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Thread: Most useful Six Gun Cartridge ?

  1. #101
    Boolit Master
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    Well ages ago the common handgun caliber was the .44. It started out being used in cap and ball revolvers and then cartridges came out so they just kept the same caliber. At the time it was more popular than the .45 Colt too. So a .44 Magnum makes sense today as you can shoot .44 special or 44 mag loads in it. Maybe the venerable .38's would have been the most popular, as way back then it was at first used in the .36 Cap and Ball revolvers and then later used in cartridges too. Many people bought and used them in the past and still do so today too. Thus a .357 would use Magnum or .38 Special loads.

  2. #102
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    I don't own one but for me it would be a 32 H&R mag. I am not really a handgun Hunter although I have shot deer and hogs with them but the one six gun that I regret selling the most was a DA
    H&R revolver in 32 S&W long with a 4" barrel that I shot a few rabbits, squirrel, coons, possums, groundhogs and feral cats with.
    It just seemed to be the easiest revolver I have owned to hit stuff with and I have owned many from 22's to 44 mags.
    I would think a similar model in 32 H&R would also add coyotes and could work as a self defense pistol as well but I prefer a 45 ACP for that.

    Jedman
    Last edited by Jedman; 11-23-2019 at 10:45 PM.

  3. #103
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    had a ruger Alaskan 454. Sent it off and had it cut for moon clips. Very useful little gun. Odd thing was that it was the easiest shooting 454 ive ever owned. With the short barrel that doesn't give the bullet that much dwell time to effect recoil and those soft rubber grips youd swear you were shooting a 44mag. Got talked out of it in a foolish moment of weakness. Never been a 454 fan but that was a cool little gun. I even took it to a ppc shoot once and they allowed me to shoot a round with it (by myself because nobody would stand next to me) At the time my average was around a 294/300 and I shot a pretty respectable 289 with it. Not bad for shooting a 454 double action shooting full power 350 grain cast. It made some jaws drop when I reloaded with moon clips!! I don't shoot league anymore but go and visit occasionaly and every time I do someone will bring that up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petander View Post
    Talkin' bout loud: In certain situations / environments a snub 500 S&W could be very useful,too. Mine shoots 325's @1600 fps. That load is completely manageable,I shoot it every week. Much easier than the heavy boolits,you can even follow-up the same day.

    But being a fivegun it doesn't qualify in this thread.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  4. #104
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thatís a mighty good one (.44 Special).

  5. #105
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    I wonder if those choosing the 44 special are voting gun rather than cartridge. It really doesn't do a lot different than the 45 Auto Rim or ACP when fired out of a proper revolver. The 1917's have been so long gone we have forgotten what they did through the 1930's. A 245 gr bullet at 1000 fps matches the 44 special very well. I'll stick with the Magnum.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    I wonder if those choosing the 44 special are voting gun rather than cartridge. It really doesn't do a lot different than the 45 Auto Rim or ACP when fired out of a proper revolver. The 1917's have been so long gone we have forgotten what they did through the 1930's. A 245 gr bullet at 1000 fps matches the 44 special very well. I'll stick with the Magnum.
    I'm not aware of a medium frame gun chambered in 44 special, that isn't also chambered in 357 magnum. 357 is about 300-400 fps faster with similar bullet weights, plus you get an extra round or sometimes two. You could overload a 44 special to close the gap, but that's not something you can do in a medium frame gun. I could see something like a GP100 being a candidate for a best overall revolver. Does S&W even make a 44 special anymore? I would never pick a large frame for an overall choice, very few people want to carry them outside of hunting seasons.

    Really what we are looking at is a choice between the Ruger SP101 and GP100, Smith's K or L frame, Charter arms Bulldog, or similar. Maybe a Ruger Blackhawk. 357 magnum is about the most powerful cartridge chambered in those guns. Smith has a 44 magnum L frame, which might be an option. The Blackhawk is at it's peak with the 41 magnum, however, a 357 magnum often makes more sense in regard to ammo availability.

    44 special is a fine round on it's own, but it is not a good choice for an across the board useful revolver. Honestly I can't think of a worse cartridge for that role. Maybe 32 S&W, unless we get into auto pistol chambered revolvers.

