I just got a 4" S&W model 24 .44 Special revolver. I'd been looking for one for a long time, and even though I just got a 3.5" model 29 .44 Magnum a few weeks ago, I couldn't pass it up. This is one of the limited production models they made in the 1980's. It's not one of the original 1950's models that are worth a fortune these days, but it's still a really fine gun and I can't wait to shoot it. I probably won't carry it very often, but I do have a Fist holster that fits it. Of course, I put Ahrends combat grips on it, as I do all my revolvers.
In the Spring of 2001, Lew Horton Distributors and the Smith and Wesson Performance Center announced the Heritage Series. This consisted of a wide assortment of anachronistically styled hand-ejector revolvers, and a couple of divergences including a version of the old .38 Combat Masterpiece as well as one of the late 19th Century break-top revolvers. The first entry into the field was a .44 Special with the full Doug Turnbull color-case and blue finish on top of some very superior metal work and polishing by the Performance Center. Even before the Lew Horton series, there was a blue.45 Colt Model 25 "Hand-Ejector" and a Model 10 with the parti-colored treatment. Some observers include these earlier, limited edition revolvers in the Heritage Series and, given the similarities in style, this seems to be a reasonable interpretation. Now, in October 2005, the remnants of the series still appear on the Horton web page (www.lewhorton.com) and include the Model 15 Combat Masterpiece, the Ed McGivern K-Frame and a couple of variations on the K-22. The large framed revolvers have been sold off to various distributors and both Horton and Smith and Wesson have moved on to other projects.
In 1905, Smith & Wesson was riding high on its Hand Ejector Series of double-action revolvers featuring a swing-out cylinder, 10 years before the Hand Ejector had been perfected to the point of starting to manufacture these revolvers on the I- (.32 cal.) and K- (.38 cal.) frames. However, plans for a new large .44-cal. frame were coming along. The first cartridge for this new frame would be an updated version of the .44 Russian round. Smith & Wesson’s engineers lengthened the case by .360" and added 3 grains of black powder to a 246-gr. round-nose bullet yielding a muzzle velocity of 755 fps from a 6" barrel. The new cartridge was christened the .44 Smith & Wesson Special. Smith’s new revolver would be called the .44 Hand Ejector First Model.