.44 magnum loads [Archive] - Glock Talk


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01-10-2010, 07:32
for those who strap a .44 mag outdoors. I am thinking of taking a trip to a bear territory and would like to know which load you folks are using. thanks!

MSgt Dotson
01-10-2010, 08:39
Think 275-300 gr bullet, hard cast, 1000+ fps or so....should penetrate damn near anything....

01-10-2010, 08:40
Read THIS (http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=19930)

01-10-2010, 10:31
I wear a 4" 629 in the Colorado Rockies. I use Winchester Supreme Partition Gold. The reason is that I only want a little expansion, sharp edges and a bullet that will never, ever fragment. My concern is black bear, mountain lion, coyote, wolf, pot growers who's farm I stumbled upon (I go pretty remote) and freaky, loner, mass murder, psycho type people.

So far, only a wolf has come into our campsite. It was a beautiful animal I felt fortunate to see. We were camping just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. It must have been one of the wolves (or their progeny) that were reintroduced there.

You didn't say where you were going. If you're thinking brown bear, rethink. A .44mag is minimum medicine for a brown bear. If that's what you have, put a heavy, hard cast, solid bullet in your gun, like Double Tap 320gr Wide Flat Nose Hardcast at 1300fps from a 6.5 inch barrel. Brown bears need 12 gauge magnum slugs. If I wanted a handgun in that environment, I'd consider a .454 Casull the minimum gun and would think seriously about purchasing a .500 S&W. The .460 S&W doesn't float my boat. If I were going to the X frame, I'd go .500S&W. The .460S&W only adds 100 or 200 fps to what the .454 Casull does in a smaller frame. My Casull is a Ruger Super Redhawk 7.5 inch. Nice gun, but overkill for Colorado. I got tired of the weight.

Have fun out there! I personally love the quiet, natural envrironment and quality time with my son.

01-10-2010, 20:55
mountianpacker has good ideas for ya.

I'll just say that if you do not reload, I would suggest to you to check out the offerings from Buffalo Bore ammo.

I reload, and use a 300gr Hard cast bullet in a 44mag running at 1200fps some are hotter than this.

That being said. I agree with mountainpacker on some things here. As a former guide, I would suggest a rifle in the brown bear country, not a hand gun, BUT, a short barrel 454 casull, or a .500S&W, would serve you much better against the large bruins than even the 44mag (as far as handguns go).

Again, a large bore rife would be best, but if you are in a situation where you just cannot carry a rifle, and a handgun is ALL you can pack, I still suggest the calibers above. I make my bear (no pun intended), minimum my 45LC with a 300 gr Hardcast of my own loading... I have simply always felt comfortable with that, and it has barked loud enough to scare a thing or two off when needed, which has been few and far between. I make the 45LC the minimum and that loaded to at least 1200fps with a heavy hard cast bullet.

Do consider the Ruger in a short barreled 454 casull... I really like this gun/caliber combo.

I just do not worry about attacks of any sort from any animal, although they can happen, they usually will not, to the woods savy person.

Again, take a rifle if you can in large bore. If this is not practical for you for some reason, then again, take the 454 casull, or the 500 s&w. Recoil will never cross your mind in an attack.

Never by into folks telling you that you need a gun with a high capacity magizine. 6 shot revolvers with short barrels, when in the out back in big bruin country are the ticket. But I most always had a large bore rifle with me as well.

Good shooting


01-10-2010, 21:52
+one ditto on the above

9mm +p+
01-10-2010, 22:32
Very good advice so far and I agree wholeheartedly, I put on my 629 classic when I walk the dogs late at nite. There's several farms very close to us and a large angry bull will ruin your nite just as quick as a bear which we don't have here. I carry CorBon DPX's, I really like the solid bullet that expands and penetrates kind of the best of both worlds. But if bear and I mean large bear were around it'd be a 300 cast load.

01-10-2010, 23:09
I also agree, a big bore handgun w/ haevy hardcast bullets is a minimum & a rifle ro SG w/ slugs is better, but really, a long gun is not always going to be in your hands when you need it (fishing, setting camp or cooking, etc) The big bore handgun, along w/ bear spray is a suitable bear def system when combined w/ some good old fashion common sense.

01-10-2010, 23:55
Good advice above, I load for both the .44mag (.45 Colt is on the short list) and .45-70; the Marlin is pretty fast with a little practice.

Another ammo maker who has some notable contracts;


Bob :cowboy:

Iceman cHucK
01-11-2010, 10:32
For black bear hunting and carry I like Federals' 300g Hardcast and/or the Hornady 300gXTPJHP. For other lighter game the WW250PTJhp. The WW210STHP seems to expand nicely in wet newspaper tests also, but the WW250PT has wicked talons. I carry a S&W 4" 629 or 329 most of the time.

