Lew Horton is having S&W make up another batch of M24s in 3" for next year. It isn't tiny, it's an N-frame "snubby" if you can call an N-frame a snubby, 200 in blue, 200 in nickel. It's either them, or Taurus, if they still make one.
5 shot , L frame, .44 special model - was offered with both regular adjustable sights ( black ramp front ) or fiber optic front sight. Or a Smith model 296 - L frame model, 5 shot with a shrouded hammer ( like the old Centennials ). But be aware, if you're looking on the Internet auction sites, all of them are rapidly going up in price. Try to find one locally or at a gun show.
I am not sure why you don't want a Charter, they are great guns. I have had a Lew Horton 3" it was still too big, I have a 4" m-24 and love it still too big for good concealled carry. If it is too big you won't have it with you when you need it? Remember everything is a trade off.
Not sure why you specifically want a 44 Special, but let's consider what has already been recommended and possibilities.
A 246 grain 44 Special produces approximately 755 feet per second out of the muzzle of a 6 inch revolver. Engery produced at the muzzle is 310 Foot Pounds.
Decent enough. Now let me toss in that I have carried both 2.5 inch and 4 inch N Frame Smiths, in 41 Mag, let's consider the downside. Reloading in a hurry can be a real bugger. Even with speedloaders.
I would recommend a Smith Model 625 in 45ACP. Reloading with moonclips is twice as fast as with conventional reloaders.
Also, 230 grain Golden Sabers exit at 875 FPS muzzle velocity with 391 foot pounds of energy.
Plus 45ACP is nearly as common as grass, where 44 Special is not found everywhere.
Just something to ponder on these chilly, winter nights.
PS........ Ballastic Data came from Remington's Ammo site. Hope I copied it right.
I have a Rossi 720. It is a medium frame 3" five shot SS revolver with factory rubber grips. It is a good pants pocket handgun, and is accurate. It is no longer made, but Taurus makes several that are similar. Smith and Wesson also made the 696 in the same configuration, and they can be found on occasion. I only wish I had a Rossi with a 4" barrel because I would deer hunt with it in arkansaw.
I wear an original Charter Arms Bulldog .44 w/ 3"bull barrel. (Not one of the later and less admired Charter Arms 2000 guns). Believe me, there is no moss on that rock.
Very small, very light (22 ounces loaded) and very accurate. For bipedal social diseases, I carry the WW 200 Silvertip medicine. On the trail, four 240 lead SWCs get the nod with one shot load up first.
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