Ammunition

The Birth of the .44 Mag. Cartridge

Ever hear of the Smith & Wesson NT-430? Maybe not by that name, but the easiest description would probably be to use a famous movie quote, “Go ahead, make my day.” Yep, the NT-430—later dubbed the Model 29—was famous long before Inspector Callahan wielded it in back in ’71. However, “Dirty Harry” ensured it would always have a place in firearm history, but he wasn’t the only champion of the Model 29 and the .44 Mag.

Ammunition selection ranging from .44 Mag to 9mm
L to R: Hornady .44 Mag. 225 gr. FTX, .44 SPCL 180 gr. JHP/XTP, .357 Mag. 140 gr. JHP/XTP, Critical Defense .40 S&W 165 gr. FTX and 9mm Luger 115 gr. JHP/XTP.
The .44 Mag. was a follow on to the .357 Mag., which (officially) saw its genus back in 1935. The development of the .357 Mag. is credited as the brainchild of gun enthusiasts Doug Wesson, Phil Sharpe and Elmer Keith. Keith, however, and a small group of big-bore pistoleros, had been documenting their efforts to work up experimental loads based on the .44 Spl. back as far as the 1920s.

The .44 was a logical choice over the .45 Colt. The iconic .45 used a thinner case and the cylinder walls were not as stout. Loading it with an over pressure load of Hercules 2400 touched off with a magnum primer had serious potential to cross into the red zone. Besides, the .44 offered more bullet designs and options for Keith and others to tinker with.

Elmer Keith should be a familiar name to gun enthusiast, but perhaps I am just dating myself. His works were prolific for many years on the pages of Guns & Ammo and American Rifleman as well as a few other notable publications. Keith was anything but silent about his thoughts and made good use of his literary abilities to beat Smith & Wesson and Remington into submission.

This was a case where the pen was mightier than the revolver and Remington responded in 1954 with a new cartridge that was an eighth-inch longer than the .44 Spl. cartridge. Within a couple of months of receiving the new cartridge, S&W had four N-frame Hand Ejector models that were specially heat-treated and chambered for the new round.

Hornady LeverEvolution Ammunition in .44 Magnum
The .44 Mag., is not limited to handguns and thanks to offerings such as Hornady’s LeverEvolution runs great in lever guns. However, it is not recommended for long-term storage in tubular magazines.
Guns were exchanged for cartridges and both sides went through an evaluation period. The new round had promise for both power and accuracy, but more work was necessary. Engineers went back to the drawing board and made a new revolver that was more stout—adding about 7.5 ounces to the mass weight.

Just before the New Year, on December 15, 1954, a new revolver was born with the first production .44 Mag. wearing serial number S130927. S&W dubbed this model the NT-430 for N-frame, Target, .430 bore diameter. Smith & Wesson finished the next production model just before the end of the year and presented it to R.H. Coleman of the Remington Arms Company (S130806). January 1956 saw five more of the new hand cannons produced. The third (S130942) went to Julian Hatcher of the NRA and the fourth, serial number S147220—the Holy Grail of the .44 Mag.—went to none other than the hero of our story, Elmer Keith.

On January 19, 1954, during a special telecast from Springfield, MA, the “Most Powerful Handgun in the World” was announced to shooting enthusiasts. The NT-430 was offered in 4- and 6-inch barrels, with either a blue or nickel finish and initially retailed for $135. 1956 saw the manufacture of the first 3,000-plus of the new hand cannons and handgun history has never been quite the same since.

Do you own a .44 Mag. or ever wished you had? Let us know in the comment section.

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Comments (26)

  1. I was fishing on the situk river in yakutat ak. And was standing on a boulder that was at the end of a log jam. Everything got real quiet. I was all alone, I had gotten dropped off for the day. I had my 629 with a 6 inch barrel and a Franchi Spas-12 loaded with 9 slugs with me. A brown bear came off he bank and went under the water under the logs that were between me and the bank. I was scared I guess, but it happened so fast. I didn’t even think to drop my rod and grab a gun. Anyway, the bear swam to the other side of the river, about 25 feet at that point, took a big dump, turned and looked at me straight in he eyes. He grunted and kicked his back feet like a dog does after he takes a crap, and disappeared into the Forest. I heard that the next day the fish and game warden got accosted by a bear and had to give up his salmon. That was considered too aggressive, and they killed him. It’s easy to say what you would do, but you never really know until you do it. I don’t think the .44 would have done it, but 9 slugs would have slowed him down. I’m glad I didn’t have to find out either way.

