"Special".......

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Ray
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"Special".......

#1 Post by Ray » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:51 am

m.A.g.a. !

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Re: "Special".......

#2 Post by gamekeeper » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:58 am

Good post 8)
If I ever get back my freedom back to own a handgun again, the Charter Arms Bulldog will be my first purchase, of course other revolvers would follow.... :wink:
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Re: "Special".......

#3 Post by Ray » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:03 am

For the jello junkies who are adamant that those anemic, outdated .44 spl. factory loads fail to expand......

http://www.milesfortis.us/mcump/images/ ... crecov.jpg
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Re: "Special".......

#4 Post by Bill in Oregon » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:23 am

Thanks Ray. You know, I keep trying to make friends with a small auto in 9mm and it just ain't happenin'.
The current Bulldogs seem to be much more reliable than some of those in Charter's checkered past.

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Re: "Special".......

#5 Post by piller » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:58 am

I have a .44 Magnum, but not a .44 Special. My opinion, and worth what you paid for it, is that you are an idiot if you push the .44 Special too hard. If you want a Magnum, get the Magnum. The .44 Special has a fine reputation earned over time. You don't always need to skate close to the edge of thin ice for your skates to glide smoothly.
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Re: "Special".......

#6 Post by Grizz » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:03 am

200gr gold dot is the house load for the redhawk . . . it'll do

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Re: "Special".......

#7 Post by Ray » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:42 pm

The .44 Special - A Reappraisal
by Charles A. Skelton

Shooting Times Magazine
August 1966

Note: This was one of Skeeters early articles for Shooting Times and he had not starting using his nickname of "Skeeter" in his byline.

In the uncomplicated days before the Great Misunderstanding of December 7, 1941, no one I knew had a .44 Special because no one I new could afford to by a gun. Although plenty of Smith & Wesson's New Century (Triplelock), 1917 Hand Ejector, and 1926 Military models must have been around somewhere, I couldn't find 'em.

Handgunnery in my Dust Bowl social circle was carried on with creaky old Colt single actions and modestly priced Iver Johnson Owlheads in .32 caliber . Forward-thinking pistoleros, a lot of them Texas Rangers, favored 1911 Colt .45 autos - mostly marked "United States Property," relics of the Argonne Forest or some such.

Colt catalogs of the period mentioned that New Service, New Service Target, and Single Action Army models were in the .44 Special dimension, but the only ones I ever located reposed in the displays of affluent postwar collectors.

It was a situation to drive a man to the jug, and the inflated prices of a gunless, wartime market did nothing to help. Every year or two, if you were lucky, you might glimpse a classified ad offering a .44 Special revolver, at prices that would bankrupt a bricklayer. The postwar boom helped little. Years went by before any gunmaker got around to dishing up a good forty-four.

Through this whole mess, my appetites were honed by a dedicated group of individualists who called themselves "The .44 Associates." At the time I thought these aficionados of the .44 Special rather smug. They already had their guns, and interchanged loading information and jokes about .357 shooters in a regular newsletter. My simmering envy of the .44 Associates was finally boiled over by the excellent magazine articles of Gordon Boser and the flamboyant Elmer Keith.

I sold my .38 Special. I sold my saddle. I cashed in my War Bonds and quit smoking. With bulging pockets, I walked to Polley's Gunshop in Amarillo and paid my friend, Tex Crossett, $125 for a clean, tight .38-40 Colt single action. This was in the late 'forties, and the thumbusters' prices were still held high by the Colt factory's refusal to tool up and produce them for their postwar fans.

Trying not to think of my stripped bank account, I shipped the old Colt to Christy Gun Works, who installed a matched .44 Special barrel and cylinder of their own manufacture. California's old King Gunsight Company added a lowslung adjustable rear sight and a mirrored, beaded, ramp front. Somebody else did me a trigger job, and bright blued the whole package. Panting for breath, I plunked down 20 bucks for a pair of one-piece ivory grips, $20 more for bullet molds, sizers, and loading dies, and started a charge account to get empty cases. It had taken ten years, but I had my .44 Special.

Any handgunner who got his start less than ten years ago may well wonder what all the fretting was about. The .44 Magnum completes its first decade this year. A longer, stronger version of the .44 Special, it eclipses the performance of the Special even more than that cartridge overshadowed its own father, the .44 Russian. All fire bullets of the same diameter, of approximately the same weight, and revolvers of the newer calibrations will efficiently handle the older factory loadings.

The .44 S. & W. Special is simply a longer version of the .44 Russian, throwing the same bullet at the same velocity. It is inherently more accurate than any other pistol cartridge that I have fired, as loaded by the ammunition factories. This trait can be improved upon by handloading. Therein lies its fascination.

As a defense or hunting load, the factory .44 Special is on a par with the .45 ACP and the .38 Special - both notoriously poor performers. Commercial cartridges in .45 Colt, .44-40, .38-40, and .357 Magnum far outshine the leisurely moving, roundnosed .44, which for generations has maintained its staid, 760 fps pace. But put a bullet of the right configuration over a .44 Special case, crackling with enough of the right, slow burning powder, and its superiority to any of the above-named killers is so apparent as to make comparison a waste of time.

