Firm to Revive Dirty Harry’s .44 Auto Mag Pistol

Clint Eastwood firing a .44 Auto Mag in "Sudden Impact." Photo: Warner Bros.Clint Eastwood firing a .44 Auto Mag in "Sudden Impact." Photo: Warner Bros.

Auto Mag Ltd is working to revive the classic .44 Auto Mag pistol popularized by Clint Eastwood as “Dirty” Harry Callahan in the 1983 movie “Sudden Impact.”

Based out of South Carolina, the new company has spent the past year re-engineering the iconic pistol using advanced materials in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, according to a recent press release.

“As the prototype process continues to progress, Auto Mag engineers are working to bring back the Auto Mag, better than ever, while taking advantages of the improvements in materials and manufacturing technology advances available today,” the release states.

The history of this much-loved and lauded pistol began in 1958, when firearms visionary, Harry Sanford, developed a pistol around the .44 Auto Mag cartridge, specifically for handgun hunting. Ten years later, through the efforts of a dedicated team of firearms designers and engineers, the big bore handgun was finally brought to market in small numbers.

The Auto Mag Pistol (AMP) was a full-sized semi-auto featuring a multi-lugged rotating bolt and was operated by the short recoil system. The AMP was machined from stainless steel with a 6.5-inch barrel and total overall length of 11.5 inches. The magazine capacity was seven plus one in the chamber.

The Auto Mag was expensive to produce and was under-priced on the market. It is estimated that Auto Mag lost $1,000 on every pistol produced, according to the press release.

Attempts to keep the production going by TDE, a holding company, proved unsuccessful even though the price was raised significantly to reflect the actual production costs and Auto Mag was re-marketed as a “collectors” pistol. In 1982, after several attempts to revive the pistol, Auto Mag threw in the towel and officially retired from the market place.

Then in 2015, after 40 some odd years of cult status, a private investor purchased the rights, plans and spare parts from the Sanford family. The new company, Auto Mag LTD, Corp. was formed.

Auto Mag upper proto on original TDE lower

Auto Mag LTD, Corp. will be offering owners of original Auto Mag pistols refurbishing services for existing models, plus new caliber conversions will soon be available, according to the release.

Visit read.automag.com to check out computer renderings of prototypes with difference finishes and other info.

About the Author

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox is a reporter at Military.com. He can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.