If there was ever a cartridge that evoked mystique among shooters it would have to be the 44 AMP for use in the 44 Auto Mag pistol. Essentially a rimless 44 Magnum round, the actual loading of 44 Auto Mag ammo intimidated a lot of potential shooters when the round and gun were introduced over 50 years ago.
The main reason for this mystique and intimidation was that factory ammo was almost non-existent for the 44 AMP. Cartridge brass had to be made by hand and shooters had to load all of their own ammunition.
In the late 1960s, shooters wanted to see a 44 Remington Magnum pistol in a semiautomatic configuration. Pistols were starting to gain in popularity for their ease of reloading by means of a detachable magazine and the 44 Magnum was a hot handgun hunting cartridge at this time.
Most engineers thought the task would be impossible as the "Most powerful handgun in the world" would require a strong and heavy pistol to fire safely and reliably. The large rim of the Magnum revolver cartridge did not appear very friendly to extraction and ejection either.
The pistol design was ready by 1970 and the following year, Harry Sanford would establish the Auto Mag Corporation in Pasadena, California.
44 AMP was designed in 1971 in order to chamber in the 44 Auto Mag pistol. Instead of designing a pistol to handle the rimmed 44 Magnum cartridge, a rimless version of the round was developed.
An empty 308 Winchester or 30-06 Springfield brass case was cut to length and a .429" diameter bullet was loaded into the case mouth. With the proper loading information, this ammunition paralleled the rimmed 44 Magnum and would cycle the semiautomatic pistol.
Over the years when Auto Mag pistols were being produced under various company names, some ammunition manufacturers would put 44 AMP into brief production runs. Very few of these manufacturers kept 44 AMP ammo in production when the pistols stopped being manufactured.
.44 Automag: Firearms, Hunting, and Uses
44 AMP ammo was only chambered in the 44 Automag pistol and no other major firearms manufacturer ever built a gun that would chamber the cartridge. It basically is used for the same role that 44 Remington Magnum was intended for such as hunting, target shooting and metallic silhouette competitions.
As a hunting round, 44 AMP has been used successfully against deer, black bears, feral hogs, and wild sheep.
Despite depictions in various pulp novels or action movies of the 1970s and 80s, the 44 Auto Mag was never used by law enforcement to any significant degree.
.44 AMP Ammo from SBR Ammunition
Southern Ballistic Research (SBR) Ammunition produces 44 AMP ammunition loaded to the original 1971 load design and ballistics. This has been done in conjunction with extensive pressure and velocity testing, along with firearm function testing with older pistols and with the new models from 44 Auto Mag Inc to help ensure the best possible performance in either generation.
For maximum performance, SBR uses Hornady XTP bullets in the 240 gr JHP (jacketed hollow point) load. This is an excellent choice for hunting deer or for self-defense, provided the shooter can handle the recoil.
As always, do not confuse the 44 AMP with the 44 Remington Magnum cartridge, they are different rounds and are not interchangeable.