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Thread: .44 Mag., bullets and hunting ?

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    Question .44 Mag., bullets and hunting ?

    The days of shooting a rifle may be behind me for good after the struggles of injury and complications which plague me so, I have decided to shift focus to the use of handguns if I am going to have any chance at hunting again.

    I have a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44mag. 7 1/2" and am thinkig of giving this wheel gun the first go but ,I have only handloaded for and fired this revolver at targets.

    After doing some reading and looking around for localy available bullets, I was able to find Swift A frame in 300grn, Barnes Buster in 300grn, 255 Keith hardcast by LBT and Speer Gold Dot/Deep Curl 270grn. I have ample supllies of Bullseye, H110, Win 296 and some Herc2400 powders on my shelf . The only bullet I have any reservations about is the Speer GDSP against thick moose hair and hide, the other three I would think would have superior performance over the Speer, but I have no experience first hand or otherwise any of these projectiles.

    For those of you with handgun hunting experience, particularly big bore, the .44mag and any of these bullets or prefered factory fodder, I seek your suggestions. Also, what are your pet handloads for this caliber ?

    Thanks you.

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    Iím no 44mag guy so Iím no real help on load data but I am a handgun hunter. Best hunting bullet (until speeds close to 2Kfps where XTP is better) is good heavy for caliber hard cast. And best powder you listed is the H110/W296 as long as you arenít hunting in below freezing weather, I prefer LilGun but H110 does fine except for the cold issues. Get the heaviest hard cast bullet you can and drive it 1100-1400fps, you want 1100fps at the moose so 1400fps gives you range if you can shoot it. Lee Stoner casts great bullets here in the Valley, he is a RO at the indoor range. Artic Ammo stocks his sometimes and P r i c k l y Pear brand which is also good quality.

    Thatís all there is too the load, good shot placement and it will stop a moose as well as a 338 but naturally you got to be closer to place the shot with a handgun. Got your load all set, now get some cross sticks and do a lot of shooting off them like you will be in the field. You get better and at the same time learn what shots you are capable of. Handgun hunting (at least for me) isnít much different than rifle hunting you just need to shoot a lot more to be able to hit anything at longer ranges, handguns are a lot less forgiving of rusty shooting skills.
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    I'm kinda torn. I've only shot moose with the hardcast, and frankly they didn't die fast enough for my tastes. Sure, moose are easy to kill, but they can take a little longer than deer or elk to decide they're dead. If a moose can make 100 yards before dropping, you could live to regret every step if it can find water or a bog.

    Enter the speculation phase of what I have to say: A tough expanding bullet that did more damage while still getting through the moose might stop it quicker. I quit using hardcast for deer in favor of expanding bullets and got much quicker kills, only recovering one bullet out of something over 20 I shot with the 44. I've killed two elk with hard cast and one with a factory Fedral HP because I wasn't really hunting when the op arose and the gun in my saddle scabbard was a Mini 14. That elk took two steps and folded, but both hardcast animals went 40-50 yards before dropping.

    You'd be restricted to strictly broadside shots with an expander, but still.... Obviously I don't think it takes all that much to kill a moose with a good shot, but lotta room for error. You'll certainly be able to afford a whole lot more shooting practice with the hardcast, and that's the clincher for me. If you don't stick your bullet where it belongs, it doesn't matter what side of the hardcast/expanding divide you stand on.

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    Thanks for the advice, guys.

    BB, I have similar thoughts and had intended to get Nosler partitions, but it seems that Nosler no longer has them available for handguns, so in light of that I have the strongest interest in the A Frames, then the Barnes, due to construction and 300grn pills. A moose traveling 40-50 or 100 yards after the shot is at all appealing. The advantage of hardcast still is in the running though.

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    Don't forget the Speer 270 Deep Curl's big brother: the 300 grain unicor. It's got the same exact bonded core construction, but is a bigger bullet. When loaded to the bottom cannalure, the dang things are only 1/8" from the edge of a SnW cylinder throats. It takes up no more powder space than the 270 deep curl. The two bullets have the cannalure at identical seating depths. I feel this is the best bullet out there for the price.

    I'm a new to the 44 mag so this will be the first hunting season with it.

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    I have a Ruger BH with a dot sight on it that I have taken black bear, moose and caribou with. For the most part I have used the Sierra 300 gr bullet and have not had any issues. I did shoot one caribou with the old 240 grain but I not sure I would use them again. I did not really have an issue with the performance of the bullet, just that there are other game animals that would need a better bullet.
    I have also cast some hard cast bullets that work well. I keep my shots under 70 yards so the 44 works well. One thing to keep in mind is that if you want to use the 44, you will want to shoot it a lot!
    What makes it so that you can not use a long gun? Another gun that I have used and is fun to shoot is a Savage Striker in 308 win. I have used this for sheep and caribou, and within it limits would have no issues using it on caribou.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I'm kinda torn. I've only shot moose with the hardcast, and frankly they didn't die fast enough for my tastes. Sure, moose are easy to kill, but they can take a little longer than deer or elk to decide they're dead. If a moose can make 100 yards before dropping, you could live to regret every step if it can find water or a bog.
    Well I do agree and that is why I ditched 45 Colt for hunting up here. I donít enjoy swimming for moose then being all wet and buggy while dismantling him! At the same time I wasnít willing to give up penetration ether, did a lot of hunting down south with expanders and after trying cast I was 100% convened thatís the way to go. Since I went to the 460 I havenít had one travel more than 35 feet with cast but there was SO much penetration that I have migrated back to expanders to hopefully drop them where they stand. Went with the XTP Mag and by golly she worked very good last year but 460 and 44 are apples and oranges. 460 functions more like a hand held rifle than a handgun so with 44 Iíd stick to cast for big bodied critters.
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    I'm on the side of the heavy cast but put it through the front shoulder rather than the standard heart lung shot. You put your boolit through one or both of the scapula and the odds are good he will be laying right where you shot him. Probably won't die immediatly but probably won't be going anywhere either.

