.44 Magnum was invented in mid 1950s. Famous gun enthusiast Elmer Keith had deep interest in researching the working of guns and ammunition. During one of his experiments with the 44 Special, he decided to load it to magnum pressures. He presented its working to Remington and Smith & Wesson. Both this companies later on launched public variants of Keith's invention.
There was a need to make shooting this new hot 44 Special load from revolver safe for the shooter and the revolver itself. Often the shooting cartridge would damage the revolver due to high pressure. Hence, Keith was working to make a cartridge which would sustain high pressures and protect the revolver. .44 Magnum served this purpose well. It had an extra thick brass case to control the pressure conditions.
A Smith and Wesson .44 Magnum has a case of 1.285 inches. A 240-grain bullet in a .44 Smith and Wesson Magnum fires with a energy of 1500 ft. lbs. A .44 Magnum is often compare with a .480 Ruger or .475 Linebaugh. .44 Remington Magnum has a power factor of about 350,000 which is similar to a .30-30.
.44 Magnum went on to become an extremely popular cartridge in big game hunting, specially for shorter range. It used to hit big targets such as elk and moose with a high degree of punch; often enough to ground them in a single shot. Its maximum range was about 150 yards. However its popularity received a huge boost when Clint Eastwood, the famous Hollywood actor used it in his one of the blockbuster movie Dirty Harry. It received more attention when the spoof of Dirty Harry, sitcom Sledge Hammer was telecasted. Because of the media attention, some people used to keep it for occasional hobby use or personal protection.
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