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Old 03-05-2010, 03:23 AM
NE450No2 NE450No2 is offline
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Default Best All Round 240gr Factory 44 Mag Ammo

Gentlemen, and Ladies, what do you think would be the best all round 44 Mag 240gr ammo, from the following choices, for all uses, in a 4" 6.5" and use in a 44 Mag rifle as well:

Winchester 240gr SP

Remington 240 SJHP, or SP

Federal 240 HP or SP

Hornady 240 XTP

One of my long time shooting buddies uses the 44 Mag for all of his handgun needs.

He called me a few days ago and asked me that question.

I have been using the 44 Mag since 1970, and have my thoughts, but I want some additional input so I can help him make an informed decision.

He wants to stockpile a fair amount of ONE LOAD, that he can use for Personal Defense, Hunting deer, pigs, elk and black bear, and be good enough for protection against the bigger bears...

He does reload, lead 240gr Keith bullets only, at plinking, medium power and full power "Elmer" loads, but wants to pick ONE factory 240gr load from the above list [ie affordable in bulk] to have on hand, that would serve for ANY purpose...
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:53 AM
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I'd have to go with Win. SP. They've proven to be great hunting rounds for me, and based on how they perform on deer they'd serve well for defense as well. Remington's lead is a bit too hard for my tastes; Winchester seems just about right.

I've grown very fond of Hornady's Leverevolution .44 as well. I have no doubt they'd drop a big black bear. They would be fairly pricey to stockpile though.
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:09 AM
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I'm not sure it is the best, but I have stockpiled a good bit of the WW 240sp. The reason is it is usually available at Wally World for approx $33.00 for 50rnds.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:23 AM
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My personal favorites are Hornady catalog 9085 XTP or Speer Gold Dot catalog 23973 but I don't shoot big mean animals. He has a very wide range of intended use and it will involve a lot of compromise to settle on one round. The ideal PD round would be inadequate on the upper end of his intended use. I'd say he needs to look at hard cast flat nosed bullets for the top end of his range. I'd have a separate stash for the PD duty with the 4" gun and use a Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel catalog #23971

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Old 03-05-2010, 08:01 AM
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I'd vote for the XTP as an all around choice. Second choice, for me would be the Rem. SJHP. I've bought and shot an awful lot of the Win (from WallyW) and wasn't all that impressed (not as accurate as Hornady and dirty).
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:31 AM
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What I would do would shoot all the loads listed and pick the one my gun shot the best with.
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:37 PM
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In a 44, they all work. The XTP is good. I use more of the WW 240 JSP than anything. I really like the WW 250gr PTJHP for woods work, but the bullets pull in my 329pd. It is also really expensive.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:00 PM
NE450No2 NE450No2 is offline
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Thanks for the replies.

In our discussions, I am suggesting, that because the 44 Mag can do so many things well, depending on the chosen load, and since he uses the 44 Mag for manythings, that he should also have some other factory loads on hand for each end of the spectrum, PD, and big animals as well as his General Purpose load.

I have shot the Speer Short barreled load in my 4" 44, and I liked it. I shot it through some large pieces of split firewood when in Idaho, and was impressed how well it did.

I also have some Cor Bon 44 Mag 165gr that I want to test a little.

I am a heavy bullet kind of guy, but this load seems to be a good on for PD.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:38 AM
flop-shank flop-shank is offline
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Default A few thoughts!

That Corbon load is a .357 in .44 mag. clothing IMO (not that that is necessarily a bad thing. I chronoed a single round from my 5" S&W and got 1250 fps./573 fpe., IIRC). However, it's achilles heal is that there is no same weight practice, or hunting load (that light and it had better be a SWC) so nothing else will have the same POI.

For those capable of using full power .44 magnums for defense, the Federal 180 gr. JHP. is my hands down favorite. If your friend intends to use the same gun for everything and doesn't want a defensive round that overpenetrates, then 180 gr. bullets are the obvious choice. Federals for defense, and Hornady 180 gr. XTPs, Remington 180 JSPs and 180 gr. hardcast wadcutters are likely candidates for everything else.

As far as I know, everything heavier will overpenetrate for self defense. The Winchester 210 gr. Silvertip will likely overpenetrate some on two leggers, but probably not go quite deep enough on critters like bear (not that they're likely to be a big problem though). To it's credit the Silvertip does boast the advantage of phenominal accuracy and is softer shooting. It seems like a 7/8 power load.

