View Full Version : Soft point .44 for deer?

Mad Max
October 18, 2001, 12:22 AM
I have a couple of boxes of soft point rounds for my Super Blackhawk left over from practice sessions, 180 gr and 240 gr-- I have always been under the impression that they would not expand adequately on deer. Should I stick to hollow points?

Art Eatman
October 18, 2001, 12:55 AM
Ross Seyfried has written extensively on hunting with the .44 Mag as well as the .454 Casull. He comments that he definitely prefers a lead bullet with a large meplat. Other writings indicate that the hollowpoints from pistols do not really open up as they do from a rifle--just not enough velocity.

To some extent you gotta make up your own mind. As long as you don't press your luck as to your own skill level for a clean-kill hit, nor push the effective range of the gun, you'll probably do okay with either bullet.


Mad Max
October 18, 2001, 09:10 AM
I seem to be a tad bit ignorant as to what a "meplat" is. Could you please enlighten me?

Art Eatman
October 18, 2001, 10:25 AM
Picture a semi-wadcutter with its flat nose. I don't know where the term originated, but that flat nose is called the "meplat". For hunting, it seems that a larger-diameter flat front end on the bullet makes for a larger wound channel, and thus a better blood trail.

Seyfried, in a report of hunting buffalo (of the near-2,000-pound variety) in Australia, used a (IIRC) 400-grain bullet in a .454 Casull, and got a one-shot kill via a heart shot. He reported much tissue damage.

A lead bullet from the typical handgun can be loaded to higher velocities than jacketed. This is due to the lesser friction of the lead as compared to a jacketed bullet.

Hope this blarney helps,


Mad Max
October 18, 2001, 12:51 PM
Thanks for the info, Art. I might try the 180's b/c of higher velocity and more expansion. My friend used to shoot hogs with XTP hollow points and said they are supposed to open up at all velocities, so I might see which shoot better out of my pistol and go with those.

October 18, 2001, 06:54 PM
I like those 240 gr softpoints for deer and elk. Its a solid load. I use the same load for bear (we aren't talking grizzlies or dangerous game). A flat point like the winchester 240 gr is designed to musroom and penetrate.

Truthfully depending on where you hunt there might not be enough meat in the deer to get a handgun as powerful as a 44 to expand at all, you'll shoot clean through it. so with a handgun, i'd suggest shooting a bit further forward to break the shoulder and get its lungs.

October 19, 2001, 12:36 PM
Being a fan of deer hunting with the .44 Magnum, both handgun, and carbine (Rugers), I can tell you, from my own experiences, I would have no problem recommending soft point jacketed bullets (240 gr.) for deer. The 240 gr. will give adequate penetration and do sufficient damage, if you place your shots properly. Before I was into reloading, I used Remington 240 gr. jacketed soft points in the Ruger carbine. They worked very well on deer out to 100 yds. Now I am reloading and have found a load which works great in both my Super Blackhawk, and in the carbine. It consists of the Hornady HP/XTP 240 gr., 24.3 gr. H110, with a WLP primer. I have been pleased with the results of this bullet on deer and hogs. I get approximately 1400 fps from the handgun, and around 1700 fps from the rifle.

October 22, 2001, 10:25 PM
Mad Max,

Deer aren't hard to kill with a good shot. Put it in both lungs... or 1 lung and clip the top of the heart if you can angle it.

No need to shoot through the shoulders and ruin that meat.

I shot a deer with a 240 grain .44 XTP from my muzzleloader yesterday at 50-60 yards. It is moving at 1522 fps from my muzzleloader for 1,234 ft/lbs. That's a hot load from a 6" revolver and a mediocre one from from a .44 carbine.

It went into the deer right behind he shoulder broadside about 3" from the top of it's back at 35 degree angle downward and exited about 7" from the top of it's back. The XTP entered with a .44 cal hole and left with an .80 cal hole. The bullet entered between ribs and exited between ribs, so no bone fragments to help tear stuff up.

He ran 35-40 yards, stopped, and then did a backflip. Craziest thing I ever saw a deer do. He left a good blood trail.

A .44 caliber slug through both lungs even with no expansion will kill a deer. So JSP's should work just fine.


That H110 / 240 grain XTP load is indeed a very good deer load, though I think you under estimate it's speed from the carbine by a bit.

