Saturday, January 09, 2010

Freedom Arms Model 97 .44 Special

Well, I've been putting together a sort of collection of different single-action guns but it has gone askew and I need to re-think it. However, one "goal" of the collection was to have an example of the Ruger, USFA, Colt and Freedom Arms in .45 Colt. I might be switching that chambering to .44 Special. You see, a Freedom Arms Model 97 in .44 Special came my way. Sort of. It got my attention and then hung around for months until I managed to cobble together the readies (one way or another) all the while thinking it wouldn't be there. It was. It has found its way to my greasy mitts. (the photo shown was taken by the former owner)

First thing about it that struck me was when I lifted the package. Very light. I expected more heft. Must have been thinking of the 83. It seems quite a bit smaller and lighter than the Lipsey's Flattop and more like the Smith and Wesson Model 696.

A bonus was that it came with two other front sights (they are interchangeable on this gun). The fit and finish on this gun surpasses anything else I own except for fit on my old Parker shotgun.

The company could produce/use a better box than the cardboard used. If stored in the safe, the gun will have to go into an MTM Case-Gard long-term plastic storage box. I don't know that it will spend much time in the safe once I get a holster for it.

The grip form on this gun is a bit unique. It has a different form than the Colt or USFA and is wider than the USFA or Ruger plastic stocks. It is as broad as the USFA Henry Nettleton but feels good in the hand. I think it will handle recoil well.

As to loads, my intent is to use the same load of 7.5 gr. Unique under the 250 gr. Keith bullet. This gun will allow a bit more oomph but, in deference to the other .44 Specials, I'm going to stick with the one load. This load as well as the Buffalo Bore product is pretty snappy in the little gun. Those that really want to ramp up the performance would likely need to practice. For myself, I see no need for more than the Buffalo Bore or similar handloads provide. If I need more I'll get out one of my .44 Magnums.

- Gun Digest Book of the .44 by John Taffin
- Freedom arms Model 97 .44 special by John Taffin
- Freedom Arms Collector Association 
- Bitterroot Trading Post in Hamilton Montana, 406-363-2525, Bill Neustrom

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