  2. Greetings from the left coast of CA.
    One fact that you left out of this “GREAT” story about my favorite pistol round the .44 magnum, is that Ruger actually beat Smith & Wesson into production with their BKH4 3 screw flat top single action .44 by nearly 8 months!!
    Just thought some of the readers might get a kick out of that little fact!

    Thanks for the story !! Great reading!

    Curt Payne
    Long beach, CA.

  3. I would like to share one more thought with you.my wife was giving me a hard time because I don’t use the computer that often and she brought up an experience that she teases me about.here it is.my uncle who was inww2 said that his platoon knocked the tracks off of a couple pannzers with rifle fire.so I took a 3ft long piece of railrod track and some friends and we blasted it just under the top where it is thinnest.30-06 with 147grn fmj,223 55grn fmj,243 win 100grn jsp,30-30 170 jsp,25-06jsp,22-250 jsp about a 50 grn I think.the iron is still in her rose garden.all left a mark,the 06 made a half insh splash about 1/8 inch deep.the 223 went about same but saller around.the 243 went deepest.almost 1/2in deep and same dia.the 25-06 was just any deeper and same dia.the 22-250 hit so hard the bullet just removed the paint with only a smalls dent.none of these rounds toppeled the heavy steel.the 30-30 knocked it over everytime but little did it dent.now I say take it as you will.but there is a knock down for these old heavy slow bullets.the range was 60yrds…

  4. I too like a 338 mag or something in this category when hunting at longer ranges but I also like my timber carbine with heavy hardcast wadcuuters.i load the same heavy bullets in my smith and ruger revolvers.444marlin and 44mag and I believe these heavy blunt bullets kill as well as anything I have tried.moose ,elk ,deer,hogs,blackbear and in one test my old Kevlar vest.they cut a full diameter hole every time.i will use what kills quickest,and have no fear of a giant bear if he shreads my tent and comes face to muzzle with a 320gn wadcutter.i really like you guys who like smart conversations about these subjects.besides it is fun right.semper fi.monte…..

  5. For V Clark:

    Thank you for the kind words. When one gets to an advanced age, most of what we have is our memories. I encourage young people to do adventuresome things — with a margin of safety — to build memories. I seldom said no to an opportunity and have seldom regretted it. Now, mostly it is my memories, most of which are good.

    Yes, I think you thought the bear’s behavior was a bit unusual. Animals are much like people and there are few normative behaviors you can always count on.

    I was never intrigued by Africa but was always fascinated by the brown bear. Given a choice between bear hunting in Alaska or lion hunting in Africa, I would go bear hunting. However, tiger hunting might be a different deal.

    I have had several experiences with cougars and in 3 cases, I felt I was, or a good friend, was being stalked by a cougar. But, cougars are hardly the same as tigers now are they.

  6. Mr, McCullen, Just the thought of going after a bear the size of a Kodiak tests the strength of my sphincter muscles. I give you credit, sir. I have enjoyed reading your input from the technical to your personal experiences afield. And, yes, when hunting dangerous game like bear always hunt in pairs.

    One must remember that even with the perfectly placed kill shot, there is still the time needed for the animal to bleed out. To me, the only shot that will drop an animal immediately is a spine shot directly behind the head with a follow up kill shot as necessary.

    As an aside: If memory serves me correctly, in the story I related the bear’s behavior was not normal.

  7. For v. Clark

    My bad. My apologies. Yes, I did take you seriously. I should have realized you were having fun. Can’t disagree with what you say. It is just that I spent some time in Alaska and saw the immense power of the coastal brown bear and was really impressed. I take that bear very, very seriously.
    I like the .44 Mag and carried one for years. When stationed in Florida, I took a few feral hogs with one, along with two Florida Highway Patrol officers I came to know fairly well. But, I never took on a brown bear with any hand gun.

