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  #1  
Old 01-14-2011, 09:35 PM
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Default .44 Magnum/Special Self-Defense Ammo

Any recommendations on self-defense ammunition (2-legged) in the .44 Magnum/Special category? These are the three I am looking at:

Federal Hydra-Shok .44 Magnum JHP:
240 grain
1210 ft/s
780 ft-lbs

Speer Gold Dot .44 Magnum JHP:
200 grain
1075 ft/s
513 ft-lbs

Speer Gold Dot .44 Special JHP:
200 grain
875 ft/s
340 ft-lbs

I am leaning towards the Federal, but I would like to hear your thoughts.
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:36 PM
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All of the above will work. Shoot what you can handle the best. For a big defensive round, take a look at the Corbon DPX .44 Magnum HP.

225gr. Barnes X solid copper heat treated bullet
1350 fps.
911 ft.lbs.
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechengr View Post
Any recommendations on self-defense ammunition (2-legged) in the .44 Magnum/Special category? These are the three I am looking at:

Federal Hydra-Shok .44 Magnum JHP:
240 grain
1210 ft/s
780 ft-lbs

Speer Gold Dot .44 Magnum JHP:
200 grain
1075 ft/s
513 ft-lbs

Speer Gold Dot .44 Special JHP:
200 grain
875 ft/s
340 ft-lbs

I am leaning towards the Federal, but I would like to hear your thoughts.
Im presently using the Federals...but am working on a load thats a 240 cast LSWC thats an HP and intend on pumping it out at about 1300 FPS.
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:50 PM
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The Federal will have too much recoil for rapid fire and is far more powerful than needed to take out a human.

The .44 Special load is more than powerful enough and can be fired far more rapidly if needed.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:46 PM
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I carry my 44 Mag a lot as a CHL when en route on a hunt.

I usually carry something like the Speer 200gr or the Cor Bon 165gr load as my first 6 then have full load 240's in loaders for reloading.

I figure after the first 6 everybody still alive will be hiding behind something...

Last edited by NE450No2; 12-06-2011 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:12 PM
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Back when I carried my 629 every day I carried Remington's 210gr SJHP (now discontinued).

I started out with their 180 grainers because they were real screamers (rated at 1610fps out of a 6 inch barrel). But I knew a fellow who had one stop in the shoulder of a deer so tried the 210s and found them more accurate with less blast.

I tried 240s but they cause too much muzzle jump for defensive work (some would say that's true of any .44 mag).

I've gone to handloading the 210gr SJHP since it's not commercially available. I generally don't carry the .44 defensively any more.

I was looking at the big 3's (Rem, Win and Fed) websites recently and discovered you'd be hard pressed to find any commercial loading lighter than 240 grains these days.

My next goal is a gas-checked, hollow point mold in the 210-ish range I can push along at the same rate as the jacketed ones. I'm averaging around 1250fps with 25 grains of WW 296.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:14 PM
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Anything in 44 magnum is going to be catastrophic on a person and probably overpenetrate dangerously. Not the best choice for most people. Pick just about any 44 special load or switch to a more reasonable caliber.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cp1969 View Post
The Federal will have too much recoil for rapid fire and is far more powerful than needed to take out a human.

The .44 Special load is more than powerful enough and can be fired far more rapidly if needed.
This ^. Also allows the use of more reasonably sized carry guns like 696, 396 etc.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:41 PM
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Does Winchester still make the .44 mag 210gr Silvertip ?
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:52 PM
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Let me add that I carried a 44 Mag as my Duty gun in 1976.
Over the years I carried the Remington 240 SJHP, the 240gr Federal HP, the Federal 180gr HP and then by Departmental Regs the Speer 200gr HP...

