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Thread: Defensive Bear load for .44 Magnum

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Defensive Bear load for .44 Magnum

    I have a Chiappa "Alaskan" lever action in .44 Magnum, with a 12" barrel (non restricted in Canada) and I'm looking for a defensive load for when I go camping. Currently I have a supply of Oregon Laser cast bullets, 300 grain TC BB along with both 2400 & IMR 4227. My research so far tells me I need to get at least 1,300 fps for bear defense loads. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    I looked for loads tested in a 4" revolver, those will be a might faster from the longer barrel. I don't know the strength of the Chiappa action, but I imagine it would be strong enough. Lyman #49 lists 'Contender Only' loads, and compares 10" and 14" barrel lengths. Although the Contender not pressure tested, the same loads below were pressure tested for a 4" for much lower velocities.

    The listed load for IMR 4227 (I like that powder) with a 300 gr boolit, starting at 16.5 gr for 10" at 1117 fps, 1185 fps from the 14" barrel. Max load was 19 gr was 1299 from the 10", 1356 fps from the 14" barrel. These same loads were pressure tested for the 4" barrel.

    2400 has similar numbers, starting at 14 gr for 1110 fps from 10', 1188 fps from the 14" barrel. Max was 18 gr for 1229 fps from 10", 1299 fps from the 14" barrel. The 2400 loads for the 4" were lower, 15.7 gr, with much higher pressure than the 4227 loads above.

    As with anything, start low and work your way up to the desired result. I'm pretty sure your short barreled rifle with be a handful!
    Last edited by fcvan; 09-18-2020 at 05:06 PM.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    2400 is actually a fairly quick powder for a 300 gr slug in a 44 Mag gun.

    4227 may be about ideal for a 12” barrel but in my revolver length hand guns, H110 is about tops.

    Three44s
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Does this one have the fast twist rate? If so, then it won't much matter, as they should shoot good at most velocities. If it has the 1:38" twist, then you will need all the speed you can get.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    me im hesitant to give you any kind of data advice because it looks like that design has a lot of the lead in the case taking up volume. which you kinda need to cycle in a lever well. id try to look for published data on a another 300gr that is seated relatively the same depth and go from there. if someone's making a 300gr load that fills up the cylinder in a super blackhawk for example would be able to have a decently higher charge and not be comparable.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    You might look at Alliant 300MP or Accurate #11FS. Those are fairly new powders that seem to give better velocities than H110/296 at the same pressure. Data from both Alliant and Accurate are available online.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master knifemaker's Avatar
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    This load recipe for 4227 is from the Hodgdon reloading site that you can access from your computer.

    18 gr. 4227-1318 fps, 30,600 psi Max is 20 gr. 4227 at 1452 fps and 38,600 psi.
    This was for a 44 mag rifle with a 20 inch barrel.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Ozark mike's Avatar
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    Case of 296 under a lee310
    Those who would trade freedom for safety deserves neither and will lose both

  9. #9
    Boolit Master reloader28's Avatar
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    I like 2400. Who cares what the twist is. If its a bear defense load as with people defense load it will be within 20yds. Even a bad shooting load will hit a bear.

    As long as you have a 300+gr running 1100+ it will penatrate nose to tail of a bear

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    What ever you can shoot the most accurate and able to get several shots off as quick as possible will work. Just keep shooting the gun till it’s empty or the bear drops. The only way your going to stop a charging bear on its tracks is to hit it in the spine or brain. Just keep pulling the trigger till either one gets hit. Use what you have, load up, and go camping. The odds of having to use your load and gun to defend yourself on a bear will be about the same as getting hit by lightning. You still want to have your bases covered. I just pack my S&W 329NG 44 mag. The report of my pistol will scare a bear off even if I miss.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 09-19-2020 at 12:27 AM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    My SBH revolvers are very accurate with the Lee 310 gr cast bullet over 16gr 2400. It doesn't work in my Marlin 1894 because of the rifle's slow twist.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy derek45's Avatar
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    LEE 310

    Note the 45ACP brass for size compatison





    Loaded long, to make room for more magnum powder.

    .


    NRA LIFE Member

    USPSA/IPSC

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozark mike View Post
    Case of 296 under a lee310
    Copy that
    works well with Lee and Accurate Molds boolits
    accurate as well in my 5.5"revo
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    thanks all for the advice.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    Loaded long, to make room for more magnum powder.

    [/QUOTE]


    I load mine long in my new vaquero. IMO It aids in accuracy.

    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 09-21-2020 at 11:05 AM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    I am having good luck with 20.5 grains of H110 behind a Lee 310 grain cast in a Marlin 1894. Stability holds to about 75 yards max; groups open up by 100 yards. Pressure running about 24,000 psi at approximately 1,400 fps. My 50 yard woods deer rifle.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy Hardcast's Avatar
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    Tripplebeards, what PC is that? Powder by the Pound has a fuchsia listed. Is this it?

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirate69 View Post
    I am having good luck with 20.5 grains of H110 behind a Lee 310 grain cast in a Marlin 1894. Stability holds to about 75 yards max; groups open up by 100 yards. Pressure running about 24,000 psi at approximately 1,400 fps. My 50 yard woods deer rifle.
    Have you tried faster? My accuracy load was 21.5 gr H110 in my Redhawk. I tried higher, and they seem to shoot great, but I'm not man enough to do them real justice. Even if I don't flinch, I begin to tense my grip sooner or later.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Both my Super Redhawk and Redhawk liked/likes 21.5 gr best as well.

    (The SRH got traded for a SRH in 480)

    Three44s
    Quit fretting about climate change. Itís how much stronger gravity is getting every day that is bothering me!

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    It might be that the Super Redhawk has a twist rate more conducive to that velocity than the rifle does. GF

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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