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Thread: .44/.45s: Hunting At The Lower End

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    .44/.45s: Hunting At The Lower End

    Id like to hear of those who load and hunt with .44s or .45s using a more standard weight (180-255 grns) where their loads are producing no more than say 550 ft/lbs, especially something along the lines of the .44 Spl or standard .45 ACP/Schoefield/Colt.

    Id also like to hear from those with experience using softer lead (5-9 BHN).

    Expansion, penetration, and wound channels.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    44 special and 45 colt have been getting it done for years. Depending on your game and range, you would most likely do just fine. Shot placement is key. I’m in GA and could easily take a deer within my iron sight range with either.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Southwest MO.
    Ive taken several deer with a 45 colt. Different 245/255 gr boolits and some jacketed bullets. All pushed to 900 to 1050 fps. After several deer I knew what I might expect after the shot.

    My big eye opener was in taking 2 deer with my 58 Rem cap and ball. Using the Lee 452-200 RF and all the FFFg I could get in the chamber. These ran right at 700 fps over my chrony.

    2 deer are not a good test but these acted( distance traveled after the shot ) pretty much the same as they would with the heavier loads. Shot placement means everything.

    If you put one of these low powered loads through both lungs there may not be a very good blood trail but it won't be very long. 30 to 70 yds is common. CNS hits are down right there but may get back up. If a deer drops in its tracks I shoot it again. Twice Ive had them jump to their feet at the second shot but didn't go but a few yards before piling up for good.

    In rereading you post you asked about wound channels, expansion etc. I shoot the same alloy in everything bhn 10 but the 58 Rem. It gets pure lead. The one boolit I recovered from the 58 had hit quite a bit of bone. I didn't measure or weigh it but believe I could have loaded it back in the gun and shot it again.

    I generally use a cup type HP in my heavier loads but wouldn't with the low powered ones. I fear penatration may suffer. With the heavy loads they generally exit with a better blood trail but they still go about as far.
    Last edited by Wolfer; 09-09-2018 at 09:06 PM.
    Some people live and learn but I mostly just live

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub kingrj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Hattiesburg, MS
    Not much data but I have taken 3 deer with a .45 ACP loaded to super velocities that duplicate normal .45 Colt loads..All three fell within 25 yards or dropped on the spot..I chose to add a follow up shot on all three...this was the same result that I have had using heavy .45 Colt loads in the 1300 fps range with 255 grain cast bullets...Big fat bullet that gets inside and hits vital organs kills the deer...Penetration is the key with most handguns used in hunting..I have had complete failures using a lightly constructed 200 gr. hollowpoint in the .44 mag loaded to well over 1500 fps...

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Harter66's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    90 miles North of Texarkana 9 miles from OK in the green hell
    I shot some hogs 135-165# with a 454424 both an original Lyman round groove and the NOE version . Cast 50/50 WW/1-20 at 890 fps in a 45 Colts carbine .
    17 yd hit a heavy rib going in exited through the meat just above the elbow it cut about a .700 hole in the exit shield , 24" . The 165# boar was juiced up on a full run , double lung , 200 yd found lung bled out .

    47 yd 12" through , half inch exit hole in the offside shield , double lung , heart clipped , staggered around half turn dropped in a heap .

    Powder burn , literally feet (6-10?) , 36" through , entered right shoulder/chest cutting 2 ribs , about and inch missing out of the 2nd rib , it cut a half inch skin hole the left flank and ham tend to suggest a 3/4" or more hole . This little piggy at 135# went down in a heap feet to the compass points .

    None of the bullets were recovered .
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check