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44 Magnum for Deer?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2007 at 11:16
Alamiss View Drop Down
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Brief rundown...The state of Mississippi has a special primitive weapons season for deer in my zone that runs until Feb. 15th(our rut). The rules allow the use of a NEF/H&R single shot rifle in just a handful of calibers. The two most common or the ones that caught my eye are the 45-70 and 44 Mag. I've been using a muzzleloader but would like to get one of the two calibers mentioned...but I hate recoil and would like to stay away from the 45-70. From what I can tell from examining the ballistic charts for Remington, Winchester and Federal.....the 44 Mag is a decent 100 yard deer rifle, not great but decent and certaintly not a 200 yard rifle, but 100 yards is about as far as I would shoot anyway. Our deer are small with a big buck weighing 150 Lb. My question is, has anybody on this forum ever used a 44 Mag rifle for deer hunting? I know it's not that desireable of a caliber but you never know. If so, then please share your experience and thoughts with me about performance, bullet selection(like the 240 soft points from Remington), etc. Thanks.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2007 at 11:52
Dale Clifford View Drop Down
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44s good to 400 yds. ask Elmer Keith. Have used a Marlin on large mulies to 200 yds. and handgun to 100 yds. on elk. Prefer a Casull , why not load the 45-70 down. Have never used Remingtion factory's but wouldn't hesitate. If using a 44 would prefer a LBT 300 gr. large melplat, hard cast. I'm sure there is someone loading for the market.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2007 at 11:55
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44 mag is what I have regularly used for deer since about '73.  Have been very lucky in that time frame and when I did my part the calibre was always up to the task.  Note:  longest ranges in the woods I shoot would be no more than 125 yards but most of my kills were 50 or under - we drive deer.

 

Used 240 grain for most of that time time but am now using the Hornady 300 grain.  Don't really know why except I wanted a change.  With the 240 grain largest buck taken was pushing 300 lb and a boar black bear close to 400.

 

The reason I chose this was because of the Ruger carbine it came in.  I walk all the time and this rifle is extremely light and handy in the bush.  Would not have been my choice if I regularly shot at long range, but that's not what I do.  Have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it if you keep in mind it's limitations.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2007 at 12:19
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When I first brought the 44 into camp took an awful lot of ribbing from the guys.  That stopped after 2 deer the first year.  There are now a total of 4 hunters in camp using the 44. 3 with the ruger carbines & one with a Browning lever.  As a plus, in the off season we do a lot of shooting at targets to keep in shape - recoil is very soft & not hard on the pocket book either.

 

Tried Federal 300 grain hardcasts but they wouldn't feed in my carbine with that large sharp shouldered meplat - the Hornady's feed well.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2007 at 12:46
Alamiss View Drop Down
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Dogger....Thanks for the information, sounds like you've been very successful with your 44.

 

