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The case for the 3" .44 Magnum


gwalchmai
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I'm always in the market for something. Currently I'd bite on a decent .44 Mag revo or a good .243 coyote rifle (from Acme). Anyway, I saw an ad locally for a 3" S&W Model 69. Looked real nice but I can't justify it. DSFDF, of course, but it seems to me that at the range suitable for a 3" barrel one could use a 3" .44 Special and save weight and bruising. I would prefer at least a 6" barrel on a .44 Mag for the longer bore axis. i.e., if it's close enough to hit with the 3" it's close enough for .44 Special, of which I have a couple. 

Change my mind... ;) 

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26 minutes ago, railfancwb said:

Hasn’t Charter made a .44 Special revolver?

Yes, I have a Charter Bulldog and a Rossi M720, both 3" .44 Specials. They're decent guns and I love the round, but I have a supply of .44 Mag reloads and am currently "between guns" in .44 Mag. It's a happy dilemma. 

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I have a mid 1980's 629 3in , to wide to carry  comfortably but I like it. My daily carry is a model 65 S&W that was a 3in that I had a 2in model 64 barrel put on. I think it shoots even better than it did before, . Ray Saltzman did the work and it turned out well and fits in my back pocket now easily

 

s-w_65-2in.jpg

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I have a friend that was involved in in an armed robbery the owner of the shop was exchanging gun fire with the robber , my buddy downed the robber with a 3in S&W 44 mag dead center in the chest , looked like you shoved your fist thru the robbers chest. Had to replace the carpet at the shop. one less robber in the world 

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14 hours ago, gwalchmai said:

I'm always in the market for something. Currently I'd bite on a decent .44 Mag revo or a good .243 coyote rifle (from Acme). Anyway, I saw an ad locally for a 3" S&W Model 69. Looked real nice but I can't justify it. DSFDF, of course, but it seems to me that at the range suitable for a 3" barrel one could use a 3" .44 Special and save weight and bruising. I would prefer at least a 6" barrel on a .44 Mag for the longer bore axis. i.e., if it's close enough to hit with the 3" it's close enough for .44 Special, of which I have a couple. 

Change my mind... ;) 

I have a 3 inch Lew Horton special and I've run some 180 and 200 grain reloads through it that were pretty close to 44 magnum and the recoil even with the lighter weight bullets was the main limiting factor with the shorter lighter tapered barrel. a longer barrel puts more weight out front and helps with muzzle flip but the heavy 4 inch barrel of the model 29 works well enough and the shorter barrel is faster out of the holster and on target.

But I think that bore axis and sight radius is sometimes over-rated, and with an N-frame with good grips, a 6 inch barrel isn't necessarily that much more accurate than a 4 inch and a 4 inch is hardly any different from a 3 inch. I like the Hogue grips in the N-frames and S&W used to offer them as factory grips with the S&W medallion.  I like them much better than Pachmayr grips which are an abomination on any Smith and Wesson.

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2 minutes ago, Borg warner said:

I have a 3 inch Lew Horton special and I've run some 180 and 200 grain reloads through it that were pretty close to 44 magnum and the recoil even with the lighter weight bullets was the main limiting factor with the shorter lighter tapered barrel. a longer barrel puts more weight out front and helps with muzzle flip but the heavy 4 inch barrel of the model 29 works well enough and the shorter barrel is faster out of the holster and on target.

But I think that bore axis and sight radius is sometimes over-rated, and with an N-frame with good grips, a 6 inch barrel isn't necessarily that much more accurate than a 4 inch and a 4 inch is hardly any different from a 3 inch. I like the Hogue grips in the N-frames and S&W used to offer them as factory grips with the S&W medallion.  I like them much better than Pachmayr grips which are an abomination on any Smith and Wesson.

I have a custom shop 29 with the 3" and has the non-fluted cylinder. Not a problem with hot loads for me. Also have a Redhawk with the 4.2" bbl that I load extra stout loads into for bear protection. 265 gr Hornady slugs or 300 grain XTP's stoked up to full house loads. Love shooting them. The recoil is fun imo.

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15 hours ago, gwalchmai said:

I'm always in the market for something. Currently I'd bite on a decent .44 Mag revo or a good .243 coyote rifle (from Acme). Anyway, I saw an ad locally for a 3" S&W Model 69. Looked real nice but I can't justify it. DSFDF, of course, but it seems to me that at the range suitable for a 3" barrel one could use a 3" .44 Special and save weight and bruising. I would prefer at least a 6" barrel on a .44 Mag for the longer bore axis. i.e., if it's close enough to hit with the 3" it's close enough for .44 Special, of which I have a couple. 

Change my mind... ;) 

I have a shooting buddy who is also an instructor.  He starts classes with a single shot on a relatively small gong at 50 yards, with a S&W J frame 2.5 inch barrel. 

From my perspective, if I can see it, I can hit it.  I don't care how long the barrel is.  OTH, if it's so far away that my sights cover up the target, then no matter the barrel length it ain't happening. 

Having said that, big bore revolvers have pretty limited utility for me.  There's no thick skinned predators around here, only thin skinned ones who walk on two legs.  What advantage is there to counterbalance the increased recoil and muzzle flip?  Not to mention limited ammo and slower reloading?

Not knocking revolvers, my wife carries a S&W J frame herself, but there are very good reasons why for her a revolver is a better choice.  What are yours?

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6 hours ago, Walt Longmire said:

I have a custom shop 29 with the 3" and has the non-fluted cylinder. Not a problem with hot loads for me. Also have a Redhawk with the 4.2" bbl that I load extra stout loads into for bear protection. 265 gr Hornady slugs or 300 grain XTP's stoked up to full house loads. Love shooting them. The recoil is fun imo.

I don't mind recoil. It hurts so good. You just have to know how to hold the gun with your elbows bent, not rigid, to absorb the recoil.  and the Redhog is heavy enough to absorb some of the recoil and strong enough to handle some very stout loads. I also like the Hogue grips on the Redhawk even though the factory grips are now similar and I like the looks of the regular Redhawk better than the Super Redhawk except for the "Alaskan" model where the barrel is cut flush with the heavy barrel shroud.

I( think that shroud should extend all the way to the end of the barrel. It looks funny with part of the barrel being round the way the have it. The third gun in the picture is how they SHOULD make the gun. It is not an existing model.

 

rugerredhawk.jpg

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Yep! Replicas of guns that were never made. Colt 1851 Navies…in .44.

 

Those paper cartridges are fun to make, but painstaking work. Gives me a feel for the care cowboys must have used to keep their guns up and running.

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6 hours ago, railfancwb said:

Didn’t Wild Bill empty (by firing) his handguns, clean them, and reload daily?

He was definitely known for practicing way more than most. Wouldn’t surprise me.

41 minutes ago, Pogey Bait said:

Not sure why I bought this.  It's a handful with hot .44 mag loads.  

But it looks cool.  

 

1386871809_SmithWesson629.PNG.0d35088456be8a60b6feff1e98a7a5e2.PNG

It does.

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10 hours ago, railfancwb said:

Didn’t Wild Bill empty (by firing) his handguns, clean them, and reload daily?

Was it cap and ball that got so unreliable after a day in the humidity that you were advised to reload them daily to ensure they would fire when needed...........

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Black powder is hygroscopic (absorbs water from the air) so that’s a potential problem. You have to lube the bullets, so that’s an issue. It fouls the works up and you can’t use a petroleum based lube, so there’s another potential problem. And of course the caps can break and get jammed in the action.

Having said that, mine have been worked over by a very competent gunsmith, I am pretty meticulous in my prep, so I’ve never had a ftf other than my first outing.

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