.44 0r .45?


March 12, 2010, 07:21 PM
i want a good hand gun for hunting white tail deer in michigan and as an around the woods side arm but i cant make up my mind i like the herritages cheap price and the .45 long colt/.45 acp but i dont kno is .45 colt a big enough cartrige to drop a deer? ive hit them with 12ga slugs and had them runn away.

my other option is a ruger the price is a little higher than what i wanted to pay but i could use buffalo bore ammo.

third option is a ruger .44 magnum plenty of power but its heavy and expensive both to buy the gun and the ammo isnt cheap either

what do u guys think i should go for?

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March 12, 2010, 07:26 PM
Hot .45 Colt is on par with hot .44 Magnum, in some loads it can even slightly outpace .44 Magnum, with the really heavy bullets in both calibers.

Don't know how a Heritage would feel about those kinds of loads though, is it an SAA clone?

March 12, 2010, 07:26 PM
The .45 Heritage is a good gun, for what it is.The .45 Ruger Blackhawk is in a whole 'nother league. Think of the Heritage as the minor leagues; the Blackhawk is the all-star team of the majors. You can CAREFULLY build loads for the Ruger than will quickly loosen almost any other .45 revolver and will be knocking on .44 Magnum power/velocity.

As far as .44 vs .45, they will both let you shoot full-power loads or mild loads (for the .44, use .44 Special data), and the .45 convertible gives you the option of .45ACP - potentially cheaper plinking ammo. I don't shoot either, so I can't comment on ammo cost, except the ACP.

Either the heavy .45 or .44 will kill deer equally dead. Bullet placement and bullet selection are dual keys to a successful hunt.

Full disclosure: I have a .41 Magnum Blackhawk because I got it for a song and a dance.


March 12, 2010, 07:30 PM
to NG VI yes the herritage is a Saa clone and i did ask them a message asking about the buffalo bore ammo

March 12, 2010, 07:36 PM
Good information so far. I'd go with the .44, but I'm biased since it's one of my favorite calibers.

You can get great hunting rounds for the .44 from Cor-Bon. They also make some serious rounds for the .45 Colt. http://www.dakotaammo.net/CORBON-Hunter/300/300/dept

Good luck - and have fun.

Arkansas Paul
March 12, 2010, 08:11 PM
Not trying to sound like a d*** but if deer are running away when you shoot them with 12 gauge slugs, you need to spend some time at the range, because the problem is shot placement. I'm not saying they'll drop in their tracks every time, but if you put a slug through the lungs, they won't get far.
As for the question of the two calibers, I was faced with the same decision a couple weeks ago. I went with the .45 Colt. I handload though. You HAVE to handload to get the most out of the round. Factory ammo is weak and loaded down. There's not a heck of a lot of difference between it and .45 acp in factory loads. If you handload however, you can get .44 mag performance with less pressure.
If you do not handload, go with the .44 mag.
That being said, even the factory .45 Colts are enough for whitetail. They're not that hard to kill. Just know your gun and know it's limitations.
I'm not trying to be a brand snob or anything, but get the best you can afford. I went with the Ruger Blackhawk and was out the door, brand new for under $500. I don't know anything about the Heritage though. It very well could be a good shooter. Hope this helps.

I would post the link, but I don't know how. I started a thread a while back called Handgunning for Whitetails. There is a lot of useful information in it. Not because of me, but because the guys here are awesome. You should be able to find it with no problem with the search feature.


March 13, 2010, 01:11 AM
I would agree with Arkansas Paul. You'll need to reload to get what you're wanting out of a .45LC. It you're going to do that, you might as well get the .44 and load for it. You'll have a lot more diversity and a wider range of power. Light 44 special is less recoil than a 22 WMR. And then there's the full house 300gr magnum rounds...

I load about 6 different types of rounds between the two, from plinking, target, hunting, SD, etc. It's nice to have that much diversity with ONE gun. If you're going to reload, a .44 magnum will definitely give you diversity.

I'd go with the 44.


David E
March 13, 2010, 02:17 AM
.44 magnum is easier for the casual handgun hunter, due to the plethora of suitable factory loads.

That said, if you're that concerned about the price of the gun and the price of ammo, then it doesn't sound like you're going to practice enough to attain the skill necessary to humanely hunt deer with a handgun.

Instead, buy more slugs and practice more with your shotgun.

March 13, 2010, 02:23 AM
+1 for the 44

March 13, 2010, 06:37 PM
+2 on a .44 magnum, and I agree with Arkansas Paul.

dagger dog
March 13, 2010, 07:48 PM
Do the Heritage line revolvers come with adjustable sights? Most SAA clones do not , just due to the fact that such revolvers are used in CAS or SASS and want to be true to the era in which they were actually used, although there are niches in both that allow adustable sights..

If you are wanting a hunting .45 or .44 caliber revolver you definitley need adjustable sights, and for the most velocity, energy you can wring out of either caliber for clean one shot kills it would be better in the longer barrels. Either will cleanly take even the largest deer.

Factory loads for .45 Colt caliber are kept within the standard working pressures (approx 15,000 psi ,cup) because of older guns were designed only to withstand those type pressures. Modern technology( better metals and hardening processes) has brought the .45 Colt up to near working pressures for the .44 Magnum (approx 30,000 psi, cup), with these revolvers the trend has been to loading the .45 Colt to +P levels.

Some ammunition companies offer loadings into the 25,000 psi cup levels in .45 Colt + P, for hunting big game, but the old 255 gr standard black powder .45 Colt round that was around from the conception of this cartridge was capable of 900 fps from the 7 1/2" barrel. Bambi doesn't stand a chance.

You can find used.45 Colt BlackHawk.44 Mag Super Blackhawks, for reasonable prices, and as Arkie Paul stated if you don't handload go for the Super in .44Mag just for the factory ammo choice.

March 13, 2010, 08:26 PM
Good comments so far. Whitetail deer are NOT that hard to kill . . . or to drop quickly. It is all about shot placement and if the OP is having trouble with 12 gauge slugs I question his experience as a hunter.

Sloppy riflemen with scopes and high power rounds can get away with some terrible shooting and still take meat home but handgun hunters truly have to know where to put the round and then be about to put the round in the right spot 100% of the time. Doing otherwise is inhumane, IMHO.

That being said, either a hot loaded .44 Magnum or an equivalently loaded .45 Long Colt round from a handgun is equally as effective in putting 'em quickly in the dirt.

I've handgun hunted for years and my favorite round and handgun is my 6" barreled S&W Model 29, topped with an unmagnified Bushnell Holosight. My round of choice is a 300 grain, flatnose, hardcast bullet, the Federal "Castcore" hunting round. It will work extremely well on those big Michigan whitetails.

Good luck . . . and really work on accuracy and shot placement and you'll find handgun hunting both rewarding and extremely satisfying.

Here's my rig . . . highly recommended . . .

March 14, 2010, 12:53 PM
Heres my Taurus 44 mag, I use the Hornady LeverRevelution 225 grain. Just added the redhead red dot.


March 14, 2010, 12:56 PM
Go with the 44 mag. Yes, you can load up a 45 to nearly the same velocity. But you also increase pressure. The Ruger Blackhawk is a great gun in .44 mag and pretty affordable.

Finally, ammo for 44 mag is probably the same price or cheaper than 44 LC. Both are expensive. You can really serve yourself well by handloading these cartridges.

March 15, 2010, 05:29 AM
If you don't reload I'd for sure go with the 44.

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