    For Whiteowl:
    I looked at Ballistics101.com as to the .44 Mag and it showed a 270 Gr slug, moving at 1,450 FPS and a muzzle energy of 1,260 ft/lbs. That was one of the heaviest standard, non +P loads. I checked a Remington website on my .338 Win Mag. The .338 pushed a 250 gr rifle bullet to 2,660 FPS and had a muzzle energy of 3,927 ft/lbs. About 3 & 1/2 times the .44 mag. I know that energy is not the end of the discussion but it does give a basis for comparison of different rounds.
    I have seen brown bear, alive and dead. I have seen brown bear shot with a .300 Win Mag and it might have been enough gun in time, but it did not kill the bear right away. Another man killed the bear with a .375 Win Mag — two rounds. The bear piled up at about 10 feet from the guy with the .300 Win Mag. The shooter of the .300 Win Mag froze when the bear did not just go down when “shot with a magnum”. Fortunately for him, his friend was with him and did not freeze. A .375 H & H Mag books at 4,340 ft/lbs at about 2,690 FPS with a .270 gr bullet. Somewhat close to 4 times the energy of a .44 mag. So, using that logic, one round of ,375 is fairly close to 4 rounds of .44 mag. If it took two .375 and 1 .300 Win Mag to kill the bear, how many .44’s was it going to take? More rounds than you have in your cylinder. Hope you have time to reload.
    All the rifle shots were good hits on the bear. The .300 hit in the chest, centerline, just below the chin and angled from right to left, with the bullet ending up in the back after ripping through a lung. One .375 hit lower on the chest and angled down into the stomach and bowel near the back and was badly deformed. Maybe deflected off a bone? The final shot hit just over the head in the shoulders and angled down slightly, breaking the spine. We all thought that was the “kill shot”. In any event, after the last shot, the bear died.
    The shooter of the .375 was on a stump about 3 or 3 &1/2 feet off the ground of a logged over area on Admiralty Island and slightly up slope of the shooter with the .300 Win Mag. The shooter of the .300 was on the ground, about 20 or 25 yards lower down on a slope running from the beach up the slope. The bear was coming up the slope at a pretty good clip after being shot with the .300.
    I was about 50 to 75 yards away and because of the terrain, I had no clear shot but I could watch and, with more time, would have prayed for my friends. I could see the shooters and would see the bears back bob up as he ran up the slope.
    Maybe a .44 Mag at 1,260 ft/lbs is enough for you but when I see it take two rounds of .375 H & H stop a charging bear, with 4,340 ft/lbs, I will stick to my .338 and not carry my .44 in brown bear country. You do what you want and I wish you luck — but it might be wise to have a friend handy with a big rifle. Just a thought.

  8. Mr. McCullen, you took me way too seriously. I agree with your assessment that it behooves us to use the best technology has to offer. In going afield, I endeavor to carry and use the most appropriate equipment available. I would NOT be carrying a .22 going into bear country and the .44 mag seems totally appropriate.

    As to the bear in the story…I am presuming it was a smaller black bear as the person who related the story was hunting in New Jersey and the subject was a friend of his.

  9. I have to say that a 44mag is my favorite.after experience in the world of a marine I really like a heavy hitting large caliber revolver,not a pistol such as an deserteagle or a 45acp pistol.the merits of pistols are fine by me.a 250grn hardcast wadcuuter will kill quite well.in fact kill brown bears too. understand that stress and surprise are in favour of anyone or anything that attacks suddenly.if you had an remedy for that I am sure the world would be yours.i sleep well in the wilderness with this 4inch 40ounce tool.elmers load has serverd me well and I hope it will for you..my wife likes her 41hihgway patrol mod better than a 10mm glock,shot shells is my guess,cant use them in a pistol,semper fi and shaloam. montewhiteowl

  10. This is for V. Clark.

    Stories are sometimes true, but not always. I place greater value on personal experience related first hand and less on stories that have gone through a number of iterations with a number of people. The key hint is words like ” I once heard a story”. When I was a small child, one of my teachers did an experiment for the class. She whispered a very short story to the first child in a row and who turn whispered it to the second and so on for each child in turn up and down the rows of students until each student heard a whispered version of the story. The last child in the back, last row was told to tell the story again. The story of the last child bore no resemblance whatsoever to the first version whispered to the first student by the teacher. You may have had a similar experience. In any event, stories are not something I wish to bet my life on.

    Who knows? Perhaps the first version of the story was something like a black bear yearling of about 150 pounds who was killed with a .50 A&E, with 6 shots, and then reloaded and emptied again. But to make it a better story, it became a .22 on a mammoth brown bear. It is human nature to embellish stories to make them more interesting. Remember the jokes about “fish stories”? No one knows once the story has been passed around through various versions what may have actually happened.

    The story does not indicate what type bear it was. Most black bear (regardless of color as many are not black in color) (“Urus Americanus”) are not all that large. An average bear may be around 300 pounds, with many smaller and a few old boars bigger. While I have never done it, it would not surprise me greatly if a black bear was killed with a .22. It takes a lot less energy or bullet killing power to kill a small black bear than a large brown bear (“Urus Horrilibus”), which may weight 3 or even close to 4 times what a black bear weighs.

