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John Van Gelder
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Posted: May 12 2018 at 12:23pm | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

I had a real "romance" going with .44s back in the 60s. I was in the service back then, and most of my shooting was with a .22, the first handgun I bought for myself, was Standard model Ruger .22 semi auto, with as I recall a 6" barrel. I had a lot of fun with that gun, back then Remington had some really hot .22 hollow points, they were so hot that they blew the extractors off some old Winchester pump guns. Not sure of the whole story there.

I killed a pick up truck full of woodchucks with that Ruger .22 and those Golden Remington HPs.

I got back from a FBM patrol (Fleet Ballistic Missile) patrol had a few extra bucks in my pocket I was looking through the offerings at my favorite gun emporium in New London Connecticut, my eye fell upon a pair of .44 magnums. A slightly and I estimated less than a box of ammo, used mod 29 S&W and nearly pristine Super Balckhawk, both had a price tag of $95.00. That was a long time ago..

I looked at both guns, and since my Dad had a 29 decided on the S&W. Along with the gun I bought a box of .44 spls. Back then the only option was the 246 grn., round nose bullet. I was living off base back then, and even as densely populated as Connecticut was there was a lot of small game to be had. Between the guns shop and the place where I was living, with the first shots out of the gun I killed one rabbit, a pheasant and a nice fat gray squirrel. Meat for the pot, that got me started with .44s. I would visit my folks, back in upstate NY, use my dads molds and cast up and size a bunch of .44 bullets. I would pack the bullets back to Connecticut and load them up with a lee loader.

That S&W went with me everywhere, I shot a lot of game with that gun and gained a real appreciation of the .44.

   
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KinleyWater
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Posted: May 12 2018 at 4:48pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

I love my 44, a S&W M69. It's my favorite handgun and may be my favorite caliber.

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Tom W.
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Posted: May 12 2018 at 7:14pm | IP Logged Quote Tom W.

I really enjoy my Super RedHawk. I started with a blue 10" SBH, traded it for a smaller stainless steel SBH with a rounded trigger guard and a fluted cylinder, and finally ended up with the SRH. It's accurate, we shot it at silhouette targets @100 yards w/ open sights at the SO range this morning. The Deputy wanted me to bring it and my heavy cast loads. He'd never fired a 310 gr. bullet from a .44... He was impressed....

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John P.
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Posted: May 12 2018 at 8:08pm | IP Logged Quote John P.

My first .44 was bought in Southport, CT in 1986 when I turned 21. The
used 7.5 inch blued Super Blackhawk never shot that well. Upon a
good cleaning, I noticed the front of the cylinder charge holes were
lightly scribed, numbering each. Number 6 seemed always to be well
outside the group, no matter what load I was using. While I never
measured, I suspected tight throats. I sold this SBH, and put the cash
towards a new stainless SBH with a 4 5/8 inch tube. This one I still
have and shoots great.

Over the years I picked up a couple of 629's and a 29. Needless, to
say I am fond of the .44, but the .45 Colt is quickly catching up.

Favorite loads use Unique for light to mid-range loads, and 2400 for
heavy loads. Bullets are usually SWC lead 240 grain or heavier. If I use
a jacketed bullet, it is a 240 Hornady XTP.

Edited by John P. on May 13 2018 at 6:38am
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REM1875
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Posted: May 13 2018 at 2:29am | IP Logged Quote REM1875

My 44's tend to be 44-40's ....rifle or revolver ...
As a matter of fact my 44 BlackHawks wears it's 44-40
cylinder more than the 44 mag ......

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REM1875
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Posted: May 13 2018 at 2:36am | IP Logged Quote REM1875

"Back then the only option was the 246 grn., round nose
bullet."

I cast and still use those bullets .....

Edited by REM1875 on May 13 2018 at 2:36am
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paul105
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Posted: May 13 2018 at 6:40am | IP Logged Quote paul105

Fell in love with the .44 reading Elmer Keith back in the 60s. Finally ended up with a Super Blackhawk in the early 70s. Lost that gun in a home burglery several years later. With the insurance money, and inspired by Larry Kelly, I purchased a Model 29 and sent it to Magnaport Arms and had the barrel shortened to 5”, action job, magnaported and hard chromed. Had that gun for 20 years or so until, in moment of stupidity, I traded it for a Mountain Gun.   

When the Model 329 (26 oz Ti/Scandium .44 Mag) came out, I just had to have one (ended up with three over time). Shot them a bunch and was my all day every day (I was/am retired) carry gun for over a decade.

When the S&W M69 (5 shot, L Frame .44 Mag) was introduced back in 2014, I grabbed two of the 4 Ό” guns (figured they would be discontinued by S&W). Have shot and carried them extensively. They have become my favorite revolver platform. Last year, I added the 2 Ύ” version – what a fun gun that is!

Due to a problem with the bone at the base of my thumb, all my S&W round butt guns are equipped with the Hogue 500 X frame grips/”Tamers” (where they fit). I even modified a set for the little 2 Ύ” M69.

