View Full Version : .44 Mag for deer (results)

Rick R
December 3, 2002, 05:32 PM
Earlier this year I got a quantity of hard cast 325gr SWC/GC bullets for the old .44 Magnum. I found a load that pushes them at about 1250fps from my 6" 629 and is pretty accurate to boot and decided to use that gun for deer hunting.

Opening day at about 11:30AM, a fork horn walked to within fifteen yards of where I was sitting and presented a shot looking at me with his body quartering slightly. At the sound of the shot he took off like a bee stung him, thrashed across the little valley we were in and piled up on the other side with a crash that sounded like a car wreck probably about 100 yards away. I followed a blood trail that looked like he'd been shot with a broadhead.

That SWC cut a perfectly round hole all the way through both lungs, it looked like if you'd held the carcass at the proper angle you could have seen daylight! I'd read the reports that the SWC's worked well on game but I'd tried using JHP's in the past. I'm impressed, very little meat damage and very dead deer. That 325gr bullet may be a bit heavy for deer but after seeing how well it worked I'm convinced.


Art Eatman
December 3, 2002, 06:00 PM
Very good!

:), Art

December 3, 2002, 06:51 PM
Congrats! Rifle or revolver?

December 3, 2002, 10:44 PM
I found a load that pushes them at about 1250fps from my 6" 629...
I would assume a revolver.

Rick R
December 4, 2002, 12:56 AM
I shot the deer with my 6" mdl 629, it's got an underlugged barrel and unfluted cylinder, and iron sights. I think they started calling them the "classic hunter" sometime after they made my gun. Recoil is stiff from the 6", shooting them in my 4" Mountain Gun is a whole nuther matter :eek:

I've still got to get a .44 rifle, then I'd feel well equiped in the .44 department. Maybe the jolly fat guy will bring me one for Christmas.


gordo b.
December 4, 2002, 01:22 AM
I shoot a load like that in my .44s but when you shoot the 1250fps in 6 inch in 20 inch carbine it will go 1600fps and will KICK big time(it does in my B-92 Browning) but works real good to 100yds.

Long Path
December 4, 2002, 08:23 AM
325gr @ 1250 from a 629? That's heap big medicine!

Sounds like it's getting on the heavy side, to ever be a steady diet out of your Mtn Revolver. ;)

Good load. Nice to see someone do it right, with reasonable expectations for how the game should react.

Good report. Enjoy your venison!


Rick R
December 4, 2002, 11:55 AM
I only shot the heavy load through the Mountain Gun to see how it grouped. With the upgrades the MG is probably stronger than the 6" gun but light weight guns and heavy bullets = big recoil. It's stout but not uncontrollable from the 6", a friend who has a Marlin rifle fired three of them at a gong one evening and pronounced the recoil to be like a 20 gauge high brass load.

Most normally my .44's get fed a 240 SWC load with 10.0gr Unique which seems to be easier on all concerned, and which probably would do a pretty good job on deer, but being a handloader and getting those 325gr bullets I had to come up with a super secret deer slaying load!:D


PS ~ Jerky is in the dehydrater as we speak.

December 4, 2002, 03:33 PM
Ooops must skimmed over the 6" 629 part. I bought a Marlin Model 336 in .44 last year and love it. I haven't hunted with it, but it's a fun plinkin gun.

December 4, 2002, 10:49 PM

I found out the hard way that a heavy bullet works better on whitetails a few years ago. Using a fast pet handload with a 200 grain JHP out of a 10" TC Contender gave me terrible results. Not enough penetration and no exit wound. I killed two deer with it and it took a lot of tracking to finally find them.

When I switched to a heavier JSP bullet performance improved dramatically.

I found out the same thing when trying to use 240gr JHPs out of my muzzleloader. Lots of tracking and almost a couple of lost deer. When I switched to a heavy buffalo bullet things became much better.

Good Shooting

December 4, 2002, 11:02 PM
Well planned
Well hunted.
Well shot.
Good show Rick.


