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.44 Remington Magnum (Still the Best Big-Bore Magnum?)

“But being 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?’” With those immortal words, actor Clint Eastwood elevated an obscure revolver cartridge designed in 1955 to hunt deer and elk into a cult object, and changed the gun world forever.

When “Dirty Harry” debuted in 1971, most shooters and hunters considered the .45 ACP and .357 Smith & Wesson magnum the pinnacles in handgun power. The film’s script had a unique slant, thanks in part to input from uncredited screen writer and gun aficionado, John Milius. For the first time, a major motion picture did not have a human star (no offense to Mr. Eastwood). Rather, the Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver Eastwood’s character, Inspector Harry Callahan, carried became the film’s undeniable center point along with its cartridge, the .44 Remington Magnum. America’s gun owners swooned over the long-barreled, blued steel monster, and America’s gun-o-phobes shrieked in terror. Overnight, everybody…

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