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Thread: Alaska Backpacker Ammo

  1. #1
    Member Limetrude's Avatar
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    Question Alaska Backpacker Ammo

    Topic: Alaska Backpacker Ammunition Ballistics

    I have looked over past posts, and while the subject has been touched upon, I have found no definitive answers regarding the Alaska Backpacker Ammunition that is available at various stores here throughout Alaska. I have heard it may be manufactured in Anchorage or on the Kenai. My questions are as follows, has anyone:

    1. Determined, who in fact is the manufacturer of this brand, and where is it manufactured. Address and contact information of the manufacturer would be helpful as well as it does not seem to be on any of the boxes.

    2. Obtained from the manufacturer the ballistics and data regarding this load, specifically for the .44 Magnum loads (there is 300 gr semi-jacketed, and I believe 320 or 340 gr hard cast lead round).

    3. Shot some of these rounds through a chronograph to determine their velocities and energy at various ranges?

    4. Actually used these rounds on big game thus far? If so with what results and under what circumstances (ie stopping a grizzly charge, hunting black bear, finishing off a moose etc..)

    I believe that this thread should seek to stay on this topic, of conclusively determining the ballistics and effectiveness of this round. It seems many of us (myself included) have carried this round without knowing many of the details associated therewith. I for one am of the opinion that we should know as much about that to which we entrust our lives.

    To date there has been some discussion on the forum that anyone that would not publish their contact information on the ammunition they sell must not be proud of their product; while a valid concern I believe there may be other reasons and regardless would like to determine for all who do use this round, whether it is a quality, reliable round and from a trustworthy manufacturer. I would like to open this discussion to other calibers as well, but am personally seeking answers with respect to the .44

    Let us see what we dredge up amongst the many knowledgeable Alaskans that peruse this forum, please answer as many of the above questions as you can, plus your own commentary or questions about the round.

    Lets start the database!

  2. #2
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I carry the 320 grain hard cast in my 44 I don't have answers to your question but my "wrist meter" says they are pretty heavily loaded and the tree meter says they will blow a big hole out the back of a 2' thick cottonwood. I would also like to hear answers to your questions.

  3. #3
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Ak Backpacker Info - hard to find

    Great idea.

    Best info I've found was from Murphy in March. Try this link, but agree info hard to find elsewhere.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...kpacker+SAMMIE

    Murphy did some independent research: "... I have pulled the bullets from all of these and weighed the powder charge and bullets. What I've found indicates that..."
    Last edited by Murphy; 04-30-2008 at 21:09. Reason: Did I really type that?

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    Limetrude,

    Aside from the previous thread linked by 6XLeech, I will say this about that ammo.

    I have shot it and chronographed it and dispached an ailing bull moose with it and I have examined it carefully and this is what I think.

    I cannot tell you positively it is loaded with Hodgdons H110 powder; but it is. I've burned up a ship load of that powder and I will recognize and when I load it back in to other cases it gives performance equal to H110 or W 296 (they are the same powder).

    I cannot tell you what the pressure is for the loads but I can tell you I have loaded the same bullet, the 430" 320 grain WLNGC, to the same and slightly higher velocity as this ammo and shot a lot of it in various Ruger 44's. I do not think the pressure is too high for any standard 44 mag revolver but I do think the recoil will shake the S&W and maybe others loose sooner. So I don't load it in my S&W M29. It will also shake the big Ruger redhawk loose sooner. It is a heavy load with a heavy bullet.

    Nor do I know the maker, but I have made a lot of the same stuff with the same bullets and will do it again. It is an almost duplicate of the Corbon with the same bullets.

    The Backpacker 44 320 grain hard cast over the chronograph.
    4" Redhawk 1180 fps, 5 1/2" Redhawk 1217 fps, 7 1/2" Redhawk 1289 fps. (The charge was, on average, 19.1 grains of H110 powder, the bullet was a cast performace WLNGC) Other than that I can't help much.

