View Full Version : Alright 44 Mag ammo round for deer...

July 3, 2012, 11:21 AM
My SKS is going to be turning into something more practical, a .44 Magnum Lever Action today...my question is what round do you .44mag shooters have for deer hunting? Buffalo Bore is the one recommendation I've received from one person...but want other options? It's a Rossi 92 .44 Mag Lever, so if you have the same please share especially!

July 3, 2012, 12:34 PM
Speer 44mag 'Deep Curl' a premium bullet designed for big game . I've heard many favorable comments from hunters !

July 3, 2012, 12:58 PM
Something that you might want to consider is that the .44/.45 has been considered a proper whitetail deer caliber since flintlocks. I'd hesitate to guess how many whitetail deer have been dropped since the late 1600s with a ~130 grain round ball pushed to black powder velocities. It's true that the new bullets give better performance, opening at velocity to match the design of the bullet, but it's also true that if you shoot a .44 caliber hole all the way through a deer you'll likely find a dead deer at the end of your walk.

Certainly, use a Deep Curl or similar design if you feel better about it, but standard lead projectiles have been bring home venison for several centuries.

July 3, 2012, 01:34 PM
PawPaw, didn't you get the memo about today's deer being armor plated so that they don't go down unless you use the latest whiz-bang magnum?:D

July 3, 2012, 01:48 PM
.44-40's with LRN or, at best, LFP bullets have probably killed more deer than any other cartridge except .30-30, so I'd think that a .44 Magnum loaded with any decent 240gr JSP bullet would be plenty for deer. Were it me, I'd load the gun with whatever 240gr JSP proves to be most accurate.

July 3, 2012, 01:48 PM
Really does not take Buffalo Bore ammunition as much as I like them for self-defense or dangerous game. Most any .44 mag ammunition would work. This is good choice http://www.midwayusa.com/product/401726/hornady-custom-ammunition-44-remington-magnum-300-grain-xtp-jacketed-hollow-point-box-of-20 for half the $$$.

July 3, 2012, 03:53 PM
If it says .44 Mag on the box it will work,Have shot several deer with a 44 hand gun with different ammo all went to the cooler.

July 3, 2012, 11:15 PM
I use 240 gr. xtp from Hornady.

July 4, 2012, 01:31 AM
I've had a a thing for .44's and deer since my Dad bought a M94 so chambered in the mid- 70's. He killed a number of deer with it.

I bought my own .44 (an early tube feed Ruger semi) about 1985, ahd have since bought a second. One is scoped, the other has XS sights.

The .44 mag is at its best with slugs of 240 grs an up. You won't need boutique ammo to kill whitetails with a .44 carbine. See who's 240 JHP groups best and have at it.

July 4, 2012, 06:04 AM
I have one hunting load for .44 mag...

It is a Hornady 265gr JFP (#4300) over 22gr of H110...It is not a max load either by Hornady, or Hodgdon's specs...

What it is, is accurate in both my Super Blackhawk, and Marlin 1894...

The reason I use this bullet is that our deer and bear season's overlap, and where we hunt, there is a real chance of getting a shot at a bear...I'd rather have the bone smashing ability and deep penetration that this bullet gives, than chance having to track a wounded bear that was shot with a hollow-point...

July 4, 2012, 06:42 AM
With my Marlin 1894 in 44 mag, the bullet profile and overall lenght are critical factors to proper cycling. I have been told to stay away from semi wadcutters as the shoulder tends to catch on the edge of the chamber. I have never shot anything but the Winchester white box ammo, with 240 grain jacketed hollow point. Which I believe is an XTP bullet and can't imagine any other bullet working better on deer. I have killed three Whitetail deer. Two shots were pass throughs behind the shoulder, the third bullet hit the neck and though destroyed the bullet was mostly intact. None of the deer required a follow up shot. Also Winchester White Box is probablly the least expensive ammo you will find at a store.

July 4, 2012, 08:11 AM
PawPaw, didn't you get the memo about today's deer being armor plated so that they don't go down unless you use the latest whiz-bang magnum?:D

People keep sending me that memo, but maybe I'm to curmudgeonly to understand it. Or maybe all my years of hunting deer with front-stuffers and a patched round ball have inured me to common sense.

