IMI Pistol Exptl?

I got this round a bit ago, out of the IDF Museum collection. They got it directly from some desk or trash bin at IMI, Natzeret. I’m not sure what it is, but I would guess that it was to be used in a Desert Eagle variant.

GM JHP, brass case, no primer.
o/a length - 39.68mm/1.5625in.
case length - 32.67mm/1.286in.
bullet diam - 8.96mm/.3525in.
shoulder diam - 11.48mm/.452in.
head diam - 11.52mm/.4535in.
rim diam - 12.92mm/.509in.


Looks like a very typical 44-357 Davis or the nearly identical 357/44 Bain & Davis wildcat from the 1950s. They came out in the late 1950s not long after S&W introduced the 44 Magnum. They never became popular because bottle-neck cartridges in a revolver have a host of problems. In a semi-auto, not so many. The 357 Auto Mag (rimless) is/was a kissing cousin and was chambered in the Desert Eagle, I believe.


Back in the early 1990s, “Gun World” ran a cover story on a Desert Eagle experimentally chambered for the .357/44 Bain & Davis.

The .357 AutoMag was never factory chambered in anything other than the AutoMag.

So this would be an IMI, factory-made .357/44 Bain & Davis?


I’m sure you are right about the Desert Eagle/357 Auto Mag chambering. Back when the Desert Eagle came out, I was pretty much out of pistol shooting and into rifles, but I thought I remembered a couple of my buddies who made their own barrels and played with the Auto Mag cartridges. But, I am probably remembering things that didn’t actually happen. I tend to do a lot of that lately.



Your subject title probably hits it. An experimental prototype. But, like all wildcats (and prototypes) what one man makes, another can make the same thing. It’s one of the reasons I got away from collecting wildcats, and prototypes.


True, but what makes it interesting for me is that I know exactly where it came from. If it came from a dig box at a show it would be anyone’s guess.

That’s true Jon. It has a lot of value to you. I don’t mean to belittle your cartridge, but it’s value will end when you do. I have a couple of really old wildcats that came directly from the original designer and shooter back in the 1930s that have a lot of meaning to me, but when I’m gone they will be just another 50 cent wildcat cartridge.


So…mine should be valuable for the next 40 years or so…right??? ;)

A collector who might collect specific to Israeli-made or Automag type cartridges would probably be interested given your provenance and connection to it. You might put something down in writing with a date & signature to go with it in the drawer?

Jonny, I can add that a Desert Eagle with a 14" barrel chambered for the .357/44 Bain & Davis that was first offered by Magnum Research in 1989. It was listed as “.38-44 Bain & Davis” caliber and it was also mentioned that "this one may be of limited production; if you want some for your store, better order early ".

Thank you, great confirmation!

I don’t know anything about this cartridge but just a gut feeling that any IMI factory prototype would be FMJ. Given IMI’s preference towards FMJ.

discount this view if you don’t think its valid

I have actually gotten a lot of IMI rounds over the years, and I would say that the majority of the larger caliber pistol rounds I’ve had have had either a truncated FMJ or the truncated JHP that this round in question has.


I have military prototype cartridges in my collection that are loaded with commercial soft point bullets. Whatever was convenient and available at the time.