.44 S&W Special Brass
The .44 Smith & Wesson Special, also commonly known as .44 S&W Special, .44 Special, .44 Spl, .44 Spc, (pronounced "forty-four special"), or 10.9x29mmR is a smokeless powder center fire metallic revolver cartridge developed by Smith & Wesson in 1907 as the standard chambering for their New Century revolver, introduced in 1908.
On the late 19th century American frontier, large .44- and .45-caliber cartridges were considered the epitome of handgun ammunition for self-protection, home defense, and hunting. Black-powder rounds such as the .44 American, .44 Russian, .44 Colt, .44-40 Winchester, .45 Schofield, and .45 Colt enjoyed a well-earned reputation for effective terminal ballistics, accuracy, and reliability.
At the start of the 20th century, Smith & Wesson decided to celebrate by introducing a brand new revolver design which they called the New Century.
Smith & Wesson wished to pair their new revolver design with a worthy new ammunition chambering. At the time, smokeless powder was state of the art in ammunition technology. Older black-powder ammunition was in the process of being converted to smokeless. Smith & Wesson's popular .44 Russian cartridge had established a reputation for superb accuracy and was a renowned target load, and they decided to use an improved smokeless powder version as the basis for the new round. Due to the lower energy density of the early semi-smokeless powders, prior efforts to convert the .44 Russian to smokeless had produced less than stellar ballistic performance. Smith & Wesson addressed this issue by lengthening the .44 Russian cartridge case by 0.190-inch (4.8 mm) and increasing the powder capacity by 6 grains (0.39 g). The resulting design, which S&W called the .44 Special, had a case length of 1.16-inch (29 mm).