Have or had several different N Frame S&Ws, Ruger Super Blackhawks, Super Redhawks, Redhawks, 50th Anniv Flattop. – my current go to .44 is the M69.
    
Some pictures:

M69 with 4X Leupold for load development – actually makes a reasonably light weight, accurate package.
.

.
Much carried M329
.

.

.
Current fun gun. 2 Ύ” M69 with modified Hogue 500 X Frame grips.
.

.
Gotta Love the .44 – thanks Elmer!

Paul
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John Van Gelder
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Posted: May 13 2018 at 7:02am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

Some place along the way the trading bug got me and I swapped the mod 29, which by that time was pretty high mileage.

My next .44 was a Super Blackhawk. Back in the 60s those were pretty "slick" the bluing was as good as anything that S&W did, the trigger was good right out of the box, those were the pre transfer bar days. The gun had a 7.5 inch barrel an it shot like a rifle. I had three different bullets I used in that gun, a 180 gr. wad cutter, the standard 200 grn RNFP bullet for the .44-40 and 240 grn SWC.

The 180s were great for small game, I wish that mold was still available. The 200s were OK in that gun but it really performed with the 240s. I had some quarter sized groups I shot at 25 yards off hand, using that bullet and 7 gr. of Unique.

When I got out of the service in 1972, that .44 went with me to Alaska. That trip was a real gamble, I was fresh out of the service, had a grand total of $3000.00 to my name, a new Toyota Land Cruiser, as well as a wife and new daughter, and no prospect for a job. The incredible optimism of youth.

The trip up the Alaska Highway was an adventure, the Canadians. would still let "aliens" through their country with fire arms, but they sealed everything. I had a little incident with a bear in BC, I found out the seal did not interfere with the operation of a 94 Winchester..

I made it to Alaska, and camped in Fairbanks, I got my family settled and went looking for employment, I hour later I had a job, working at one of the NASA satellite tracking stations, along with a bunch of other Navy electronics types.

My finances were a bit tight for a while, that first year in Alaska saw a lot of rabbit on the menu. All killed with that 7 gr. of Unique and the 240 gr. SWC. That was at the high point of the rabbit cycle, I would ask my "cook" how many rabbits we needed for dinner, and I would go and harvest them, with the SBH.





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STCM(SW)
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Posted: May 13 2018 at 1:41pm | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

I have had at least 5 M29's and 1 M629.
Only one I have now is the M29-2 I got a buck with.
All the rest of my 44's are Specials and a 44-40.

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M700
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Posted: May 14 2018 at 9:05am | IP Logged Quote M700

Thoroughly enjoy loading for, and using my 629. It's the 5th 44 magnum I've had over about 30 years, and this one seems like a real keeper.

5" barrel balances just right for me.



Guy
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Old Ranger
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Posted: May 14 2018 at 9:32am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Had 4 4" M29s, a 6 1/2", and a 4" 629-10(?) Newfangled
one with all the lawyer crap. Killed a mess of hogs,
deer, Coyotes, and three armed felons with the 4 inchers.
That last stainless one cost a grand and I didn't like it
and sold it after a couple years. Carried a blued 4" 29
with no dash with real ivory grips on the street for 3
years and put it up and carried a 29-2 until the PD said
I Hadda carry a .357. Went to a M28 and it felt close.
Got zero 29s now, but I still shoot a 44 with an EAA
Bounty Hunter 4 1/2" single action.

Favorite bullets are Ideal 429360 (Gordon Boser 234gr
SWC) and Ideal 429421.

The 44, like the 45, are big bullets from a controllable
and comfortable carry sidearm. Either possess the punch
to swat whatever you hit flat on the ground. [Unless ya
shoot poorly of course ] Yeah, I always liked a 44.
Can't say what I shot liked 'em but... Oh well.

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John Van Gelder
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Posted: May 14 2018 at 2:51pm | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

The .44 special/magnum have been some of the most consistently accurate hand gun cartridges. There are documented instances of scope sighted S&W .44 magnums grouping into one inch at 100 yards.

Back in the days before the .44"Long". the .44 spl. was the target caliber of choice.

I have a very old double cavity mold, it is the 429360, probably out of print for a long time. It is/has been a good choice for me. I have done some pretty good shooting with that bullet in any of my .44s.
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richhodg66
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Posted: May 14 2018 at 4:00pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I have a single cavity of that 429360, first .44 mold I ever bought with the intent of feeding my Charter Bulldog.

I have a few other molds, only magnum I have now is the Super Blackhawk, but it shoots well. I really think the best thing I have in the .44 department is the RCBS 250 grain Kieth, but I have a few.

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STCM(SW)
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Posted: May 14 2018 at 5:00pm | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

My mold for target shooting drops out a 204 gr WC.
5 gr of BE, and it does a great job if I can hold steady on target....

image hosting 10mb limit
The last one dates to 1923 & shoots as good or better then the first one!

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John Van Gelder
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Posted: May 14 2018 at 5:43pm | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

The .44 special, was and still is a pretty useful cartridge. I dabbled with some of the small .44s a Carter Arms and a Rossi that was basically a K frame S&W.