The .357 Magnum, with much justification, has enjoyed a heyday since 1935. Smith & Wesson's advertising for this revolver used to proclaim, "The S & W '.357' Magnum Has Far Greater Shock Power Than Any .38, .44, or .45 Ever Tested." With factory loads, this was true. Handloaded, the .44 Special made the .357 - also handloaded to peak performance - eat dust. It was the case of a good big man beating hell out of a good little man.

Basic mathematics made it obvious to experimenters that if the .44 Special were loaded up to its maximum velocity - generally accepted as 1,200 fps at the muzzle with 250-grain bullets - it could skunk the 158-grain .357 slug at 1,500 fps.

Topped with cast bullets in Hollow-point form, both the .357 and .44 Special handloads ran several times higher than their closest competitors on General Julian Hatcher's scale of relative stopping power. Significantly, the .44 had almost double the stopping effect of the .357 when this scale was applied, in spite of its moving at 300 less velocity.

Homebrewed work loads for my .44 were originally based on the excellent Lyman 429244 cast bullet, in both solid and hollowpoint form. For me, this was a natural choice of bullets after having found the .357 version of the same design - 358156 - to be an extremely accurate one in my guns of that caliber, and to shoot at maximum velocities without leading.

My gorgeous custom Colt ate up many hundreds of heavy loads with this bullet before I realized that the gascheck, so necessary to prevent leading in hot .357 loads, served no good purpose in the .44 Special. Lyman 429421 molds, throwing the well-known Keith Semiwadcutter bullets in both solid and hollowpoint forms, were acquired. The Keith Bullet, cast in a 1 in 15 tin-to-lead mixture, gives minimal leading problems in the .44 Special, and is fully as accurate as the gaschecked 429244 when care is taken in casting.

Some critics of the 429244 say that this gascheck bullet, designed by Ray Thompson, can't be as accurate as a plain base bullet because the copper cup at its bottom prevents it from slugging out and forming a gas seal in the barrel. This, the detractors claim, allows hot gases to squeeze by the bearing surfaces of the slug, misshaping it and prematurely eroding the bore of the revolver. I have not found this to be so, and heartily recommend the gascheck version to everyone who is willing to go the extra trouble nad expense necessary to produce it. Because of the perfect bullet bases provided by the preshaped gaschecks, the Thompson guarantees accuracy, and I Supect still slugs out to form as good a gas seal as any plain base bullet.

I chose the Keith design because I found it possible, through careful casting, to produce bullets that would perform as well without the necessity of fiddling with the little copper cups.

Solid or hollowpoint, these forty-fours are deadly, and can't be bettered as manstoppers by any cartridge other than the .44 and .41 magnums, equally properly loaded. My heavy load for police work or big game shooting is an easy one to put together. Size either the Thompson or Keith bullet to .429" for Smith & Wesson or Ruger guns, .427" for Colts. Seat this bullet over 17½ grains of Hercules 2400 powder and cap with CCI Magnum primers. If you can shoot a pistol, this load will arm you better than you would be with a 30-30 rifle.

This is a maximum load, and it is unlikely that it will be employed exclusively by men who shoot a great deal. For an intermediate cartridge of around 1,000 fps, 8½ grains of Unique serves well, and outperforms most factory pistol cartridges of any caliber. Charges of 6½ grains of 5066 or 5 grains of Bullseye with either the Lyman 429244 or 429421 bullets will give fine, about-factory-velocity, performance.

For normal to medium-heavy charges, almost any pistol, shotgun, or fast rifle powder may be used for the .44 Special. The Alcan and Red Dot Shotgun powders give singular performance, as well as such slow burners as Du Pont's IMR4227. A comprehensive list of un-tempermental .44 loads will fill books.

The .44 Special is versatile. Although recommended by some of the more magnum-minded as being a fine deliverer of such small table game as cottontails, squirrels, and grouse, it is a bit severe on these edibles when loaded with full or semiwadcutter bullets, usually leaving a great deal of good meat mangled or bloodshot. Lyman, as well as other mold makers, offers several roundnosed bullet styles and weights that penetrate your entree with no more damage than a .38 Special

If making your own bullets holds no appeal, excellent commercial ones are available. The 240-grain Norma, jacketed in mild steel under a soft nose, serves well as an all-around number, although it doesn't expand spectacularly at lower velocities. The various swaged bullets, with copper base cups covering their pure lead cores, are very good. Speer Bullets, among many others, merchandise an excellent .44 Semi-wadcutter. And don't forget the super accurate factory load's usefulness for small game. The cheapest cases for reloading can be obtained by fireing these loads that shoot so pleasantly.

I'm a little saddened by the fate of the .44 Special sixguns. My first custom Colt cost almost $200 just a few years ago. Acceding the rule of supply and demand, it was worth the price in terms of enjoyment and education. Smith & Wesson finally got some of their 1950 Target Models on dealer's shelves in 1954. I bought one of the first, and immediately returned it to the factory to have its 6½" barrel cut to 5" and a ramp front sight installed. The factory later offered these revolvers with 4" barrels and ramp sights on special order, and they were a superb law enforcement weapon, selling at a discount to police officers. Hunter who knew handloading grabbed eagerly for these target-quality revolvers and recorded many big-game kills, form deer to Alaskan brown bear.

