.44 Special

  • Last Post 11 April 2016
Pigslayer posted this 21 January 2015

Have long been toying with the idea of getting a .44 Special. I'm not into the magnum calibers anymore. I have a .45 Long Colt (I hate saying “Long Colt") & a .38 Special & love them both. Very comfortable shooting handguns & very accurate to boot. So, I'd like to get some advice/opinions on the .44 Special. Please chime in. Pat

If someone else had of done to me what I did to myself . . . I'd have killed him. Humility is an asset. Heh - heh.

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giorgio de galleani posted this 21 January 2015

I have shot 44sp brass in my S&W 629 44Mag , without ill effects .

I have a weaker Peacemaker first generation  clone by Uberti that gives me  quite sufficient Cowboy shooting accuracy. No 44 mag P73 clone was available in Italy at the time I got my special.

 Bullseye shooters better than me , told me that while there is no difference in accuracy using 38sp brass in 357M chambers , 44sp brass shoots a little worse than magnum brass in the  Mag guns.

For my modest plinkers use the 44 brass case in a 44 sp  gun is fantastic , and loading the hand grenades loads in the long Mag cases exclusively will prevent dangerous mistakes.

Shooting  low 44 sp light loads gives me more recreational pleasure than shooting light 38sp loads.

A similar great  pleasure  I get shooting moderate 45ACP load in revolvers .

In a Marlin leveraction carbine I prefer to use only 44M brass at the overall lenght prescribed by the manuals, to avoid feeding problems .

Finding a good  and affordable S&W double action ,long barrel target revolver  would be the fullfillment of my pipe dreams.


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giorgio de galleani posted this 21 January 2015

44 sp & 44M bullets and loaded rounds.

Little Debbie posted this 21 January 2015

Pat,I am a big fan of the .44 Special for a day to day carrying gun around my place and hiking on the public land that surrounds us.I've gotten to the point where I don't want to stop and put ear plugs in , but don't want to accelerate my hearing loss for shooting a target of opportunity. No supersonic crack for me. Usual target is a coyote or raccoon skulking after the wife's cats. The beauty of the .44 Special is that it works well in a double action revolver. My favorite is any older S&W. I would love to have a .45 Colt double action revolver,but my experience with extractors riding over that tiny narrow rim with the two S&W 25 revolvers I've owned soured me.  I carry a Bowen converted  5” .38/44 S&W in .44 Special that is marvelously accurate. The perfect sixgun. I use a maximum load of Bullseye with a Saeco/H&G  #503 SWC that weighs about 260 grains cast from billet trap scrap. Tumble lubed and loaded as cast. Any solid body hit on anything up to a large coyote stops it almost immediately. I wouldn't hesitate to use that load  for deer. The brass lasts forever and it's economical to shoot. A friend has one of the “small” frame Ruger Blackhawk .44 Specials that is very attractive, small,and accurate, allowing you to have a single action alternative.that isn't a large .44 Magnum .Don't get me wrong, I have .38s, .357s, 44 magnums, and 45 Colts, but the .44 Special is enough and will do everything well. 

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Bud Hyett posted this 21 January 2015

The .44 Special experience is with two Charter Arms Bulldogs (since traded off), a S&W 696 and reduced loads in .44 Magnum revolvers. I can quickly grow tired of full-power loads in .44 Magnum and will switch to the .44 Special with 6.5 grains of Unique with a 200 grain bullet load.   The 696 is an outdoor carry gun for which I have possibly the only full-flap holster in existence. Loaded with 6.5 grains of Unique and a 200 grain bullet, it is easily controllable for double action shooting. The other side is the fun of plinking with these loads, I never leave home with it without several hundred rounds of plinking ammo in case of need. I've also shot 225 and 245 grain loads in the 696; they shoot well; but these are much heavier in recoil.

The one attribute that also works well is .44 plastic shot loads for vermin and snakes which I can use in any gun.When prairie dog shooting, I carry it with two rounds of snake loads and three rounds of 200 grain lead for the occasional rattler.

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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Brodie posted this 21 January 2015

The only downside I ever experienced with shooting 44spl loads in 44mag. guns was that I had to occasionally take a brass bristle brush to the chambers, as powder fouling would build up over time and make putting mag loads in the cylinders a little difficult.  I think that this is the reason that manufactures tell us not to shoot the shorter brass in magnum guns.

