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anybody use .44 mag rifle on deer?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by rem700nut, Dec 7, 2007.

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  1. rem700nut

    rem700nut Member

    Mar 28, 2005
    I bought a lever action winchester .44 mag rifle to still hunt deer .I have handloaded some 2400 and speer.240 gr. jacketed soft points , NOT THE GOLD DOTS .Are they to soft for deer? read on a nouther forum that they were to soft for deer and would loose ther jacket or spatter to easely if hit bone. but they shoot goodin my rifle . and what woud agood bullet to use?
  2. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

    Feb 27, 2004
    How much 2400? How long is your barrel? AND: last but not least- do you have access to a chrono?

    The general idea is you need to keep your impact speed at or under 1500-ish, and they shuold work fine. Gold dots or XTPs would have been a better choice IMO.
  3. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Colorado Springs
    Since plenty of folk hunt deer with 8" barreled handguns in .44mag I'd imagine a .44mag rifle would kill 'em just fine (my only concern would be that such a large bullet would waste a lot of the meat).

    Not sure if you're asking if the .44mag is not enough or too much :p
  4. George Hill

    George Hill Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Uintah Basin, UT
    I've taken over 23 White Tail with a .44 Mag. Worked wonderfully and the deer never made it 10 yards at the farthest. I've taken 26 total. The only thing that killed it quicker was a bow with a 4 bladed broad head with bleeder blades.... heart/lung hit... but still.
  5. JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone

    JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    Lynden, WA
    Not with a lever gun, but with Pistol the .44mag is great.

    That said, I will strongly suggest Sierra 240gn HP, Sierra 250gn TC, and the Sierra 300fp. With warm loads of 2400, AA#9 or 296 none have come apart after hitting bone. Crushing bone. 6 Blacktail and 1 Mule deer. All inside 75yds. So, the rifle barrel length adding a few more hundred feet per second velocity will perform quite well on Deer. I also shoot a 265gn solid lead bullet that I pour. Any of the solids that are hard will also perform well on Deer. But you'll probably experience a bit more lead fouling in a rifle. Lots of hunters on CastBoolits.com that hunt successfully using non-jacketed bullets.

    Good luck with your lever gun, use it just as you would a lever gun in 30-30 or 35rem.

  6. Matthew Temkin

    Matthew Temkin Member

    Mar 13, 2003
    I shot a few deer with a .44 Ruger rifle and dumped it after wounding two.
    After that I went to a bolt action 30-06 and a a bolt .308 and have since killed about 12 deer, most of them with one shot.
    I still have a .44 pistol and may yet hunt with it, but only up close.
  7. Ranger J

    Ranger J Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    I have killed several deer with a .44 Deerfield and none went far after being hit. As with all guns it is important to put the bullet in killing area. As to which kind of bullet I have always used 240gr SP as the common wisdom is that HP bullets may blow up at the faster speeds you get with a rifle. I don't know if that is true or not. Others have reported good results with Hornady bullets over a stiff load of H110. Again while some report kills at 200 yds. I try to keep my shots about 100 yds or less.

  8. JustsayMo

    JustsayMo Member

    Oct 20, 2004
    the Evergreen State
    My 44 (handgun) vs. deer experience is limited but I'll share it anyway. XTP bullet, pushed ~ 1325fps at the muzzle, ~175 lb Blacktail, double lung hit. Did NOT exit, later found on offside under the hide. He traveled less than 100 yards into thick cover and was difficult to find due to a very poor, almost nonexistent blood trail.

    It did the job but I will not hunt with bullets that won't exit reliably. In my experience a good hit with complete penetration almost always means DRT or nearly so.
  9. Cocked & Locked
    • Contributing Member

    Cocked & Locked Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Silver Hill, NC
    Shot two with this Ruger 77/44 this year...used Winchester white box 240 grain JSP's.

    Deer #1 was hit just behind the shoulder, full penetration with an exit wound and dropped about 40 feet away.

    Deer #2 was a front quartering shot in front of shoulder. The bullet traveled full length and exited on top of the rear ham on opposing side...dropped in its tracks.


  10. dmazur

    dmazur Member

    Apr 28, 2007
    Pacific NW
    I handload 240gr Speer JSP's w/ 24gr of H110 and these work great. They feed fine in a Ruger carbine, so they'll probably feed OK in the Winchester's tubular magazine.

    I don't think I'd want to use hollow points...the soft points work just fine.

    Accuracy is around 2" groups at 100 yds, which isn't bad for a carbine.
  11. nicholst55

    nicholst55 Member

    Mar 4, 2007
    37*55'N, 127*04'E
    One thing that I don't think anyone has mentioned is that a .44 Mag, even a rifle, is not a long range proposition! Think 75-100 yards here, as pistol bullets shed energy and velocity very quickly.

    Find a good load and spend some time at the range. If you stick with iron sights, try for 3-4" groups consistently. If you scope the gun, try for 2-3" groups. Practice, practice, practice! If you can't shoot that well at 100 yards then restrict yourself to 75 yards.

    Personally I don't think a whitetail deer requires a 300 grain bullet to kill it, but that's just me. You've gotten good recommendations on bullets and powder. Enjoy!
  12. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

    Oct 17, 2006
    Along "That Dark and Bloody River"
    Interesting topic.

    Has anyone shot deer with a rifle (or handgun) using the new 225gr. Hornaday LEVERevolution ammo ? 1400+fps ought to git 'er done.

  13. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    North Central Florida and Miami Florida
    This little Marlin 1894S has helped me take 7 Whitetails, as well as a great number of feral hogs. I handload a Speer 270 Speer Gold Dot SP over H110.
    For where I hunt, there is no finer combination of rifle and load.

  14. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

    May 5, 2005
    Garrettsville, Oh.
    I had a Model 94 in .44 Mag.

    Like an idiot, I sold it a long time ago, but...
    I shot only factory ammo in it, but had no problems. You're using softpoints, not hollowpoints, so you'll get more weight retention and penetration. I'd zero for about 100 yards, keep your shots within that and make sure they're in the boiler room. I only shot two deer with my lever gun, but neither went more than about ten feet. One fell over, kicked a time or two and that was all she wrote. Both were shot at about 35-40 yards.
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