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Mean Gene

44 Special

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New to this sport and acquiring pistols and rifles. I have a lot of experience with the 44 Special but see that it doesn't seem to be as popular in the sport and not as many rifles and pistols in this caliber. Is there a reason why? Probably a dumb question but I would like to know the drawbacks before I invest in a Model P. I already have a Marlin in .44 mag round barrel bought when they first reintroduced Ballard rifling that accounted for a couple deer in Northern Michigan. I will load black powder. I shoot cast bullets as well. Would really appreciate input, thanks.

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I have a pair of Cimarron Open Tops in 44 Special and absolutely love shooting them. No downside at all that I can see to that. I love 45 Colt as well. 44-40 is also fantastic. They're all great!

 

I shoot smokeless and black powder 44 Special and have never noticed any problems with either.

 

 I occasionly shoot an 1866 carbine also in 44 Special either smokeless or black powder and it is also always an absolute hoot.

 

As far as I can see no drawbacks at all whether you're shooting an old model P,  Ruger,  or anything else in 44 Special.

 

Elmer Keith and Skeeter Skelton once upon a time did some pretty great work developing some fantastic 44 Special loads. Those ain't for CAS but does show what the 44 Special os is capable of.

 

 

Edited by Dantankerous
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Considering you have the rifle it's a great choice. The only draw back I can see, would be if you forgot your ammo for a shoot it would be highly unlikely you'll find someone selling it or that would have extra to share. Don't let that stop you. If your considering black powder you'll have the choice of using 44 Russian too.  

 

Tully

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It's like everything else. A few calibers are popular with the majority, but that doesn't mean you can't be in the minority. Shoot what you feel like as long as it's SASS legal. Most people I know shoot 38/357 & 45 Colt. A few I know shoot 38/40 & 44/40. Although I have 38/357 & 45 Colt (along with 45 ACP conversion cylinders for them), my favorite guns are my 32-20's. If you like the 44 Special then I say GO FOR IT......

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The .44 Special is a great cartridge.  As a black powder cartridge I think it would do a little better in the rifle than the .45 Colt.  If you wanted a milder BP load in the pistols using .44 Russian cases would be ideal.

 

Don't make the mistake that most new shooters make, thinking they need to accumulate all the gear before coming out.  Get to a local match now!

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7 hours ago, Mean Gene said:

New to this sport and acquiring pistols and rifles. I have a lot of experience with the 44 Special but see that it doesn't seem to be as popular in the sport and not as many rifles and pistols in this caliber. Is there a reason why? Probably a dumb question but I would like to know the drawbacks before I invest in a Model P. I already have a Marlin in .44 mag round barrel bought when they first reintroduced Ballard rifling that accounted for a couple deer in Northern Michigan. I will load black powder. I shoot cast bullets as well. Would really appreciate input, thanks.

You don't necessarily have to run the same cartridge or caliber in both rifle and pistols. You could stick with the rifle you have until ready and confident in your choice to buy a rifle really prepared for the sport, maybe waiting to grab a deal that comes along, saving money. Meanwhile, you could acquire pistols that are really where you want to ultimately operate.

 

If you are hunting with your 44 Magnum, you probably wouldn't slick it up as a competition gun. I too have a 44 Magnum, which I have used a number of times using magnum cases as a Trailboss load. I have also used it paired with 44 Special when first starting out. One pistol was 44 Special, one 44 Magnum shooting 44 Special, and the rifle was 44 Magnum, all with my own lead, smokeless reloads. I am currently shooting all 45 Colt, although ready to try 45 Cowboy Special in my pistols, which I already owned coming in. I also had a set of 38 Special, with 357 Magnum brass in the rifle. The only thing I ever really needed, given a modest collection, was a shotgun, and now I have two. You will find that backup guns will be needed to avoid down time and borrowing, and many people have more than one set of guns, I would guess most likely acquired after into the sport for awhile..

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Most play this game to socialize and do not care about finishing in the top 3 spots.  If you are of the competitive nature, 38 might be a better choice based on recoil management.   And then there is the extra cost to reload the 44.  This is not to say that you cannot be competitive shooting your choice but it will take more time, $$ and effort to get there.  

