Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rare Weapons- .44 Auto Mag

The .44 Auto Mag was developed for handgun hunters to enable them to have a semi-automatic pistol with the same power as the .44 Magnum. Released in 1971 after several years of refinement, several versions have been produced and the weapon was manufactured until 2002, although the initial run was only about a year. The Auto Mag has been available in several different calibers, .44 AMP (Automatic Magnum Pistol), .357 AMP, . 41 JMP, .45 Win Mag, .30Carbine, and several others. Many of these cartridges are difficult to find and expensive, which helped to lower the demand for the weapon. However, handloaders do have the option of making new .44 or .357 AMP cases from .308 or .30-06 brass. The actual bullet is a .429 inch, 240 grain, brass jacketed round that is said to achieve a similar velocity to the .44mag. (1100 to 1350 fps). To help control the heavy recoil, the pistol has short recoil system with a rotating bolt with locking lugs that is reminiscent of the AR-15. It is fed from a steel single stack magazine that holds 8 cartridges.

The Auto Mag never found much favor in the shooting community and is mostly forgotten today. It is probably most famous for being featured in Sudden Impact, the fourth Dirty Harry movie. The combination of a new design with a new ammunition type is simply too daunting for most consumers. Fewer than 3000 guns were made on the initial run and they will fetch at least $2,000 today, if you can find one. Bad management decisions forced the Auto Mag Corporation to lose money on each pistol sold and a rush to start production meant that manufacturing was not always up to spec and costs were higher than profits. The Auto Mag was eventually produced under the name of 12 different companies and was produced in many different locations. It was a promising design, especially for its time, that was never fully explored or vindicated.

  • Chambering: .44 AMP (Auto Magnum Pistol) [10.74x33 mm] (1970), .357AMP[9x33 mm] (1972), .41JMP (Jurras Mag Pistol) [10.41x33 mm]
  • Barrel Length: 6.5 inches.
  • Overall Length: 11.5 inches.
  • Weight: 57 oz (3 lb 9 oz) [.44 AMP]; 54 oz (3 lb 6 oz) [.357 AMP].
  • Magazine: 8-round single-column box magazine.
  • Sights: Adjustable target sights.
  • Finish: Stainless steel.

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