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Thread: is the 44-40 underpowered for hogs and medium game?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    is the 44-40 underpowered for hogs and medium game?

    Seems you mention a cast bullet at 1200fps on regular forums and its underpowered or even hazardous, yet a short barrel 44 mag or even 10mm auto these days is touted as good bear defence medicine.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Ozark mike's Avatar
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    Nothin wrong with 44wcf on hogs or small blackies.
    Wouldn't be caught with a 10 its just un American. What weight & profile.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    To answer your title question- No, the 44-40 has been killing deer and hog size animals just fine since 1873.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I used a Marlin 1889 in 44-40 a few years ago to shoot a doe. Spoiler alert.. she died in 20-25 yards

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Full charge .44-40 loads which launch a half-once bullet at 1000 fps revolver or 1080 +/- 30 fps carbine are entirely adequate for deer and boar at woods ranges. Keith in Sixguns and Loads (1935) recommended a caliber which starts with a "4" firing a 1/2 oz. (218 grain) bullet at 1000 fps. STILL WORKS!!!!

    In a strong rifle or revolver you can safely bump those velocities to around 1200 fps in a Ruger revolver and 1400+ in a Winchester 92 or Marlin 1894 rifle without needing a GC.
    Last edited by Outpost75; 06-15-2020 at 07:28 PM.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Say it ain't so Outpost75!! You honestly mean to say that a fella doesn't really need $4.00 solid copper bullets loaded to 3500 FPS to kill a 110 lb. whitetail at 65 yards? It cannot be so!!
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickbr View Post
    Seems you mention a cast bullet at 1200fps on regular forums and its underpowered or even hazardous, yet a short barrel 44 mag or even 10mm auto these days is touted as good bear defence medicine.
    Who is "you"?

    for hunting I shoot 240 gr cast at 1400 fps or 215 GC'd at 1650 fps out of my M92 44-40 Uberti carbine with 20" barrel. I would hardly consider that as "underpowered or even hazardous" except as in hazardous to deer and hogs...... Back in the day the 44-40 in the M92 with the express loading was considered the epitome of a deer hunting lever action rifle. Contrary to popular myth deer are not any harder to kill and neither are feral hogs.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
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  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy Ozark mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    Solid copper bullets are probably serial numbered and microstamped to be California legal before being blessed with transgender fairy dust, that's why they cost $4 each.
    I laughed so hard at this now when i see those west coast tourists that like to run out in front of me this is what im gonna have running through my head
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  9. #9
    Boolit Bub white cloud's Avatar
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    You mean I really don't need the 300 Weatherby for deer hunting?

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    Who is "you"?
    I is Mick.

    for hunting I shoot 240 gr cast at 1400 fps or 215 GC'd at 1650 fps out of my M92 44-40 Uberti carbine with 20" barrel. I would hardly consider that as "underpowered or even hazardous" except as in hazardous to deer and hogs...... Back in the day the 44-40 in the M92 with the express loading was considered the epitome of a deer hunting lever action rifle. Contrary to popular myth deer are not any harder to kill and neither are feral hogs.
    I tend to agree Larry. But a quick search on a variety forums reveals not everyone does. A familiar line is "we owe it to the animal to use the best tools at our disposal". Which if applied would wipe out the sports of archery, muzzleloading, pistol hunting, blackpowder etc.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Don't over look the "puny" 38-40 either. I have killed quite a few hogs and whitetails with 180 grains at 1400 fs out of my marlin 1894.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy Ozark mike's Avatar
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    Years ago deer turkey and anything else we deemed fit droped to a 22lr so this is a no brainer
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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy oksmle's Avatar
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    .... Many years ago when I only had one center fire revolver & one center fire rifle they were both .44/40s. The revolver was a Colt SAA with a 7 1/2" barrel & the rifle was an "El Tigre" lever action with a 20" barrel. (That's the Spanish copy of the Win. '92 & to say it was cheap is an understatement. The original Win. receiver sight is probably worth more than the rifle). I loaded for the revolver using the Lyman 42798, trying for the original BP velocity of 975 fps. It took 8.5 grains of Unique to do that. Shooting the same loads in the rifle they reached about 1275 fps. I was told by some local experts I was "under gunned." But being the only rifle available at the time, I simply used what I had. The rifle accounted for an awful lot of Whitetail deer in Maryland, Pennsylvania, W. Virginia, Virginia, Michigan & later here in Oklahoma. It is now doing duty, only with the Lyman 427666 bullet cast of WW, with my son down in central Texas, on deer & hogs. I have never told him he is "under gunned." And he wouldn't believe me if I tried to.
    My only suggestion would be to try some of the 427666s & keep the velocity down around 1300 fps. Then shoot it enough to feel confident in your ability.

    oksmle

    P.S. I still carry the revolver with 5 chambers loaded in my travels, & occasionally use it in our Military Revolver Matches with the above load.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    Full charge .44-40 loads which launch a half-once bullet at 1000 fps revolver or 1080 +/- 30 fps carbine are entirely adequate for deer and boar at woods ranges.

    I like this. So even my little .44 cal. #2 Remington rolling block would be adequate. It was originally rimfire, but now centerfire. Using a 427098 bullet with a heel turned on it, over 23gr of 3F Old Eynsford, it averages 1124fps. It makes a dandy, lightweight carry rifle.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master



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    Since no one has said it yet, I will. It’s all about bullet placement.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Today's deer require a hunter to have a Gunwerks rifle and a Husky-Ma scope, or it could get dangerous.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Yeah, I heard that you dare not venture out without the newest .999 MAGNUM crew served. Those deer are dangerous! A couple years ago, one attacked my car as I was driving down the road! The .30-30 has been known to bounce off of them. Anemic! Underpowered! But a .357 out of a 10" Contender pistol never fails as long as it has a scope on it. . . . . Ahem, harrumph, snort.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahbub View Post
    Yeah, I heard that you dare not venture out without the newest .999 MAGNUM crew served. Those deer are dangerous! A couple years ago, one attacked my car as I was driving down the road! The .30-30 has been known to bounce off of them. Anemic! Underpowered! But a .357 out of a 10" Contender pistol never fails as long as it has a scope on it. . . . . Ahem, harrumph, snort.
    I always found it amusing that a 30-30 10" Contender was considered a long range Pronghorn gun but a 20" 30-30 rifle shouldn't be used past 100 yards.....

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  19. #19
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    If the levergun will safely shoot +P or Ruger Only loads, you could easily get any of the suitable boolits to 1200fps or more, 1200 is probably doable with standard loads out of a 16" or 20" barrel, so yeah I would say 44-40 is every bit a good deer or hog or black bear round as any other pistol caliber that is .400" or bigger in bore size.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I have a buddy from WVa who is the 4th generation hanging on the back of a Marlin 1894 44/40.
    It’s a long barrel rifle and his family has killed dozens of deer and black bear with that rifle for 100yrs. The family doesn’t load and never fired anything but factory. They aren’t gun people they hunt every season and never saw the need for anything else. They shoot 100yds or under, take their deer , end of story. People got their deer and bear for years with 38/40 and 44/40 rifles. As far as deer many with 25/20 & 32/20. It’s a rumor that deer took Cape Buffalo pills, they are still fairly easy to kill, if you make a decent shot.

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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