Whether you need a handgun for home defense, self defense, or for hunting purposes, then a powerful handgun may just be what you need and there is certainly nothing more powerful than a magnum revolver. A .44 magnum is one of the most respected – and probably feared – revolvers ever created. Although the .44 Magnum Revolver may have risen in popularity when Clint Eastwood carried the S&W Model 29 when he played a role in San Francisco’s Dirty Harry, you can trust that this firearm comes packed with a pocket full of punch to stop anything in its tracks.
If you’re looking for the best .44 Magnum revolver then you’ve come to the right place. We have shortlisted and reviewed some of the top .44 Magnum Revolvers that you can get your hands on now. Before we get into the list itself, let’s dive in a little bit into what are the best uses of a .44 Magnum and a list of characteristics and aspects that make it stand out.
Best Uses for a .44 Magnum Revolver
Here is a list of situations that a .44 Magnum can be used for. You may be surprised by some of the applications of a .44 Magnum, but let’s first start off with the more common uses:
Personal Defense or Home Defense
.44 Magnum revolvers are highly powerful and extremely effective handguns that will perform admirably to keep you and your loved ones safe. Some models are even small enough to allow concealed carry so that you can bring one with you wherever you go. This is a reliable gun that gives you great peace of mind.
Target Shooting (Casual and Competitive)
Most good firearms are great for target shooting purposes. Target shooters can opt to use their .44 Magnum revolver or an old school lever action chambered in it for shooting at targets for fun or even when you’re taking the sport seriously. No matter what you plan to do with it, the .44 magnum is not just powerful, but it is also very accurate at distances other handguns can never reach offering great shooting experience.
Believe it or not, a .44 Magnum revolver can even be used during a hunting trip. For a long time, this was one of the most powerful calibers around that deliver accurate long distance shots. Regardless of whether you come across a bear, boar, whitetail deer, varmint, or smaller game targets, with the right ammo, this handgun will definitely be able to stop the animal in its tracks. Although it’s not the most powerful handgun cartridge anymore especially when compared with a .454 Casull and the ever powerful .500 S&W Mag, the .44 Magnum is still a mighty boom for a gun that a hunter can wear in a belt holster or hip holster.
.44 Magnum Revolver Buying Guide
Before we look at our top .44 magnum revolver models, let’s first discuss how you can narrow down your choices. Below are a few considerations that you may take into account while on the hunt for a new revolver. Doing so should be able to help you make a better decision on a .44 magnum revolver model that suits you.
What is your purpose?
While this seems like a fairly obvious consideration, we feel it is important to mention as your intended use will become a crucial pointer as to where a .44 magnum revolver can and will fit into your life. If you’re getting a revolver for hunting down medium-to-large game targets, then a good quality, reliable .44 magnum revolver will fit the bill. This handgun even offers you the ability to use the same caliber ammo as you would with the larger rifle.
Or, if you’re planning to get an effective home and self defense handgun, then you may also need to weigh up the .44 magnum revolver with other choices available, their associated caliber, and other circumstances. But one thing is for sure, a .44 magnum revolver will no doubt stop an enemy in its tracks.
What about the recoil?
For such a powerful full bore hunting firearm, a significant recoil is most expected from a .44 magnum revolver. However, as with the competence of any firearm, you need to remember that practice is key. You’ll be able to get used to shooting this powerful revolver with regular practice.
Single action, double action, or both?
Whether to get a single or double action really depends on individual choice. This will also depend on what you are used to and what feels comfortable to you. Generally, a single action trigger pull is much easier to use. Having said that, you can also consider getting a ‘dual purpose’.44 magnum model that offers both single and double action operation to provide you with the freedom to switch between them any time.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a .44 Magnum Revolver
Here are a few other characteristics and features to consider for when picking out a great .44 magnum revolver:
The .44 magnum revolver packs a punch with each shot, making it one of the most feared revolvers available. Any prowler or varmint will be immediately stopped in its tracks permanently when it’s on the receiving end of such a powerful handgun. Some targets are even known to end up being shredded in certain areas after an intense shooting session.
You need to make sure you don’t settle with a cheap model even if you’re on a budget. You should strive to get the best quality firearm that you can afford, even if it means forking out extra money. Pay attention to what people are saying about their overall experience of the .44 magnum revolver model you’re looking at and determine whether this is what you’re looking for.
