The NEW .44 Auto Mag: Return of the King

There are many iconic handguns in the collective consciousness of gun enthusiasts. There are fewer, but still several iconic handguns in global culture. These latter icons tend to be associated with a larger-than-life appearance on the silver screen. But even amongst the most iconic and awe-inspiring handguns ever to make viewers’ eyes widen and chins drop – there is one that sits at the very top. The .44 Auto Mag.

The Dirty Harry movies from the 1970s and early 1980s are required annual viewing for anyone who calls himself a handgun enthusiast. The title character, immortalized by Clint Eastwood is famous for the icon status of the S&W Model 29, .44 Magnum revolver. In fact, that gun is quite possibly deserving of equal top-billing in the film credits. But in 1983’s “Sudden Impact” a new character was introduced that instantly became the “it” gun that everyone had to have. Introduced early in the film as having been a gift to Detective Callahan (Eastwood), it is called upon at the film’s climax shootout scene after Harry’s beloved six-shooter takes a dip in the Pacific. In 1983, guns didn’t look like this. It was ultra-modern and high tech, yet a big-bore powerhouse that could, according to Dirty Harry – “remove the fingerprints” of the perpetrator shot with it. Like every red-blooded male in every theatre seat everywhere in 1983 – I was mesmerized by the gun. Problem was… there were none to be had. The 44 Auto Mag had made its introduction to the market over a decade before the film was made, and after selling roughly 3,000 pistols the company went under and production stopped. In addition to that – those guns that did exist did not have the long 8 1/2″ barrel seen on the big screen – that was a custom piece made for the movie. The resale market for the original Auto Mags skyrocketed. If you could find someone willing to sell one, you were going to pay up for it.

The Auto Mag company, much like a cat, lived many lives and the guns were manufactured in a number of variations and several calibers with roll marks and serial prefixes changing each time. But those original 3,000 Pasadena pistols will forever be the “real” Auto Mag and sit at the top of the collector’s wish list. I am proud to own two of those guns.

Fast forward to the modern era, just a few years ago – when the rumors began to vibrate around the industry that the Auto Mag was going to be re-made. Being an Auto Mag enthusiast, I began a crusade to learn more. This put me in touch with Patrick Henry, who purchased the name, trademark, rights, and all existing assets of the Auto Mag company, and who was on a mission to resurrect this legendary gun and restore it to its original glory – while using modern manufacturing capabilities to improve both the process and the gun. The objective was to remain completely loyal to the original pistol and make true Auto Mags, not replicas – while allowing the technology now available to make them better wherever possible.

Looking through the lens of today, the specifications of the .44 Auto Mag Pistol (AMP) cartridge might not raise many eyebrows – but circa 1970 this was virtually an unheard-of challenge. Semi-autos had not yet reached the mainstream lexicon of handguns, and most of those were either of a Browning design or a derivative thereof, and none approached the firepower of the .44 magnum. This was a new beast altogether – with a locking bolt like the AR-15, but no gas system – and two recoil springs and guide rods to control the timing save the gun and shooter from undue wear and tear. As often happens in innovation and business, the first to market is not always the successful product, or even the best designed – but in its short-lived glory, the Auto Mag inspired not only an industry, but a generation of enthusiasts. The silhouette of the Auto Mag is incredibly distinctive, and to this beholder’s eye, it remains as alluring today as it was 50 years ago. 

It is not lost on this writer, nor should it be on the reader, just how big an undertaking Auto Mag Ltd., led by Patrick Henry has been. “If I’d known five years ago how long it would take, and how many millions it would cost, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”, was the sentiment that Patrick expressed during one of our conversations, “but”, he continued, “once you get half-pregnant, you just have to go with it”. Fortunately for us, Patrick is a gun-maker and not an obstetrician. But, if you sit down and talk with Mr. Henry, you will soon realize that he is a passionate enthusiast of the .44 Auto Mag, whose dream is to not just re-make this iconic pistol but to make it what it always should have been. That dream is shared by many lovers of the Auto Mag, because pre-orders for pistols that were still just a glimmer in Patrick’s eye started rolling in from day one.

The new Auto Mag can be ordered in several configurations, starting with the Founder’s Edition, which was a limited run offered to early pre-order customers. The Classic Edition is the version that was sent to me for testing and review, with the optional 8 ½” barrel. The high polished finish is also an option – and is a very labor-intensive process which makes the stainless-steel shine like drag pipes on a new Harley. There are options to choose from when it comes to the grips also – my preference being the beautiful wood stocks, but there are also very nice G10 grips available – both options are made by Hogue. And wonderful news for owners of original Auto Mags – grips, magazines, and other critical internal parts can all be purchased from Auto Mag, Ltd. And because this is “the real thing” and not a tribute gun or reproduction, the parts are nearly all compatible.

