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.44 Magnum Defense Loads?

So, I am finding this has become more and more the "do everything" cartridge at our home. We live in the sticks, so defense could be against two-legged varmints and most species of animals that live in this state, including black bear and wolves. We have a lever-action carbine, a double-action revolver, and a single-action automatic pistol in said. So far, I have largely stuck to 240-grain, Fiocchi, JHP. I have some Winchester Silvertips in .44 Special as well.

So, I thought I'd toss it out there for discussion; if you carry a .44 Magnum, what do you feed it and why? Thanks.
 
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They are real interesting, but these were handloads, New Starline nickel plated brass, CCI large pistol magnum primers and 27gr of H110,

The other upside is if you leave them in a leather cartridge belts, they won't corrode.
 
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A good Hard Cast 240gr. Keith Style Bullet in front of a proper load of WW-296, CCI Magnum Primer on New or NO More than once fired Cases - I like Remington - but pretty much any Brand will work. IMHO
 

titsonritz

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200gr Gold Dot 44spl because it is adequate for the threats mentioned and is reasonable on recoil for fast follow up shots. Gold dot is know for good weight retention, penetration and expansion at modest velocities.
 

tac

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Some say beware of using homeloads in a defence gun - there are 'persecutors' out there who will say that your ammunition is deliberately intended to cause the maximum amount of damage to another human being, playing on the sympathies of the jury, in the event that the intruder survives the shooting.

If I was in the position of being able to use a firearm to defend myself and my loved ones from harm occasioned by an intruder, I'd be maxing out the defensive ammunition to the most lethal level that can safely be handled by my handgun or other firearm - it really is the only way to go in order to preserve life - that of yourself, your wife/SO and family.
 

Dyjital

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I only feed mine 240gr cast or JHP’s by Hornady.

The (185gr or is it 225gr) are pretty slick too for reduced recoil.

I also used IMR4227 to near case capacity.

Eh, eh, eh...?
 

Marine Airedale

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In a 44 magnum, particularly lighter projectiles test fire you ammunition at night. Muzzle flash can be extreme in that cartridge. When I had one, all I ever carried in it was 240 grain cast with gas check and W296 powder.
 
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Muzzle Flash can also be related to Barrel Length. The Flash is absolutely CRAZY from a 4" Barrel:s0087::s0087::s0087: and worse from anything Shorter but people simply don't think about that.

With the Smith and Wessons, the 5" isn't Really Bad, the 6" is Better, the 6-1/2" (like I carried) is, at least, OKAY, with the 8-3/8" being the Best but somewhat hard to Carry Concealed.
 

Marine Airedale

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Muzzle Flash can also be related to Barrel Length. The Flash is absolutely CRAZY from a 4" Barrel:s0087::s0087::s0087: and worse from anything Shorter but people simply don't think about that.

With the Smith and Wessons, the 5" isn't Really Bad, the 6" is Better, the 6-1/2" (like I carried) is, at least, OKAY, with the 8-3/8" being the Best but somewhat hard to Carry Concealed.

Back in my youth (when dinosaurs were still roaming the earth) a buddy of mine had a super blackhawk in 44 magnum whereas I had a 6" M29. He was farting around with 2400 powder. Holy smokes that stuff had a muzzle flash, as in a couple feet of it. Of course he was one of the hand loader who was trying to get every fps out of the thing. After awhile his cylinder gap was so large it would throw pieces of jacket around and eventually started locking up the pistol. He and I went in the Corps together where I eventually got out. He stayed in and became a Warrant Officer. Died in a traffic accident driving home from work one night. Miss him to this day!
 

Pete F

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The Fiocchi 240 Grain jhp should be fine for most everything you are going to encounter, except maybe the largest of bears. A jsp would also work well. A Keith hardcast will take care of large bears. Ask someone who hunts bears in your area what .44 they use.
 

BlindedByScience

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A good Hard Cast 240gr. Keith Style Bullet in front of a proper load of WW-296, CCI Magnum Primer on New or NO More than once fired Cases - I like Remington - but pretty much any Brand will work. IMHO
I shot that exact load in my Redhawk for years. Lyman 429421, if I remember correctly. H110 or WW296 worked great. Hits with authority, to be sure.
 
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Muzzle Flash can also be related to Barrel Length. The Flash is absolutely CRAZY from a 4" Barrel:s0087::s0087::s0087: and worse from anything Shorter but people simply don't think about that.

With the Smith and Wessons, the 5" isn't Really Bad, the 6" is Better, the 6-1/2" (like I carried) is, at least, OKAY, with the 8-3/8" being the Best but somewhat hard to Carry Concealed.
Interesting point; I don't recall ever shooting a shorter barrel .44. The wheelgun (Model 29) has a 6½" barrel. The auto (Desert Eagle XIX) has 6". Not that it matters, but I don't recall the carbine's (Rossi 92) barrel length; it is at least 16" because it is not NFA, but less than 20".
 
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41mag

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Besides muzzle blast on the 3" 629 I reallyREALLY liked to belt carry in the woods, even with practice I found my own accuracy was way too erratic for the confidence needed in certain situations. And a decent 44 special load out of my 8 3/8 629 is simply marvelous.

Must admit, I ~have~ grown rather fond of a particular 4" Mtn Gun in 41 mag though....
 

DLS

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Another problem with a .44 Mag besides flash in low light is muzzle blast in confined spaces. If you touch off a round in a hallway with a ceiling two feet over your head and walls a foot and a half away from each ear don't be surprised if your brains drip out of your ears after suffering that level of concussion!

You also have cylinder gap gas adding to the flash / concussion.

So, if you want to use a big wheel gun for PD, have a set of ear protectors handy along side your gun and flashlight.
 
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