    I am not intending to denigrate black bears. Of course, they have killed people on occasion. However, black bears generally tend to avoid people if they have a reasonable escape route available. Brown bears are not a bit afraid of people and have, reportedly, been known to exhibit stalking like behavior. It may be curiosity but there is no guarantee that, like polar bears, they are not just out for an easy conquest/meal/sport or whatever motivates them. However, what appears fairly certain is brown bears are not motivated by fear — perhaps rage, but not fear.

    I once read report of an Alaskan game biologist who claimed to have read several hundred reports of bear attacks, both brown and black. He hypothesized that brown bears are absolutely aggressive in behavior but that black bears were more passive and exhibited fear in confrontation with people. He thought black bears would generally only attack out of a self defensive motive or an old bear out of extreme hunger, whereas brown bears might attack just because they wanted to and for no obviously known reason. You may take a .22 and feel safe in brown bear country. I am going to carry at least a .338 Win Mag.

    Anyone may make a lucky shot once and a while. I have made a few and, of course, I always claimed it was pure skill. But, I do not want to bet my life on a lucky shot as my saving grace. If I did, I would go hunting with a knife and no rifle at all. After all, if I can make a lucky stab wound in a bear, who needs a gun? I would rather go armed with a rifle adequate to stop a bear wishing to do me harm. I think a lot of people agree. Otherwise, why the fascination with a .44 Mag? All anyone would ever need in a pistol is a .22. Why carry one any bigger if you do not need it?

    Carried to the ridiculous extreme, all any cop, or LEO, ever needs is a cap gun. Or, a pellet pistol. Or, a jack knife. Any meth addict could easily be overcome with a loud shout — right? After all, it might be a lucky shout — right?

    I have shot a fair number of digger squirrels, marmots, coyotes, rabbits and deer. A .22 works, even on deer if the shot is lucky and placed just right. Yet, most hunters out for either a trophy or meat carry a bigger caliber. Why, if it is not necessary? Why do sheep hunters carry long range rifles if they believe they can make a lucky shot with a .22? The same thing can be said about any type of hunting. It reminds me of the logic of the old War Department senior official prior to WWI who wanted to buy one air plane and let all the pilots fly it. Whey would we ever need more than one plane?

    My point is that when we go afield after a known dangerous animal, or where we might encounter a large, dangerous animal, unless we are skillful beyond the level of the vast majority of shooters, we are well advised to take advantage of technology and use more modern and more powerful cartridges available to us.

  11. I have not seen a word about the ruger 44mag carbine. It was my first hunting rifle and it did a great job in the Fla. brush. short and very reliable as long as you don’t use round nose bullets! ( tubular magazine) Since then I have killed hog and deer from IL. to Wy. The 19 inch barrel with increased velocity and accuracy is hard to beat. I have never encountered a bear while hunting but must admit I would feel much more confident with 4 shots in my 7mm mag BAR than the 5 shot 44 mag.

  12. I’ve got two of them, a 6 inch and a 4 inch. There’s nothing more satisfying than the THUMP of that .44 Mag going off. I also conceal carry the 4 incher with Hornady .44 Spl Critical Defense.

  13. Own an older Ruger Redhawk. 6-1/2″ barrel. Fantastic gun but the grips were too small and couldn’t shoot more than a couple loads and had to wear padded gloves. Found some gorgeous oversize grips that extend about 5/8″ below the frame. Can shoot it all day now.

  14. A 44mag is my favor round, but not in a handgun. I live in Indiana, so we can not use rifles for deer, A 44mag. in a T/C rifle is ok and the best thing I have tried. I am know handloading for this and having the time of my 70yr. life. A 44mag. is the ultimate deer round out to 125yd. I have also killed hogs and bobcats in other states with the T/C 44mag. where I could have used centerfire rifles, the combo. is my go to gun for about everything.

  15. I have a Ruger Redhawk and Desert Eagle in 44 Magnum. I’d like to call the 44 Mag my favorite, but I am a fan of all cartridge offerings! My DE is still waiting on it’s first bear!

  16. I’ve had a S&W 629 for over 25 years. Of all my handguns, it is, by far, my favorite. It is accurate and dependable. I’ve tried all kinds of loads, but always go back to the 240 grain HP full pressure loads. Another benefit is my wife is afraid to shoot it!

  17. I spent 26 years as a LEO and have heard all the arguments about .45 vs. 9mm. Well, I don’t think caliber matters in the long run–it’s just how lucky you get and who makes the first shot count.

