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.44 Magnum durability
Discussions related to Guns and Firearms
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roklok
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Location: Fairbanks, Alaska

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 8:41 pm    Post subject: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

I shoot a lot of 44 magnum full power handloads { 240 gr in front of 22.2gr of 2400 } and have had problems with two different revolvers now. I had a Smith 629 that wouldnt stay timed and cylinder would rotate backwards under recoil. Then I bought a Ruger Super Blackhawk Bisley that I really like and had no problems until I cleaned it today after a shooting session and discovered that the forcing cone at rear of barrel was cracked about .25 inch. It had about 800 rounds through it. I'm wondering if my experience's are a fluke or if anybody else has had similar problems.Anybody out there have any experience with Ruger redhawk or super redhawk?Thought I might try one of them.Makes me wonder how long a 500 S&W Mag would hold up!!
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grimel
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 9:45 pm    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

Send the Ruger back to Ruger you got unlucky. Rugers are tanks. Rugers are the ONLY 44 Hamilton Bowen makes his 5 shot 44, 45, 475, etc.. The Ruger Redhawk (and SuperRedhawk) is the ONLY DA revolver I would use to shoot up max loads indefinitely. On second thought, the cone might be slightly out of alinement.

S&W 29's. These were never ment to eat a stead diet of heavy loads. Max 44spl loads with occasional use of 44mag heavy loads.

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 11:54 pm    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

Model 29s would regularly shoot loose with a steady diet of Keith loads. Early 629s incorporated some improvements but were not as durable as the venerable Super Blackhawks or Dan Wessons. Current 629s incorporate the newest upgrade, the Endurance Package, and time will tell if it is effective. We've high return rates for warranty of Super Redhawks and, recently, Alaskans although the culprits here are mainly the 480s and 454s.

To date we have sold only a dozen X frame S&Ws but none have come back probably due to less extensive useage.

Years ago I bought a slightly used Freedom Arms Premiere in 454 Casull and a few years later a Ruger Vaquero in 45 Colt. Both get a lot of useage ( I estimate over 7,000 rounds through each) mostly with max loads and neither handgun has whimpered. My 44 Bisley has withstood max loads for thousands of rounds as well and still is in time and absent forcing cone or thrust issues. Some flame cutting is noted but not serious enough for concern.

General concensus is the Ruger is the toughest for the money but if the green stuff is a secondary issue there is no finer revolver than the Freedom Arms. It may be the finest revolver ever manufactured and is a pure joy to own and use.
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tbox61
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:27 am    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

Handloader,
My 8 3/8" 629 choked on 20 gr. of 2400 with a cast 240 gr. Keith style SWC. I had to get a hammer to tap the extractor to get the cases out. I have backed it off to 18.5 gr, and it works fine. I concur with you on the Rugers. I had a Super Blackhawk, 5 1/2" that would consistenly give higher velocities with the same load as my 629! Can you offer an explanation for that? Maybe tighter cylinder tolerance? Unfortunately, I traded the Ruger for a 17HMR, and I think I chose the wrong gun to barter!
Tim

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Al_Sohlstrom
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:16 pm    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

Hi

tbox61: About the brass stickage: Have you had the chambers chamfered and polished?

If so, please skip the rest of my post, here. If not, well - carry on!

My Taurus M44 used to hold on to high-compression .44 Mag. like a teenage boy with a month-old Playboy.

A bit of slow and careful Careful CAREFUL work with a B&D RTX Rotary Tool, a Dremel 427 Polishing Point and some Felt 1/2" Dremel Polish Wheels and some 3/8" Dremel 422 Polishing Tips with some plain old Simichrome metal polish gave me no burrs or sharpness on the edges of the chambers and slippery, mirror smooth chamber walls.

I can shoot some real wrist breakers, now, and they slip out, smooth and clean as... well... smooth as my chamber walls!

As for velocety: What's your cylinder gap look like? Got a feeler guage? NEED a feeler guage? (I have one on order....)

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tbox61
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:17 pm    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

Al,
Very interesting! Thanks for the tip! They have not been chamfered or polished, I will try that when I have time.

As far as the cylinder gap, what should it be? I assume you can get a feeler gauge at Midway USA?
Tim

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roklok
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:21 pm    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

Thanks for all your input. I'll send the Bisley back to Ruger,I really like this revolver and am not ready to give up on it. I prefer the grip frame to the more traditional single action frames. I have been tempted by the new Bisley vaquero .44 with a 4 5/8 barrel as a carry gun while hunting. Maybe I'll have to pick one up as a spare.
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Al_Sohlstrom
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:30 pm    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

Hi

Mine's coming form Sears, for $6, and I'm hoping it'll work. For a bit more, I can get one with offset-tip blades, for valve tappets. At $6 to $8, I can experiment a little.

Brownells has one as well, but it's $24 for Standard and $58 for Metric.

As for the correct gap: I have no idea!

YET!!

I'm finding out stuff at a tremendous rate (one of the benefits of not having to leave my bedroom. Lol - not HAVING to - yeah - that sounds NICE! Not BEING ABLE TO, more like!!), and my brand new Taurus Model 608 looks like it was rode hard and put up wet! I'm in the process of finding out how to tune a revolver, even as we speak!

[edit] Hey! Cool!! A quick Internet Ferretting turns up some interesting information!

First: Smithed barrel/cylinder gap is somewhere between .002" and .007", tending to the lower numbers, but an article from Guns Magazine, where he did some actual experiementation, indicates that barrel/cylinder gap isn't much of a factor!

It's a good read, too.

He seems to think that the roughness/smoothness of the barrel is much more important.

