.44 magnum SD load

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by rdk45, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. rdk45

    rdk45 New Member

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    Hey guys I have a couple of specific questions I was hoping you guys could help me with. I just aquired my first .44 magnum S&W 629 6 inch, while this is definitly not my first or even second choice for home defense or carry, I would like to have an effective load for that purpose if I choose to use it as such. Im looking for heavy load that is relativly slow to reduce over-penetration. Im not a handloader so id be looking for a factory load. Has anyone done penetration test with a hornandy 300 grain xtp? I know .44 special is probably a better choice but I haven't been able to find a heavy enough load that would give any benefit over a .45 acp. Let me know what you guys think in regard to the saftey of a heavy but slower round being shot on occasion from my 629. Thanks for your time.
     
  2. BLeeber

    BLeeber New Member

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    It's my understanding that...in .44 mag...heavy and slow will usually penetrate quite well. The problem will be getting slow enough with factory loads. I don't think you'll find anything slower than 1,000 fps with the likes of a 300 grain bullet. That load could penetrate an elk.

    You might have better luck finding a "slow enough" 180 grain thin jacketed round that would really expand and penetrate less. The heavy loads are really designed for hunting and penetration (with less expansion) is key with the larger bore sizes.

    There are a few custom ammo loaders around that will load whatever you want if you buy enough boxes. A good one is Reeds Custom Ammo. Can't recall the website as it's been a few years since I ordered from there but you could probably find them with a search.
     

  3. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    Why not just carry the 45 acp you've mentioned? 44 mag can do the job but personally I find it to be a bit much.
     
  4. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    .44 Mag isn't difficult to shoot quickly. Granted, this is a pretty heavy gun and has nice grips and a ported muzzle, but these are also 200gr bullets at 1500fps (1000fpe).

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1Wd-h3XJkk].44 Magnum Raging Bull Rapid Fire Triple Taps - YouTube[/ame]

    And yes, heavy .44mag bullets, even expanding ones, will penetrate way more than anyone who is concerned with overpentration would want. The various 180gr loads are your best bet for "magnum" wounding with (relatively) minimal penetration:

    Hornady 180 grain XTP JHP

    I carried the 200gr XTP bullets because they seem to hover around 16-18" of penetration. The 240gr bullets tend to get 20-25" of penetration, and the 300gr expanding bullets about the same from what I can tell (largely because velocity tends to drop a good bit with the heavier bullets, at least in common factory loads).
     
  5. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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  6. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    I really like Buffalo Bore's offerings, but their conclusion about expanded bullets isn't correct. If expanded bullets tended to "slip" through tissue, it would penetrate more not less. That expanding bullets overwelming show less penetration than non-expanding loads tells us that the bullet is acting against more flesh in order to be stopped more quickly.
     
  7. mesinge2

    mesinge2 New Member

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    Thanks for the link. I am a 44 enthusiast and I hadn't heard of these rounds. I am going to have to try some.

    To the OP, I carry a 3" 629 for SD and I use 240 grain XTP-HP with a velocity of 1175fps. I figure it is about 200 fps faster than a 45 ACP, with a ~43 caliber bullet that weighs slightly more. The problem your going to have with a 300 grain load is that even at a slower velocity (factory slow will still be over 1,000fps in most cases) it may penetrate more due to the the round's inertia.
     
  8. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Pro-Load made a .44 "Tactical Lite" load. 200 gr Gold Dot @ 1000 fps. Puzzy cat to shoot, expanded like no tomorrow. I'm not even sure they are in business any longer.
     
  9. rdk45

    rdk45 New Member

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    Thank you all for the info. Im gonna grab a couple of boxes of the buffalo bore loads and I already have 240 and 300 grain xtp rounds so I think between those ill find something im comfortable with. Even though my 1911s are my go to guns its nice to have loads in all my guns that I can use. Thanks again!
     
  10. ColColt

    ColColt New Member

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    I think some of these bad boys(260 gr) loaded with 10.5 gr of HS-6 at a BHN of about 10-12 would fit the bill and are the most accurate bullets I cast for the 44.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    try the Hornady 44 special with the 180gr JHP/XTP bullet. mv=1000fps. this is one of the loads i carry in my 4" Taurus 44mag Tracker. good penetration, recoil isn't bad either.
     