01-11-2010, 10:47
Good advice above, I load for both the .44mag (.45 Colt is on the short list) and .45-70; the Marlin is pretty fast with a little practice.

Another ammo maker who has some notable contracts;


Bob :cowboy:

Looked at the hunting story on there a week or so ago... cool stuff.

01-12-2010, 14:15
This should help in caliber and bullet selection;


The comment below that mentions the single action is from Keith Rogan. I don't believe the link at the end of his comment is still active. BTW, this is one man's opinion, of course, but he seems pretty informed to me. There are four pages of comments on this thread, if I recall correctly.

:Some of you probably know that I got pretty badly mauled about a year ago. I've thought a lot about bears and guns since then, and talked to a number of other mauling victims, guides and bear biologists here in Alaska.

First, for the lighter side - newbies to Kodiak are always ask about the "best gun for bear defense" and are generally told to pack a .22 hand gun.
When they express disbelief, its explained that the .22 is to "kneecap" whoever they're with because a bear will always take the slowest runner.

As for handguns and bears - theres 200 pound black bears, 500 pound grizzlies and 1500 pound brownies. Whats good "medicine" for one, isn't necessarily a good choice for another.
I live on Kodiak and tend to think in terms of the really big bears and... I've been toting a Marlin 45/70 all summer on my fishing trips. I don't think any handgun is a good first line of defense for the brown bears. Given a choice to ONLY carry a handgun or pepper spray and I think I'd opt for the spray.
Given a choice of longarm, and I'll stick with my 45/70, though a shotgun with slugs/buck would also be a comforting choice.
With grizzlies and black bears I think a handgun might be just the ticket. It leaves your hands free, is portable and is most likely adequate for the job. I would carry a double action revolver. In my mauling and those of several other people I've talked to, things just happened too fast and the attack was too violent to consider a thumb-cocking revolver. You might get a double action into play, a single action, highly doubtful. While down on the ground, I swung my fist at the bears nose and got the big pad of muscle below my thumb swiped off for my trouble. Picture sticking a revolver in his face and asking him to wait while you cock it. It would be found 30 yards away in the brush with your hand still attached.
These things happen so fast that the victims, who often are toting a rifle, never get a shot off. That was certainly the case with me.
Mr. Garrett, your loads have a terrific reputation here in Alaska. When are you going to put out a .45 Colt and a .454 Cassull load?

The Bears and Bear Maulings Page: members.xoom.com/keithrogan

For those who choose to carry expanding bullet ammunition, think again.

More insight from Randy Garrett, 1999;


When deciding what to carry for defense against bears one must consider more than just what sidearm one feels comfortable with, one must make sure that the combo of handgun and ammo is adequate for the task. It matters not whether the gun is a pleasure to carry or whether the gun and ammo permits the shooter to deliver rapid fire, the over-riding criteria is whether the shooter is delivering a blow adequate to stop a bruin hell-bent on human annihilation. A big bear can soak up a lot of 210-gr or 240-gr jacketed expanding bullets and only grow more angry with each shot. Also, invariably, bears close on their prey with alarming speed which tends to make the effectiveness of each shot of critical importance, as it is unusual for a shooter to have time for a plurality of shots. It is quite instructive to do impact testing into a variety of water soaked materials in order to establish the likely penetration potential of a given load. In our testing, we have continually found that there simply are no expanding bullets fired from any revolver calibers capable of producing more than about 12-inch of penetration in wet-newspapers, and most produce less, in fact, most produce far less. By contrast, a proper heavy hard-cast bullet from the various large caliber revolvers can produce up to about 3-feet of penetration in the same medium. This is the sort of penetration required for the shooter to have a reasonable chance of surviving such a scirmish. Indeed, some of the most modern bullet designs fail miserably when deep penetration is required. A good example of this is the PMC Starfire as loaded for the 44 Magnum. Characteristically it will produce penetration levels only comparable to the .22 Long Rifle!!! By contrast, where the 44 Magnum is concerned one can expect penetration to the hips on a frontally shot grizzly with proper heavyweight cast-bullets such as our HAMMERHEADs. Big bears are enormously tough and require hits capable of busting big bones without deflection and still deliver several feet of penetration. It would be nice if we could just carry our favorite handgun and load and be safe in the woods. Unfortunately, that is the kind of mentality that gets people killed by enraged bruins. If you value your life, and we all do, make sure you carry a gun and a load adequate for stopping a charging grizzly with a single round, anything else is an indulgence that will likely cost you your life.

Randy Garrett www.garrettcartridges.com

Bob :cowboy:

01-12-2010, 14:32
Biggest, solidest, and heaviest moving north of 1200fps. nothing less.

.44 Mag is on the light side for bear country, as a sidearm with a 45/70 lever action ok

I really like 415gr hard cast lead at 1700fps as a base line for browns and that ain't happening with a 44 mag..