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Any .44 Special, .45 Colt, .41 or .44 Magnum Fans?

3693 Views 15 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  recondoc
Hello. I sort of like 'em all! I really like the .44 Special cartridge and find myself trying to handload it and .45 Colt to similar levels of performance: 240 to 250-grs @ 950 to 1050 ft/sec or so. That's easy to shoot and will handle anything needing handling in my neck of the woods. Easy on the guns, too. I've got an old S&W Model 58 .41 mag that I'll eventually get around to reloading for and find myself trying for similar performance: 210 to 215 grains or so at 1000 to 1050 ft/sec.

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Mr. Camp,

I only have experience with the .44mag. I love that round.

The only pistol in which I've shot it was a Sauer and Sohn SA 1873 clone. The owner refuses to sell it as it was a gift.

However, I shot it and was hooked. The loads, I later found out, were in the hot range for the .44mag. It makes me want to try a .454 next, but not until I aquire a .44mag for myself.

I do like the idea of the .45 Colt and may get one, but am more intrigued by the .44-40 as my studies take me to the old west and there was no rifle/pistol combo available in the .45 Colt until recently. The .44-40 is a different story. Hold up, I'm going someplace here.

The fact that the .44-40 no longer exists as a practical load makes me take a look at the .44spl as an alternative. If I have a .44, it might as well be a .44mag, and I can use the that chambering to replicate .44-40 loads with less guilt than buying a rifle and revolver chambered for the .45 Colt.

All in all... I don't handload, and have decided not to do so with autos, but a good single stage press and a .44mag would make me start.

Josh <><
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Hi Mr. Camp,

I have been a fan of fourty-something calibers for a long time and have owned the Smith & Wesson Models 629, 57 and 58 over the years.
I would have to agree that the .41 magnum performed as advertised with .44 mag velocities with slightly less felt recoil.
I shot the 629 in revolver bowling pin matches and found that with full house magnum loads, it was literally a unpleasant experience. On the other hand, with handloaded ammunition, it was downright fun.
Over the years, I have drifted away from "magnum mania" and towards other interests. Given the choice and opportunity, I would buy a ruger blackhawk in .44 magnum and have the best of both worlds.

Again :)


While I really do beleive that we get carried away with the caliber thing there is also the gut feeling that, while the degree might be debateable, bigger is really better.

I have oft been heard to say that there are many good defensive handgun calibers out there but they all begin with a .4 (unless of course you are metric) :)

Still, the technician is more important than the technology.


"A 9mm might expand ...but a .45 won't shrink."
I have owned, handloaded for and enjoyed them all. My favorites are the .44 Special and .41 Magnum. The former is a pussycat that can act like a tiger if you so desire. I don't think there are many reasonable handgun duties that aren't well served by a hardcast 250-grain Keith @ 900-950 fps. I've owned four Specials, a S&W 4-inch Model 24 and 3-inch Model 624 Lew Horton, plus two Charter Arms Bulldogs. The Smiths were among the most accurate sixguns I've ever shot. The cartridge itself is a handloader's friend. In my experience it's nearly impossible to create a bad load in .44 Special.

As far as I'm concerned, the .41 Magnum is the greatest thing ever to come out of the Remington factory. Well maybe the Model 870 but that's for another forum. :) Game will never know the difference between a hit from it or a .44 Magnum, yet the .41 is gentler to both shooter and gun. I've owned five handguns, three S&W's and two Rugers, chambered for the .41 and can attest to how much better the guns hold up under heavy use than .44 Magnum N-frames. It really is having your cake and eating it too. And then there is the .41 Magnum carbine. A joy to shoot all day long but a literal bear(slayer) at the business end.
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I cannot fault your logic there.

For those who are heavily into handloading the .45 Colt is a wonderful cartirdge when used in modern guns. I have shot game and seen game shot with both .44 mag and .45 Colt and when you use any reasonble load in the Colt (say a 260 flat nose or expanding bullet at just about 1000 fps) it seems to work just a bit better than full house loads in the .44 (but I hasten to point out that I have not used 300 gr. bullets in the .44). I also hasten to point out that this could be explained by the small sample size.

