44 Magnum Ammunition
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History of 44 Magnum Ammunition
The .44 Magnum cartridge was created through the work of Elmer Keith from years of custom loading and prolific article writing about the .44 Special cartridge. Keith wanted to make the .44 Special suitable for handgun hunting and in the process creating heavy bullet, high pressure loads. The potential liability of these cartridges was not lost on manufacturers. Through collaboration with Remington for the ammunition and Smith and Wesson for the revolver, the .44 Magnum was born. However, it was not Smith and Wesson that introduced the .44 Magnum to the market. Sturm, Ruger released their iconic single action Blackhawk revolver in .44 Magnum in early 1956.
Commonly found in 200 to 230 grain bullet weights, the .44 Magnum can reach velocities around 1500 feet per second, and generate 1,200 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. The case is slightly longer than the .44 Special, which can be fired in .44 Magnum handguns.
The .44 Magnum was originally introduced as a cartridge for handgun hunting. It still fills this role very well, but over time it has become more than just a handgun hunting cartridge. It has been chambered in semi auto, bolt and lever action rifles for use on medium sized game, such as whitetail deer and feral hogs with great success. In addition to revolvers and rifles, the .44 Mag. has been chambered in semi auto pistols as well, with the Desert Eagle and .44 Auto Mag the most commonly known semi autos on the market.
Even though there are possibly hundreds of different firearms that are chambered for the .44 Magnum, one stands as the flagship for all things .44 Mag., the Smith and Wesson Model 29. This revolver, carried by the character “Dirty Harry” Callahan in the Dirty Harry series of movies, introduced the “non-shooting” public to the “Most powerful handgun in the world.” This caused the popularity of the Model 29 and .44 Mag to skyrocket. The second handgun carried by “Dirty Harry” the .44 Auto Mag was showcased in one of the movies, it never achieved the status of the Model 29. Even today, the .44 Mag. owes a great deal of its longevity not only to its performance, but to the movies as well!
Ammunition manufacturers have kept up with the steady demand for innovative cartridges in this caliber over the last half century. Federal Premium offers .44 Mag in Hydra-Shok, Vital-Shok, Power-Shok, cartridges, as well as the traditional hollow point and soft point ammunition. Hornady produces .44 Mag cartridges using their FTX, XTP, LeverRevolution and Critical Defense bullets. These are only examples of the wide selection of .44 Mag cartridges that can be had from any major ammunition producer. The .44 Magnum continues to be a powerful and versatile cartridge, whether used for hunting, self defense or just shooting with friends.
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