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Ruger 5 shot 44 Special


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Old 02-09-2017, 03:30 AM   #11
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I have at least two clans of them living on my property. Mostly seen after sundown, and they are skittish, but they will come out of hiding at night for a pan of deer liver or a chicken salad sandwich.
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Old 02-10-2017, 02:04 AM   #12
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Viking, I am kind of going to agree with you, a little bit anyway, regarding the Charter Arms Bulldog .44 (CA). I picked up one of those today and as the images show the Ruger is a much beefier and heavier pistol doing essentially the same job as the smaller pistol. The Ruger adds almost a full pound to carry weight while only providing a clear superiority as a carry choice for less than about 5 - 15% of the ammo types out there. The Ruger is bulkier in all dimensions, so the CA is much easier to carry concealed. Both weapons will handle Cowboy Action ammo and most personal defense loads all day with no complaints.

Where the Ruger steps out in front of the CA is with heavy hunting loads. Thicker chamber walls, a 3 point locking system, and a thicker top strap too. Elmer Keith in his book, "Sixguns" describes the loads he worked up for .44 Special which later became the basis of the .44 Magnum. I have no doubt the Ruger could probably digest those without a burp. Not so the CA with its thinner walls and top strap. The increased weight of the Ruger will also aid in soaking up recoill. Also the adjustable sights of the Ruger allow it's sights to be regulated for any load.

By sticking with the L frame sized 5 shot Ruger, someone doing a 20 mile hike while hunting (or something) would probably save 1/4 pound of weight over simply carrying a 6 shot .44 Magnum. In some circumstances that may be important.

Certainly if we want to bury our pistol in river mud, then extract and clean it, the Ruger's ability to easily be taken apart for cleaning wins that aspect of any competition.

I think if I wanted a pistol to slip on when out and about socially, the CA is a better choice. But, if I am in the woods hunting with heavy hunting loads, the Ruger would be the 5 shot .44 of choice. I live close enough to where I hunt (my yard) so that I am comfortable carrying a full size 6 shot N frame. But if I had to walk for miles and miles, the L frame like GP100 does offer a weight advantage at the cost of only 1 shot, and who needs a full cylinder for handgun hunting anyway?


Just for fun, a picture of double action .44 Special revolvers covering 110+ years. The top break on is for the old .44 Special black powder round.
File Type: jpg 2 side by side.jpg (82.2 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg 110 years of 44 soecials.jpg (70.4 KB, 33 views)
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Old 02-10-2017, 02:24 PM   #13
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I would like to have 44 spl revolver about the size of the CA but they are the only game in town. I did look at the S&W 69 which is an L frame 44 mag 5 shot 4". It would be great with 44 spl and handle 44 mag in a pinch but bigger than I want. I have a Ruger 3" SP101 357 but I normally load 38 spl +P. 44 spl would be a nice hiking carry in that size.
https://www.smith-wesson.com/firearms/model-69
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Old 02-10-2017, 04:14 PM   #14
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JTJ - I hadn't seen the S&W 69, truth is it has been over a decade since I perused a new guns catalog. That said, if I walked into a gun store and had to choose the Ruger or the S&W I would probably go with the Ruger simply because of the key lock on the S&W, coupled with the easier disassembly of the Ruger.

Then again, due to the scarcity of American hunters who hunt with a handgun, for most Americans who don't have to down attacking packs of Polar Bears, the Charter Arms is probably a much better choice.

One aspect of the Model 69 link you provided I found interesting is the concept of a 5 shot merged with a 4 inch bbl. Interesting idea. Usually when we shrink the cylinder to reduce bulk, we also try to shrink the envelope in all directions, hence the shorter barrels of most 5 shots.

In point of fact, somewhere in my travels (Gunbroker last year) I had seemed to pick up an original CA 44 Special barrel in only 2". I toy with the idea of reducing the envelope of my CA by an additional half inch..
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Old 02-10-2017, 04:19 PM   #15
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I have a suspicion that, because of the excess weight compared to a Charter Arms, these 5 shot Ruger and S&W .44 Specials may be somewhat rare to see or even find in 20 - 50 years and are perhaps best viewed as a collectable. The question becomes, are they more collectable than an all matching Luger P.08, or are they about equal in investment potential?
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:52 AM   #16
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I have the Ruger Redhawk .44 Mag.4" 6 Shot which is a heavy revolver. I also have a Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Spl. 2.5" 5 Shot. it's a light revolver. I guess both would be good to carry in the woods for me.I don't be hunting,just walking in the woods,that doesn't mean I can't come in contact with some kind of unfriendly predator.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:19 AM   #17
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Yes, well like I wrote the Ruger was initially viewed by me as a replacement for an N frame .45 Colt. However, after a few weeks of playing with them all I am not so sure. Yes, I can load it almost as hot, but the weight difference between them is perhaps offset by the loss of one shot.
Playing in the field with both I very much prefer the Charter Arms for field carry. With Cowboy class ammo the CA is definitely a better carry choice. The Ruger doesn't really leave the CA behind until you start talking about 300 gr. handloads I would never try in the CA. Both have leading issues with ammo tried thus far.
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:05 PM   #18
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At a gunshow, I saw a Rossi 44 SPL in stainless 3" barrel that sold for $350 to the guy in front of me. If he had put it down---
I have the Charter Arms also. No complaint. The Rugers are nice but spendy for me.
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Old 02-17-2017, 04:52 PM   #19
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I had a TAURUS 445 two inch barrel with a 5 shot cylinder in 44 SPECIAL, I sold it to buy a 357 mag, I already had a ROSSI 44 MAG 5 shot with a two inch barrel.
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:21 PM   #20
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I have decided I like the CA's. I am aware of the variations in quality control that followed once the firm changed owners. My readings indicate that although the early Bridgeport and Stratford guns were of good quality that stopped being always true in the 2nd generation guns made elsewhere. There were (misguided IMO) efforts to cheapen production by means such as the termination of one piece barrels, etc. I know nothing about gunsmith reports about the current 4th generation guns. [Probably because such guns are mostly still under factory warranty.]
Anyway, I am thinking strongly about locating another gen 1 Bulldog and adding the gen 1 stainless barrel (shown, a discontinued barrel) in place of the longer one, perhaps a gen 1 or 2 stainless cylinder with crane too. Then maybe shaving down a set of wood grips to be like the gen 1 Undercover wood grips and dehorning the hammer. Such a beasty would be equally at home in a kitchen cabinet as in a pocket. While it would not be suitable for handloads designed to stop a charging water buffalo (although my experiments show the Ruger is cool with them) the resulting snubby would be very similar in profile to a rounded grip WW2 Colt Commando 2 inch on the OP frame with a dehorned hammer, but of course much lighter. I still have a few of the old (LoL ancient?) Federal 225 gr lead SWCHPs and I think they would fit nicely in that.
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