View Full Version : 44 bullets for whitetails

Jack Straw
August 31, 1999, 12:18 PM
Which is the better bullet for small southern deer: a 250gr Keith type cast bullet or a JHP? I would like to use my own home grown bullets but not if they won't be effective (ie.. wounded game). It is my understanding that the heavy cast bullets are certainly good for thick skinned animals, so I'm wondering if they might tend to completely penetrate whitetails without causing enough damage. Would that still be the case with less than full power loads? I have a good supply of Unique on hand which I could use for lower velocities. If so, what should I set as a minimum velocity?

Thanks for the help.


August 31, 1999, 12:44 PM
Ive had very good luck with
the Hornady 240 gr XTP moving
along at about 1300 fps with
23.0 grs of H110.
They list load data for 240
gr XTP with H110 as: 21.8 grs min
- 24.9 grs as MAX.
It will go all the way thru with a BIG exit hole, never had one run more than 50 yards.

Ive also killed a coulp of Deer with the Speer 240 gr SP & HP.

I like my bullets in the 240 gr JHP class
with powder being Win 296, H110, IMR 4227.

If you need some more info just Email me at [email protected]

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Dan Wesson

[This message has been edited by Donald (edited August 31, 1999).]

August 31, 1999, 08:11 PM
My favorite deer load is a Sierra 210gr JHC in front of 18grs of Blue Dot. Runs about 1500-1550fps out of a 7 1/2 to 8 3/8 barrel.

Sierra bullets have relatively thin jackets compared to most other makes and expand readily. I would not use this load on boar as it might lack penetration on tough hides.

Could be just luck but so far this load has taken four deer for me - all expired where they stood. One out of a Ruger Redhawk 7 1/2", one out of a S&W M29 8 3/8" and 2 with a S&W 629 Classic 6 1/2". One was a spine shot, straight down at 5 yards and the other three were broadside shoulder/lung hits at 25 to 50 yards.


[This message has been edited by Mikey (edited August 31, 1999).]

Long Path
August 31, 1999, 10:06 PM
Go with the Kieth-style SWC, cast as hard as you can get it to flow, at about 1300. Accurate, penetrative, and makes nice .429 caliber entry holes and ~.50 exit holes. What more do you want? Your number one concern should be penetration, and second should be permanent wound cavity. The sharp shoulders and wide meplat on the LSWC makes it ideal. Punch that boy right through the near shoulder, and don't worry about what happens, should it hit the scapula wrong. (What happens? Why, it'll punch right on through...)

DON'T get so enamored with expansion that you sacrifice penetration. Remember that two holes are always better than one when/if you have to track your deer. Easier to find, and he'll expire much faster.

PLUS, it's a kick to "roll your own," right down to the lead.

Jack Straw
September 1, 1999, 09:05 AM
Long Path,
Do you have a favorite powder and/or load to get to that 1300fps? I was kind of leaning towards W296 -- does that powder require magnum primers?

I don't have the Speer manual and yesterday I tried to download the Winchester Reloading guide but for some reason it wouldn't download properly. So, any help there would be greatly appreciated.

I am pretty excited about the idea of taking game with hand-rolled ammo.

Thanks again,

[This message has been edited by Jack Straw (edited September 01, 1999).]

Paul B.
September 4, 1999, 10:36 PM
Jack. Longpath has got it right. I have used the RCBS 240 gr. gaschecked bullet with W-296. I have the Winchester handbook and they give a load of 25.0 gr. with a lead SWC bullet. I use one grain less. They recommend a magnum primer and a tight crimp. I use the crimp alright, but I use the regular primer. Velociy is a bit over 1400 FPS in a 7.5 inch barrel. BTW the same load gave 1750 FPS in a Marlin carbine I had for a while.
The book says not to reduce the powder charges with 296 powder. The 25.0 gr. load supposedly gives 1560 FPS, barrel length not stated. They give 24.0 for a jacketed bullet, 240 gr. Punch one of those cast lead bullets through a deer's shoulder, and you'll have meat in the pot and not a lot of hamburger either if you made your bullet hard enough. Enjoy!
Paul B.
Recoil is a tad stout in a 629 Smith, but it is OK in any of the Ruger single actions.

Long Path
September 5, 1999, 12:54 AM
Jack, here I am without that load handy. Lemme get back to you. I want to say around 18 gr of 2400, but don't you DARE try it until you've looked it up or I get back to you!!!

For Unique, you'd do better loading some gentler Specials for practice. (or load 'em gentle in Mag cases for "Special Mags"!) 7.5 g. of Unique behind a 240 g. bullet with a standard large pistol primer is a VERY pleasant and accurate load to practice with, and is actually very huntable-- think hot .44 Spl, which has killed a LOT of deer.