Best .44 Magnum Revolvers
A simple search online will show that you have a wide and varied choice of models to pick from. In order to make things easier for you, we have selected several high quality .44 magnum revolver models that should meet the needs of most shooters. Hopefully, our reviews of these top revolvers will help you in the process of making an informed decision.
1. Smith & Wesson – 69 Combat Magnum .44 Mag 2.75” SS
Best Overall .44 Magnum Revolver
Smith & Wesson is one of the top handgun manufacturers and they continue to show their excellence in the construction of the Smith Wesson Model 69 Combat Magnum .44 Mag 2.75” SS. This .44 magnum revolver comes with Smith & Wesson’s L frame design with a classic single or double action trigger.
The 69 Combat .44 Magnum offers a timeless design with quality stainless steel for better durability and reliability. With an overall length of 7.8 inches, the 69 Combat .44 Magnum comes with a 2-piece barrel length of 2.75 inches and a full length extractor rod. Additionally, the fixed magazine in the revolver allows you to load up to 5 rounds of ammo.
The two-piece barrel design consists of a threaded barrel plus a shroud that works to improve the handgun’s tension and accuracy. In addition to that, this is also a more cost-effective method of production to create reliable revolvers.
The 69 Combat .44 Magnum allows users the ability to use either single or double action, this is a great option for those who prefer the flexibility of choice so that they can switch between two different triggers pull pressures depending on situation and application. The trigger pull ratio for a single action is around 3.5 lbs while a double action pull is around 11 lbs.
The 69 Combat .44 Magnum pairs amazingly with the .44 Special ammo in either single or double action. This ammo is the ideal cartridge to help you get used to the revolver’s significant recoil. The .44 magnum revolver also provides a good balance of use with a bright red front ramp to ensure quicker target acquisition.
Typically, a .44 magnum revolver is not suitable for concealed carry, but with the 69 Combat .44 Magnum by Smith & Wesson, it is now possible for you to hide the revolver in your belly band under a jacket. While this is a larger and bulkier option compared to the .38/.357 caliber wheel guns designed for personal protection, shooters who are ready to carry the additional load will benefit from the extra bore diameter.
- Built by a highly reputable handgun manufacturer
- Based on a classic design
- Good choice for home defense purposes
- Small and compact size can be used for concealed carry
- Fits .44 Specials Ammo
- May not work well for hunting purposes
2. Ruger New Model Blackhawk Centerfire Revolver (Super Blackhawk)
Next on our list is the Ruger Super Blackhawk Centerfire Revolver that was constructed by another manufacturer held in high esteem. The new model by Ruger which is in the Blackhawk Centerfire Revolvers series is designed to provide shooters style and power.
The New Model Blackhawk Centerfire Revolver by Ruger sits on a traditional solid frame that naturally fits into shooters’ hands. The Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 magnum revolver is a single action revolver with several advanced options, such as a patented transfer bar ignition system which features a reverse-indexing stop as well as a loading gate interlock. The revolver also has a “Dragoon–style squared-back trigger guard.
This handgun offers a great overall feel and performance thanks to an ultra-reliable coil-spring mechanism. The handling of the .44 magnum revolver is further enhanced with the presence of hard-rubber grips while the quality, adjustable sights will work to ensure an accurate aim.
The Ruger Super Blackhawk Centerfire Revolver is a suitable option for shooters looking for a serious handgun to accompany them on hunting adventures. The single action revolver was designed as a primary hunting weapon and is able to deliver excellent accuracy at long ranges.
The .44 magnum revolver comes in with a 7.5 inch barrel length that is designed with an increased forward mass while its length works to boost muzzle velocity over standard-length barrels. Although the additional velocity is not very huge, it is certainly enough to give the gun an advantageous edge when used with a heavy caliber hunting ammunition.
Another great thing about having a long barrel is that it also increases the sight radius, which is a key precision benefit that many will appreciate when out in the field. Furthermore, the Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk Centerfire Revolver also comes pre-packed with a set of scope mount and scope rings to provide you with the ability to mount either a magnified optic, red dot sight, or scope.
Other than that, the .44 Magnum Revolver by Ruger features a heavy frame design, allowing the handgun to take on the vast majority of highly powerful .44 magnum loads you can find on the market today.
Considering its power and design, the Ruger Super Blackhawk Centerfire Revolver is a heavy type handgun with an approximate weight of 3lbs. However, the balance is quite good, making the .44 magnum revolver feel much lighter in your hand than it actually is. Overall, the Super Blackhawk is a highly durable .44 magnum revolver that offers a light trigger and adjustable sights for better accuracy.
