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Smith and Wesson M69 .44 Combat Magnum.

A couple of years ago, I was doing a regular plunder through the gun shops in the area and I happened upon this consignment gun under the glass. I have always thought I needed a .44 mag. wheel gun (at least since Dirty Harry) and this one was priced right. This is a light-weight, five shot revolver, so what could there be not to love for an old man? I snagged the piece along with a couple of boxes of magnum and one of .44 spl.

When I got home, I went directly to my home range with this cannon. I started out with the .44 spl. and I was feeling all proud of myself. Then....I opened the box of Herters 240 grain soft points in the magnum flavor.

The first shot, I was not sure that the gun hadn't exploded in my face. It was like a grenade going off. I jarred every joint from my pinky to my shoulder. Since I was unaware of what was going to happen, I made a decent shot. The follow-ups were not worth spit, as I have yet to learn how to shoot a target while closing my eyes, turning my head and gritting my teeth! Yea, I flinch! ;)

I spoke to my local shop about consigning this thing, but the owner told me that no way could he sell a lightweight .44 mag. in a month of Sundays...(The implication was that none of his other customers were as dumb as I was
Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Revolver Gun accessory
)

The main value of this gun is now when my hot-shot buddies come to shoot, I let them have a cylinder of .44 spl. and then I, being such a nice guy, I will load the Mags, without comment, and watch the return of humility to the manly men.
 

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"light-weight" and .44 Magnum do not belong in the same sentence. Nor in the same paragraph. The Herters 240 grain soft points are sorta light, though, if what you want is to see grown men curse at their hands. Unfortunately, that gun is not built strong enough to shoot a round of Buffalo Bore's Heavy .44 Magnum +P+ Ammo - 340 gr. Hard Cast L.F.N. - G.C. If it was, you could load one and watch what happens to your manly friends. But it is not, period, full stop, end of discussion. Buffalo Bore says:
"We get hundreds of emails asking if this load can be fired in S&W revolvers or some firearm other than what is in the above list. The answer is NO. The above list is all-inclusive. If some shooters continue to use this product irresponsibly, we may have to discontinue it, and that would be unfortunate as it is our best selling 44 mag. Load, and it gives excellent performance for those that use it responsibly; however, as is always the case, irresponsible use of any product ends up penalizing responsible users."
The all-inclusive list of firearms strong enough to shoot it, as of today according to Buffalo Bore, is: "Ruger Red Hawk, Ruger Super Red Hawk (the Ruger Alaskan is a short barrel Super Redhawk), Ruger Super Blackhawk or Vaquero, Freedom Arms Model 83, Taurus Raging Bull All Steel Versions (no lightweight alloys), Colt Anaconda, Magnum Research BFR and Dan Wesson Revolvers. Suitable rifles include T/C Encore, CVA Hunter, Handi Rifle and any rifle with a falling block action."
I shoot them in my Ruger Alaskan as infrequently as possible; there is nothing at all fun about it.
 

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If you, or someone you know handloads you could load for the highly accurate 44 special loads and a reasonable 44 sp+p, say a 900 to 950 fps load. Are the Herters loads factory or someones concoction in Herters brass of some Elmer Keith load with a hat full of 2400 published 60 years ago. I loaded Elmers load minus 2-3 grains and it was more than adequate to numb the wrist. Look at the gun as a high end Charter Arms Bulldog. You could load 45acp to 45 colt level loads if you break down the Herters loads and reload. Or look for a reasonable 44 sp load in 44 mag brass if cylinder "erosion" with 44sp brass is of concern. (My Smiths and Rugers did not "erode" with 44 sp brass/loads) Plenty of people would covet this revolver. You basically own a 44 special with a useable barrel length that can handle a 44sp+p or 45 colt vintage load and even magnum loads if you're into that type of self abuse. BTW, Harry was rumored to have actually used a 41 mag in the movie. With blanks of course.
 

