My problem with the 44 Special is, as far as N-frame S&Ws go the same guns can be had in 45 ACP. Ballistics are about the same for my hand loads and carry ammo. 200g-240g bullets @ 900fps-825fps for the 44 Special and 200g-230g bullets @ 900fps-830fps for the 45 ACP. Because of the larger bore and chambers guns of the same barrel length and design will weigh slightly less in 45 than in 44 and there is always the real advantage of full moon clips making reloads for the 45 ACP much faster and easier than with speed loaders in the 44 Special.
The L-frame versions in 44 Special chambering may be the real advantage for the old revolver cartridge. Having a gun that compact and easy to carry while still chambered for a cartridge starting with "4" is worth a lot. I'm not sure a 5 shot L-frame is possible in 45 but if it were I would do a lot to obtain one. (smile)