The common “strong” .44 specials

by jerry b, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 10:09 (375 days ago)


My own needs in a handgun run .430” to .452” hardcast SWC of 240-260 grains from 950 to 1050 fps. I have owned several .44 Magnums in the past, but generally loaded them way down. So I eventually sold them off and bought a 6.5” Smith 624 that beckoned, looking nice at a good price. I have loaded it for several years with 240 gr SWCs at about 1000 fps with Alliant 2400, great accuracy and no leading.

For you guys who have both Ruger FT/GP and Smith 24/624 in .44 Special, do you prefer one over the others; one particularly stronger/more durable than the others? I’m looking for thoughts on the matter while I can still get a Flattop or GP (I only want 1 special right now, so I’d sell the 624).
I'm on the fence here, and I want to get off.

This is just preference, but I prefer a single action if

by cubrock, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 10:33 (375 days ago) @ jerry b

I have to choose. Between the FT and GP, I'd take the FT. Not sure which is stronger, but I suspect the GP100.

I would look at ratchet pads, pawls/ratchets, and bolts,

by former hater of plastic, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 10:48 (375 days ago) @ cubrock

as for determining "strength" in regards to durability in shooting 1000fps 240s, and likewise tendency to develop wobble of cylinder on arbor over time. The DA crane will never be as strong as a fixed pin, no matter improvement to locking. That being said, I would not trade an earlier Smith for anything. The workmanship and materials simply is better than anything from anybody, including Smith.

My only reason for suspecting the GP might get a slight nod

by cubrock, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 11:10 (375 days ago) @ former hater of plastic

in strength is the .44 Special Flat Top is built on the medium sized frame.

You are probably right that the Flat Top is still stronger, but I think any difference between the two is likely angels dancing on the head of a pin. Especially if we are talking 1000 fps loads with a 240ish grain bullet. I doubt any of us would shoot either gun loose in a lifetime with those. Would be fun to try, though.

My only reason for suspecting the GP might get a slight nod

by Otony, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 18:56 (374 days ago) @ cubrock

The GP-100 has a much smaller frame than the Flattop (remember, the Flattop will fit six .45 Colt rounds if asked) , plus the barrel shank is a great deal smaller where it comes through frame, not much wall thickness to the forcing cone.

I’d say the Flattop has a level of long term strength that will far outmatch the GP-100.


You are right

by cubrock, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 19:15 (374 days ago) @ Otony

Should have pulled them out of the safe to compare. :)

You are right

by Otony, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 20:06 (374 days ago) @ cubrock

Once in awhile it happens, but not too often.....

Still wouldn't mind having a 3" .44 GP


ayup...but if a diet of 1000fps 240s would be it,

by former hater of plastic, Thursday, January 11, 2018, 17:54 (373 days ago) @ cubrock

that load is no poofball load, and also if this is again the tired "one gun" sorta thinking, would still compare things such as ratchet pads to see which spreads the load better. It might be that the GP beats the Blackhawk, or etc. Lacking either, and having only a Smith .44 personally, along with the Charter, really no way I should be hazarding a call, excepting instinct still says the single action parts more robust and simple, 2hich is news to nobody.

I do suspect

by cubrock, Thursday, January 11, 2018, 19:33 (373 days ago) @ former hater of plastic

That the strength of the new mid-sized flat tops may be underestimated by some, too.

The robustness of the forcing cone is definitely something to consider, as Otony pointed out. Think 624 versus 696. I have held a couple .44 Special GP100s, but have not had them apart to look at in detail.

I'm definitely a "both/and" kind of guy when it comes to discussions like this. I like my single actions and my double actions. :)

As for forcing cones,

by former hater of plastic, Thursday, January 11, 2018, 23:31 (373 days ago) @ cubrock

perhaps dumb of me, but 1000fps does not have me worrying about barrel shank support, not even with an M&P 10.. for sure would worry about wearing out or breaking something else long before I killed a barrel. Even when I shot 250-500rds per week, hurting a barrel was the least of my worries, and about all of it was 1000fps or so, no matter the caliber. Erosion with maybe unburned 2400, maybe...but support? What? Me worry?

As for forcing cones,

by Otony, Saturday, January 13, 2018, 22:14 (371 days ago) @ former hater of plastic

Take a hard look at a .44 Special GP-100 forcing cone, and you might see a reason to worry. It is very, very thin, in fact it is the thinnest I’ve ever seen. Anecdotal evidence is that a few Smith 696 resolvers split forcing cones, but I can’t prove it.

Still want one though, but I think it would be best built as a 10mm for longevity’s sake.....

