Three of the Best .44 Magnum Revolvers Available Today

Josh Wayner for TTAG

I’ve shot a lot of .44 Magnum handguns over the years. Over the course of a few weeks last fall, I received thousands of rounds from companies like Black Hills, SIG SAUER, and Buffalo Bore. I ended up pulling the trigger on what amounted to over one hundred pounds of downrange lead and it was pure misery.

Getting to shoot guns as part of your job is nothing to complain about, but two solid weeks of .44 Magnum is enough to make your hands develop nerve pain and the shakes and it was profoundly un-enjoyable. Six rounds of Buffalo Bore 340gr +P+ Hardcast is enough to make the average person swear off magnum revolvers forever, but not this gun writer. I went through box after box in the name of bringing you quality content.

Make no mistake, I am not complaining here. The .44 Magnum is what I believe is the maximum that any normal or reasonable person would consider owning and shooting. Granted, there are those who enjoy the .454 Casull and .460 S&W, but those are essentially specialized loads for their roles and aren’t in very common use. Unlike the .44 Magnum. For ever .454 Casull gun owner I know there are ten who own a .44 Mag.

Much of the popularity of the .44 Magnum is, of course, due to its immortality in pop culture. Literally everyone I hand a .44 Magnum to immediately asks how lucky I’m feeling.

The cartridge and the guns that use it are important to the American culture. It could be said that the .44 Magnum was the defining cartridge of the 1950’s and 1960’s. It was a modern classic in that day and was the anthesis of the changing times. Instead of being necked down and made smaller and faster, it was large, heavy, and authoritative.

Three of the best .44 Magnums made today are these:

Josh Wayner for TTAG

The Smith & Wesson Model 29 (629). The Model 29 is a legend, plain and simple. There simply is no other .44 Magnum to many people and that’s just fine with me. I put almost 700 rounds through a stainless steel version with a four-inch barrel and can say that it’s just about perfect in every way.

The gun is well-balanced and points naturally. It is both light enough for field carry and heavy enough to absorb recoil.

As I became familiar with the .44 Magnum cartridge over the thousands I fired, I came to greatly appreciate just how good the Model 29 is compared to the others. Although modern versions have the much-hated lock mechanism and lack a fixed firing pin, these are still good, solid guns. I have owned a couple of Model 29’s over the years and can say they are likely the single best magnum revolver you can own.

Moving down in size, my next choice in .44 Magnum excellence is the new Model 69. This is a five-shot .44 Magnum with a short barrel. Out of all the .44 Magnums I tested last year, this one was a personal favorite. As great as the Model 29 was, it was not a gun that I would ever consider carrying regularly. The Model 69 is small enough to be carried and big enough for serious field use.

Josh Wayner for TTAG

The fact that the Model 69 is so small can be a problem. Be aware that firing full-power .44 Magnum loads will with it produces prodigious amounts of recoil. If it proves too much for you, you can always feed it lighter loads or even .44 Specials.

The .44 Special is an often-overlooked cartridge that offers some serious benefits. SIG SAUER recognized this and released a 200gr V-Crown load that has an extended overall cartridge length to aid in feeding in lever and bolt-action rifles and to improve accuracy in revolvers. This is the ultimate JHP for regular use. I am totally sold on it and would carry it without hesitation if I owned a small revolver like the Model 69.

The advances in .44 Special don’t end at SIG SAUER. Black Hills makes a truly awesome 125gr HoneyBadger that features a non-expanding solid copper bullet. This load is fast and accurate while also offering very low recoil.

Josh Wayner for TTAG

The last .44 Magnum gun on my list is a bit of a specialty item. I reviewed the Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter here last year. It is a large, single-action revolver that is meant to be used a primary as a hunting weapon. If you want the most accuracy at the longest ranges possible with a .44 Magnum revolver, this is your gun.

Josh Wayner for TTAG

The Super Blackhawk Hunter has the ability to mount a scope or red dot sight, which is an advantage for hunting. Due to its massive, heavy frame this revolver is able to handle the most powerful .44 Magnum loads on the market today.

I do need to say that these super-powered loads are violent in terms of recoil and utterly unenjoyable to fire. If you like recoil, these loads will certainly cure your illness.

Josh Wayner for TTAG

The ammunition out there for the .44 Mag is generally either a bit underpowered or slightly overpowered. The ‘true’ loads that existed in the heyday of the .44 Mag are considered a bit stout by today’s shooters, which is disappointing considering that there is really no reason to own a .44 Magnum except to take advantage of its superior velocity and bullet weight.

