44Mag: 240gr XTP Minimum hunting velocity (deer)?

Discussion in 'Hunting Forum' started by Lindenwood, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    I would like to load up my own hunting ammo using the XTP bullets (they seem to be the most consistent and highly-praised performers). It sounds like 240gr is a good weight as it allows high enough velocities for expansion without punishing recoil and is heavy enough for reliable penetration. However, for shots inside 100 yards, could I load with a MV of 1200fps or even 1100fps and still get good results? I would like to keep recoil moderate (this is in a handgun).

    An 1150fps MV would keep the bullet over 1000fps to 100 yards. The relatively mellow velocity would be pleasant to shoot so I could get lots of practice in and not worry about any flinching on longer sessions. Would this be enough for reliable expansion with this bullet while maintaining good penetration? The Hornady webpage says the bullet is good between 700 and 1500fps MV, but what are your experiences?

    *edit*

    Found some discussions with people reporting reliable expansion out of .44 Specials down to about 850fps. Still, however, would I get reliable penetration? I'd imagine at least 18" or so of penetration would be desired (And it seems a well-expanded 240gr HP will penetrate about 25" at about 1350fps, according to Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing). Does that sound likely?

    The other option is hardcast bullets, but for every few people who swear by them, there is another who reports having to track for hundreds of yards due to the mere caliber-sized hole strait through. It seems like a non-expanding bullet would work (obviously), but might be a little less forgiving in regards to shot placement.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  2. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    the bullet SHOULD expand just fine. i would go for the highest speed you can handle. you should also chrono your loading as posted loads will be higher/lower than real world results due to the nature of revolvers or differences in barrel length and condition of your individual firearm.

    ive had good success with that bullet on yotes wild hog and abandoned feral dogs in the past when used in my desert eagle.
     

  3. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    I have shot factory ammo that was advertised at 240gr at 1200fps and it was quite comfortable after even 100 rounds. I have shot and reloaded about 100 rounds of 200gr bullets at around 1450fps and they are significantly snappier. I am not sure how comfortable I could handle a 240gr load closer to 1400fps, at least without a lot more time to get used to the heavier loads.

    My other option is those 200gr loads at around 1450 fps, but I worry if 200gr is too light for reliable penetration, especially with an expanding bullet.

    My main concern is that I want something that is mild enough I could easily shoot 100 rounds of at the range. Before I go hunting I want to make sure the load as accurate and make sure I get the trajectory and zero down.
     
  4. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    only real way to tell for your particular shootin iron is to get a box and load to different levels and do some range time :) i would say the 200 is too light for a handgun hunting round. your liekly to end up shedding the jacket and the core at that point will be very light.

    you can also ge a padded shooting glove and some hogue rubber grips. that really helps with magnum revolvers. i used to shoot VERY hot heavy 45LC out of a ruger blackhawk and had to get a glove to help the recoil.
     
  5. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    Hmm I might consider that. I want to make as humane a kill as possible which is why I want to make sure I can practice enough to make a good shot, but I do like the idea of being able to load load either a standard 240gr bullet at like 1300-1400fps, or even something like a 270 or 300gr bullet at 1100-1200fps.

    I also think my grip is part of, if not most all of the problem. It doesn't hurt my wrist or my palm or anything, and I've even shot it one handed without pain. But basically the back of the trigger guard hits the bone at the middle knuckle of my left index finger when I go with my natural two-handed grip. My grip puts that joint right at the base of the guard, just behind where the guard curves back upward toward the grip. I have been able to play with the grip to get my finger out of that spot and that mostly eliminates any pain, but then my grip usually feels weak and unstable. Perhaps once I get some more trigger time in and can find an alternative grip, this won't be a problem and I'll be able to shoot more appropriate loads. Still, I can shoot it pretty well (can consistently knock 6" targets at 75 yards offhand, and at 50 yards I can take down three in maybe 5 seconds, again offhand) and have put about 300 rounds through it plus at least a few thousand dry fires and at least a few hundred pactice reloads (I CC this firearm sometimes as well). But, this is my first revolver, and I have spent lots and lots of time with auto pistols, even doing the occasional IPSC match. So, it has been hard to break the habit of indexing my weak hand against the bottom of the trigger guard for a consistent grip. Unfortunately, gripping the revolver in the same way results in notable discomfort and this has caused flinching when I haven't corrected it quickly enough.

