From Tactial Forums:

We recently initiated a test of .44 Magnum loads to determine the best general purpose load to be used in both revolvers and carbines for self-defense, field use, and hunting. The following loads were fired out of a 5” barrel S&W 629 revolver and 16” barrel Marlin 1894P carbine:

Federal 180 gr JHP (C44B)

Federal 240 gr JHP (C44A)

Federal 240 gr JHP Hydrashok (P44HS1)

Federal 300 gr LWC Cast Core (P44E)

Hornady 180 gr JHP XTP (9081)

Hornady 240 gr JHP XTP (9085)

Hornady 300 gr JHP XTP (9088)

Remington 180 gr JHP (R44MG5)

Remington 275 gr JHP Core-Lokt (RH44MGA)

Speer 270 gr JSP Gold Dot (23968)

Winchester 210 gr JHP Silver Tip (X44MS)

Winchrester 250 gr JHP Partition Gold (S44MP)

The load with the clearly SUPERIOR performance in both the handgun and carbine was the Hornady 300 gr XTP, with 20+ inches of penetration, consistent expansion in excess of 0.70” and superb weight retention. Unfortunately, I do not currently have time to type out the complete results, but here are a few random comments--the Hornady 240 gr and 180 gr loadings also performed well, the Remington 275 gr Core-Lokt was a good overall performer, the Remington 180 gr and Winchester 210 gr Silvertip loads had excessive muzzle flash, the Hydrashok fragmented badly, the Silvertip did well in the revolver and not the carbine, the Gold Dot did well in the carbine and not the revolver, the Cast Core has VERY deep penetration, but no expansion,

Bottom line—BEST overall .44 Magnum load is the Hornady 300 gr XTP.