The Auto Mag is (Really!) Back

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If you’re even passingly familiar with Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of Dirty Harry then you’re also familiar with his trademark .44 Magnum (the – at the time – so-called most powerful handgun in the world). And if you’re familiar with “Sudden Impact”, the fourth movie in the Dirty Harry series, maybe you also know about the Auto Mag. Or perhaps you know about the Auto Mag because it’s a badass pistol we’ve been promised another chance at more than once since its movie heyday. So where do things stand as of now?

First, a little company-related background. The original Auto Mag went out of production more than three decades ago. Manufacturing costs apparently outweighed sales profits which eventually led to the pistol’s initial demise which led to a revival as a collector’s item complete with higher price tag. Many attempts were made to keep the gun on the market but in 1982, it all came to a grinding halt. Then, last year, a private investor decided to get involved. They purchased the rights, plans, and even leftover components before setting to work bringing back the Auto Mag. Now, as we edge into the fall of 2016, it looks as though progress has indeed been made.

As of August 2016, Auto Mag is an officially registered trademark. The company is offering the lucky devils who already own Auto Mags their refurbishing services and caliber conversion kits will be offered soon as well. What calibers? We don’t know yet, but you can be sure we’ll let you know when we do. As for future Auto Mag owners, your day will come once the prototype is complete. Firearm manufacturing has come a long way since 1982 in more than a few ways, meaning the new company has to take everything into consideration from metallurgy to machining.

One good move Auto Mag has made is the choice to bring Laura Burgess Marketing (LBM) in to handle the media and marketing side. Marketing matters far more than many people realize – more than even some companies even seem to comprehend – and LBM is a solid choice. LBM will undoubtedly do their part to spread awareness of the pistol’s impending resurrection and will also keep us in the loop regarding future developments.

I don’t expect to see this pistol hit production-ready status until year’s end, but it’s worth the wait. I, for one, am looking forward to trying my hand at the Auto Mag. Who’s with me?

You can keep an eye on the Auto Mag by visiting this link: https://read.automag.com/

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katie.ainsworth

Katie is an avid shooter, hunter, military journalist, and Southern girl. Firearms are her passion whether at the range or on a spot-and-stalk after a big buck. She’s a staff writer at The Firearm Blog and writes about guns, hunting, and the military for various publications both online and in print such as Outdoor Life, Handguns, and Shooting Illustrated. Shoot her a message at ainsworth.kat@usa.com


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  • Major Tom

    Does it suck? I heard the original Auto Mag had….issues.

    • Tim Pearce

      So have I. I was under the impression that’s why they went out of business. The warranty work was wiping out their profits.

      • Paul B.

        That, and the fact that the early MSRP was actually less than what it cost to make the pistol. I read that the mfr. did that in order to get investors in early. I guess they thought they would make up for it in volume.

        Too bad it didn’t make it because it was a really promising design. I remember reading about them in the 70’s as a young kid, when I first started shooting. .44 AMP offered slightly more power than the .44 mag (a couple of hundred fps more with the same bullets) with somewhat less recoil (though still a handful). If you could not get ammo or brass, it could be made by shortening/reaming .308 or .30-06 brass. There were .30, .357, .41, and .44 cal.s all based on the same case.

    • DaveP.

      The original Automag had issues because of some bad design compromises (there are some parts that are prone to battering) and because of some materials issues (it was the Dawn of Stainless Steel; meaning special lubricants, galling, and other problems). Both problem areas can be remedied these days with better materials choices and some design tweaks that might even make the design easier to mass produce. If I ever see one, I’m more than willing to treat this version as its own gun.

  • sdo1

    Dirty Harry, Hell. Mack Bolan! The Stony Man made that gun famous.

    • HOLY$H!T man I haven’t thought about Mack Bolan in 30 years! I read those books in High School

      • Adam

        And they were a great read in High School… Surprised they never made a movie series out of the books..

        • Gunner4guy

          Found a complete set(at the time) of the Mack Bolan series for $2 at a yard sale – perfect ‘study material’ while taking care of business… til a rambunctious Lab (who thought the tub was for him rather than my wife) knocked them into the tub. Yeah, I’d sell off some of my safe queens for an AutoMag™…..LOL!

    • Kevin Craig

      I stopped reading Mack Bolan after the original Don Pendleton run of The Executioner, but… yeah. I came here to make the same comment.

      Mack Bolan was machining his own .44 AMP brass before Dirty Harry even heard of the .44 Magnum.

      • supergun

        But who made more money? But who was made more famous? Never heard of Mack.

  • Harry’s Holsters

    I wonder what price range these will come in at? Are they trying to make this a niche product or at least one gun in every town?

    • Gregory

      The price range will be between outrageous and no way in hell.

      • A bearded being from beyond ti

        So above 700 dollarez?

        • Burst

          A new desert eagle retails for 1700-2000 dollars.

          An updated gun that’s been out of production for 30 years? That hired an outside marketing firm? Even higher.

          • A bearded being from beyond ti

            I was being facetious.

        • Sorry friend, but it cost you $500 just to download the Jpeg of it at the top of the page– go ahead and get out your credit card.

      • Harry’s Holsters

        So Niche haha

      • gunsandrockets

        Costs less than a Barrett and takes up less space in the safe too!

  • This will make a fine range toy for any recent lottery winners.

    • Anonymoose

      I’d use it for hunting, but not really for the range. It’s a handloaders-only gun.

      • Tim Pearce

        Yeah, even with the fact that I can shoot “normal” ammunition out of my .44 Mag Desert Eagle, it’s not a gun you swing by the gun shop to pick up a case of ammo and go use it all.
        Even assuming this company produces a healthy supply of .44 Automag, I can’t imagine it’ll be anywhere near as “cheap” to shoot as even .44 Rem Mag.