So, who exactly is the .44 Auto Mag for? There can be no doubt that the Auto Mag has always been, and continues to be, a boutique gun. Arguably one of the most elite boutique guns ever made, and certainly coveted by collectors. I think the market for this gun is diverse and eclectic, ranging from the man who is regretting he never bought that one he saw 30 years ago… to the young enthusiast who has a keen eye and appreciation for the extraordinary… to the trophy collector who simply wants one because he wants one. And don’t leave out the recoil-junkie – that guy that loves big bore thundersticks and always draws a crowd at the range. In a recent conversation with my friends on Handgun Radio, we were discussing the Auto Mag in contrast to similarly priced high-end 1911s with which we are all familiar. I asked, “but tell me… which of those guns is a .44 Auto Mag?”. And there, I believe, is the answer. The Auto Mag is for the person who wants an Auto Mag. The 44 Auto Mag is the DeLorean of handguns.

But what about shooting the Auto Mag? After all, this is a gun review – and in gun reviews we talk about shooting and performance. As a legacy .44 Auto Mag owner, I am familiar with firing this handgun and so I had expectations and questions as I headed to the range with the brand-spanking-new version. The first thing you’ll likely notice is the size and weight of the gun. As tested, this pistol weighs 4 lbs. and is 14-1/8” in overall length. The grip portion of the frame is large and hand-filling, even for those with large hands. And yet, despite those dimensions, it is remarkably ergonomic and comfortable to grip – this was my thought the first time I held an Auto Mag. And as for the weight – you’ll be glad of it when you touch off that first round.

The sights on the Auto Mag were always of high quality. The front sight is a permanent machined fixture that ramps up from the vented rib that runs atop the barrel. It is serrated for reduced glare, but otherwise unadorned. Auto Mag Ltd. has not modernized this by adding any visibility enhancements – which this enthusiast appreciates. The blade of the new front sight looked a bit thinner to me in back-to-back shooting, so I measured them and found that the front blade is 0.010” thinner and the rear notch is also 0.015” wider on the new gun versus the old. That twenty-five-thousandths is enough to notice. The rear sight is of similar design to the original, but changes have been made to the mount to accommodate the modern Kensight. It is fully adjustable and is a flat black with anti-glare serrations. In an era before video games and sights that light up and flash and holler “he went that way”, these were top of the line – and suit this gun just fine. The front sight looks identical to the original Pasadena gun, but is in fact a more modern sight that could be replaced if needed. A look at the muzzle end of both guns also demonstrates one of the opportunities that Auto Mag Ltd. has taken to improve the gun in a subtle way. The old gun looks much like someone trimmed the end of the barrel with a band saw and knocked off the burrs before shipping it out. The new Auto Mag has a nicely rounded and crowned tip, offering the same head-on look but in a more refined way.

As far as accuracy goes, I have to admit that because I have owned original Auto Mags for years, I already had a hunch that it would “put ‘em where you point it”, and indeed it does. Unfortunately, there is not a variety of .44 AMP ammo from which to select a sample for testing – and this writer is aware of only one company making commercial ammunition – SBR. So, I reversified the logic of the standard test and used one load from two different guns – the new Auto Mag, and a 50-year-old original. “Age before Beauty”, as they say – so the little old lady from Pasadena was up first and put five shots into a very respectable group from a rest at 20 yards. Up next, the shiny new gun made an even tighter group. Given the addition of more than 2” of barrel, I was not surprised. I found the sights on the new Auto Mag to be a bit nicer and I felt it was easier to hold finer aim with the new gun.

Recoil is what you might expect from the .44 Auto Mag, and if you’re not sure what that even means – let me put it this way – it kicks like a mule. Don’t watch “Sudden Impact” and get the idea that the recoil you see Clint Eastwood experience with movie blanks is how it will be for you. I was given some good advice years ago that the Auto Mag likes loads just hot enough to reliably cycle the action. This was in reference to the old guns of course, but I suspect the same advice might be prudent today. While I have no doubt that this new gun is built stronger and could handle the occasional hunting load – for the long-term well being of gun and shooter, I would stick to a 240-grain bullet moving at about 1250 fps, and not much more. Even so, when fired with one hand the Auto Mag will unleash a sharp recoil energy that will soon have you back in a two-handed grip. That said, this 4 lb. mass of stainless steel does do a good job of smoothing out the otherwise hellish .44 magnum rimless cartridge.

