The .44 magnum will forever be linked to Detective “Dirty Harry” Callahan ridding the streets of crime on the big screen.

There is much more to this super versatile cartridge.

From revolvers to carbines the .44 magnum cartridge is more popular than ever.

NY Times

The history of the .44 magnum cartridge is a lot deeper than that of Hollywood.

Elmer Keith was the driving factor behind the invention of the .44 magnum. Mr. Keith hot loaded .44 special cartridges past their maximum allowed dimensions, and he needed a bigger cartridge.

The .44 magnum was born in 1955 in the Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver, and released to the public a year later. This Model 29 is the revolver that made Clint Eastwood famous as the vigilante cop Harry Callahan in “Dirty Harry” and “Magnum Force.”

Yes, there is even a shotshell load for shooting those pesky pigeons and rats in the barn.

Always use safety glasses and ear plugs, as this cartridge is loud!

Real Guns

In the past years, new cartridges have come out for the .44 magnum that have also made it a great short-to-medium range big game rifle cartridge. This is especially true of the quick-firing lever action rifles that can use Hornady’s Lever Evolution cartridges.

Thanks to the more aerodynamic polymer tipped bullets, these cartridges can be used in the tube magazines without fear of the bullet nose detonating the cartridge primer in front of it.

Flatter trajectories and faster velocities occur with these great cartridge offerings.

Midway USA

The .44 magnum is the go-to cartridge in Alaska and other states where big, toothy animals roam. Though the cartridge has lost some clout to larger, more beastly revolver cartridges, such as the Smith & Wesson .500, it is still a favorite with sportsmen.

It will take down any game with the right bullets as it did a half century ago. Long live the .44 magnum!

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  1. Bought a ruger New Vaquero 44 mag. Loaded up some 240 gr hornady soft pts with 23gr of 2400………..Ouch!!!!!!

  2. I bought a Super Blackhawk in 1976 (it has the “..200th Year…” roll mark on the barrel. Started handloading for it right away. Found that I didn’t care for how that
    7 1/2” barrel balanced, seemed a bit nose heavy. I had the barrel cut back to an
    even 6” and literally fell in love with that handgun. Been shooting it for 47 years now and do NOT intend to ever part with it.

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