Actually, it is my firmly held belief that the bullet manufacturers have done great work over the past decade in giving us lots of good choices. They've really stepped up their game, and some of the newer manufacturing methods have given us some outstanding bullets, while some of their marketing has been a bit weird. Zombie bullets? Really?

I've gotten out of the front-stuffer business in the last several years, mainly from a nod to practicality. It is really practical to put a brass cartridge in my pocket instead of hanging a five pound possibles bag over my shoulder. That same practicality is leading me to one rifle, in my case an old Savage in .30-06. I don't load it very hot but I've found that it does everything that I want a rifle to do.

Still, I understand guys asking the questions and I normally don't tell anyone that they are on the wrong track. The bullet manufacturers are doing great work, and they've got to sell those bullets that they spent all that time developing.

July 4, 2012, 08:14 AM
I loaned my .44 mag. lever gun to a friend, he brought down a whitetail at 50 yards with one shot of XTP.
However, Elmer Keith liked the hard cast SWC. Who is to argue.
Basic thing with a pistol round is do not try to overextend the range. It is still a pistol round. Unless you have practiced extensively and know it's drop, do not try over about 50 yards.

Old Grump
July 4, 2012, 09:01 AM
I'm a handgun hunter and for the last 15 or so years all my ammo has been either 240 gr LSWC, (my favorite), or 240 gr SJHP and my Ruger Super Blackhawk is dialed in for 100 yards. I prefer 60 and under but it will do the trick at 100. I recently acquired some 300 gr double tap that I will try, I already know it's pretty accurate and no harder to shoot than the 240 gr stuff but I suspect I'd better keep that load under 60 yards because of it's reduced velocity.

I'm with Big P, if it says 44 mag on the box it will work, especially out of your Rossi 92. Buddy of mine took his only black bear with a Marlin 94 at about 20 yards and dead is dead. He used the same ammo I do the 240 gr SJHP in both his rifle and revolver. If it will take a cape buffalo it will certainly take a deer.

July 4, 2012, 09:16 PM
Any 240gr. HP will do nicely. I handload a LSWC which works well also.

July 5, 2012, 12:37 PM
I roll my own using Hornady xtp 240 gr. or a cast bullet 240-265 grains for deer hunting with my S&W 629

44 AMP
July 5, 2012, 09:56 PM
My father, before his passing took two Adirondak deer with standard Remington 240gr JHP from a S&W 29-2. He did ask me if there was a .44 Mag load that wouldn't go all the way through a deer....

I suggested he try some of the 180gr, but sadly, he never got to the woods again to find out.

With a carbine, I would expect it to be a bit easier to connect well at longer ranges than a handgun. Since the handgun clearly works, the carbine will also clearly work for the job, if you do your part.

You don't need 300gr monster loads for whitetail. Any 240/250gr will do the job just fine. I expect (but have no personal experience) that a 180gr would also.

The cartridge has plenty of power for the job in all common loadings. The biggest drawback to a carbine is that often their sights and triggers are less than the best possible. If that isn't the case with your carbine, you are well set to bring home the venison.

July 6, 2012, 10:59 AM
One of my friends got me started with the Barnes Copper bullets for hunting. The 225 DPX works very well.

July 6, 2012, 12:36 PM
I have a 1894 Marlin in the 44Mag. I haven't hunted with it yet, but I have hunted with my DW 44Mag pistol and taken hogs. DRT on the hogs. The rifle will do the same with just regular WWB from Walmart and I intend to find out this November on deer.

July 6, 2012, 04:19 PM
The Winchester Supreme 250 Gr. Nosler partition load is a good one .

July 6, 2012, 06:43 PM
thanks for all the replies guys! Can't wait to shoot the new lever action (picked up a Rossi92)... I may even go deer hunting with something other than my bow this year! haha :D

July 7, 2012, 12:43 AM
Despite my post above about 240 gr and up slugs for deer, I do not use them, but shoot lighter 180, and more recently 200 gr JHP's from my tube feed Ruger auto's.

The reason being that my two carbines will not group heavier slugs worth a hoot. I'm talking 6" plus groups at 100 yrds, just not acceptable to me. (from a carbine anyhow).

The slow 1-38" twist of the early Rugers is the likely culprit. With 180 and 200 grainers, the carbine shoot into about 3", and I can live with that. Other guys report better accuracy, but that is all my old Ruger autos will do.

