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Thread: .44magnum help

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    .44magnum help

    Bit of a left field question here. first off will explain why...
    here in New Zealand we are very much into pig hunting with dogs.... the .44 magnum is a favourite cartridge for the job of dispatching pigs of various sizes at close range..close as in under 25 yards... the usual rifle used has barrel between 12-16" we arent allows handguns

    so the job required is a bit of a balancing act,enough power to kill cleanly but not too much power of penertration or we risk projectile passing through pig and risk hitting dogs unseen on other side of pig.

    so I thought about it carefully and selected some cast boolits a neat 260grn with big open hollow point and thin lips,its mate is 270grns with lesser hollwpoint and finaally the parent boolit at 280grns a flat point.
    have decided the flat points can be loaded hot..a get out of jail load for big pigs or dire straights where angle or shot placement might not be best.
    that was the easy one...good load of lilgun..job done.

    tried a 6grn load of AP30N similar to green dot also have ap50n similar to red dot..... nope I DONT HAVE BLUE DOT /UNIQUE
    it seems the 6grn charge is plenty quiet and accurate...but might be lacking a bit in punch
    so the six million dollar question....
    and YES I have looked....
    where does the shotgun powder light loads go up to safely....EG could a higher charge weight of say 8 grns be a better option??? I really cannot find paper data anywhere??? plenty out there for 240grn or below but zip for the heavier projectile weights.
    or would a lighter charge of lilgun be a better way to go?????
    any help..real world experiences would be great to hear.
    thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    Here is a powder burning rate comparison from ADI. You will note there are a number shotgun powders with equivelant burning rates to the pistol powders.

    http://www.adiworldclass.com.au/powder-equivalents/

    I use a Browning B92 44magnum n a similar manner with 5.5gn AP70 and a 240gn cast boolit!
    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    yes it appears the names were just changed as time went by....question I have is...can you safely up your 5.5grn charge weight to say 7-8grns to be 1200ish fps not 7-800ish???

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Well I can say that 6.5 grains of Red Dot shoots very well with 200 or 220 gr cast lead. Well below speeds where you would need a gas check.

    Very accurate and comfortable to shoot all afternoon long out of my Single shot H&R Handi rifles.
    But I have never shot anything but paper with them.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

    Get right with the Lord.
    Get back to the land.
    Get back to thinking like our forefathers thought.


    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
    and give you His peace. Let all of the earth – all of His creation – worship and praise His name! Make His
    praise glorious!

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy wilecoyote's Avatar
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    I apologize for the 2c. digression, but using a medium load, worse if hp, I would be more worried about not hurting a hog enough than going through it etc.
    I'm not a hunter, and probably I'm an insufficient shooter, but the idea of an injured hog being proactively directed at dogs or hunters at close quarter bothers me much more.
    this with every downloaded .44 mag. I've tried, but I only have sixguns up to 10.5 ".
    ...next thing you know they'll want your pistol and your tobacco...

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    yes I hear you on that one...and the 260grn hp with 6 grns of AP30N did just that...BUT I suspect its all about shot placement,below the ear isnt as good as in the ear....near misses of vitals with subs are less than ideal....why I went away from them in .30 calibre.will find out when pig gets cut up in a few days time....

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy wilecoyote's Avatar
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    again mine is not a real answer, but preventive penetration test on the carcass/head of some donor hog, better if already asleep, could make sense for any of your questions.
    you only will establish and know your speed, shot placement, penetration, etc. with the loads you decide according to your shooting accuracy with the handloading materials you have at hand.
    I doubt that in Italy anyone could answer, afaik, because in any case it can quickly become a dangerous and fast client, and treated accordingly.
    this is not out of contempt for dogs, but to prevent them from being slashed first.
    ...next thing you know they'll want your pistol and your tobacco...