When you take those things away, you’re left with a large, heavy gun that doesn’t do anything much better than a .45 ACP or 10mm Auto, but with half the capacity.

Josh Wayner for TTAG

Black Hill’s 240gr JHP is about the closest to the originals as I can find, as the rest are too slow, too fast, or too painful to shoot. I consider this to be the best all-around .44 Mag load out there in terms of bullet weight, velocity, and recoil management.

There are others that come close, but in over 3,000 rounds of test ammo, I found it to be the most ‘shootable’. It wasn’t always the most accurate on paper, but it was the best when it came to those undefinable characteristics that make a given load great, even though it is objectively not ‘better’ in the raw data.

Today’s .44 Magnum revolvers offer a great deal to the outdoorsman. I see less benefit for the concealed carrier or recreational target shooter, but you do you. When it comes down to it, you get a great deal with the .44 Magnum, especially when you go with a great revolver like the Model 29, Model 69 or Super Blackhawk.

Have fun and don’t try to shoot 3,000 rounds all at once. Your hand will thank you.

comments

  1. avatar Iraqvet2003 says:

    I have both S&W 69 Combat Magnums and they are great! I do want to get a couple 629’s as well.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I think I need to add a Model 69 to my collection, perhaps even as a carry piece.

      As for the recoil issue, I can put up some loads to my liking that will do the job.

      1. avatar Iraqvet2003 says:

        I have put a max charge of H110 under 240 gr XTP’s though both the 4″ and 2 3/4″. After five rounds out of 10 out of the 2 3/4″ because a buddy of mine was shooting with me, I can promise you I won’t do it again. The fireball and concussion is enough to rattle teeth and that is only a slight exaggeration. It is a brutal hand full of horsepower that most wouldn’t want to mess with. The 4″ model on the other hand really isn’t to bad even for an L frame. I like both a lot but Hickok45’s assessment of the 2 3/4 inch about being a 44 SPL with magnum capabilities is spot on.

        1. avatar Smoke’n Mirrors says:

          Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan. Best .44 Mag ever. But I understand if you can’t handle the truth. Or the gun.

        2. avatar Iraqvet2003 says:

          Ok so there’s no disputing that a Ruger is built like a tank. However the Alaskan isn’t a S&W L frame 5 shot 44 magnum either. There are no comparisons for either, they both have their purpose. I personally like the lines of a Smith better than I do a Ruger double action. Now a single action Ruger is the best bang for the buck all day long every day. Guns are like women, every man has his preferences. If not we’d all be married to same woman and shoot the same guns. *Handling the Alaskan isn’t a problem.

  2. avatar jwm says:

    I’m too damn old to batter myself with heavy loads like this. I shot the model 29 and the Ruger super blackhawk back in the day. Both were damn good guns. I gave a slight edge to the Ruger. Just a slight edge.

    But we didn’t have rounds like that 340 grain whale stomper back then either.

    1. avatar Neil says:

      I’m not that old, but more than a dozen shots of 44 mag hurts! Heck for me, 50 rounds of 38 spl in a LCR or 300+ of 45 ACP in my Sig P220 or 1911 get to me. 9mm… I shot 700 one day and then realized U might as well stapple my wallet to the target and be done with it. 😉

      1. avatar Marty says:

        Now that’s funny!

  3. avatar Porridgeweasel says:

    I’m a little sad to not see my beloved Super Red Hawk on your list but I will say that I love me some .44 mag!

    Nice write up. Think I’ll go whip me up some 300gr paper obliterators.

  4. avatar LKB says:

    Too bad CZ hasn’t brought back the Dan Wesson pistol pack in .44 mag. The Monson-made DW are severely underrated wheelguns from the Golden Age of Modern Revolvers.

    1. avatar bontai Joe says:

      I have a Dan Wesson .44 mag pistol pak and it is big and beautiful. Being one of the heaviest .44s out there, and with a Pachmayr rubber grip installed, it doesn’t pound me as bad as some others. But my age is catching up with me and my arthritic wrists much prefer .44 specials for target shooting. I wish CZ would bring these back too. I just recently saw a used .41 magnum sell at auction for $700 plus the buyer’s premium.