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    I'm not aware of a medium frame gun chambered in 44 special, that isn't also chambered in 357 magnum. 357 is about 300-400 fps faster with similar bullet weights, plus you get an extra round or sometimes two. You could overload a 44 special to close the gap, but that's not something you can do in a medium frame gun. I could see something like a GP100 being a candidate for a best overall revolver. Does S&W even make a 44 special anymore? I would never pick a large frame for an overall choice, very few people want to carry them outside of hunting seasons.

    Really what we are looking at is a choice between the Ruger SP101 and GP100, Smith's K or L frame, Charter arms Bulldog, or similar. Maybe a Ruger Blackhawk. 357 magnum is about the most powerful cartridge chambered in those guns. Smith has a 44 magnum L frame, which might be an option. The Blackhawk is at it's peak with the 41 magnum, however, a 357 magnum often makes more sense in regard to ammo availability.

    44 special is a fine round on it's own, but it is not a good choice for an across the board useful revolver. Honestly I can't think of a worse cartridge for that role. Maybe 32 S&W, unless we get into auto pistol chambered revolvers.
    I didn't pick 44 special I picked 44 mag which can do more than 44 special , but 44 special would do everything I would would need if limited to one cartridge .
    I would be interested to hear about your .357 loads that will do 15 or 1600 FPS with a 250 grain bullet from your sp101 or gp100 I like 357 , but if I only git one I want a big bore.
    I would be Served as well with a 45 colt or 41 mag.
    Aren't you glad we each get to make our own choice.

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by onelight View Post
    I didn't pick 44 special I picked 44 mag which can do more than 44 special , but 44 special would do everything I would would need if limited to one cartridge .
    I would be interested to hear about your .357 loads that will do 15 or 1600 FPS with a 250 grain bullet from your sp101 or gp100 I like 357 , but if I only git one I want a big bore.
    I would be Served as well with a 45 colt or 41 mag.
    Aren't you glad we each get to make our own choice.
    With very few exceptions, 44 magnum chambered guns are not small enough to carry concealed for most people. 357 magnum of course will not do what a 44 magnum can. It is topped out at about 1350 fps ish with a 180 grain, or 1300 fps with a 200 grain. That depends greatly on barrel length. I've never clocked a 215 grain, but I'd guess ballpark 1200-1250 fps is attainable. Those are current top level loads. Loaded to the old standards, you could pick up 50-100 fps on those. Commercial loads are generally wimpy by comparison, but some like Buffalo Bore offers a 180 grain at 1375 actual FPS in a 4" barrel. Grizzly makes a 200 grain load that claims 1300 fps. Buffalo Bore ammo is safe in ANY 357 magnum gun ever made.

    By comparison a 200 grain 44 special is not going to break 1000 fps. Hodgdon claims 15 grains H4227 will get you to 1021 fps, but from an 8" barrel. Buffalo Bore does NOT make any 44 special ammo that is safe in a Charter Arms Bulldog. With that in mind, it maybe safe in a GP100. Even still, you are looking at 1150 fps for the 180 grain load, and 1000 fps for the 255 grain load. Not wimpy, but not exactly a powerhouse.

    It doesn't make any sense to choose 44 special when you can choose 357 magnum. You get more power, 1-2 more rounds in a cylinder, incredible ammo selection and availability, and 38 special, also available everywhere.

  9. #109
    Boolit Master
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    The 44 special can be loaded to power levels close to 44 mag and has been since the 1930s at least .
    I don't load it that hot I don't need to but I would if I wanted that power level and was limited to one gun .
    Here is a fairly modern article that shows the potential of the cartridge I think 357 is a great cartridge that can be loaded for many purposes so is the 44 special or magnum and we do have a gp100 in 44 special available as well as the flattop Rugers and the Charter Arms
    http://www.goodrichfamilyassoc.org/4...%20Special.pdf

  10. #110
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    I much prefer the lighter N-frames and a .44spl is really nice. That said The mountain Guns offer that package for .44mag and medium warm .45colt. This may be the best, but I am really fond of the M-24 and 624 S&W. Hand loaded at 250X1,000 or 1,100 it's no slouch. All that said I use, carry and shoot more .38sps from my M 15-3 than any other. On the other hand I live in the Piney Woods of NE Tx............
    JMHO-YMMV
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  11. #111
    Boolit Master
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    When I think of "most useful" it is what do you carry the most.

