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Old June 16, 2013, 02:27 PM   #1
Mr.RevolverGuy
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44Magnum The Most Versatile Handgun Caliber

I know this is going hack-off many readers but before moving on to your other favorite firearm post take a deep breath and continue reading. Keep in mind I am not saying the 44 Magnum is perfect or best suited for a firefight, the best range cartridge or even the best hunting round. But what I am saying is paired with the right handgun or carbine the 44 Magnum is the most versatile cartridge known to man.

Plinking, Target Practice

The Remington 44 Magnum is not often a round one thinks of when headed to the range for a fun day of plinking, most often than not most are thinking of the 22LR. My handloaded 44 Special +P 240gr jacket bullet loaded with 8.5 grains of Hodgdon Universal has become one of my most favorite rounds for plinking and poking holes in paper, I would even trust them to the self defense role against the 2 legged predator especially in the right handgun. During this test this round proved to be very consistent and accurate. It even proved to be soft recoiling in the S&W 629 Performance Center 7.5in barrel revolver, yet everyone else on the range knew I was firing off something with substantial power, but not causing pain to the palm of my hands. Of all the handguns which accompanied me on this trip the S&W 629 Light Magnum Hunter Performance Center revolver proved to be the most accurate and the one I would prefer for any range use, it managed a 1 1/4 inch group at 25 yards.


Make and Model
Barrel Length

Ammunition
Hi

Lo

Average

Extreme Spread

Barrel Cylinder Gap

S&W 629-4 Performance Center
7.5in Ported

Ultramax Match 240gr Semi Wad Cutter
1186

1170

1181

16

0.006

Reloads 8.5grains of Universal/Winchester LP Primer
1084

1031

1059

53

Reloads 18.5grains of 2400
1333

1321

1325

12

Join me over at http://www.dayattherange.com for the rest of the review and how I put a number of 44 Magnum Revolvers to the test. Leave comments and let me know what your favorite caliber is or what you believe to be the most versatile and why. If nothing more this proved to be in the top 5 of experiences I have had on the range. Thank you Elmer Keith.
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Old June 16, 2013, 02:39 PM   #2
HALL,AUSTIN
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In a double action revolver, I tend to agree. But the 45colt is also pretty versitile.
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Old June 16, 2013, 05:04 PM   #3
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I can remember reading stories about the awesome destructive power of the 357 magnum from many years back when it was introduced around the depression era. Anyone fortunate to own one could easily put venison on the table with a holstered sidearm.

When the 44mag was introduced, It was considered good enough to take on the great bears, or at least several prominent gun writers said so. Thus the 357 was considered inadequate.

With introduction of the Casull and Xframe revolvers cartridges, several prominent gun writers now think the 44mag is inadequate for large game and the 357 is OK for rabbits.

Thus the bottom line the best handgun cartridge is subjective. Buy what you can handle and hit with. A heart lung shot on any deer with a 357 is just as fatal as a heart lung shot with a 500S&W.
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Old June 16, 2013, 05:17 PM   #4
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I carried a 44 in Alaska for many years when I lived there and agree it is the finest caliber for use.
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Old June 16, 2013, 05:17 PM   #5
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The .44 Remington Magnum is a fine game getter, and defender against the larger forest predators, but because of its power and recoil, it is not well suited for home defense, or against smaller urban predators.

Modern bullet construction and advances in propellant formulation have made the .357 Magnum adequate for protection in the forest, and for taking medium size game including deer and hogs/javelina. But where it outshines its bigger brother is as a defensive round. The .357 Magnum is unsurpassed for personal and home protection, and large frame S&W and Taurus revolvers chambering 8 rounds tend to narrow the capacity argument autoloaders have against revolvers. No, eight is not eighteen, DUH, but it's a lot better than six and statistically more than enough. Medium frame wheel guns, even in ultra-light scandium and titanium forms, often hold seven - again usually sufficient for anything less than an all out attack by suicide AlQaeda terrorists. For CCW, it isn't even close. The .357 Magnum can be found in tiny J frame sized guns that are relatively easy to conceal and comfortably light to carry. Forget it with the .44 Magnum.

Both Magnums enjoy the option of using lower-cost, lower-power "special" ammunition for practice, fun or for the fairer sex. Both can be paired with lever-action rifles in like chamberings. But the choices in .38 Spcl. far exceed those in .44 Spcl.