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    There is absolutly nothing wrong with the .44 Mag using cast (I use 260 gr Keith 429421 or 300gr from an NEI mold) in wheelweights dropped in water or XTP's and I've been successful with them all on deer, black bear, goat, sheep, and up to moose.

    However, about 5 years ago I went to an Encore pistol with a 15" barrel in 7mm-08 and a Weaver 2-8x scope and it is just like having a rifle if you have a rest. It is pretty heavy to shoot offhand without a rest but it can be done inside 100 yds for me. Not that I do this often, but I did get two deer at 250 yds a few years back out of a stand with a good rest...both were DRT with a 120 gr.

    You can get Encore barrels in a lot of calibers heavier than the 7mm but the 7mm-08 kills just like a rifle with a pistol grip and the recoil is a lot less than the SBH with heavy bullets. It slings over your back or ties to a pack and you don't know it's there.

    IMHO, it's worth considering if you can't use a rifle anymore...or even if you can...besides you can buy other barrels in just about any caliber you want or have Bulberry make you one, but be careful because it is habit forming!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowrider View Post
    There is absolutly nothing wrong with the .44 Mag using cast (I use 260 gr Keith 429421 or 300gr from an NEI mold) in wheelweights dropped in water or XTP's and I've been successful with them all on deer, black bear, goat, sheep, and up to moose.

    However, about 5 years ago I went to an Encore pistol with a 15" barrel in 7mm-08 and a Weaver 2-8x scope and it is just like having a rifle if you have a rest. It is pretty heavy to shoot offhand without a rest but it can be done inside 100 yds for me. Not that I do this often, but I did get two deer at 250 yds a few years back out of a stand with a good rest...both were DRT with a 120 gr.

    You can get Encore barrels in a lot of calibers heavier than the 7mm but the 7mm-08 kills just like a rifle with a pistol grip and the recoil is a lot less than the SBH with heavy bullets. It slings over your back or ties to a pack and you don't know it's there.

    IMHO, it's worth considering if you can't use a rifle anymore...or even if you can...besides you can buy other barrels in just about any caliber you want or have Bulberry make you one, but be careful because it is habit forming!!
    Very good points.

  11. #11

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    I'm sorry you may have to retire your shoulder fired cannons ! But, you seem to have the right equipment to get you into the field as a handgunner. I would consider the Hornady 265 grn FNSP bullets for your application. They are designed for the 444 Marlin and should give a handgun some expansion without becoming a grenade, they also will not degrade your velocity as many of the heavier bullets will. Many of the longer bullets will eat up your powder capacity and require deep seating to clear the chamber end when loaded in a revolver. Good Luck !!
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    Yeah, the sawed off stockless rifles ( I have an issue calling them pistols ) come in a wide variaty of rifle calibers that can be very effective to 200 plus yds. An encore in 358Win would make a nice moose gun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Yeah, the sawed off stockless rifles ( I have an issue calling them pistols ) come in a wide variaty of rifle calibers that can be very effective to 200 plus yds. An encore in 358Win would make a nice moose gun.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lowrider View Post
    There is absolutly nothing wrong with the .44 Mag using cast (I use 260 gr Keith 429421 or 300gr from an NEI mold) in wheelweights dropped in water or XTP's and I've been successful with them all on deer, black bear, goat, sheep, and up to moose.

    However, about 5 years ago I went to an Encore pistol with a 15" barrel in 7mm-08 and a Weaver 2-8x scope and it is just like having a rifle if you have a rest. It is pretty heavy to shoot offhand without a rest but it can be done inside 100 yds for me. Not that I do this often, but I did get two deer at 250 yds a few years back out of a stand with a good rest...both were DRT with a 120 gr.

    You can get Encore barrels in a lot of calibers heavier than the 7mm but the 7mm-08 kills just like a rifle with a pistol grip and the recoil is a lot less than the SBH with heavy bullets. It slings over your back or ties to a pack and you don't know it's there.

    IMHO, it's worth considering if you can't use a rifle anymore...or even if you can...besides you can buy other barrels in just about any caliber you want or have Bulberry make you one, but be careful because it is habit forming!!
    I have little doubt that a T/C Encore is in my future. The 7mm-08 and .358win are both near the top of the list for barrels.

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