What bullet for .44mag to deer hunt with?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by aandabooks, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    I picked up a box of 100 240gr Hornady XTP bullets. My plan was to mimic the factory loads from Hornady. In thinking about it I don't think I want a hollow point bullet for deer. What 240gr bullet do I want to use?

    The gun us a scoped Taurus with 8 3/8" barrel. I plan to use 2400 for this load.
     
  2. magnumman

    magnumman New Member

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    You want a hard cast bullet with a flat point.
     

  3. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    I've got boxes of S&S Casting 240gr FP bullets. Had not considered them as a hunting load. Would you use these as a hunting load?
     
  4. magnumman

    magnumman New Member

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    I am not familiar with that particular bullet, but when hunting with a handgun, you need penetration, not expansion. When I load .357 for the woods, I go with a heavy flat point bullet with as much horsepower as I can safely put behind it.
     
  5. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    It is a cast lead bullet with a lube ring. I don't know what hardness they are but I shoot them alot in .44spec loads with no leading issues.
     
  6. magnumman

    magnumman New Member

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    I would guess that if it is marketed as a 44 mag bullet it is going to be hard lead. Soft lead is usually reserved for jacketed bullets and muzzle loading. I would start with a minimum load and step it up a little bit at a time checking for leading with each load.
     
  7. hardluk1

    hardluk1 Active Member

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    You do NOT want a hard caste bullets for deer unless you find one wearing body armor. They are thin skinned and not hard to kill with a less cartridge. I have killed a few with a 170gr sp 357 load. The bullet you have in mind is fine along with most any other hp or sp out there in a 240r weight at 1200fps velocity. Now hornady's loads is one of the faster big company loads at around 1350fps.

    My current loads 240gr nosler sp. "soft lead core" I am using what is considered a max load of 2400 powder in a DW 8" revolver at 1500fps. It will take out a shoulder and still pass thru 220lb mule deer .

    Good site for general info on loads-
    http://handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=44 Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun
     
  8. tomingreeneco

    tomingreeneco New Member

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    A hard cast bullet will kill the deer, but you may have to track in across 3 counties while it bleeds out. Use a Hornady XTP bullet if you want the deer to fall where you hit it.

    From Gun Test mag.:
    "Among the commercially available bullets in these grain weights, we would pick Hornady XTP bullets for hunting deer-size game. In our field experience, the XTPs have proven to be accurate, tough, and deadly. Also, factory loads with the XTP in .44 Magnum are available from Hornady and Black Hills Ammunition in both the 240- and 300-grain weights. Top-performing handloads use 24 grains of Winchester 296 powder and a CCI magnum primer for the 240-grain XTP bullet and 20 grains of 296 with the 300-grain bullet. In our guns, these loads give us about 1,400 fps and 1,200 fps respectively, depending on barrel length. "
     
  9. magnumman

    magnumman New Member

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    I stand corrected. Sorry for the misleading info. One more reason to take Internet answers with a grain of salt.
     
  10. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    I have taken many Mule Deer and one Elk with cast Kieth type .429 bullets. I use WW alloy and Linotype 20-1. If you have to chase a deer for miles it is you poor marksmanship not cast bullets. ;)
     
  11. squirrelhunter

    squirrelhunter New Member

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    Hornady XTPs are all I've used in my 44 mags.I started hunting with them in the 90s and have dropped several deer with them.The farthest any have run was about 75 yards and that just happened once. Most only take a step or 2.
     
  12. hardluk1

    hardluk1 Active Member

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    nitestalker With a little more trial and error you will change your mind about using hardcaste on thin skinned game. A heaver soft point or heavy bonded HP works so much better or elk too. Nice to have the option of some expansion .
     
  13. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    I picked up a box of Speer 240gr SP today. I'll try putting a few together. The box of 100 was under $30 so even if I don't like them for deer they are still good cheap HD ammo.
     
  14. 44_Special

    44_Special New Member

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    I also recommend a hard cast....my favorite is 14.7gr of AA#7 with a
    240 SWC....good luck!
     
  15. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    Hardluc, After over 50 years of hunting and guiding in the Rocky Mtns. not likely.;)
     
  16. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Hardcast bullets break bones and seldom get deflected. Put one in the vitals the deer goes down.

    I've used hp rifle ammo in the form of hornady amax on deer and did not enjoy losing so much meat.

    Soft point jacketed or cast lead is the way to go.
     
  17. tomingreeneco

    tomingreeneco New Member

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    You can shoot a deer with a .22 (the caliber of choice for poachers) in the vitals and it will also go down, but I would never hunt with one. I use a revolver (.357) with no scope and hitting a deer in the heart is not as easy as it sounds. Off an inch or two and a hard cast goes straight through the deer and you're in for a long walk. With a bullet like the Hornady XTP you have a better chance at the deer falling right where you shot it. I'm in my 60's and long walks dragging a deer are no longer as "fun" as they used to be.
     
  18. hardluk1

    hardluk1 Active Member

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    JonM You you used a A Max on deer !!! Guess you learn something anyhow. What hardcast and sp got to do with a rifle cartridge. Different cartridge with different needs. Back to handguns put one thru the shoulders and deer goes down, hopefully, put one thru the lungs and deer runs a ways a long ways most times. s

    nitestacker 50 years?? I only have 43 years of hunting. 20 of that with handguns for hogs in the off season. IF you have to worry about grizzles stop'n for a snack then you carry hardcast in your handgun and learn when to let a animal walk on IF you don't have the right shoulder shot. If all your hunting is muledeer, white tails, elk and the likes. bump the weight up to 270 or 300grains and sling a sp or bonded hp. Not a hardcast unless you can gar-o-tee a shoulder shoot. Cause if you whisle a hardcast thru a deers or elks lungs you probably will be looking for them in the next county as your not getting anymore than a nice neat 429 caliber hole.
     
  19. dwmiller

    dwmiller Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Speer 210 grain gold dots. Makes a nice hole and expands well in the 1200+ fps range. Nice bullet with a flatter trajectory than the heavier 240-300 grain slugs. Also much less recoil to deal with, so a faster followup shot if its needed.;)
     
  20. LIBERTY2

    LIBERTY2 New Member

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    Maybe a little off the subject and if it is mods please pull it. I keep reading about meat loss from bullets wrecking too much meat. I've been hunting a lot of years and killed a lot of big game and the only time I've lost meat is when I don't hit the critter where I should. Shot thru the lungs the only damage is to the very little meat between the ribs and a lot of guys don't even bother with that. Neck shots especially on elk are great as no one I know takes the neck meat anyhow. If your shooting into muscle you shouldn't be as that's where the eating is and the vitals aint. FRJ