steve made so good points but I love the 44 special. What it offers is near 44 mag performance if you want in a smaller package. You cant get a 44 mag in something the size of a gp100 or L frame smith. To get a single action 44 mag you have to step up to a full sized super vs the small framed blackhawks that come in 44 special.
Yes its harder to find brass for. But that's the only disadvantage. Its advantages is that it seems to be more accurate to me with lighter loads and with keith level loads it will kill anything in north America shy of big bear and would probably do fine on them if you have the nuts.
Largest animals ive shot with the 44 spec was a 350 boar and a 900 lb cow buffalo. It did the job very well on them. Heres a good example of a proper gun and load. My buddy and I were hunting pigs one day and the owner of the operation whos a good friend told my buddy to pop a small 500 lb calf buffalo for meat for him. We were at the time experimenting with 500 linebaughs and hps. The bullet had a huge hp cavity and was on the light side at 400 grain. He shot the buffalo broadside at 40 yards. It took off running and we chased it for a couple hours and he put one more shot into the back of it. We chased it some more and finally got another shot and he took it with my 44 spec smith because he was doubting the 500 bullet by then. the buffalo folded at the shot.
We cut it open and found that neither 500 bullet made it more then 7 inches into the buffalo. The 44 spec punched through both front shoulders and exited into the dirt. Is the 44 spec a better choice then the 500 for buffalo? Hardly but it shows that with a proper bullet it surely is capable and if its capable of that its surely is more then capable on anything under 500 lbs.
I personally shot a 900lb buffalo with the same gun and load and shot another with my 4 5/8s Blackhawk loaded with a 250 cast at a 1000fps which is 44 spec territory. that day I didn't even intend on shooting a buffalo. I came for pigs but was offered a buffalo at a give away price and its was the gun and load I had with me. Ive shot a number of buffalo with various handguns. Funny thing is that that was the quickest kill ive ever seen on any buffalo with any gun, handgun or rifle. At the hit right behind the shoulder blood sprayed out of its mouth like a garden hose was in there. It took two steps and piled up dead. Ive seen buffalo hit with 475s and 500s that kept eating like they had been bit by a fly until they realized they were dead and fell over.
A great post. I too love the .44 special but the chamberings available were spotty at best. Now Ruger has come out with a five shot GP 100 .44 Spec. If I were still actively shooting I'd probably have acquired one by now. But I still enjoy reading about 'em, even if I don't shoot 'em any more. I used to shoot .44 specials in a .44 mag I owned a long time ago. I always loved it. Easy to shoot. Bullet holes were large enough to see without a spotting scope and I didn't have to pick up brass off the ground like with a .45 ACP.
Maybe I'll get a .44 Mag single action and shoot it with downloads. Single action is slower which means ammo and range sessions last longer. And I still don't have to pick up brass. Another dream of a retirement that will probably never come.
Keep posting great posts. I really enjoy reading them.