View Full Version : 44 Mag VS 44 Special

July 4, 2012, 06:09 AM
Will the same rifle shoot either round? How much recoil difference? How much price difference?

July 4, 2012, 08:21 AM
Generally, yes. However, with all generalizations there are problems and all generalizations are false, including this one.

A .44 magnum is nothing but a .44 Special with a longer case. In almost every case a rifle marked for .44 Magnum will shoot .44 Special, but some rifles prefer the magnum. Go figure. Some lever action rifles in .44 magnum have trouble feeding the shorter Special case. Some don't. Also, there are various levels of power in each of the cartridges depending on the manufacturer of the specific cartridge. There is no way to generalize.

Difference in recoil? The .44 magnum is loaded hotter than the .44 Special. It will recoil more, although when we're talking about rifles and the design of the stock, the difference might be negligible.

Price difference? What are we talking about? Ammo? Rifle price? Too many variables here to know.

July 4, 2012, 08:27 AM
yeah pawpaw you hit nail on the head. my rifle sees basically no recoil difference due to its weight and it can shoot specials. as for the OP...I choose 44mag almost everytime(300gr hollowpoints)

July 4, 2012, 02:51 PM
The difference in cartridge OAL can make a difference, at least in some lever guns. My Winchester 1892s in .357mag will not feed .38spl and I know one person with an Uberti 1873 in .44mag and that rifle will not feed .44spl (not surprising given the feeding setup in these guns).

July 7, 2012, 12:12 PM
My Marlin lever action will feed 44 specials as long as the bullets are rounded. Put semi wad cutters and it’s a guaranteed lock up after several rounds.
Also as gwnorth said OAL does make a difference. I own a Ruger 77/44 that I tried using Penn bullets 320 GN SSK for short range pig rounds. 50 yards, very accurate but you couldn’t get them in the rotary mag, they were just too long yet they worked in my lever action.
As far as recoil, unless you’re real susceptible to recoil don’t worry about it. If you can shoot an AR you can shoot most 44 mag long guns. The fit of the stock can make it worse just make sure the gun fits you well.
As far as price, there really isn’t that much difference in the two, both are expensive. If you’re going to shoot it a lot then get a cheap reloading set from someone like Lee.

July 8, 2012, 11:49 AM
The 44 mag case is 1/10" longer than the 44 special. The 44 special can be fired in in the 44 mag chamber. The same is true of the 357 mag and the 38 special. Both the 357 and 44 enjoy the same 1/10" longer case.

The original purpose of the the longer case is so that the hotter loads could not be put into the lighter built firearms. Interesting read on the 44 mag development in Elmer Keith's book "Hell I was there".

July 8, 2012, 07:18 PM
Yup, but that little extra case length leads to enough of a difference in OAL that some rifles simply will not feed the shorter round. This seems especially true in lever guns, but I've heard of issues in other magazine fed rifles as well.

Very different situation, of course, from a revolver firing .44mag/.44spl or .357mag/.38spl. But the feed mechanism in a lever rifle (especially 1873's with the lifting block straight feed) are very sensitive to OAL, sometimes even in the caliber they are specifically designed for.

As I say, my 1892's have never failed with .357mag but will not feed .38spl at all. One of my shooting buddies with a Rossi m92 in .357mag has used .38spl but even then, it is somewhat hit or miss when feeding a round.

Just warning the OP that it is something I would want to test in a rifle before buying, if it were important to me, as feeding issues may well mean you cannot use the alternate smaller cartridge. I would not automatically count on it actually being doable.