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44Magnum The Most Versatile Handgun Caliber

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by mr.revolverguy, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. mr.revolverguy

    mr.revolverguy Ohio Active Member

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    I know this is going piss-off many readers but before moving on to your other favorite firearm post take a deep breath and continue reading. Keep in mind I am not saying the 44 Magnum is perfect or best suited for a firefight, the best range cartridge or even the best hunting round. But what I am saying is paired with the right handgun or carbine the 44 Magnum is the most versatile cartridge known to man.

    Plinking, Target Practice

    The Remington 44 Magnum is not often a round one thinks of when headed to the range for a fun day of plinking, most often than not most are thinking of the 22LR. My handloaded 44 Special +P 240gr jacket bullet loaded with 8.5 grains of Hodgdon Universal has become one of my most favorite rounds for plinking and poking holes in paper, I would even trust them to the self defense role against the 2 legged predator especially in the right handgun. During this test this round proved to be very consistent and accurate. It even proved to be soft recoiling in the S&W 629 Performance Center 7.5in barrel revolver, yet everyone else on the range knew I was firing off something with substantial power, but not causing pain to the palm of my hands. Of all the handguns which accompanied me on this trip the S&W 629 Light Magnum Hunter Performance Center revolver proved to be the most accurate and the one I would prefer for any range use, it managed a 1 1/4 inch group at 25 yards.
    44mag7inch.jpg

    Make and Model
    Barrel Length

    Ammunition
    Hi

    Lo

    Average

    Extreme Spread

    Barrel Cylinder Gap

    S&W 629-4 Performance Center
    7.5in Ported

    Ultramax Match 240gr Semi Wad Cutter
    1186

    1170

    1181

    16

    0.006

    Reloads 8.5grains of Universal/Winchester LP Primer
    1084

    1031

    1059

    53

    Reloads 18.5grains of 2400
    1333

    1321

    1325

    12

    Join me over at Day At The Range | Always On Target for the rest of the review and how I put a number of 44 Magnum Revolvers to the test. Leave comments and let me know what your favorite caliber is or what you believe to be the most versatile and why. If nothing more this proved to be in the top 5 of experiences I have had on the range. Thank you Elmer Keith.

    44mag7inch.jpg
     
    gunfreak, WAYNO, peetar and 3 others like this.
  2. coyote223

    coyote223 NW Oregon Stamp Collector,,,

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    Nice Gun!
     
  3. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    I am a big fan of the .44 in a revolver/lever combo. I am maybe a bigger fan of the same combo in .357. If I could only have one, it would be a hard choice. I would be in heaven if I were able to get my hands on a .41 lever gun(someday, after a lottery or inheritance, one in .454 Casull). Straight-walled magnum revolver rounds loaded to near maximum levels, a stout single action revolver(for me, Ruger. After the inheritance/lottery, Freedom Arms.) and an accompanying lever gun is a beautiful thing.
     
  4. peetar

    peetar Kitsap County Active Member

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    Nice writeup op.
     
  5. Asp

    Asp Oregon, the promise land. Active Member

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    44 mag reminds me of this often:

    via Terminal ballistics as viewed in a morgue
     
  6. 3MTA3

    3MTA3 DMZ between Liberty and Tyranny Behind Enemy Lines Bronze Supporter

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    The Ruger Redhawk was my constant companion when I was hiking and backpacking due to its versatility. It did a great job with snake shot, hot FMJ bear loads, man stoppers, and low power wad cutters for plinking. At camp sometimes we would have fun and use it to split firewood. My favorite time with it was at a friend's house who had his own 25' range. We were teaching a new friend how to shoot, but every time I loaded it for him he got snake shot so he could never hot the target no matter how carefully we aimed. My buddy and I would then shoot nice groups with wad cutters. Luckily, he had a great sense of humor because he was still holding the Redhawk when we let him off the hook.
     
  7. dpoh

    dpoh mcminnville New Member

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    I also love the 44 mag I had a carbine and got a few deer with it great river/brush gun. I traded it off about 2years ago but I enjoy the hell outta the ruger redhawk 7.5"barreled 44mag I traded it for :thumbup: since then I have done some trading for my ruger super redhawk Alaskan 2.5" in 44mag ............ you cant beat a good ruger
     
  8. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I really enloy my Super Blackhawk, once I put on Hogue grips. Hope to add a Henry .44 to the safe soon...
     
  9. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    I agree with you about the .44 magnum cartridge. I have a S&W 629, 6-1/2" barrel, a marlin 1894, a S&W 329PD and a Desert Eagle XIX in that caliber. It would be the last caliber firearm I got rid of, were I to start getting rid of my firearms. To me its versatility comes if you reload it.
     