Scarcely two years of readily available .44 Specials were enjoyed by those who wanted them before the .44 Magnum was foaled in 1956. There can be no argument the the Big One did in all others who vied for top berth in the power department.

Remington's sensational 240-grain lead bullet at 1500 fps gave even the most power-mad pistolero more than he bargained for. Whimpers were heard from effete shooters who allowed that shooting the .44 Magnum compared to the sensation of burning bamboo splinters being driven into the palm.

While touching off the Magnum is far from being that rough, it is true that few want to shoot a steady diet of full charge loads in it. It results in .44 Magnum shooters loading their big guns down to more palatable levels. A favorite "heavy" cartridge for .44 Magnum devotees is comprised of the Keith or Thompson bullet over 18 grains of Hercules 2400, although the acceptable maximum with these balls is 23 grains. This about duplicates the old, proven .44 Special handloads, and is, in truth, adequate for about any situation a six-shooter man may face.

Hearkening to their siren cry I bought every variation of the .44 Magnum that was commercially produced. In the process I rid myself of all my fine, proven .44 Special guns. Sheriff of a Texas County, I felt the need of a powerful holster gun, and dallied with the S & W .44 Magnum in 4" length. With factory Magnum or full-powered handloads, its recoil was so pronounced (although not painful) as to make it a poor choice for strings of double action shots in combat situations. Loading it down rendered it no more potent than a .44 Special, and I soon traded it for one. Along with others, I hounded Smith & Wesson for a .41 Magnum, whose two factory loadings would bracket the needs of police officers who did not handload. Since introduction of this revolver in 1964, it has been the best choice for that purpose.

The .44 Magnum is odds-on the selection as a hunting handgun. Because that is what it is, there is small reason to ever load anything but heavy loads for it, and so is my Ruger loaded.

So now the fallen knight, the one-time expensive glamour boy can come out of hiding. Forty-four Specials dirt cheap, with used 1950 Military Smith & Wessons and rebuilt Colt New Service and Single Action Armies going for 50 to 60 bucks. Smith still makes their 1950 Target Models, but rumor has it they may stop. This will leave only the horse-and-buggy Colt single action available in that caliber, if you crave a brand new gun.

Cops need sidearms that will use powerful, store-bought ammunition, and thus should stick with the .357 and .41 Magnums. The everyday man who bolsters a handgun for come-what-may eventualities cannot improve on a .44 Special revolver.

If he owned a higher-priced .44 magnum, he would likely load it down to Special capabilities. With factory ammunition, the Special shoots as accurately as any revolver yet made. Although capable of taking any game that the Magnums can, the old .44 carries half the price of its Magnum "betters."

A big, holstered sixgun is no longer part of my work, but when I get the chance, I roam in the brush country where a rattler, a whitetail buck, or a javelina might join me at any moment. I have a .44 Magnum, but my .44 Special seems more relaxed - and prettier. Buying a Colt New Frontier Model, with its beautiful blue and old style, mottled, casehardened colors took me back 15 years.

A lot of money is being spent by romantic types who want a big pistol and a little, lever action saddle carbine chambered for the same round. The general approach toward satisfying this craving is to have a Model 92 Winchester .44-40 rebarreled to handle .44 Magnum cartridges. This is expensive and results in a rifle very little more effective than it would have been with hot .44-40 loads. Further, the straight cases of the Magnum rounds often cause exasperating feeding problems in these little actions.

My solution is simpler - change the revolver instead of the rifle. Digging around in my bag of tricks, I fished out an old, but solid, .44-40 cylinder from a forgotten Colt single action. It slipped readily into battery in my sleek New Frontier Model, indexed crisply, and locked up tight. Groups fired with factory .44-40 ammo are adequately tight, opening up another career for my Frontier.

This finely fitted single action suits me well, and is the epitome of the forty-fours I dreamed of for fruitless years. At $150, it seems at first of little overpriced. But then - I once spent more.
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Re: "Special".......

#8 Post by Booger Bill » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:35 pm

Thanks to skeeter and elmer, I somehow acquired these seven .44 specials over the years.
https://i.postimg.cc/JzRVzvzk/IMG-1417-edited-1.jpg
https://postimg.cc/QBPqFh6r

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Re: "Special".......

#9 Post by Grizz » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:50 am

good article, thanks.

Topped with cast bullets in Hollow-point form, both the .357 and .44 Special handloads ran several times higher than their closest competitors on General Julian Hatcher's scale of relative stopping power. Significantly, the .44 had almost double the stopping effect of the .357 when this scale was applied, in spite of its moving at 300 less velocity.
so the trend continues . . . the 405gr TC [BTB_405g WLN DCG GC] running 950 to 1020fps skunks the 44 spcl and MOST 44 mag loads in revolvers . . .

and of course the 45/70/525 skunks the 44/405 from a BFR . . .

and so it goes

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Re: "Special".......