Range work with the Auto Mag was not without some challenges and a few malfunctions. Intermittent feeding stoppages became less random and seemed to have a common source. Once I examined and eliminated a magazine that seemed to be the culprit – it was smooth sailing for the remainder of the day. Loose tolerances of today’s polymer-framed guns have greatly reduced the likelihood of this problem, but 1911 lovers will tell you that the first place you look to resolve many common errors is the magazine. The magazines for the Auto Mag are made of stainless steel with polymer followers. They are capable of holding 7 rounds. When loaded full, the spring is nearly at full compression – those last couple rounds go in tight. I found myself sticking to five most of the time, it made it easier on my thumbs, and helped me ration my ammo better. And while I’m giving advice, another very important discovery people make when they handle an Auto Mag for the first time is just how hard it is to pull that bolt back. And with the length of travel, the largeness of the grip frame, and difficulty fighting the strong springs – working a thumb into place to push up the bolt-stop is a feat for orangutans. It can be done – but you don’t want to be on candid camera when you try it. Solution – insert an empty magazine and seat it properly, then pull back on the cocking ears while pushing forward on the grip frame. You’ll thank me.

JUST MY OPINION

It is important to evaluate the Auto Mag in the proper context, as a historically significant gun that had a very limited original production, achieved notoriety – even iconic status, and is now being manufactured anew with full respect to the original design. To try and judge the gun by either the standards of a newly designed firearm or by the vintage classification of a relic, is to miss the point – in this writer’s opinion. It would be a similar discussion if someone were to re-make the broom handle Mauser in strict accordance to the original design, with all of its inherent positive and negative qualities – but as a newly manufactured functioning handgun. And because I am a collector of the Auto Mag and know a bit about the gun and its history, I had expectations based on that philosophy.

First and foremost – high marks indeed for remaining faithful to the original design of the gun, and avoiding the temptation to modernize the look or even improve on the cast-frame cosmetics. The patina of the Auto Mag is perfectly true to the original gun. The polish on the upper is optional – and while I am not usually one for the BBQ gun bling, I have to say that having seen it like this – that’s how I would want it. The only downside is that the cocking ‘ears’ also have the high polish which makes them very difficult to grasp. The Auto Mag is a son of a *** to cock under the best circumstances and that didn’t help. But I would suffer the difficulty during the occasional range trip to have it look the way it does. Besides, it is really the rear sight that prevents one from getting a manly grip on the bolt cocking piece without ripping out hunks of flesh. A perfect example of a design that could have been better in 1970, but if it were changed now, it would change the gun.

The bottom line on the new .44 Auto Mag is that it is almost exactly what I had hoped it would be – the next best thing to a time machine and access to Dirty Harry’s nightstand drawer. This gun is for people who want a .44 Auto Mag. The great news is that it truly is art you can shoot. It’s a stronger gun than the original. It cycles better. Its accuracy and power make it an interesting option for the handgun hunter (I happen to know that several hogs have already been taken with it). More than fifty years since its introduction to the market – the Auto Mag is now ready for the range as well as the display case.

Again, I am not an expert on the Auto Mag, but I have been fortunate to have learned from many over the years whom I consider to be experts. I’d like to thank Patrick Henry, Jeffrey Kelley, Brian Maynard, and Bruce Stark for their contributions to my knowledge.

Watch the full video review of this gun, with lots of shooting, here:

I will leave you with a quote that I really like about the original Auto Mag, from Bruce Stark’s book, “Auto Mag, The Pasadena Days – The Years 1966-1972” “The scope of the efforts and the accomplishments that took place in such a very short amount of time are staggering. For an inexperienced company to design and manufacture a completely new semi-automatic handgun, made of exotic metals to shoot non-existent ammo to be sold to a non-existent market seems ill-advised to say the least. The end result was the most beautiful handgun ever to be made. The Auto Mag is an American classic.” Stark’s book is a must-have for all Auto Mag enthusiasts and is still available. In fact, you can even get a signed copy at a cost of just $45. If interested, contact Stark at littlekitty16@roadrunner.com.

If you are interested in the history of the Auto Mag company and Harry Sanford, I highly recommend a video on the YouTube channel of Jeffrey Kelley – do a search for that.

Learn more about the new Auto Mag pistols and company, here: Auto Mag Ltd.

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{ 55 comments… add one }
  • Hunter James June 14, 2021, 2:42 am

    My first house cost $4100.00. And I’m only in my 60s. ANYONE thinking of putting out $4500 for a pistol has no respect for the green stuff in his wallet or what it took to put it there. Oh, I can afford it, but I’d rather help my grandsons with something they’re doing.
    As for recoil, I have seven .44mags. I regularly shoot a 4″blue M-29 and a 3″SS 629 Mountain Gun. My EDC is a Taurus 44 Tracker 5 shot.

