Help 44 magnum ammo

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by InstantEulogy, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. InstantEulogy

    InstantEulogy New Member

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    I just purchased a S&W 8 3/8" 44 magnum. While browsing for ammo, I noticed that outdoormarksman.com has their 200 GR. TMJ factory reload listed at velocity: 1328 fps, Energy 785 ft lbs. And their 240 GR. TMJ factory reload listed at: Velocity 1150 fps, Energy 705 ft lbs,. Both are the same price.

    I don't see how their 240 GR is slower and less powerful than their 200 GR of the same type of ammo. And seeing that they are the same exact price- I'm not sure which to buy. A little help for a noob please! :)
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2009
  2. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    (of motion) - Kinetic energy or force carried by a bullet at that point in its trajectory. In common use and popular shooting literature it is expressed in foot-pounds, one ft/lbs being the amount of force required to lift a one-pound weight one foot above the ground. Formula: Energy ( in ft/lbs ) equals bullet weight ( in grains ) multiplied by the velocity ( in feet per second ) squared, divided by 450240. Often wrongly equated with killing power, energy is not a reliable gauge of this, as it does not take into account penetration or bullet performance.

    An answer to your question would be better answered by knowing what you intend to use the ammo for, Hunting, plinking, defense?

    My theory would be to buy several boxes of ammo and try them out, they're all going to vary in accuracy and in how they "feel" in the gun. The only way to find the ammo that your particular gun likes to eat, is to feed it a little of everything until you find it. Or reload like most of us do and find a more accurate round at a cheaper price than factory rounds.
  3. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    woolleyworm is right on about bullet velocity and the kinetic energy produced on target. Another way to look at it, especially when comparing the 'killing power' or a given round... We all know the .300 winchester magnum is a VERY powerful hunting cartridge, capable of killing very large game with one shot. A .300 win mag launches a 180 gr. bullet at 3200 fps from a 26 inch bbl. That round has over 4000 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy... Now look at mountain sheep. During mating season, 2 males will 'butt heads' over a prospective mate. The kinetic force produced when 2 average size male rams collide is well over 5000 ft. lbs of energy. The confusing thing is that niether of the rams die upon impact as they would be very likely to do if they were to collide with one of those aforementioned .300 win mag bullets. The point of todays story is not the energy produced its the vehicle in which it arrives. Bullet selection makes all the difference when you decide what you will be using your ammo for. The .44 mag is generally used as a hunting tool. However they do make target ammo for use as a practice tool and that ammo should never be used to hunt animals with. Ammo labeled 'TMJ' of 'FMJ' or 'TC' are generally for target applications, Ammunition marked 'Soft point' or 'HP' are generally used for hunting. Choose your ammo accordingly..;)
  4. InstantEulogy

    InstantEulogy New Member

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    Now correct me if I'm wrong, but doens't the 240 grain have more powder than the 200 grain? I was thinking that the 200 grain would be a little weak for the 44 magnum, as 240 seems to be a standard weight of ammo for the 44. But the 200 grain seems more powerful according to the data for both TMJ ammos.

