44 S&W Special Ammunition
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History of .44 Special Ammunition
The .44 Special was introduced in 1908 by Smith and Wesson for their New Century Revolver. What S&W did was take the accurate .44 Russian black powder cartridge and lengthen the case by two tenths of an inch and replaced the black powder with smokeless powder, thus creating the .44 Special. Initially, there was nothing very “special” about the .44 Special, other than the change to smokeless powder. The ballistic performance was the same, but it also kept another important aspect of the .44 Russian, its’ accuracy.
One of the biggest proponents of the .44 Special was famed gun writer Elmer Keith. Keith and other writers experimented with continually heavier loads until Remington Arms lengthened the case by 0.125 inch and created the .44 Magnum. But before creating the cartridge that would surpass the .44 Special in popularity, Keith and his fellow innovators showed just how powerful and accurate large bore handguns could be. This led the way for the rise in handgun hunting that began in the mid-20th century.
However, the .44 Special is a great performer. It is offered with bullets commonly ranging from 165 to 255 grains. The velocity ranges from 700 to 1000 feet per second. An average .44 Special load will generate in excess of 300 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. It is normally found in hollow point and jacketed hollow point bullet configurations. But, is also made in round nose and wadcutter designs as well, some specialty ammo manufacturers, such as Cor-bon have made the .44 Special with their unique bullets as well.
One of the key features that has kept the .44 Special around for so many years is that it can be fired in .44 Magnum revolvers. This allows shooters to use their .44 Magnums and enjoy the reduced recoil offered by the .44 Special. The .44 Special has been enjoying somewhat of a comeback as there are several shooters who feel that the .44 Magnum is more than they need to accomplish what they need to, but they still want the large diameter bullet.
The .44 Special also has the advantage of being able to be chambered in a smaller framed pistol, this makes it much more appealing for concealed carry and shooters with smaller hands. The .44 Special is a versatile, accurate and overall shooter friendly cartridge that remains a respected member of the big bore community.
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- ccw4ohio said: "For reliability I'd rate it 3 out of 5. Several rounds had to be smacked 2-3 times before they ignited. I think PMC is still using those hard primers that made me steer away from the Starfire line. Accuracy was 5 out of five. Affordability was 3 out of five. Yes, you guys delivered just like you said, but the shipping cost was much more than I expected. I might have to run a few more boxes through for another reliability test. The load was totally controllable out of a S&W Model 29 "Dirty Harry" signature .44 Magnum, 6.5 in bbl., target was set at 21-25 ft."