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44 MAGNUM for Elk

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Arizonagunrunner, Feb 11, 2013.

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  1. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Seems to me like all us internet experts should be asking the OP how dead a .44 Mag kills elk, then the other way around.

    After all, he is the one eating elk steaks, and elk chili.
    Not the rest of us internet experts who think, in theory, it is too small for elk!

    How many westerners do you think fed themselves & their families on elk & deer 100 years ago with a 38-40 WCF or 44-40 WCF lever gun with half as much power??

    Like somebody already said, if you know how to hunt and get close enough for trajectory not to play into it?

    A .44 Mag carbine is every bit as effective as a 30-30 Winchester or .300 Savage.

    And those rifles have killed enough elk over the last 100 years to sink a pretty good sized ship.

    rc
     
  2. topher89

    topher89 Member

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    I personally wouldn't use it, I prefer a flatter shooting round that I can use at a longer range because of the area I hunt.

    If I was hunting the thick stuff and darker timber a 44 lever gun would be a great rifle and I wouldn't hesitate to use it under 100 yds.
     
  3. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    I also would bump the weight up to a 270gr sp and load to max or buy from BB or DT for a hotter round. It not hard to push a 270gr to right at 1950 to 2000fps from a 18" barrel.
     
  4. MattShlock

    MattShlock Member

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    I like the pistol and blackpowder comparisons. They put using the .44 Mag from a rifle in perspective. Of course it is addequate.
     
  5. The_Armed_Therapist

    The_Armed_Therapist Member

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    I know there seems to be some flaws with this reasoning, but there are flaws with every school of thought on this subject. I think it's generally helpful.

    I typically use momentum (mass x velocity) to compare the capabilities of various cartridges and loads. For example, a 240-grain bullet fired from a carbine should be giving you at least 1500 feet/second. That gives you 360,000. A 150-grain .30-30 traveling at 2400 feet/second also gives you 360,000. Theoretically, then, they should penetrate about the same.
    This is hardly cut-and-dry, however, since the .44 loses gas much quicker than the .30-30. I'm sure there are other factors, too, that are escaping me at the moment.

    What else gives about 360,000 of momentum?

    .44 mag..................240-grain, 1500 feet/second, 360,000
    .30-30 win..............150-grain, 2400 feet/second, 360,000
    .240 wby mag..........100-grain, 3400 feet/second, 340,000
    .25-06 rem..............120-grain, 3000 feet/second, 360,000
    .257 roberts +P........120-grain, 2900 feet/second, 348,000
    .257 wby mag..........100-grain, 3600 feet/second, 360,000
    .260 rem.................120-grain, 2950 feet/second, 354,000
    .35 rem...................150-grain, 2300 feet/second, 345,000
    .38-55 win...............255-grain, 1320 feet/second, 344,250
    6.5 creedmoor..........120-grain, 3050 feet/second, 366,000
    6.5x284 norma..........130-grain, 2900 feet/second, 377,000
    6.5 swede................140-grain, 2600 feet/second, 357,000
    7mm-08 rem.............120-grain, 3100 feet/second, 372,000
    7x57 mauser.............140-grain, 2660 feet/second, 372,400

    While there are arguments against momentum as a good determinant of performance, real-world experience, like the OP's suggests that there is at least something, generally, to it. All of those on this list are based on fairly common factory loadings. Many of them can be significantly higher or lower in momentum with different loads, and that's not taking handloading into account.
     
  6. The_Armed_Therapist

    The_Armed_Therapist Member

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    ...And don't people quite often take elk with a .44 magnum revolver?
     
  7. youngda9

    youngda9 member

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    A 44M solid will bore a 1/2" hole end to end through an elk. It is plenty of gun.

    Shot placement is key.
     
  8. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    It has always amazed me that a round that is touted as shere lightning as a handgun round can be so anemic in a rifle. When the 357 came out it was THE cartridge to own. It didn't matter if you were after mice or moose, the 357 could handle it. Then along came the 44 mag. The answer to end all handgun whoas. Now with the 454, 460, 480, 500 and a host of rifle calibers the poor old 44 is suddenly too small for anything larger than an alley cat.

    You took a fine animal with a round that was and is totally adequate for the job as long as you know it's limitations. Evidentally you do. To quote the great Yogi Berra, "It ain't bragging if you have done it. "
     
  9. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

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    Used to have a Winnie in 44 mag. A hardcast 44 just keeps on going. I never lacked confidence that it could drop anything I could get close enough to hit properly. The problem, then, is not the caliber ... it's ME. I either need to be a better shot, or a better stalker, or both.