All of them "worked" very well...
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Green View Post
Shoot what you can handle the best.
I like the Hydra-Shok load, but this is the best advice.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:03 PM
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Hornady Handgun Ammunition 9070, 44 Special, JHP/XTP, 180 GR, 1000 fps, 20 Rd/bx
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechengr View Post
Any recommendations on self-defense ammunition (2-legged) in the .44 Magnum/Special category? These are the three I am looking at:

Federal Hydra-Shok .44 Magnum JHP:
240 grain
1210 ft/s
780 ft-lbs

Speer Gold Dot .44 Magnum JHP:
200 grain
1075 ft/s
513 ft-lbs

Speer Gold Dot .44 Special JHP:
200 grain
875 ft/s
340 ft-lbs

I am leaning towards the Federal, but I would like to hear your thoughts.
The numbers I got from Speer Gold Dot out of my 3" 629

44 Spl 759
44 Mag 983

I feel like they would do the job very well. Huge hollow point, soft lead.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick B View Post
Does Winchester still make the .44 mag 210gr Silvertip ?
I just checked their website, and it is still listed -- 1250 fps out of a 4" barrel. That's good because that is what is usually found in my 629 MG.

I've thought about handloading the Remingtom 210 gr. sjhp to about 1250 fps, but am not sure how well they would expand. They sure LOOK like they'd do well.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sven View Post
I just checked their website, and it is still listed -- 1250 fps out of a 4" barrel. That's good because that is what is usually found in my 629 MG.

I've thought about handloading the Remingtom 210 gr. sjhp to about 1250 fps, but am not sure how well they would expand. They sure LOOK like they'd do well.
I thought I read somewhere that the Silvertip handgun bullet was originally designed as a defensive bullet and not a hunting bullet .
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:01 PM
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Well, the little symbol next to this load on their website says it's for thin-skinned game. Guess it depends on your definition of "thin-skinned game"!
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sven View Post
I've thought about handloading the Remingtom 210 gr. sjhp to about 1250 fps, but am not sure how well they would expand. They sure LOOK like they'd do well.
I expanded some of the factory loading in water years ago.

The core is bonded to the jacket. Performs very well.

This is also true of the SJHP in .357.

I've not tried to capture any of my hand loaded ones but I did make sure they brought the splodey goodness I remembered on gallon jugs of water: Scott Johnson's Photos | Facebook
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:04 AM
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Default Slow down a 240 grain XTP??

I've never carried a .44 Magnum or for that matter even placed one in my house or car where it might in an emergency become my first response weapon.. But I might.

Has any of you reloaders ever tried slowing down a 240 grain XTP to around 1000 fps in an effort to avoid the two problems we seem to have: over-penetration and muzzle jump affecting the second shot?

I think 1000 fps is not going to cause a squib and the only downside I can think of is PERHAPS compromised expansion in a thin skinned target.
But I've never tried this and really don't know. Perhaps some of you have ideas about this.

I guess I should admit in advance that I have a bunch of 240 grain HP-XTP's on hand. 180's and 200's are certainly available but I'd have to buy those. :-(
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:10 PM
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Do you have the original box with part number? I guess I'd write to Hornady and ask what velocities that bullet would expand at and what you intend to do. IIRC, some of the boxes would list those velocities. It'd be interesting to hear what they had to say.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:26 PM
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I've heard good things about the .44 Spl. Cor-bon DPX 200 gr. It's just real expensive. I usually carry that or 200 gr. Speer GD in my .44 Spl.

Here's some info. on .44 mag:

.44 Magnum General Purpose Loads - M4Carbine.net Forums

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  #21  
Old 01-23-2011, 08:49 PM
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Are those blazers? If so, what do they chrono at?
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddixie884 View Post
Are those blazers? If so, what do they chrono at?
Yes. Don't know. Published is 920fps out of a 5.15 barrel.