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    Agreed... Hogs soak up bullets.. Around here in the US many of us carry a rifle with a big handgun for close encounters. In a group setting I would not feel underfunded with a 357mag rifle.. And no doubt a 44mag thru even a short carbine will to it..i personally think I'd loose the hollow point.. The dense hair and fat shield may reduce the penetration enough to make a kill shot be a wounding shot. I think I'd go a flat nose..big meplat ..good penetration..good expansion.. And 10-12 bhn and you can push the velocity to where you want it..but it will still expand.

  9. #9
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    Agreed... Hogs soak up bullets.. Around here in the US many of us carry a rifle with a big handgun for close encounters. In a group setting I would not feel underfunded with a 357mag rifle.. And no doubt a 44mag thru even a short carbine will to it..i personally think I'd loose the hollow point.. The dense hair and fat shield may reduce the penetration enough to make a kill shot be a wounding shot. I think I'd go a flat nose..big meplat ..good penetration..good expansion.. And 10-12 bhn and you can push the velocity to where you want it..but it will still expand.
    I agree, lose the hollow point.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  10. #10
    Other than varmint loads I almost never use a hollow point for anything. Cast bullet with large flat nose or JSP. 63 years of hunting experience. Started to hunt at 10 years of age.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    6 grains of Red Dot and a 210 SWC starting 5 yards away hitting between eyes will exit through a ham. There are plenty of cowboy loads for 45 colt using 260 grain bullets. Start using one of those loads or even dropping half a grain to start.
    Steve

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    We shoot a lot of hogs here in Texas. They come in all sizes up to about 400 lbs., and my son has probably killed some number approaching 1000 pigs without my assistance. He hunts with dogs more often than not and prefers a long knife if the catch dogs can get a good grip but he shoots the big ones because they are more dangerous up close. I seem to recall he's lost 3 or 4 good dogs over the years to boar tusks and has patched up countless wounds. Even with the dogs wearing cut vests, bigger hogs can be formidable.

    His favorite caliber up close with hogs is 45 Colt with a 250 gr cast bullet; he uses a Rossi '92 clone with 18" barrel. I cast the slugs 20/1 and load WW231, Red Dot and Clays for him. Neither one of us would hesitate to use a 44 Mag rifle or pistol with a 240 to 250 gr SWC, and a suitable load might be 6-7 grs with any of these three powders.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    thankyou...that is what Im looking for..... maybe I need to find a lighter boolit than the 260-270-280s Ive got now..plenty of 240grn types around.
    see if you can find a copy of Bill Westwoods book all about pighunting......it will change your sons hunting no end and will probably end the dogs getting injured bit forever.......very big pigs will stand around bailed by dogs that ARENT trying to fight them...they feel they OK, can handle situation,they will often be backed up to a log or bank to stop dogs biting thier nuts..the ONLY time a good bailing dog will touch a pig is a nip to butt end if they try to run.... so pigs,particularly boars with big bulgy bits on back end DO NOT like to be nipped and stop running,back up to something and stay there,the dogs back off a few yards and keep barking JUST ENOUGH to keep pig there and tell you where they are,you sneak up and shoot pig,and go home without having to visit vets.
    our biggest boars go 200lbs its a lifetime achievement to get one over that 200lb mark,some fellas may get 3-4 that size but others never do.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    200 lb pigs here are babies

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    its all relative...our "captain cookers" have been here for a long time,the european boar...which you fellas are having such issues with was never released here...the ones we have were released by funnily enough Capt Cook... to provide food source for stranded sealers or sailers,this was also done on many smaller islands around the pacific,goats and sheep were also released, the pigs did very well here and have been a major food source ever since.... the boar that usually rips up dogs the worst will be between 110lb and 140lb the 110-120lb mark often has tusks coming pretty much straight out still and the grind is very sharp,they are also still very agile being not much more than hormoanal teenagers.... ten foot tall and bullet proof comes into it aswell.
    Ive stuck pigs up to 170 lb...shot a couple in the 180lb class...thats a big hunk of pork to carry out.
    for best eating...70-120lb is far and away the best....