I chronoed the 240 grain XTP in new Starline cases with H110 and CCI LPM primers from a 16" trapper carbine.

23.5 grains 1735 fps 1604 ft/lbs
24 grains 1770 fps 1669 ft/lbs
24.5 grains 1795 fps 1717 ft/lbs
25 grains 1812 fps 1750 ft/lbs

The H110 needs a heavy crimp to fully ignite. I've run a few test batches and the gain in velocity ranges between 70-100 fps when a heavy crimp is applied versus a normal crimp. Perhaps this is why yours are running a litle slow or was that just a guesstimate on the velocities?


October 23, 2001, 07:52 AM
My only experience with it involves a mule deer once at about 110 yards with my 6-inch M-29, 240-grain JHP loaded over H110, forget the grains right now. (I started packing the .44 out here while bird hunting after coming face-to-face with a black bear in a marsh and there I stood with 3 rounds of steel #2 waterfowl loads that can hardly kill a teal.)

Hit the front shoulder blade of the mulie and did extensive damage, the shoulder shattered and leg dangling by tendons, but slug did not penetrate to vitals afterwards and I had to run him down an arroyo and put him down with a second shot.

A friend at the Forest Circus hunts exclusively with a long barreled scoped Redhawk and swears by cast bullets; killed an elk at nearly 200 yards with one last year.

October 24, 2001, 12:54 PM

I have chronographed the loads from my Ruger carbine, but didn't have the information in front of me then or now. I can't remember exactly what the velocities were. As some of the gas is tapped to cycle the semi-auto action, the velocities may not equal that of say, a lever action rifle.

I also use the Hornady 240 gr. HP/XTP as a sabot load for my Remigton 700 muzzleloader, and I remember that the velocities were close to the Ruger carbine's with two 50 gr. Pyrodex pellets. (1700+) I'll try to look up the data when I get home and post it in this thread tonight.

Ben Shepherd
October 24, 2001, 02:03 PM
My 9.5" 44mag SRH goes deer hunting loaded with one load I've found good to be acceptable under any conditions I've come across:
240gr speer gold dot jfp in front of 24.0grains of N110, with a heavy crimp.
Works for me.:)

October 24, 2001, 06:07 PM
I'm back at home now, and have found my reloading data. The load referenced in my previous post (Hornady 240 gr. HP/XTP with 24.3 gr H110) chronographed out of my .44 carbine at 1735 fps. The same load from my 7.5" SBH gets 1395 average, although one hot summer day I got a lesson on how much temperature can affect loads. It was 100 degrees and this same load out of the same handgun averaged 1506 fps.

1911A1 fan
October 24, 2001, 08:11 PM
Mad Max, I've taken deer with both 240 JHPs and 180 SPs and didn't get expansion out of either one. But then again I have never had one go past 20 yards (luckily they were all good hits) so IMHO go with what shoots good in your SBH and stay within YOUR range to make a clean hit!

October 24, 2001, 09:54 PM

You're probably right about the slightly reduced velocity in the gas op. semiauto.

What was the velocity w/ 2 pyrodex pellets and 240 gr. XTP in a sabot?

As I said earlier, I chronoed that load out of mine and was disappointed in the velocity of 1,522 fps. This was .50 cal T/C sabots from a 22" 1/28 twist Traditions inline. Maybe I got a bad reading since I only chronoed one shot from the muzzle loader.

Either way it did a god job on that deer.


October 25, 2001, 12:23 PM
Sorry Kilgor, I remember it was similar to the carbine, but like you I only chronographed a couple of shots from the muzzleloader, and I failed write down the info. I have only taken one deer with this blackpowder rifle/load combo. It was about 80 yds., double lung broadside shot, and the large doe ran around 75 yds. and dropped dead in seconds. I have always found that the .44 does a good job of putting them down without excessive meat damage. As was stated in a previous post, even with no or little expansion, this caliber makes a big hole through a deer.

October 25, 2001, 10:10 PM
The .44 Rem. magnum is a definite deer slayer! I found that deer do not discriminate too much between hollow-points and soft-points. I've used 180-grain or 240-grain bullets and there was no difference in the result. I used to use a Marlin 1894 .44 Rem. magnum. The range was limited to about 100 yards, typically.