.44 S&W American

The .44 S&W American (commonly called the .44 American) is an American centerfire revolver cartridge.

.44 S&W American
.44 S&W American with ruler, .45 ACP, and .44 Magnum
.44 S&W American (center) with .45 ACP (left) and .44 Magnum (Right)
Place of originUSA
Production history
Bullet diameter.434 in (11.0 mm)
Neck diameter.438 in (11.1 mm)
Base diameter.440 in (11.2 mm)
Rim diameter.506 in (12.9 mm)
Case length0.91 in (23 mm)
Overall length1.44 in (37 mm)
Rifling twist1:20
Primer typelarge pistol
Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
205 gr (13 g) (factory load) 682 ft/s (208 m/s) 212 ft⋅lbf (287 J)
218 gr (14 g) 660 ft/s (200 m/s) 196 ft⋅lbf (266 J)
200 gr (13 g) (max) 810 ft/s (250 m/s) 296 ft⋅lbf (401 J)
205 gr (13 g) (Lyman #429478) 800 ft/s (240 m/s) 291 ft⋅lbf (395 J)
Source(s): Barnes & Amber 1972


Used in the Smith & Wesson Model 3, it was introduced around 1869.[1] Between 1871 and 1873, the .44 Model 3 was used as the standard United States Army sidearm.[1] It was also offered in the Merwin Hulbert & Co. Army revolvers.[1]

It used an outside lubricated heeled bullet and appeared in either Boxer and Berdan priming,[1] and both black and smokeless powder loadings.[1] The heeled bullets make the case is incompatible with later .44 Russian, .44 Special, or .44 Magnum brass, which was made larger in diameter and longer to cover the exposed part of the bullet.

Its power resembles the .41 Long Colt,[1] .32-20 Winchester,[2] or .44-40 Winchester,[3] and it could be used to hunt small game at short range.[2]

The .44 American ceased to be commercially available around 1940. It can be handloaded by shortening and reforming .41 Magnum cases.[1] Original black-powder revolvers should only use black-powder loads; modern powders will generate excessive pressures.[1]

During the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881, Wyatt Earp carried an 8-inch .44-caliber 1869 American model Smith & Wesson. Earp had received the weapon as a gift from Tombstone, Arizona mayor and Tombstone Epitaph newspaper editor John Clum.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Barnes, p. 167, ".44 S&W American".
  2. ^ a b Barnes, ".32-20 Winchester", p. 46.
  3. ^ Barnes, ".44-40 Winchester", p. 61.
  4. ^ Shillingberg, William B. (Summer 1976). "Wyatt Earp and the Buntline Special Myth". Kansas Historical Quarterly. 42 (2): 113–154.


  • Barnes, Frank C., ed. by John T. Amber. ".44 S&W American", in Cartridges of the World, pp. 167 & 177. Northfield, IL: DBI Books, 1972. ISBN 0-695-80326-3.
  • Barnes, Frank C., ed. by John T. Amber. ".32-20 Winchester" in Cartridges of the World, p. 46. Northfield, IL: DBI Books, 1972. ISBN 0-695-80326-3.
  • Barnes, Frank C., ed. by John T. Amber. ".44-40 Winchester" in Cartridges of the World, p. 61. Northfield, IL: DBI Books, 1972. ISBN 0-695-80326-3.
.44 Magnum

The .44 Remington Magnum, or simply .44 Magnum (10.9×33mmR), and frequently .44 Mag, is a rimmed, large-bore cartridge originally designed for revolvers. After its introduction, it was quickly adopted for carbines and rifles. Despite the ".44" designation, guns chambered for the .44 Magnum round, and its parent, the .44 Special, use 0.429 in (10.9 mm) diameter bullets.The .44 Magnum is based on a lengthened .44 Special case, loaded to higher pressures for greater velocity (and thus, energy). The .44 Magnum has since been eclipsed in power by the .454 Casull, and most recently by the .460 S&W Magnum and .500 S&W Magnum, among others; nevertheless, it has remained one of the most popular commercial large-bore magnum cartridges. When loaded to its maximum and with heavy, deeply penetrating bullets, the .44 Magnum cartridge is suitable for short-range hunting of all North American game—though at the cost of heavy recoil and muzzle flash when fired in handguns, less so in carbines and rifles.

.44 Russian

The .44 Russian, also known as the .44 S&W Russian, is a black-powder center-fire metallic revolver cartridge developed by Smith & Wesson in 1870. The .44 Russian design marked the first use of an internally lubricated bullet in modern firearm ammunition.

.44 Special

The .44 Special or .44 S&W Special is a smokeless powder center fire metallic revolver cartidge developed by Smith & Wesson in 1907 as the standard chambering for their New Century revolver, introduced in 1908.


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Semi-automatic pistols
Long guns

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