The Remington 240 gr. SJHP will work well for self defense, but is a guaranteed overpenetrator. In the same bullet weight the Hornady XTP would likely penetrate even more.

This morning I updated the thread Perma-Gel Test Results with my .44 magnum data after I saw this thread. I hope you and your friend find it of value in your ammo selection.
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:29 AM
NE450No2 NE450No2 is offline
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flop-shank

Thanks for the info. I read your perma gel test results.


I started out using the RP 240 SP, and the SJHP, then later,
I actually used the Federal 180gr JHP as a duty load. It did have a bright flash at night, usually I used the 240Fed JHP when working after dark.

Later we were required to use the 200gr Speer JHP.

I agree on the Cor Bon 165 gr load, however in Cor Bons tests in their gel the 165 seemed to penetrate deeer than the 225 DPX, at least on the videos I saw.

I got a few boxes of it at a good price, back when it was hard to get any 44 Mag ammo.

I have shot some of the Speer 200gr Short Barreled load, as again I found a few boxes of it when I was on a road trip.

Have you shot any of it in your Perma Jell?

I shot it through some split firewood and it penerated better than I thought it would.

My buddy wants to stick with a 240gr bullet for his stockpile, but I am talking to him about having some city carry loads, and then of course using heavier cast bullets when in bear country...

He wants to keep things as simple as ossible.
He likes the idea of having one factory load, that is capable of all round use.
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:35 AM
NE450No2 NE450No2 is offline
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I have killed several deer with factory 240gr 44 Mag loads most with a rifle, including several with the RP 240 SP and SJHP, and the Federal 240 JHP.

I never recovered a single bullet, they all killed real well.
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Old 03-07-2010, 06:53 AM
flop-shank flop-shank is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NE450No2 View Post
I agree on the Cor Bon 165 gr load, however in Cor Bons tests in their gel the 165 seemed to penetrate deeer than the 225 DPX, at least on the videos I saw.

I have shot some of the Speer 200gr Short Barreled load, as again I found a few boxes of it when I was on a road trip.

Have you shot any of it in your Perma Jell?
I have tested neither the Corbon 165 gr., or the Speer 200 gr. load. I have some of the Corbon 165 gr. ammo, so I ought to test it at some point, but that won't happen until I'm done testing a couple more .380 loads, then remolding the gel block.

For the giggles of it, that 165 gr. Sierra bullet Corbon uses is ferocious when loaded red hot (you'll have to pull them, they are not available otherwise). It's perfect for varmints or self defense. The first woodchuck I shot through the body had a 5" exit wound and the second one (ea. ~ 17 lbs.) had a secondary fragment come out the other side of his body (about 5" from initial entry).
Quote:
He likes the idea of having one factory load, that is capable of all round use.
Then it won't be ideal for anything (I know that you know that). He might do well to have two identical guns zeroed and stoked with two different loads. One for the city and one for the woods. That's what I would do. If he insists on one load, I would have to think the 210 gr. Silvertip would be the best compromise. It would be far from ideal for bear, I would think (FWIW I have zero experience with bear), but the likelihood of having to shoot a bear would be negligible.

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Old 03-08-2010, 12:51 AM
NE450No2 NE450No2 is offline
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flop shank

While the chosen load might not be ideal for everything, I think a good 240gr factory load can do "everything" pretty good.

Only on the 2 extremes will it be found somewhat wanting.

It will have the possibility of over penetration for self defense, and maybe too much recoil as well, and maybe not enough penetration for big bear protection.

But by having one "all round" load in bulk, it lessens the possibility of being caught with one of the "extreme" loads, in the wrong extreme.

MY thought was [and he has bought into it] get one good load, and stockpile it... For the Future. Just in case "things" get hard to get...

My "Practice is" to use the best load at the time for the job at hand... For as long as you can get the ideal load...

He wants to keep it a "little" more simple than that...
Also where he hunts he is in just about the same danger from pigs and bears as he is people.

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Old 03-08-2010, 12:58 AM
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Example of the two extremes...

A while back I went on a Grizzly bear hunt in Alaska.

I knew ahead of time I would be spending a couple of weeks in Nome, 15, turned out to be 20 days hunting bear, and then 2 weeks visiting a buddy in ANK...