    I guess long story short, at least until I can get used to shooting it with a new grip, I'd still like a load that I could use, and it seems like a 240gr@1150fps would be a pretty good start. Going up from there (to maybe 1300-1400fps)) might really just be icing on the cake for a little more expansion and penetration.
     
  6. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    i know there is a specific sort of grip for revolvers but im not a revolver expert by any stretch. you might try the revolver section there are quite a few real experts in how to grip a big one and shoot it correctly.
     
  7. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    I think I will just have to play with it, because even Jerry Miculek teaches a similar grip to the one I've been using (weak hand index finger against the trigger guard). I might experiment with keeping softer parts of my index finger against the trigger guard (rotating my weak hand some around the grip--right now the trigger guard is right against the widest joint of my bony fingers... ouch!), and with lowering my weak hand slightly.

    I also found a Hornady chart on velocities that someone posted in a discussion about bullet expansion in .44 specials. Seems like 900fpr is about the minimum, but like I said an 1150fps MV would keep it above 1000fps to 100 yards, so it is indeed sounding like I might be just fine even with that relatively light load. Does that sound like it would work OK? a 240gr XTP at 1150fps? I could also test out some at 1200fps to see how I can handle it.
    [​IMG]

    And of course this is all barring I don't find a new grip that will allow me to shoot hotter loads more comfortably.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  8. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    I personally wouldn't be as worried about expansion as I would penetration. I realize deer aren't the hardest animal to kill but you still need to get in there and I prefer coming out the other side if possible. My hunting loads push the 240gr bullet around 1475fps.

    I would also recommend a pair of shooting gloves. Since I added them to the mix I can shoot hot loads all day with no issue.
     
  9. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    I might look into wearing my motorcycle gloves. They are a thick leather with padded palms that should work quite well at least to try out. But this is also a defensive firearm so I don't want to get too used to always shooting with the gloves.

    When you say you are worried more about penetration than expansion, would you go to the degree that a simple hard-cast SWC would be adequate?
     
  10. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    In a 44 mag I think a Hardcast bullet would more then do the job on whitetail and what is typically recommended for tougher skinned animals such as bears. Don't get me wrong, some expansion is great in a hunting bullet but you've got to get into the boiler room to make a clean kill.

    I personally use Speer Deep Curl bullets for my deer hunting loads. IMO, they offer some expansion but too much where penetration becomes a question. I've got some of the Hornady's you're asking about. I could do a test on them both if you'd like.
     
  11. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    If you are so inclined to do some testing, I was definitely be appreciative :) . Are you talking about doing some tests of the 240gr XTP at lower velocities?


    I've heard a lot of people say good things about the 240XTPs expanding consistently and still amost always exiting (at least on broadside shots), but these are typically 1400+fps loads. At least for now, I am not sure I could shoot those loads enough to spend the time getting to know their trajectory and making sure they are accurate.

    But it is good to know that if I can't figure something out, at least I know a 240+gr hardcast SWC, even at a mere ~1100-1200fps, should give me more than enough penetration without much recoil.
     
  12. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    I'll put together a test here in the next couple of weeks/month. It's getting warm here so it shouldn't be a problem
     
  13. masterPsmith

    masterPsmith New Member

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    I'm with you on this Spitty. My favorite hunting load for my .44s is a 240gr hard cast lead bullet backed with 20.0gr 2400. This load has never let me down.


    Jim..........
     
  14. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    As a hard cast, non-expanding bullet, does it need to be driven that fast? That is around 1400fps, right? Wouldn't something like 1100-1200fps from the same bullet still give plenty of penetration?
     
  15. masterPsmith

    masterPsmith New Member

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    For hunting at the shorter ranges, yes. I am also a long range pistol shooter and am very comfortable with 150 yard shots on deer sized game. Depending on what I am hunting and the terrain, I can go with my TC in rifle calibers or any of my big revolvers. A well loaded .44 that can consistantly nail and knock down those heavy rams at 200 meters is well suited for deer at out to 150 yards in capable hands. JMHO.


    Jim.................
     