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"light-weight" and .44 Magnum do not belong in the same sentence. Nor in the same paragraph. The Herters 240 grain soft points are sorta light, though, if what you want is to see grown men curse at their hands. Unfortunately, that gun is not built strong enough to shoot a round of Buffalo Bore's Heavy .44 Magnum +P+ Ammo - 340 gr. Hard Cast L.F.N. - G.C. If it was, you could load one and watch what happens to your manly friends. But it is not, period, full stop, end of discussion. Buffalo Bore says:
"We get hundreds of emails asking if this load can be fired in S&W revolvers or some firearm other than what is in the above list. The answer is NO. The above list is all-inclusive. If some shooters continue to use this product irresponsibly, we may have to discontinue it, and that would be unfortunate as it is our best selling 44 mag. Load, and it gives excellent performance for those that use it responsibly; however, as is always the case, irresponsible use of any product ends up penalizing responsible users."
The all-inclusive list of firearms strong enough to shoot it, as of today according to Buffalo Bore, is: "Ruger Red Hawk, Ruger Super Red Hawk (the Ruger Alaskan is a short barrel Super Redhawk), Ruger Super Blackhawk or Vaquero, Freedom Arms Model 83, Taurus Raging Bull All Steel Versions (no lightweight alloys), Colt Anaconda, Magnum Research BFR and Dan Wesson Revolvers. Suitable rifles include T/C Encore, CVA Hunter, Handi Rifle and any rifle with a falling block action."
I shoot them in my Ruger Alaskan as infrequently as possible; there is nothing at all fun about it.
Interesting, thank you.
 

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I have one, and carry it sometimes in the woods or even off-duty. Load it with 240 gr. cast SWCs over enough Unique to get to a chronographed 1,000 fps. Also carry a speed strip in the unlikely event a reload is needed. As a five-shooter the bolt-stop notches are offset from the thinnest part of the chambers, so the gun is a bit stronger than some might think. Controllable (if I hold my tongue right) but more powerful than any 9mm or even .45ACP (out here our top-tier predators include bears, wolves, cougars, and drunk 300-pound loggers armed with 30" bar chainsaws).
 

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Addendum...When I talk of 45 colt loads, Im talking the old 1880's black powder loads which thumped. When smokeless powders came along the original frames were not meant for the pressure potential of the 45 colt and were downloaded to suit even the earliest frames and cylinders. Anotherwords, smokeless reached working pressures before velocities of the black powder loads were reached. Nothing is going to laugh at a 240 grain bullet going 900+ fps unless its something you should have brung a rifle for in the first place.
 

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Ah, that's wild. Never knew such a hand cannon even existed.
I'd keep it, and shoot exclusively 44 Spc or light cast handloads in it. It's still a sweet wheel gun, just insane that it's chambered in 44 MAG.
 

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To the op, I assume you don’t reload, find a friend who does, buy both of you components and a set of .44mag dies and over a few hours the two of you could build a couple hundred rounds every so often. His equipment, your components, you do the work under his supervision. I load very nice shooting lead bullet .44-40 loads. No reason you couldn’t load the equivalent in a .44 spcl case. My 625 45acp is plenty for me. The only really hot stuff I’ve ever messed with was when I was shooting bowling pin matches, a .45colt with 290 gr lead out of a .45 Anaconda. You might try some .44 cowboy action ammo too.
 

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I remember checking out a Scandium lightweight .44mag at a gun store once. Man it really was light in weight too. I chickened out and didn’t buy it. I am glad I did. That beast would have hurt. But if I lived in bear country I might have gotten it though. If a bear is going for you I doubt you would notice the recoil.

I did eventually get the Ruger Alaskan .44 mag though. It is all steel and more hefty in weight. But it still has a lot of recoil and muzzle blast though.
 

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I remember checking out a Scandium lightweight .44mag at a gun store once. Man it really was light in weight too. I chickened out and didn’t buy it. I am glad I did. That beast would have hurt. But if I lived in bear country I might have gotten it though. If a bear is going for you I doubt you would notice the recoil.

I did eventually get the Ruger Alaskan .44 mag though. It is all steel and more hefty in weight. But it still has a lot of recoil and muzzle blast though.
I practice drawing the Ruger Alaskan from my chest rig and firing quickly using .44SPL. The heft of the gun easily dampens the recoil so that at least I can get some muscle memory of that motion. As earlwb says, and as I've been told, if you are in the adrenaline-saturated situation of shooting at a charging bear, you won't notice the Buffalo Bore Heavy Magnum's recoil until later on, if you survived the attack. (I just got back from 10 days in Alaska; we saw plenty of bear scat and tracks but no bears actually on the trails we were hiking. And the 4-mile long peninsula our lodge (and two others) was on held a bounty hunt during the 2021 hunting season because it had become fairly dangerous to go outside at all with so many sows with cubs around. 54 bears were taken, reducing the danger until the population rebuilds itself in a couple of years as it surely will in view of the bounty of wild berries all over the place.)
 

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I actually like it. If it were consigned at my LGS, and the price was reasonable, it would come home with me. If I want to shoot frame-stretching, HVAP 44 Magnums, thats when I pull out the Super Redhawk. I would take a different approach and load 300gr+ bullets at about 800 fps. Like a Victory Model with 38-200's, but on steroids. You would still know that you were shooting a significant handgun, but I believe that it would be controllable, even in an L-Frame.
 
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