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Thread: A Special gun and caliber.....

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    Default A Special gun and caliber.....

    We do need a new subject for ponder and post so I'll try one. About 9 months ago I got wind of a new Ruger Blackhawk. This was a flat top frame, like the anniversary editions of 357 and 44 mag except, it was chambered for 44 special. Since Ruger had never made a 44 special and since I like the caliber, I set out to find one. I put my name on a list at GNG in Anchorage and after several months wait I received a phone call to come fetch my pistol. It was shipped to Fairbanks and upon examination found it to be a bucket of rust! Maybe not quite so bad but there was obvious rust on the grip and cylinder frame. A phone call to Ruger got a prepaid mailer to return the gun and in a few days I was called by the customer service dept about my blackhawk. I ask them to replace the gun with a new one and that was forwarded to the supervisor and they agreed to replace the gun. They first refinished the gun and found it unacceptable to their inspectors so they agreed to replace it. I asked when they would have a replacement for this limited run gun. They had no idea!!? A catch 22. The expalined it was a very limited run gun and they didn't know when it would be run again, if ever. In a few months? In a year? They did not know. Ok fine send me the old one back after it is pretty. They refinished it, again(!?) and said the pitting was gone and shipped it back to me. They had it about 6 weeks, mostly this was due to my moving and unable to have contact with them and the back and forth to the supervisor, etc. It is now at my new address and my wife says its fine?? I'll look more closely in a couple of weeks.

    I can still retain the replacement card from them (literally, I still have that) but will shoot it and check its sights for my loads and may have them replace the front sight to fit my loads. This may be a collectors gun but a collector I am not. I shoot everything. I have a 4 5/8" gun, they also make this in a 5 1/2" model another first for Ruger. I also have a 4 5/8" 45 Colt new-new Model Blackhawk that is going back for a taller front sight. Turns out I don't have the highest blade available for the gun and I do need to get the gun to shoot about a foot lower. My 280 grains at 900-ish fps shoots too good to change it. I shot some 180 grains at 1300 fps and they still shot high!??! I wonder what it was made to shoot? The loads for the 44 Special will also be about 900-950 fps, sub-sonic, quiet and fast enough and with the bullet weight of about 250 to 265 grains. What a nice packable trail gun.

    Anyway the 44 special, the 45 Colt and a 1968 vintage Old Model 41 mag with 4 5/8" barrel will be a matched set. By that I mean they use the same holsters. In one of my gun vaults hanging on the eight door hooks is a gaggle of Ruger Blackhawks. That door is now full. On another identical door is a full array of dash 2 or older S&W revolvers, two of which are 44 specials. I also have a Marlin lever gun that takes the same cartridge, you could say I like the caliber....I do.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Where and how did you get a Marlin in 44 Special? I too have a love for the special and was thinking about getting one of the Flattops in 44 special. And some day when I am rich and famous I will own one of the sacred Triple Lock S&W's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    Where and how did you get a Marlin in 44 Special? I too have a love for the special and was thinking about getting one of the Flattops in 44 special. And some day when I am rich and famous I will own one of the sacred Triple Lock S&W's.
    The Marlin is an early non Micro-groove and the barrel is stamped 44 Remington mag. It feeds my blunt nosed 44 specials just fine and shoots them into about an inch at fifty with its original sights. It doesn't know its a magnum.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    I too love the 44spl., to accompany my 624 I just made up this little "Trapper", saddle ring carbine in .44 spl.
    That old round is certainly one of the greatest to ever come down the pike!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    I also have a 4 5/8" 45 Colt new-new Model Blackhawk that is going back for a taller front sight. Turns out I don't have the highest blade available for the gun and I do need to get the gun to shoot about a foot lower. My 280 grains at 900-ish fps shoots too good to change it. I shot some 180 grains at 1300 fps and they still shot high!??! I wonder what it was made to shoot?

    I also have a Marlin lever gun that takes the same cartridge, you could say I like the caliber....I do.
    Murphy,

    I think we have the same setup on the 45 Colt. 4 5/8 inch stainless factory sighted over a foot high. First time I shot that pistol was very embarassing to me. Thought my eyesight was failing me. lol Anyhow, I ordered the .595" front sight from Brownell's, it was around ten bucks. Hopefully that settles that.

    Although I own and fire a 44 mag, I have not fired the 44 spl. Would you expand on why you like this round? Lower power therefore less recoil, more managable, ect? How do you use it, range practice, carry, small game? I'm just curious.