Blazer - Blazer
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddixie884 View Post
Are those blazers? If so, what do they chrono at?
My chrono has them at 896 average for 10 shots. Gun was S&W 4" 629.
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:17 PM
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THANX.....................
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  #25  
Old 01-28-2011, 09:56 AM
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Default My latest 44 SD ammo

I have just made the switch to the Hornady # 9070. 44 Special 180 gr. XTP. Muzzle 1000 fps, and 935 at 50 yrds, 882 at 100 yrds, I believe with a 6". List price only $22.25 for 20. My 44 mag is a 6 1/2", perfect. 26
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:17 AM
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I was using Factory 200gr GDHP's chronoed 1030 out of my 3" trailboss. Ive been handloading my own for a while now to cut costs. I use unique powder at about 1200 fps. still controlable expands to about an inch when shot through 4 milk jugs. I like the dpx rounds too, there just too expensive to shoot alot of them.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victor1050 View Post
I was using Factory 200gr GDHP's chronoed 1030 out of my 3" trailboss. Ive been handloading my own for a while now to cut costs. I use unique powder at about 1200 fps. still controlable expands to about an inch when shot through 4 milk jugs. I like the dpx rounds too, there just too expensive to shoot alot of them.

That Unique load sounds like a good one!!
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:42 AM
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I just received the new Hornady catalog in the mail. If you have a short barrel, they have a brand new 44 special #90700, a 165 gr FTX. For the long barrel handgun they have the 44 special 180 that I have, and 5 diffrent 44 MAG from 180 to 300 gr all XTP. 26
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:48 AM
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Winchester .44 Special Silvertips were redesigned awhile back. The jacket is a shiny silver gilding rather than the dull aluminum shell. It did very well in recent gelatin/denim tests. I carry those in my 696 and 629PC.
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon88 View Post
Anything in 44 magnum is going to be catastrophic on a person and probably overpenetrate dangerously. Not the best choice for most people. Pick just about any 44 special load or switch to a more reasonable caliber.
If the box says the .44 mag hydra-shock is pushing 1250 fps from factory than i figure you're going to lose at least 100 fps right off the top out of a 4 inch barrel. lets say that be the case..... now we are pushing a 240 gr. tip at approx 1100-1150. we are not all that far from a .45 acp+p at this point. I carry a 4 inch 29 stoked with the federal 240 gr hydra-shock. I have used this load/gun to put down many wounded animals and would not hesitate to use it in a self defence situation. With the right load the .44 magnum is anything but unreasonable.
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:03 AM
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I wouldn't carry a 44 mag for personal protection, unless your afraid of a sasquatch while hiking.

I think the 44 mag would be hard to control off hand and slow for rapid fire. Above all, the muzzle blast will cause you hearing damage if fired in the right places, i.e. inside your car or inside your bedroom.


When I was younger I carried a 44 spl for a while, then retired it to a house gun. They don't carry that well on a belt compared to a 45 pistol. Your results may differ.

My choice is any 44 spl HP load. 44 spl worked well as a hunting round, just research Elmer Keith.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:30 AM
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What ever you decide, make sure it is a bonded bullet. I know the Speer Gold Dot is, I am not sure about the Federal Hydra-Shok. Bonded ammo does really well through auto windshield glass and you never know what will occur in a self defense senerio.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:21 AM
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I like the .44 Special Gold Dots, as well as the Federal 200gr. LSWC-HP load. It's like a .44 Special version of the .38 Special "FBI" load. Both of them are extremely pleasant to shoot and controllable in my 4" Model 29-2. I found the Gold Dots to be more accurate, at least in that gun.
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:43 AM
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I like the Gold Dots myself, but use what your gun likes, any of the loads mentioned will work well for you.
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Old 08-06-2011, 01:18 AM
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Check these out, you might like them.

Heavy .44 Special Pistol & Handgun Ammunition

Last edited by Roboto; 08-06-2011 at 01:19 AM. Reason: Typing too fast
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  #36  
Old 10-10-2011, 02:59 AM
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Basically it boils down to how much recoil do you want/can you handle.
Also for many penetration is a factor, and I do consider it for an Urban load.

The 45 ACP has a pretty good reputation for self defense, so you are looking at a 185 gr bullet at @950 to maybe 1000fps, to a 230gr bullet at @810fps to maybe 950 for +P stuff.