  12. #112
    Boolit Master
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    As I said previously, "useful" is an ambiguous term and you will find no consensus here.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art in Colorado View Post
    In my meager estimation I believe that the 44 Special is the one. From most big game, trail gun, small game and about all I can think of. I have never taken big game with it but have read Brian Pierce's hunts with it in Handloader.

    What do you all think?
    Art tells us his choice and it mentions hunting large and small game , smokeless powder , strong guns and hand loading make the special an excellent choice against man or beast , great for hunting or defense .
    In my experience any handgun that is a good choice for power and accuracy is going to be a little or a lot awkward for constant carry , but it can and is done .
    I'm glad I'm not limited to one gun , and that we have so many great choices in caliber and models to choose from.

  14. #114
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by onelight View Post
    I'm glad I'm not limited to one gun , and that we have so many great choices in caliber and models to choose from.
    Amen to that.

  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b View Post
    When I think of "most useful" it is what do you carry the most.
    That is gun dependent not cartridge dependent.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  16. #116
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    I dunno. Phil Sharpe offered 200 grain 44 special loads with 2400 powder that topped 1300 fps at 23,000 pounds in 1937. And over 1100 fps with unique at 15,000 pounds. I think it is quite easy to do if you're serious. Obviously 2400 and unique are still available. I don't think the 44 special case is limited to 15 grs of 4227. That said I wouldn't feel limited to 44 special since I get to choose. I would just go with 44 mag, although I would probably go with a 357 instead. Depends on the details of the scenario.
    -Mike

  17. #117
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    That is gun dependent not cartridge dependent.
    Not really. I carried an SP101 snub in .357 daily and while fishing (my version of a kit gun). Carried a 4" .357 for east coast deer hunting and target shooting. Use both for casual plinking. So, yes, the .357 was the 'most useful' for me as I carried it the most. At the time I also had 9mm, .45acp, .45LC, .38spl, 9mm MAK, and .32acp (.45LC and .38 were revolvers).

    "Most useful" remains what you use the most. If you carry daily then I would say that cartridge is the most useful to you. If you think another cartridge is more useful then why would you not be carrying it daily?

  18. #118
    Boolit Bub
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    I’d plump for 44 mag as how useful it can be in a lever action

  19. #119
    Boolit Buddy curioushooter's Avatar
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    Useful for what?
    I'd reckon that the 38/357 slam dunk in 1935 is the answer for 99% of "uses." Maybe not for killing grizzly bears. Any brass can at a public range will tell the story: 38 followed by it's taller and hot headed younger brother are BY FAR the most popular revolver cartridges and they are both dandy in a levergun, too.
    As for bore size. I'd take a .357 hp over any solid .429 at handgun velocities any day of the week. Every hollowpoint I've tested has expanded beyond .429 diameter in calibrated ballistic gel.

  20. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by curioushooter View Post
    Useful for what?
    I'd reckon that the 38/357 slam dunk in 1935 is the answer for 99% of "uses." Maybe not for killing grizzly bears. Any brass can at a public range will tell the story: 38 followed by it's taller and hot headed younger brother are BY FAR the most popular revolver cartridges and they are both dandy in a levergun, too.
    As for bore size. I'd take a .357 hp over any solid .429 at handgun velocities any day of the week. Every hollowpoint I've tested has expanded beyond .429 diameter in calibrated ballistic gel.
    It's true, and lets not forget the massive 44 caliber bullet usually has a meplat of about .275". There is no doubt a solid 44 magnum bullet is lethal, but after seeing what a 180 grain 357 magnum next to a solid 260 grain keith bullet in a 44 mag do to a deer side by side, I just don't see why anyone is so dismissive of 357 magnum. Both had a deer dead before it could run 40 yards, yet the 357 magnum clearly causes more damage. Of course if you use a hollow point in the 44 magnum, you have that much more on top of that.

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