Combat Effectiveness of the .44 Special?

This is a discussion on Combat Effectiveness of the .44 Special? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I would not use most factory .44Spl for stopping a peed off Black Bear. Well, I would if that was what I had with me ...

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Thread: Combat Effectiveness of the .44 Special?

  1. #16
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    I would not use most factory .44Spl for stopping a peed off Black Bear.

    Well, I would if that was what I had with me on my person. I wouldn't toss the .44Spl down and pick up a rock.

    Somewhat hotter handloads for Black Bear...go for it.

    Or....check out this by Buffalo Bore ~~~> http://www.buffalobore.com/

    PRESS RELEASE FOR BUFFALO BARNES 200gr. TAC-XP LEAD FREE HEAVY 44 SPL (ITEM 14D)
    This new “Heavy” 44 SPL load is designed for use in all 44 SPL handguns and rifles, except Charter Arms Bull Dog. Likewise, it is safe for use in all 44 magnum chambered firearms. This Barnes X type bullet will expand on flesh and bone and penetrate more deeply than most expanding lead core bullets of the same weight. Expect roughly 16 to 18 inches of penetration in living flesh and bone.
    We’ve utilized a flash retardant powder so the shooter will not be blinded by his own gunfire should he need to “drop the hammer” in low light. Since nearly 95% of all civilian shootings in the US occur in low light, when the criminal element is active, low flash powders can give an enormous tactical advantage to the user.
    As always, Buffalo Bore uses real, over-the-counter firearms to determine our published, real-world velocities. We prefer not to follow the industry wide, duplicitous practice of using extra long laboratory test barrels to generate exaggerated velocities that the ammo user will seldom, if ever see. With Buffalo Bore you will know what velocity your ammunition is generating in the real world, where it matters.
    1. 1091 fps—Ruger Super Black Hawk, 5.5 inch barrel.
    2. 1070 fps—S&W MT Gun, 4 inch barrel.
    3. 1036 fps—S&W Mod. 396, 3 inch barrel.
    4. 1017 fps—S&W Mod. 296, 2 inch barrel.
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  3. #17
    Senior Member Array CIBMike's Avatar
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    I have two 44 special revolvers both Lew Horton special edition guns model 624 and model 24 ,both snubbies.In the past i have carried both of these revolvers concealed in a pancake holster with black hills 220 grain swc for ammo.I tested my carry ammo in both revolvers but never put the round on the crony.Does anybody have an idea how effective these rounds would be out of the big bore snubbies?
    The easy way is always mined.

  4. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by barstoolguru View Post
    gThere is a reason revolver are not used as a side arm anymore and that is its limited
    The revolver is still used as a side arm and is still taken seriously as may be seen in this forum.
    CIBMike, shooterX, Cuda66 and 3 others like this.
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  5. #19
    VIP Member Array mprp's Avatar
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    2 Legged - Yes

    Vicious dog - Yes

    Coyote - Yes

    Mountain lion - Yes (but use all 6 for good measure)

    Black bear - No

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  6. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sensei2 View Post
    against human attackers, i would guess 'fair'...

  7. #21
    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barstoolguru View Post
    ...On a scale of 1-10 (low to high) about a 6-7...

  8. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by barstoolguru View Post
    good knock down power, slow follow up shots because of the recoil and limited shots before reloading is required

    On a scale of 1-10 (low to high) about a 6-7. There is a reason revolver are not used as a side arm anymore and that is its limited
    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    The revolver is still used as a side arm and is still taken seriously as may be seen in this forum.
    With practice revolver reloads can be fast enough or if you are concerned about reloading, consider as Mas Ayoob suggests, carry 2 revolvers. And bmcgilvray is correct, man of us take the revolver seriously, I never feel at a disadvantage carrying a revolver, I'm not going into combat, nor really bad neighborhoods if I can help it. I don't look for trouble, but if it finds me 6 shots from my model 66 (with my mod 60 as a BUG) will do just fine.
    "Don't start none, won't be none!"

  9. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    The revolver is still used as a side arm and is still taken seriously as may be seen in this forum.
    All this 44 Special talk has me getting itchy for one. I carry revolver regularly, but I never take myself to seriously.

  10. #24
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    Maybe I miss understood the question but I though the OP said "Combat” Effectiveness of the .44 Special?” No one doubts the effectiveness of the round or its ability to have stopping power. What I am talking about is its ability to be used in combat, it's slow to load under stress and if you had to carry extra ammo it would take 3 speed loaders to equal 1 mag in a semi-auto.
    If it was such a good “combat” gun the army would have adopted it instead of the colt 1911

  11. #25
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    Thanks for the responses!

    My use of the term "combat" was a little exaggerated- just implying general defensive deployment against the listed predators.

    I recently picked-up one of the limited edition Ruger "New" Vaqueros in .44 Special with the 3.75"" sheriff length barrel. It handing qualities are amazing, with perfect ergonomics for rapid on-target hits. I currently am favoring the Winchester Super-X 246 gr LRN (735 fps out of my Ruger) loading and HSM's 240 gr LSWC "Cowboy" (790 fps out of my Ruger) loading, as these shoot just above the sights at 15 yds, plus the impact of a heavy bullet with mild blast and recoil. The HSM load is quite a value, with a sharp shouldered LSWC in new Starline brass for only $23 per 50. The same load in reloaded brass is only $18.50. I have tried some of the lighter JHP loadings in my other .44 Special (4" S&W 624- a fine gun!), and they look to be OK for two-legged targets, but seem lacking in penetration for the four-legged variety.

