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Thread: >Light Weight Trail/Woods Gun- .44 Special, 240 Grain Cast SWC, 850 fps

  1. #1

    >Light Weight Trail/Woods Gun- .44 Special, 240 Grain Cast SWC, 850 fps

    I have several stoutly built .45 caliber and .44 (.430) caliber revolvers that I have carried for years while walking and 4-wheeling in the woods. But, over the years I have begun to long for something lighter that still possesses some close range deterrent capabilities (merely defensive). So, I pulled out my Charter Arms Bulldogs (weighing about 21oz) in .44 Special. They are both factory targeted for 240 grain hard cast bullets. I don't shoot these loads often in these guns, but their most accurate load is a 240 grain semi-wadcutter traveling at 850 fps.

    Is this a sufficient trail/woods defensive load to be used in the southeast U.S.? I can push the velocity up to 880 fps and still be within the safe pressure range.

    Thanks for your input.

    This is the bullet being used:
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    Last edited by Southern Shooter; 07-08-2018 at 10:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Considering that what your are talking about equals a .45 acp from a 5" barrel, and you can shoot a boolit with a very wide flat nose, I'd say that you should be good for anything other than a black bear over 250 lbs with the right boolit placement. I'd concentrate on developing just the load the gun likes, then find out how far you can consistently put holes in a 3x5 index card. With that you should be good to go with 10 extra rounds in speed loaders or Tuff Strips. Depending where you are going, the 2-legged critters may be the most troublesome. I intend to do all of the above for my near-new 30-year-old Charter 3" .44 this fall once it cools off a bit. I have a Lyman 429241 mold that I have yet to break in that should do the trick. GF

  3. #3
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    A wide flat fairly soft boolit at those speeds; up close and personal distance and if you are able to shoot it well than I’d say winner winner!

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'd contentedly carry that even in the Northwest, where some of those with whom I share the woods with are much bigger; and I have in a ballistic equivalent .45.

    This much gun on your belt is much more protection than the biggest super magnum is at home, where it was left as too much of a nuisance to wear.
    The first purpose of the Second Amendment is too often overlooked, fostering a liberty of mind and action necessary in the people of a free republic.

  5. #5
    Landy88, that is exactly where I am heading with this. My other woods guns weigh 20-24 ounces more. One would think that I should just accept the heavier weight...and, I do while in the upper Rocky Mountains. But, spending the day having fun or stomping around in the woods on a weekend campout or an all-day 4-wheeler trek, those extra ounces make a difference. And, in the Southeast U.S., where the largest encountered animals would be a rarely seen black bear, wild hog, or an alligator (or, has anyone seen Bigfoot, recently?), it seems overkill to carry my heavier guns. I am thinking the first chamber loaded with snake shot and the remaining 4 chambers with the load, mentioned earlier, should suffice.
    Last edited by Southern Shooter; 07-08-2018 at 11:14 PM.

  6. #6
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    I like the little Charter, but with loads like that, it's sure not pleasant to shoot.

    I can't imagine anything you'd run into down south that wouldn't decide to cease work on the fight after being hit squarely with one of those.

  7. #7
    Richhodg66, with that load the Bulldog is certainly NOT a range gun. But, shooting it enough to stay proficient and then mainly carrying it, the discomfort is short-lived.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    Southern Shooter I'm envious of your selection. Wish I had that option. My light carry is a Chief Special 38. I also do the first round as a shot load for poisonous snakes, followed up with four "solids" which for me are full wad cutters. I am reasonably sure you will be fine if you are able to keep your rounds on target at reasonable distance.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I tried 6gr to 7.5gr of trail boss in my titanium S&W 44 mag nite guard with some Lyman devastators. It was pleasant to shoot but still had a stout Muzzel rise. I defended myself against 2 wood pallets with the 6gr load. I found a few boolits laying a the base of the 2nd pallet. Not a lot of penatration but you could shoot it all day. Full throttle loads are fun for about 6 rounds.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    Is this a sufficient trail/woods defensive load to be used in the southeast U.S.?

    Yes

    I can push the velocity up to 880 fps and still be within the safe pressure range.

    Whether a statement or a question nothing you will ever shoot with that revolver using that 240 SWC at 850 fps will ever tell the difference another 30 fps will make. However, If you feel more confident with a safe 30 fps higher load then that higher confidence can make a difference.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  11. #11
    Actually, it was a statement. Using a max load of Power Pistol 880s fps was the average velocity in these guns. But, I found that 850 fps produced a tighter group, a more accurate point of impact, and a little quicker target reacquisition. And, as I think about it, for me personally, I feel more confident with that combination of elements working together than I do adding 30+fps.
    Last edited by Southern Shooter; 07-09-2018 at 05:21 AM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    There you go.....confidence and ability to better use it is worth a lot more than the 30 fps. Enjoy the walks and 4-wheeling.....
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  13. #13
    Thanks for the feedback

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Sounds like the combo to use. As a young man I carried a Star PD .45 acp compact and one of my broters carried a Charter Bulldog like yours with a similar load. I would take either one nowadays as well.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Boolit Man nockhunter's Avatar
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    That load will drill through any living thing you may stumble across.

    Mike

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I’m curious why a snake load as well. I’m not against killing them as I’ve made tacos out of many rattlesnakes, but never felt an encounter with as something I couldn’t steer clear of with maybe the exception of a couple of water moccasins, and one of those it could easily be argued I deserved by grabbing it by the tail and flinging it on to the embankment.

    The Star PD. That’s a gun I haven’t seen mentioned since the late 80’s maybe. Nice! Always felt the various compact Stars were rather good.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    A Star PD would tempt me to trade a keeper to get it. Best compact .45 ACP pistol ever IMO!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master



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    I have been a fan (and user) of the .44 Special for several decades. However, most of my use has been with full size revolvers (a 4" Model 624 has been a companion on MANY trail trips). I've used Skeeter's load (7.5 grs. of Unique behind a 250 gr. Keith). That would be way too heavy a load (recoil would be excessive even if it were safe).

    However, a few years ago I signed up for a group buy 200 gr. dbl. ended wadcutter bullet that would be near perfect a trail load in a light weight revolver. Load it, for the trail, ahead of 5.0 grs. of Red Dot. In my 4" revolvers I get 900 fps. That wide meplat at that speed has a LOT of SMACK!



    Further, that relatively light weight has noticeably less recoil than a heavier bullet.

    Just a thought or two...

    FWIW
    Dale53

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    I like my Ruger GP100 44 Special. It sure doesn't qualify as a "light" trail gun, but I love the way it shoots, and usually carry it along when I go up to the property to work/play. 5 shot, unfluted cylinder, rubber grip, in a full flap holster stoked with 5 powder coated 429421s on top of 4.5 gr Bullseye make me all warm and fuzzy.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    This is it

    Usually laying on the passenger seat of my Jeep Wrangler YJ easy to reachClick image for larger version. 

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