Saturday, December 18, 2010

.44 Special

I like the idea of .44 Special revolvers.  Never having fired one, I assumed that the bullet would be like .45 ACP, big and heavy with similar recoil as a 1911.  I may have assumed wrong, at least on the felt recoil, based on descriptions from those that don’t have to assume.  The case length of a .44 Special is 7mm more than a .45 ACP, and very little effort on these here internets could have put paid to possible flaws in said assumption

So that got me internet researching.   I knew that Elmer Keith would be involved because of his interest in and development of magnum stuff.  But I hadn’t considered how old the .44 Special actually was.  1908.  Then I remembered that Garfield was assassinated with a Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special in 1880sumthin… Waitaminnit…  Even my faulty memory about the age of the round is confused.    Yes, Garfield was shot with a .44 Bulldog, but not a Charter, and not a .44 Special.  It was a .442 Webley.
Cool.  No telling where a corrective bit of wiki-surfing can take you.

Back to the present day.   I am convinced of the efficacy of .45 ACP, like I said, so I sorta wouldn’t mind carrying a .44 Special maybe.  This extends from Jeff Cooper’s effective indoctrination.  But thinking on that… Col Cooper never much mentioned .44 revolvers.  .357, yes, but not .44…

However, I had no idea that some factory loadings of .44 Special ammunition are enough to prematurely wear out the lighter framed variants of the pistols.  And if the lighter framed variants are made as tough as possible and don’t structurally wear, there is still the problem of the recoil causing issues with the popping the bullets ‘forward’ out of the cartridge case.  Yikes.  I’m gonna assume that Saucy Trollop’s .44 S&W 629 Hunter with a 10 inch barrel can eat .44 Special all day with nary a notice, and has enough mass to not be popping lead out of brass.  

There is one other slight problem with .44 Special.  The expense and scarcity of the ammo at the purveyors of fine firearms and firearm products. 

So I should probably stick to a model 625 and its .45 ACP if I absolutely HAVE to have a .4x inch revolver someday.


Anonymous said...

.45 LC.

Murphy's Law said...

.45LC rocks, as the poster above has said.. And the .44 Special and .44 Magnum are cartridges that an experienced and careful reloader can do wonderful things with. The factory? Not so much, because they're trying to put out loads that will work equally well in pistols and rifles together. But if you sit down at the press and work up loads unique to your own guns, then magic can happen.

Bubblehead Les. said...

If you want to shoot .44 Special, I'd find a used Smith .44 Mag Mountain Gun and stuff it with the lighter load. Then you have 2 calibers to use in one gun.

Also, considering your search for a Combat Commander, take a look at the Nighthawk Custom's T3 line in Stainless. Pricey, but the company comes well recommended. Have fun.

Tam said...

Cooper often opined that the .44 Special DA revolver would be a splendid police sidearm for constables unwilling to take the time to master the .45ACP autoloader.

ZerCool said...

I carry a S&W Model 21-4 as my hunting sidearm. It's a massive beast, weighing in a bit under 3lb, and I stuff it full of my almost-to-Keith-level handloads. (16.0 of 2400 under a 240gr LSWC. Use at your own risk, etc.)

Recoil is "brisk" but entirely manageable, and I'd be comfortable using it on anything I'm likely to find wandering the woods of middle NY.

I'd be quite happy to carry it as a carry piece, too - but a 4" N-frame is not the easiest thing to conceal, so it stays locked up most of the time.

Boat Guy said...

I like my 625's - A LOT. Still there are capabilities I need that .45 ACP (or LC really) just don't have.
Yeah, you really should reload to get the most out of the .44's, still I have found factory loads that do EXACTLY what I need done in both .44 Spl (W-W SilverTips) and .44 Mag (Buffalo Bore 305 solids).
The recent disappointment with the 625 and .45 ACP was with shot cartridges; I got far better results from a CCI .38 out of a 4" Model 10 than my beloved 625...
Yeah I could load .45LC using various recipes, but I've not found it worthwhile to do so.