    It will be used mostly for plinking, maybe hunting, and hopefully not defense in that order lol. This is my first gun that I have owned.
  5. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    Usually the other way around; as the bullet gets bigger, case size is decreased, so less powder is needed to generate the same pressure. The various bullet designs/types also factor into how much of a charge is loaded into each case. Lead is always lighter loads than jacketed bullets, etc.
    If there is any anticipation that the gun may be used in a defensive situation, ( ie if you leave it loaded in the house on your nightstand) make sure you have ammo that you have tested, tested and tested. One of my pet peeves is people who have firearms loaded in the house, yet haven't been to the range in years............. I can't see the point in it. ( I'll leave that at that) For plinkers, just find a suitable cheap ammo that fires consistently and accurately enough for you and your gun. Typically the lighter bullet wts will yield a more pleasant recoil, althought for a 44 mag, I'm not sure there is such a thing, it's just a beast.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2009
  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    you are thinking of it completely backards;) Most people that are unfamiliar with ammo and the reloading process tend to think the higher the number on the box the more powder is in the case. When in reality its exactly the opposite. ALL cartridges have a working pressure limitation. The limitation pertains mostly to the construction of the cartridge casing and the rigidity of the shooting platform. And as one might imagine, the pressure limitation has a starting point and a maximum safe level... The number you see printed on the box, for example, 240 gr. TMJ, referrs to the weight of the bullet itself, not the powder charge... In fact it might surprise you to know that the .240 gr. .44 mag loads have less than 25 gr. of powder depending upon the propellant used. The reason the figures show the 200 gr. loads to have more velocity and energy is because they are 'muzzle figures' Lighter bullets will generate higher velocities within working pressures and consequently more energy at the muzzle. Where lighter bullets lack, especially in hunting applications, is they tend to slow down quicker and lose thier kinetic punch much faster than a heavy bullet will. Look at it like a large brick wall at the end of the runway... now imagine there is a MX5 miata running 120 mph toward that brick wall, the car hits without slowing down. completely dispersing all of its kinetic force into the wall. When the dust and smoke clears the wall is busted and the car is in total destruction at the foot of the wall. Now imagine a Mack truck at half that speed hitting that same wall, chances are the truck will penetrate the wall with comparatively little destruction to itself and keep moving on toward the next opposing force.

    Light bullets start out faster which gives them higher figures at the muzzle, heavier bullets start out slower and produce higher figures downrange...

    Ballistics is a very complex science. It requires a basic understanding of the laws of physics, geometry, calculus and simple algebra to understand.
  7. InstantEulogy

    InstantEulogy New Member

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    I told you I was a noob! I was thinking of grains as the amount of powder used, not the weight of the actual bullet. So the heavier 240 grain will not have the same velocity initially, but further downrange will produce more impact and have greater accuracy right? So do most of the factory ammo's available for the .44 have about the same amount of powder? And I am guessing it is due to the bullet style and materials that allows some of the heavier than 240 grain to have more velocity and energy than even my 200 grain example did, is that correct? Thanks again!
  8. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    The fastest velocity that a bullet will ever reach, is the velocity upon full exit of the muzzle, after that; the pressure developed in the chamber and on its way down the barrel can no longer push it. Accuracy is dependant upon so many factors, twist rate and bullet weight are probably the 2 greatest factors in this equation, IMO.

    Factory rounds may and probably do use different powders, Powders can vay GREATLY in how much is needed for the same boom. check out this website and you'll see what i mean, much easier to explain that way.
    http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2009
  9. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    you are catching on. Some manufacturers, lets use cor-bon as a prime example, tend to push the envelope where pressures are concerned. They will develop a high pressure load for a specific purpose (mainly hunting large game) and label the box "only for use in certain known strong actions". This can only add to the confusuion of a 'noob' since thier loads almost always bear the use of an extremely heavy for caliber bullet. I think thier .44 mag ammo runs from 240 gr. to 310 gr. bullet weights with the 310 grainer running somewhere around 1300 fps from a 7.5 inch barrel. THATS HOT! and I wouldnt shoot it willingly. And if I were being forced to shoot it would demand a ruger revolver to shoot it from. If you are really taking a sincere interest in ballistics and the science behind it, Id start with a good reloading manual. Read it, read it, and read it again...;)
  10. bizy

    bizy New Member

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    Woolyworm.. Thanks! I knew about the foot pounds and kinetic energy but I had no idea how they come up with the figures..
  11. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    No problem Bizy, Physics has always been a fascination for me, it's not just if I can hit my target, rather understanding HOW I hit my target. Now.... if I could just figure out how to hit a bullseye with women.....:rolleyes:

    InstantEulogy - How have the physics of Massive Recoil been holding up on your wrist with that .44 ?? Any updates?
  12. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    hit a bullseye with women??? Thats easy, In my experience nothing keeps a woman 'wondering' more than the ol "he who cares the least attitude". ;) Try it, you might find it works...:D
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