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Old November 19, 2013, 05:32 AM   #26
Join Date: May 25, 2013
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I bought and used a Marlin 1894SS .44 carbine in 2005 and used it a few times for deer. I was way less than impressed with it's performance using Win 240gr JSP. I had originally bought as a woods bumming/fould weather gun, then ammo and component prices went throught the roof The Win 240gr JSP were poor performers, they were accurate but even when launced from the 20" barrel showed no signs of expanding much. I shot a spike horn with that combo right through the pump house at 40 yards. The buck ran 75yards right into some thick stuff. Sure enough when I dressed him out there was a nice .429" through the heart, and a exit which didn't appear any larger than the entrance wound.

When I went to where I hit the deer there was no sign indicating a hit in the snow. I picked up his tracks and followed him about 25 yards before I found any blood. The blood I did find was very small, almost as if someone used a spray bottle, all I was finding was very fine specks of blood. When I finally found him he was bleeding only from the entrance wound. I shot at and hit a doe in some thick golden rods and couldn't find her because of this. Later while helping a friend track his buck that he shot in the same vicinity I found what the coyotes left

The next time I used that rifle was with the Hornady 240gr XTP-HP and a Max dose of H110. Shot a nice 4pt in 2010 at all of 30 yards, the deer traveled 150 yards, but I couldn't get another shot due to the dense woods I was in. Everytime I moved to put a finisher in him he would get up and move a little more right into some thicker stuff. I ended up having to sit there and watch him expire, I was pretty heated over this. I have since sold that rifle and replaced it with a 20GA shotgun. I know darn well and good that I won't have the same performance on deer with it, and it fits the role that I had intended for the 1894 even better.

I found that the 30-30 is more effective on deer than the 1894 .44. In every instance that I got a deer with my 30-30 there was never a lack of sign showing a good hit, and the deer traveled no more than about 30 yards. So there is my experience using the .44 mag on deer.
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Old November 28, 2013, 10:44 AM   #27
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good point on distance

growing up in rifle zones most every deer I shot was at distance and expired out of site - first time I hunted in NJ and shot a small buck with a slug I EXPECTED it to drop immediately. At 25 yds I was amazed when it just jumped a little and calmly walked another 25 yds away and stumbled down. As I gathered my things - it took a minute - I was amazed again when it tried to get up! Decent hole through both lungs - just the nature of the beast.

for those of us with "The Hunters Heart" (great book by Pederson?) every kill is tinged with a little sadness which is no doubt emphasized when you see the animal die.

That said, put a big enough hole in the right area and you've done your job.
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Old November 28, 2013, 08:56 PM   #28
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That said, put a big enough hole in the right area and you've done your job.
This is why I stepped up to 480 Ruger. I wanted a "bigger hole". Not saying that a 41 mag or 44 mag isn't good for the job, just I wanted something with a bit more oomph. People frequently don't like it when I suggest that you get something larger than 357 mag. But for me, I am comfortable with this suggestion. Folks don't have to pay any attention at all to what I say.

The same recommendation applies to some folks that think a 9mm, 40 S&W or 45 ACP is enough from a handgun. I go straight to 10mm with a semi-auto pistol.
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Old November 29, 2013, 09:10 AM   #29
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I agree with 22-rimfire. I'd likely be more satisfied with greater power. That's why I have been researching guns & ammo in the 460, 480, 475 range. Funny he mentions a 10mm Auto too. Because I had the exact same thought about what auto to buy next if I ever do. I saw on TV an account of Alaska troopers investigation a moose kill. The guy used a Glock 10mm. Right away, I said to myself that 10mm might be the right choice for me too. No- not the Glock for deer hunting. Of course the big revolver for that. The Glock would be a home & carry gun. It is not unusual for very large bad people wearing heavy coats to prey on vulnerable people here in the cold parts of the country. I've sometimes questioned the effectiveness of the 9mm. A 10mm Glock could be a very good choice. But I'll do a little more research on that topic. Something like comparing ballistic table data to some of the magnum loads.
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Old November 29, 2013, 10:15 AM   #30
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You'll never forget the first deer. Mine was 20-odd years ago, and I still remember it like yesterday. Little forked-horn muley in Oregon, not quite 30 yards away. I opted for a head shot at that distance with my 270 and there was very little struggle. When I walked up on him, his eyes were wide open looking at me, but there was nothing behind them. I just stood there for a minute, feeling mostly sad but elated at the same time. I thanked both the deer and God for the meat, then got to work.

If you don't feel anything when an animal's life is ended at your hand, there's something wrong with you and I'd rather not have you in my hunting party.