Yes, when a wayward triceratops wanders into your back yard, corners little muffy, and starts nibbling your Topsy-Turvy tomato plants, you want the .44 Magnum, but for all other considerations, I'll give "Most Versatile" to the .357 Magnum.
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Old June 16, 2013, 05:34 PM   #6
Mr.RevolverGuy
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Nice counter horselips but of course I still stand by the 44 magnum especially if you are a reloader. Though I totally disagree for home defense, speer gold dot short barrel is only one brand of ammunition that makes this situation possible. The one thing that both magnums has against it is noise and flash from short barrels. Revolvers like the 329 Nightguard and the 329PD make the 44magnum extremely packable.
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Old June 16, 2013, 06:30 PM   #7
buck460XVR
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr.RevolverGuy:

Of all the handguns which accompanied me on this trip the S&W 629 Light Magnum Hunter Performance Center revolver proved to be the most accurate and the one I would prefer for any range use

I too have a P.C. Magnum Hunter and it's accuracy is scarey. Not only is it preferred by me at the range and in the woods, it also is preferred by many that accompany me when I go to shoot. That said, it has it's place, advantages and limitations just like any firearm. That's why they make so many I believe.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 44MAGb.jpg (18.5 KB, 67 views)
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Old June 16, 2013, 06:42 PM   #8
Mr.RevolverGuy
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The biggest problem I had with the light magnum hunter was it didn't belong to me. I had to clean it thoroughly and return it to its rightful owner I did inform the owner to keep an eye on it for the next few weeks for surface rust as it was hard for me not to drool over it
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Old June 16, 2013, 06:42 PM   #9
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versatility... is case sensitive.

you really cant say its best for a day of plinking at the range. a box of generic bulk 44 magnum is a mere 40 dollars a box of 50 right now. a generic box of full speed 158 grain jsp for 357 is a nice 32-40 for a box of 100 when its in stock. i havent seen much of either in actual stores lately.

its a cost debate, you need practice shooting the gun to get good with it. if it costs 1.32 + tax and shipping for a shot of 44 magnum, but you can get a shot of 357 thats good for range, and animals, and crackhead home invaders for .60 cents a pop with tax and shipping, thats versatility
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Old June 16, 2013, 06:52 PM   #10
Mr.RevolverGuy
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ChaperallCat here is a quote from another board of a user talking about his cost experience with 44 Magnum

"Ammo for a 44 mag is 50 cents more for a box of 20 here. $22.50 for 357 mag and $23.00 for 44 mag in semiwadcutter practice ammo.

www.georgia-arms.com

But since they buy back your used brass, and pay a lot more for 44 brass, it ends up being $1.50/ 20 rounds less expensive to shoot 44 than 357.

In full size guns, S&W 629 vs 686, the 44 mag is 1 oz heavier and 1/8" thicker. Not a huge problem to overcome."

But again for me I reload for it and though everyone is feeling the crunch during these times 38, 357 and 44Magnum was plentiful at my local shop this weekend, though they were limiting you to two boxes per person.
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Old June 16, 2013, 07:44 PM   #11
Deaf Smith
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Funny thing is with this ammo shortage we have...

About all I can find on a regular bases IS .44 magnum!

Now as for versatility, I think any of the big Berthas are pretty versatile.

Nothing bad about a .45 LC or .41 Magnum. Even the .454 and .460 can be loaded down.

But keep in mind the platform. A huge pistol is not so versatile and thus there is a limit on the whole combination of gun and cartridge.

I'm real happy with my 626-2 4 inch .44 magnum.



And it is plenty for me. I can pack it easily and load it up or down as needed.

But a good .45 LC in the same package would do well to, as would a .41 Magnum.

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Old June 16, 2013, 07:44 PM   #12
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good post

Hey I like the post alot and expect it to generate plenty of input. Here's my two cents:

The .44 mag is indeed a versatile cartridge. Especially to a handloader as has been pointed out. And in a carbine, which most of us shoot better than handguns, and the ballistic boost it gets from the longer tube, the .44 is formidable indeed.

The issue is .44 mag revolvers. I dislike buzz words, but the "platform". Most of the pics shown are of long tubed heavy, compensated even, BIG revolvers. A 629 Mtn Revolver, with its slender tube is lighter than a 686, likely even a tad lighter than a M28/27 w/ same length tube. Start running the 629 Mtn, or the Nightguard/titanium .44 hot, and you will indeed have a handful.

But there is nothing in the .44 family that can compare to a K framed .357 for convenience, and certainly not a J-frame (but J Smths in .357 can be horrid too).

I gotta go with horse lips, the .357, in a K, for overall versatile.
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Old June 16, 2013, 08:58 PM   #13
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Another nice thing about 44 magnums is all the different makes and models you can have. Here are a few of mine: Ruger 3 screw superblackhawk (unconverted), a Colt Anaconda and a S&W 29-2.

As for versatility, I would probably have to say 357 over a 44 mag, but a 44 mag certainly is pretty versatile compared to many guns.

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Old June 16, 2013, 11:08 PM   #14
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I am beginning to discover the versatility of the .44 Magnum.