      1. avatar LKB says:

        Recently scored a minty .41 pistol pack (6” and 8” barrels; the Monson-made .41’s didn’t offer 4” or snubbie barrels).

        DW really knew how to build them back in the day.

    2. avatar DrewN says:

      Do they even have a pac for the .357s? Last I checked you couldn’t even buy any different shrouds.

      1. avatar LKB says:

        CZ does now offer the pistol pack in .357 mag. No word on how these compare with the Monson-made one from the heyday of DW.

        But so far, the haven’t brought back the heavy frame for the .44 (and my fav, the .41).

      2. avatar bontai Joe says:

        I e-mailed CZ about their making the .22LR and they replied that they had no plans to do so. I got the feeling that the .357 is all they are willing to manufacture. I have not seen a new CZ made gun, so I don’t know how they compare to the best versions of the old Dan Wessons. Dan Wesson went thru several incarnations and quality went up and down over the years. I’m just glad that CZ finally brought them back.

  5. avatar Gadsden says:

    My .44 mag is my favorite handgun. I have a 629 classic that I really enjoy. What I’ve been told a few times about how to tell if a .44 mag is properly loaded is if it the round in question will cycle a Desert Eagle properly.

  6. avatar Sean G./The Rookie says:

    That 629 is mighty pretty.

  7. avatar Nam62 says:

    I’m 81 and I love shooting my Super Redhawk Alaskan .454 Casull! You know your still alive when you touch off that monster…….

    1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      I’m not 81 but I love shooting my Alaskan. Here’s to ya, pal!

  8. avatar Marty says:

    I owned two 4″ 29’s, loved them both. I then owned a 4″ 629. That was the best, but alas traded them all off in my dumber years. Currently own a 7 1/2″ Super Red Hawk. Want my 4″ 629 back, but refuse to purchase any of the new S&W’s. Some day I hope to come upon another 4″ 629.

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Marty, I have a friend that has an early 4″ 629. Pinned barrel, etc. Every time I talk to him I offer to buy or trade him another firearm or Randall knife for it. He won’t budge. And I already own a 4″ S&W Mountain Gun. Something about an N frame Smith.

      1. avatar Marty says:

        Gadsden, I also have a Randall custom knife. I would gladly trade it along with another handgun for that 629. Maybe even my AMT Automag II, 22 mag?

        1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Marty, I have a dozen or more Randalls. Got off the phone with Chris Stanaback a few minutes ago. Good friend. The 5″ #10 with rosewood was already gone. Visit his website. Largest Randall dealer in the Southeast. Anyway, depending on which Randalls we’re talking about I’d trade Mark two Randalls for that pinned 629. By the way, what Randall/options do you have? Sell it?

        2. avatar Marty says:

          Gadsden, sorry I can’t tell what it is, as I can’t find it. I know, not believable, but true. I was into knives back in the early eighty’s. I remember putting it some place safe when we moved from kalifornis to Utah almost 14 years ago. I just assumed I placed it back in one of the gun vaults while unpacking. My wife opened a shelf in her glass cabinet for some of my knives. In looking, several customs there, but not the Randall. We have many, many unpacked boxes from the move down in the storage room down in the basement (8’X60 room’). No way to even get to most of the boxes. I can only hope when we make our final move, it will turn up. It was a special knife, and I put it some place special lol. Sorry for getting your hopes up, my bad.

  9. avatar Geoff "they *finally* brought the EDIT button back..." PR says:

    Fond memories of being at a public range in Orlando, Florida in the late 90s…

    I stepped up to a firing line busy with people popping-off 9mm, .357, and .45 ACP, and who knows what else. Cocked my 7-inch Super Redhawk .44 mag with a nice, heavy pistol scope on it. Gently pressed the bang-switch…

    *BOOM*! I felt the pressure wave travel through my teeth, front-to-back.

    The firing line was momentarily silent as every head on the firing pivoted towards the wisp of smoke from the barrel of my gun.

    Yeah, that put a big-assed grin on my face. And a couple of the shooters asked to squeeze one off. Of course I obliged.

    Yeah, .44 mags are *fun* guns to shoot…

  10. avatar Jack Linkul says:

    i own a Super Black Hawk 44 sp. And it was my first pistol. I would not trade it for anything. Its grreat to take camping. for small game/ and critters that come up on you at night.Its extremely accurate for a heavy gun. I enjoy the kick, It came in handy for self defense a few yrs back I didn’thave to pull it .But sure gave me alot of comfort having it tucked in my back..I;m almost 76 and all busted up. I would recommend the 44 sp Blackhawk to everyone for a good quality pistol..take it for what it’s worth..