So I took my S&W 44 Mag Mountain Gun.
All of my ammo was a 300gr hard cast bullet, except for 6 rounds of the Speer 44 Mag 200gr Short Barrel factory load.

When in town I carried the Speer load, with extra speed loaders with the 300gr Cast Bullet in my pocket..

I figured after the "first six" everybody would be hiding behind something...

But I knew I did not want to let loose a 300gr cast load in a city....

So I only carried loads for the two extremes.
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:06 AM
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I have used a LOT of different loads in the 44 mag since my first one in 1970 [well I actually started using a 44 mag rifle in the 1960's].

One of the great things about the 44 Mag is that there so many different loads.

I have used Glaser Safety Slugs [I knew Jack Cannon, the inventer of the Glaser Safety Slug, I was at his house in 1976], and the Mag Safe rounds, both designed for low penetration, up through the 300+gr loads.

While I "think/feel" that the 1911 in 45 ACP is my favorite handgun, I do "know" that the 44 Mag is my favorite handgun cartridge...

And it "ain't" bad in a rifle either...

I do appreciate all the info that you S&W forum members have posted.
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Old 03-09-2010, 04:11 AM
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I've been using Hornady LeverEvolution ammo in my 629-2 because my primary reason for having this gun is for protection against the bear that populate my yard and my farm. I don't really expect any trouble from the local black critters but you just never know and I'd rather be safe than sorry.

I know the spitzer design of the LeveRevolution is actually designed to better deal with spitzer-primer recoil characteristics. But even though the BC of the FTX is better than the XTP and the speed of the FTX bullets are greater at the muzzle they are slower at 100 yards compared to 240 gr. XTP's. That information has really thrown me for a loop. Some people say the 225 gr. FTX bullets have much greater recoil but in my experience they have less recoil than some 185 gr. bullets I've shot. Again that just doesn't make sense considering the 1400+ speed of the FTX bullets.

Still the effective range for accuracy of the FTX bullets is supposed to be longer than for the other bullets and the expansion is right up there with other fast moving bullets. It all doesn't add up for some reason but I guess the bottom line is that these rounds should be excellent for my intended purpose, which is again dealing with black bears. Yes I know that's probably overkill but my wife doesn't think so. I used firecrackers to keep them gone all last summer but my guess is they won't fall for that ploy too much longer. I've stopped feeding my dog outside (which is what brought them in my yard in the first place) and my neighbor has moved so there isn't any grain there in his barn to tempt them. Yet I've already seen tracks this year and I've seen lots of tracks on the farm along with other signs.

Does anyone think I'm using the wrong ammo for this job? I suppose there are some situations where I might find myself using these rounds for SD like a long distance shootout on the highway (don't laugh - it happened just last summer not 5 miles from my house). But my primary weapon for 2 legged skunks is my .45 ACP. I bought the gun to deal with the bear (long guns just aren't practical for carrying while I work outside at night). If there are better shells to use I'd like to know what they are. I figure the Hornady in question is pretty good for this job but I'm open to suggestions.

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Old 03-09-2010, 10:31 PM
flop-shank flop-shank is offline
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Cj, the reason that the 180 gr. .44s are kicking harder is, I would guess at least in part, because they are probably using more gunpowder. The weight of the powder charge is a factor in recoil just as much as bullet weight is.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:07 AM
NE450No2 NE450No2 is offline
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CJ

I shot a wild pig I estimated to be around 160/175 Lbs with the Hornady 225 FTX Lever Evolution factory round from a 16" rifle.
I have weighed a lot of the pigs I have shot, so this weight should be pretty close].

I shot the pig at about 40 yards hitting just at the back of the shoulder.

At the shot it looked like he had been hit with a 500lb hammer as he appeared to be knocked over HARD.

He kicked a couple of times and that was it.

I recovered the bullet in the skin on the opposite side well expanded.

If I was hunting average sized black bear [I have killed several black bear] over bait, it an elevated stand I would feel OK with it...

However if I had to shoot a real 400+ pounder I think I would go with a hard cast bullet.

I DO KNOW, that when I "walk around" in wild pig, or black bear or grizzly/brown bear country I carry a heavy cast bullet.

If Hunting bear with a handgun you might can wait for a broadside shot, if you are attacked you want Penetration.

