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  #1  
Old 02-10-2012, 10:34 PM
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Red face Difference between a 44 magnum and a 44 special?


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Can anyone explain to me the difference between a 44 magnum and a 44 special? I know it has something to do with either the diameter or length of the bullet casing, (I hope, if not i'm wayyy off).

Just wondering, because I have my eye on several 44 Remington Magnum Revolvers. Just want something that is powerful, reliable, and that ammunition is easily accessible, or the more common of the two.

The only thing I know about a .44 magnum is what I have seen on Clint Eastwood movies, but I am quite sure for defensive purposes it can be quite a mind changer (mind of the assailant that is).
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2012, 10:58 PM
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A very good question Chris. The 44 Rem Mag case is 1.280" while the 44 Special is 1.152". Bullet diameter is the same. You can shoot 44 specials in a 44 mag but not visa-versa.

If you've never shot full throttle 44 magnum loads, I'd suggest starting with 44 special loads 'til you get used to the gun.

So what kind are you looking at?

RJ
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  #3  
Old 02-10-2012, 11:28 PM
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S&W M329 Nightguard 44Mag 2.5" - Impact Guns

Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan, 44 Mag, 2.5" Barrel - Impact Guns

Smith and Wesson 629CL Classic 44Mag, 5 Inch Full Lug Barrel, Satin Stainless, Adjust. Sights, Hogue Grips, 6rd - Impact Guns

Ruger Super Blackhawk 44 Mag, 7.5 Inch, Stainless Steel, Grey Laminate - Impact Guns

Can't decide if I want a long barrel or a short one. The long barrels look pretty darn fun to shoot, but I'd definitely feel quite confident having a beast like this as a CCW, so the short barrels are also appealing. So I can get one of these and start off shooting 44 specials, then switch to Remington Mags is what you are saying? Never shot any one of these, but Dirty Harry sure did make it look fun lol...
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  #4  
Old 02-11-2012, 12:17 AM
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In MY opinion you'd be better off with a longer barrel. Longer barrel=more weight=less recoil+faster target recovery.

Double or single action doesn't matter. All of the S&W's are double action the Super Blackhawk is a single action (I have one identical to it)

I also have a Ruger Redhawk (a double action revolver, though I very rarely shoot it double action) with a 7 1/2 inch barrel.



All the S&W fans are gonna say go with the Smith, but I will tell you I've shot both Smiths and Rugers and unless you are going to be shooting double action and spraying bullets willy-nilly (not advisable with a 44 mag) the Ruger is the way to go. It'll be about 2/3 the cost of a S&W AND stand up to the abuse of heavy loads for a lot longer.

As for concealed carry goes? The longer barrel to me makes little difference, but then I'm 6'4" and 240+ so I can "hide" a bit more gun than the "average" person. You'd never know that in this picture I'm a tote'n the Redhawk under my left arm. Oh, I'm the feller on the right



Unless you reload then yes I'd start with a box or two of 44 specials then some 44 mags. I've never shot store bought ammo in either one of my revolvers, so I can't really say what the factory magnums shoot like, but they are going to be a lot "stiffer" than 44 specials.

RJ
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  #5  
Old 02-11-2012, 05:52 AM
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I own several 44 mags and 44 specials and enjoy shooting them, especially my 44 specials. A standard load 44 sp doesn't recoil much more than a 38 special. I own both single and double action guns but tend to favor the single actions. If you have access to a 44 mag, try one before you buy it. I very rarely shoot full power 44 mag loads as recoil is extreme and my old hands don't handle it well. Any of the guns you listed will serve you well. I like a six inch barrel as it add weight and sight distance but is still easy to carry in a belt holster. If you handload, the 44 mag is a whole new animal.
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  #6  
Old 02-11-2012, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Brines View Post
S&W M329 Nightguard 44Mag 2.5" - Impact Guns

Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan, 44 Mag, 2.5" Barrel - Impact Guns

Smith and Wesson 629CL Classic 44Mag, 5 Inch Full Lug Barrel, Satin Stainless, Adjust. Sights, Hogue Grips, 6rd - Impact Guns

Ruger Super Blackhawk 44 Mag, 7.5 Inch, Stainless Steel, Grey Laminate - Impact Guns

Can't decide if I want a long barrel or a short one. The long barrels look pretty darn fun to shoot, but I'd definitely feel quite confident having a beast like this as a CCW, so the short barrels are also appealing. So I can get one of these and start off shooting 44 specials, then switch to Remington Mags is what you are saying? Never shot any one of these, but Dirty Harry sure did make it look fun lol...
The 44 mag is a great caliber for hunting and fun shooting (I have 2 myself) but a really poor choice for concealed carry. It's big, it's heavy, it's extremely difficult to conceal, limiting what you can wear when carrying it. It won't do you any good if it's home. An even bigger reason to avoid the caliber for concealed carry is it's penetration. Sheetrocked interior partitions or exterior walls in wood framed structures are zero protection from a 44 mag slug so in most urban settings where you're likely to need a gun, there will be unsafe backstops in almost any direction. There's a reason why few people carry them when there's no movie cameras around.
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  #7  
Old 02-11-2012, 09:06 AM
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I would have to say you have good taste!!..All 4 of them are great guns with a specific purpose in mind.