  11. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Once owned. 7 1/2 inch Super Blackhawk, blue. Only option at the time.Great revolver. Stolen in a burglary. Now have a 4″ Mountain Gun and a 6″standard 629. All pre-stupid key locks. Never will buy one of those. Are you listening S&W? 44 mag handle anything around here. Did once own a field grade Freedom Arms in .454 Casul. Sent it back to have the Pachmyers replaced by the micarta grips. Worth every cent. That’s the Freedom Arms to own. Except, 5 1/2 inch and 44 mag. 454 was a little much for around here. Won’t one bad. Anyone selling?

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Want. I hate spell ✔. Thinks it knows more than me.

  12. avatar Jack Linkul says:

    I have a 44 sp Blackhawk little hard to get shells . so i bought boxes of them. had 6yrs great for camping and small game and took it alternative deer hunting season. really good all around pistol with all the firepower a person would ever need. Wish it was for conceal an carry also.. I had it tucked in my back, had a encounter with 12 guys at once did not have to pull it thankfully. I’m 76 and a real threat. Sure! People I guess are kinda afraid of a craz y pld man.I have been watching too many westerns. I’m all busted up from car injuries.horses etc. So having my Ruger Blackhawk 44 sp is a real comfort ,In this time in history,,

  13. avatar Richard Bunn says:

    I really love my Dan Wesson 744 with 4, 6 and 8 inch barrels. I have a 6 and 8.375 in 629s, Tiger Super Blackhawk and a Redhawk. Love them all.
    Rick Bunn

    1. avatar LKB says:

      Love the DW .44!

      Recently acquired, after a search of MANY years, a Monson-made DW pistol pack in .41 magnum — same heavy DW frame as on the .44, but with the .41 barrels and cylinder. Sweet . . . and even found a guy who sells .41 Special semi-wadcutter ammo for practice.

  14. avatar GS650G says:

    I can shoot my super redhawk all day. It’s a precision quality gun.

    1. avatar Marty says:

      I’m not saying I don’t like my Super Redhawk. It is a wonderful weapon. I just miss my 4″ 629. It’s much easier to carry.

  15. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    I’d say that the Freedom Arms Model 83 should deserve some attention as well.

    1. avatar Bitter .40 owner says:

      Was just about to ask where is freedom arms on this list. If the list is “best available” with no financial considerations who the heck would take a Ruger over a Freedom?

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The writers on this site tend to cater to mass marketed products. FA’s products are not mass-marketed – those who know revolvers know where to go for high quality products (ie, Wyoming). We have both Freedom Arms and John Linebaugh here in this state. If you want hand cannons, we have you covered.

        1. avatar BCE56 says:

          The first handgun I purchased was a Gold Cup.
          After that I wanted (needed) a substantial revolver. I considered Blackhawk and S&W .44 mag revolvers, and the lovely but pricey Freedom Arms single actions.
          But my Old Man said, “If you can’t kill it with a .357 use a rifle instead.”
          I ended up with a 4″ 686 and a ’94 and have never regretted those choices..

          From time to time I still glance wistfully at the at the Freedom Arms revolvers…

  16. avatar Hal_greaves says:

    I might be a minority here but I seriously love my 44 mag Raging Bull.

    Shooting full power loads out of it feels more like a stout 357 more than anything, very little pain in any capacity.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Hal_greaves,

      I second your opinion. The Taurus Raging Bull series are built like tanks — so much so that Buffalo Bore says they can handle their 340 grain .44 Magnum +P+ loads.

      And yet, in spite of being built like tanks, the one that I shot has THE BEST trigger that I have ever fired on any firearm, period. That includes rifles. And it seems to be plenty accurate.

      I would probably rate in the following order:
      (1) Ruger Super Blackhawk/Redhawk
      (2) Taurus Raging Bull
      (3) Smith and Wesson Model 29 series

      Note: the only reason I put the Taurus Raging Bull ahead of Smith and Wesson is because the Raging Bull is built to handle thousands of full-power loads. I have heard several reports that Smith and Wesson Model 29 series will not hold-up well to thousands of full-power loads. If that is not true, then I would place the Smith ahead of the Taurus.