  • Chuck May 24, 2021, 5:46 pm

    I had a TDE Auto Mag some years ago and bagged several wild hogs in central California with it using CDM factory ammunition — never had a feeding issue. I also bought a .357 Auto Mag barrel and shroud for it, and had Buehler’s in California make up some scope mounts for it. The extra weight of the scope and mounts on that 8 inch barrel make it a bit fussy on what the load could be.

    Sold the pistol and both barrels some years ago, but found after my recent move to this state that I still have a box of 50 Jurras SuperVel 357 Auto Mag factory loads (three have been fired…) and at least 6 fresh boxes of factory CDM 44 AMP in original boxes. I probably should sell these to someone that knows the value and can use them… Even have a box of mostly once fired Norma 44 AMP brass, with about 6 rounds still unused.

    I never had any issue with the recoil on the big AMP pistol, certainly the mechanism soaks up much of the reaction even for those full load 240 grain 44 slugs and the even hotter 357 loads. But that was some time ago, and now that I am in my late 70’s I may not think so lightly of it (although I still fire factory 308 loads in my Striker 308 bolt pistol…)

    Chuck

  • Jon simon May 21, 2021, 1:34 pm

    i still prefer the S&W model 29

  • Terry Breckenridge May 21, 2021, 11:33 am

    Very nice firearm! As soon as i can locate one i just might add one to my collection. As far as ammo is concerned i reload for all my center fire weapons.

  • Gary May 19, 2021, 6:51 pm

    Justin,
    The consecutive pair have only been factory test fired. I’ve never shot either pistol. Have the cases but they need new foam.

  • Buford May 19, 2021, 4:27 pm

    What good is it without ammo? Just a $ 4000.00 club !!!

    • Justin Opinion May 20, 2021, 2:41 pm

      Tell me how that is different from any 9mm on the market today. In fact, I ordered some ammo to do this review and got it right away – unlike any attempts to find 9mm, 45 ACP, .40 S&W, etc. Your statement is like some homeless guy saying that he won’t buy that new Ferrari because there is a gas shortage. Hate it just because it’s expensive if you want to… but own it.

      • Bumper May 21, 2021, 12:30 pm

        If feasible I’d buy one today because I love to smile.

  • David May 19, 2021, 3:11 pm

    I love the quality of this new one, but I am disappointed that the height of the vented rib posts are so small in opening. It’s the first thing I noticed in how the last opening on the original AMP (the one Clint Eastwood is holding in the photo) vs the new Automag is so much larger in opening and height. It makes for a huge difference to me. The older one is so much more aggressive looking vs the lower rib of the new one. For me at least it’s a huge let down. My holy grail piece is this handgun and a Bren Ten in hard chrome like they gave to Don Johnson. I pray the new Bren Tens if they ever get going will be an EXACT duplicate of the original in the show. I have no problem with the $4,200 for this new Automag, IF they would make my handgun with the same rib height and post openings as the original. If so – I’d be on the phone with the money to order. The different look of this new rib??? Probably won’t. I might change my mind – but it’s just not the same look to me. I’m so bummed.

  • zoro tibetano May 19, 2021, 12:12 am

    I worked with an associate that had one of these. The story sort of goes like this. It is the mid 1980s. He shot the pistol and other firearms at a more upscale shooting range, it might have been a club membership operation, several times. The range was a full service operation. Sales, service, training, and outdoor shooting lanes staffed by an off duty LEO. After awhile of ownership, when he would shoot this pistol, sometimes it would not cycle properly, or something like that. So, the facility had a gunsmith. He turned the pistol over to the gunsmith, in an effort to resolve the problems he was having with the pistol. The gunsmith had no prior experience with this pistol model. The gunsmith had it for awhile, and then called the owner, and told the owner that the pistol was repaired, adjusted, tested, all is good, and that the pistol is ready for pickup. The owner goes to the facility, pays for services rendered, and gets the pistol, and takes to the range lanes to try it out. He loads a full magazine into the pistol, takes aim, pulls the trigger, and the pistol goes full automatic. He is barely able to hold onto it, and ends up with the pistol pointing straight up when the last round fires. The range officer pulls his weapon and runs over to shooter, pointing his weapon at the shooter, and screaming at him the entire time. The shooter is freaked out and just stands there frozen. When the LEO finally shuts up, the shooter just says, “the shooting range gunsmith just finished working on this pistol”. It all then deescalated, and everybody went about their business.