That said, as Bill Pointed out, a .44 Special with a Keith bullet will do just about everything one needs a handgun to do unless you get really arcane (like shooting buffalo or something).

The 44-40 is one that I have managed to avoid. The tapered case is a bummer for reloading, brass is not all that common and the true bore diameter is unique (.427) though I am sure that the typical .430 would work.

Matter of fact, I have been invited on a cropping hunt and was just checking the zero on a Browning '92 in .44 Mag and my old model 29 this afternoon. Also dusting off the old Cold Anaconda in .45 Colt and will get my Win. '94 in .45 back from storage this weekend. It will be a tough decision which to use...hmmm

Happy trails!
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My favorite is the 41 mag.It was my first big bore,a 657 6".unfortunatly I let it go in a time of finacial difficulty.wish I stll had it.
awhile back when digging through my old supplies on my loading bench,I discoverd plenty of 41 components both hard cast 7 jacketed .Guess I better get on the ball And find another can'tlet that stuff go to waste!
You can never have too many .41 Magnums.
Here's a pic of my latest, a first-year Marlin 1984FG. I haven't done a lot of load development with it so far, but early results using Speer's 210-grain Gold Dot with Alliant Blue Dot and 2400 are encouraging.

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I'm a big fan of the S&W .41 Mag and the .44 Magnum.
I've had, at least, one of each for the last 20 years. Gave up on long barrels and both my Colt Anaconda .44 and my Smith M57 wear 4" barrels. Both are superb weapons and show undeniable quality.

Of the two the .41 is my favorite. It's does what the .44 can, but at about 25% less recoil. I can rapid fire the .41, but the .44 is a bit much. Have to work on that.

Your quest for a general purpose load is a good one. I use a 215 gr. KTSWC, 7.5 gr. WW231, and a Winch primer. This give me about 950 FPS for a good woods carry and general purpose round.

In the .44 Mag a 240 Gr. KTSWC, 8.5 gr. WW231, and a WLP primer give me the same velocity. Both from 4" barrels.

All that said my carry piece is a Stainless Ser. 80 Commander.

Different missions, different pistols!

All the best,

Wes Howe
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I've settled on .44 Specials in blued Smiths, they are just handy and comforting. If I "knew back then what I know now" I'd have .45LC on that list as well. The .44 Magnum is also used, partly because I like to team up my receiver sighted 16" Wrangler with a Smith. The carbine gets 300 gr loads, the Smith 240 LSWCs at about 950 fps. Here is a photo of a stock Wrangler:
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Hello. I appreciate the responses. Looks like some kindred spirits here.

Yep, yep, yep and yep.

Currently the only .44 Special I own is a 24-3 with 6 1/2" barrel, but there are a couple of M57s, a M58, a S&W Mountain Gun and a Model 25 in .45 Colt, several Vacqueros, a Colt SAA, and a Beretta Stampede, all in .45 Colt. And then there are the Model 29s and the one Super Blackhawk.

Ah, the magic of "4"...
Over time I have become quite fond of the .45 ACP for normal pistol-type tasks. The round is ancient and well proven in all respects, and delivers more accuracy than I deserve.

Of late I have been using a Ruger .45 ACP/.45 Colt convertible with the ACP cylinder and it certainly shoots my hardball equivalent load nicely. I am even thinking of having the rear of the cylinder faced off to accept the .45 Auto Rim case as well. With a 250 grain Keith it will operate in the .45 Colt range. I call that pretty efficient.

I do have .44 Spl/Magnum and .45 Colt revolvers, but a lot more ACP brass!
Yes, absolutely, you bet! All of the above, though I don't own a 41 at this time.
Another .41 fan here. I'm not one to take part in those "my .44 is better than your .41" discussions that I see from time to time because it's not my thing, but I can say that my .41 seems to do everything I need it to do, and that I very much enjoy it. :)
The .44 special started attracting me after I read Elmer Kieths book on revolvers. The favorite one that I've owned so for is the little, out of production, Rossi 721. with a barrel just over 3" and an unfluted cylinder, it could handle the heat pretty well with some friends hand loads. With factory loads, it carries enough weight to be a real pussy cat to shoot. Now I just regret selling it off but that's the price you pay to own one of every gun on a one gun budget.
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