that 'ol .45 Colt round.
They are both extremely fine rounds. I do indeed get Craig's points.
 
Yeah, the .44 Spl is a dandy round, no doubt. It has a lot going for it. But, dang, I sure do like that 'ol .45 Colt round.
They are both extremely fine rounds. I do indeed get Craig's points.
I like 45 Colt as well. It fits the “large diameter slow moving bullet” category for me as well as the 44 Special.
 
Hmmm...I am a fan of the .45LC. A 4" S&W M-25 is one of my favorite revolvers.

But I recently "re-discovered" the .44Spl after about ten year's absence. I re-acquired a 5-shot Taurus (yeah, I know) M-441 3" blued revolver that is about the size and weight of a K-frame.

Really a carry-able, shoot-able revolver, and though I'd rather have six rounds of .45LC, I'd rather carry the smaller, lighter M-441. I swap back and forth between the two, but as my wrists and everything else age, I see the .44Spl becoming more appealing.

A few years ago, I went through the same exercise with .45LC and .41Mag, and ended up selling the .41. I don't necessarily foresee abandoning .45LC any time soon, but in the fullness of time, anything is possible.

Note: I handload for every centerfire firearm I own, so no conflicts regarding ammo cost or supply.

Edited to add...Kevin: you have an amazing collection. :)
 
Here are my S&W 25-5's.

I also have a 25-15, purchased to compare the new Model 25 with the older Model 25's.

I also have a couple 45 Colt Blackawks, a Model 25-2, Model 625 and a Model 22-4.
 

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The .44 Special strikes a fine balance between power and portability.
Yes, Craig nailed it.

It also can be an exceptionally accurate round, it's typically the softest-shooting of what we consider a "big-bore" handgun, and it hits pretty hard, making it a good self-defense round as well.

What is not to like? (Unless you are a die-hard .45 Colt fan, and they seem to be barging in to this thread...)
 
Something about a 255 grain bullet at 850-900fps that makes the 45 Colt sing. In a SAA (Updated steel) it is a good balance of manage-ability and power. Until 1935 and the use of magnum pressures and the 357 in revolvers it was the stongest production handgun load.

The 44 Spl is a nice round but is a DA revolver round with similar power to the 45C. IMO and not factoring the high cost of ammo the most common use since the dirty harry evolution has been to shoot it instead of magnum loads so your bullets hit where intended and your palm doesn't get brused.

Similar to the 38Spl the 44Spl performs best when used in the correct chambers. Heavy fouling and loss of pressure when used in mag cyls gives them a bad rep.

Both are good performers when paired to the right handgun and really work well in the smaller carry type wheel guns when magnum pressures don't make sense.

One of the nicest wheel guns I've ever fired was a tuned 4" Colt Duty Revolver in 44Spl.
 
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The 44 special has an average fps of 911, has on average 361 lbs of energy at muzzle, the average grain for this bullet it 200, and the recoil is near identical to the 357 making it much easier to handle than either the 44 magnum, 41 magnum, 45 GAP, 45 Auto, and even the 10mm.
 
I like the reduced case capacity of the 44 Sp. versus the 44 Mag. and 45 Colt. Works better with smokeless powders well suited to low pressure levels.
 
The question makes more sense when considering a new firearm. If you want a light carry .44, the Special is available in some smaller and lighter platforms.

Mostly I like buying older stuff, and if I find one chambered for .44 Special it's a good day. At the moment I'm between dedicated .44 Specials, and since I handload my .44 Magnum ammo pretty mild, I'm not specifically in the market for one. But it's a good cartridge.
 
The 44 special has an average fps of 911, has on average 361 lbs of energy at muzzle, the average grain for this bullet it 200, and the recoil is near identical to the 357 making it much easier to handle than either the 44 magnum, 41 magnum, 45 GAP, 45 Auto, and even the 10mm.
The original loading used a 246 grain bullet at 755 fps.

Kevin
 
The .44 Special is my absolute favorite cartridge, but mostly for irrational reasons.

At best, you can say it is a "Goldilocks" cartridge, packing the power of a big-bore but capable of being fitted into a mid-size gun. It is absolutely perfect in the .357 frame Ruger Bisley, for example, whereas a gun/cylinder of that size really does not have much safety margin in, say, .45 Colt.

Realistically, though, results from the .44 Special - at least until you get into Elmer territory - are pretty similar to those of the .45 Colt (and .45 ACP for that matter) and there really is not a huge difference in size. Carrying my mid-size .44 Bisley is scarcely different from carrying my full-size Bisley in .45 Colt, and with midrange loads, the critters and pinecones can't seem to tell any difference either.

But with the Colt, I'm just carrying and shooting a Colt. That makes me very happy - but when I'm carrying the .44, I'm carrying a little piece of Elmer and Skeeter and the rest, and that makes me positively joyful.
 
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