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Revolvers are a particular interest of mine. Iconic and deadly, revolvers have been around since the early 1800s. It is probably the most recognizable gun in popular culture, next to the handgun and military rifles. The revolver is compact, professional-looking, and yet feels vintage. What the general public may not know is that there are many different types and makes of revolvers. In this article, I’ll be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of two popular revolvers, the .44 Magnum and the .45 ACP Revolvers. 

While on the topic, Smith and Wesson have been producing these historical revolvers for a long time, but the influence it has over popular culture could be attributed to Hollywood films. Being the top (and popular) choice, I’ll be comparing two Smith and Wesson revolvers. Word to the wise, the prices discussed in this review are all suggested retail prices. Dealers may fix the final price.

.44 Magnum

Many manufacturers produce this thing of beauty, but close to none can compare to Smith and Wesson’s .44 Magnum Model 29. 

It gained popularity in the early 70s when two movies, now cult classics, heavily featured the Magnum. Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry is famously quoted as saying that the .44 Magnum was “the most powerful handgun in the world”. On the other hand, Robert De Niro’s character in Taxi Driver wielded a .44 Magnum in his notable scenes. Taxi Driver also has an original soundtrack entitled “The .44 Magnum is a Monster”.

With these references, it is no wonder that revolvers have captured the attention of moviegoers.

Features and Material

The Smith and Wesson Magnum’s cylinder, barrel, and frame are made of carbon steel, while its grip is made from wood. The original Model 29 costs a whopping 1180$. Model 29 has a capacity of 6 bullets.

Carbon steel, according to Matmatch, is a metal alloy of carbon and iron. It may be produced from recycled steel, virgin steel, or both. Once the steel is molten, it undergoes a process called decarburization, which reduces the carbon content in the steel. This process produces carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

If you are looking for a simple Magnum, you may opt for Model 69, which costs 854$. This model’s cylinder, barrel, and frame are made out of stainless steel and its grip is synthetic. Model 69 has a capacity of 5 bullets.

The .44 Magnum is 9.6 inches long and weighs 37.4 ounces. 

Stainless steel is a popular material nowadays as a metal alloy that prevents iron from rusting. It is also highly heat resistant and less prone to corrosion.

The .44 Magnum has a red ramp front sight and an adjustable white outline rear sight.


Austin Kudsen reviewed the Model 69 .44 Magnum and posted on The Truth About Guns. His interesting caveat is about the red ramp front sight. While he says that its point of collecting and reflecting light was well executed, it does not work well for shooting tight groups. He further explains that the red ramp is great for fast shooting or combat, but tricky for target practice.

.45 ACP

Just like the .44 Magnum, Smith and Wesson is the top choice for .45 Automatic Colt Pistol or ACP. For this review, I will focus on the Smith and Wesson Governor. 

Features and Material

The Smith and Wesson Governor’s cylinder and barrel are made of stainless steel, its frame out of scandium alloy, and its grip is synthetic. The suggested retail price is 809$.

Scandium alloy is almost exclusive to Smith and Wesson. Scandium is a rare-earth mineral and is a particularly light material. Having a scandium alloy frame makes the Governor a little lighter than revolvers with aluminum frames. 

The Governor has a capacity of 6 bullets. Every purchase of the Governor comes with a moon clip, the necessity of which will be discussed later on. 

The Governor has a black ramp front sight and a fixed rear sight. It is 8.5 inches long and weighs 29.6 ounces.


The biggest faults of the Governor, Michael Nelson writes on Peak Firearms, lie in both the faulty firing pin and the indispensable need for a moon clip. Nelson recommends a trip to the gun shop after the purchase of the Governor to check the firing pin since it would not fire in some cases. As for the moon clip, without it, the bullets just fall into the chamber and would not fire.

What’s the difference?

An article on Gone Outdoors has successfully compared the Magnum and ACP. Robert Allen differentiates the former as being all about brute force typically needed by hunters, while the latter is for precision firing prescribed for law enforcers.

According to the article, a Magnum packs 900 to 1000 foot-pounds of energy in one shot, while an ACP has 400 to 600 foot-pounds. Logically, this data gives the Magnum a high recoil, thus, aiming may prove to be difficult once a shot is fired. In contrast, the ACP has lower recoil and is better for multiple shots.


For feature, material, and price alone, I highly recommend the Smith and Wesson Governor. However, your choice also depends on the purpose of your revolver purchase. 

As for me, overall, I am going with the .44 Magnum on this one. If I were to buy a less expensive gun and I still have to pay a visit to the gun shop just to have it checked, I’d stick with the more expensive option. A quality investment will always go a long way.

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