Thursday, December 16, 2010
.44 very Special.
I have a soft spot for the .44 Special cartridge. Oh, the .44 Magnum is fine and dandy, but it's a bit much for a casual day at the range; it's quite frankly overkill for most non-big-game-hunting applications. On the other hand, there's no denying the popularity of the .38 Special, but the holes it leaves in the target are smaller and harder for me to see past fifteen yards.
The .44 Special lofts a pretty good-sized chunk of lead, makes a respectable hole, and does so without heavy recoil... at least in the great big guns for which it was intended.
I also have a soft spot for medium-frame short-barreled revolvers with five .44 caliber charge holes instead of six .38s. These guns do not recoil gently. Even the heavier steel-framed ones are pretty zippy, and the alloy-and-titanium ones are borderline vicious.
I've owned a Charco Bulldog Pug in the past. It was beaten to death in only about 300 rounds of 240gr PMC ammunition: By the end of that time, the frame had stretched enough that there was distressing endshake, and the nickel was flaking off the topstrap and forcing cone, giving the gun a leprous appearance. I traded it away.
Later, I had a Rossi 720 "Covert", a fixed-sight 3-inch gun with a spurless hammer. It was ugly in a way that only a Brazilian revolver with faux-stag grips can be, yet actually had a fine DAO trigger, despite once being used as a hammer to put together some particle board bookcases. Sure enough, though, it would lock up during range outings with jacketed 240gr PMC ammo, which was about all I could afford to feed it at the time. It wound up as trade fodder, too.
I had a Smith & Wesson 696 for a while, but never really used it much. The five shot .44 snubbie I've owned the longest is the 296 that has been a constant companion since some time in 2001. Its superlight construction won't let it fire bullets heavier than 200gr without turning into a kinetic bullet puller: This is where the gun recoils briskly enough to the rear that the bullets in the unfired cartridges take a fraction to catch up with it, hanging in space for a moment like Wile E. Coyote after he's stepped off the cliff. They can creep far enough forward in their cases to actually prevent the cylinder from turning.
It made me happy to see friend Matt find hisself a big-bore snubbie. I would counsel using lighter bullets.