It is a personal thing.... Really it is. I am a .45 Colt guy so that is what I'd get. But there is nothing wrong with the .44Special. I enjoy both very much. Just the .45 Colt is a bit bigger and has a lot of American history behind it. Load up some BP in them and you almost feel you are shooting in the 1870s....
The .44Special BH Flattop is on the medium frame ... close to the SAA as stated above. I also have .45 Colt flattop convertibles from Lipseys which are also on the medium from. Love 'em. The .44Special can easily handle the Skeeter and Keith loads. The .45 Colt flattop can handle up to ~23,000psi, so it can be heated up a bit too over SAAMI (NO
Ruger Only Loads at 30,000psi however). Be aware the medium frame revolvers have a bit smaller grip frame than the standard BH. Also the medium frame and ejector housing are all steel.
Here is a sample of .45 Colt shooting 5 shots off hand at 10Y
. And moving out to 15Y offhand, I shoot this target
. Like to shoot from a ransom rest sometime to see the 'actual' accuracy down range....
The cataloged .45 Colt BH is on the Large frame which means it can handle Ruger Only Loads if that is what is desired. I have both a original Vaquero and a BH.
Accuracy.... The .44Special (at least the three I have) will shoot circles around an 'out of the box' Ruger .45 Colt (at least the ones I have) if shooting lead. Now that I have 'corrected' my .45 Colt revolvers, that is no longer an issue! BTW, the flattop .45 Colt revolvers were 'close' out of the box. Almost left them alone, but alas I had to tinker and make just a bit better
Both cartridges I consider reloader cartridges. The sky is the limit if you reload. I really don't have a feel for what you would find in the shelf as I don't buy factory ammo.
I prefer 5 1/2" barrels. Just feels right to me and is a good compromise between 7 1/2" and 4 5/8" . Again this is a personal preference thing. If you plan on hunting the longer barrels give you slightly more velocity and sight radius. The shorter barrels pack better.
I have both. Shoot both... But my hand usually grabs for a .45 Colt revolver when I go a shoot'n or into the field. Again personal preference.