View Full Version : Mountain Gun Load...240gr XTP HP .430 vs 240gr hard cast SWC

Southern Shooter
June 18, 2012, 04:03 PM
In a private purchase recently made, I had the chance to pick up more than 350 Hornady 240 gr .430 XTP bullets as part of the deal. My questions is this:

At 1,000 FPS, which bullet would you load your rounds up with? Which would be a more effective protection round...the hardcast SWC or the XTP? These would be used in a .44 Magnum revolver and carried in the mountains of Utah, Colorado and some in Wyoming.

Side note: I understand that I could and maybe should up the load both in bullet weight and powder charge. But, the person this gun ( an odd hybrid S&W 28 frame with S&W 629 cylinder and 4" barrel ) belongs to is NOT large...5'2" @ 125 lbs with petite hands. She can shoot stouter loads but wants something that she can shoot more rapidly.


June 18, 2012, 10:19 PM
The beauty of the hard cast bulets with large meplats ("Noses") is that you will get serious wound channels measured in feet. Your hard cast option as described will shoot though just about any animal in North America on a broad side and should go about 4 feet end to end. Big slow hard cast bullets with big meplats are beautiful things. Like little freight trains.

June 19, 2012, 12:54 AM

I'd prefer the SWC's as well but would have to work up a load for the 4" bbl.

June 19, 2012, 04:07 AM
I shoot about the same load as far as velocity which in my opinion is plenty for most encounters in my parts. I find I use SWC more than the XTP but frankly only because I like to shoot a lot and the SWC are cheaper to shoot. The XTPs should expand at that velocity and since you have a good supply I see nothing wrong with using them. The SWC should penetrate a bit more due to not expanding and as someone already pointed out they have a large meplat and will do the job.

June 19, 2012, 08:41 AM
In my M629 with a five inch barrel, 8.5 grains Unique in 44 Mag cases is just over 1000 fps with 240 Lead bullets.

At 1000 fps I would go lead, it is more likely to deform than jacketed bullets.

June 21, 2012, 03:03 AM

My 629 Mtn gets fed 8.5 gr Unique and 240-250 gr lead SWC as well.
I also used the same charge in the now defunct Speer 240 half jacket SWC . Sort of a .44 SPL +P, which was all I need.

Regards the OP, I would opt for the SWC and not count on expansion. A heavy .44 SWC is well known for its hitting and killing power at modest velocity.

Southern Shooter
June 21, 2012, 11:59 AM
Slamfire and bamaranger,

I have yet to load that combination up. How is the handling of that combination? Rather easy on the hand? Snappy?


June 22, 2012, 12:30 PM
I prefer the LSWC, although the XTP is a fine capable bullet if HP's are a must. Also, for me, cost is a factor when impromptu plinking / practice sessions or targets of opportunity present themselves. Valuable skills are gained by shooting at a variety of targets in a variety of situations.

June 22, 2012, 01:25 PM
I use XTP's and 255gr LSWC in my Ruger Blackhawk. Either will work fine for mountain carry in East TN, where I live. If I were out west, with a possibility of encountering a big bear, the LSWC would get the nod.

June 22, 2012, 08:32 PM
You might try Skeeter Sketon's load for the .44 Special 7.5 grains of Unique.

June 23, 2012, 11:27 AM
I know no one has mentioned this yet, but I'd opt for the SWCs. The XTPs would work but you'd have to be sure to wear a Tux sic.

Little freight trains...good analogy. :D

June 23, 2012, 11:36 AM
Use the 240 grain cast bullets. Pretend they are 250 or 255 grains and use .45 Colt load data and you should find plenty of good loads. (8 to 10 grains of Unique ought to be good.

Watch out for ".45 Colt, Ruger Only" or ".45 Colt +P" load data. You don't want that.

June 27, 2012, 02:35 PM
I would go with the cast bullet over the XTP. I've shot some .44 caliber XTP into hogs in past years ago and got mixed results with more than few failures.

One 170+ lb. hog was hit in the low front shoulder on a front quartering shot with the 240gr XTP at 1,150 fps out of a short Ruger Super Blackhawk at close range (less than 20 yards). After getting hit he ran 200+ yards before he was taken down with multiple shots from .223 and .308. Later while cleaning the pig I found that the bullet track curved about 35 degress and came out above the right shoulder with minimal wound track... looked like a ice pick wound.

Another time a little larger hog was hit in the rear left shoulder on a rear quartering shot with the same bullet but at 1,250 fps and it ran off. Next evening I found him trotting along in a dry irrigation canal and I put him down with a rifle. When I was cleaning him I could see that the bullet left a large but shallow wound that just penetrate through the ribs and then broke apart. It broke a rib and there was damage to the left lung from the bone shards and pieces of bullet. The bullet failed to penetrate into the chest cavity.

Let me point out that these XTP bullets were very early versions when they first came out. I don't know how current versions compare or perform.

For about two years, my daily carry out in the field was a New Ruger Flattop 44 Special loaded with 250gr WFN cast bullet loaded to 1,000 fps out of the short (4 3/4") barrel. It has never failed to perform on hogs or deers. These days I carry a New Ruger Flattop 45 Colt loaded with 255gr WFN loaded to 950 fps. I've only shot two hogs with it so far but both bullet completely penetrated the animals. Both revolvers and loads are great and I would carry either one with no hesitation but I prefer the 45 Colt because it's a little lighter.

June 27, 2012, 11:22 PM
Cast SWC/Keith style bullets will shoot through anything you're going to find in the L48.

June 29, 2012, 03:20 AM
I'd say medium. Certainly milder than full house stuff, but not a pansy either.

July 7, 2012, 10:04 PM
Put 20+ grs of 2400 behind either of those and you wont be disapointed.

BTW I shoot my 240 lead rounds @1400+. Sure they leave leading but they work.

July 9, 2012, 02:36 AM
Guess I'm soft, but from my Mtn Gun, full house .44 mag stuff is no fun to shoot.

At most I run mine at abut 3/4 power. A 240-250 SWC at 100 fps is plenty of .44 for me from a Mtn Rev.

July 9, 2012, 06:46 AM
I used to own a S&W 624 (44SP) 4". I was getting just over 1000fps out of it and found that most soft point and some HP bullets simply mushed back to the jacket and became a wadcutter. Hardcast lead maintained it's profile and kept it's directional stability better than the slightly deforming jacketed slugs. Twice, I carried this revolver to Montana bear country loaded with hot loaded 245 cast lead SWC bullets but fortunately did not really need to use it on aggressive bears.