  12. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    ColColt, non-expanding ammo would be wasting a lot of potential of the .44mag for SD. Without expansion, even a 180gr bullet will thru-penetrate most any human from most any angle, and with less recoil.
     
  13. ColColt

    ColColt New Member

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    Tell that to the boys that trust their lives to the 230 gr FMJ in 45 ACP. Lots of better ammo IMO for that caliber but many use nothing else. If you cast a bullet like the one pictured soft enough, with a humongous meplat such as that bullet has, it will expand and loaded down to 950 fps it becomes a great SD load. I don't advocate using the 44 Magnum as a SD weapon but consider the 45 Colt using a 255 gr lead bullet at about 850 fps. Probably one of the greatest fight stoppers of all time. that bullet was pure lead. Ithas to be soft to expand regardless the caliber.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  14. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    I have often thought about getting some of these Speer Gold Dot's,they advertise 200gr@1075fps,but would probably be a little quicker than that in your 6",they would be just about as powerful(energy wise) as the standard 44M 240gr load but lighter and with less penetration.
     

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  15. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    i am not going to dispute your reasoning, as you make a valid point. but as the OP said he is not a handloader and was looking for input on factory ammo. if he is not handloading ammo and has no equipment to do it with, then your suggestions are a moot point.
     
  16. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    I never said it couldn't get the job done, just that it would be wasting a lot of the potential of the cartridge to damage tissue. Even at low (for a magnum) velocities, it has plenty of mass and velocity to expand a bullet and still penetrate well. Basically, if you're going to use a .44mag, you might as well use ammo that is more effective. Just the same, if I were going to use a .45, I might as well use ammo that is significantly more effective, even if FMJ is "good enough" (though I'd never willingly use FMJ ammo in any defensive handgun).

    I don't know for sure, but I do have a hard time believing that any solid cast bullet will expand at such low velocities, without being as soft as play-dough :p .

    But yeah, stick to the ~200gr loads as they will offer good expansion and decent penetration without a whole lot of recoil.
     
  17. ColColt

    ColColt New Member

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    That particular bullet would have to be great if you're into handgun hunting. That large meplat measures .33" which is about the size of buckshot. With it's flat nose, it would impart a lot of shock compared say to the FMJ or a round nose lead bullet-sort of like a SWC. Due to it's design it doesn't have to expand to be effective although you can order molds with a "cherry" or pins to make hollow points if desired.

    Again, I don't advocate using the 44 Mag for SD as few of us could be accurate enough for follow up shots if needed. Where that caliber and that bullet would really shine is if you knew a perp would come calling and was 6'-4" and about 300 pounds and was wearing a lot of clothes. However, we can't pick them but we can pick our choice of weapon. For me that's a 1911 and 230 gr JHP's.

    Reloading is about the only way I can shoot 2-3 times a month. Factory ammo is out of sight so, I cast my own. Even commercial bullets for reloading, like Hornady, is about $30/100. I can cast a lot of bullets for $30. This way you can practice a lot and only occasionally use your choice of factory SD ammo to familiarize yourself and be assured it will function in your gun. That's the only reason I'd buy it.
     
  18. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    Yeah, it would be effective, but still not nearly as effective an expanding bullet against a 2-legged threat. An expanding bullet would easily create 3-4x the wound volume over a non-expanding bullet, within the <2' of flesh the bullet would travel through a human.

    Oh yeah, there are definitely better general-purpose SD guns than any .44 mag :) .

    Absolutely! I'm the exactly the same way, heh. I was putting about 150 rounds a week through my Raging Bull until class started again this semester, all for less than what it would have cost to put 150 rounds per month! You might also try BulletsDirect.com for bulk cast bullets if you want to buy rather than make your own, as they have he lowest prices for hardcast bullet, from a reliable source, that I've found anywhere online.
     
  19. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    as that i have several pistols in different calibers, i think that you need to practice with any gun that you would carry to protect yourself with. find a load that should be able to do what you need it to, and practice with it. then practice some more. IMO, i am a firm believer in expansion in a bullet. the more it expands, the more damage it does. if i'm carrying my 44mag. it has 44 specials loaded with 240gr jhp ammo, my 45 acp has 185gr jhp ammo, my 9mm has 124gr jhp, my wifes 380 auto has 90gr jhp ammo, and as soon as i pick up my 40 s-w, it will have 155gr jhp ammo in it when it's carried.