        • DrewN

          Starline still has new brass, so it’s really not that costly if you roll your own. I actually usually do pretty well because everyone wants to shoot it and folks are happy to trade ammo for a chance to run through a mag.

          • Tim Pearce

            Oh, I recognize that, but I was basically agreeing with the sentiment of it being a “handloaders-only” sort of gun.

          • Sulaco

            Or cut .308 shells to correct length and go for that in the auto mag…

          • David169

            The .308 will work if you thin the case after you cut it off. The way to go was to cut off a 300 savage because it is the correct thickness already. My favorite was the 357 Automag. which was the 44 Automag necked down in the 357/44 Bain and Davis dies. A friend had one and killed 6 large hogs with seven shots in about 5 seconds. If my memory is correct his had a 10 inch barrel. I knew Harry Sanford and spent a lot of time in his gun store in Pasadena and in the shop when the Automags were being designed and made. I’m glad to see it coming back.

          • Sulaco

            Thin exterior or interior? Too seat bullets or fit chamber?

          • David169

            The pistol uses .429-.430 diameter bullets. The .308 behind the shoulder is too thick to seat a bullet and have the cartridge chamber. Way back when I was involved with this we only had tools to thin the outside of the case. It would be better to thin the inside and keep the outside without the tool marks. If you use the 300 Savage all you do is cut it off and its ready to go.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

  • iksnilol

    Hope they make one in .357. Could be a cool alternative to the Deagle for folks who don’t like revolvers but want a magnum.

    • Adam

      I paid $1500 for my TDE 357 Automag , but that was back in the 80’s… And got a 30 AMP Barrel.. a little later..

  • Swarf

    Never saw that movie, but I just watched the clip Katie posted.

    Must’ve been tough for Harry’s partner to go through the rest of his life completely f’ing deaf and likely with powder scorched eyeballs after Harry ripped off a full mag right next to his totally unprotected noggin.

    • Cory C

      Hahaha.

    • Gunner4guy

      The hearing protection is miniaturized, doncha’ know!

      Men were men back then when the flicks were made, not like the wimpy leading men we see now…., earplugs? We don’t need no stinkin’ ear plugs….!
      Eh? What’d you say, speak up, don’t whisper to ME, little man! ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  • Edeco

    Loiks uncomfortable to me. You know how CZ52’s have a bunch of meat below the hammer, so one can’t get ones hand up close to the bore axis. This looks worse because theres that big radius, looks like it would be wedging the hand down and open.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      The web of my thumb is bleeding just from looking at this.

  • The_Champ

    Pffff, .44 mag is alright I guess. Of course real men shoot .475 Wildey Magnum, just like Charles Bronson in Death Wish 3 😊

    • Ben Loong

      I have to confess the AutoMag and the Wildey were so similar in my memory, my brain lumped them as one and I had to double check that they were actually different guns.

      • supergun

        Quite a bit.

    • supergun

      I remember that one. Love those movies also. Bronson and Eastwood knew what Americans liked.

  • STW

    My only question about that film clip is why the two of them aren’t talking loud and saying, “What?” a lot ask they’re walking up to the targets.

  • JamesWWIII

    This is great news, but can someone please bring the Bren Ten back? And give us magazines for it this time? Guess VLTOR is never going to make this happen.

    I’ve got a pastel jacket in the closet I can’t wait to roll the sleeves up on. And yes, yes…before anyone starts, I know…”EAA Witness”. For those of us who grew up in the ’80s, it’s just not the same thing.

  • The_Champ

    Haha missed your comment earlier. You beat me too it! 😊

  • joe

    How about one chambered in 10mm Auto?
    It’s the only rimless magnum cartridge I can think of that could work that’s also comparatively obtainable.

  • Sulaco

    Can’t decide what the target buyers are. Rick man’s range toy? Maybe. Self defense doubt it, bear country carry? Pretty heavy for that what with all the other gear….I have my doubts this will go any better than the original version.

  • “The Stranger”

    You can have a vintage one for $1800.00 on gunbroker right now…

  • Kafir1911

    So, standing and shooting the Shiite and putting two 12 gauge rounds down range, then emptying two Auto Mag mags. All of this with no ear protection and still able to hear each other. Good stuff indeed. : )

  • Adam

    I approached them about 6-7 years ago about buying the rights and tooling, they were selling it for only $40,000 USD…. Sadly my pathetic excuse of a government would allow me to build them here.. But congratulations to them… I want a 357 Automag and a 30 Automag… As i still have the form and load dies from when i was a kid..

  • Adam

    My 357 AMP could easily drop 200 meter steel rams with iron sights , They were a very accurate semi auto…

  • dltaylor51

    There is nothing wrong with having another 44 mag automatic on the market,I love my two desert eagles but a 44 auto mag has a rimless head so brass can be made from the 308 win. if I’m not mistaken.Failure to feed has never been a problem with the desert eagle and the rimless head would work even better.

  • Dave

    But have they corrected the original design problems, insufficient bolt lug area in particular.

  • Joseph Anthony

    I’d be interested. I wanted a Wildy but they went belly up. I do have 3-LAR Grizzleys. One in .45 Win Mag, one in .44 Mag and a parked one I keep in .357 Mag. There was a piston conversion for 1911’s a few years ago. I’d like to get a piston conversion done in .45 Win Mag. It may be a dead cartridge to some- I still shoot my .45 Win Mag. I still want a full size Coonan in .357 Magnum.Too many other projects right now.