Book Review by David R. Chicoine 12/06
Gun Digest Book of the .44 An Illustrated Encyclopedia of America's Favorite Caliber by John Taffin, 288 pages, soft cover. ISBN: 0-89689-416-9 $29.99 Order this book online from: Krause Publications, Dept. BNP, 700 East State St., Iola, WI 54940-0001 (800) 272-5233
Get a group of pistol shooters in a room and ask them to come to a consensus regarding their favorite caliber and you're likely to have a fight on your hands. Shooters are passionate about calibers, especially those steeped in history and enjoyable for reloading. The range of.44 calibers fits all bills and continues to be highly popular.
Who is the author? John Taffin is a renowned authority on cowboy action shooting firearms and gear. He is also a real Westerner who makes his home in Idaho and he has been shooting single action revolvers for the past 50 years. In addition to his many, many published magazine articles, Taffin has also written impressive array of books, all published by Krause Publications titled Action Shooting: Cowboy Style, Big Bore Sixguns, Big Bore Handguns, Gun Digest Book of Cowboy Action Shooting and his last before this, Single Action Sixguns.
Mention Elmer Keith, Skeeter Skelton or John Taffin and most firearms enthusiasts will automatically think .44. The.44 Magnum, .44-40 and .44 Special have a large following. Fans love to get their hands on additional resources, especially one that couples history, range reports and reloading data like Gun Digest Book of the .44. John will teach readers much more than the basics. . . That's a blurb from Krause's advertising for this book and its entirely true. John is, as much as anything else, a talented teacher who also has the ability to project his expertise on subject he loves to his readers in a highly literate but at the same time, friendly down-home style that you can't help but be comfortable with.
The reviewer is a just tad biased toward the grand old .44. After shooting a gazillion rounds of virtually all handgun calibers in so many kinds of handguns I literally can't remember them all, in the 1970s this shooter settled on the .44 Special as my all time favorite revolver round with the .44 Magnum running in a close second place. Obviously, Smith & Wesson has thought a lot of the .44 for an even longer time, choosing it 100 years earlier, in 1870, as the standard caliber for their famous Model Number Three revolvers as a better balanced, big-bore alternative to the .45.
I am truly impressed at the amount of ground John has covered in such a short space! From the Cap-N'-Ball revolvers of Sam Colt, to Smith & Wesson's auto-ejecting top-breaks and Winchester's lever action rifles, through the conversion revolvers to the Single Action Army and a huge selection of more modern .44s. Whew! And on top of that, there is a nice charge of great reloading information application to both 19tth century frontier guns and their modern counterparts.
If you are interested in .44 caliber weapons, be it handguns or rifles, the west and the history surrounding them; this new Taffin book is simply a must have for your library, and its a great read!
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