44mag Load for Deer Hunting


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DROCK
July 9, 2013, 04:28 PM
I'm using a 44 mag Ruger SBH for deer hunting this year. Looking for some advice from those who hunt deer with a handgun. I plan on taking a high shoulder shot on deer so I will be penetrating bone. Do you recommend using 240gr or 300gr bullets? I'm looking at the Hornady XTP HP factory ammo.

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jack44
July 9, 2013, 04:35 PM
Well I have not hunted deer with my super black hawk I use 18.5gr.of 2400 with a BTB 300gr.

Patocazador
July 9, 2013, 05:22 PM
I don't like the idea of hollow points for deer hunting with pistol bullets unless you can put them in the lungs .. no shoulder. Use 240 soft points and you'll have a flatter trajectory and shouldn't have to worry about a deer's shoulder blowing up the bullet.
I had a Hornady 250 gr .45 HP/XTP blow up on a shoulder in a muzzle loader. A .44 is meant for higher velocities I believe but I just don't trust the HP/XTPs.

horsemen61
July 9, 2013, 05:59 PM
Please explain the "HIGH shoulder shot" to me? As this to me makes no sense to me I was always told
to take a lower shot as in right behind the front leg a few inches up not a high shoulder shot. especially since you are using a revolver and IMHO is a lot harder to be as accurate as a rifle, also at what distance are you planning on taking this shot.

sixgunner455
July 9, 2013, 06:10 PM
Hardcast lead with a wide-flat point, or a good old Keith SWC. They punch through the bones and leave a good, wide wound track.

DROCK
July 9, 2013, 06:19 PM
http://i1277.photobucket.com/albums/y487/Derek_Alberto/HighShoulderShot_zps86fa3828.jpg (http://s1277.photobucket.com/user/Derek_Alberto/media/HighShoulderShot_zps86fa3828.jpg.html)
"So what shot placement is the best. Neck shots worked well in this study, but they can be problematic because the target area is very small and there is a risk of wounding associated with the target. Potential problems include a shot to the esophagus or mandible. Also, spine shots can be ruled out as a recommenced shot because few shots are consciously directed at the spine. In other words, most spine shots result from shots that miss their mark high and incidentally hit the spine.
Based on the data collected in this study we feel that the best shot placement for deer is the shot directed at the shoulder. Traveling an average of only 3 yards, deer shot in the shoulder traveled significantly less distance than deer shot in the heart, lungs, or abdomen. Also, with such a short distance of travel, deer shot squarely in the shoulder did not generally leave the hunter's sight. In this study, the broadside shoulder shot essentially gave results similar to what most hunters expect from a neck shot. Presumably the broadside shoulder shot works well because it strikes part of the heart and or lungs which itself is a mortal blow. However, a shot through the scapula damages the brachial plexus which the central nervous system thereby rendering the animal immobile. It knocks the animal out and it never regains consciousness. Also, the shoulder is a very large target offering room for error; a high shot hits the spine, a low shot the heart and a shot to the rear hits the lungs."


Perhaps it isn't ideal for a handgun? Not sure...but I want to try it out. I will be keeping shots under 40 yards. With a bow I always aim for the lungs.

jstein650
July 9, 2013, 06:33 PM
Granted I use them in a '92 rifle, but my go-to is the one in the rear, 300gr WFN over max. charge of H110. That all copper one looks cool, but don't think I'd use it on a big whitetail.

Texan Scott
July 9, 2013, 08:30 PM
Granted, I've always hunted with long guns, and our deer are on the small side... but I've never seen an animal walk away from a well-placed 240gr JSP.

Of course, in a revolver, velocities would be lower, but I'd take a 240 over a 300 for that reason alone.

It doesn't take a high tech bullet, either. In a caliber like 44mag, the dumbest cast lead swc you can find on a hardware store shelf will work if you put it where it needs to go.

Magnuumpwr
July 9, 2013, 10:46 PM
I use 300gr SJSP ammo loaded on the hot side. A shooting buddy worked this load up to take hogs with a super redhawk. Needless to say, they were too hot for him to shoot, they caused him discomfort to sight in. On the other hand, they are perfect for my marlin rifle, I have shot 3 deer with it and did not have to track the first one. I am wondering, how bad is the expansion using 240gr SJHP's?

Torian
July 9, 2013, 10:50 PM
I used these 240 grain bonded JHPs. Did fine on penetration.

http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_35&products_id=117

flipajig
July 9, 2013, 10:57 PM
A 240-260 grain cast Boolit with a big meal plate gets my vote
My load of 19.5 grain of 2400 out of my SBH running 1260 fps or my Tender running 1470
Should get the job done.
Flip

tnelson31
July 10, 2013, 10:31 AM
11.0 grains Unique with a 240 gr SWC cast bullet

yzguy87
July 10, 2013, 03:31 PM
My taurus silhouette likes 240 grain ammo so I'd choose it. I have a Ruger sbh but the gun and I aren't an accurate pair because I can't control the recoil.
I can shoot the silhouette better bc it's heavier and has a smaller grip.

Zeke/PA
July 10, 2013, 05:06 PM
I shoot 11 grains of Unique behind a Speer 240 grain jacketed hollow point in my Super Blackhawk. Very accurate combo and I've taken several deer with it.

buck460XVR
July 10, 2013, 06:55 PM
If you are delegated to using factory ammo and insist on using HPs, and shooting a deer high in the shoulder, I'd go with the 300s. I use 240gr JSPs and get a hole on both sides regardless of whether I hit the shoulders or behind them.