  • Captain Bob May 18, 2021, 6:19 pm

    I bought an early AMT AutoMag and had it Magna-ported and a red front sight insert installed. Moved from NY to OH in March of 1980 and was short on cash. Sold the gun (complete with manual case loading and case-forming dies for $700. That was actually a fair price then. I had (still have) a 6″ S&W 29 and the AutoMag had less recoil. I currently have a .50 Desert Eagle and even that has less recoil than the 29.
    The AutoMag was a bit crude and I had lots of jams no matter how carefully I crafted the ammo. Using .308 Win brass (or 7.62×51) you had to (obviously) cut it down but also ream the inside because the rifle case walls were too thick but I always marveled at Dirty harry firing away with no jams.
    Do I wish that I still had it? Sure, but only because I could sell it and make a tidy sum. Cool gun but my arthritic hands couldn’t handle it now.

  • Big Al 45 May 18, 2021, 11:09 am

    Your observation on the muzzle end of the Auto Mag was in fact my first comment on it back in day when I sold guns.
    I though it looked like a hack job, or an unfinished Gunsmithing project.

  • Jeff G May 18, 2021, 10:41 am

    I was lucky to find a model A AutoMag at a local gun show back in the late 70’s. I think I paid in the $600 to $800 range for it which was a lot of money at that time. This particular one appears to have been a Lee Jurras branded model (including Magnaporting) and was verified later by snail mail with Kent Lamont. I actually found a case of orriginal CDE ammo and ended up shoting most of the case (kicking myself now and in hind sight I should have bought two cases). I also ended up adding a 10 inch barrel to the gun. That is an overloaked feature of the gun is the ability to quickly change barrels. Pull the slide back, throw a level, slid off the old barrel and put a new one on.

    I can say that this is my favortite handgun to shot. Recoil feels less than my 44 Mag Redhawk. To really enjoy an AutoMag, you need to reload it. My favorite load is actually a 180gr hollow point over a large load of WW296. Huge fireball out the bareel but that slug was pushing over 1000 ft. lbs of muzzel energy and clipping along at near 2000 fps. I found that the heavyer slugs were a little more agressive on the gun so personnaly I would keep a 200 grs or lower. I would only load a 240gr if I thought I was trying to shot out engine blocks.

  • Theo Lane May 18, 2021, 9:49 am

    After reading the very thorough review & comments, two observations jumped out at me .
    First, a price complaint…. the last several Auto Mags I saw offered for sale were upward of $20k. With the Henry AM built to significantly improved engineering & material standards, I disagree with the notion that Auto Mag Ltd has priced outside the range of the average Joe. Arguably ( if it’s your thing), the price point of around $4k seems reasonable to me .

    Secondly, some readers seemed to believe that the weapon is not currently in production. I’m sure I read that one of the first kills at the NRA ‘ National Hog Hunt ‘ ( Turkey, Texas recently) was by an individual that had recently received his new Henry AM.

    Can’t wait to have one in my hand …..

  • H. Spires May 18, 2021, 2:52 am

    I have a Ruger Super Blackhawk 44 magnum with a seven and a half inch barrel that belonged to my wife’s oldest brother. He bought it back in the late 70’s. He died of a massive heart attack about a year later. His widow sold all of his guns. I wanted that one because he was like a kid with a brand new toy when he bought it. It has never been shot more than about 50 rounds. It is one of my most precious possessions because it belonged to him. I also bought an over and under shotgun, .22 magnum and 20 gauge that he used for hog hunting. They will never be sold because he was my hunting and fishing buddy besides being my brother-in-law. We spent many happy days sitting in a boat on the river or sitting by a fire in the river swamp after hunting. I only got to know him for a few years because he died around 39. He knew every nook and cranny in the river swamp. Every time I pick up either gun I think back of the many happy times we spent together.

  • LJ May 17, 2021, 9:47 pm

    In my opinion the Auto Mag was one of sexiest guns to ever grace a movie set. I too had to rush out and purchase a S&W 29-2 6.5″ after seeing Dirty Harry and that jewel has been a safe queen in my collection for 45 years. Paid $350 for it almost new in the display case w/papers.

    Yes, I would love one of the new AM’s but unfortunately it’s a little out of my price range too. I just wish Mr. Henry would have placed a more reasonable price on it, say around $2000. Then maybe the average ‘Joe’ would have been able to purchase one and not be afraid to take it out and shoot it. If I spend $4500 on a gun I’m going to have to make love to it!

  • Norm Fishler May 17, 2021, 9:20 pm

    You watch , , , They’ll crank out 12-1500 of them, of which, if they’re lucky, MAYBE half will sell and the rest will gather dust for the next several years. Gun hacks will go into quivers of joy, but they still will not sell . . . Not at $4300. Finally, years later, the last few of them will sell at deeply discounted prices at which point, prices will ever so slowly start to edge back up to today’s MSRP. Factor in inflation and you have a sure fire lose/loose propostion.