I have a Ruger SBH and a Ruger 77/44, and I am getting acceptable accuracy with handloads (the typical 23.0gr H110 / 240gr JSP combination for hunting and a lighter load with HP-38 for plinking).

So far all I have done is punched paper and perforated pop cans, but I hope to get a deer this fall...
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Old June 16, 2013, 11:10 PM   #15
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If you load your own ammo then a big gun is more versatile. You can always load a big caliber down, but a smaller caliber is always smaller.

A limiting factor will be physical size. A 44 Magnum requires a large frame gun. And it will be heavy.

And really, how many of us truly NEED full power 44 Magnum performance from a handgun?

having said that, I confess to owning two 44 Magnum S&Ws... and a Model 94.
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Old June 16, 2013, 11:34 PM   #16
Mike Irwin
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"But what I am saying is paired with the right handgun or carbine the 44 Magnum is the most versatile cartridge known to man."

Please show your scientifically derived proof, including all formulae used to support your hypothesis, and reporting all results to the fourth decimal place.

And, since you posted this in the Handguns forum, any discovery including information regarding long arms will immediately render your results null and void.
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Old June 17, 2013, 07:02 AM   #17
ChaperallCat
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right now my walmart has remington 50 count 44 magnum 240 jsp for 41.00 a box. 50 round white box winchester, 240 jsp is 45 a box. although we cant keep anything in 357 or 38 in stock, we still charge 35 dollars for a 50 roudn box of 158 grain. just saying.

now someone mentioned handloading, yes, thats needed to get the bullet you want at the velocity you want in a 44 magnum. unless you want to deal with a company that reloads ammo via the internet.

now i can buy powered down 357 on the store shelf. just look for a box labled .38 spcl +p
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Old June 17, 2013, 07:31 AM   #18
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No way the 44 magnum is more versatile than 357 magnum. The 357 has taken everything in North America while still being small enough for practical concealed carry.

If I could have only one caliber in my collection it would be a 357.

- In a carbine it offers 30-30 performance out to 100 yards
- Old classics and modern innovation are commonly available in this caliber.
- Has taken everything that walks in North America
- Great plinker from mild to wild
- Commonly available ammo and easy to reload.
- Superb defense against 2 legged threats
- Small enough to be carried concealed on a daily basis
- Can shoot 38's.

The 44 mag may outshine it in a few departments but would you really argue that it is better overall? I wouldn't.
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Old June 17, 2013, 08:24 AM   #19
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Versatility is what led me to purchase my .44 mag. Ruger Redhawk more than 30 years ago. I never regretted the choice. I handloaded and shot it tens of thousands of times. For competition it can be loaded down for T-Rex and the like it can be loaded max-max with heavy bullets and plenty of choices in between.
Sadly, I am now putting it up for sale because my old shoulders are torn up and I can no longer hold it up.
Also, sadly, no deer or black bear ever walked in front of it to commit suicide. It is still unblooded.
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Old June 17, 2013, 08:50 AM   #20
Mr.RevolverGuy
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Mike,

I know you are part of the staff but my intent was not to come here and **** anyone off, I stated a number of times in the article this is my view and experience and that it's not scientific.

"ConclusionAgain the data presented as part of my testing is far from a real scientific study, it is only meant to serve to show the capabilities and variety of the 44 Magnum. "

I also agree that the 357 Magnum is very versatile, though I would never attempt a shot out to a 100 yards with one even in a carbine. Again stated it is about your capability and confidence .
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Old June 17, 2013, 08:58 AM   #21
Mr.RevolverGuy
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Nice looking 44's

You guys are posting some beautiful 44's by the way keep it going and safe shooting.
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Old June 17, 2013, 10:49 AM   #22
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Quote:
But what I am saying is paired with the right handgun or carbine the 44 Magnum is the most versatile cartridge known to man.
Agreed.

The .357 is vastly overrated.
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Old June 17, 2013, 11:02 AM   #23
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Quote:
Mike,

I know you are part of the staff...
Mike's just pulling your chain, he's so old that he's still trying to get used to the idea of smokeless powder.
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Old June 17, 2013, 01:38 PM   #24
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Mike's just pulling your chain, he's so old that he's still trying to get used to the idea of smokeless powder.
The first time Mike was asked "how well can you shoot that 44 on your hip" he pulled out a Walker, if that tells you anything.
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Old June 17, 2013, 02:04 PM   #25
Bob Wright
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Well, now, here are some of my .44 Magnums, with a couple of .44 Specials creeping in:



And, should that not be enough:



My observation has been that the .44 Magnum outshines the .357 Magnum by a considerable margin in range. The .357 bullet just doesn't hold up at extreme ranges to deliver the goods. And the .45 Colt is fine when you need more than 300 grains of lead to thump something, but if you want a fast stepping long range varmint load, I still find the .44 Magnum king.

There. That's my observation.

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