- Ruger manufacturer and Blackhawk model is well-known throughout the world
- Perfect for handgun hunting
- Good long range accuracy
- Additional optics can be installed
- Single action revolver
3. Smith & Wesson Centerfire Revolvers
This review is for another .44 magnum revolver model by Smith and Wesson, the Model 69. But this should not be confused with the Model 69 Combat that we discussed earlier. This Smith and Wesson Special Model 69 features a large framed centerfire revolver that comes packed with plenty of power.
The award-winning revolver was the very first .44 magnum handgun with an L-Frame complete with a full strap and barrel serrations as well as a ‘Ball-detent lock-up’ feature. In terms of aesthetic, this revolver has a stylish matte stainless steel finish with a black synthetic grip that feels rather comfortable to hold.
For those who hunt with their handguns ought to know the importance of their handgun’s accuracy. Fortunately, the S&W Model 69 does not only offer good accuracy, but you also get quality front and sights to better hit your targets. The Smith Wesson Model 69 has a red ramp and Hi-Viz front sight and white-inlay adjustable rear sights.
Aside from the amazing aspects, Smith and Wesson also offer a solid warranty with comprehensive after-sales support with its lifetime service policy with purchase. Smith and Wesson have been around since 1856 and one thing is for certain, they’ve definitely learned a thing or two about customer service!
- Award-winning revolver
- Quality sights
- Solid lifetime warranty
- Comfortable grip
- May be expensive for some
4. Taurus – 44SS8 8.375in .44 Magnum Stainless 6RD (Taurus Raging Bull)
Best Taurus .44 Magnum Revolver
The Taurus 44SS8 8.37in .44 Magnum handgun can easily be described as an effective hand cannon! This knockout punch of a firearm has appeared plenty of times in movies, whether you realize it or not.
The Taurus Raging Bull .44 magnum single action / double action handguns are designed to deliver a huge power. Not only does the model come in two impressive barrel lengths of 6.5 and 8.38 inches, but this 14-inch revolver also comes with fixed front sights and easily adjustable rear sight.
With a 6 round capacity, the overall weight of the .44 Magnum Raging Bull model weighs approximately 3.94 lbs. Although it’s not the lightest of the lot, those who can handle it will certainly benefit from its awesome power and performance.
Although most handgun hunters don’t need a caliber as powerful as the 454 Casull, the .44 magnum variation is a highly effective handgun that offers more than enough power to knock down various targets. However, if you’re hunting in Alaska, or if you’re prepared to face grizzlies and wolves in a bear country, then fortunately for you, the Taurus Raging Bull also comes chambered in 454 Casull.
Regardless of whether you’re using it with a .44 Magnum or a 454 Casull ammo, the Taurus Raging Bull handgun comes with a factory porting design of the barrel and cushioned grips to help dramatically reduce felt recoil. However, you should still expect some recoil action. You will definitely feel the power of the Raging Bull hunting gun every time you let a bullet loose.
- Huge power
- Impressive barrel length that delivers a lot of muzzle energy
- Strong stopping power
- The Raging Bull revolver fits 454 Casull ammo
- May be heavy for some
5. Taurus – 44 Tracker 4 inch .44 Magnum Stainless 5RD
Best for the Money
Next on our list is the Taurus 44 Tracker model. The Taurus’ range of .44 Magnums come at an amazing price point and are a really powerful style of a handgun and this is why the company’s .44 magnum revolvers deserve three spots on our list today.
The 44 tracker magnum revolver is a little smaller in terms of barrel length and overall size, just remember that you’re buying a magnum revolver that is 9 inches in length with a barrel length of just 4 inches! This size puts its barrel length less than half the size of its bigger 44SS8 model reviewed above.
However, the Taurus Tracker magnum revolver continues to bring plenty to the table with an operational choice of using either a single or double action. On top of that, the quality of manufacture is as consistent as you’d expect from a Taurus.
Not only does the durable and robust magnum revolver feature a high grade stainless steel, but it also only weighs at 2.13 lbs with a fixed magazine of 5-round capacity. One thing Taurus understands is the potential impact of heavy recoil when using .44 magnum calibers in revolvers. With this in mind, the company has incorporated a specialized factory barrel porting that helps reduce recoil and make the 44 Taurus tracker much easier to control compared to other magnum revolvers on the market.