The 329 is so light and easy to carry. You will not ever have to decide if you are going to carry it or leave it in the truck. The cons about it are..it kicks so hard it is not even funny..I shoot a 500 but cringe at the idea of shooting the 329 with mag loads.

The Alaskan is a super heavy duty little revolver and will take the most powerful loads available and then some. Its weight makes it much easier to shoot that the 329. The Cons..it is kind of heavy and you give up quite a bit of the 44's power with it's little short barrel.

The 629 classic is well suited to "shooting". The abilty to shoot the 5" with the full length underlug will really be obvious to you if you could shoot all the guns listed side-by-side...I'll bet you would be able to shoot this one the best. Cons..it sure not the most comfortable to shoot with heavy loads.

The SBH that you listed is actually the "Hunter" model so it will come with scope rings that mount right on the heavy rail.. This gun is so well suited for hunting. It is probly the easiest gun to shoot (of all the guns you listed). The big 44 mag round can be pushed to the limits of velocity and power from the SBH and it will still be fun to shoot. With a scope additon you can hit milk jugs at 200yards (with practice)...cons would be..well it is not a ccw, but I don't know if the 44 realy has andy aplication in an urban environment...DA would probly have a feild day with your freedoms if you used a 44mag to "blow someones head clean off"...even if they had it coming.
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  #8  
Old 02-11-2012, 09:16 AM
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If you really want to use it for a carry gun, then the S&W M329 would be the way to go. It is a lot lighter than the rest. Recoil will be brutal with the full magnum loads in that gun. The 44 Special self defense loading will be fine. S&W also makes a 4 inch version you might like.

Concerning the difference between the 44 Special and the 44 magnum is the way they are loaded. The Special is loaded to a much lower pressure and velocity. The 44 Magnum is a slightly longer 44 Special that cannot be loaded into the 44 Special cylinder. This prevents the more powerful loads from damaging the 44 Special guns. The 44 Special can be used in the 44 Magnum cylinder with no problems.

The standard 44 Special loading pushes a 246 gr lead bullet at around 750 fps. The standard 44 Magnum load pushes a 240 gr bullet at around 1200 fps or so. There are some other loads for the 44 Special but there are a great number of 44 Magnum loads out there.

For you, I think the 5 inch S&W 629CL would be about right. It is a bit heavier than the 329 but a lot easier to shoot with the 44 Magnum loads. Also take a look at the short barrel Ruger Super Blackhawk.

JMHO.
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  #9  
Old 02-11-2012, 09:25 AM
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I've taken a fair number of deer with a 44 mag handgun. It is more than adequate.
For the house I keep 44 spcl ammo in it, 200gr jhp, which is an anti-personnel load that is slightly in the class of 45 acp, a little stouter.

44 mag does not have unmanageable or even unpleasant recoil if you learn how to shoot it.

The only comment I have about barrel length is that some restrictions apply to hunting. I believe that in Alaska the snub nose Ruger "Alaskan" is illegal for taking game.

I'm certain it would be a good game getter if it was legal. I think around 4" is the common limit on how short a hand gun barrel can be. It's Stupid Govt Tricks.

OK OK I need to add a comment about carry. I can conceal my 5-1/2" redhawk inside my pants without a holster if I need to. I've done that when I've been walking over a tide flat known to have brown bears fishing it, on my way to dinner where I didn't want to advertise. It can be done. Not as comfortable as what I am carrying today, but having a half-dozen 325gr hard cast bullets close to hand is a comfort in a dark Alaska night.

Kind of an aside, but it's amazing what one hears can't be done on the internet.

Best
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Last edited by Griz; 02-11-2012 at 09:33 AM.
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  #10  
Old 02-11-2012, 11:23 AM
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Wow...thanks for all the helpful info

To be honest, I've never shot a gun so powerful. Also, I'm 5 ft. 7 inches and 150 lbs soaking wet. I'm 32 but look 17, seriously. However, I have become quite interested in shooting lately. Currently own a Taurus Model 85 .38 special revolver and a Glock 26 (9mm), and a Glock 23 (.40 SW). Love all three of them.