There is a post running somewhere showing the velocity levels for Hornady XTP 44'. The 180 does not hold up well at carbine velocity. It is certainly a pistol SD slug or for varmints. The deer I'v shot with the 180 xtp were plenty dead, but I did not get exits and the slugs were frangible. I could not find a piece of a 180 XTP bigger than about a tic/tac on one meat buck shot broad side at close range. ( 15 yds) Others, shot further out (50?) were completely expanded, inside out and the core and jacket separate under the hide on the off side.

I still do not get exits with 200 gr XTP, but the slugs do not self destruct and the accuracy is still acceptable.

By comparison, the two deer I've shot with 240 were all pass thru's, as well as all I ever saw my Dad kill as well. I take a lot of grief over my .44 marble "marble shooters" as my shooting pal calls them, but they are handy and kill deer well for me at the ranges and locales I I hunt.

July 7, 2012, 02:06 AM
I'm sure a 240gr cast SWC would do the job nicely on deer as well.

You'd just have to make sure it feeds properly in your lever gun.

July 7, 2012, 12:33 PM
Do you reload?
There are a lot of good suggestions but if you don’t reload then they can be difficult to copy.
A good friend uses the Hornady leverloution and has taken his quota of deer here in Indiana every year for the past 4. I don’t use them since I reload. He uses a cheap but very well made H&R Handi-rifle in 44 mag and at 100 yards it’s capable of less than 3 inch groups with the Hornady factory.
Granted he doesn’t need them for this gun but he’s had so much good luck with the round it’s all he uses.
My biggest issue is with the $1.30 per round at MSRP. I haven’t seen them under 1$ per.

July 8, 2012, 11:28 AM
240gr cast swc do work good on deer. I prefer the 255gr keith with 20gr of W296 behind it. As mentioned earlier, deer arn't armor plated and the 240 cast swc will have more than enough penetration and plenty of umph to smash through bone at 100 yds. Just some personal experience.

July 9, 2012, 01:48 PM
Love how this lever gun ammunition question gets moved..but whatever. Still thanks to all for replies.

I do not reload but hope to at some point.

Sure Shot Mc Gee
July 9, 2012, 04:15 PM
44 mag for deer hunting. So long as its HP and any Brand that targets well from your rifle is the way to go. Shot a deer once with a Soft Point 44. Never do that again. Spent quite awhile looking for him after dark, gave up and found him the next morning. In and out like a B/Powder ball the wound was after pulling its hide off. Weight type bullet>200 or 240 both good. Just keep in mind Hollow Point as a necessity to knock that "Speed Beef down to the Ground."

July 9, 2012, 04:39 PM
I would stay away from 180gr JHP ammo as excessive velocity from rifle length barrel can sometimes cause dramatic shallow wound with very little penetration. 240gr or heavier should be okay.

July 10, 2012, 07:52 AM
Well you guys have been a big help. Pretty much gonna pick up at least 4 types of 240gr (ish) hollow points/xtp tipped rounds and see which ones group the best for me...than hopefully I'll get a buck in time to put the bow down and do some meat hunting in gun season.

Mayor Al
July 18, 2012, 07:18 PM
I'll add my thanks for a lot of good info for our 44 Mag Carbine. It is the primary choice for use by my wife on our upcoming Hog Hunt in September.

In addition to a 200 lb or larger Razorback, she will get an Axis Deer Doe from a herd culling operation at the same game ranch. This is a warm-up exercise for her first ever deer season here in Hoosierland. She hopes to be busy this year with 4-6 anterless tags being issued in this county to shrink the whitetail numbers a bit. We have several does and yearlings chowing down on our orchard trees now...If they stick around, they will face her firepower !

Nico Testosteros
July 18, 2012, 07:30 PM
I'd give Federal Fusion a try.

July 19, 2012, 02:52 AM
240gr xtp is my favorite for deer. Some like hardcast but its really not needed on deer and even the 240xtp at about 1300fps has made complete pass throughs on deer that I have shot. Your lever gun will push em a maybe 200fps faster.

July 19, 2012, 05:57 AM
Factory loads = Winchester white box 240 gr JSP. Shoots well out of my Marlin and has accounted for numerous hogs and deer.

Handload = Speer 270 Gr JSP over WW296.