    Thanks,
    Ralph

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    I had a .44SPL S&W 5 shot on the L frame a few years back. I don't know why they quit making it. I traded mine off for something I don't quite remember (like a moron) and haven't found another.

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    The L Frame is the 696 and has a 3" barrel. A good idea for a packin' pistol for social occasions. My son-in-law has one and likes to pack it around. The old charter Arms Bull Dog was a similar principle but lacked the quality and strength of the L frame Smith.

    Why I like the 44 Special; It is a cool American caliber by a high quality gun maker around the turn of the century (19th to 20th). A hundred years old and still going strong. I'd say if there never was a 44 special there would never have been a 44 mag or any dirty Harry movies. It was Elmer's favorite and his experimental caliber. His bullet design came from his experiments with the 44 spcl as did the 44 mag.

    As a trail gun or a packin' pistol for hunting, horse backin', just walks in the woods, the 3" to 5", 5 or 6 shot 44 special can be all that is needed. Handloaded it can be loaded with 200 grain hollow points or 265 grain Keith style hard cast or one of my favorites, the 255 grain WFN or even the 280 grain WFNGC design. The 255 grain hard cast from my 3" model 24 clock 900 fps with a charge of Blue Dot. That isn't a cowboy plinkin' load, it is a decisive hunting load and from the 4" model 24 or the 4 5/8" Blackhawk velocity is up a little but still subsonic. This Blackhawk will allow me to load the 280 grain hard cast to upper subsonic velocities from 44 special cases. This isn't 44 mag pressures, not at all nor is it 44 mag performance but most of the time that level of performance isn't needed.

    This mid range load in the 44 mag case, with it's extra capacity is more difficult to get consistant loads. I can load 44 special case with these bullet weights and velocities with extreme spreads of 30 fps and give very good accuracy and make consistant hits at one hundred yards or more. In the 3" barrels the faster powders like N350 work fine and with heavier bullets I use Blue Dot and about 11.0 grains with the 250 hard cast gives a clean burn with consistant velocities. Blue Dot or N105 are preferred for 4" or more barrel and heavy cast bullets.

    With these trail loads I can use them for rabbits or grouse for the pot with no high velocity hollow point to destroy meat. They will be effective for the occasional encounter with big kitty cats found in parts of the lower 48 and of course the occasional black bear. They are an excellent close range deer load and have been used for that purpose many times. They are quiet, no super sonic ear piercing noise. Sometimes we need to make a decisive shot quickly with no time for ear plugs. This saves some hearing and doesn't have that supersonic cross the canyon crack of a higher velocity round. I have taken turkey with this 255 grain hard cast load at 950 fps at ranges in excess of 100 yards. (check hunting regulations in your state)

    It is essentially what the 44-40 (44 WCF) cartridge was from the 1873 rifle. It's effectiveness was much better than what many ever would have believed from such a small cartridge. The 44 special and the 45 Colt are two old and effective cartridges for tundra and trail when loaded with modern components to moderate pressure levels. Try one soon.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Quote Originally Posted by MagLvr View Post
    I too love the 44spl., to accompany my 624 I just made up this little "Trapper", saddle ring carbine in .44 spl.
    That old round is certainly one of the greatest to ever come down the pike!
    That is one cool lookin' little rifle. Is that caliber still available?
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Default Thank you Murphy

    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    The L Frame is the 696 and has a 3" barrel. A good idea for a packin' pistol for social occasions. My son-in-law has one and likes to pack it around. The old charter Arms Bull Dog was a similar principle but lacked the quality and strength of the L frame Smith.

    Why I like the 44 Special; It is a cool American caliber by a high quality gun maker around the turn of the century (19th to 20th). A hundred years old and still going strong. I'd say if there never was a 44 special there would never have been a 44 mag or any dirty Harry movies. It was Elmer's favorite and his experimental caliber. His bullet design came from his experiments with the 44 spcl as did the 44 mag.

    As a trail gun or a packin' pistol for hunting, horse backin', just walks in the woods, the 3" to 5", 5 or 6 shot 44 special can be all that is needed. Handloaded it can be loaded with 200 grain hollow points or 265 grain Keith style hard cast or one of my favorites, the 255 grain WFN or even the 280 grain WFNGC design. The 255 grain hard cast from my 3" model 24 clock 900 fps with a charge of Blue Dot. That isn't a cowboy plinkin' load, it is a decisive hunting load and from the 4" model 24 or the 4 5/8" Blackhawk velocity is up a little but still subsonic. This Blackhawk will allow me to load the 280 grain hard cast to upper subsonic velocities from 44 special cases. This isn't 44 mag pressures, not at all nor is it 44 mag performance but most of the time that level of performance isn't needed.