    As it happens, I'm not an especially impressive shooter (just about anyone with a decent scope can outshoot me at 100 yds w/o one). Instead, I got better at getting closer. Obviously, up close, the 44 is enough gun for elk, as the OP is now eating elk. Nothing succeeds like success.

    ETA: in the Texas Hill Country, I've never gotten more than about 75-80 lbs of meat off a deer. They're SMALL. A 44 mag is a cannon by that standard.
     
  10. T.R.

    T.R. Member

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    I killed this cow elk with my 357MAG revolver because I'd left my .308 rifle back at camp. I was glassing a valley to hunt the following morning when this cow elk walked up behind me. First shot was 50 feet. Second shot was about 70 feet. Damage to chest organs, diaphram, and liver was most impressive for such a light cartridge. But the organ damage killed this animal quickly and humanely.

    In my opinion, 357MAG is lethal on elk within archery distances. But for longer shots, I recommend a .308 or 30-06 loaded with 180 grain bullets.

    44MAG is a good killer because it makes big holes in animals. And the bullets are designed for quick expansion which causes sudden organ trama as well. But it's still a revolver cartridge with distance limitations.

    Most of the elk I've toppled were 125 to 225 yard shots. This was an exceptional circumstance and a memory maker.

    TR
     
  11. lefteyedom

    lefteyedom Member

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    For about the same weight as rifle chambered for 44 mag, you could have carried one in 444, 45/70/ 450 Alaskan.

    When "hunting" I want to use a weapon that will give me the most ethical options. When hunting elk I choose ether a 338 win mag or 300 win mag,why? because ether will reach out to 500 yards ethically.

    It is not that a 44 mag won't kill an elk, (Elmer Kieth and the 700 yard shot) it is that there are better options. 16" barrel 308 ultra light....

    But if a hunter is willing to stay with in the limits of that cartridge go for it.
     
  12. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    niho - any shot you can make on a crippled deer that's hobbling away is a humane shot. The problem at that range isn't the anemic horsepower the .44 has - a hit will still have some effect. The problem is predicting the artillery-shell trajectory, and that's what would make such a shot a big deal.
     
  13. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    Of course a well placed .44 mag round will kill any elk that ever walked. I've got a buddy who does conversions on the 1894's to make them shoot the 330 gr garret hammerheads. which pushes the power level right up there with a factory .45-70 round. I'm actually thinking of having one done. What a cool little saddle carbine! That 330 gr hammerhead would punch through an elk length wise I'm pretty sure. She'd make a fine little timber cruiser no doubt.

    As far as the weight of an elk. The most accurate way to estimate the weight of an elk is to first convert to Actual Elk Lbs (AELBS) which is the effort required to carry an elk out of the field on your back with gravity and earth rotational force taken into effect which gives you the actual elk weight of an average sized elk in elk Lbs after you've packed it out on your back. The formula is simple, take the average live weight (ALW) + the distance to the truck (DTT) X the elevation climbed during recovery (EC) X round trips required(RTR), squared. that will give you a very close approximation to the actual weight of an elk hauled on your back.

    Example.

    Shooting an average sized cow elk that has a live weight of lets say 350lbs;

    350 (ALW) + 6 (DTT) x 900 (EC) x 4 (RTT)^2= 5,126,400 AELBS

    By the time you get the elk back to the truck your actual elk weight in AELBS is five million, one hundred twenty four thousand and four hundred lbs. This is proven a scientific formula and if you don't believe me just try it some time. You'd be amazed at the shear tonnage of an elk after doing a solo pack frame recovery .:D
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  14. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    My math major wife says you should have used ^2 for squaring the last figure in your formula. Her ultra-logical brain couldn't appreciate the joke once you divided by 2 (/2) instead of squaring (^2) the last figure. She's still fussing about it.

    I'm giggling at both of you - you for the funny thought of how much elk actually weigh, and her for fussing so much about math notation in an internet joke.
     
  15. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    Tell her I don't know what she's talking about???

    It looks fine to me?;)
     
  16. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    The .44Mag has killed every game animal on planet earth. Properly loaded, it will fully penetrate any elk that walks from any angle. Unfortunately no factory rifles exist that will feed the heavyweights but you don't need more than 270-300gr bullets for elk. The only limitation is range, of say 125yds.