A couple of gunsmithing sites aim at about .002" and .003" though. My feeling, given the above, "gap don't matter," sentiment, is that may be TOO skinney, and may require more smoothing, flattening and truing of the cylinder face and the barrel.

It looks like manufacturer's gaps hang out at the .004" to .006"

I'm curious about my firearms. As soon as my feeler guage gets in, I'll post a follow-up!
[/edit]

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515034s10ring
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:49 pm    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

My take on this is either the S&W 29/629 and the Ruger SBH and not the SRH/RH models are not able to sustain heavy thumpin loads. While the Ruger SBH is stronger than the 29/629 i've noticed with 'attempting' to load 330gr hammerheads (years ago) in a SBH and it did not fit. I then contacted a local gunsmith and was told that while it can handle the heavy hitters, they cut the cylinder back a few thou. to make it so you can't make it digest the wrist twisters. But then the both of us figured, guys now started loading their 'lighter' bullets into +p ballistics and they don't know the limitations of the gun thinking it can take anything because it's a magnum.

Through a few tests that my friends and i have done, if you want a good custom 44 that you can feed anything, get a Gary Reeder and that will set ya. Wink However, if you want a factory gun that can be on a heavy diet, you are almost limited to DA because at the time the only revolver we didn't test was the Ruger Bisley, and just with my knowledge of that gun, i'd bet you wouldn't have a problem. Although, now for the DA revolvers, Dan Wesson, Ruger SRH and RH, and Taurus Raging Bull are the ONLY revolvers i know that can handle the punishing pressures that are being made.

And i will tell you the 500 S&W CAN hold it's own! I am not currently loading them, but my friend is loading some 700gr FWNGC with 30.4 H-110 and i'll be the first to admit.....It just doesn't burp, it ROARS!
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grimel
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 6:23 am    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

You do realize the only diff between the Bisley and regular SBH is the grip right? The Taurus won't hold up. The Dan Wesson I don't know about.

There is a reason the top 'smiths use the Ruger Super Black Hawks for their custom sledgehammers.

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515034s10ring
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

The difference in grip frame is not what i was getting at.... some (production) Bisleys i have seen 'with' cylinders that were .0625 longer, although i don't know why, and most did come on hunter models.
Plus i forgot to add that 'factory' cylinders are not made to withstand pressures of heavy +P loads and under normal circumstances need to be reamed to shoot the 'hotter' loads to reduce pressures and prevent flame cutting.

And on the contrary, Taurus, which i DID have doubts, and i have posed a biased opinion toward all of their guns because of an early semi that i owned, but what i know now and talk about Tarus is absolute fact! I pumped Garrett 330gr hammerheads as well as some home rolled loads, and the Taurus RB 8" 44Mag shot them like nothing! This was a friends gun, and what i was told from him was "trust me... have or would i put your life in danger? Well, this gun won't eather" and rest assured, Taurus has come a VERY long way!

Dan Wesson revolver's are hard to come by now since the merger with CZ. Sad However, i have shot their 357 & 445 supermags, but as convention would have it, they were short lived.

The SBH is very well the chioce for top smiths, and i have even built one of my revolvers using a SBH....But, i don't know of many smiths that use anything else but the frame for custom work.
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roklok
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 9:08 am    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

I went to Garrett's website and found it very enlightening,sure enough for the 330 gr hammerhead + P load the only recommended factory guns were Ruger Redhawk ,Super Redhawk, Dan Wesson and the Taurus raging bull. It said that the Freedom arms was strong enough but the cylinder wasnt long enough,and the load produced too much pressure for (and wouldnt fit anyway) S&W and Ruger Super Blackhawk. This was enough to convince me to go to the local gunshop and order a 5.5 inch Redhawk,it should handle anything it can be fed and if I ever need a "bear gun", loaded with hammerheads it should fill the bill. When it comes in I'll send the Bisley back to Ruger,while I dont plan on shooting it till its fixed its nice to have a .44 around.
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LittleMagnum
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 4:32 pm    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

Back in 1982 I picked up a New Ruger Redhawk 7 1/2 brl. This gun has seen 1000's of not so nice loads. Back when I didn't know better, I would Load 180gr HP up to the max, just under cases sticking. I liked how flat they shot, compared to 240gr. After 1500 round's of 180gr, I noticed the top strap was starting to get a gas burn cut line. Opp's...Stopped shooting those fast high pressure 180gr and haven't done anymore damage to the gun. I now shoot mostly, 240gr,270 and 300gr loads. .Redhawks are bullet proof, if you use common sense.
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GroovyJack
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 6:39 pm    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

I have 2 SBH's , one bought new in 1979 , the other in 1982 ..
The older gun has over twenty thousand rounds documented thru it .. About five years ago contacted Ruger about a minor problem I was having .. They told me to send it to them and they would check it out .. When I got it back , I thought they had returned someone else's revolver ..
Not only did they fix the little problem , but got an inspection certificate from them , stating they had stripped it and replaced evrything that needed replacing .. And it was reblued .. The bill ?? Free , Nada , No charge ..
Jack

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515034s10ring
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2005 9:09 am    Post subject: Re: .44 Magnum durability Reply with quote

LittleMagnum, if you still wanted to shoot the lighter rounds and are worried about the flame-cutting issue, have a 'knowledgeable' pistolsmith polish your forcing cone and ream the cylinder.
Or you could also have an action job done which includes: checking headspace, cylinder gap, timing, smoothing of internal parts, lighten trigger pull, and usually recut forcing cone. All this with an additional high polished forcing cone should cost no more than $150, or unless a problem arises and something has to be replaced.

Why i suggest this is because i as well expierenced flame-cutting with my RH, and yes it was from hot loads that turned my tank into a flamethrower. Cool
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