    I heard a story (along the lines of “this is no shit” in my opinion) about a person who killed a bear with a .22.

    He was being stalked by a bear and all he had was a .22. The bear had him cornered and was facing the bear when he shot. As he was waiting for the bear to have him for dinner, he realized the bear wouldn’t be. What had happened was the bear was rolling his head from side to side and when the person fired happened to catch the bear with his head turned away and shot him in the carotid artery. I was told the person believed it to be just one lucky shot.

  18. I’ve been shooting a 44 mag since I was about 14 years old (that adds up to 37 yrs) & its still one of my favorite pistols to shoot (full power loads of course). I have two of them, a Ruger “Redhawk” 7 1/2″ & the favorite of course a beautiful S&W “629” 8 3/8″. I’ve always believed that your practice ammo & your hunting should be the same so that no change in muscle or memory is necessary. So whether shooting cans at 7 yards or the ram at 350 yards (avg is 3 out of 5) it always shoots the same. A favorite story my dad likes to brag about to friends and to warn suitors of his granddaughters (of course to dissuade stupid behavior), is of his twenty something son hunting jackrabbits in Bakersfield. The tale goes like this. The rabbit takes off, takes the first 12 gauge hit at 20 yards or so and rolls, gets up running, was behind a bush for the next shot, the rabbit dodged and the third shot missed. The shotgun was set down, the “629” sidearm was pulled. Two shots, two misses. The rabbit at that point quartered away slightly @ forty or so yards and the third shot hit home believe it or not. (Three witnesses can confirm this story!)

    The Kid That Always Wanted to Be A Trick/Crack Shot

  19. This responds to Whitesheep.

    Actually been there and done exactly that. Not a coastal bear but an inland bear on the bank of the Nowitna river. Inland bear are smaller due to the poorer and more scarce food. But, I have always thought they were meaner, too. Life is hard in the interior. Probably why a lot fewer people live there than on the coast.

    We hunted moose off the Yukon, below the village of Tanana, and above Ruby, up about 125 to 175 miles on the Notwitna River. Our procedure was to take the big power boat up stream to the mouth of the canyon, or if water was deep enough, above the canyon and float down individually in canoes or folbots on the Nowitna, spike camping on the river bank for 3 to 4 days, alone, before getting back to base camp. Moose would come out on the river bank and you just drifted around a bend and there, up close enough to shoot was a moose. The moose seemed generally oblivious to threats from the water if you were drifting down stream and not running a big noisy motor or two.

    The idea was to solidly anchor the moose right on the river bank, because if the moose was wounded and got back in the muskeg, it was usually lost. Moose walk through muskeg with no problem. People just about cannot walk through muskeg at all. Besides, a dead moose on the river bank close to the river is a lot easier to roll into the power boat then if you have to cut it up and carry it in chunks to the boat.

    One time a bear must have smelled the bacon I had cooked for dinner (bacon, fry bread & coffee). I always left all the food way up on the shore, hung in a tree off a spread limb. No food in the tent or boat to attract any unwanted visitors. But, I must not have washed my hands and face thoroughly enough that time, or the scent was on my clothes. In any event, something attracted the bear.

    The bear prowled around and around outside my nylon backpack tent for a couple hours but what seemed like a couple days. I was laying on my back, with the muzzle of my rifle following the bear as closely as I could by sound and shadow. It was very cramped but it would have been cramped, somewhat, even with a pistol. I had camped on a sandy spit on the river and the next morning when I crawled out, his tracks went round and round my tent. Tracks in the sand were overlapping.

    I was damned scared and not ashamed to admit it. Someone said later that they thought that the bear was confused by the shape of the tent and might have attacked me if I had been outside. Don’t know, but the tent was a lot bigger than I would have been alone outside. It also probably had a nylon smell and maybe that confused the bear. Being an inland bear, he might never have seen a back pack tent before in those days.

    I have seen the coastal bear shot with a pistol and it did not impress me greatly. A man with a .375 H &H finished the job. I am not sure that the bear would have died from the pistol shots alone. Maybe, but definitely not a sure thing. It was a .44 mag.

    I think most experienced Alaskan natives or residents would agree that pistols have their place, but it is not in bear country unless you are a truly exceptional shot and very cool under pressure. The big bear are just too big, too fast and too powerful for a handgun in the hands of anything but an expert.

    Besides, most people do not shoot a pistol nearly as well as a rifle. Perhaps you do. I may have won a few bulls eye matches with a .45 ACP 40 years ago or so but do not want to bet my life on any pistol against a big bear.