    This mid range load in the 44 mag case, with it's extra capacity is more difficult to get consistant loads. I can load 44 special case with these bullet weights and velocities with extreme spreads of 30 fps and give very good accuracy and make consistant hits at one hundred yards or more. In the 3" barrels the faster powders like N350 work fine and with heavier bullets I use Blue Dot and about 11.0 grains with the 250 hard cast gives a clean burn with consistant velocities. Blue Dot or N105 are preferred for 4" or more barrel and heavy cast bullets.

    With these trail loads I can use them for rabbits or grouse for the pot with no high velocity hollow point to destroy meat. They will be effective for the occasional encounter with big kitty cats found in parts of the lower 48 and of course the occasional black bear. They are an excellent close range deer load and have been used for that purpose many times. They are quiet, no super sonic ear piercing noise. Sometimes we need to make a decisive shot quickly with no time for ear plugs. This saves some hearing and doesn't have that supersonic cross the canyon crack of a higher velocity round. I have taken turkey with this 255 grain hard cast load at 950 fps at ranges in excess of 100 yards. (check hunting regulations in your state)

    It is essentially what the 44-40 (44 WCF) cartridge was from the 1873 rifle. It's effectiveness was much better than what many ever would have believed from such a small cartridge. The 44 special and the 45 Colt are two old and effective cartridges for tundra and trail when loaded with modern components to moderate pressure levels. Try one soon.
    Murphy thank you for the back ground on your experience with the 44SPL. I had heard many good things about this round, and had read about Elmer's use and experimentation with it. In this day and age of magnum cartidges I had not heard anyone's personnal use of it beyond self defense and target practice. Like the 44/40 and 45 Colt, I think the special is highly overlooked. I will have to search one out and get familiar with it.

    You said you fire the special in your lever action chambered for 44 mag, do you fire the special in your magnum blackhawks as well? I know it's possible since the magnum is demensionally identical except it was streched 1/8", but some say not to. Your thoughts?

    Ralph

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph View Post
    ...........
    You said you fire the special in your lever action chambered for 44 mag, do you fire the special in your magnum blackhawks as well? I know it's possible since the magnum is demensionally identical except it was streched 1/8", but some say not to. Your thoughts?

    Ralph
    Yes I have a 5 1/2" Super Blackhawk with fluted cylinder and the lightweight frame not so big at all, more like a standard Blackhawk. It fits my criteria for a light weight packin' pistol and I do carry the special loads in it. I have good loads with the 280 grain WFN and the 265 grain LeadHeads Keith style bullets and it works fine with that brass. A 45 caliber bronze bore brush in the cylinders will clean up any lead and carbon residue easily. There are no problems or precautions in regard to shooting 44 special cartridges in the 44 mag chambers, rifle or pistol.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    That is one cool lookin' little rifle. Is that caliber still available?
    Murphy:
    Thanks for the compliment!
    Unfortunately, the caliber was never available, I made it from a H&R 20ga.
    Bought a Timberwolf 44 maggie barrel from Numrich($26 or so) thinned it down and shortened the chamber 1/10th inch, then stubbed the 2 together.
    I just love it!
    I made a 357 a lot like it also.
    It weighs 5-1/4lbs., the barrel is 17" and the overall is 32-1/2"
    Great guns to carry with a lot of whack-down when loaded with heavy, hardcast WFN's and some Lil-Gun.
    I use C/P 255gr for the 44spl. and 200gr. in the 357.
    Though I have well under $100 in each, they are priceless for my needs.
    Maglvr

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    Default Marlin 44

    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    Where and how did you get a Marlin in 44 Special? I too have a love for the special and was thinking about getting one of the Flattops in 44 special. And some day when I am rich and famous I will own one of the sacred Triple Lock S&W's.
    Kid, I also shoot Specials out of a Marlin 44 Mag that I got from your shop a while back. It's one of the Cowboy Limiteds with long octagonal barrel. Big fun to shoot the Specials at 100 yards - you have enough time to make a cell phone call between the "boom" of the shot and the "thump" of the slug hitting the target.
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    Murphy, love my 696. Can't think of a better solution to the problem of what to carry down a dark alley. Jim

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