December 5, 2002, 12:13 PM
I have found using my 44 mag scoped SuperRedHawk 7 1/2 that 240gr bullets are the best for deer like animals and are the most accurate as well. I use Hornady's 240gr XTP/240gr Speer Golddot's using WW296 at 24gr max load using win brass/CCI mag primers, heavy crimp, 1525 fps, drops deer like a heart beat, this year got a young buck on the hoof at 30 yards with my SuperRedHawk, all the practice and working up loads came all together when it counted. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.

December 5, 2002, 03:57 PM
this year got a young buck on the hoof at 30 yards with my SuperRedHawk

Your shot placement is lacking my friend. :eek: :D

December 5, 2002, 07:49 PM
Hey! but wid one-a dees here magnums, it don't matter.

Shoot 'em in da hoof, spin 'em around & knock 'em back 100 yards ....


Al Thompson
December 5, 2002, 08:08 PM
Shot placement? That looks like a field dressed dead deer to me..

Rick R
December 5, 2002, 10:52 PM
That's about the size of the deer I shot, only I had to let him get closer as I was using open sights :p
I may try the XTP's again someday, but I've still got a couple hundred rounds of these SWC's to hold me for a while. Who knows some day the T-Rex may make comeback and I'll need all that penetration.

Good shootin' and good venison.


December 6, 2002, 08:11 AM
Going out tomorrow here in PA with a bunch of guys that also use a handgun to hunt deer. Should be fun driving deer trying to harvest deer with handguns.


December 6, 2002, 07:18 PM
I believe that's a bullet hole just above the right shoulder. The guts are taken out from the bottom boys. Nice shot Rmouleart!

December 7, 2002, 12:29 PM

Nice shot. I too hunt with a Super Redhawk. Mine has the 9.5" barrel. I have a 2x6x32 Bushnell on it. I also hunt with a Super Blackhawk with a 10.5" barrel and open sights. Ruger revolvers are great hunting guns.


Ben Shepherd
December 7, 2002, 06:05 PM
Godd hunt, sir.

One thought: Now you've seen the wound channel, and the lack of damage to the surrounding meat, that a HCSWC slug does, let me add my personal tactics to this post.

If possible I try to take the shoulder as well as some vital organs. The wound channel is the same, with very little meat damage, usually much less trailing time/distance when you break the shoulder as well.

Welcome to the addiction of handgun hunting!!!!

December 7, 2002, 06:30 PM
He hit the deer with his truck, then gutshot her to make sure she was dead.

That's my kind of deer harvestin'


Rick R
December 7, 2002, 08:41 PM
I aimed too far back (I get confused by angled shots), I'll bet that bullet didn't slow down much just going through the ribs and lungs. I'll try to do better next time and hit a major bone, I've still got antlerless season next week to try again.

Or I may use my lil' .44 Mountain Gun.

Or the 30-30 Contender.

:) Snow on the ground so it looks like deer season, I don't care what I use as long as I get to go hunting! :)


December 8, 2002, 12:48 AM
Twas a joke. Reread my post. I posted the quote where he said he shot it ON the hoof. Nevermind. :rolleyes:

At least Labgrade got it. :D

Al Thompson
December 8, 2002, 09:57 AM
Kilgor, my bad - LOL! I just got it as well.. Call me slow..

December 8, 2002, 06:37 PM
I was carrying my SRH 44 mag on Saturday and we put on a small drive in the afternoon. I had a one antler buck came out to me and stop at thirty yards broadside in a logging road, but due to our new antler restrictions in PA I couldn't shoot it because it looked like it was a spike with some small points hanging off of it and we must have three points to one side with the points being at least one inch long.

December 8, 2002, 10:37 PM
Slow :D

Rick R
December 9, 2002, 01:19 AM

Keep plugging along, eventually a biggun (or at least a legal one) will wander into your comfort zone. Just remember to let him get close enough to see the whites of his hooves;)


December 9, 2002, 10:09 AM
Thanks a lot guys, Good luck all, tagem and bagem;) Aim small hit small. RAMbo.

P.S. you guys were right, shot behind the shoulder, no meat damaged, dropped that buck instantly.