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I too hunt with my .44s and use them for SASS. I use a 38 rifle but only cause I couldn't get a Winchester 73 in 44 mag or special at the time. 

You can load the specials pretty light and get no recoil.

Go for it!

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Go fo it :excl:

I shoot .44mag loaded with 6.5gn of Unique and a 240gn moly coated RNFP from Bear Creek Bullets in Ca.

Moly coat works VERY well with real BP. ;)

OLG 

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13 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Go fo it :excl:

I shoot .44mag loaded with 6.5gn of Unique and a 240gn moly coated RNFP from Bear Creek Bullets in Ca.

Moly coat works VERY well with real BP. ;)

OLG 

Interesting that according to Lyman, that load would equal max 44 Special loaded in a 44 Mag case, well below the minimum for the listed magnum load (10 gr).

Edited by Roscoe Regulator

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I got into this game about 13 years ago.  At the time, I had a Rossi 92 in 44 Magnum, and I figured that .44 Special would be my personal caliber of choice.  About a year ago, I found my very first SAA clone in ..44 Special.  About a month ago, I found another one.  They are hard to find.  [For the record, I live in Massachusetts, so I am limited to the used market of what was registered in state prior to 1998.  You may not have the problem where you live.]   [I am also not counting my Colt Buntline and pair of Sheriff's models in Special.  They are novelty guns I take out to shoot for fun once in a while, not what i personally consider to be regular main match guns.]   I also found that, in my Rossi at least and even more so in a real Winchester that had been rebarreled to the Magnum that Specials had a tendency to not always cycle properly.  Magnums no problem, but once in a while a Special would not eject like it should.   I DID see about 10 years ago a 73 clone in ..44 Special, but like an idiot, I did not buy it.   Wish I had.   The cartridge itself is a great one, and if you can find guns to shoot it with, it will never steer you wrong.   

 

On the other hand, before I ever found either of my Special SAA clones, I found one in .44 Magnum and have seen a few others.  You might want to consider that option as well.

 

Just my opinion based on experience and circumstances.

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619

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Since you already have a 44 Mag rifle, there is no real reason not to continue the theme into your handgun choice with 44 Special.  Wabac (thank you perfesser) the most popular cartridges were (and still are) 357/38 and 45 Colt.  45 Colt was thought of as THE cowboy cartridge (it wasn't) and the 44 special couldn't possibly have been "cowboy" 'cause it didn't exist.  Don't forget, this is actually a "fantasy" GAME!!

 

Further, if you wish to "down load" for your handguns, the 44 Russian case is perfect.  As mentioned, "Big Lube" bullets are wonderful.  I have no idea how lipstick bullets can keep BP fouling "soft." 

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23 minutes ago, Roscoe Regulator said:

Interesting that according to Lyman, that load would equal max 44 Special loaded in a 44 Mag case, well below the minimum for the listed magnum load (10 gr).

 

Excellent plinking load and what I use in SASS.

I use H-110 for mag level loading in 357, 44mag & .454 Casull. 

OLG 

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I have a pair of 44 Vaqueros in "Gun Jail" (CA waiting periods)... these are my very first in 44.
The 44 Russian in Starline #4400 brass looks to be just the ticket for CAS light loads and plinking.

RCBS makes specific carbide dies for this cartridge.
Redding offers a plain steel die, but they have it priced so ridiculously high, it isn't worth considering.

Lyman #50 has 44 Russian load data.
You can buy a legit PDF edition of Lyman #50 for $11.99.
Mine works perfectly.

Speer #15 has removed 44 Russian entirely. 
I think Speer #14 has it, because I saw it in an older Speer guide at my LGS.
 

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1 hour ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

 

Excellent plinking load and what I use in SASS.

I use H-110 for mag level loading in 357, 44mag & .454 Casull. 

OLG 

agree...H110 as top choice for 44 mag and 454. Of course not for SASS but great for hunting and IHMSA.

 

Not really up on Marlins but would a 44 special in 44 mag feed properly?  There is issues with 38 special in 357 Marlins.  All fixable though.

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The Marlin quality issues continue as a hit-or-miss scenario.
Mine is 2019.03 production, and so far appears to be a very nice "hit".

However, if/when I acquire a 44 rifle, it will be the Uberti 1873.
If Winchester made a '73 in 44-mag I would get that before the Uberti... but they do not.