  17. avatar James Banish says:

    There is many things one can say about the .44 Magnum. They are not for the faint of heart. So it really comes down to practical use. I would like to have one because it has been a goal of mine not only to own one and fire one. I don’t think I would carry one but for target shooting and keeping angry quadrepeds at Bay.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      James Banish,

      The beauty of .44 Magnum these days is that you can purchase anywhere from extremely mild loads in .44 Special (which shoot just fine out of .44 Magnum revolvers), to mild Magnum loads, all the way to full-power Magnum loads, and even those insane Buffalo Bore +P+ loads (if you have one of the two revolvers that Buffalo Bore says can handle them).

      That means you can use a .44 Magnum revolver for everyday carry as well as woods-defense and even big game hunting. All you need do is change your cartridges accordingly.

      And if you acquire a revolver that has some decent heft (at least 50 ounces) and a ported barrel, you will be pleasantly surprised how reasonable recoil is on all but those insane Buffalo Bore +P+ loads.

      When I am hunting, camping, hiking, or bicycling (on forest roads/trails), I carry a Taurus Model 44 revolver with a ported 6-inch barrel. Its 54 ounce weight and ported barrel seriously mitigates recoil and the trigger is excellent — which translates to reasonably accurate first shots and follow-up shots. Most importantly, I have the ability to launch 6 bullets that are 0.43 inches in diameter and weigh 240 grains at a muzzle velocity on the order of 1,250 feet-per-second (832 foot-pounds energy) with mild loads and up to 1,400 fps (1,044 foot-pounds energy) with stout loads. I am totally confident that I can survive any encounter with any animal in the lower 48 states armed with that revolver.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The .44 RemMag is almost as versatile a load as the .357 is.

        My only beef with the .44 Mag is how revolver manufactures nearly extirpated the .44 Special from their line-ups after they brought out .44 Mags. “Oh, but you can load .44 Specials into a .44 Magnum…”

        No, that’s not the point.

        I think the .44 Special could enjoy a real resurgence as a CCW round in a medium-framed, 5-shot revolver with a 3″ barrel. .44 Special can be loaded pretty hot, and it would have all the power and diameter needed to be a superior choice as a CCW piece. Making a revolver for the Special over the Magnum means that you can shave a bunch of length off the cylinder, weight off the entire revolver, and probably bring the unloaded weight under 30 ounces in a stainless revolver.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          yes. a 69 has more than an inch over 3 and weighs less than 40oz.
          a special cylinder and shorter barrel might get you there, for sure with some alloy applied.

        2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          gp100 in .44 special with 3″ barrel weighs 36oz.

        3. avatar Conrad says:

          Yes indeed, truer words were never spoken.
          I knew a Cop 25 years ago that carried (and collected) the .44 Special.
          In many ways it’s all you need.

  18. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Hope you weren’t firing those +p+ Buffalo Bores in those Smiths. From BB’s website; ‘We get hundreds of emails asking if this load can be fired in S&W revolvers or some firearm other than what is in the above list. The answer is NO.’ Ruger only (or Taurus Raging Bull, etc.)

    It’s not available new today, but I’ve got Ruger’s 2006 50th anniversary model Blackhawk .44 mag and I’ll probably never part with that. I had a birdshead Vaquero in .44 mag and that was a sweet little gun. I parted with it but will likely buy another. And I seriously want that Super Blackhawk hunter with a 2-7 or 8x scope. Nothing wrong with owning 3 (or more) .44 magnums.

  19. avatar Vinny says:

    The Ruger SBH Bisley Hunter at a svelte 52oz. just rolls with recoil. The S&W 627 4″ (.357 mag) recoil feels stronger (less roll). And the S&W 632 3″ (.327 mag) is the loudest of all three.
    Need to stop neglecting the Ruger.

  20. avatar JW says:

    I own a Colt Anaconda with an 8″ factory ported barrel and I absolutely love shooting it with any loads. With the porting, it doesn’t try to reach up and put a dent in your skull. It is actually fun to shoot. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. It just too bad they don’t make them anymore.

  21. avatar BeoBear says:

    I have a 629 V-Comp that I absolutely love! The trigger is near perfect and it shoots like a dream. I currently have a Trijicon RMR mounted on it which makes shooting it even more fun. Plus it looks awesome. I just wish I could get a straight answer from a knowledgeable source as to what the limit is on the ammo for these guns. I’ve been told everything from one end of the power/pressure spectrum to the other.