Personally I would love to have one of Ruger's new 44spl flattops.  I don't live in Brown Bear (Alaskan Grizzly) country, and personally believe that the 44spl or 45Colt will do anything you need done with a hand gun.  Accuracy, bullet construction, bullet weight,and penetration are what you need in that type of situation, not brute power.  Excessive power only promotes flinching and the heavy recoil reduces the chance of a decent second shot in time to do you some good. Brodie


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mckg posted this 22 January 2015

Giorgio, have you had a chance to try or handle the new Pietta in .44 Magnum? It has the “army” grip and is apparently built with a standard frame and cylinder, which I cannot get confirmation of from on-line owners who all seem to be new shooters. Using “magnum” steels, it would make a dandy gun for the Special round.

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 22 January 2015

I bought the Tarus (5 shot stainless) for a carry piece - 'smith had worked it over and bobbed the hammer - absolutely the smoothest action I've ever pulled. Then I got the S&W 5 shot stainless.  Ok, not as smooth or as comfortable to carry.  Sold the S&W. 44 spcl is GOOD.  Would prefer .45 colt, but 5 shot is not made. (Have the Ruger BH in stainless in .45 Colt - LOVE IT!)    

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RicinYakima posted this 22 January 2015


My opinion is that after owning 45 Colt's, 44 Specials, 44 Russian, and 45 ACP double action revolvers, there is not a lot of difference in performance. Like Bud says, a 200 grain bullet in any with a decent load of Bullseye is fun. Sold my Lipsey New Model Ruger BH Bisley in 44 Special, as I could never get it to shoot better than 2.5 inches at 25 yards. I built a 44 on a Colt New Service that shoots every thing into less than that at 25 yards. So I like 44's. But I take with me a S&W 625 in 45 ACP. FWIW, Ric

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william iorg posted this 22 January 2015

I have the Lipsey 44 Spl Bisley and enjoy it. I also shoot the Lee full Wadcutters as shown on the left in post three, using Bullseye Bullseye. My Bisley had two different throat diameters. I don't if this is common or not but reaming them to one size improved accuracy for me.


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Brodie posted this 22 January 2015

I still have one of the early Charter Arms bulldog 44 specials.  When they swagged the barrel into the frame the made it a little smaller in the forcing cone than the rest of the barrel.  Consequently at least two out of ten rounds on a 25yd target hit sideways.  Not knowing any better and wanting my gun to shoot better , I loaded it with 7.5 gr. Unique behind a 265 gr pure lead slug.  I had no trouble shooting 95 and above (25yd slow fire), but if you look down the barrel you will see a smooth bore it is so full of lead. Brodie


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Bud Hyett posted this 22 January 2015

I had leading problems with both of my Charter Arms Bulldogs and that is how I was introduced to Speer plastic shot loads. After an evening on the range with the Bulldog, one plastic shot shell down the barrel removed the leading. Recovering parts of the body or the end cap would show streaks of lead adhered to the body. The plastic took 95 to 99% of the leading out and left the rest easy to brush.

I tried a shot load at 20 feet one night to see what the pattern was and discovered the barrel was almost clean at home later that night. The next Friday night at the range was a deliberate attempt to see if this cleaning action repeated, which it did.   

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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Dale53 posted this 22 January 2015

I have a number of .44 Specials both S&W and Ruger. My all time favorite would have to be the Model 624 (I have both 4” and 6.5") although my two Ruger flattops would be close. All of them will shoot better than 1” off the bench at 25 yards. Here's the Ruger midframe Flattop Talo:


 Here is my Smith Model 624 (4"):


My current favorite load is an LBT 240 gr WFN ahead of 7.5 grs of Unique for a field load. I also use Speer shot capsules in snake country (loaded with #12 shot which will shred a snake's head at realistic distances). I have a variety of really nice field pistols in several calibers but .44 Specials rank high.

FWIW Dale53

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giorgio de galleani posted this 22 January 2015

Good news this Pietta 44 m revolver production .

Alessandro Pietta one of the brothers  owning the firm, is an avid shooter and competes in cowboy action shooting , and I am well satisfied by my couple of 357M peacemaker  3rd generation clones. Of course The 357M revolvers are made with stronger steels than those used for lower pressure rounds.