Federal 300gr Cast Core is a good load, and actually you will probably feel as I do that they are actually more comfortable to shoot than the 225 FTX or the standard Federal, Remington, Hornady 240 gr loads.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:09 AM
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The Buffalo Bore 255gr Cast bullet load, the one they call Low Recoil, would be a good load as well.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:23 AM
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NE450No2 do you happen to know the velocity of the Federal 300 gn Cast core out of a handgun length bbl 6-7 "
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:13 PM
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I have not cronoed them, but Federal Specs state 1160fps out of a 6" vented barrel.
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:51 AM
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Donít know about the bears in KY but here in Grizzly country its FMJ-RN for maximum penetration or you take your chances with what ever you tick the bear off with that isnít FMJ. Definitely donít go into the woods with JHPís in Grizzly country.
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:07 AM
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Gents, thanks again for all the information.

A little update.

We have had a chance to do a little shooting and I just about have him convinced to modify his "first" plan a bit.

He is becomming a believer that ONE load for a 44 is not the total answer.

He does want all of his ammo selections to be in Magnum brass, for future reloading.

He is on board in picking an Urban Defensive load that is more controlable than full power 240's.
The Speer 200gr Short Barrel Load is currently the top contender.

Also we have discussed the fact that his practice loads with 7.5 to 9.2gr of Unique and a 240gr SWC, can work just fine for 2 legged varmints if necessary. Even at 7.5gr of Unique they are certainly the equal of 45 ACP 230gr ball.

For Bear protection Federal Cast Core 300gr loads will do fine as a Factory load.
Also 240gr reloads with [real] Keith SWC,s over 2400 will work for that as well, and can be used for most big game hunting.

He was worried about the shelf life of reloads, but the other day we shot some of my Heavy 2400 reloads that I had loaded in 1976 and in 1983 with no problems. [I discovered some I had "lost" over the years. They had always been stored in the house].

He still wants to stock pile some 240gr Factory loads.

Ands while he has always had a few 44 Mag shotshells,[I had given him some in the past] I have convinced him to get a good stash of them as well.

After the comments on the Winchester loads they have slipped out of contention.
We are now looking at the Remington 240gr SP, the Federal 240 HP, or SP, and the Hornady 240gr XTP.

When it cools off a little we are going to shoot some of them, and see where they impact compared to the Keith SWC 2400 load.

Additional comments are welcome.
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:21 AM
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Here is another intresting "little" development.

We both shot a S&W 325 Night Guard while doing the 44 Mag testing...

[I tried years ago to get him into 1911's, no go, so I do not even try now...]

We both really like the idea of a short, handy revolver, that shoots the same calibre as our 44's... Takes the same Speed Loaders, etc.

Even though these N frame Snubbies are a lot bigger than a 38 Bodyguard, they fit in places that even a Mountain Gun can't go...

And, if on a trip, your primary 44 Mag goes belly up, all your 44 ammo will fit your "little gun" and you loose only a few FPS.

For strictly a Urban Carry gun, with light 44 loads the 44 Mag Night Guard has a lot to recommend it. We both find the 45 ACP NG very controlable, even with the smooth small wood grips I have on it.

We have both shot a 44 Mag 329, and feel the Scandium Frame 44's would be just to light, [and from some reports too fragile] for us.

So we are researching the choice of a 2 to 2.5" S&W 44 Mag.

We see no need for a 3" as it is just too close to a 4" Mountain Gun.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:20 AM
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I just bought 2 boxes of federal .44 mag JHP for $16 each....grreat deal!
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Old 10-10-2011, 05:54 AM
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We are still doing some shooting and testing, and discussion.

We shot some of the 165 Core Bon, along with some 180 Cor Bon, some 180 Remington, and the 200gr Speer Short Barreled load out of 4" and 6 1/2" Mod 29's.

The 165 gr Corbon was controlable. Not quite as soft shooting as the Speer, however.
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:39 AM
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Garrett Cartridges Inc.

