Hunting Bullet Guide – 44 Remington Magnum

This is one of the best cartridges out there for the handgun hunter. In a revolver with a 7 ½” to 10” barrel or a single-shot pistol with a 10” to 14” barrel the 44 Magnum is more than adequate to take game out to 100 yards.

X44MS - 44 Remington Magnum

  • Ballistic Coefficient: 0.158
  • Product Symbol: X44MHSP2
  • Description: Rapid, controlled expansion. Penetrates thin skin, light muscle and bone. For antelope, deer, black bear.

Rifle Ballistics

Distance (yds) Muzzle 50 100 200 300 400 500
Velocity (fps) 1760 1362 1094 953 861 789
Distance (yds) Muzzle 50 100 200 300 400 500
Energy (ft. lbs.) 1650 988 638 484 395 332
Distance (yds)   50 100 150 200 250 300
Short Trajectory (in.)   0.0 -2.7 -10.2 -23.6 -44.2 -73.3
Distance (yds) 100 150 200 250 300 400 500
Long Trajectory (in.) 0.0 -6.1 -18.1 -37.4 -65.1 -150.3 -282.5

240 gr. Super-X® Hollow Soft Point

Thanks to the persistent efforts of one Elmer Keith we have the 44 Remington Magnum. It’s a long story but Keith persuaded Remington and Smith & Wesson to produce what he believed would be the perfect round for a six-gun. As a handgun hunter I believe he wasn’t far off. This cartridge is to the handgun hunter what the 30-06 Springfield is to the rifle hunter. The introduction on this round help to define handgun hunting, as we know it today, it has been used to take game all over the world from Jackrabbits to Elephant and countless others in between. No matter what cartridges come along in the magnum handgun world they are judged by the performance the 44 Magnum delivers. Truth is, it’s not a bad standard. The round is accurate with manageable recoil, there is an array of high quality bullets to choose from in weights from 180 to 300+-grains, and almost any type of action will accommodate the 44 Magnum. Chambered in a rifle it is an effective cartridge for woods hunting. Hornady makes a 265-grain flat point designed for 44 Magnum and the velocity it produces in a rifle. Speer’s 270-grain Gold Dot is also a good choice for a rifle. Either of these two bullets will work like a charm in brushy country for hogs or deer. Due to the slower twists in most rifles heavier bullets may not stabilize. That being said, a good friend of mine hand loads a 300-grain Hornady XTP with no problems in his rifle. Bullets of this weight delivered from a rifle, into the vitals, are real hog stoppers. The 44 Magnum is a fine round for a rifle but a handgun is it’s natural habitat. This is one of the best cartridges out there for the handgun hunter. In a revolver with a 7 ½” to 10” barrel or a single-shot pistol with a 10” to 14” barrel the 44 Magnum is more than adequate to take game out to 100 yards. On these types of guns I like to us a scope. A fixed 2x or 4x held it place with a strong set of rings and bases is perfect. This cartridge is also one of my top picks for a “back-up” gun. A 4” to 6” revolver tucked away in a cross-draw or shoulder holster is ideal. The 44-caliber (.429) bullet offers a large frontal diameter and allows for extra weight. The standard load for the 44 Magnum is a 240-grain bullet traveling around 1300-1400 fps from a handgun. This load works fine for deer and similar game where penetration is not an issue. Over the past few years’ however, hunters are beginning to discover the advantages of 300-grain bullets from Hornady, Speer, Nosler, and Seirra. For hunting tough animals, like wild boar, these heavyweight bullets carry much more momentum than the lighter 200 to 240-grain bullets. Making the 44 Magnum a true big game performer. One of my best loads is Speer’s 300-grain “Uni-core” seated to the rear cannelure on top of maximum charge of Winchester 296. A load of this type should only be fired in a strong revolver or single shot like the T/C Contender or Encore. The Speer and Sierra bullets in this weight are very hard and expand very little if any at all. However, they do not lack in the penetration department. One of the first hogs I took with a 44 Magnum was with the 300-grain Sierra out of a 4” revolver. The heavy bullet cut through the sow like a hot knife through butter. These non-expanding bullets are good choices for wild hogs but you want to hit bone. The best shot, if you can get it, is thought both shoulders. The bullets from Hornady and Nosler are hollow points and will give some frontal expansion along with penetration. As a combination deer and wild boar bullet they give the hunter the best of both worlds, expansion and penetration. A hunter looking for a versatile round to hunt a wide spectrum of game will be hard pressed to find a better cartridge. If you are not a hand loader there is definitely a factory load that will fit your needs. If you are a hand loader then the sky’s the limit.

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