#10 Post by Blaine » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:37 pm

I doubt I'll spend any more on .44 revolvers, but I DO have a like new, no-lock 625 that I consider a (not so) mini-Mountain Gun....It handles cheap 230 fmj and they come out without problems. When I get off my butt, I'll load some 255 cast at about 850-900ish.. I suspect that's good for about anything I'll run across in my woods.
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Re: "Special".......

#11 Post by Grizz » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:20 pm

YEAH, that sounds like a good load

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Re: "Special".......

#12 Post by Les Staley » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:19 am

I picked up a newly released Ruger GP100 44 Special five shot wheel gun a couple years back. Ruger was thinking right when they put rear sights with lots of elevation adjustments on the gun. It will handle the heavier bullets, shooting to POA at 35 yds, a really useful trait. Mine is in my buddies gun shop having a weaver rail with a deep center trough installed. It will be wearing a Burris Fast Fire 3 while hunting, and I'll be able to remove the FF3 and see the firefights (factory installed) through the center trough.. Leaving the Weaver base on the gun. I'll post a couple pics when it gets back.
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Re: "Special".......

#13 Post by Old Savage » Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:51 am

Pretty easy to run a .44 Spl between 750-1250 fps in the N frame Model 24. That covers a lot ground and is very accurate. A very favorite revolver, 850-900 fps is a natural.
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Re: "Special".......

#14 Post by Bill in Oregon » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:47 am

Les, do post photos when you get your GP100 back. 8)

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Re: "Special".......

#15 Post by Sixgun » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:56 am

My favorite revolver cartridge and like Booger Bill was addicted to this,cartridge by Elmer and Skeeter. As far as I'm concerned there are only three loads for the 44 Spl and the bullet involved is the Saeco 260 gr, Keith or the Lyman 429421. 5 grains of Bullseye for all around shooting, 7.5 gr. of Unique (Skeeters load) for more all around shooting and 17.5 grains of 2400 for hunting deer. I've shot all kinds of game with all of the loads listed from squirrels to deer.

Back in the day, in my twenties I used to shoot squirrels for my grandfather as he loved squirrels and I hated them comparing them to rats. He used to laugh at the perfect holes created by the slow moving cast bullet going 700 fps with no damage to the meat. He have me incentive to keep on shooting those squirrels. Between a 1950 Target Smith and an 1892 Winchester in 32-20 I must have shot serval hundred of those tree rats.

Bottom left is an extremely rare 'Smith Triplelock Target made in 1915 and was once owned by Captian Nat of America's Cup Fame,.?next to that is another rare Colt Shooting Master (New Service Frame but round butt) target made in 1932 with a extra factory fitted cylinder and crane for the 44-40...middle left is a 1950 Target 4", killed the biggest buck in my life with that one. a Colt SAA Army with factory ivories...(logged over 4K rounds. This Colt also has a fitted 44-40 cylinder. On the extreme right is a 1950 Target 'Smith with the 6 and 1/2" barrel, made in '55. The last is a 624 1950 Target 'Smith that is extremely accurate.

Did I say I like 44 Spls?---6

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Re: "Special".......

#16 Post by Old Savage » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:49 pm

Most accurate load for my 24 has been 12.5.gr. of 2400 with the 250 gr. Keith bullet.
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Re: "Special".......

#17 Post by Sixgun » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:19 pm

Old Savage wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:49 pm
Most accurate load for my 24 has been 12.5.gr. of 2400 with the 250 gr. Keith bullet.
Ya know Fred....I never had much luck with reduced loads using 2400....extreme spreads were too high, especially in cold weather......but YOUR in S. Cali where the weather is always nice. :D .....and so is the soft stuff.

Contradictory to what I previously wrote, I also like 200 grain bullets for playing. Only been doing this for a few years...the 210 grain Hensley & Gibbs or even the cheapy 200 Lee that I normally use in the 44-40 works great for play also, even the 44 mag. I cast these up by the thousands using their excellent 6 cavity mould.

In my "Tunnel Rat" Smith and Wesson 629 with the two inch barrel and fixed sights, I use the 210 H&G pushed at 900 which just about duplicates the 45 acp. Jeff Croze of Smith & Wesson fame pulled this gun from the archives vault and brought it down just for me...then he did and Action job on it and gave me an extra hammer to bob. It's the one at 6 o'clock.---6

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Re: "Special".......

#18 Post by GunnyMack » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:00 pm

Nice pile of specials Six but I have 1 that you DONT!
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Re: "Special".......

#19 Post by Old Savage » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:28 pm

Six, on the 2400, I loaded them in one grain increments from 11.0 to 17.0. The 12.5 was just a hunch but was most accurate in my 6 1/2" 24. American Select was my choice for lighter loads, very clean. I tried a lot of loads in the 6,000 through it. I will have to get the records out and check.
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Re: "Special".......