Dale....Elmer Keith was also the man who claimed the 270 was a fine coyote cartridge!! Just never been a big fan of his. But your right, loading down the 45-70 is an option, thanks for the input.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2007 at 12:53
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I use both for deer.  If the 45-70 recoil concerns you, try the "cowboy action" loads.  The .44 magnum works great for "smallish" whitetails that we have in most of Texas.  Most of mine have been taken with a S&W 629 Classic w/2X Leupold  at 75 yds or less....using the plain jane 240 JSP.  I have a couple of .44's in lever actions which work great.  Do limit the distance of your shots to 125 yds.  I load alot of my .44 handgun rounds, everything from 240 hard cast SWC to heavy loads in 240 JHP.  If you load, you can load them down for off-season practice, then load up for deer season.  I think you will enjoy the caliber. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2007 at 15:22
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44 mag or 45-70 will kill any deer that ever lived within 150 yards and a lot farther if you can dope range and trajectory very well.Big heavy flat nosed cast bullets in either one are deadly. You must remember that a 44/45 caliber hole is about what you get out of a 6.5/270/7mm with controlled expansion bullets and a 300-400 hard cast will penetrate and break bones like very few expanding bullets will. Generally you can "eat up to the hole" too.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2007 at 15:27
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Very true, Root, very true.  I have shot them with the "cowboy load" .45-70, lumbering along at 1100fps, 405 cast bullet....no "hyper-shock", just like getting hit with a brick.  I love the hard cast SWC in .44.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2007 at 19:50
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Thus the 4t5-70 as your sign in?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/08/2007 at 02:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/08/2007 at 11:38
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Echo Root's opinion on the hard casts.  Even though they wouldn't feed properly had some fun with them by loading one at a time.  Penetration was awesome.  At 25 yds they blew through a measured 14.5" slab of hemlock and came out looking like they could be reloaded again.  For comparison my son's 450 Marlin with 350 grain soft points didn't penetrate.  Would use these on black bear any time.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/10/2007 at 01:19
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I have been hunting with a Marlin .44 Mag for 28 years. Hunt Louisiana swamps so most shots are 25' to 50 yds. Ol' forty-four lays'em in their tracks. Longest shot was across beanfield at about 100yds and knocked'er down like a freight train. I use 240 gr JHP or JSP with 23 grains of H110 and CCI Magnum pistol primers. The .44 is made for deer hunting!!!!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/10/2007 at 07:14
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Amen scuba!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/10/2007 at 15:17
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Dogger,

I noticed in a previous post that you are from Canada,heh, and mention making deer drives. Do you do a man drive or do ya'll use hounds? We use hounds to hunt whitey down herya. Love to hear the race.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/10/2007 at 15:37
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With you on hearing the hounds but these days it's me doin the barking.  A few years ago the tree huggers started acting up and a lot of areas were prevented from using hounds.  We stopped at that point figuring it was coming our way, but has not yet.  A lot of our guys at the time were getting older and using the hounds just once a year wasn't good for them & too expensive for their owners.

 

Most memorable hunt I ever had was dogging behind our old blue tick bitch.  She denned a good size black bear in a hemlock swamp who then tried to knock her nose off.  Considerable excitement ensued with me trying to pull her back from the den while keeping my rifle handy.  5 quick shots & a change of underwear later I had a rug for the living room.  Only time I was real glad that my little 44 was semi-auto - gawd they are a tough animal when riled up!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/15/2007 at 13:53
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I have an Encore  45-70 pistol and reload from mild to painful and I have a 44 mag Win 94 either will kill deer but what I really enjoy hunting with is 50 cal musket Encore and Omega which are easily quite accurate out to 200 yds + . 

Given the option between 44 and 45-70 I would go 45-70 because it is an extremely versitile cartridge. I like to load 45-70 with 35 grains of 2400 and a 300 Hpt which is about 700 fps faster than a 240 grain 44 Mag. You can also shoot the black powder load but with black powder 70 grains is a volume measurement not a weight measurement like with standard powders, so use a black powder measure like for muskets. The heavy bullets seem to kick more than the 300 gr Hpt also.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/15/2007 at 18:47
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This year one of my friends shot a doe the last weekend of the season with a Ruger 44mag.  He said the shot was about 50yds and the bullet's performance was as advertised.  I don't remember the load he was shooting but it did the deed in a thorough, humane manner. 

 

I found it pretty cool that the rifle didn't wear any accessories except for a sling.  Open sights, factory trigger, meat in the freezer!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/16/2007 at 07:29
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Have always loved the 45-70 but if Alamiss is only going to hunt whitetails in close cover out to 100 yds I would take the the 44.  He mentioned he doesn't like recoil (can't fault him for that!) and the 44 is pretty soft shooting.  The muzzleloader sounds interesting but I don't have any experience on it to render an opinion.

 

Today have a pretty wide range in 44 loads from 180 to 300 grains, hardcast, etc.  should cover any of his needs. It's pretty inexpensive & should let him do a lot of shooting in the off season for little cost.

 

 

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