All the best Italian CAS  shooters use the Pietta guns.

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mckg posted this 22 January 2015

EMF name such models Alchimista after Mr Pietta's CAS name (he reportedly has big hands and started the idea at the factory). A major issue to me is that they cost as much as a regular gun with an extra grip assembly... I know the Alchimista at least has a lower hammer spur but still...

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R. Dupraz posted this 22 January 2015

My Ruger New BH 44 special. It is a nicely finished and fitted revolver. Pretty heavy trigger but a Brownell's spring kit turned it into a different pistol. A very enjoyable HG and gets used quite a bit.           This target  was shot at 20 yds over a rest this afternoon after lapping my mold out to get the right bullet fit. And, yes there are five shots there. The final five round target was similar except I pulled two off to the  right.          I would buy another.      RCBS 44-245-SWC, 7.5 grns of 50 yr. old 4756.        I have to add though, that there was quite a bit of barrel thread  crush. And I had to fire lap the bore by firing 30 rounds through it to fix that.  

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oscarflytyer posted this 23 January 2015

IMO - ain't no downside! I also have the 45 Colt. 44 SPC is my GO TO for woods carry.

Mine these days is the Ruger BH Flattop in 4 5/8” bbl. LOVE it. Have it's evil twin in 45 Conv. Had the 44 SPC for about 4 yrs and already has very noticable blue wear. I ALWAYS goes woods walking/hunting/open carry with me whenever I am not concealed.

Shoot almost exclusively a 255 Keith cast in it. 16 grns (I recall - DOUBLE CHECK) for hunting carry. 7.5 grn Unique/Skelton load or Power Pistol/same 255 bullet other times.

I have a Lee, supposed to be 200 grn RNFP, but mine drops WW+2% tin at 117 grns. Use 220 grn data. nice easy paper puncher/plinker.

I had a few 44 Mags and shot SPCs in them - didnt care for the cleaning chore, and when mostly SPCs, why not a dedicated SPC gun. Also had few SPC snubbie revolvers I tried for carry. Loved the round, hated carrying the frames. Why I eventually went to an XDs flat 45 ACP.

But, IF I carried (and when I DO carry open) open every day, I would not hesitate to carry the BH 44 SPC. It carries great and feels great in my hand, almost like an extension. I did get custom set of Claro grips on mine.

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delmarskid1 posted this 24 January 2015

Hi Pat, I've used 44 special, russian and magnum in the same gun with no problems. with that being said I just use the magnum brass and use a different looking bullet for the different loads. I like .44's, 38's and .45's. I had a Taurus five shooter in .44 special and it was a pretty good gun. It had a 4” heavy barrel like a S&W model 10.

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Pigslayer posted this 24 January 2015

Am looking at the Colt New Frontier in .44 Special. Hmmmmmm.

If someone else had of done to me what I did to myself . . . I'd have killed him. Humility is an asset. Heh - heh.

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R. Dupraz posted this 24 January 2015

Nothing wrong with that Pat!

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Rodfac posted this 17 February 2015

I've got a pair of the Ruger Flat Top .44 Specials, one in each length and also the SS model in 4-5/8” bbl. All shoot beautifully right out of the box. My Smith 24-3 is just as good if not as easy to carry. For day to day walk-abouts here on our farm, the SS Ruger Flat Top in .44 Spl is my usual companion with a cylinder full and a spare 6 in a shirt pocket.

I'd say that the .44 Special is the easiest caliber I've ever worked with trying to find a good load...most anything works if you've got a good bullet, sized correctly. I'm currently running all of mine at 0.431” cast from WW + a pinch of tin. Lyman's 429421 PB, 429215GC, 429244GC, and Mihec's copy of the old H&G503 PB are some of the ones that work very well. All of the above will do right around an inch at 25 yds, if I'm having a good day with my 68 yr. old eyes and the iron sights.

Powders that work are 231, Unique, Herco, 2400, Accurate #9, and Win 296/110. For most of my needs, I carry 7.5 gr of Unique with any 200-250 gr LSWC and get great results with a chrono'd speed of 950+- in my 4-5/8” bbls.

HTH's Rod

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