Was the .44 Mag. EVER the “Most Powerful Handgun?”
In the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie “Dirty Harry,” the San Francisco detective spoke one of the most memorable lines in cinematic history:
“I know what you’re thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”
The Smith & Wesson Model 29 chambered in .44 Remington Magnum was introduced in 1955 after the experiments of Elmer Keith with the .44 Special convinced C.R. Hellstrom at S&W and C.G. Peterson of Remington to produce the cartridge. The load used a 240 gr. bullet at 1,350 fps and nothing available to consumers at the time even came close. Though hardly a new cartridge in 1971 when Dirty Harry recited his famous line, that film is certainly responsible for much of the .44 Magnum’s mainstream popularity.