Cartridge of the Week, the .44 Remington Magnum

By CTD Allen published on in Ammunition, Firearms, Hunting

Here comes an ashtray at 1,420 FEET PER SECOND! This train needs no tunnel—it makes them. This week I am going to make my hero, Dirty Harry, so proud of me. However Mr. Harry, one correction, it was not the gun, but the cartridge that made this the most powerful handgun ever made, the .44 Remington Magnum.

THE .44 Remington Magnum

In 1955, a joint effort between Smith & Wesson and Remington resulted in the creation of this beast. The gun would become the iconic Smith & Wesson Model 29 in the new N frame. The N stands for big bad gun, with a heavy frame. The frame had to be heavy as this cartridge would be the most powerful cartridge for a handgun in mass production to date.

Smith&Wesson Model 29 .44 Remington Magnum

The brainchild of the legendary Elmer Keith is this cartridge, a symbol of the old school ways in this hobby of ours. He was a big proponent of the so-called hand-cannon. With numerous tweaks and several years of hard work, he and some of his close associates arrived at this staple cartridge. It is a .44 Special on steroids.

Range, power, and accuracy were the goals of these wildcat designers, and they nailed it! While most recognize it as the choice caliber of Dirty Harry, the cartridge became more of a staple round in the handgun-hunting arena. The cartridge is usually too much for urban law enforcement. When fired from the gun, the bullet tends to go through things like people, cars, and brick walls. Bullets like this have a nasty habit of penetration, creating a domino affect. The remaining energy is a kinetic energy nightmare that makes lawyers salivate.

Elmer Keith – Serving it up old school

Yes, I fully understand that it will crack an engine block, but in 16 years of law enforcement, an engine block never attacked me or anyone else. When cars usually attacked, I got out of the way. The .357 magnum was capable of what the .44 Magnum could do when it comes to car doors. Currently, the .40 S&W is more than capable of going through the metal of car doors.

As previously stated above, the true value of this cartridge still exists in the hunting arena. With velocities that can reach up to 1,700 fps, this cartridge can have the same energy as a 30-30 rifle. Thus, almost all North American game is easily within the energy range for this handgun cartridge. Yes, there are rifles that chamber this round, but why? It is a handgun cartridge and there are better rifle rounds if you are going with the long gun. The challenge is in the handgun and I believe Mr. Keith would agree with me.

Let’s talk numbers on this big boy. The energy for today’s most popular cartridges are around 250, 330, 375, and 490 foot-pounds. This is for the .38 Special, 9mm Luger, .45 ACP, and the .40 S&W respectively. The .44 Remington Magnum comes in at a whopping 950 foot-pounds of energy. Even the mighty 10mm falls way short at around 575 foot-pounds.

.45 A.C.P. (left) .44 Remington Magnum (Right)

Still in production today, almost every major manufacturer of ammunition makes the .44 Magnum. It has seen some competitors like the .454 Casull and the .500 S&W Magnum, but they have yet to knock this king off the throne.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (17)

  • Walking Dead Fanantix

    |

    I hate to state the obvious but gun dealers/ammo mfgs will rejoice! I suspect you may know a gun dealer that voted for Oboma! FYI-On FOX network they stated 1/3(don’t know if this is true?) of NRA members are from Penn. which which went totally Oboma???
    If you follow the gun biz MONEY it’s all for Oboma! Like it or not….

    Reply

  • Bill from Boomhower, Texas

    |

    Well, Obama won! Now what?

    Reply

  • Walking Dead Fanantix

    |

    In the original Dirty Harry movie the gun used by Clint was actually a .41 Rem magnum.

    Reply

  • CTD Allen

    |

    Mark,
    I did not know that was the case. Thanks for the info. Point taken.

    Reply

  • Mark

    |

    In all fairness, some states like my home state of Indiana, don’t allow rifles for deer hunting unless they’re chambered in magnum handgun cartridges like .357, .44 mag, .45 long Colt, etc.

    Reply

  • Joel Simcoe

    |

    My 629 is a dream and by far the most accurate of all of my hand guns. My dad and I both have .44’s (he has a Desert Eagle) and some of our best times together are in the garege, havin a beer, watching a game on TV and loading up a bunch of new .44 rounds. My mag will be with me and my family for a long long time.

    Reply

  • Todd

    |

    Dirty Harry actaully used a 44 special load as he described in Magnum Force

    Reply

Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.


9 − three =