41 Mag
July 10, 2013, 07:10 PM
Not that I was wild about the video, I watched Lynn Thompson of Cold Steel Knives take down plenty of big game using factory Hornady 300gr XTP's. Some of which I was truly amazed.

He was hunting Australia for hogs and some water buffalo as well. I know if it put the buff's down it will drop a white tail as well.

I doubt seriously you will get much expansion with the 300's even smashing into the shoulder of a white tail. Their bones probably won't offer much resistance and they will probably act more like a solid than a HP.

Of the two you mention I would say shoot which ever is the more accurate or which ever you shoot the best.

DROCK
July 10, 2013, 09:03 PM
I used these 240 grain bonded JHPs. Did fine on penetration.

http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/cat...roducts_id=117

Those look good! Never seen them before.

Looks like 240 gr is the way to go with the Ruger SBH. I also believe that as great as the high shoulder shot seems to be for an easy tracking job, a shot behind the shoulder is the better option for a handgun.

mike28w
July 10, 2013, 11:12 PM
Hey Mr. Drock !

That was an interesting quote ( from a study , I believe). I would like to read the whole study.

Can you mention the source ( or link) for that study ?? Thanks, mike

critter
July 11, 2013, 08:30 AM
Ruger blackhawk hunter: 240 JHP over a good dose of H110. I've taken deer and hogs with this combo. It has always worked well for me.

I have one I recovered from the off side hide of a 6 point whitetail taken at 55 yards that could well be used in a bullet commercial as it is an absolutely perfect mushroom.

If you absolutely insist on complete penetration no matter the shot placement, use a good, hard cast 300 grain.

Either one will kill critters given appropriate shot placement.

Good hunting.

kim breed
July 11, 2013, 09:24 AM
Shot placement is the key. I use SWC's in a light load with unique. never had to track one. heart lung shots.

DROCK
July 11, 2013, 09:18 PM
Hey Mr. Drock !

That was an interesting quote ( from a study , I believe). I would like to read the whole study.

Can you mention the source ( or link) for that study ?? Thanks, mike

Mike, I copy and pasted the quote into my hunting notes last year and dont remember the source. I believe i found it on Archery Talk forum. Interesting stuff, though!!

Torian
July 12, 2013, 12:15 PM
Those look good! Never seen them before.

Looks like 240 gr is the way to go with the Ruger SBH. I also believe that as great as the high shoulder shot seems to be for an easy tracking job, a shot behind the shoulder is the better option for a handgun.
Doubletap and Underwood ammo both make great loads in the .44 magnum if you want full power loads without having time to hand load.

Buffalo Bore has some crazy powerful stuff, but I haven't gotten his 340 grain +p+ to cycle well in ANY lever action.

If you are looking for some serious hardcast loads, Garrett Ammo makes some of the best 44 magnum and 45-70 hunting grade ammo in the world.

http://www.garrettcartridges.com/44hammerhead.html

Kernel
July 18, 2013, 02:01 AM
The XTP first came out in 1990 and I started deer hunting with the .44 cal version in 1991. Have used them every year since, both the 240 gr and the 300 gr. Used them in pistols, rifles, and muzzleloaders. Only handloads. I shoot which ever weight a particular firearm shoots best. In over 20 years shot a lot of deer and could never tell any difference in the terminal performance. They’re both fantastic. Given my druthers I’d go with the 240 gr. Less recoil, shoots flatter, and IIRC a little less expensive (for just the bullets). Don't think there's any need to go over 300 gr for deer, and even then, that's probably more than what's necessary.

BudgetBucks1
July 19, 2013, 04:03 PM
I have taken many deer with a .44 magnum. None were longer than 50 yards away but when the shot was placed directly behind the leg in the boiler room I have never seen a deer go more than 30 or 40 yards. All died. .44 is a great close range deer round. If you shoot the deer in the shoulder you are ruining alot of meat and it is pointless. Trust me, there will plenty of blood trail to follow after shooting a deer with a .44 magnum. Just keep the shot in the recommended range and it will exit the other side just fine. I use a 240 grain and it is all you need and more.

PapaG
July 20, 2013, 03:01 PM
Lyman Keith 429421 cast of wheelweights, 20 grains of Alliant 2400, and take a lung or lung heart shot.....your choice of location for shot placement is not one of my favorites. Too much chance, for me, of missing anything vital. Your target is softball sized, mine is loaf of bread. Your choice, not mine.

geo57
July 23, 2013, 09:18 AM
While many super heavyweight bullet fans will swallow their gum on hearing this, even a 180 gr. JHP kept at modest velocity will kill even large deer quickly if the hunter will wait for and limit himself to a near broadside shot and avoid heavy bone. Years ago I used a bulk 180 gr. JHP out of my Ruger SBH .44 mag over just enough Blue Dot to run them to about 1275 FPS. One evening from a tree stand I took a whitetail buck broadside from about 12 yards. He wheeled at the shot going to one knee and ran about 50 yards leaving a blood trail you'd had to have seen to believe. The bullet hit him about half way up and a few inches back from the shoulder, exited the far side, and left golf ball sized holes in the chest cavity.

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