    A "real rifle caliber" won't kill them any deader, only further away.
     
  17. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    There is a long history of large bore handguns and carbines killing very large game, not my first choice, not by a longshot, but in a pinch you bet I would put one down with a 44. Given a choice my 30-06 will do everything a 44 mag will do and more, with 300 more yards or effective range, a relatively flat trajectory, and probably a whole lot less tracking.
     
  18. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Like I said, all a rifle will gain you is range. It won't kill them any deader and I've never read of the Big 6 (or 7?) being taken with a .30-06. It is not even legal to do so in most countries. Step away from the energy tables. There's never a shortage of rifle hunters who have never hunted with a handgun and think they don't have enough energy to take big game.

    Although I would not recommend a generic 240gr for elk. The 270gr Gold Dot would be a much better choice.
     
  19. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Craig I am pretty sure the 06 has taken ever species of big game on at leased one occasion, I have heard of elephant being killed with an 06 and I have seen one put a CB down with one shot. A real long way from being ideal for that but put that little 30 caliber where is is supposed to go and it will surprise you.
    I am with you on the heavier Gold Dots, making sure you get through and through is the name of the game especially with a handgun cartridge, so a heavy bonded bullet is the ticket.
    Think of a slow heavy handgun bullet much like an arrow, it does not kill via hydrostatic shock. It kills by blood loss and disruption of the vital organs (not that a rifle does not they just have an added effect) You don't need or even want a large amount of energy dump seeing as energy is in short supply, just make a 1" PWC through the sweet spot and they might run, but they won't make it far.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Agreed.
     
  21. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    Here is my experience with the .44 mag on big hogs. On big hogs (please note that I said BIG hogs not little 100 or 150 lbers I'm talking fully mature thick shielded and big boned boars) the 240 gr soft point factory stuff is pretty unreliable out of a hand gun or a rifle. However when you step up to hard cast or bonded bullets they tend to do pretty good. As mentioned before using a modified rifle that has been made to shoot the 330 gr garret hard cast stuff out of a rifle you'll get 1600 to 1800 FPS depending on barrel length. I've found that this bullet will generally give full penetration with an exit even on the largest hogs. Out of pistol it will give good penetration but will not match what a rifle will give you.

    Within muzzle loader range or shotgun slug range with the right bullet a .44 will obviously kill just about any animal on the planet. As with any low expansion low velocity round unless you hit the neck or the head the critter will generally run off and bleed out usually leaving an impressive blood trail but they don't tend to hit the ground from a vitals shot like they can do with a high velocity hard expanding rifle round.

    The .44 mag is what it is a pistol round. It is not and it never will be a centerfire rifle round of any consequence.
     
  22. fdashes

    fdashes Member

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    The 44 in a rifle and the 44 in a pistol are two completely different animals. Like one of the posters' replied...has the elk become harder to kill in the past 75 years. Davie Crockett and Daniel Boone would have loved the .44 and they did well for themselves with alot less.
     
  23. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    In testing the 180gr TSX (the deepest penetrating expanding bullet IMHO) out of an 06 drive through 42" of 10% BG, from what I have seen quality Keith style SWC hardcast they will reach that same range with 44mag speeds, nowhere near the shock damage, but that means less meat damage too. I am a newbie to 44 mag, only been loading it since last Dec, but I have been impressed thus far and would not hesitate for a second to use on game. BTW those wide flat nose hardcast do make a wound wider then the caliber of the bullet, how much wider depends on the velocity, anything over 1100fps impact speeds it becomes very noticeable. I have said it before and I will say it again, a large caliber, heavy, flat nose, non-expanding bullet is the most efficient killer in the ballistics world per ft/lbs energy as it relates to firearms (razor edged arrows are even more so)
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  24. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger Member

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    Sounds like the elk died. Big bore handgun hunters discovered that big heavy bullets in excess of 1200fps or so tend to kill even large animals very dead. You just happened to use one of those rounds out of a rifle and your results speak for themselves.
     
  25. kd7nqb

    kd7nqb Member

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    Buddy of mine takes his .44mag elk hunting every year and he has a local guy load him some special loads that I know are over 300gr I think they are 320 but I could be wrong. I have shot exactly 2 of these rounds out of his dan wesson and that was plenty enough for me. But he takes elk with it many years.
     
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