  10. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six North Greenlake, Seattle New Member

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    No reasonable semi-auto handgun.
     
  11. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    44 magnum is an excellent caliber, but I would consider the .357 to be a bit more flexible. If only for the sheer number of different factory loadings available for it. From fully seated mid range wadcutters in 38 special on up, at one time not too long ago I counted 17 different variations of the 38/357. If you add in the 357 max you really have something.
     
  12. mr.revolverguy

    mr.revolverguy Ohio Active Member

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    I have not counted :) But I have been shooting for many years, and I thin there is just about as much variety in 44mag as there is in 357.
     
  13. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    I have shot 44 special (mostly) and 44 mag for years, it just seems like there are rarely more than two different choices on the shelves at any given time. 357/38 is frequently the same recently. I loved my 624 and model 29, but for sheer accuracy a 38 special model 14 beat them every time.

    I reload so this is more of an academic discussion.

    .429 weights are as varied as .357
    lets see IIRC
    180
    200
    220
    240
    250
    300
    357 weights,
    98 (can't find these anymore, S&W nyclad bullets)
    110
    125
    148
    158
    180
    200(also uncommon)

    as far as off the shelf ammo? Mostly 240 grain JHP or 125 grain JHP

    bullet design also varied in a given weight class for both so lotsa choices.

    as far as versatility, I really can't say, probably neither. What about the .41 mag? One of the orphan stepchildren of the gun world, but with a significant cult following for many reasons. A "true" caliber using .41 diameter bullets, great ballistics, never owned one but the caliber intrigues me.
     
  14. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    I'm a recent .41 mag convert. After selling off every other one of my other oddball calibers (.577 Snider, .577/450 Martini Henry, 7.5French, 8x56Hungarian) the .41 magnum remains.

    Doubletap has affordable hardcast and what looks to be some pretty decent defense loads as well.

    41 Magnum 170gr. Sierra

    41 Magnum 250gr. WFN Hardcast 50rds.

    From research I've done though, against rabid humans the .357 125gr. JHP still appears to be the 'king' of defense cartridges.

    Keith
     
  15. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six North Greenlake, Seattle New Member

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    The only .41 I've ever even seen was a single action revolver that a guy I knew was carrying for grizzly defense in Alaska.
     
  16. jrw711

    jrw711 Boise New Member

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    I loved my Dan Wesson 44 mag....regret I sold it a few years ago. Now I am looking to get another 44 mag. Look forward to shooting the 44 specials and mags.
     
  17. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    For my next big bore (if I ever get one, that is), I might skip the .44 altogether and go .454, but that's where I would stop. The .44 is too close to the .41 for the investment to be worthwhile.

    I shot a S&W .500...once... I don't know what kind of ammo the fellow had in it, but it darn near broke my hand. My thumb was sore and swollen for at least a month (no kidding). I pride myself in being able to handle recoil, but after the experience I want nothing to do with that caliber.

    Keith
     
  18. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    for the monster handgun calibers I think a contender would be best, better ergonomics than the revolver. but after all is said and done it's up to individual preference.
     
  19. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I believe that an case can be made for the 41 Mag and 45 colt (in a proper gun) to be just as versatile as the 44. While the 44 Special will do for the lighter 44 Mag loads, most 45 Colt loads are soft and the 41 Mag started out with two distinctly different loads without changing cases. Also, the 41 and 45 can be had in lever actions. The 45 is popular that way now, but Marlin made the 1894 in 41 for years. Hard to find, but I had one.
    I'm a 41 fan, have been for years.
    But, most versatile? If your not concerned about handgun size, I'd have to say S&W 460. 45 Colt, 454 Casul and 460 all out of the same gun and you don't have to handload (but what's the fun in that!).

    By the way, I had a 5" 500 for a couple of years. I loaded it hot and loved the heck out of it. But none of my friends liked to shoot it, nor did any of them shoot it more than once. Only one guy went thru a full cylinder.
    Dynamite in a handgun!:thumbup:
     
  20. mr.revolverguy

    mr.revolverguy Ohio Active Member

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    All great comments and I to am a lover of the 45 Colt. But I could not rationalize in my mind choosing it after seeing a guy blow up a vaquero on the range with hot 45 Colt Ruger only loads. This was intended to be about the capability of the round itself not the weapon. Even 44 Factory ammunition on the store shelf can be found loaded from mild to wild yet all be within SAAMI spec. 45 Colt I have only found in cowboy loads unless you special order.