December 10, 2002, 04:05 PM
Good looking Deer, I really enjoy handgun Deer Hunting and have taken several with my 44 SRH and 240 grain Hornady XTP's loaded with W296 but my new favorite handgun is my Encore in 308 Winchester it has a 2.5 X 8 Leupold and shoots some remarkable groups at 100 yards. I shot a nice buck this fall with it at 150 yards. The Encore has given me allot more range but you still have to do the Practice practice practice thing. I don't really thing that the recoil on the 308 is as bad as full house hunting loads in my 44. Anyway great looking deer it's allways more fun when you get one the hard way. Heck anyone can harvest a deer with a rifle. :D

December 11, 2002, 04:08 PM
Thanks Handloader, I agree 100%...I even bow hunt, boy is that a challenge ;) I shot this 207 pd doe thanksgiving morning at the break of day at 40 yards down hill from my blind, she acted like she did not get hit then went 20 yards and dropped, I shot through the liver and lungs. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.

December 12, 2002, 08:38 AM

Headed out Saturday for the last day of our rifle season. I think the rifle will stay home and I'm going to pot hunt for a little in the morning and then do some roving. After the season opener here in PA its gets really hard to take a deer let alone a buck. Gotta find those remote areas that are thick and not yet hunted hard.


December 12, 2002, 08:40 AM

Nice deer and congradulations. I bow hunt but do it with a longbow and home made wood arrows. Talk about a challenge! Any deer shot with a bow is a trophy in my book.


December 12, 2002, 12:08 PM
PALongbow your so right;) using a long bow is even more of a challenge. Talk about the deer you could not get a shot at during the bow season,either too far away or a bush in the way etc... if it was rifle they would be toast LOL. I shot at a nice 12 pointer at 50 yards right before rifle season in NH from my climber, The buck ducked my arrow:( I never thought a buck could duck 320 fps arrow, but yes they can. I think it was due to the hype the buck was under chasing seven doe's around my stand, the doe's at the time would have nothing to do with the buck, maybe they were not in estrus yet, he was for sure the dominant buck. never saw him again:( I have one more week of bow hunting then its over, maybe I can get lucky and get another shot at a nice deer unaware I am there, I know where they go when they get pressured in the area I hunt, Its the furthest most remote spot in the woods like you said, I will be there at least one more time for the gipper;) Good luck all, don't give up till the fat lady sings, It happens when you least expect it, when you think all has failed here comes that huge buck sneaking bye. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.

December 15, 2002, 10:34 AM
Our rifle season is over here in PA. I drew the bead at thirty yards, but couldn't shoot a buck last Saturday with my revolver due to it having one antler and it wasn't legal due to our new antler restrictions.

Its going to be a long year with lots of reading, reloading, continued practice, and ground hog hunting.


Rick R
December 15, 2002, 10:39 PM

Dude, you need a T-shirt that reads "Women love me, Deer fear me". Some nice pics.

I got skunked for anterless season, I only got out one day and decided to carry my .308 as the deer have been real skitterish. Didn't see any deer till I was walking outta the woods and four were standing beside the property owner's barn, lined up between me and his house. A real "no shoot" situation.:(

Muzzle loader season starts tomorrow but work constraints won't let me go play till at least Friday.:mad: After four weeks of being shot at constantly the deer will probably be able to outrun a bullet propelled by mere black powder.

Oh well, Longbow I'll be practicing with you for next year, I may try taking a deer with the Mountain Gun and my medium load.

December 16, 2002, 10:00 AM
PALongbow your too funny, on the deer part your right, but on the woman part I have not been able to find one that likes what I do;) or can except it, The woman I am with now says she is a hunters widow LOL. Oh well, Hey off season I am normal:) but as soon as that chill in the air starts, I get into the hunting mode, its just part of me I can't help it, Im not going to change for any one at 40 years old;) i will just die doing what I love the most hunting, shooting etc... and being outdoors and just taking in all that good air. Now that deer season is over I think I am going to do some coyote hunting during xmas vacation;)Take care. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.