.44 Magnum Mania

From early 1956 until the arrival of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry movies in the early 1970s, .44 Magnums from both Smith & Wesson and Ruger were easy to find. In fact it was not that unusual to find a like new specimen for sale with a box of cartridges with 44 rounds left. In those days when the .357 Magnum and .45 ACP were considered extremely powerful weapons, the .44 Magnum was more than many could handle. Then came Dirty Harry and those who had never even shot a gun suddenly wanted a .44 Magnum.

The demand was incredible, with Smith & Wesson working around the clock trying to supply the imagined need. I was one of the fortunate ones having purchased my Ruger .44 Blackhawk in the 1950s, and my Super Blackhawk as well as both a 4" and 61/2" Smith & Wesson in the early 1960s.

Something had to be done to relieve the demand and that something was the Ruger Redhawk. Arriving in 1979, the Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum was stronger than any double action sixgun ever offered, and I still regard it as a brute of a weapon — sturdier than the Smith & Wesson and Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnums. I don’t believe it’s possible to make a stronger double action revolver, which is at the same time portable and pack-able.