#20 Post by Sixgun » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:38 pm

GunnyMack wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:00 pm
Nice pile of specials Six but I have 1 that you DONT!
Oh yea????!!!!!! Lemme clue you in young man. Six always gets what he wants......yep, when it was my brothers or sisters birthday, I also got a gift....and it was wrapped up too......to my dad, I was the golden child.....so.....that means if you have something that I want I'll just send this guy over. He's the BEST at filling an order.

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Re: "Special".......

#21 Post by GunnyMack » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:18 pm

Ah but my special is VERY special, Ruger Single Six fitted with a 5 shot 44 special cylinder. I supplied the 32 Single Six and John Gallagher and I did the conversion. I'm sure John has done more of these but mine was the first( that I know of)
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Re: "Special".......

#22 Post by Bill in Oregon » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:55 pm

WOW!

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Re: "Special".......

#23 Post by Old Savage » Tue Aug 27, 2019 6:05 pm

Looking back at the records I see I used 9 different powders and bullets of 240 and 245 grs. primarily. I shot groups offhand at 25 yds. The best were 1 7/8" x 5 with cast with 2400 and 5.6 gr. of 452. There was a 1 1/2" for 6 shots with Nosler JHP and 12.6 gr. 2400.

All the combinations were at least good accuracy, say sub 3". I see groups at 50 yds for 5 of 6 of 2 13/16" and 3 1/4" with Winchester Superlight and 3 5/8" with 452.

WSL was the light powder not American Select.

My first loads were the Bullseye and Unique loads Six mentioned. Red Dot was also very accurate as was Blue Dot.
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Re: "Special".......

#24 Post by Old Savage » Tue Aug 27, 2019 6:14 pm

Overall the .44 Spl goes as heavy as I like and as light as I like in an N frame. My Model 24 is as accurate as I can tell offhand. My favorite cartridge and handgun.

Had a couple of 29s, more than I liked full power.
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Re: "Special".......

#25 Post by Sixgun » Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:04 pm

Fred....your 24 looks familiar....I bought four of them when they came out in the eighties.....kept the 4" and the 624 but sold off the 6 and 1/2" ers in the nineties as I had an original 6 and 1\2"....also had an original 4" made in '55 but John Taffin talked me out of it.

Did you buy yours locally or off the Internet? As you know, there's not a lot of them out there...maybe, just maybe, your 24 used to be mine. :D

How's your Ruger shoot? I've seen em but was never in the mood when I saw them.

And Gunny...I remember now...you were telling me about that....when you get a chance,,I'd like to see a pic. THAT is an interesting gun....talk about a perfect trail gun....(can I have it?)
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Re: "Special".......

#26 Post by Old Savage » Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:39 pm

So far nothing shoots like the 24, bought new in 88 from a local gun dealer.

The only Ruger close so far is a 3 Screw 4 5/8" .45 Colt. I did have another SBH that would clover leaf at 7 1/2 yd but that is no standard and I did not have it long. What were really accurate were two New Frontiers, .44 Spl and .45 Colt but they went down the line, not sure why.

And frankly Six, I just don't think I am good enough anymore to find out.

You know though, there is a third Gen. 5 1/2" Colt that I shot 30 years ago. Dead on to my sight. Plain Jane, great gun.
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Re: "Special".......

#27 Post by Sixgun » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:22 pm

Fred...headed over to the Gun Room.--6
Single Action Colts. Poof! Poof!

Image
14 and Counting

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Re: "Special".......

#28 Post by Les Staley » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:04 pm

Trying to get some photos up.
image.jpeg
vg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
Bill in Oregon, here you go!
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This is plagiarized from someone else, but I love it!

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Re: "Special".......

#29 Post by Les Staley » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:26 pm

Sighted in with some factory Winchester 200 gr silver tips I had. Getting some groups around four inches (5 shots) at 50 yds with a makeshift rest. Should do better when I use my hand loads. Will be trying some of your suggested recipes.
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Re: "Special".......

#30 Post by GunnyMack » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:47 am

Here's my single Six 44 special. It started life as a 32. John Gallagher and I put it together while we were in gunsmith school.
20190828_202932-600x800.jpg
next to my K22 for scale
20190828_202956-600x800.jpg
20190828_202944-800x600.jpg
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Re: "Special".......

#31 Post by Bill in Oregon » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:00 am

Les, thanks for the photos. That's a slick outfit. Hope dialed-in handloads and the FastFire get you some nice, tight groups.
Gunny, bet that's the only one on the planet!

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Re: "Special".......

#32 Post by GunnyMack » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:27 am

It could be Bill but I'd bet Gallagher has done a few more. One of these days I ought to call him.
From an article by Taffin:
Screenshot_20190829-103159_DuckDuckGo-768x1579.jpg
Seems he has done a couple other single six's
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Re: "Special".......

#33 Post by Les Staley » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:41 am

Now, if I can get the streams to cross...(Ghost busters)....
image.jpeg
I've got pics of three other bucks, a forky, a three by three and a small eight. Have 11 acres of logged off (30 years ago) land. Old logging roads, skid trails and a rock pit. Elk, bear, turkeys, coyotes and lions all call this area home. Roughed in a cabin, put in a couple 20' shipping containers, a 100 yard range and just cleared a road down across the creek three weeks ago, which the critters are useing for travel. Gotta put up a tree stand.....in 44 special range!
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Last edited by Les Staley on Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Special".......

