Whitetail hunting with a 44 mag rifle

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by BigT, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. BigT

    BigT Active Member

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    Going to carry my Henry 44 during this year's whitetail season. Considering loading up some Hornady 180 grain xtp's and using 18 grs of blue dot to start with. Looking for any other favorite load combinations that you have had success with. Thanks for any suggestions.
     
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  2. dstegjas

    dstegjas Member

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    The Hornady XTP 240 grain has always been my favorite bullet in 44 magnum. I use 23 grain of W296 out of my T/C Contender with a 12" barrel. I'm not sure what the powder amount should be out of a rifle.

    Jim
     
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  3. sharps4590

    sharps4590 Well-Known Member

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    For the best penetration I've always preferred heavy for caliber and non-hollow point bullets. I've never been a fan of the 180 gr. in either the 44 Spl. or 44 Mag., too short for my tastes. 40+ years ago, before I began seriously using cast bullets, I used the standard Hornady 240 gr. bullet over 22-24 grs.of H-110. It took deer with authority but no better than the classic Lyman 429421 of Elmer Keith design. If shooting jacketed I'd go back to the 240 gr. Hornady or a similar bullet from any of the major makers. As going back to jacketed is as likely as me winning the lottery I'll continue with the Lyman 429421 over an appropriate charge of whatever powder the rifle prefers. Neither load could possibly be wrong.
     
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  4. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

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    Another vote for the Hornady 240 grain XTP. It's what I shoot in my lever gun.
     
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  5. mikld

    mikld Well-Known Member

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    For me, 180 gr seems light for caliber. If I were to use my 44 Mag. rifle for deer I'd go with a 240 or 265 gr LRNFP and a hefty load of 2400 (Ranch Dog's LRNFP was designed as a hunting bullet and has reportedly been an excellent hunting bullet, and accurate in all my 44 Magnums). I don't have my load data here, but my load of WC820, 20.0 gr. over a 265 gr LRNFP (WC820 is 10% slower than H110) produces good accuracy in my Puma...
     
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  6. BigT

    BigT Active Member

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    Sounds like experience points toward 240 grain. I chose the 180 grain after talking to the guys at my favorite reloading shop and they suggested it simply to reduce recoil and 180 grains packing plenty of energy to take a whitetail. Maybe their suggestion was firearm related, because they were somewhat negative of the Henry lever action as compared to a Marlin.
     
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  7. SilasW

    SilasW Well-Known Member

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    I don't shoot .44 mag from a rifle. But I use Hornady 240 gn and H110 in my Ruger Black Hawk. Plenty of energy for MO white tail. Recoil is not an issue with this loading in the handgun, wouldn't think it be bad in a lever action rifle.
     
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  8. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    I have used my Ruger .44 Carbine to hunt deer. I also use a 240 grain bullet pushed by H110 powder.
     
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  9. Pawpaw40

    Pawpaw40 Well-Known Member

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    I use 240 gr. JSP in front of H110 in my Ruger Super Blackhawk, Vaquero and Marlin 1894. 5 shot, 50 yard group fired from the Marlin below.

    44cloverleaf.JPG
     
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  10. dbcooper

    dbcooper Well-Known Member

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    I wished I could help. It all.of my 44 Rem mag loads are with Honady XTP 240
    I'm like everyone else it seems
    The 180 just seems light to me
     
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  11. Shanghai

    Shanghai Well-Known Member

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    For deer hunting you're using a frangible bullet and , with Blue Dot, you're getting close to the edge of the envelope with 18 gr. Despite pushing the limit on your powder charge, I expect you're getting muzzle velocity of 1950-2000 fps. At that velocity your load would produce about 1520 ft. lbs. of energy at the muzzle. That bullet will also shed velocity(and energy) pretty quickly.

    Like others, I would suggest a stouter, if not heavier, bullet. The 240 gr is excellent for deer.

    If you're determined to use Blue Dot, take your load data from that published by Alliant. Make sure it is absolutely current because Blue Dot has increased it's potency over the years and published manuals have not kept pace. I'm very conservative but I don't use Blue Dot to seek maximum velocities. It is however, my favorite powder in 41 Magnum pistol loads but, I do a new workup every time I change powder lots.
     
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  12. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

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    Recoil is not an issue with the lever action .44 mag rifles. This is first, and foremost, a pistol round. A 240 grain bullet traveling at 1250 fps will shoot thru a deer, from end to end, unless you hit a major bone.
     
  13. BigT

    BigT Active Member

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    I appreciate all the responses. With all the help available on this forum, a reloader can save a lot of time and money and skip the experimenting process. I'm kind of boring when it comes to trying different loads, because when I find something that suits my needs and functions well, I just keep repeating the formula.
     
  14. mikld

    mikld Well-Known Member

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  15. sharps4590

    sharps4590 Well-Known Member

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    Just like a round ball, they kill all out of proportion to their paper ballistics.
     
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