I didn't see what length barrel you're using. Makes a bit of a difference when choosing faster or slower powders. For romp'em stomp'em, my friends are using H-110 or 2400 to great success. Dang, I wish I had that load here.....

Paul B.
September 5, 1999, 07:10 PM
Longpath. Elmer's old .44 Mag. load was 22.0 gr. 2400. I dropped to 20.0 as I felt his was too hot in a 629 with 6 inch barrel. All I use now in 44's are Ruger Super blackhawks. The 18.0 gr. load should be more than safe in a .44 Magnum. The Lyman book (47th ed.) shows 18.2/2400 as a starting load for around 915 fps. 22.2/2400 was the max they gave. I went that far,(22.2) but the load was very uncomfortable to shoot for me, and although there were no pressure signs visible, I had the feeling I was above the safe point for that revolver.
I much prefer W-296. It goes through a powder measure just slicker'n snot on a doorknob. The flat flakes of 2400 seem to slip in between the frame and rotor of my two measures. Bullseye and Unique do the same. The little testing I've done with W-231 hasn't told me much yet. I think it is a bit slower than Bullseye.
In .44 Spl. brass, I like 7.5 gr. Unique, and use 8.5 gr. in .44 Mag. brass. This gives about the same ballistics with 240 gr. cast lead bullets. The 7.5/.44 Spl. load was a favorite load of the late Skeeter Skelton. Works right well too.
Paul B.

Jack Straw
September 7, 1999, 11:40 AM
I'll be sending these loads down a Ruger Redhawk and a Super Blackhawk -- both are 7.5 inch barrels. I've been loading a 240SWC over 8gr. of Unique for general shooting purposes, but I wasn't sure that it would be sufficient for hunting. I have heard of hunting loads using 9gr Unique, but I would need second (or third) opinions before I took that load into the woods.

Paul B.
Since I load on a Dillon 550, I am leaning towards the smoother feeding W296. As I just said to Longpath, one gun is a Blackhawk, but the other is a Redhawk. I don't want to have to wrestle that Redhawk to the ground after pulling the trigger (Dad has the Blackhawk and for all I know he likes wrestling it) and I don't want to shoot the thing with loads that are going to loosen parts up. Is that 25.0gr of W296 the starting load? And just what do they mean by not reducing the load? I'm not talking about loading it down to paper-punching power, but I would like to get it down to about 1200-1300fps.

Thanks for all this help guys!!!


September 11, 1999, 07:58 PM
I use a Cast LBT OWC in about 260 gr. weight depending on alloy used. I drop them from the mold into a 5 Gal. bucket of cool water. Spread'em out on a towel to dry. 24 hrs. later they are as hard as a rock. I've shot through 1/8" steel with a midrange(about 1150 FPS)load.

I'm with Long Path, 2 holes are better than one,especially a golf ball size one on the way out. Energy figures with handguns are misleading as to effectiveness on game.

With these you don't need cylinder bulging loads either.

Without the 2nd Amendment,the Declaration of Independence is an old post card and the entire Constitution is just notes from a bridge club meeting.

September 13, 1999, 08:28 PM
Jack, I use the following load.

Hornady 240 gr XTP
21.8 grains of Win 296 (Ruger)
1250 fps

Hornady 240 gr XTP
23.3 grains of Win 296 (Contender)
1600 fps

I've been hunting here in Ohio with a pistol for about 7 years now. I've experimented with several different makes of bullets. The reason I decided on the Hornady was this. I have two pistols that I hunt with. First a Ruger Super blackhawk with a 7 1/2" barrel, then a Thompson Contender hunter with a 14" barrel. The Hornady was the only bullet that I could get consistant and even expansion with the wide range of velocities between the two pistols. The other bullets would fragment and in some cases the lead would seperate from the jacket with the higher velocities.

I only experimented with cast bullets in the Ruger for a short time. I went with the JHP just for personal preference because of the higher velocities with the Contender and the concerns over controlled expansion.

Long Path
September 13, 1999, 10:22 PM
Jack, I agree that the XTP is one of the all-time greats at controlled expansion over a variety of velocities (in fact, some would say that they actually started the entire trend, back in 1990...), but if one uses hard lead SWC, the expansion question is moot, and unnesessary. One need only use a gas-check...

But to be honest, at your velocities, I'd probably go with a jacketed bullet, too, if I was going to practice a fair amount (which one should!). Leading, much? Whoo!



Hey! Just thought of a new thread, to go in Reloading Section...

Will you, too, be one who stands in the gap?

[This message has been edited by Long Path (edited September 13, 1999).]