I bought a couple of boxes and really like the ammo. I modified the loading lever in my Marlin 44 mag to accept the longer "nose". I don't do as much hunting anymore, too old, but this load does the trick on the hogs. You don't need to shoot very many cartridges for sighting in. I think it is the right stuff for the animals that might try to hurt you. ( or shoot into cars full of bad guys )

I think hollow points do not hold up too well on game. I even loaded the Hornady 265 grn bullets for my .44 mag. This is the one designed for the Marlin .444 and really is one tuff bullet.
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:38 AM
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Possibly this will be of some help to your friend.
http://www.elmerkeithshoot.org/GA/19...orite_Load.pdf
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cochise View Post
Garrett Cartridges Inc.

I bought a couple of boxes and really like the ammo. I modified the loading lever in my Marlin 44 mag to accept the longer "nose". I don't do as much hunting anymore, too old, but this load does the trick on the hogs. You don't need to shoot very many cartridges for sighting in. I think it is the right stuff for the animals that might try to hurt you. ( or shoot into cars full of bad guys )

I think hollow points do not hold up too well on game. I even loaded the Hornady 265 grn bullets for my .44 mag. This is the one designed for the Marlin .444 and really is one tuff bullet.

Garrett ammo is Great Stuff. and Randy Garrett is a nice guy.
I have used his 44 Mag and his 45/70 ammo. His lead bullets are harder than another lead bullet I have seen. They are not brittle either, I have shot cape buff and elephants in the head with the 44 Mag loads.
No fragmentation, very little if any deformation.
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by 336A View Post
Possibly this will be of some help to your friend.
http://www.elmerkeithshoot.org/GA/19...orite_Load.pdf
I am a BIG Elmer Keithite. I make no apologies for it.

While I do like a HP factory load for city use, hopefully to reduce over penetration, truth is, I would feel just as safe with a 240 hard cast bullet over @8.5gr of Unique, and a hard cast bullet over @21 gr of 2400.

From Burglers to Bears, Cars to Cape Buff, Egretts to Elephants, Targets to Terrorists, those 2 loads would do it all. IMHO of course.

Anybody that has not read, and STUDIED, "SIXGUNS BY KEITH", should give it a hard read.
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  #31  
Old 07-13-2015, 09:10 PM
rjb0765 rjb0765 is offline
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These guys are probably right - I doubt one gun geared one way will handle everything.....in fashion. No doubt if you take one of the most popular loads and keep the grains above 240 you could take a bear, black bear, if you shoot well under pressure. Now, I believe that a 240 gr. bullet will also work for personal defense, in fact I have a buffalo bore 240 in my .44 right now, and he has five friends. I wouldn't hesitate to blow a big hole in someone if my life was threatened with no way out. What I'm saying is why not use one load for everything? Yes it may be too heavy for killing a deer, on the other hand that depends....distance, wind, branches in the way, angle of shot and so on. I'd rather have too much than too little and wound the poor critter. On prairie dogs you blow them in half instead of just putting a hole in them, either way you want them dead right? I worked many years for the sheriff's dept locally and we did a lot of shooting of all kinds of weapons. Far and away the .44 was the caliber of choice, lots of penetration power with the right cartridge. But if you truly want just one load to do it all, choose the one that goes right to the most beastly thing on top of the list. Use it for everything else too, can't go wrong. It ain't pretty but it's damn effective.

Last edited by rjb0765; 07-13-2015 at 09:14 PM.
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  #32  
Old 07-19-2015, 02:22 AM
counter-clockwise counter-clockwise is offline
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I love federal American eagles if I can find them. They are my choice for carry in my 6" 629-5. Ive seen them crono above their advertised fps too. I also like Remington, Winchester, etc... whatever I can find really. Ive been seeing federal champion, but I haven't tried it due to the difference ive seen in the .45 acp champions vs standard .45 plinking rounds ( small primers). Oh, almost forgot: I love Remingtons 275 grain hp "core loks", but i dont think they make them anymore... and I am on my last box. They have nice nickel plated brass, and the box advertises 1230ish fps and mid 900 ft lbs of energy if memory serves.

I normally do not carry my 629 in town as much as my 1911... but sometimes... ok, more than just sometimes...... go ahead, make my day

Last edited by counter-clockwise; 07-19-2015 at 03:48 AM.
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  #33  
Old 07-20-2015, 05:21 PM
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BIGDOC BIGDOC is offline
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I've been using the Hornaday Leverevoloutions 225gr. and they are awsome and very accurate, n-frame 3".
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1911, 329pd, 380, 629, bodyguard, cartridge, hornady, mountain gun, primer, remington, scandium, winchester

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