renting a magnum

Try A Magnum Revolver BEFORE You Buy

If you haven't really had much experience with one and have the urge for a magnum revolver, you need to try it before you buy it. However you can.

There are a whole lot of people out there that get the magnum bug, and have done so for decades, only to get rid of the gun in short order for a loss. The reasons are fairly simple; you'll lack a real reason to have one, won't like shooting it or may find the cost of ammunition makes it less justifiable to own.

So, let's go over that in a bit more detail.

Many A Magnum Revolver Winds Up For Sale In Short Order

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Have a look in a pawn shop, gun store that sells used guns, or check out Gun Broker and similar sites. One of the things you'll notice a few more of than anything else are many an example of a lightly-used magnum revolver.

They'll only have a few rounds through them, maybe a box's worth, which for most guns isn't even broken in yet; that's still basically new. For guns in this condition, a person can expect to pay several hundred dollars under the asking price. So, for the person that wants a big ol' handgun, it pays to buy used since you can get one that's basically new, or at least incredibly close to it, for a few hundred off the list price.

A whole lot of people out there have picked up that .44 Magnum revolver that way.

Many a .500 Magnum revolver has as well.

And how come?

Because somebody got the "big revolver" bug. They got it hard, whether they were watching "Dirty Harry" or thought they needed a real big gun for the backcountry, or they just wanted to get something big, loud and powerful because they needed a break from 9mm.

In any case, a whole lot of big revolvers wind up for sale not too long after the first owner buys one. Then they find out they either don't really like them or don't have a real use for it.

Just For Kicks: The Cost Of A .44 Magnum Revolver

magnum 44 price

Cost is actually a big part of why some people don't stick with their .44 Magnum revolver or other large handgun. It isn't all of it, but plenty of people have balked after buying a few boxes and decided it wasn't really for them.

Granted, this is using internet prices; you're mileage will vary.

A new S&W Model 69 will run you about $770, depending. You might find one for less, perhaps for more; this is about what a few different sites list them for. That's for a 6-inch barrel .44 Magnum, the standard format.

A box of practice ammo in .44 Magnum, nevermind self-defense ammo or a hardier load for the woods, costs anywhere from $20 for a box of 25 from the cheap brands and up. 50 of WWB - Winchester White Box, for those wondering - will run you about $40 to $50.

Shooting .44 Special won't save you money, though it might save your wrist.

For the good stuff? Federal Hydra Shok runs $35 to $40, depending on where you find it; Buffalo Bore, which is the serious stuff for handgun hunters and outdoor uses, is about the same, and both of these are for boxes of 20, rather than 50.

That's a whole lot different than $10 to $12 for 50 115-grain FMJs for your 9mm, isn't it?

Then toss in the cleaning kit and consumables and so on; you get the idea. Plenty of hunters out there have bought themselves a newfangled magnum rifle, only to find keeping it fed with ammunition is an expensive proposition. Said wonder gun gets ditched after a time in lieu of a .270, 7mm Rem Magnum, .308, .30-06, .300 or .338 Win Mag.

The point here is that if you're the typical gun owner of today, and you do a whole bunch of shooting with 9mm and 5.56 NATO/.223 at the range...shooting your big revolver will be costlier than you're used to. You can, of course, try reloading your own to save cash...but even that requires some investment.

Magnum Revolver Recoil Is Surmountable...But Will Shock You If Unprepared

recoil of a magnum

The truth is that magnum revolver recoil is not really THAT bad. Shooting the .500 S&W Magnum is more manageable than you'd think with the long-barrel models. A .44 Magnum with a 4-inch or 6-inch barrel isn't actually all that bad either. A .454 Casull is going to torque the wrist, but if you have a revolver of sound construction and you didn't opt for the short-barrel model, it will be livable.

That said, the garden variety gun person of right now shoots 9mm, .22 LR, and .223 for the most part. Maybe .40 S&W or .45 ACP, and maybe up to 6.5mm Creedmoor in a chassis-based rifle platform that sits on a bipod. Perhaps the occasional tilt with a 12-gauge. That's the garden variety gun guy of today.

If you're used to .45 ACP, moving up to .41 Magnum or .44 Magnum isn't going to be a huge jump but will take some getting used to. If you're used to pretty much just 9mm, it's going to be a bit of a shock.

Why does this matter? Because if you don't like shooting it, you're going to find reasons not to. The gun will sit in the safe and collect dust like a $700+ paperweight.

So, if you're getting the magnum revolver bug, you should probably make sure you can stand shooting it BEFORE you buy it. Unless you have a real reason to own one - backup gun for the backcountry, for handgun hunting and so on - you aren't going to get much use from a big handgun if you don't like shooting it or the cost of ammunition.

For beginners, .357 Magnum is probably the best starting point. If nothing else, you can shoot .38 Special all day without issue and get your wheelgun fix. You'll also likely want to start with a full-size gun like the Ruger GP100 or S&W 586 before either moving up to a larger caliber or moving down in size, as a .357 Magnum snubbie is a right handful. Ammunition is reasonably priced, so are the guns, and they're much easier to shoot.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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