    Black bear, sure. Deer, sure. Big brown bear (“ursus horrilibus”), no. I have seen what they do and watched them not die immediately when hit solidly with a .338 Win Mag. Sure, the bear died, but not right away. If the shooter had been in reach, the bear would likely have “done for him” before expiring. Fortunately, distance was the difference between life and serious injury or death.

    I am less interested in feeling secure with a pistol than being secure with a big rifle.

    Alaskan residents used to talk about going bear hunting with a switch. Or, the chechako who wanted to pass muster and was told he had to wrestle a brown bear, and make love to an Inuit (Eskimo to someone in the lower 48). After several hours he comes back to the bar looking like he has been run through a chipper. He says”where is that Innuit I have to wrestle?”. I put those sort of stories right along with stories about killing a big coastal bear with a pistol. Sure as the devil, you shoot one and you better kill it because otherwise you are going to have one mad very big and powerful critter on your hands — and your legs, and your stomach and maybe your head. It is absolutely unbelievable how much ground they can cover in an incredibly short time when they want to. Way faster than you are, or I am. Keep them at a distance and shoot them with a rifle.

    If you are that good with a pistol, more power to you. I am not. I lived to 71 and still do not want to take unnecessary risks. I never went after the big bear with a pistol, or a .22 rifle, or a switch. Maybe that is how I got to be 71.

    Remember, all old men have is their memories and their opinions.

  20. I had a S&W .44 Mag Model 629, which is the stainless version of the Model 29. It had a 4″ barrel and the lightest single-action trigger pull I’ve ever tried. It was a tack driver — far more accurate than my Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 with the 7 1/2″ barrel. It was the most accurate pistol or revolver I’ve ever owned. An excellent gun, and the only one I have ever regretted selling.

  21. Good point on having enough gun Owen, but trying to get your .338 pointed in the right direction out of your 2 man backpacker tent in the night when the BEAR is after you will make you wish for something shorter, like a .44 MAG or better yet a .500 SW.

  22. Being an old fart and a strong fan of the .44 Mag, it was my great pleasure to meet the man, himself, Elmer Keith, at an NRA convention some years ago. He was willing to discuss his favorite pistol cartridge with a novice and we spent a fair amount of time talking.

    Lest we forget, Keith was not just a fan, and an expert shot, with his favorite handgun. He was also an excellent shot with a shotgun and something of an expert on that topic, as well. He also favored big bore rifles.

    His ability to shoot at long range with a pistol, making shots on game with his pistol that many of us would find tough to duplicate even with a rifle. He had developed a position, like the early rifle shooters, where he laid on his back and braced his revolver across his knees and made shots on deer and elk out to 400 yards or better. Amazing is entirely inadequate as a word to describe his skill.

    For some years, while stationed in Florida in the Navy, I hunted hogs with a model 29 Smith in 6″ barrel. Feral hogs can take a fair amount of killing and the revolver made for a somewhat fair contest.

    However, lest we forget, the .44 Mag in a revolver and not a rifle, then billed (before the .454 Casull and others) as the most powerful handgun in the world, still has less energy than a 30-30 rifle at 50 or more yards.

    Most of my hunting partners in Alaskan bear country used to laugh at the “chechakos” from the lower 48 who came packing a.44 in big brown bear country. Their advice was put 5 rounds in the bear and when he is about to tear your head off, put the revolver barrel up your backside and blow yourself away.

    The lesson is that unless you are Elmer Keith or the equivalent, in life threatening situations, use enough gun to reliably get the job done, as proven many times — not the exceptional and infrequent instance by an above average shooter under ideal conditions. I love the .44 but in bear country I carried nothing less than a .338 Win Mag rifle. However, it is still at least a partially free country. To each his own and everyone is entitled to the weapon of his or her choice, no matter how stupid the choice may be.

  23. I would like to see the story of the .41 Magnum. It is said to be a superior hunting round to the .44 Magnum. Yes, as to the better revolver for the .44 mag, it a Ruger which is much stronger than the S&W Model 29.
    Pete
    California

  24. Yes I have a Taurus .44 Mag with a 6 inch barrel and it helped me overcome my
    fear of recoil. Many rounds fired with my reloads using Starline brass. I also use a padded glove just to protect my hand. Love to shoot it but limit the amount of rounds
    to around 30.

  25. NEVER go hunting without my RUGER 5 1/2″ 44 mag..just love shooting it..best hand gun I ever had!! I now have a total of 5 different 44’s..THANK YOU ELMER KEITH..

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