So IMHO as long as your 44 Mag [or 44 Special, 41 Mag, 45 Colt], is doing at least the same, I think you are doing all that needs to be done.

If you can handle full power 44 Mag then use it. I do know back in the day that the Remington 44 Mag 240gr SJHP [Scalloped Jacketed Hollow Point] worked great in actual shootings. AS did the Speer 44 Mag 200gr HP.

Last edited by NE450No2; 10-12-2011 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:12 PM
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It's hard to imagine a better SD .44 mag load than the Gold Dot Short Barrel ammo: 200 gr JHP at 1100 fps from a 4" barrel. Mild recoil combined with good expansion and great accuracy.

Greater velocity or energy is neither needed nor desirable for this purpose, but the 210 gr Silvertip load at 1200 fps is also a good load with mild recoil.
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:27 PM
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Lightbulb N Frame gave me

some 185(?) COR-BON years ago and that's what I have in my house guns. Wonderful, easy to manage stuff P L U S it won't go thru the walls and hit my condo neighbors. It's really something to consider.

I was at the range the other day and shot some 240s over 8.5 of Unique ( a .44SPL load), about 850-900 fps IIRC, thru a 629. I then shot a few 255 Keiths over 21 gns of 'old' 2400. MAN what a difference. I belive the 255s run at 1175 in the 4 incher. The muzzle flip was way to extreme for a follow-up, the SPL load allowed me to remain on target....just sayin'.
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechengr View Post
Any recommendations on self-defense ammunition (2-legged) in the .44 Magnum/Special category? These are the three I am looking at:

Federal Hydra-Shok .44 Magnum JHP:
240 grain
1210 ft/s
780 ft-lbs

Speer Gold Dot .44 Magnum JHP:
200 grain
1075 ft/s
513 ft-lbs

Speer Gold Dot .44 Special JHP:
200 grain
875 ft/s
340 ft-lbs

I am leaning towards the Federal, but I would like to hear your thoughts.
EITHER of the 3 will do the job, BUT I'd go with the .44 Spec GDHP. Less recoil will facilitate easier follow up shots, and terminal effect will be the same on a 2 legged target.......
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:48 PM
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Well this post is a perfect example of the beauty and utility of the 44 Mag.

All of the 44 Special loads listed, and some of the lower powered loads listed are easier to shoot than many 357 Mag loads. Especially in the lighter 357 Mags.

Then when you need/or want, more thump, say for hunting or animal protection in the field then you just change ammo.

There is no doubt in My Mind that the 44 Mag is the best "all round" revolver cartridge on the Planet.

IMHO of course.
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:57 PM
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My vote is also for the Hornady #9070, 180 XTP, 44 Special, my 629-4 w/6 1/2", 26
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:35 PM
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I'm going to offer up my opinion. What I've seen in watching other shooters over the years is the vast majority can't handle magnum recoil. Every one wants to act macho and declare they can, but the evidence seems to point the other way. Its OK to lie to your buddies and fellow shooters, but its really stupid to lie to yourself.

Way back in the 1930s, they developed the .357 Magnum and at that time the shooting press went wild over how powerful it was. Then in the 1970s we had Dirty Harry who declared it would blow a bad guys head clean off.

I've got a couple of the 329s. Basically hand grenades with handles. They can be fired, but not well by most shooters. In fact, I've seen a few on sale that appear to have only been fired a few times. Guess why.

I even pulled a stunt a while back with one of mine when it was still brand new. I loaded it with 3 rounds of garden grade 240 grain loads, and then 3 of the 300 grain bear stoppers. Still having a little common sense, I indexed the lighter loads first. Then after firing them, I announced it was too much for me. It was all it took, I had a sucker. One of my group had to show how manly he was. He fired the 3 of the worst recoiling rounds. He wasn't nearly as cheerful, and sat in a chair with a cold beer in his hand from then on. Even more interesting was he held the beer in his right hand, but switched to his left to drink it. The cold was probably easing his pain.

