View Full Version : .38/44 loads for Texas Deer
08-25-2006, 12:59 PM
OK, I have my Nomex flame suit on here, but wanted to see if there was any real world experience on something.
For those of you in the rest of the country, most Texas whitetail deer run not much more than 100-120 pounds live weight and in the Hill Country there are so many that they look more like German Shepards size wise. They don't take much killing and many of them are taken each year with non-traditional rifle calibers like the .222 and .223.
I am wanting to do a bit of "retro" handgun hunting with my .38/44 Outdoorsman and 358429s. Has anybody experience with this type of "project" and what kind of loads do you suggest? I don't intend any long shots or anything other than a stationary target, preferably broadside. Before anybody asks, ANY centerfire caliber is legal for deer in Texas, with no energy level, etc. stated as a requiremnt.
I am thinking that Chargar and/or Ranchdog may have some input here...
08-25-2006, 01:28 PM
Wayne Dobbs: As I expect you know,if you shooting a 6.5 in.barrel Outdoorsman loaded to top,you have the equiv.of many current 357 maggies. I'm not from the Hill country but the Mrs.was raised there,suburban Hunt, and then Kerrville,so we have spent many good hours there. I'd never hesitate but to aim with my 38/44 Heavy Duty,on any of those whitetails broadside at 50 yds or less,and that limitation is mostly aging eyes related.Personal choice would be something more like the 358156 weightwise,but I don't see that as critical.Look forward to hearing of your experiences.Oh Yeah, about 20 years ago, the Horsecamping elk hunters next camp to ours honcho killed a fine 6x6 bull at about 25 yds with his 38/44 5". Of course,he was about the finest non-pro Elk caller I've heard... Onceabull:roll:
08-25-2006, 02:01 PM
I have an old hollow point mold, the 358439, which is the hollow point version of the 358429. Just last spring, the neighbor came over to get me to help him move a road kill 120 pound doe. After taking it off for coyote bait, I went back with a heavy 38 special with some 38/44 loads and propped the deer upright as you would see it presented if alive. They loads were the 358439 hollow points cast soft and loaded with 5.4 gr. of Unique. All the HPs went thru the rib cage crosswise and expanded past nickel size as well as going kittycorner thru the rib cage and expanding just a little better. This was a dead deer with everything there. I think it would do pretty well up to 40 yards myself. Suprising what it did really.
08-26-2006, 08:30 AM
Wayne.... You are an experienced man with a hangun and a grown up with the good sense to pass a marginal shot. In the hands of such a man, a Keith or Thompson bullets going 1.1 to 1.2k fps will do in a Texas whitetail at 50 yards and under with no problem.
I killed a number of Texas whitetail with a Colt Gold Cup and a bullet going 800 fs with no problem. (45 ACP).
Just use good common sense, keep the range short to moderate and don't shoot one in heavy cover where tracking might be difficult.
I know there are folks who think that anything smaller than a 454 Caa-soool won't kill a deer. but that is high grade ****.
I shot Elmer’s 38-44 loads. *These two loads are not for 38 Special Guns*
With a 357429 (173 gr.) cast of 95-3-2, Win 38 +P nickle cases, WSP primers, 13.5 grains 2400 (new), 1.545 oal. 1453 fps, in a 8⅜" S&W Performance Center M686 with a 2x Leupold Scope. It is unbelievably accurate. These five rounds were the only loads that leaded in this test. And you had to look for it to find it. Actually, it was in the area of the barrel where the factory stamped the barrel ~ S&W on one side and Atomic Ray Gun on the other <g>
I also shoot Skeeter’s 38-44 load (a 358156 (160 gr.) cast of 95-3-2), Win 38 +P nickle cases, WSP primers, 13.5 grains 2400 (new), 1.535 oal. 1390 fps, in the 8⅜" S&W M686.
and I shoot a 358430 HP (180 gr.) cast 50/50 - WW/ pb, fed 38 special cases, WSP primers, 5.0 grains Unique (old), 1.547 oal. 1009 fps, in the 8⅜" S&W Performance Center M686.
Properly placed, I’m quite sure either of these three loads will take a Whitetail Deer in typical woods range. Hunt as if your bowhunting, limit your shots to only those distances that you can hit a grapefruit sized target from a field position...at an unaware Deer.
If you would rather stumble and bumble through the thicket(s) shooting at a fleeing white colored tail...then you would be better off rabbit hunting <g>
09-18-2006, 10:37 PM
I've put down many west Ga. whitetails that had been car-hit, or hung up in a fence, with a similar load through my "duty" .357mag.
They run (Ga whitetails), about like the Texas deer, maybe a bit larger back in the late '70's to mid '90's.
I used a plus+ .38spl load of a 158gr SWC, and 5.2gr of Unique, or similar loading.
With proper shot placement, it'll do the job.
A cast 155-170gr HP of aircooled w/w metal would be preferable if available.
Shoot Straight though !!!
10-02-2006, 11:56 AM
And similiar success with So California coastal deer back in the '60s. An old family friend used his S&W .38 to feed his family. I don't remember if he ever told me the load, or which exact model he used, but with good placement it worked.
I hear the 44-40 collected a lot of deer in the southeast at one time. Checking my manuals, those loads seem less powerful than the .44 Magnum pistol loads. So...
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