  16. Thebiker

    Thebiker New Member

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    I started building a 44mag 300gr XTP load a lot of years ago.

    I was living in NH at that time and most of the hunting that you do in that part of the world is in scrub. Spent a lot of time at a place called Hall Mtn and most shots were 50 - 75 yards, because that was all the farther you could get a clear shot.

    Oh yeah, the other reason for that load is because I am on the lazy side and would rather carry either my 7.5" barreled Redhawk in 44 mag or my favorite Super Blackhawk in either a x-draw or a shoulder rig than lug a rifle for a 50 yard shot. I put Pachmeyer grips on both Rugers and they were comfortable to shoot.

    I found the load, with H110 and the 300 gr XTP to be accurate out to 75 yards with no problem. Since I only use iron sights, 75 was as far as I was willing to shoot. Any whitetail beyond that was welcome to go about his business. However, within that 75 yards, I never met one that wouldn't go down to that load. It goes down range a @1260 fps.

    My favorite 44 mag load....YMMV.
     
  17. Montanacowboy

    Montanacowboy New Member

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    Lindenwood, My load for my Ruger .44Mag is 24gr. of WW-296 Ball powder and the 240 gr. XTP which gives a 1413 fps avg velocity which is above what you like. It is accurate out of my gun. Shot only one deer with this load and the bullet performed very good. Shot through the right chest , hit the off shoulder and was found in the left rear ham of the deer. Good blood trail due to one lung was hit.
    I'm not sure how you are holding your revolver by your discription. May I suggest wraping your index finger of your support hand around the front of the trigger gaurd to help control recoil. I also push fwd with my hand that has the grip on the revolver and pull back with the support hand. What this dose is give a steady sight picture / hold on the gun. have to expermint for yourself as to how much fwd push and pulling aft works for you. You sound like an experienced shooter so maybe what I just said you already know.
    One other thing is I wear ear plugs while hunting with a hand gun due to the excessive muzzle blast. I realize that ear plugs are counter productive for hearing deer movement but that first deer using my .44 mag and no ear protection hurt like the dickens. Hope I have helped in some way. MC
     
  18. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    Yeah, I've done a good bit of handgun shooting. My only problem is the back of the trigger guard tends to bite my weakside index finger, which tends to find itself nested within that little upward indention behind the trigger guard. This position has been by far the best far controlling recoil, and my problem is I just can't find a hand / index finder position that provides the same level of stability without pushing my weakside index finger into the gap behind the trigger guard.

    But, other than that, it doesn't hurt my actual palms or wrists or anything, and it only does it with faster, snappier loads. Shooting 240gr at 1200fps didn't bother me at all and I shot 100 rounds of those my first day without a blink. But the 200gr@1500fps loads seem to be much worse at smacking my knuckle. Given I was quite accurate and had good control of the firearm for followup shots using my standard grip, my first thought was to change the loads. But maybe I will practice more with various grips to see if I can't find something that will still give me decent control while allowing me to use hot loads.

    I am almost wondering about modifying the rubber grips (with RTV or something) to fill more of the void behind the trigger guard, so that when I habitualy put my weak hand against the bottom of the trigger guard, it won't end up behind it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  19. Montanacowboy

    Montanacowboy New Member

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    Ok, I'm a hight hand shooter so my right hand grips the but of the gun and my index finger is my trigger finger. My other three fingers are wraped around the grip and my thumb is wraped around the left side of the grip. I place my left hand thumb on top of the right hand thumb and both thumbs are on the left hand side of the pistol grip pointing toward the muzzle. My L/H index finger is placed /wraped around of the front of the trigger gaurd and the other fingers are placed so that they wrap around the same three fingers of my right hand. I get no discomfort using this grip when firing my .44. Hope I explained this well. I have no one here to take a picture of the grip I just explained as a picture would be much easier. I'm fast with my hands but not that fast:D. MC
     
  20. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    I think I am going to start using moderate 240gr loads for all of my shooting. Something in the 1200fps range. That will give moderate recoil for lots of practice, still be plenty effective for personal defense, and then not require me to worry about sight or trajectory adjustments if I get to take it hunting this year.

    I will try to do some testing in the next couple months to see how expansion works for various bullets at this velocity.