I really can't explain why this is, but even though I'm a smaller guy and have smaller hands, I take to bigger guns better than smaller ones. Love shooting a .45 ACP. I know a .44 mag is a beast compared to any of the above mentioned guns, and I'm sure it would take some getting used to, but as someone pointed out before, it definitely eases the mind to know you have so much persuasion power either strapped to your leg or under your bed.

I highly doubt I would be able to carry a .44 especially one with the long barrels around on my person without being VERY obvious, especially since I live in a VERY populated area. I only got that idea because I saw the 2.5" barrel S&W 329 which someone also confirmed is a good gun, but also, I never thought about the whole penetration issue.

Shooting a cannon anywhere around here could definitely have unintended consequences. I think I may hold off on getting the .44 till I get out of the city (hopefully sooner than later). I have a "to buy" list and it's actually 8th on the list lol.

Just on a side note, the Glock 26 I have is perfect for urban concealed carry. Had it in my jeans pocket earlier, very comfortably and completely unnoticeable.
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  #11  
Old 02-11-2012, 11:39 AM
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Well from a personal view seeing you already have a Glock 26 that you can use for CCW. I would suggest the Ruger Redhawk with the 7 1/2" barrel. As stated in the above post the 44mag. will shoot the 44special but not the other way around. I have a short barrel (2 1/2") 44 special that I do sometimes carry but it is just not comfortable for long term carry. I have Two Rugers in the 44mag. One RSRH and one RSBH and I seem to hunt with the RSRH more. Another advantage is I have a Winchester 94 rifle that is also a 44mag. that will also shoot the 44special so all I need is one box of shells and I can feed both pistol and rifle be it 44mag. or 44special.. Just my 2-cents worth... Hopes this helps
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  #12  
Old 02-11-2012, 11:40 AM
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Also, Recoil Junkie, beautiful scenery. I've never even seen anything like that. I'd love to visit Alaska one day. I've never been any further north than Hot Springs Arkansas and that was 30 years ago. I have been ALL OVER the southern U.S. and I mean literally all over....from San Diego to Tallahassee.

My wife is from Mexico, she lived in Vancouver for 6 months. That's where she learned English. She's been telling me since we met we really need to go up there, but unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to go yet. She comes from a very peaceful, well to do Mexican family. Very good people, people I trust more than many Americans I've known my entire life, including "friends".

Problem with that is, guns are taboo in Mexico. Because, well, the only people running around with guns are cold blooded killers. So it's been kinda tough getting her to understand why I feel safer knowing I have something to defend us with, should the need arise. She's terrified of guns, but I'm trying to figure out a way to break her of that.

I tried telling her a perfect example of what America would be like without the 2nd Amendment would be exactly what Mexico is right now. She didn't like that comment too much lol....definitely put my foot in my mouth that day and haven't taken it out since.

If I could figure out how to post pictures on here I'd show you guys where I live, but you can see it just as easily by typing "Concrete Jungle" in your search engine. Just kidding, I live about 6 miles from downtown Houston.
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:27 PM
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Question Another Question

So since the 44 magnum revolvers are roughly $300-$400 more than the .44 Specials, and I honestly can't say whether or not I'll ever be able to shoot magnums comfortably and efficiently, would you say that it would be a better idea for me to look into .44 specials? Or

Should I just cough up the extra cash and go with the magnums? I do not reload, I am not a super experienced shooter, but I definitely think that reloading is something I would do if I had a house with a yard and a garage or shop. Not in a 1 bedroom apartment in Houston. It does look like a good way to pass time and save $$ for ammo.

The thing is, I pretty much have all of the guns I need strictly for defensive purposes. I find semi-autos would probably be more efficient for some of the potential realities of my particular zip code, but I definitely have more overall respect for revolvers.

I'd like to have one to use as one of my main home defense weapons, but I don't want to sacrifice overall power, and I have no idea how much of a difference in "knock down" power the .44 Special would have compared to the magnums.

Ok and maybe I want one gun just to show off, something that not EVERYONE has haha.

Right now I am pretty focused on this one:

Ruger Redhawk 44 Mag, 5.5" Barrel, SS - Impact Guns

I really like the SBH but I want double and single action.

The .44 Specials I have seen on this same sight aren't nearly as appealing to the eye, but hey, if they'll get the same or close to same results for hundreds less, I'd definitely take them into consideration.
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:44 PM
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That's the 44 mag redhawk I have. You can duplicate 44 spcl performance with a 45 acp and many other rounds, but the 44 mag is a step up in performance, useful range, and general whoopum. For some situations, say close quarter street fights, the spcl will be "close to" the mag in outcome, but when hunting at the limit of your range there will be a difference, I think. So you're better off getting the mag and shooting the specials when you want them. That's what I think. Along the lines of it's better to have it and not need it than not to have it and then need it. I don't see how you can go wrong with that Ruger.