#34 Post by Bill in Oregon » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:07 am

Hey, Les, you're living my dream! 8)

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Re: "Special".......

#35 Post by Tactical Lever » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:19 am

Ray wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:42 pm
The .44 Special - A Reappraisal
by Charles A. Skelton

Shooting Times Magazine
August 1966

Note: This was one of Skeeters early articles for Shooting Times and he had not starting using his nickname of "Skeeter" in his byline.

In the uncomplicated days before the Great Misunderstanding of December 7, 1941, no one I knew had a .44 Special because no one I new could afford to by a gun. Although plenty of Smith & Wesson's New Century (Triplelock), 1917 Hand Ejector, and 1926 Military models must have been around somewhere, I couldn't find 'em.

Handgunnery in my Dust Bowl social circle was carried on with creaky old Colt single actions and modestly priced Iver Johnson Owlheads in .32 caliber . Forward-thinking pistoleros, a lot of them Texas Rangers, favored 1911 Colt .45 autos - mostly marked "United States Property," relics of the Argonne Forest or some such.

Colt catalogs of the period mentioned that New Service, New Service Target, and Single Action Army models were in the .44 Special dimension, but the only ones I ever located reposed in the displays of affluent postwar collectors.

It was a situation to drive a man to the jug, and the inflated prices of a gunless, wartime market did nothing to help. Every year or two, if you were lucky, you might glimpse a classified ad offering a .44 Special revolver, at prices that would bankrupt a bricklayer. The postwar boom helped little. Years went by before any gunmaker got around to dishing up a good forty-four.

Through this whole mess, my appetites were honed by a dedicated group of individualists who called themselves "The .44 Associates." At the time I thought these aficionados of the .44 Special rather smug. They already had their guns, and interchanged loading information and jokes about .357 shooters in a regular newsletter. My simmering envy of the .44 Associates was finally boiled over by the excellent magazine articles of Gordon Boser and the flamboyant Elmer Keith.

I sold my .38 Special. I sold my saddle. I cashed in my War Bonds and quit smoking. With bulging pockets, I walked to Polley's Gunshop in Amarillo and paid my friend, Tex Crossett, $125 for a clean, tight .38-40 Colt single action. This was in the late 'forties, and the thumbusters' prices were still held high by the Colt factory's refusal to tool up and produce them for their postwar fans.

Trying not to think of my stripped bank account, I shipped the old Colt to Christy Gun Works, who installed a matched .44 Special barrel and cylinder of their own manufacture. California's old King Gunsight Company added a lowslung adjustable rear sight and a mirrored, beaded, ramp front. Somebody else did me a trigger job, and bright blued the whole package. Panting for breath, I plunked down 20 bucks for a pair of one-piece ivory grips, $20 more for bullet molds, sizers, and loading dies, and started a charge account to get empty cases. It had taken ten years, but I had my .44 Special.

Any handgunner who got his start less than ten years ago may well wonder what all the fretting was about. The .44 Magnum completes its first decade this year. A longer, stronger version of the .44 Special, it eclipses the performance of the Special even more than that cartridge overshadowed its own father, the .44 Russian. All fire bullets of the same diameter, of approximately the same weight, and revolvers of the newer calibrations will efficiently handle the older factory loadings.

The .44 S. & W. Special is simply a longer version of the .44 Russian, throwing the same bullet at the same velocity. It is inherently more accurate than any other pistol cartridge that I have fired, as loaded by the ammunition factories. This trait can be improved upon by handloading. Therein lies its fascination.

As a defense or hunting load, the factory .44 Special is on a par with the .45 ACP and the .38 Special - both notoriously poor performers. Commercial cartridges in .45 Colt, .44-40, .38-40, and .357 Magnum far outshine the leisurely moving, roundnosed .44, which for generations has maintained its staid, 760 fps pace. But put a bullet of the right configuration over a .44 Special case, crackling with enough of the right, slow burning powder, and its superiority to any of the above-named killers is so apparent as to make comparison a waste of time.

The .357 Magnum, with much justification, has enjoyed a heyday since 1935. Smith & Wesson's advertising for this revolver used to proclaim, "The S & W '.357' Magnum Has Far Greater Shock Power Than Any .38, .44, or .45 Ever Tested." With factory loads, this was true. Handloaded, the .44 Special made the .357 - also handloaded to peak performance - eat dust. It was the case of a good big man beating hell out of a good little man.

Basic mathematics made it obvious to experimenters that if the .44 Special were loaded up to its maximum velocity - generally accepted as 1,200 fps at the muzzle with 250-grain bullets - it could skunk the 158-grain .357 slug at 1,500 fps.

Topped with cast bullets in Hollow-point form, both the .357 and .44 Special handloads ran several times higher than their closest competitors on General Julian Hatcher's scale of relative stopping power. Significantly, the .44 had almost double the stopping effect of the .357 when this scale was applied, in spite of its moving at 300 less velocity.

