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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • reloading manual
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
  • bullet reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hodgdon load data

.44 Special (Rifle) (using Sierra bullets)

Author: Brian Pearce / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: Feb 23 2021

The .44 S&W Special was developed around 1907 by lengthening the .44 Russian case from .97 inch to 1.16 inches. Early loads contained a 246-grain lead roundnose pushed with 26 grains of black powder for 780 fps velocity, with smokeless powder loads being introduced at about the same time. The cartridge was developed for the first Smith & Wesson N-Frame revolver known as the New Century but often nicknamed the “Triple Lock,” which referenced the third locking point of the cylinder assembly that secured the yoke to the frame. This feature increased durability but not strength. In the decades since, the .44 Special has been chambered in a variety of revolvers, with classic guns being offered by Smith & Wesson and Colt. U.S.F.A. Ruger, Charter Arms, Taurus and several Italian manufacturers have also offered a variety of guns including rifles.

In 1955  Remington and Smith & Wesson developed the .44 Remington Magnum, essentially the .44 Special case lengthened to 1.285 inches and loaded at much greater pressures and velocities. It has become widely popular, and as such has limited the popularity of the .44 Special. There are still many dedicated .44 Special enthusiasts who recognize its virtues that include lighter revolvers and lower recoil while still offering significant performance and accuracy.



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