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Thread: short barrel .44 ammo?

  1. #1

    Default short barrel .44 ammo?

    I'm thinking of picking up a short .44 mag, but I keep hearing about how big the muzzle blast usually is. Has anyone used off-the-shelf .44 ammo that's designed for short barrels? I suppose it would be for plinking, since I don't care if defense ammo has a big blast.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    SwampView AK, Overlooking Mt. Mckinley and Points Beyond.


    I'd suggest "picking up", a long barreled 44. Like 5.5 to 6 inches, or even longer.

    Problem solved. Not completely, they all make a lotta noise.

    I hate short barreled handguns. It's not just the noise. They are a pain, to shoot in other ways too.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  3. #3


    I don't know if they make it anymore, but at one time Remington loaded some mid-power stuff in 44 mag, I think trying to pimp it as a "service" load. That was about the best I've seen for short barrels, if you call my 4" models short.

    I haven't bought any factory loads for a while, so I'm not current on it. But anything else I tried was purely obnoxious.

    When you handload or buy from a custom loader, the picture changes a lot. Load with Unique or something similar and the muzzle flash is gone and the noise is reduced noticeably. I'm betting that near-max loads of Unique deliver just as much velocity as factory loads or handloads with slow powders out of the shorter barrels. Haven't chronoed both side by side, but it would be an interesting experiment.

    If no one respects your question and pipes up with a solid recommendation of a more friendly factory load, I'd sure look into some custom loads. In spite of the word "custom" they're usually as cheap or cheaper than factory loads while giving you lots better performance. I don't know of any firsthand, but I recall hearing of several custom loaders scattered around Alaska.

  4. #4


    Unfortunately, the industry usually compares .44 mag handgun loads using barrel lengths of 6" or 7.5" and most ammo is designed for those lengths. Good question. I have never seen .44 mag ammo advertised for short barrels with the intention of reducing muzzle blast or flash. I have seen the Federal Hydra-Shok line advertised as low recoiling for self defense purposes so you can stay on target. It also tends to have less muzzle blast and almost no flash. However, Hydra-Shok is much too expensive for plinking - about $35 for 20 rounds.

    Your defense ammo should be designed for controllability meaning low recoil, low muzzle blast and low or no flash. Hydra-Shok does a good job at this.

    The obvious alternative for plinking is .44 special and that is what I use. You can shoot .44 special for a lot less money and buy 50 rounds for less than the price of 20 rounds of Hydra-Shok. The .44 special "Cowboy" loads from MagTech are good for plinking and they have a lot less muzzle blast than .44 mag. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default How short?

    Are you talking 4 inch or shorter? I'm interested in a Redhawk 4 in but sure would like to read more feetback or try one before I buy. I have a 71/2 Super Blackhawk & a 8 3/8 29 and dont really like shooting "factory" loads out of either. That's why I got into reloading. I want something easier to carry so I will carry it more than I do the long barrels, yet fun to shoot. I can't see anything shorter than 4 inch being something I would want to draw and shoot in a defense of life situation. At the range with good ear protection is another thing. Sorry I can't answer your question on factory loads.

  6. #6


    These have been interesting responses. I believe I have tried Hydroshock in .357 mag but not in .44, and the idea of having some custom ammo made never even occured to me. I've reloaded a little (very little) but don't shoot enough to justify picking up my own equipment. I think I know some people who'd be happy to whip me up some ammo if I supplied the goods.

    I consider 4" to be "short". A while ago I became infatuated with snubbie .44 magnums like the Ruger Alaskan and the Smith Carry Comp, but I've decided that it would be better to see if I'd be happy with 4" first. Right now I'm leaning towards a 4" 629... it's a little lighter than a 4" redhawk, but I know the latter would be better for handling heavy bear loads.

    I agree that .44 special would be an ideal round for general shooting with such short guns, considering the extra noise/flash/recoil that come with short barrels. I've heard it's also a good round for protection, too, so I'll have to browse Federal's website to see if they've got any.

  7. #7

    Default 44 ammo

    The short barrelled 44 will perform. With a minimal loss due to barrel length. The key to obtaining the velocity out of a 4" barrel and reduceing muzzle blast is use a powder that will be burned in four or so inches of barrel. H110 & 2400 will not be your friends; you will need something like AA5 or AA7 maybe UNIQUE.
    There will be a velocity loss but the improved carry ability of the pistol is well worth it.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

  8. #8


    I have 4 44's, a 44 sp 2" Tarus which is a ok gun for my hip pocket. Ruger 44 mag RH 7.5", Ruger 44 mag RH 5.5", and a cut down 44 mag SBH to 4.75". The latter is my field carry gun in 44 sp with 240 swc lead bullets. I carry the SBH in a cross carry/ the 5.5 RH on the side iron sites. The 7.5 is a shoulder carry with a Red Dot. 231, Unique have been good powders, but I think there are other good powders for the 44 sp.


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