  • Gary May 17, 2021, 5:53 pm

    After leaving the Army in late 1972, I bought 5 Auto Mags from the Sacramento Armory gun shop. Three had random serial numbers and two had consecutive numbers. As I recall, three were in the upper $200 range and the consecutive pair the low $300’s. I sold two to former Army buddies but still own a single and the consecutive pair.

    • Justin Opinion May 18, 2021, 6:56 am

      Wow. That consecutive pair, if in proper condition – are quite valuable! If you have kids, be sure they understand the value of those heirlooms!! Congrats on that early wisdom!

  • Alex McWilliams May 17, 2021, 5:26 pm

    Great article rekindled my interest in the Auto Mag. Need to find one. Also, loved the Wildey that James Bronson used.

  • A.K. for T-7 May 17, 2021, 4:41 pm

    Enjoy living in USA! I grew up reading Mack Bolan books here in Brazil. I got all his preferred guns for my collection: the Beretta 92 Brigadier, the Beretta 93R, the Mini Uzi and the Weatherby .416, but the main star was missing, the 6,5″ AutoMag… Now I will have to spend US$ 9,500.00 after paperwork and import taxes to get one in Brazil. Enjoy buying one in USA for less than half that!

  • Jb Walker May 17, 2021, 4:36 pm

    One may also consider the WILDEY.. heard they were coming back as well. Would love to see a 44 or 45 necked down to 357 for loading. HOT HOT HOT

  • Ti May 17, 2021, 3:07 pm

    Always wanted the full Callahan set for the collection. I.e – Automag, mod 29, .458 model 70.

    A co-worker had one of the AM iterations with a badge, case, mags, dies, brass -basically the whole nine yards. I wasn’t present when that came up for sale, unfortunately.

  • Leonard S. May 17, 2021, 2:19 pm

    While I love this old gun, for me it would be like owning a gun chambered for .50 BMG. If you can
    t get ammo or reloading components, you have an expensive paperweight. I like shooting the guns I own, but I prefer a 6-shot revolver over a 7-shot semi-auto. (And I don’t have to worry about jams).

  • Greg Lawritson May 17, 2021, 2:02 pm

    People collect expensive diamonds, art, cars, boats, etc. and don’t have to ask ‘how much’ ? I’ve owned every .44 mag wheel gun except the Anaconda as well as the discontinued Ruger Deerslayer, but would/will never put out over $4200 for a handgun. Just can’t justify it. I guess for investment purposes this new Automag has it’s place and buyers, but for most of us, the price is prohibitive IMHO.

  • John Sweeney May 17, 2021, 1:11 pm

    Contact Doug Beasley in Mass. for complete Auto mag info and photos. He owned and displayed the whole Auto Mag story, including Harry Sanford’s handmade prototype.

  • Philip May 17, 2021, 12:36 pm

    What took so long? I have wondered for years why some enterprising individual or company hadn’t picked up the 44automag residue, and resumed manufacture. Our family acquired a very early version out of the gate. At the time there wasn’t any commercial ammo available. The firearm came with a full 4 die set, thus we made our own ammo using a mix of 30-06 and 308 brass. As for recoil, the original automag recoil was rather unique in it tended to push straight back down the shooter’s arm rather than bucking upward as with a 44 mag revolver or similar. We followed the load data provided by the manufacture with some plus and minus variation. My then 10 year old experience shooter son had no problem handling the recoil of slightly lighter loads. Sadly our example disappeared during a messy estate settlement.

  • Todd May 17, 2021, 12:19 pm

    I have never wanted one of these and still don’t. Goofy fridge idea.

    Far too many things on my list for me to be bothering with this nonsense at all.

    That said, however, this was one of the best of writings that I have seen on GAD….. lately.

    The information imparted is wonderfully on-point in pre-answering questions on my part… Though, I really don’t care about these guns.

    The comparisons made between the *classic* A.M. and the new offering are VERY enlightening and go a long way to present a more pleasing view of this gun than the one many of us saw as *un-finished*. Doesn’t really matter to me though. Well… not too much.

    The photographic highlights of the new gun’s attention to detail are catalog-grade and not just fine photography to look at for its own sake but again – highly informative. Here too, I am immune to these photographic allures to a gun I generally have no interest in, you know, for the most part.

    Making a point of detailing the gun-specific ammunition and allaying some haters’ fear in that regard was an insightful inclusion even if I don’t…….

    Aw hell’s bells!

    I’ll admit it dammit…. I’m highly intrigued and due to the article – not really scared by the price.

    Damn fine job of writing this one up, Mister.

    Todd.

    • Justin Opinion May 17, 2021, 2:16 pm

      Todd – Thank you for the very complimentary comments, and the good laugh. – J.O.

