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44 Magnum Ammo Advice

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by cratz2, May 2, 2003.

  1. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    Hello all. I plan on taking my SuperBlackHawk out this year to hopefully get a buck. Here in Indiana, at least where I'll be hunting, most deer taken range from 125 - 225 lbs.

    I think I'm set on using Hornady XTP loads but for game in this range, is there a general consensus on using the 180s, 200s or 240s? Max range will probably be 125 yards with a 50 - 75 yard shot being much more likely and I would say that adequate shot placement won't be an issue. And the gun has been MagNaPorted of that has any bearing on weight choice.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. PALongbow

    PALongbow Well-Known Member


    Any of the XTP's that you mentioned will do the trick for deer, however I like the 240 grain XTP's over H110 powder. I get plenty of velocity and like a little heavier bullet when hunting deer sized animals.

  3. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Almost every gunzine article about that sort of hunting speaks to the heavier bullets. Seyfried in particular goes for the heavy to very-heavy.

  4. Swamp Yankee

    Swamp Yankee Well-Known Member

    Alternate bullet suggestion.

    FWIW, this year I used the Speer 270 grain Gold Dot over a healthy charge of H110 with excellent results. I loaded hot. When I recovered the bullet, expansion was good. Penetration seemed much better than the 240 grain HP I had used in the past.
    Gun used was a Marlin 1894P but I believe you would see similar results from a handgun.
    Take Care
  5. 5pins

    5pins Well-Known Member

    The only buck I have taken with a handgun was with a 240gr XTP. The range was about 30yds or so. The bullet completely penetrated. Shot hit just behind the right shoulder. The front legs collapsed then he jumped up and ran about 30yds. I think the XTP did a great job and would recommend it. However this was before heaver bullets were common. I would use at least the 240gr.
  6. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Well-Known Member

    I've used the 200s, 240s and 300s........taken one deer with the 200 and several with the 240 HP-XTP. I load up the 300s primarily for black bear (haven't got one yet).

    The 240s are usually the standard which other loads are judged by. Some people in the know will say all you need is a 200gr bullet for deer, saying the heavier bullets are too much. I shoot a Super Redhawk......and it really likes the 240-300 gr bullets so that is what I use.

    Try the 240, see how it shoots in your gun.
  7. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the replies. I've put a box of the 240s through and 4 boxes of the 200s. My buddy has taken four deer with this gun using the 200 Grs at my suggestion. Funny, I was confident suggesting the 200s to him (in part to help keep recoil down as he was hunting with his son) but for me, I'd not so sure.

    In all honesty, something tells me to use the 240s. Well, see... hopefully I'll be able to tell you guys what I used and how effective it was in thread in 7 months or so. :p
  8. mohican

    mohican Well-Known Member

    It might be just me but the light stuff does shoot well in my rugers

    I would go with the 240 xtp, starline cases, Federal primers, winchester 296 or aa#9 powder

    The 300 gr xtp is also a good choice
  9. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    One thing to think about, if you're shooting through brush, or perhaps at a heavier animal. I'm sold on the effectiveness of Garrett Hammerheads for really big stuff, and have discussed this ammo with Randy Garrett and others who really know their stuff. As a result of these discussions, I came to agree that one of the best "factory" or "mass-production" .44 Magnum hunting loads is the Federal 300gr. CastCore. I've tried some, and was reasonably impressed. They have a relatively broad meplat, and plenty of energy, and I think will shoot right through both shoulders of a deer in the weight class you describe without any problem. You might want to check out a box and see what you think...

    BTW, my personal take on hollow-points for deer hunting in a .44 Magnum or .45 Colt is that they're gilding the lily. You're already punching a half-inch hole through the animal, and imparting shock, so why worry about expansion that may or may not happen? The old reliable solid works for me... at least, the deer I've shot haven't complained about it! :D
  10. RCL

    RCL Well-Known Member

    Of the bullets you mention, I would go with the 240 XTP. I worked up a load for a buddies 629 Smith using this bullet and 24 grains of H110 with a CCI 350 primer in a WW case, shoots great in his gun and he has taken several deer with it.
    One load that I have used in my Bisley SuperBlackhawk .44 was the Nosler 250 gr. Partiton over a max charge of H110; it worked very well in that gun.
  11. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    240 gr winchester soft point is one of my faves, along with a custom 300 gr. xtp, but thats a stout stout stout load.
  12. keano44

    keano44 Well-Known Member

    I also hunt deer with a SBH. The load I have settled on, and recommend, is the 240 gr. HP/XTP with H110 powder. This combination has proven itself for me both on paper and on deer, and hogs. I've been well pleased with it, and see that others above have also recommended the same. (I remember once recommending this load to Ron-PALongbow. Glad to see it worked out for him.)
  13. longbeard

    longbeard Member

    I've got a question for all you handgun hunters. Do you use earplugs when you hunt? I shot a 9mm once without hearing protection and it was kinda painful. Swore I'd never do that again. Can't imagine what a .44 would be like.

    FWIW, I used the 240gr HP/XTP bullet in my muzzle loader last year to take a big doe. At about 50 yds. it went clean through both shoulders, knocking both front legs to the ground.
    It made for a quick kill, and I wouln't hesitate to use that bullet again.
  14. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Well-Known Member

    Nope........don't even remember hearing the shot(s).....even though I know I fired the gun......same as with a rifle.

    You will hear little ringing when things calm down.......and any ringing in the ears is bad..........just part of the sport. Its not like its a sustained 50 round target session.
  15. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    For hearing protection when hunting, I've only been deer-hunting twice and didn't have protection either time. I've done a fair bit of coyote hunting since then and after the first night out, have always had it with me. I like the small type that has the rubber plugs and a rigid connector that goes around your neck. Small, light, don't get in the way and if you have time, they're quick to come up.

    If I do take this revolver out this winter, I will be shooting from a stand, I will be alone and will definately have my ears with me. If it wasn't ported, I'd be less insistant but being ported, I'd rather miss the shot than take a shot without my ears on. I'm a musician and love listening to music... no deer in the world is worth damaging that. ;)
  16. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Well-Known Member

    After being in the military for several years.......and hearing lots of big bangs.........hunting for 20+ years.....listening to all those '70s classic rock bands growing up....I do have some high pitch loss in my left ear.
  17. PALongbow

    PALongbow Well-Known Member

    Between keano44 and Steve they have given me some great loads using the 240 and 300 grain XTP's. Both loads out of my SRH shoot hole in hole at 25 yards and I have gotten some really great groups at 50 yards as well. I use H-110 powder with both bullets.

    The nice thing that I noticed while testing the 300 grain bullet and Steve's load is that my scoped SRH has the same point of impact as my 240 grain XTP load. I can use either load without having to adjusti the scope out to 50 yards.

    The only thing is that the 300 grain XTP load is really stout compared to the 240 grain XTP load. I'll probably try both loads for deer this season and do some more shooting over the summer with both load combinations. The goal for this season is take a deer with the SRH. I figure if I can shoot deer with a longbow and wooded arrows the 44 mag SRH should work.


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