When I was in Alaska I modified my Super Balckhawk, I had the barrel cut back to 5 5/8", just a little easier to carry, I also had one of the hard chrome finishes applied. After all of that I traded it for a another SBH. that had been owned by a Border Patrol officer that was stationed in Wrangell, Ak. He had that gun completely worked over, different springs, magnaported, etc. That gun was a fine piece of machinery...but as with all things something new and shinny came along and the SBH went down the trail in favor of a 7.5 in barrel Redhawk, .44 magnum. Back then Ruger offered some sight options, I got the express sights, a brass bead front and a "V" rear sight.

From a good solid rest I could regularly kill marmots up in the Chugach Mountains out to 100 yards. I used the hollow point version of the 429421 bullet.    
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Ham Gunner
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Posted: May 14 2018 at 8:17pm | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

My first revolver was a 6 1/2" Flat top Blackhawk .44 mag. I paid $115 for it used along with a Bianchi holster in 1973. It was one of the later models made just before Ruger discontinued it in 1963. I still have that revolver.

That flat top has always been a very accurate revolver and at one time, back when I could still see well, I could pick off 5 out of 6 soda cans at 100 yards with it off sand bags using the Lyman 429421 with a load of 16gr. 2400 in S&W Special cases. Magnum loads were equally as accurate, but I normally did not shoot off a bench much with the magnum rounds except for working up loads.

A friend of mine had a Ruger Super Blackhawk with a scope mounted on it and we could shoot walnuts out of the top of trees with no problem at all. The .44 caliber bullets can certainly be very accurate.

I enjoy shooting at rocks from one ridge to another hundreds of yards away with the full magnum loads. Lots of fun and they have respectable accuracy even at long range. Factory ammo was never all that satisfactory so I only shoot handloads. Mostly my cast Lyman 429421. The most accurate jacketed bullet that I ever loaded was the Speer 225gr. 3/4 jacket Hp. I forgot the load, but I was using Win. 296.

Edited by Ham Gunner on May 14 2018 at 8:27pm


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STCM(SW)
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Posted: May 14 2018 at 10:20pm | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

Well, I'll be 77 in just a few weeks, so 100 YDS is not my
thought. Just having fun with what time I have left....

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REM1875
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Posted: May 14 2018 at 11:19pm | IP Logged Quote REM1875

STCM(SW) wrote:
Well, I'll be 77 in just a few weeks,
so 100 YDS is not my
thought. Just having fun with what time I have left....


A damned good policy Master Chief
Love the guns you have
Can I be in the will ???
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John Van Gelder
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Posted: May 15 2018 at 5:58am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

There is something about putting a big lead smear on a rock out at long range that is very satisfying.

I had a long run with the .44s, but when Ruger started producing the Blackhawk in .45 Colt the bigger bullet at pretty much the same velocity as the .44 with lower pressure, seemed pretty attractive. Back when I was dealing with moose and big bears. My .44s started getting neglected.

That 7.5" barreled Redhawk was hard to beat as far as accuracy went. But when I retired from the Troopers in Alaska I started thinking about someplace with a bit less winter.

When I got around to moving I sold off all of my .44 guns, thinking that anything I needed to do with a big bore revolver I could do with my Blackhawk .45 Colt/ACP.

A few years after I moved South my father passed away and I inherited his firearms in that collection was his old mod. 29 that he purchased back in as I recall 1953. He used that gun a lot, and I had thought about sending it off to S&W to have it refinished and tuned up. But when I look at that gun and see the use he put on it, I decided to keep it just the was it is, It has wear but a lot of that is from cleaning.

I still shoot the old gun on occasions and with mostly .44 spl loads.

Two or three years ago my eye fell upon a new model Ruger flat top .44 spl., that was in the gun counter at my local feed store. I probably looked at that gun several times over a year, before it finally came home with me.

I have several different .44 bullets, the one that gun seems to shoot the best for me is the Lee 200 grn RNFP bullet. I have a load for that bullet in the special that really shoots. I tumble lube the bullets and shoot them unsized.

I have a 100 yard rock that has so many lead smears on it I may have to repaint it just to tell where I am hitting.

That little 5.5" Flat top Ruger is one of the best shooting of the .44s I have had over time. My favorite bullets in that gun are the 200 grn Lee and the old Keith design hollow point bullet.

I know Wade had one the the top Rugers and did not get on with it at all. The one I have has been a lot of fun to shoot and will probably do anything I need a big bore revolver to do, not to mention keeping big surly rocks in line.. :)
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twillis
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Posted: May 15 2018 at 7:00am | IP Logged Quote twillis

M700 wrote:
Thoroughly enjoy loading for, and using my 629. It's the 5th 44 magnum I've had over about 30 years, and this one seems like a real keeper.

5" barrel balances just right for me.



Guy


Thanks for posting a picture of my gun! It saved me the effort. My comments mirror Guy's except, as best I can recollect I've only had 4 of them since the early 80s. Nope, thought of another one....it is 5! LOL

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