.44 Magnum: Buffalo Bore vs. Doubletap vs. Garrett


April 27, 2007, 11:51 PM
I've been poring over the options in heavy .44 Magnum loadings for my hiking gun. Although my preferred bear defense round is a shotgun slug, I'd like to get the most out of my more-portable sixgun.

On the Doubletap side of things, we've got their 320-grain cast bullet at 1,300 FPS (http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_35&products_id=118&osCsid=efc106eea8e0d89d79ae8227f84050c2). The closest equivalent Buffalo Bore offering is their 305-grain cast bullet at 1,325 FPS (http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#44), although the latter is clocked out of an inch less barrel. Then there's Garrett Cartridges "Hammerhead" cast bullet: 310 grains at 1,325 FPS (http://www.garrettcartridges.com/products.asp).

Buffalo Bore's ammo is significantly more costly than Doubletap's and Garrett cartridges are pricier yet, but I can overlook the price difference if it accompanies a proportional quality difference.

Does anyone have any experience with these cartridges--or any other commercial heavy .44 Mag loads--that they'd be willing to share? I'm interested in recoil, accuracy, or anything else you'd care to share--especially if you've shot 'em out of a Super Blackhawk.

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April 28, 2007, 09:31 AM
Buffalo Bore 305 out of my Redhawk. The recoil is noticeably greater than regular 240 grain. It is a big, flat nosed lead bullet.
Good luck.

April 28, 2007, 10:20 AM
If you have a Super Blackhawk, you should be able to safely shoot just about any .44 Magnum load out there. You might also want to give the Grizzly cartridges a look, especially their Punch bullet loads. They're slightly slower but make up for the loss of velocity (which is minimal) with a lot of penetration.

April 28, 2007, 11:23 AM
Not to hijack this thread but could someone explain to me why it is safe to shoot.......... http://www.garrettcartridges.com/products.asp "scroll to the bottom of screen" these in a Redhawk but they do not list the New Model Super Blackhawk? I'm being lazy here I have to admit. I always was led to believe that the NMSBH would shoot anything you could feed it. There are some cartridges listed above that list the Blackhawk. Does anyone have an opinion?


April 28, 2007, 12:15 PM
I have a box of the double tap 320gr. hardcast that I shoot out of my RSB 7.5". The recoil is about what you would expect from a 320 at 1300+, nothing unmanageable. There is quite a bit more smoke than your average 240, but seems to be good quality along with perty accurate. On a good day I can hit milk jugs every time with my 44 at 60-70yds offhand. I am pretty sure the gun is way more accurate than I am though.

The reason I chose double tap over Garret/BB, is because not only is it around 1/2 the $. It also dosen't have a +P rating, not that I'm worried that my RSB couldn't handle it, it's just less wear on the gun at a cheaper price. I have not had any problems with DT ammo in both my 44, and my 45 ACP.

April 28, 2007, 02:40 PM
I shoot the 330 gr Garrett Hammerheads in my 5.5 in Redhawk. Offhand they shoot 2 inches for 6 rounds at 75 yards. Everything I have shot with them gets hit hard and doesnt shake it off very easy. Once i even shot a 2000 pound bull that stopped in its tracks.

April 28, 2007, 03:04 PM
Thanks for the info, everyone. Here's a picture of my new SBH. (Click for large version.)

http://how-i-did-it.org/img/sbh/tn_ammo.jpg (http://how-i-did-it.org/img/sbh/ammo.jpg)

Shawn Michael
April 28, 2007, 03:45 PM
The punch bullets as reviewed seemed to be the authors choice as the most "deadly" load out of a 44 and penetrated through just about everything he hit.....punching right through trees and stuff unimaginable for a pistol. I wish they made some .50's I would bring the camera and do some testing.

Sorry I cant find the link to the review. I thought maybe the author had some economic interest but they seem too good to be true, worth a look

April 29, 2007, 03:10 AM
I doubt there is too much difference. I fire the DoubleTap and Buffalo heavy .45 loads from my Blackhawk and they both feel about the same, which is to say they pop like the dickens. They are all heavy hardcast bigbore loads moving right along, and all are made by respected cartridge makers known not to exaggerate their numbers, so you probably cannot go wrong.

April 29, 2007, 04:37 AM
BUffalo Bore also makes a +P+ 340gr. that is short enough to shoot from Super Black Hawks as well as Red Hawks or Dan Wessons. Also you'll find one standard pressure Buffalo Bore load that is a hard cast 255gr. grain Keith (SWC) with a gas check--it is called "lower Recoil" HVY 44 mag. Plus Buffalo Bore makes three other 44 mag. loads that are in between (in terms of bullet weight and power) the two I just mentioned.

It should be noted that while "hard cast" bullets look like "lead", they are not lead. Lead is very soft (about 4 BHN) and most hard cast bullets will run at least 16 BHN. Many run 23 BHN. The trick is to get them hard enough not to deform on a big shoulder bone, but to do it in a way that the bullet remains ductile and not brittle. I cringe every time some one refers to our hard cast bullets as "lead".

April 29, 2007, 10:15 AM
I cringe every time some one refers to our hard cast bullets as "lead"

You can "cringe" all you want, but hardcast bullets are lead. They may be an alloy, but they are lead. Just like my gasoline has additives, that doesn't make it any less gasoline. Semantics? Maybe.

April 29, 2007, 07:51 PM
No they are not lead. Hard cast bullets have lead in them and that is where the similarity ends. In this particualr case, there is a big difference. 4 BHN (pure lead) is very different and will do differently than 21 BHN, when hitting living tissue. Also, the two will give very different results in accuracy and fouling in your barrel, under a wide range of varying circumstances.

When it comes to "guns" and ballistics and ammo and shooting, etc. I hear more inaccurate generalizations than I hear from any other field of endeavor. In a trade/sport where 1/1000 of an inch matters a lot, we should seek to be accurate in our representation, but I know I am anal--perhaps because if I screw up, the consequences can be staggering.

Jim March
April 29, 2007, 08:06 PM
Ruger's chamber dimensions for the 44Mag SA and DA differ slightly. The Redhawk and SuperRedhawk DAs will allow insertion of slightly longer and bigger loads than the SA chambers will. That's why there are Garrett loads that say "Ruger DA only".

It's not a strength difference.

Deer Hunter
April 29, 2007, 08:07 PM
The bear wont notice the difference between the three, I assure you.

April 29, 2007, 08:33 PM
I use Nosler 300 JHP. It's the heaviest jacketed I could find. I too don't want to shoot cast bullets even though the technology has surpassed wheel balance weights.

April 29, 2007, 11:29 PM
A very good (stiff) 300gr. jacketed bullet is the Speer. It is very tough and does not expand at handgun speeds, but will open up well at rifle speeds. So, if you want a jacketed bullet that acts like a solid, try the 300gr. Speer.

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