Everyone knows a firearm is a dangerous weapon, but with a gun from any reputable manufacturer, you should find a variety of safety features included. In line with that, the Taurus .44 magnum revolver offers a top notch security system and safety measures.
The revolver comes with a key that lets you disable the entire weapon and it is impossible to switch the security system off by accident. This makes the .44 magnum revolver totally safe around anyone of any age, especially for those with children.
- Smaller and compact .44 magnum dimensions
- Good multi-purpose .44 Magnum
- Top notch security system
- Reduced recoil through factory barreling
- 4 inch barrel length
- Not the best option for hand-loaders
6. Smith & Wesson – Model 629 Handgun 44 Magnum 6.5in
Best Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum Revolver
On our list is yet another .44 magnum revolver from Smith and Wesson – the Model 629. This Smith Wesson model comes with a beautiful, classic style that will make heads turn wherever you tote it. Weighing at only 3.1 lbs, the revolver will let you feel hand power instantly. The 6.5 inch barrel length gives this revolver an overall length of 12 inches and it does offer plenty in terms of accuracy.
One great thing about the Model 629 magnum revolver is that it comes with quality sights. The Smith & Wesson model features a large fixed front sight with a bright orange painted blade. At the back, you get an adjustable black rear sight with a white outline. This color combo has been carefully chosen to make it all the more effective for you to take a bead on your target.
Knowing how powerful this .44 magnum revolver is, many experienced shooters will know that your stance, grip, and regular practice will count for a lot in terms of accuracy. Fortunately, this Smith and Wesson model 629 .44 magnum revolver have a comfortable, solid ‘feel’ composite grip frame, a long barrel, and enough weight to help reduce recoil as much as possible. But this is not to say that you won’t feel zero recoils. As with most of the .44 magnum revolvers, the Smith and Wesson Model 629 is definitely not a weapon for beginners and novices.
The Smith Wesson Model 629 offers either a single or double action use. However, if you choose to use it in a single action, you need to take note that the trigger is ultralight, to say the least. Although the trigger pull is listed at 3 lbs and 12 oz, many may find that it feels and works in a very fine manner. But once you get used to how light it feels, you’ll start to appreciate The S W 629’s amazing feature. As for use in double action mode, the trigger pull is obviously much heavier and it is at around 15 lbs.
Other than a wide choice of .44 magnum loads to choose from, this revolver model can take on both the standard .44 magnum cartridge and the .44 Special. Those who are new to the .44 magnum revolvers should train with the Special cartridge in order to give them some time to get used to such a powerful handgun.
- Quality build
- Trusted, reliable, and robust construction
- Shoots single and double action
- Can handle both .44 magnum and .44 special loads
- Hammer mounted firing pin
- May be expensive for some
- Not suitable for beginners
Best .44 Magnum Honourable Mentions
1. Smith and Wesson Model 29
Dirty Harry Approved
This is the one that started it all and it is truly a Dirty Harry’s gun, specifically its blued version that catches the attention of many gun enthusiasts and even non-gun geeks that recognize it. If you want a classic piece of magnum revolver, then the S&W Model 29 may just be the one for you.
Being the pioneer of the .44 Mag, the Model 29 is probably one of the most versatile magnum revolvers on the market and is everything you could ever ask for. It is designed to work perfectly for hunting, plinking, and self defense purposes. Depending on your preferences and needs.
2. Ruger Super Redhawk
Best Big Game .44 Magnum Revolver
Although the Ruger Super Redhawk is more well-known with its .454 Casull chamber, if you’re seeking something with a lighter caliber but still packs a ton of stopping power, then the .44 mag may be just what you need.
The Ruger Redhawk is an outstanding choice for self defense and for knocking down four legged critters. With a Picatinny rail on top of it, this .44 magnum revolver is simply perfect for you to take along during your hunting trips, especially when you pair the Ruger Redhawk with a low power scope, iron sights or red dot.
Magnum Research Desert Eagle .44 Magnum
If you want to go all the way with something big, then the Magnum Research Desert Eagle is the way to go. It is not only big and heavy, but it is also known worldwide as the king of Mall Ninja pistols. However, the Magnum Research Desert Eagle handgun is also very expensive.
However, this .44 magnum pistol weighs 4.5 lbs and can spit 220 grain projectiles in a fully semi auto manner. The ridiculous weight of the Magnum Research Desert Eagle means that you can expect extremely light recoil, making this one of the lightest recoiling 44 Mags on the market. If you happen to have that extra cash lying around, then you may just want to splurge on this classic Desert Eagle weapon.