I understand the reasoning behind using "more gun" in an attempt to kill more quickly and humanely, but you're mistaken if you think it will remove all of the struggle and the inherent emotion attached to the act of taking the animal.
"It's you and me against the world."
"So, when do we attack?"
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Old December 1, 2013, 11:20 AM   #31
black mamba
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Two years ago I shot a large, mature southern Illinois buck at 60 yds with Hornady SST slug. 300 grains at 2000 fps from the muzzle and a perfect double lung shot right behind the shoulder and clean through. This is WAY more powerful than any handgun cartridge, yet the deer ran 125 yards before stopping, swaying and tipping over. Took about 8-10 seconds for him to fall, but he was dead when I got to him (maybe a full minute). I was shocked at how far he ran, and even more so when I opened him up. The entire chest cavity was mush, tremendous devastation, yet it took him 10 seconds + to die. Sometimes they are just tough.
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Old December 1, 2013, 11:34 AM   #32
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^^^Have had the same experience with the 1oz. shotgun slug shooting through both lungs and taking out very top of the heart. More than once. Maybe not a full 125yds but closer to 50-60.
Still, rather mind boggling when you think about it.
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Old December 1, 2013, 11:59 AM   #33
Steve in PA
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I've taken several deer with a .44 magnum handgun, none required a second shot. Farthest one went was about 20-30 yards. The shot was about 75 yards and the deer was dead by the time I walked up to it.

I've seen deer hit with a .30/06 run for quite a ways before piling up.
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Old December 1, 2013, 10:02 PM   #34
Deja vu
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I have killed many deer with a 357 mag carbine and it does well with flat nose ammo. I load 158 grain flat nose to about 1900 FPS and it works well.

I have killed a single deer with a 357 magnum j-frame but the range was very close and it was all I had available at the time.... long story

This is my opinion here. I feel that people worry too much about the gun they use and not enough about how much they practice. My now deceased grand father killed many deer during the great depression with a 22lr from a single shot that now sits over my mantel. That is another long story too.

I feel that most any gun is good enough for deer so long as the shooter is experienced and able to stay calm.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 23 of my guns are 45/70 govt 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple
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Old December 1, 2013, 10:30 PM   #35
Brian Pfleuger
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Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
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Handgun Deer

Folks have some interesting and unrealistic expectations of what firearms will do to deer.

I've shot and seen shot a whole lot of deer, of various sizes, at various distances and with everything from archery equipment to handguns shooting rifle cartridges to shotguns, rifles and muzzleloaders.

By far, the most common reaction is to run some distance, fall down and flop around for a few seconds before expiring.

That's what happens unless you disrupt the CNS. It's hunting, it's unavoidable.

It doesn't matter, on average, if you're using 50 ft-lbs, 800 or 3,000.

The amount of "energy dump" in the animal is irrelevant. You have the permanent wound channel and you have hydrostatic shock. Hydrostatic shock is non-existent at handgun (non-rifle cartridge) velocities. You want two holes with a handgun, not "energy dump".
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Old December 6, 2013, 07:05 PM   #36
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I just took a decent size doe with a Win 240SP white box using 7.5 inch SBH. Deer jumped up and took off. No blood trail at all. I found it about 40 to 60 yds away in a swamp, dead. Small entry and no exit. Never again. I ran out of my 225 copper HP load and just figured the 240SP would be fine. I've always had good luck with the Hornady XTP. Considering going to a heavy hardcast with a wide metplat.

Last edited by Noreaster; December 6, 2013 at 07:19 PM.
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Old December 6, 2013, 09:32 PM   #37
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Sorry you had a bad experience Steel Chicken, look into Speer Gold Dots. I have gotten good results from them out of my .357.
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Old December 7, 2013, 09:10 AM   #38
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No shortage of well stated thought provoking posts in this thread.
Thanks to all. I was re-reading after some time away from home to get caught up and would like to draw attention to post #26. That sort of agrees with my questioning how well the 44Mag will serve my hunting expectations. I have a 20ga shotgun well suited for deer as well as a 30-30.
There are other reasons I like the handgun and may consider one larger.
1) I can carry it in the truck going to, hunting, and coming back without casing or locking. Just step out of the truck and ready to go.
2) I can hunt deer in the woods without carrying a long gun. It's easy to move through the pines with a handgun in a chest holster instead of carrying a long gun. If snow or drizzle, the handgun is easily covered under a larger coat to keep it out of the weather.
3) If dragging a dear, there's no added load of a long gun along with it.
4) A long gun requires casing, uncasing, loading and unloading- just not so with my handgun.
Others probably have more or better ideas, but these come to mind for me. Thanks again for all these great replies. I'll mull them over as I think about where to go from here. Maybe a BFR with a larger cartridge like a 45-70. I had a conversation with my local dealer and that's what he suggested. Certainly worth taking a look.

Last edited by SteelChickenShooter; December 7, 2013 at 05:44 PM.
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Old December 7, 2013, 06:26 PM   #39
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Foot pounds are foot lbs lbs\\\

bullet type may be more the issue. I posted a while back on my experience with Federal Fusion ammo in my 30-30 Hit a doe broadside at 50 yds and the bullet fragmented and did not exit. Yes it did its job and I found her but left no blood sign. I prefer an exit hole - went back to Remington Cor-lokt

just saying
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Old December 8, 2013, 04:58 PM   #40
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Handgun Deer

Over the years, I've come to use bullets that dispatch the animal as quickly as possible. I sacrifice some blood shot meat sometimes, but it's been worth it for me. Based on your comments, I will probably think twice about taking a close shot with my g20 as I had intended to do this year.
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