    The unsuspecting moose was down with severe spinal injuries and unable to move. His nose was pressed into the tundra but he was lying upright at least at the front and shoulders. The shot was taken down through the top notch, through the neck, into the brisket and exited between the forelegs, into the soft earth and as far as I know the bullet exited in down town Karachi, it was not found. Penetration was about 54" of moose hide, flesh and bone.
    Last edited by Murphy; 05-14-2008 at 11:46.
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  5. #5
    Member Limetrude's Avatar
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    Thumbs up More about Alaska Backpacker Ammunition

    Murphy,

    Your research has been much appreciated!

    Thanks for sharing your findings, it really has helped! Did you ever do any work with the AK Backpacker 300gr. loads for the .44? I am curious how these perform in relation to the 320 hard cast.

    Also with respect to your chronograph shots, at what range were you when you shot them? Just curious for my energy calculations.

    Just as a note for anyone who is interested, I shoot a S&W 629 and over the past 3 years or so I have probably shot a good 100 rounds of this stuff through and never, not once, had a problem with it.

    For everyone else out there, have you ever had a problem with this load or actually used it on large game? Thus far we have Murphy's dispatched moose to credit to this round, but that's it, more information is definitely needed. Keep posting please!

    I also figured I would calculate the energy for each of those chronograph velocities as a convenience for other readers:

    1180 fps --> 989 ft-lbs
    1217 fps --> 1052 ft-lbs
    1289 fps --> 1180 ft-lbs

    Lets keep looking!

  6. #6
    Member Limetrude's Avatar
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    Default Bump

    Been over a week, figured it was time for a bump... seems there is little interest in knowing what we have in our sidearms. If you have had any experience with this ammo good or bad, please take some time and share it.
    Thanks

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    As I said I have had very little experience with this ammunition, but I have used that exact same bullet, a Cast Performance 320 grain WLNGC. I have used it extensivcely on several animals many of them quite large and heavy. It's performance is now as then and as it haas been since Elmer Keith's day. It will exit even the biggest of beast and leave a large hole in the parts at which it was pointed. I have taken dozens of animals with these loads and they work.

    The Alaska Backpacker ammo is no different from my own loads or Corbon loads or any other load with that or another similar hard cast bullet. P-E-N-E-T-R-A-T-I-O-N. Penetration is all we can hope to get from big bore revolvers. Expansion isn't needed.....it is already 44 (or 45 or 475 or 500 )caliber and expansion will reduce penetration which could keep the big bullet from getting to the vitals.

    That is handgun hunting or specifically big bore revolver hunting. They just poke a big hole in the animal. They are not stopping guns, they are not high energy guns, they kill by penetrating through what ever they hit. An arrow fired at the blistering speed of 300 fps still just pokes a hole in the animal. A hole with knife blades which let out a lot of blood. We don't care about energy levels of an arrow, and we shouldn't care about energy level of a big bore revolver shooting a heavy hard cast bullet.

    I make lots of ammo for big bore handguns, I've done it commercially for many years. I can tell you it will work very well if directed at the right spot. At this low velocity, there will be no magical shock effect, just penetration. That's what we want, that's what we can rely on.

    Ammo is just the culmination of four components; brass, primer, powder and bullet. The bullets are good, made usually by Cast Performance or LeadHeads, or Beartooth. The primers are CCI-350 large pistol magnums almost exclusively, the brass is made by Starline for most of these commercial heavy load makers and the powder used for all is Hodgdon's H110. I can duplicate it with mundane mediocrity, ad infinitum. If you shoot factory ammo, that stuff is as good as any of them.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  8. #8
    Member Limetrude's Avatar
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    Default Thanks to Murphy

    Thanks Murphy,

    I follow your logic there just fine, I was hoping that maybe we could actually track down a name and address for the manufacturer here on the forums.