At some point in the power/recoil equation it gets to be too much. More than anyone with any sense would use, anyhow. It all made me realize the 329 is one of the best 44 Specials ever produced. It does every thing well, and with a lighter load than a hand crusher. Steel frame guns become even more pleasant to shoot with Specials. One of the tests you can do for yourself is go out shooting. Doesn't need to be at an organized range, just a place to shoot. Fire a few gun loads with a range of ammo. You can determine for yourself what the best loads are for you. The next guy may come to a completely different conclusion, and it could be right for them.
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:29 AM
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Hornady 280 jhp critical defense
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Old 10-14-2011, 12:03 PM
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Here's a post I did on the 165 grain Hornady Critical Defense..

329PD and Hornady Critical Defense

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Old 10-14-2011, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechengr View Post
Any recommendations on self-defense ammunition (2-legged) in the .44 Magnum/Special category? These are the three I am looking at:

Federal Hydra-Shok .44 Magnum JHP:
240 grain
1210 ft/s
780 ft-lbs

Speer Gold Dot .44 Magnum JHP:
200 grain
1075 ft/s
513 ft-lbs

Speer Gold Dot .44 Special JHP:
200 grain
875 ft/s
340 ft-lbs

I am leaning towards the Federal, but I would like to hear your thoughts.
I reload for the 44 Special and 44 Mag and my current self-defense favorite is the 200 grain Hornady @ 1130 fps in 44 Special cases. Of the choices above, I'd vote for the Gold Dot @ 1075 fps.
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by zorba View Post
It's hard to imagine a better SD .44 mag load than the Gold Dot Short Barrel ammo: 200 gr JHP at 1100 fps from a 4" barrel. Mild recoil combined with good expansion and great accuracy.

Greater velocity or energy is neither needed nor desirable for this purpose, but the 210 gr Silvertip load at 1200 fps is also a good load with mild recoil.
Those are both excellent loads. In fact I carry the Speer short barreled load a lot of the time in the city.

I also like the 165gr CorBon 44 Mag load.

I am usually a heavy bullet kind of guy, but I think the CorBon load would be good in the city, as it should "wack" hard and not over penetrate, kinda like the 125gr 357 Mag load.
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:05 AM
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A buddy of mine has got a super redhawk 44 mag and his prefered self defense round is hornad critical defense jhp i believe 240 gr but not sure. Anyway i call em the claimer of limbs. Consider any part of the body that gets hit with that is no longer useful! Fun to shoot but damn if it dont start hurtin after a bit!
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:27 AM
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One thought is, if you shoot somebody with a 44 Mag, you do not have to shoot them too many times...

From personal knowledge of shootings I am aware of, with the 44 Mag or the 45 ACP, that is a true assumption.
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NE450No2 View Post
There is no doubt in My Mind that the 44 Mag is the best "all round" revolver cartridge on the Planet.
I agree.

When I first cast the Lee tumble lube 240 SWC I loaded them over a start charge of Trail Boss. Recoiled like my .380 Bersa but was still moving that 240 grains at 850fps. That's .45 ACP performance.

I can also run the same bullet at 1025 over 8.3gr Unique, 1065 over 8.8 and 1154 over 9.5. All are quite mild in the recoil department.

I can also make it essentially a hand rifle. Look at this post I made over in reloading about chrono results for some old Remington 210s: Yowza! I forgot how hot the old Rem 210s were.
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Old 11-02-2011, 06:57 AM
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Appalachian Emancipator .44 Special 180 gn XTP-HP uses a flash suppressed powder that delivers 1140 fps.

Their Appalachian Emancipator 44. Magnum delivers over 1400 fps. (Six inch barrel.)

Available at: Appalachian Ammo - Home
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Ammo Thread, .44 Magnum/Special Self-Defense Ammo in Ammunition-Gunsmithing; Any recommendations on self-defense ammunition (2-legged) in the .44 Magnum/Special category? These are the three I am looking at: Federal ...
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