Otony, who is ducking behind cover

If the forcing cone is thin enough to cause worries,

by former hater of plastic, Sunday, January 14, 2018, 20:40 (370 days ago) @ Otony

with loads of 1000fps, then the gun holds no interest for me at all, as it would not be as well built as my Charter Boomer. But, I truly doubt that is the case.

The common “strong” .44 specials

by Wildcat, Flint Hills of Kansas, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 13:28 (375 days ago) @ jerry b

I have 2 24-3s (6.5" and a 3" Lew Horton) and a Flattop (5.5"). I carry the Flattop much more but that is just due to barrel length, which is easier packed than the long tube and easier for me to shoot than the shorty. I have a 624 coming in I just bought on Gunbroker yesterday with the 6.5 as well. I really haven't worried about strength with any of them as my daily load is generally the Skeeter load with a cast 250 Keith.

The common “strong” .44 specials

by Ken O'Neill, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 13:29 (375 days ago) @ jerry b

"Great accuracy and no leading". There is no guarantee that either of those 2 replacements will have either of those attributes. Durability? Flip a coin. I prefer the stainless 6 shot Flat-Top to the blue 5 shot GP, but not for any quantifiable reason other than personal preference.

SELL THE 624???

by SIXGUNNER, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 14:49 (375 days ago) @ jerry b


SELL THE 624??? !!!!

by Mike P, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 15:29 (375 days ago) @ SIXGUNNER

I have to agree with Sixgunner.

Personally - I was in a similar situation and went with the Lipsey 5.5" FT .45. I enjoy it very much. The youngsters enjoy it with the .45ACP cyl also.

Every blessing,

SELL THE 624???

by Warhawk, Hot Springs, Arkansas, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 18:07 (374 days ago) @ SIXGUNNER

I’m with JT ... there is always room for one more gun.

There is no handgun of any type that shoot better than a Smith & Wesson Revolver. That should make my preference clear.

Sage advice...

by rob @, Sunday, January 14, 2018, 22:25 (370 days ago) @ SIXGUNNER

I have a gallon freezer bag stuffed full of receipts from guns bought, then traded for something else, which in turn were traded, etc., ad nauseum. I regret most of them...not the purchases, but the trades. Several are returns to the same gun over again, sometimes several times! It took a while but I came to realize that if I wanted it once, I probably will again! Therefore, by keeping the guns I currently have I'm insuring myself from the liability of having to buy it again someday. And, I'm saving myself the loss that comes from selling and likely having to replace it at higher cost later. And, by saving for another firearm outright without trading or selling, I have time to contemplate my next purchase. Sometimes I talk myself out where I was going; sometimes I become more resolved. Always, contemplation beats rash decisions we will regret later. The only guns I've sold and regret not are the total lemons (and I've had a few). Even some of those I wish I had simply done whatever it took to make them right. It's a hassle sending a gun in for warranty work, but some of my absolute favorites are the ones I did send back to let the manufacturer do their thing. I have a Springfield Loaded 1911 that I sent back once to resolve the sight regulation and a second time for a barrel issue. They regulated the sights right on the first time and replaced the barrel. I've carried that pistol every day for several years now as a concealed carry gun and a duty weapon when working as an armed security patrol officer. I wouldn't let that pistol go for $2500, but there was a time I'd have dumped it over the sights being off or it needing a barrel. It took a while but I've learned my lesson.

True, true

by jerry b, Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 11:01 (369 days ago) @ rob

There are a couple of long guns and three or four handguns I regret ever selling/trading over the years. The rest I can still rationalize not keeping. A couple of Old Model Rugers....good riddance; not good in any way. Others just had no real use other than occupying space in the safe. Still, it's good to take time and contemplate what one really wants or needs, and then keep and use what you have. This goes for guns, guitars, whatever.

I'm keeping my Smith 624. I shot it the other day quite a bit, and it is amazingly accurate and nice generally. What the heck was I thinking?


Glad we could talk you off the ledge:) NM

by rob @, Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 21:30 (368 days ago) @ jerry b


Don't sell the 624! I think it is the best of the .44s

by Rob Leahy ⌂ @, Prescott, Arizona, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 16:57 (374 days ago) @ jerry b

Get a 3" GP to augment that and you can do anything that needs doing, handgun wise.[image]
My 624s

Of the Troops & For the Troops

The common “strong” .44 specials

by Kantos Kreig, Monday, January 22, 2018, 20:22 (362 days ago) @ jerry b

I use 14.0 Grains 2400 and a RCBS 44-245 KT in; Ruger old model 3 screw conversion, New GP100 44 spl and Taurus Tracker 44 mag.

Runs 1095 from the Ruger OM 3 screw with 5.5" barrel

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