    Additionally, I have heard varied reports from several people by word of mouth regarding feelings that this ammunition is unreliable, or conversely absolutely great, and according to one source of whom I choose to remain skeptical, that 3 rounds out a pack of 18 acted as though overcharged with powder or bullet too deeply seated (larger blast, more recoil, and more difficult to remove from cylinder than any of the others) I believe he said he was shooting a S&W .44 Model 29.

    My question is not just on the performance, but also the reliability. I was hoping to attract some people who have shot even a few boxes to put in their two cents and let me know if they have ever had any problems (or just none at all) with the ammo, and if so, in what gun and under what circumstances.

    If I don't get any bites on this bump I plan to just let it go, I have enough information and experience with the ammo to be satisfied myself, was just hoping to compile something for the forums knowledge base for future persons seeking info on the backpacker loads. If there is no interest, so be it. I do want to thank you Murphy, as you have provided a wealth of information here. My hats off to you and many thanks.

    -Limetrude

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    Default backpacker ammo......

    This is a very informative thread, thanks to all. I too have been wondering about the Backpacker ammo. The most important question still remains unanswered - who is making it and why can we not find them?

    I have a Marlin 45-70. I saw a box of this product in Walmart and honestly shyed away from it. No address or product info in the label. I can't trust it. And Walmart was of no assistance in obtaining the Backpacker company information. Based on my reloading experience, the bullet used was a Cast Performance product. I just load my own with the Cast Performance bullet.

  10. #10
    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    I find it hard to believe that it is so hard to find company name and info on this ammo. Cant you go to a gun shop and ask the guys behind the counter to look up purchasing info for it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    ....I do not think the pressure is too high for any standard 44 mag revolver but I do think the recoil will shake the S&W and maybe others loose sooner. So I don't load it in my S&W M29. It will also shake the big Ruger redhawk loose sooner. It is a heavy load with a heavy bullet...
    Murph, I have a S&W 29-3 (5") and am wondering about what you said above. Do you feel that it is a less quality firearm than a ruger? If so, what things do you need to look for when they start to "shake loose"? I haven't fired any of these heavy loads from my 29 but wondered what to look for if I do. Thanks and sorry for the thread-jack limetrude....

  11. #11

    Default Cast Bullets and 29s

    Before you get too far into whether your N frame will stand up to a lot of heavy loads (probably not), you'll need to check the OL of a loaded round to see whether it protrudes out of cyclinder.Chances are it will with any 320 cast unless seated and crimped very deeply.

    Another possible issue is that your front sight may not be tall enough to zero this load at say 25 yards.Unless you have Pachmyers on your Smith, you won't enjoy the recoil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7STW View Post
    Before you get too far into whether your N frame will stand up to a lot of heavy loads (probably not), you'll need to check the OL of a loaded round to see whether it protrudes out of cyclinder.Chances are it will with any 320 cast unless seated and crimped very deeply.

    Another possible issue is that your front sight may not be tall enough to zero this load at say 25 yards.Unless you have Pachmyers on your Smith, you won't enjoy the recoil.
    I shoot 320s out of my Smith with over 1/8" to spare in the cylinder. At the velocity Murphy mentioned (1286) it's not bad at all to shoot with the open back Hogue grips. At 1346 it's not pleasent but it's no problem for a couple of cylinders at a time.
    Vance in AK.

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  13. #13
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default More info on Backpacker ammo...


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    Default And from the ATF: "black powder (antique) ammunition"?

    Continuing the thread for more info about this ammunition. After Murphy's comment (an earlier thread?) about the Lic # on this ammo, I emailed (May 15) the ATF for more info, then sent f/u email this AM. Below is reply from ATF this AM. Gotta add, the emoticon from the ATF surprised me. However, looks like a dead end:


    From: Daisy.D.Correa@usdoj.gov
    Subject: RE: Ammunition information request
    Date: July 10, 2008 7:18:09 AM AKDT

    Thank you for contacting the ATF's Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC) with your e-mail inquiry.