    I need to get on of these holsters for the Ruger- http://www.chuckhawks.com/holster.htm

  12. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by barstoolguru View Post
    Maybe I miss understood the question but I though the OP said "Combat” Effectiveness of the .44 Special?” No one doubts the effectiveness of the round or its ability to have stopping power. What I am talking about is its ability to be used in combat, it's slow to load under stress and if you had to carry extra ammo it would take 3 speed loaders to equal 1 mag in a semi-auto.
    If it was such a good “combat” gun the army would have adopted it instead of the colt 1911
    Actually...they kinda did.

    When the US joined the fray "Over There" in 1917, our forces were woefully short of the newfangled autoloader adopted just six years earlier...so Colt and S&W were brought onboard to make the M1917 (same model number from both manufacturers)--a .45acp, six-shot revolver.

    Now, it's not .44spl, but ballistically .44spl and .45acp are remarkably similar (not talking about pushing loads to the max, of course), and the military had adopted the .45acp as well...

    And, the M1917's were also issued in WWII, too.

    I'd also add that when it comes to comparing a whellgun to an auto, it would be a bit more honest to compare similar calibers; say, .45's and the .44 spl...in which case, the revolver is only a round or two short of MOST .45's out there (being mainly single stacks), and the few doublestack designs have 10-14 rounds. So, really...for the most part, it's only one reload.
    bmcgilvray, Archie and Tayopo like this.
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  13. #27
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    Very good Cuda66;

    It's difficult to argue with any one of the big three: .44 Special, .45 ACP, and .45 Colt if a fellow needs to accomplish most reasonable tasks one could ask of a handgun intended for personal self-defense. Neither magnum cartridges or trick expanding bullets in smaller calibers truly offer anything greater than these three. The big-bore magnums take recoil to another level and lightweight expanding bullets don't start out at over .40 caliber, nor do they have the weight behind them.

    Light weight and shrunken, and .44 Special, .45 ACP, and .45 Colt are mutually exclusive terms for they don't lend themselves to tiny pistols that are frequently chosen as a talisman to ward off evil. They are more in the realm of the kinds of handguns one would choose if he knew he had to carry only a handgun into a dark place to deal with a large measure of evil.


    "...Colt and S&W were brought onboard to make the M1917 (same model number from both manufacturers)--a .45acp, six-shot revolver."

    Both now 94 years old, these M1917s have lost not a bit of their basic effectiveness and can well utilize all manner of modern .45 ACP ammunition developments or the best in heavy lead semi-wadcutter handloads. They are still formidable, if large and could serve for self-defense, especially in the home.
    Last edited by bmcgilvray; June 22nd, 2012 at 11:51 PM.
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  14. #28
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    For the handloader, 7.5 grns of Unique will yield about 900 fps, or 16 grns of 2400 will launch a 250 weight Keith style bullet at some 1200 fps +\- depending on barrel length and components used.

    That's some Bigfoot smack'in fun without wrist torquing recoil.

    Hell, I even small game hunt with it. Load a lrn bullet to 600 fps and it doesn't tear up squirrels or rabbits at all. ( avoid shoulder hits though). You can even load a lead round ball instead of a bullet for this type of use.

    Mild to wild, it's got it all!
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  15. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    Actually...they kinda did.

    When the US joined the fray "Over There" in 1917, our forces were woefully short of the newfangled autoloader adopted just six years earlier...so Colt and S&W were brought onboard to make the M1917 (same model number from both manufacturers)--a .45acp, six-shot revolver.

    Now, it's not .44spl, but ballistically .44spl and .45acp are remarkably similar (not talking about pushing loads to the max, of course), and the military had adopted the .45acp as well...

    And, the M1917's were also issued in WWII, too.

    I'd also add that when it comes to comparing a whellgun to an auto, it would be a bit more honest to compare similar calibers; say, .45's and the .44 spl...in which case, the revolver is only a round or two short of MOST .45's out there (being mainly single stacks), and the few doublestack designs have 10-14 rounds. So, really...for the most part, it's only one reload.
    Really, are we going to compare combat readiness in the 1917's to today? I would supple my soldiers with bricks if I didn't have better but when they supplied them with wheel guns it was better than nothing but not better than an auto for combat.

  16. #30
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    "Really, are we going to compare combat readiness in the 1917's to today"

    Sure, why not.

    While they wouldn't be one's first choice they do use effective ammunition, the same self-contained metallic cartridge ammunition used by the latest "high-tech" wonder pistols so popular, and are still unfussy and trouble-free. They are repeating handguns even though their capacity is less than most automatics. They were rugged in 1918 and they are still rugged now. A soldier equipped with one of the M1917 revolvers, proper holster, and supporting gear including moon clips would find them pretty speedy to load from the belt with a bit of practice. The force behind effective use of any handgun remains with the skills and determination of the user. A modern high-tech wonder pistol does not a skillful pistolero make. I'm only a mediocre handgunner yet I wouldn't feel cheated with either the Colt or Smith & Wesson rendition of the U.S. Model 1917 substitute standard side arm of World War I if I had to make use of it. I'd feel downright fortunate to have the use of a Smith & Wesson Model 625 .45 ACP revolver as a friend of mine has (seen below top revolver). It represents a premium personal defense side arm, especially here in 2012.



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