Almost every time the subject of "what's the bullet of choice for a 44 mag" comes up, folks start rattling off some sort of 300 grain hardcast bullet.
Please, if anyone has ACTUALLY shot a bear in a DLP situation with a hardcast bullet tell me (us) about the results. You know, how fast did the animal go down, penetration, internal damage, etc.
Why do I ask? I shot a black bear in a DLP situation 2 summers ago. He repeatedly raided my ice chest in a campground and was obviously a problem bear. Anyway, I finally decided to kill him. The distance was 9 ft, I shot him with a 300 grain hardcast bullet from my .44 mag redhawk. I shot him square in the shoulders (broadside) thinking that would put him down on the spot. Wrong. I truly believe I hit my mark (9 ft away!) since I had a dead rest from my closed tailgate (I was camping in the back of the truck) yet he bolted away and after 2 hours of searching - no bear. The blood trail petered out. Yes, I believe he died, but the results were rather dissapointing.
I believe that a true hardcast bullet is a poor choice. Why? They punch a .44 caliber hole going in, produce minimal internal damage, and leave a .44 cal hole going out. A .44 cal hole through the shoulders didn't put my trouble bear down. There is no joint or knuckle bone to break in the shoulder, just a scapula and muscle tissue, right.
Bears are not constructed of steel armor like a lot of folks lead you to believe. I guess because they have big scary claws and large canines folks think they are built like a sherman tank! I mean, do we recommend hardcast bullets for moose that are 3 to 4 times larger than interior bears and are constructed of heavier bone, muscle, and hide, NO! I've harvested 3 interior grizzlies so yes, I know how they are put together.
A bullet that opens up and even sheds some weight would only need to penetrate, what, about 6" inches on a broadside shot and maybe 12" on a frontal shot to reach internal organs and it would do a lot more damage. Now, I haven't performed penetration tests on, say, a 240 jacketed hollowpoint. I suspect they WOULD penetrate the required distance to reach internal organs doing major damage on the way in? I guess I should try it.
Anyway, I'm not convinced that hardcast bullets are the way to go. Convince me otherwise with some firsthand results rather than spewing what others say.