In Defense of the .44 Special
There have been a few posts concerning the "why" of having a .44 Special revovler. There is that camp who say buy a .44 Magnum revovler, and shoot .44 Specials in it. There is another school of thought who say buy a .44 Special and load it to near Magnum velocities. A .44 Magnum revolver can be tamed down to Special performance, and a properly handloaded .44 Special can do anything a .44 Magnum can.
I own one of each, a .44 Magnum and a .44 Special, actually several of each. Here's my take on the subject.
The .44 Special revolver is a lighter revolver than a similar Magnum gun. The barrel of a Smith is thinner and tapered, and the cylinder is slightly shorter, so even built on the N-Frame, is a few ounces lighter. These few ounces change the gun's feel considerably. The single action revolvers are lighter framed in .44 Special than their Magnum counterparts.
Further, there is the camp of shooters who own older, classic .44 Special revolvers who just enjoy shooting these older guns. They, as I do, get pleasure in working up loads for these guns that are both accurate and a pleasure to shoot. Not every target I shoot is a silhouette or image of an intruder whose intent is to do me harm. I'm shooting for the sheer pleasure of shooting a classic, and shooting it accurately. On these days I'll unlimber my .44 Special.
As to making a .44 Special do Magnum service, I don't subscribe to that idea. I've spent some time afield with a Ruger Super Blackhawk, loaded for groundhog with a 180 gr. JHP at a sizzling 1700+ fps. And in dense woods with a 240 gr. cast SWC or JHP loaded to 1400 fprs. I've never felt comfortable with a .44 Special over 1200 fpr. with 240 gr. bullet. As the range hovers around 100 yards or so, the extra 200 fps is a little more comforting to me.
I carry a single action Ruger .44 Special with me everyday, and feel perfectly well armed with it. But going into the woods or fields, I'll choose my .44 Magnum. As to wasting money buying .44 Special brass, I don't consider money spent on recreational usage to be wasted.
These my thoughts.