    I apologize for the delayed response. I thought I had forwarded to you the response I received from Firearms Technology Branch. According to them, we would not have ammunition information for black powder (antique) ammunition. They advise you google it then call the factory.

    Again, I deeply regret all inconveniences caused by my delayed response. I hope this has been responsive to your e-mail inquiry. Thank you for allowing the FFLC to assist with your inquiry and/or concerns.

    Sincerely,
    Daisy Correa
    Customer Service Specialist :-)


    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 10:12 AM
    To: Dwight
    Cc: Correa, Daisy D.
    Subject: Re: Ammunition information request

    Dear ATF,

    Just doing follow-up on my May 15th inquiry:

    I am seeking information about the manufacturer specifications for:
    Alaska Backpacker Ammo, 44 Magnum, 320 gr. GC Hard Cast Lead, which
    is sold and widely carried for wilderness trips here in Alaska.

    The container for this box of 18 rounds contains little other package
    info, but does include: "Loaded by Lic# 3E-35273. Because I have
    not been able to find other information, I hope you might have a
    suggestion.

    If you can direct me to a helpful other source, I will be happy to
    follow-up.

    Respectfully,

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    Default alaskan backpacker 44 300 grain.

    Can you shoot this in a titanium revolver? Recoil doesn't bother me but my gun exploding does. Thanks

  16. #16
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default S&W titanium revolvers and Backpacker ammo...

    Quote Originally Posted by tnjquinones View Post
    Can you shoot this in a titanium revolver? Recoil doesn't bother me but my gun exploding does. Thanks
    tnjquinones,

    From another thread (http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...kpacker+SAMMIE), here's at least S&W's reply on the question from last year:

    Dear Smith & Wesson,
    I am the satisfied owner of a 329PD, which I carry while hiking and fly fishing in Alaska. ...I [read] a posting found on an Outdoors website, raising the question of safe loads for this pistol. ...am currently carrying Alaska Backpacker ammo, 320gr GC Hard Cast cartridges in .44Mag for this pistol…

    1. Will shooting this load void my warranty?
    2. Have there been "break the gun" issues with heavy factory loads?

    RESPONSE from Smith & Wesson: "Hi. as long as the ammo you choose meets S.A.A.M.I.E. specs you can use it in our guns."

    Good luck.

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    Default

    I know this is an old thread, and i hate to bring up the dead, but today I was at the PX and didn't research this ammo prior to buying it and left with 20 rounds of the 400 grain 45-70 alaskan backpacker ammo. So I figured what the hell I may as well run it through my new stick. Also, I had 20 rounds of the Hornady Leverloution 325 grain ftx to compare it too.
    I apologize that I don't have any pictures but I must say the Alaskan Backpacker rounds shot exceptionally well. As expected the recoil was more than the hornady and the groups were about a half inch to 3/4 inch lower at 50 yard but the groups were equally as tight. Also, I found the alaskan backpacker to feed smoother into the magazine tube.
    Once again i apologize to bring up such an old thread, but since I haven't heard from anyone who has shot their 45-70 loads I figured I may as well let you guys know how it shoots.

  18. #18
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    lildevock,
    There's been consistent interest in this ammo, which gets good marks from all local reports I've read. Thanks for adding to the knowledge base, which was Limetrude's original intent.
    As far as adding to an old thread, I for one appreciate having good information in fewer good threads. Maybe the search function has become trickier to utilize, but for whatever reason there seems to be quite a bit less research, replaced by the convention of starting new thread after new thread on the same (sometimes old) subjects. I think sometimes the quality of the information thins out.
    Well, enough of that. Appreciate your post.

  19. #19
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I am still holding out hope that we will once again see a built in google search bar within the main forum page... Losing that one of the biggest downfalls of the last major forum software release!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I am still holding out hope that we will once again see a built in google search bar within the main forum page... Losing that one of the biggest downfalls of the last major forum software release!
    The orange search button on m4carbine.net works wonders and the other one on that site is C-R-A-P. Maybe we are fighting a similar issue...

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