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No reason not to shoot 44.   I went that way as I had dies already and none for 45 or 38.  Readily available options for pistols are 44 mag vaqueros, ruger bisleys in 44 sp from Lipseys, and 1872 open tops.   The open tops are nice ifor cleaning up when using black powder.  Just need to shim the mandrel for good cylinder fit. 
 

with 180g bullets and light loads recoil is low.   While not as common we have a few shooting 44’s. 

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7 hours ago, Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator said:

agree...H110 as top choice for 44 mag and 454. Of course not for SASS but great for hunting and IHMSA.

 

Not really up on Marlins but would a 44 special in 44 mag feed properly?  There is issues with 38 special in 357 Marlins.  All fixable though.

 

Each rifle is different. 

I have seen many that would feed OK.

Then I have seen some that wouldn't till I made adjustments.

OLG 

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.44 S&W Special is an excellent cartridge. I use it for practice with my .44 Mag hunting revolver.

 

It is far easier to get factory .45 Colt ammunition. However, since you load your own, that is unimportant.

 

I shoot NRA bullseye and my OM Rugers in .45 Colt also have .45 ACP cylinders so I us them for practice since I have myriads of that ammo..

 

Your situation is different so the .44 S&W Special is an excellent choice for you.

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I shoot shotgun targets with a Super Blackhawk in .44, in the Josey Wales category with no problems , either BP or smokeless. Wish I had a pair of .44 mag pistols to play with.

 

Imis Reloading makes all things(almost) possible

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10 hours ago, Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator said:

agree...H110 as top choice for 44 mag and 454. Of course not for SASS but great for hunting and IHMSA.

 

Not really up on Marlins but would a 44 special in 44 mag feed properly?  There is issues with 38 special in 357 Marlins.  All fixable though.


my marlin feeds 44 sp fine, did take some work to get it up to snuff.  Late 2016 build.   Needed some polishing and chamfering.  It didn’t like any of the aftermarket extractors, stock was best.  It also feeds 44 mag fine, but I use 44 sp so I only have to carry one style of rounds. 

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I shoot a Pair of Open-Tops in .44 spl. using Goex Black ....

Great Cartridge !!!

I also sometimes use my 94 Marlin in .44 Spl. / .44 Mag ,,, using .44 spl. cases ...

Mostly I used my .38 WCF  in my 66 Sporting Rifle ....

 

Jabez Cowboy

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11 hours ago, Still hand Bill said:

 It didn’t like any of the aftermarket extractors, stock was best.  

 

Did you try the Ranger Point Precession extractor?

OLG 

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50 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

 

Did you try the Ranger Point Precession extractor?

OLG 

Yes, caused huge feed issues.  Really wanted it to work as it’s a solid design, but it puts pressure on the round and won’t feed smoothly.  Also tried one of slicks, while better than the rp, it didn’t work as well as stock.  

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The .44 special - my favorite. I think there are two main reasons it's not so popular in this game - 1, lack of guns, because everyone outside of CAS who's looking for a .44 wants a .44 magnum, not the puny little .44 special. 2, the romanticism of the .45 Colt, as identified with the old west, far outweighs that of the .44 special. A third reason, to a lesser extent, is availability of suitable factory ammo at your local retailer.

 

2 Uberti 1866 round barrel carbines

1 Rossi 1892 .44 mag/spl - feeds .44 specials just fine

2 Uberti Model P's

1 ASM/EMF Hartford Model P

2 Uberti #3 .44 Russians - some of these chamber .44 specials and some don't. I haven't tried a .44 special yet. (edit) Nope, neither will chamber .44 spl, .44 Russian only. :)

7 Lipsey's Rugers

 

A couple other .44 mag single actions, but both have adjustable sights and that's not my thing for Cowboy Action revolvers. ;)

Edited by Three Foot Johnson
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7 hours ago, Still hand Bill said:

Yes, caused huge feed issues.  Really wanted it to work as it’s a solid design, but it puts pressure on the round and won’t feed smoothly.  Also tried one of slicks, while better than the rp, it didn’t work as well as stock.  

 

Are you certain the RPP extractor you ordered was correct for the extractor hole location on your bolt.

