The Auto Mag won’t be cheap, though. As mentioned above, the $5600 price tag might put this pistol out of reach for all but the most diehard — some say deranged — handgun hunters. If you’ve watched the online firearm auctions and the used markets, you know that original AMT Auto Mag Model 180s are desirable as collectible arms, fetching $3000 and more consistently, and they are very rare indeed. But for the gun owner who simply has to have a classy little slice of firearm history with which to kill big stuff, the AMT Kodiak makes the list. At this time, .44 auto mag ammo availability remains a lingering question mark.

A similar autoloader, the Wildey, built around the proprietary .45 Wildey and .475 Wildey Magnum cartridges, likewise underwent rocky ups and downs — into production with high hopes and suddenly out of business in the next breath. Tough-guy actor Charles Bronson is widely accredited with propelling interest in the Wildey, after he used the hand-canon to blow holes the size of Mack trucks into street thugs in the 1970s vigilante flick Death Wish 3. On the silver screen there are certain moments that get remembered, reflective of that culture. What makes the Bronson movie so amusing is that, ballistically speaking, the .475 Wildey Magnum is designed to de-spine a Cape Buffalo, so its use on a street punk at close range is, to put it mildly, overkill. In similar fashion, the AMT Auto Mag 180, which was built around the only slightly-less impressive .44 Auto Mag cartridge — a rimless .44 magnum — took the idea of righteous violence to new levels in Clint Eastwood’s film, Sudden Impact.

Click here to see a letter from Clint Eastwood written to Harry Sanford about the Auto Mag.

According to The Firearms Blog, “Wildey Guns, makers of the gas operated Wildly pistol, appear to have gone out of business sometime within the past year. Their phone has a message saying that they have ‘suspended operations,’ emails sent to them are bouncing and their website was last updated in August of last year.”

This is test 3 of the new plugin right here.

I’m sad to hear this, because the Wildey invokes similar emotions to the AMT. But I’m sure I’ll get over it come deer season, just in time to get my hands on one of these new Kodiak .44s. But, given the cost of ammo, the suit may have to wait.

To learn more about the AMT .44 Kodiak, Click here


  1. I just remembered that the AutoMag had a starring role in a 1980s Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry movie, “Sudden Impact.” In that movie, Dirty Harry graduated from his S&W M29 to the AutoMag, with satisfying mayhem as the result. As the old Lev Gleason comic books told us, “Crime does not pay!”

    I remember that back in 1971 when the original “Dirty Harry” flick debuted, there was a run on the M29. Everybody wanted one, and S&W — then owned by Bangor-Punta — just couldn’t keep up. The M29 was backordered almost overnight, and street prices soared well beyond MSRP. I dimly recall that the AutoMag enjoyed a similar sort of cinema-induced popularity but, since its maker was chronically undercapitalized, production could never meet that initial burst of demand and the public turned its attention elsewhere.

    Come to think of it, pretty much the same thing happened with the AMT 1911 Longslide when “The Terminator” came out. . . .

    Crime does not pay.

  2. I think the original version failed because of its extremely spotty production and lack of distribution. Most rep groups wouldn’t take on a small manufacturer unless deliveries were guaranteed, which they never were in the case of the original AutoMag. In those pre-internet days, there was no effective model for direct-to-consumer sales. Finally, big-bore handgun hunting back then didn’t exactly favor the semi-auto. (It still doesn’t.)

    Of course, the AutoMag was also competing with the various Rugers, S&Ws, and Dan Wessons, all of which were safe bets in comparison. Even today, the price of one .44 AutoMag will get you two Freedom Arms M83s.