    I’m a also a fan of Ruger’s and love my Blackhawk Bisley .45 Colt 5.5″ convertible. I’ve been asking Ruger for years to make the same gun in .44 magnum but still waiting. Surely there’s others who want a standard stainless 5.5″ SBH Bisley without that huge rail on top for mounting optics. I love the clean lines of the classic round trigger guard Ruger Bisley. C’mon Ruger…it’s way past time for these.

  22. avatar SPARK says:

    Had a a 629 44mag. It’s a canon ! Sold it, bought a model 57 s&w 41 mag. I would not trade it for the world. It’s got all the punch anyone really needs.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Spark,

      A .41 Magnum revolver with 6-inch barrel and stout loads should do quite well stopping just about anything in the lower 48 states short of a large grizzly bear or a large and seriously angry moose.

      If I were concerned about really large grizzlies or moose, then I would want to step up to .44 Magnum at a minimum, and .454 Casull would be better.

      1. avatar Spark says:

        Uncommon -sense, I TOTALY AGREE WITH YOU !!!

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        I doubt even a large grizzly would notice the difference between a .410″ slug and a .429″ one. Not sure I’ve seen any ‘+p+’ stuff in .41 though.

    2. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      .41 mag was good enough for Buford Pusser!

  23. avatar Ian says:

    I’d love to see an article on .44 ammo. It sounds like you’ve shot enough of it that writing it would be easy.

  24. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Only 44 mag I have left is my 44 Flat Top with a 6.5 inch bbl.

    240 grain Keith at 1250 is my standard load. Does all I need it to.

  25. avatar merlin says:

    as far as i am concerned … the standard ruger redhawk, ( not the super redhawk ) 5.5 inch bbl, sets the standard the other’s try to meet.

    and fail.

    1. avatar merlin says:

      and truth be told … i prefer it in the .45 colt.
      favorite load … 335 grain hard cast 1050 fps.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The .45 Colt (aka .45 Long Colt) is a round that isn’t appreciated as much as it could be, mostly due to liability lawyers ready to chase corporations for user stupidity. As a result, factory ammo for the .45 Colt is put up in loads that won’t cause the old SAA’s (post 1892) to grendade – which are very modest loads, indeed.

        If you have a modern revolver with minimum-sized chambers (to support the .45 Colt brass properly, as opposed to black powder chambers which have generous sizing to allow reliable extraction of dirty cases), you can load a .45 Colt to challenge most any .44 Mag load.

  26. avatar JD says:

    The smith and Wesson 29/629 are guns that aren’t meant to be shot much or at least have got ammo run thru them. I had a 629 and a buddy had a 29 and both guns would shoot themselves loose. Anytime I shot that gun I had to bring a tube of locktite to put the gun back together. Same with my buddies 29. I dumped the smith for a Ruger redhawk and the smith can’t hang. I’ve run some hot reloads on mine through the Ruger with zero problems whatsoever. In similar fashion I had a smith model 19. Yeah it had a sweet trigger but I wouldn’t put a steady diet of .357 magnum thru it. Dumped that too. I don’t buy a .357 to shoot .38s nor do I buy a .44 to shoot .44 specials. Smith and Wesson are overrated and overpriced..

  27. avatar jimmy james says:

    Owned a Ruger Super Blawkhawk and a Ruger Redhawk. Could not get either one to group smaller than a pie plate at 25yds. Bought a 2nd hand Super Redhawk and got it to shoot 1″ groups. Came with a Leupold 4x cross hair scope (distributor special). Worthless. Too hard to get the eye relief right. I put a Ultradot on it and made all the difference in the world. The single action Rugers are beautiful but I find the grips to be problematic and I invariably wrap my knuckles when shooting.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      everybody wants to play “Dirty Harry”….till they shoot the damn thing!….you won’t spend much time on the range with any of these without paying a price…did carry the ’29 as a back-up when deer hunting, though…never forgot that 100 yd dead center shot that I made with it….once….

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      The knuckle rapping can be an issue but if you kind of wedge your support hand index finger between your knuckles and the trigger guard it alleviates the problem. Still, .44 magnums weren’t designed for prolonged shooting sessions. Five or six cylinders is plenty for a day. Standing unsupported I can keep them all on a pie plate at 50 yards. I couldn’t shoot 1″ groups with anything without optics and a rest.