  • donny barnhill May 17, 2021, 12:04 pm

    Just wanted to know if you have discouts for ssi (disabled ) or senior citizens. I have always wanted that firearm.
    )This will probably be the last firearm I will purchase. Just one thing I like to brag about is at the law enforcement Academy I brout the trophy home. Shooting 797 out og 800.

  • Kane May 17, 2021, 11:24 am

    I heard in 1 or 2 years tops, the mullett will be making a come back, big time.

    • Kane May 17, 2021, 9:36 pm

      My bad. I was trying to be sarcastic NOT disrespectful to anyone. Even though the “Dirty Harry” genre was well on the decline before he lost the Model 29 this Auto Mag. was the coup de grace, IMO. The plot seemed more like a marketing ploy to me and I would use my budget in a totally different direction.

      I sure hope that if this massive pistol can be manufactured then this a sign that Walther is close to turning out some back up mags for my PPK/S .22 that have been unavailable for over a year.

  • George Bexley May 17, 2021, 11:02 am

    I do not see the price as a problem. People are spending as much and a lot more on custom 1911 and AR platforms. It a matter of what you want, a BMW or a Ford.

  • Jack Lyon May 17, 2021, 10:57 am

    I have two 8 inch pythons. Perfect shape. Best blue finish, bought 45 years ago. No boxes..

  • Mike Brosch May 17, 2021, 10:42 am

    Your allusions to the similarities between collecting guns to collecting cars were right on. Sorta.
    I have both, cars and guns but I have never seen myself as a “hobbyist collector.” There is nothing hobby like about a good firearm or a good car, other than bragging rights for some. But novel is not the same as valuable except in some existential sense.
    My wife once gave me a $600 Shearling coat. I could never wear it because it was never cold enough and I was worried someone would steal it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love it. It just had some sort of baggage associated with it that I didn’t feel a need to carry around. Actually the same feeling I had for my 911 SC Targa. Absolutely the finest car I ever owned but too fine and too fast for prime time. So when a State Trooper in Georgia offered to buy it (after stopping me for going way too fast,… he had himself a Porsche.

  • Charlie Erb May 17, 2021, 10:25 am

    Big Daddy Justin, your Auto Mag review is terrific! Have shot and enjoyed burning 44mag ammo for many years. Took a nice fat 9 pt buck with a 44 Mag. But my 44’s have been shot through wheel guns. My Colt Annaconda 44 has had its share of shooting. I have shot Desert Eagles both 44’s and the big 50 AE. From your article, I would consider an Auto Mag. Still enjoy shooting my 1930 Mauser Broomhandle, both my 1906 Navy Luger and 1914 Artillery with shoulder stock. The most fun is an Astra F with shoulder stock. An Auto Mag has been out of reach. Could not find one. Maybe the Henry-Auto Mag 44’s will be available soon. Would be great to add one to my unusual pistol collection! I hate golf! It’s so boring! But a day at the range “ringing steel” with friends is fun! Keep up the great reviews Justin. You sold me!!!

  • Mel May 17, 2021, 10:21 am

    “Justin Opinion”, may be Will Dabbs, MD west coast adopted brother.

  • Latigo Morgan May 17, 2021, 9:42 am

    Oh, man that’s sweet!

    There was another movie with the Automag that never gets talked about. They actually go in depth talking about the gun, since the assassin/bad guy kills someone with one and leaves brass at the scene which the detectives wind up using to track down the origin of.

    It was one of those buddy cop movies like 24 Hours or Beverly Hills Cop. Not sure anymore which one, but I definitely remember the gun.

    Being a .44 Mag fan, an Automag has been on my bucket list for a very long time.

    I was even puttering around on Starline Brass’ website and found .44 Automag brass in stock a while back. It got me to thinking again….how hard would it be to build an AR-15 in .44 Automag?

  • Jackpine May 17, 2021, 9:35 am

    Shot the Auto Mag back when. The recoil was less than my S&W Mod. 58 using factory full power .41 Mag.s.

  • Rod Pontious May 17, 2021, 9:11 am

    I have a preproduction model with a ser. No. Of A01216 . Maybe now I can get commercial ammo instead of making them out of 7.62×51 brass.

  • Jake Jacobitz May 17, 2021, 8:16 am

    I was very excited when I heard it was going to be put back into production, and followed their progress on the website. Then magic happened, I had the winning big on an original. It was allot of money, but worth every penny. Yes, I do shoot it, and hunt with it. I took two whitetails with it opening morning three years ago. At 1250 fps one dropped where I shot it, and the other only went 15 yds. Nothing compares to an Automag.

  • Dr. Strangelove May 17, 2021, 7:59 am

    Why do people read about boutique firearms and bitch about the cost? It’s like reading a Car and Driver review of a Ferrari and saying that they’re too expensive.