Homebrewed work loads for my .44 were originally based on the excellent Lyman 429244 cast bullet, in both solid and hollowpoint form. For me, this was a natural choice of bullets after having found the .357 version of the same design - 358156 - to be an extremely accurate one in my guns of that caliber, and to shoot at maximum velocities without leading.

My gorgeous custom Colt ate up many hundreds of heavy loads with this bullet before I realized that the gascheck, so necessary to prevent leading in hot .357 loads, served no good purpose in the .44 Special. Lyman 429421 molds, throwing the well-known Keith Semiwadcutter bullets in both solid and hollowpoint forms, were acquired. The Keith Bullet, cast in a 1 in 15 tin-to-lead mixture, gives minimal leading problems in the .44 Special, and is fully as accurate as the gaschecked 429244 when care is taken in casting.

Some critics of the 429244 say that this gascheck bullet, designed by Ray Thompson, can't be as accurate as a plain base bullet because the copper cup at its bottom prevents it from slugging out and forming a gas seal in the barrel. This, the detractors claim, allows hot gases to squeeze by the bearing surfaces of the slug, misshaping it and prematurely eroding the bore of the revolver. I have not found this to be so, and heartily recommend the gascheck version to everyone who is willing to go the extra trouble nad expense necessary to produce it. Because of the perfect bullet bases provided by the preshaped gaschecks, the Thompson guarantees accuracy, and I Supect still slugs out to form as good a gas seal as any plain base bullet.

I chose the Keith design because I found it possible, through careful casting, to produce bullets that would perform as well without the necessity of fiddling with the little copper cups.

Solid or hollowpoint, these forty-fours are deadly, and can't be bettered as manstoppers by any cartridge other than the .44 and .41 magnums, equally properly loaded. My heavy load for police work or big game shooting is an easy one to put together. Size either the Thompson or Keith bullet to .429" for Smith & Wesson or Ruger guns, .427" for Colts. Seat this bullet over 17½ grains of Hercules 2400 powder and cap with CCI Magnum primers. If you can shoot a pistol, this load will arm you better than you would be with a 30-30 rifle.

This is a maximum load, and it is unlikely that it will be employed exclusively by men who shoot a great deal. For an intermediate cartridge of around 1,000 fps, 8½ grains of Unique serves well, and outperforms most factory pistol cartridges of any caliber. Charges of 6½ grains of 5066 or 5 grains of Bullseye with either the Lyman 429244 or 429421 bullets will give fine, about-factory-velocity, performance.

For normal to medium-heavy charges, almost any pistol, shotgun, or fast rifle powder may be used for the .44 Special. The Alcan and Red Dot Shotgun powders give singular performance, as well as such slow burners as Du Pont's IMR4227. A comprehensive list of un-tempermental .44 loads will fill books.

The .44 Special is versatile. Although recommended by some of the more magnum-minded as being a fine deliverer of such small table game as cottontails, squirrels, and grouse, it is a bit severe on these edibles when loaded with full or semiwadcutter bullets, usually leaving a great deal of good meat mangled or bloodshot. Lyman, as well as other mold makers, offers several roundnosed bullet styles and weights that penetrate your entree with no more damage than a .38 Special

If making your own bullets holds no appeal, excellent commercial ones are available. The 240-grain Norma, jacketed in mild steel under a soft nose, serves well as an all-around number, although it doesn't expand spectacularly at lower velocities. The various swaged bullets, with copper base cups covering their pure lead cores, are very good. Speer Bullets, among many others, merchandise an excellent .44 Semi-wadcutter. And don't forget the super accurate factory load's usefulness for small game. The cheapest cases for reloading can be obtained by fireing these loads that shoot so pleasantly.

I'm a little saddened by the fate of the .44 Special sixguns. My first custom Colt cost almost $200 just a few years ago. Acceding the rule of supply and demand, it was worth the price in terms of enjoyment and education. Smith & Wesson finally got some of their 1950 Target Models on dealer's shelves in 1954. I bought one of the first, and immediately returned it to the factory to have its 6½" barrel cut to 5" and a ramp front sight installed. The factory later offered these revolvers with 4" barrels and ramp sights on special order, and they were a superb law enforcement weapon, selling at a discount to police officers. Hunter who knew handloading grabbed eagerly for these target-quality revolvers and recorded many big-game kills, form deer to Alaskan brown bear.

Scarcely two years of readily available .44 Specials were enjoyed by those who wanted them before the .44 Magnum was foaled in 1956. There can be no argument the the Big One did in all others who vied for top berth in the power department.

Remington's sensational 240-grain lead bullet at 1500 fps gave even the most power-mad pistolero more than he bargained for. Whimpers were heard from effete shooters who allowed that shooting the .44 Magnum compared to the sensation of burning bamboo splinters being driven into the palm.

While touching off the Magnum is far from being that rough, it is true that few want to shoot a steady diet of full charge loads in it. It results in .44 Magnum shooters loading their big guns down to more palatable levels. A favorite "heavy" cartridge for .44 Magnum devotees is comprised of the Keith or Thompson bullet over 18 grains of Hercules 2400, although the acceptable maximum with these balls is 23 grains. This about duplicates the old, proven .44 Special handloads, and is, in truth, adequate for about any situation a six-shooter man may face.