RPP's site shows the various locations Marlin used over the years. :rolleyes:

One other thing, not uncommon on the larger caliber M94's to have to file a 45* angle on the bottom outside edge of the ejector's 'wall' for case rim clearance in feeding.

Did you contact RPP about this issue?  If no-you really should.......

OLG 

 

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8 hours ago, Three Foot Johnson said:

The .44 special - my favorite. I think there are two main reasons it's not so popular in this game - 1, lack of guns, because everyone outside of CAS who's looking for a .44 wants a .44 magnum, not the puny little .44 special. 2, the romanticism of the .45 Colt, as identified with the old west, far outweighs that of the .44 special. A third reason, to a lesser extent, is availability of suitable factory ammo at your local retailer.

 

While I agree that locally 44 Special is durn near impossible to find especially in a LRN cowboy bullet, Georgia Arms has great 44 Special ammo. Perfect for CAS! And priced quite nicely too, unless you shoot 5K rounds/year. :D I've used a lot of their 44 Special and been quite happy with it. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dantankerous said:

 

While I agree that locally 44 Special is durn near impossible to find especially in a LRN cowboy bullet, Georgia Arms has great 44 Special ammo. Perfect for CAS! And priced quite nicely too, unless you shoot 5K rounds/year. :D I've used a lot of their 44 Special and been quite happy with it. 

 

 

Hard to find Cowboy type RN .430" bullets?

I can ship you thousands.

We only shoot .44 Specials in our outfit.

And that's 8 of us.

They are loaded to normal length and feed great in the Marlins, EMF, Browning's, and Rossi's.

 

 

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I've been shooting .44 Specials for quite some time, decades.  Highly recommend loading your own.  Pieces and parts are readily available to the hand-loader.  I generally shoot .45 Colt for CAS but I have been known to shoot the Ruger NMV's in .44 Special.  Now when I am out in the woods, I always carry a .44 Spcl with 200 gr Hornady XTP's and .44 Mags, 240 gr SJSP in my Marlin 1894.  My CAS rounds are 200 gr RNFP lead with 777 behind the lead.  Invest if you can in reloading, it is worth you time.  The .44 Spcl is an amazing round when you work up the right load.  I do not think I have ever shot a factory .44 Spcl round.

 

Actually the gun in my profile picture is a NMV in .44 Spcl, stainless and a 4 5/8th barrel.

Edited by Hashknife Cowboy

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43 minutes ago, Mustang Gregg said:

Hard to find Cowboy type RN .430" bullets?

I can ship you thousands.

We only shoot .44 Specials in our outfit.

And that's 8 of us.

They are loaded to normal length and feed great in the Marlins, EMF, Browning's, and Rossi's.

 

 

No, not bullets, loaded "Cowboy" ammo at local retailers.

If you have 160/165 grain .430 bullets for sale, I might be interested. What's the asking price? Badman Bullets has been out of stock for four or five months, but they say they're just "behind", and they haven't discontinued them.

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1 hour ago, Mustang Gregg said:

Hard to find Cowboy type RN .430" bullets?

I can ship you thousands.

We only shoot .44 Specials in our outfit.

And that's 8 of us.

They are loaded to normal length and feed great in the Marlins, EMF, Browning's, and Rossi's.

 

 

 

Not bullets, loaded cowboy ammo.

 

 

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Okay.  I thought he was wanting just bullets.

I only stock the .430" RNFP BB in 200 gr.

Sorry.

Yep, it's tough to find some items in some locations....I know.  Now I am looking for a source of .410" RNFP that are 180 to 200 gr.

We have a new shooter that is .41 Mag in all of his guns.

MG

Edited by Mustang Gregg
typos

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18 minutes ago, Mustang Gregg said:

Okay.  I thought he was wanting just bullets.

I only stock the .430" RNFP BB in 200 gr.

Sorry.

Yep, it's tough to find some items in some locations....I know.  Now I am looking for a source of .410" RNFP that are 180 to 200 gr.

We have a new shooter that is .41 Mag in all of his guns.

MG

 

BADMAN BULLETS has 215gr polymer-coated

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Yep.  Thanks.

But he doesn't want to go that heavy.

Wants 180 to 200.  Or even lighter!

I had got him some 215's already.

Edited by Mustang Gregg
typo goofs
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