A Pair Of Special .44s

by
posted on June 22, 2009
2009622153614-mg_1472_fs.jpg

I have a confession to make: I am a member of a cult—the .44 Special cult. Members of our cult covet and lust for .44 Special revolvers. We dream of Smith & Wesson Triple Locks, 1950 Targets (now known as the Model 24), Colt New Service and Single Action Army revolvers in our caliber. Many of us have already acquired three-screw Ruger .357 Magnums and spent important money with gifted pistolsmiths converting them to the better caliber.

Although the search continues for pristine examples of the old Colts and Smiths, we have won a temporary reprieve on the Ruger conversions thanks to Lipsey’s, the Louisiana distributor that contracted with Ruger to produce 2,000 .44 Special Blackhawks on the .357 Mag. frame. A thousand each will be made in two barrel lengths, 4 5/8 and 5 1/2 inches. The target is to release 250 examples of each barrel length each quarter of 2009.

One reason we .44 Special cultists get so giddy over our revolvers rather than simply shoot Specials in our .44 Magnums is weight. Most revolvers chambered for .44 Special weigh a bit less than their magnum brothers. The difference may be only a couple of ounces, but when packing a revolver all day a couple of ounces does make a difference. In addition, the lighter guns are quicker handling than their big brothers.

These .44 Special revolvers look to all the world like a flat-top .357 Mag. until you see the holes in the barrel and cylinder or read “Ruger .44 Special New Model Blackhawk” stamped on the left side of the frame. There are a few other subtle differences as well. These .44 Special cylinders have a more generous bevel on the front of the cylinder—called a black-powder bevel by aficionados who have the feature added to their custom guns—that makes it easier to holster the revolver without snagging a small piece of leather. In addition, Blackhawks that are catalogued items from Ruger have blued triggers. These special run guns’ triggers are white.

Like most manufacturers, Ruger is paying more attention to its triggers. Customers and gun writers have been grousing for years about “lawyer triggers” that in many cases had to support the weight of the gun without tripping. On both of my samples, the triggers broke cleanly at 3 pounds, 10 ounces—perhaps not as light as I would like, but serviceable nonetheless and a definite improvement.

At the range, the Lipsey’s Rugers were all I had expected and more. Twenty-five-yard groups averaged right at 2 1/2 inches for five shots over sandbags using my favorite—and a standard we .44 Special cultists have found the best in terms of balancing power and controllability—load of 7.5 grains of Alliant Unique behind a 245-grain hard-cast semi-wadcutter.

Those of us who have found how pleasant a good .44 Special revolver is to carry and shoot are constantly pining about the lack of revolvers chambered for our favorite cartridge. As far as medium-frame Rugers go, that’s no longer a problem. My suggestion, though, is to put your order in soon. These won’t last long.

Latest

5 New Optics For 2023 F
5 New Optics For 2023 F

5 New Optics For 2023

Today's optics are a far cry from the glass used yesteryear. Now, optics incorporate amazing technological innovations, all ensuring that shooters can get on target quickly and easily.

Preview: 5.11 Tactical Apex Pant

Clothing choices are highly subjective, but when it comes to functionality, the purely objective qualities of an ordinary pair of pants can either make them the default everyday choice or relegate them to the back of the closet.

On Scene At The Sporting Clays National Championship

American Rifleman Television attended the 2022 Sporting Clays National Championship for an in-depth look at the experience had by thousands of the nation's most-avid shotgunners.

Diamondback Firearms: From Airboats To Guns

Started as a company designing and manufacturing airboats for hard-to-reach places in its home state of Florida, Diamondback Firearms emerged from the machine shop and captured the market with its defense-oriented guns.

Favorite Firearms: A Sentimental Colt Single Action Army​

My favorite firearm is a .45-cal. Colt Single Action Army that I purchased new in 1980. The old Colt exudes Western adventure, both real and imagined.

Riton Optics Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Riton Optics offers a variety of riflescopes, red-dot optics and a complete line of accessories and was founded in 2013 in Tucson, Ariz., by Brady Speth, a U.S. Air Force veteran and former Capitol Police Officer. For 2023, Riton optic is celebrating its first decade doing business.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.