A 44 spcl handloaded with hard cast bullets is a formidable round in its own right, but it still isn't up to mag performance. For example I've made numerous shots with the mag that would be iffy with the special, or a .357, just because the range a bit beyond comfortable for a special. And because I was shooting 325gr cast, something unlikely to happen with the spcl.

Also, that Ruger is one of the stoutest mass produced handguns on the market. That's a good feeling when you are way out there.

And finally, if the current stainless redhawks are the same kind of metal as the early ones, they will pit badly if allowed to sit in condensing salt air. I don't oil mine at all, but I do scrupulously get the salt spray off of it and keep it in an environment where it won't condense cold moist air...

Grizz
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:43 PM
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Great Picture RJ!! Thank you for sharing!

If you want the SBH, I would go for it... It is sure easier to shoot than the 5 1/2" Redhawk. If you add the Pachmyers to the Redhawk it is easier, but still does not balance anything like the 7 1/2 SBH. The 7 1/2" Redhawk balances quite a bit better than the 5 1/2"..but it is a Big Gun.

Double action in a 44mag is not easy to do well. If you stage the trigger to fire it accurately it seems to take as long to get the shot off as it would just to cock it and fire it single action.

I have or have had most 44's ever made so it is hard to say for sure which is my favorite and it really depends on the application or my mood as to which one goes with me into the field...but I would be kidding my self if I said I could shoot any of them as well as the 7 1/2" SBH. I sure wish it was the 4" Smith 29 that I could shoot the best because I would sure rather shoot/carry it than any other 44

Last edited by Freedom; 02-11-2012 at 04:46 PM.
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  #16  
Old 02-11-2012, 04:48 PM
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Definitely Impressive

Yeah, the more I look at that gun the more I want it. It would fit pretty much all my home defense as well as just "shooting for fun" needs. And it is definitely something to show to your friends. The ones you trust anyway lol. I was planning to purchase a Bushmaster AR-15 A3M4 Izzy 30 round rifle but I am now considering just dropping that whole idea and getting one of these bad boys instead.

I really would like to have a gun that is versatile in nearly any situation, and I'm honestly thinking this Redhawk may be more versatile than the AR-15. That is only because I am not engaged in a full scale tactical assault situation, (and hope to never be) but I am gathering that these .44 mags are really good for long range pistol shooting and that it doesn't take more than one shot.

So let me ask the ones reading this thread:

If you were looking for one gun that was useful in long range shooting, very powerful, and quick and easy to use, would your rather an AR-15 or would this Ruger Red Hawk be your first choice?

Just to clear any confusion I am fully aware that I am comparing a revolver pistol with an assault rifle, but I am wondering if you had to get caught in a tough spot with one or the other, which one would you pick? It's a really tough decision for me (because of financial reasons, if I could I'd buy them both today).

The thing is I have all the "regular guns" I want. The rest of the guns on my "to buy list" are guns for specific purposes. One is the AR-15, the other, obviously and hands down, the Ruger Red Hawk. The other, a Mossberg 12 Guage Pistol Grip Stock 8 shot 20" barrel tactical shotgun.

I'm no expert on firearms, but I'm having a really tough time deciding which one of those to get first. I plan to shoot all of these guns on a regular basis, just because I thoroughly enjoy shooting, and am actually getting pretty good at it. (With my Glocks anyway).

But I also feel that if one decides to take on the responsibility of owning a firearm, it is his or her responsibility to become thoroughly familiar with it, and perfect his or her use of it. For their own safety and the safety of those around them.

So I have a feeling my newly found interest and fascination with these unbelievably amazing marvels of mechanical engineering is far from expired.
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Last edited by Chris Brines; 02-11-2012 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:49 PM
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Correction Red Hawk not Black Hawk...although the Super Black Hawk is still looking mighty appealing lol...
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Last edited by Chris Brines; 02-11-2012 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:59 PM
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Angry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Brines View Post
Yeah, the more I look at that gun the more I want it. It would fit pretty much all my home defense as well as just "shooting for fun" needs. And it is definitely something to show to your friends. The ones you trust anyway lol. I was planning to purchase a Bushmaster AR-15 A3M4 Izzy 30 round rifle but I am now considering just dropping that whole idea and getting one of these bad boys instead.

