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The .44 Magnum
Nation Year Max. press.
U.S.A. 1955 37800 psi
"The world's most powerfull handgun" or so it was for twenty years. It is still the most powerful handgun which can be readily bought, and for which ammunition and components are commonly available. The new contestants for the crown are the .454 Cassul, the .44 Supermag, the .45 Winchester magnum, the .50 AE, and the old .44 Auto mag. Close competetors are the .451 Detonics, and the .45 Super. The classic .44 is still thought of as the top gun by most non shooters, thanks to Dirty harry. Among shooters, this round has lost little of it's prestiege to the newer rounds. A large measure of this respect is earned because of the established round's, proven performance. It is also just possible that, in the .44 Magnum, the practicle limit of power which may be generated and controlled in a hand gun has been reached. There are some who would argue that the .44 has already passed this mark and, in some loadings, I would agree. One place where the big .44 really shines is in the carbine role. Proper handloads can make this a great short to medium range rifle cartridge. At these ranges, with the proper loads, this cartridge can rival or even beat some of the "rifle" rounds out there. At long ranges this advantage disapears. There was a factory load back in the early eighties that would push a 240 grain bullet out the muzzle at 1600fps, but that load has been discontinued, and I have not seen reloader data on it.

Standard Load

Bullet Powder Measure Velocity Energy Comment
240gr Blue Dot 15.5gr 1200fps 768fp typical

Bullet Powder Measure Velocity Energy Comment
240gr JTC VV N110 22.1gr 1499fps 1198fp ouch
267gr RNL VV N110 21.7gr 1444fps 1237fp oh!! my hand
300gr JSP VV N110 19.3gr 1290fps 1109fp
180gr JHP H110 29gr 1600fps 1023fp boom
180gr JHP Blue Dot 19.5gr 1500fps 900fp practice load
300gr JSP Blue Dot 14.6gr 1000fps 666fp practice load