  28. avatar Shiffrod says:

    The only reason to buy a ruger in .44mag, any model on offer in that category, is if your eyes are broken. Or you want to save some money for ammo. Ugh.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      You’ve obviously never hear of the ‘Blackhawk’ or ‘Vaquero’.

      1. avatar Shiffrod says:

        Oh, yes I have. My father owns a potted blackhawk. The only remotely appealing revolver they make is the gp100 if you change out the stock grips. The super Redhawk is one of the ugliest guns ever made, period.

        1. avatar Shiffrod says:

          *ported

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          What’s a ‘potted Blackhawk’.

          We do agree on the GP though.

      2. avatar Iraqvet2003 says:

        Ruger single action actually have fairly clean lines and are built like a tank. I wish Ruger would follow suit with their double actions. For double actions I like S&W, they aren’t tanks like a Ruger but they definitely have class. As for cost someone has already brought up Freedom Arms and that the model 83 should be included. Well actually no it shouldn’t be for a couple of really good reasons. First is cost, three to four times the cost of a Ruger and gain what? The ability to say I have a Freedom Arms? Not worth it to me. The second reason is Freedom Arms warranty. IIRC is only for a year. If a company is going to charge that kind of money for a product they better stand behind that product for life if they want my business. A quality product and customer service is dictated after the sale not just making the sale. No I’d say Ruger make a good product for a good price and will stand behind it.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Personally I like the lines of the GP100 over the 686, but you probably get a little higher level of polish on the Smith.

          When it comes to .44 magnums, you just can’t beat the price and quality of the Ruger single actions.

        2. avatar Iraqvet2003 says:

          I agree I like the GP100 as well but so far at least you can’t get one in 44 mag. I would like to have one in 10mm though. Yep you can’t really beat a Ruger for price, quality, durability, and some models for looks. They just plain work for a damn long time.

        3. avatar Marty says:

          Ruger does not always stand behind their products. I bought a Ruger M77 RLS in 270 .many years ago. Small, light and a gem to carry. Problem is it would not hold a group, not just a tight group, just a group. So I stuck it in the vault. Then I pulled it out and tore it apart. The barrel channel looked like the Grand Canyon. Cleaned it up and bedded it. No difference. Finally I looked carefully and found the rear scope mount lug was off by .300″.
          Called Ruger. The best they would do if I returned it was to give me 300 bucks of a new rifle. Not good enough. Now I have a rifle with only open sights which I can’t do much with do to aging eye sight. Ruger customer service failed me in this case.

        4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I’d like a 5 shot .41 magnum GP100. 10mm doesn’t really give you anything that a .357 can’t.

          Some of the Redhawks are fairly pretty. But for the money I’d go with the Blackhawk and Vaquero. I had a birdshead Vaquero in .44 mag and that was a sweet little gun. 3-3/4″ barrel, polished stainless, weighs 39 oz – heavy enough to shoot but light enough to carry, and runs ~$600 on line. Needed some cash so I sold it but I’ll probably buy another. Still have a 2006 50th Aniversary Blackhawk .44 mag I paid $450 for. Not just less expensive but quite a bit lighter than the Redhawks and Super Redhawks.

        5. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Why does anyone want a revolver in 10mm Auto, when the 10mm Auto cartridge was created to try to achieve the ballistics of the .41 Magnum revolver cartridge?

          Just go get a revolver in .41 Magnum. You’ll have everything the 10mm Auto offers – and more.

        6. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          DG, the fanboys like to compare the hottest 10mm rounds to the weakest .357/.41 magnum loads, but if you compare full power loads (Buffalo Bore, Double Tap, etc. but not +p) the 10mm doesn’t even quite match .357 magnum and lands well shy of the .41.

        7. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          the fa premier grade 83’s have lifetime warranty.

        8. avatar Iraqvet2003 says:

          Directly from Freedom’s website: Premier Grades have a limited lifetime warranty to the original owner. All Model 83’s have a manual sliding bar safety.

          For $3,000+ with tax limited better mean damn near no limitations for my money.

          I can buy a Ruger and have a hell of a lot of good Smith work done for that kind of cash. Let’s face it when a purchase like that is made it’s mostly for the name. It’s like buying a Harley Davidson Road King over a Honda Goldwing.

          The S&W model 69 also has a 2 3/4 inch barrel version as well as the 4 inch. I own both as I stated in another comment and the shorter barrel version I believe is 32 oz and carries quite nicely with 44 spl ammo in a quality IWB or owb holster.