  • Frank Plummer May 17, 2021, 7:39 am

    So you are going to price them out of reach for the everyday man . Thanks

  • Timothy J Stecz May 17, 2021, 7:29 am

    I have had five revolvers two rifles, all in the 44 magnum caliber. It’s a great round if you know what you’re doing with it it could be deadly. That 44 Auto mag, is something I’ve been dreaming about, it says is dirty here using it in one of his movies. That being said I did get the revolver in a couple different versions, but that being said I would love to purchase one of those one of these days, it’s my dream gun,Has been since the 70s

  • Steve in Detroit May 17, 2021, 7:18 am

    This deserves a Glock type brace, manufacture should anticipate at least 1 new owner wanting to mount this in some kind of brace thingy, so give it a interface point. If I had $$$$ to spare.

    • Fal Phil May 17, 2021, 9:51 am

      You are kidding, right?

  • Ej harbet May 17, 2021, 7:10 am

    Excellent article on a fascinating weapon.i grew up on mack Bolan
    In the executioner series using a automag to flatten badguys. I guess one of these becomes my latest bucket list gun joining a Joe chambers phat wmg 2019 and shooter grade red 9 Mauser and navy luger. Yes it’s expensive but if you have the means and desire do it.

    • MPStiegmann May 18, 2021, 6:08 pm

      When I saw Dirty Harry pull out the Automag on screen in “Sudden Impact”, my first thought was ‘Hey! That’s Mack Bolan’s gun.” I also grew up reading Mack Bolan, Able Team, and Phoenix Force.

      LOL

  • George May 17, 2021, 7:06 am

    While it looks beautiful, the cost is the prohibitive factor in purchasing one. Like a previous comment mentioned, one could buy multiple dessert eagles that shoot off the shelf (when available) standard rimmed 44 mag ammo, are just a accurate, and have no problem with super hot loads! While it’s nice to see remakes of the original pistols, availability, or lack of the availability of ammo and msrp put this on the back burner.

  • Chezwatts May 17, 2021, 6:52 am

    I went through an auto mag phase back in the late 80’s. I bought an AutoMag (TDE North Hollywood) real cheap only to find a bolt lug had sheared off and my seller had attempted to weld it back on. Quick call to company, warranty replacement – good as new. Also had a Wildey and a Grizzly .45 Winchester Magnum. Like I said, it was a phase. I traded that repaired AutoMag for a very fine 7mm Sauer rifle and a Ruger Super Redhawk pistol. Best deal ever.

  • Kb31416 May 17, 2021, 6:24 am

    I had an opportunity to buy an original 44Automag complete with a dvd of Sudden Impact at our local small town gun shop about 15 years ago, but $2,750 was out of my price range. A mistake.
    I have to add this to my very short list of guns that I don’t need but want to buy, probably right above a new Colt Python.
    I’m also surprised that the author didn’t mention that the original 44 AMP ammo can be made using.308 brass as a parent case (if memory serves), so it would not be that difficult to hand load for.
    (Time to empty the drool bucket….)

  • Min May 17, 2021, 6:15 am

    Almost bought one back in 1980 for $500 but backed out as ammo was to hard to find. Most people made their own by using .308 or 30-06 shell casings and cutting them down.

    Couple Dirty Harry movie trivia. One the first movie he shot a young black bank robber and uttered the famous “Do you feel lucky punk?” line. Go to the last movie Sudden Impact and that same guy is a cop Harry is out target shooting with,

    In Magnum force after Harry goes through the combat shooting course he reveals that he loads his .44 Mg wheel gun with .44 Special rounds.

    • Jackpine May 17, 2021, 9:29 am

      I’d heard years back that Eastwood & that actor were friends. You’ll see him in more than those two movies of Eastwoods.

  • Jay Smith May 17, 2021, 5:47 am

    Without looking at the article i figured , double the cost of a D Eagle .50 AE … I shot low it seems. While i appreciate the design & nostalgia , if i were going to blow THAT kind of money on a nostalgic pistol , it would be a tip-top Merwin & Hulbert or a 99% Python. Just my preferences. ( And i LIKE semi autos , but just can’t see them being as sexy as a good revolver , though the Automag comes very close ) . Now , if it ran on .44 Rem Mag rimmed shells ( as a teen , i thought it did , like the Des. Eagle does ) , That would bring it closer in desirability , imo.

    • Ej harbet May 17, 2021, 7:16 am

      I’ve shot a 50ae desert eagle. The recoil is insane and the gun doesn’t do half for me what a automag would. But the important thing is to enjoy the hobby and preserve the right to resist evil with the weapons you choose. And automag wouldn’t replace my self modified glock 19. But id have a lot fun with it!!!

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