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Discussion Starter #1
I don't know what my southern neighbours know about the looney gun laws up here in the great white north, and I won't bore you with the litany of hoops we have to jump through to get a firearms license. Cutting to the chase, I've been looking for a pistol that I could take with me as a back-up sidearm into the bush when I'm bow hunting. Black bear and wolves not being uncommon where we hunt, I wanted something a handy for "what if" scenarios. The only thing I can legally carry is a firearm deemed to be antique by the RCMP. Given the degree of civil unrest endorsed and committed by the left, I wanted something for my wife to have handy when I'm away, and something more my speed for home and hunting. I'm discovering that I'm not alone in my thinking, and as a consequence, good shootable antique pistols are constantly rising in price and harder and harder to find. As an example, I passed on a high condition .455 Webley as too pricey on my pension budget at $3,600. Now, that same pistol sells for $4,200. and more. When this one came on the market, I bit the bullet and bought it. I'm in the process of ordering some Fiocchi ammo for it and getting it to the range. If any kind soul knows where, or if, I could get a set of grips in better condition, I'd appreciate a shout-out. The 4-1/2" barrel is a factory made option I'm told, not a cut-down 8" barrel. So, comments and observations are more than welcome. I'll be asking for reloading advice in the reloading forum in another thread.
 

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.44 Russian rounds can be made by trimming down .44 S&W Special cases. I don't know the original load specs, but "LIGHT" should be the operative word. No load that is safe in your revolver is up to the task of stopping an attacking bear, unless you're lucky enough to fire it under the throat, into the brain.
On the other hand, almost ANY load that your revolver likes will be enough to keep a feral 2-legged attacker from messing with your wife.
I don't have any loading data for the .44 Russian, but a 200 grain Semi-Wadcutter or Round-Nosed Flat-point, at 600 f/s or more, would be PLENTY to flatten most 2-legged feral animals. A heavier bullet at the same velocity would likely be better, but I suggested the former as a minimum.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Kosh, thank you so much for the info. I'll have brass once I expend some of the Fiocchi ammo and I may have a source for bullets. With our idiotic gun laws, about the only solid frame pistol with any "oomph" than falls into our antique category is the .41 LC revolver. Guys are shaving the cylinders on Webleys to accept the .45 ACP cartridge which can be a dicey proposition and more than one guy's blown up his pistol doing this. I figure this round would take out a wolf if need be, but for the most part, the noise and maybe some close-call shots would discourage anything but a rabid critter. As for a home defense option, I was pretty sure this would be up to the task.
 

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Cool old revolver!! I have the same one except mine did start life with the 8 in. barrel. It's now 4 inch and unfortunately has a shotgun bead for a front sight. Back when I got mine there was nothing available and I cut back 44 Spl. cases. I used the Lyman 429421 bullet as it's the only mold I had. I think I used 4 grs. of Unique but don't try that without checking first.
 
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I had one of those and mine was a 4" from the factory. The DA trigger pull required two men and a boy to manage it so I question how well your wife will be able to shoot it DA.

I only loaded mine with black powder in cut down 44 Special cases (this was pre-Star-Line brass). I used the Lyman mold for the 44 Russian, a 245g RN, and cast them of 1-20 alloy. Lubed with SPG I seated them over 28g of FFFg and they shot quite well in single action mode. I never managed to hit much shooting DA.

That loading stopped Cossacks, attacking Indians, and rampaging outlaws back in the day. Can't see why it wouldn't today and I bet cutting loose with a black powder load at night against borders/intruders would not only stop the leader but discourage the heck out of the rest of the pack. (smile)

YMMV but this is the black powder section after all,
Dave
 

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Dave, if yours was DA it wasn't a #3 I don't believe. They were SA only I think....now I gotta go look to be sure I'm not talkin' outta school......:oops:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all! I joined the Smith & Wesson site and got a ton of good information about my pistols and reloading. To Dave_T, I have this .32 rf. (pictured) revolver for my wife, the DA being far too much gun for her petite frame. It's perfect for her and ideal as insurance in an apartment. The .44 Russian is for me, both for home defense and a bush carry pistol. I have access to both Trail Boss and FFFg propellants so I may try some of each when I get to the reloading stage.
 

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Dave, if yours was DA it wasn't a #3 I don't believe. They were SA only I think....now I gotta go look to be sure I'm not talkin' outta school......:oops:
#3 was a frame size. Just like modern Smith & Wessons have/had an I frame, an improved I, a J, a K, an L, an M, a N and an X, antique Smiths had a number 1, a 1½, a 2, (possibly a 2½) and a 3. The number 3 frame size was for 44 caliber - the same thing as a current N frame.

The one that most people think of when they hear #3 is the 3rd Model #3 Russian.
IMG_20201006_155333318_BURST000_COVER.jpg

(Two "3"s in the name). It is a single action.

The double action is officially the 1881 double action, but it is still a number 3. (The top one in this picture)
DA 32 and 1881 DA 44.jpg


I traded for that one somewhere around the year 2000. In the 120 years of its existence I'm sure it had fired much smokeless powder ammunition. When I received it it came with a jar full of Fiochhi factory 44 Russians. But since the gun was made to fire black powder, I don't shoot smokeless in it.

I have a fine Tite Group load that I use in the number three Russian, but it is a modern gun made by Uberti.

Do as Dave suggested, and use a case full of black powder, if you are going to shoot that 140-year-old gun.

And Lawrence, it is not a Model 3. It is a Number 3. The lowest model number Smith & Wesson has ever made is a Model 10.

Just one of my quirks.
 
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Well I'll be dipped in spit. Truth be told, all I had to do was look at Lawrence's revolver and you can see it's a DA. I just knew mine wasn't DA. I did go look and it isn't. It's not a Russian model as your first picture but is a #3 in 44 Russian. Mine has been fairly heavily buffed and re-blued with non-factory grips and as mentioned, the barrel bobbed so it isn't worth a lot. I bought it at the auction of a deceased friend of mine. That was 30 years ago I imagine. Haven't shot it since then either.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
I'm having a heck of time trying to source a good belt holster for my DA. A gentleman on another site indicated that his Colt New Service holster accommodated his .44 Frontier DA quite nicely. I communicated with the good folks at Hunter, and they're reluctant to sell me a holster that is not specifically tailored to fit my pistol. Though I'd prefer leather, I'm not averse to synthetics. Any thoughts gentlemen?
 

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Make your own.
 

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I'm having a heck of time trying to source a good belt holster for my DA. A gentleman on another site indicated that his Colt New Service holster accommodated his .44 Frontier DA quite nicely. I communicated with the good folks at Hunter, and they're reluctant to sell me a holster that is not specifically tailored to fit my pistol. Though I'd prefer leather, I'm not averse to synthetics. Any thoughts gentlemen?
I suggest you tell Hunter too not get their Jockey shorts in a wad and you buy the New Service model. Even if it doesn't fit perfectly (probably won't) it will give you a safe way to carry your revolver to and from the range, and for a stroll in the woods. (smile)

Dave
 
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