Hearkening to their siren cry I bought every variation of the .44 Magnum that was commercially produced. In the process I rid myself of all my fine, proven .44 Special guns. Sheriff of a Texas County, I felt the need of a powerful holster gun, and dallied with the S & W .44 Magnum in 4" length. With factory Magnum or full-powered handloads, its recoil was so pronounced (although not painful) as to make it a poor choice for strings of double action shots in combat situations. Loading it down rendered it no more potent than a .44 Special, and I soon traded it for one. Along with others, I hounded Smith & Wesson for a .41 Magnum, whose two factory loadings would bracket the needs of police officers who did not handload. Since introduction of this revolver in 1964, it has been the best choice for that purpose.

The .44 Magnum is odds-on the selection as a hunting handgun. Because that is what it is, there is small reason to ever load anything but heavy loads for it, and so is my Ruger loaded.

So now the fallen knight, the one-time expensive glamour boy can come out of hiding. Forty-four Specials dirt cheap, with used 1950 Military Smith & Wessons and rebuilt Colt New Service and Single Action Armies going for 50 to 60 bucks. Smith still makes their 1950 Target Models, but rumor has it they may stop. This will leave only the horse-and-buggy Colt single action available in that caliber, if you crave a brand new gun.

Cops need sidearms that will use powerful, store-bought ammunition, and thus should stick with the .357 and .41 Magnums. The everyday man who bolsters a handgun for come-what-may eventualities cannot improve on a .44 Special revolver.

If he owned a higher-priced .44 magnum, he would likely load it down to Special capabilities. With factory ammunition, the Special shoots as accurately as any revolver yet made. Although capable of taking any game that the Magnums can, the old .44 carries half the price of its Magnum "betters."

A big, holstered sixgun is no longer part of my work, but when I get the chance, I roam in the brush country where a rattler, a whitetail buck, or a javelina might join me at any moment. I have a .44 Magnum, but my .44 Special seems more relaxed - and prettier. Buying a Colt New Frontier Model, with its beautiful blue and old style, mottled, casehardened colors took me back 15 years.

A lot of money is being spent by romantic types who want a big pistol and a little, lever action saddle carbine chambered for the same round. The general approach toward satisfying this craving is to have a Model 92 Winchester .44-40 rebarreled to handle .44 Magnum cartridges. This is expensive and results in a rifle very little more effective than it would have been with hot .44-40 loads. Further, the straight cases of the Magnum rounds often cause exasperating feeding problems in these little actions.

My solution is simpler - change the revolver instead of the rifle. Digging around in my bag of tricks, I fished out an old, but solid, .44-40 cylinder from a forgotten Colt single action. It slipped readily into battery in my sleek New Frontier Model, indexed crisply, and locked up tight. Groups fired with factory .44-40 ammo are adequately tight, opening up another career for my Frontier.

This finely fitted single action suits me well, and is the epitome of the forty-fours I dreamed of for fruitless years. At $150, it seems at first of little overpriced. But then - I once spent more.
That really surprises me to see Skeeter write that! Heck, everybody knows now that your have to have a copper monolithic of 150 gr. going at least 3200 fps to kill big game like that! :lol:
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Re: "Special".......

#36 Post by piller » Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:22 pm

Of course it doesn't help that deer are growing kevlar hides now. By the time my kids are my age, deer will be bulletproof and able to take out a tank without breaking a sweat. At least that is what the gun magazines are trying to have me believe. :lol:
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Re: "Special".......

#37 Post by Tactical Lever » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:26 am

piller wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:22 pm
Of course it doesn't help that deer are growing kevlar hides now. By the time my kids are my age, deer will be bulletproof and able to take out a tank without breaking a sweat. At least that is what the gun magazines are trying to have me believe. :lol:
It's a virtual arms race of sorts! Back in Grandpa's day, I'm sure a pile of deer fell to the 44-40 and modestly loaded rounds of the like. Then for Dad, 30-30 was the better choice, as the deer toughened up. And I started with a 30-30 and 6.5x55 when probably the most popular rounds were .270 and 30-06. (I was a little behind) Probably around 25 years ago, the 7mm Remington Magnum started to really take off, and that became a more popular "deer gun", and I suppose allowing for extra horsepower for moose, and black bear. Then a lot of guys are on the .300 Winchester Magnum bandwagon, and the short magnums started developing a bit of a following, and a few Ultra Mags.

I can only surmise that the reason that the puny short mags are holding on, is due to advanced bullet technology.. :lol:
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Re: "Special".......

#38 Post by GunnyMack » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:34 pm

If memory serves the one time the world record whit tail was shot with a 25-20!
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Re: "Special".......

#39 Post by piller » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:45 pm

The Jordan buck. It was taken with a .25-20 and help the record for largest Whitetail for an impressive length of time.
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Re: "Special".......

#40 Post by GunnyMack » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:12 pm

See all ya need is 86 grains & s l o w moving!
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