3. Smith & Wesson 329 PD
If you want an all-round carry .44 magnum revolver that isn’t too small, then the 329 PD may be the carry pistol you need right here. The 329 PD is a controversial choice as it comes with many issues, but it is currently the newest technology and also the most complete .44 mag revolver on the market.
Featuring a Scandium alloy frame and titanium cylinder construction, the Smith & Wesson invented the entire shooting match and the N Frame 29 came into the show in 1957. But since its creation, the 29 has seen a number of changes. Overall, the S&W 329PD is a stubbing .44 Mag that looks as good as it shoots.
4. Magnum Research BFR Short Cylinder
The Magnum Research Big Frame Revolver (BFR) holds the title as the most powerful production handgun in the world as it fires the 45-70 Government rifle bullets. This popular revolver has been used to knock down large animals and has even starred in hundreds of YouTube videos.
However, the Magnum Research BFR is simply expensive and impractical. With that in mind, the BFR Short Cylinder steps in to change that as it takes on a wide range of calibers that include the .44 Magnum.
With 7.5 inches of barrel length, the shorter barrel version of the Magnum Research BFR makes for an ideal choice for hunters. Although it only comes with 5 rounds and does not offer a slick operation compared to the S&Ws in terms of reloading. Also, you will need to flip the latch and reload the chambers individually instead of flipping out the wheel and pushing the ejector rod.
This .44 magnum revolver features a Weaver-style scope mounts, brushed stainless finish, and cushioned synthetic rubber grips that are comfortable. Overall, many hunters just love the feel of the Magnum Research BFR.
5. Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan
The Ruger Super Redhawk .44 mag is a concealed carry gun or pocket pistol that many Alaskans rely on to protect them from bears and wolves. This powerful .44 magnum revolver is constructed with satin stainless steel and it can be used to club your opponent to death.
Overall, the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan offers an eccentric style with a bizarre DIY look that many will either love or hate it.
6. Ruger Vaquero Birdshead
Ruger has definitely come up with several different models for the same cartridge and has decided to stick with a single action revolver based on the Blackhawk frame to create the Ruger Vaquero Birdshead.
The Ruger Vaquero comes with a smaller XR-3 grip bringing the entire profile more in line with the Colt Single Action Army pistol – one of the finer weapons of all time. The nickel plated frame of the Ruger Vaquero Birdshead comes with a high-gloss finish for a truly memorable finish.
The best .44 magnum revolvers are out there. All you need to do is get one that matches your needs and preferences. If you were to choose one of the .44 magnum revolvers discussed above, you’ll be the proud owner of one of the best types of revolver available on the market. In fact, you might have to deal with much more firing power than you need for your handgun experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How did the .44 Magnum begin?
The .44 magnum began when it was developed by Elmer Keith in 1950 as he started experimenting and lengthening the .44 Special caliber and playing around with powders and various bullet weights until he eventually came up with the .44 Magnum. Eventually, the .44 Remington Magnum came into production. Elmer Keith was also an important figure in the development of the .357 magnum and other handgun cartridges. Also, Smith and Wesson were known for making the first of its kind in 1955, followed by Ruger the year later.
Q: Can a .44 Revolver Shoot a .44 Special?
Yes, a .44 revolver can shoot a .44 special but it depends on the kind of .44 revolver you are using. It is important to find one that will be able to handle these kinds of rounds without any jamming or reliability issues.
Q: What is the effective range of a .44 Magnum?
The effective range of a .44 magnum is up to 100 yards.
Q: How hard is it to shoot a .44 Magnum?
It is very hard to shoot a .44 magnum and it is not advised for new shooters or a hunter. The recoil on this handgun is pretty bad and the recovery time back on target is almost twice what it is for a 357 Magnum.
Q: Why is a .44 Magnum so powerful?
The .44 Magnum is so powerful because it uses 3 to 4 times more gunpowder used in a 45ACP although the projectile size remains about the same. This works to double the muzzle velocity and muzzle energy of the bullet.
Q: How bad is the .44 Magnum recoil?
The .44 Magnum has a recoil of approximately 18.5 ft/lbs while the 357 is listed at 11.58 ft/lbs.
Q: What is the difference between a .44 Magnum and a .44 Special?
The difference between the .44 Magnum and a .44 Special is in its length. The .44 Magnum is based on the .44 Special base but lengthened and loaded to higher pressures to reach greater velocities and energies.