I really would like to have a gun that is versatile in nearly any situation, and I'm honestly thinking this Redhawk may be more versatile than the AR-15. That is only because I am not engaged in a full scale tactical assault situation, (and hope to never be) but I am gathering that these .44 mags are really good for long range pistol shooting and that it doesn't take more than one shot.

So let me ask the ones reading this thread:

If you were looking for one gun that was useful in long range shooting, very powerful, and quick and easy to use, would your rather an AR-15 or would this Ruger Red Hawk be your first choice?

Just to clear any confusion I am fully aware that I am comparing a revolver pistol with an assault rifle, but I am wondering if you had to get caught in a tough spot with one or the other, which one would you pick? It's a really tough decision for me (because of financial reasons, if I could I'd buy them both today).

The thing is I have all the "regular guns" I want. The rest of the guns on my "to buy list" are guns for specific purposes. One is the AR-15, the other, obviously and hands down, the Ruger Red Hawk. The other, a Mossberg 12 Guage Pistol Grip Stock 8 shot 20" barrel tactical shotgun.

I'm no expert on firearms, but I'm having a really tough time deciding which one of those to get first. I plan to shoot all of these guns on a regular basis, just because I thoroughly enjoy shooting, and am actually getting pretty good at it. (With my Glocks anyway).

But I also feel that if one decides to take on the responsibility of owning a firearm, it is his or her responsibility to become thoroughly familiar with it, and perfect his or her use of it. For their own safety and the safety of those around them.

So I have a feeling my newly found interest and fascination with these unbelievably amazing marvels of mechanical engineering is far from expired.
You seem to be a fan of Eastwood movies. Remember the spagnetti western he made where the Rohos leader 'splaind to Clint that "when de mon weeth dee peestol meets dee mon weeth de rifle-dee mon weeth de pistol-he is a dead mon."

That was true back in the 19th century and holds true yet today. Buy 'em both while you still can! If things go south in November you may only be able to drool on pictures in back issues of G&A,
American Rifleman, or Shooting Times etc. remembering all that "I could of had one of those back when."
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Old 02-11-2012, 06:13 PM
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Great Advice!! Please check out this post:

Believe me, I plan to buy all of the mentioned guns. The shotgun is only $350 bucks so I am thinking about getting that one first. Definitely NEED a good, reliable shotgun in my collection. I also REALLY feel the need for a good tactical assault rifle. I just REALLY like this .44 magnum Red Hawk!!

But, I think I'll take your advice about the pistol vs. rifle scenario (haven't seen that movie).

I actually do have one more Glock I want to get first, but I think I'll go for the shotgun next. Sad what you said about November, but true.

I am having a **** of a time explaining to my wife that I have a certain list of guns I want to own in my life, and I need to get them all within the next 8 months. So I have that to contend with also, and if anyone didn't read my story above, she's VERY gun phobic. My situation is definitely a story you won't read every day. She is the best woman on earth in my eyes, and I will do anything to keep her safe, whether she is able to see its necessity or not.

But, to be honest, the Ruger .44 mag is more of a "toy" for myself than a gun that I feel I need as a necessity. As much as I want to just order it RIGHT NOW, I'll just wait.

As for buying used guns, I've never done it. I am not an expert on buying and selling guns, but for some reason I have always felt skeptical about buying a used semi-auto. Not that it may have been used in a crime, just the fact that idk how well the previous owner took care of it and, well, just like buying a used car, I don't want to get screwed.

I have a feeling, however, that this Ruger Red Hawk is such a rugged and dependable weapon that it probably wouldn't make much difference if I just bought a used one....any thoughts on that?

Oh and on a side note, I am doing ANYTHING within my power to make sure that things go "North" in November. So many of us seem to have already given up, but this is the time to dig REEAAALLLLYYYY deep and do whatever we can to change the course of history in November. Anyone interested in hearing some of the ideas I have, send me a PM and I will fill you in on all the details. I need as much help as I can get, but I really feel like we can make a difference if we work together and just use our minds.

I am, however, doing whatever I can to prepare myself for the possibility that things just might go South no matter what I do, and I could definitely use some input and/or advice on that, which I'd also like to discuss somewhere besides here.
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:45 PM
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Chris, welcome.

I'm about the same size / build. Based on that, I'd strongly suggest a 5.5" Redhawk. The 7.5" guns are a bit much for carry in the field. Forget concealed!

The Redhawk stocks should be close for your hands and a 5.5" gun is a lot easier to tolerate in a holster than anything longer.

For concealed carry, stick with the Glock! I do bum around on the deer lease with my Redhawk and similar sized guns stuck in the waistband, but that's on the ranch. Not in town at the mall.

Good luck.
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