        9. avatar Conrad says:

          FA offers a precision tool that can shoot bug holes when you do your part. If you choose your features carefully you will be in possession of a gun that you will have your entire life, you’ll never be tempted to trade it off.
          The recoil characteristics are superb, the round butt and porting are sublime, the overall weight is perfect, and it offers a pleasurable experience of ownership. Sure you’ll cry once when you buy it, but the sunshine of experience will dry your tears, and your relatives will fight over it when you’re gone. Go big, or don’t go at all.

  29. avatar John H Haley says:

    Odd. Article on “the best,” one of three chosen a hunting model, and no mention – even in the comments, so far as I can see – of any Freedom Arms .44. To me, when you say “the best,” that is what comes to mind. If considering “out of print” guns, although obscure, the High Standard Crusader must be considered. Anyone who has handled or shot either gun would, I’m pretty ding-dong certain, agree.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I mentioned one model of the Freedom Arms revolvers above. They’re made here in Wyoming. They’re very well made revolvers – my only wish would be to see them offer a blued version.

  30. avatar Craig in IA says:

    I bought a new Model 29, 8 3/8 nickel in the presentation box back in 1975. I think it set me back $375. The out-of-the-box action and trigger would rival anything the S&W Custom Shop produces today, as does fit and finish. (Most of the K and N frames came that way back then and before.) I shot my first ever deer with it in 1981 on a WY hunt. Years later I purchased another 29, 6″ blued and stuck a Leupold 2x scope on it. It’s been my IA “deer rifle” ever since. I limit my loads to 240 grains in the .44 handguns. I’ve got a Freedom Arms Premier .454 Casull if I want to usemore weight and it occurs to me that in the 30 years I’ve owned it the gun has never “drawn any blood” except from my RH middle finger on the damn trigger guard during one session. I need to get out there and shoot something with that one…

  31. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    I have shot many a .44 Mag but many years bought a Dan Wesson 44 with the 6″ vented barrel and heavy shroud. Loved the gun but you can’t shoot lead in a vented barrel so I ordered an unvented one. I didn’t know a shroud came with the barrel so now I have two barrels and two different weights of shrouds. The grip I use is larger than most people like but the unvented barrel, heavy shroud and grip like a club which really spreads recoil the vented barrel is seldom used.

  32. avatar A. Daniels says:

    When discussing the shooting characteristics of a S&W Model 29 or 629, the many different variations have different shooting characteristics. For example, a 629 4″ Mountain Gun shoots differently compared to a Model 29 Classic with 6 1/2″ barrel, or a Model 629 Stealth Hunter (7 1/2″ ported barrel, full-length underlug), or a Model 329PD (25 oz. scandium alloy frame, 4 1/8″ non-ported barrel).

  33. avatar Pilot says:

    I know I might get flamed for this, but…. I think Taurus didn’t good job with the Raging Bull 44’s. I have an 8 and some odd inch barreled stainless Raging Bull in 44. Not a hiccup. I shoot PPU ammo through it. I love PPU 240 and 300 grain rounds. I think they are loaded hot but never chronoed it. But they do throw flames out and pound the palm pretty good. Plus, the raging bulls look pretty cool, I think.

    1. avatar Pilot says:

      I meant Taurus did a good job. Not didn’t.

      1. avatar raptor jesus says:

        The Taurus Tracker .44 is a spectacular revolver.

  34. avatar ChoseDeath says:

    Oh my fucking god, I literally own every one of those revolvers 🤣🤣🤣 629-6, 69 Combat Magnum, and Super Blackhawk Hunter. Apparently at least one other person in the world thinks I have excellent taste! That makes me super happy, lol.

  35. avatar raptor jesus says:

    Until Smith & Wesson gets rid of the internal lock, they don’t belong on any list.

  36. avatar Mike Schmidt says:

    It’s important to be clear that only certain revolvers are capable of safely firing the truly powerful, overloaded 44 magnum ammunition. I disagree that they are “too painful to shoot” – it is just a matter of practice. Many years ago, I believe I did actually injure my hand – still not clear if it was a bone fracture or not – but I have no problem firing any 44 magnum ammunition now. The trick is to allow enough freedom of movement of the pistol in the hand so that the sharp force of firing does not cause bone damage. Let it roll a little. There are even more powerful handgun calibers out there!

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