  16. #16
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    A few years back I worked for a state agency here in Florida (for 14 years) and part of my job was to eradicate the hog population off of state lands. Prior to that from the age of 15 until my wife threatened me with divorce papers at age 29, I went hog hunting 3 to 5 nights a week!!! I could not even begin to tell you the number of hogs I killed with the same Ruger Single Six .22 WMR revolver and 40gr. Winchester load. I find it humorous how folks find these animals to be immortal and the need for such heavy artillery to take them down. My largest was an actual weight of 538 lbs. and he was caught alive with dogs and was in the process of being sold to a hunting ranch. Unfortunately he became untied in the back of my truck at a gas station in Bronson, FL and proceeded to wreak havoc to every chain link fence with a barking dog in it throughout his final run through town. I couldn't turn my crew of curs lose in town and the Levy Co Sheriff Dept. ordered me to end things. . .that same .22 mag Ruger pistol with a neck shot at about 15 to 18 steps folded him up in his tracks!!! Are they a tuff and badazz well put together critter. . .why, hell yes!!! Are they these immortal creatures that a Sherman tank is required to slow them down before they come and devourer you whole after they lay you open, not hardly. Be conscious of the load you use and know "your" limitations, but just know that hogs are not all that, they die quite easily.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by OFFSHORE View Post
    A few years back I worked for a state agency here in Florida (for 14 years) and part of my job was to eradicate the hog population off of state lands. Prior to that from the age of 15 until my wife threatened me with divorce papers at age 29, I went hog hunting 3 to 5 nights a week!!! I could not even begin to tell you the number of hogs I killed with the same Ruger Single Six .22 WMR revolver and 40gr. Winchester load. I find it humorous how folks find these animals to be immortal and the need for such heavy artillery to take them down. My largest was an actual weight of 538 lbs. and he was caught alive with dogs and was in the process of being sold to a hunting ranch. Unfortunately he became untied in the back of my truck at a gas station in Bronson, FL and proceeded to wreak havoc to every chain link fence with a barking dog in it throughout his final run through town. I couldn't turn my crew of curs lose in town and the Levy Co Sheriff Dept. ordered me to end things. . .that same .22 mag Ruger pistol with a neck shot at about 15 to 18 steps folded him up in his tracks!!! Are they a tuff and badazz well put together critter. . .why, hell yes!!! Are they these immortal creatures that a Sherman tank is required to slow them down before they come and devourer you whole after they lay you open, not hardly. Be conscious of the load you use and know "your" limitations, but just know that hogs are not all that, they die quite easily.
    No argument at all about a .22 being sufficient. My grandfather used to use .22 Shorts when he butchered domestic hogs. However, a .45 250 gr bullet “anchors” them if you are in a bad position. My son broke his only flashlight one night and walked home during a new moon so all he had for illumination was starlight. He was about a quarter mile from the house when he ran into a sow with babies. Fortunately, she grunted before she charged; he shot instinctively with his .45 Colt revolver, the bullet hit several inches behind her head, straight through her body and into the ground. Her head landed on his boots - I expect he had to change both his underwear and pants that night. He now carries a half dozen flashlights every time he goes out at night.

    I generally use a 45-70 Marlin with 300 gr JSP’s. Might be overkill but every pig shot with the rifle acted like a Mack truck drove by.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    yes Ive used the 22lr on pigs too...and used 11 rounds on an angry boar of about 130lbs trying to penertrate a vital spot before got peeved off with that idea and told Smoke to "hold him" a border collie on each ear and I grabbed rear leg and stuck pig.... that was the last time I used the 22lr on pigs.... Ive killed them with .12ga .410 303brit 30/30 .308w .270w .22-250 7.62x39mm .223 .222rem and it comes down to same thing,put the right projectile in the right place,...anywhere in the ear canal is good,strangely enough its the 223 that has taken the most for me.only because I carry it more when up chasing wallabies and run into pigs the 50grn ttsx really shines for pigs as it penertrates like nothing else.that said bog std 55grn cupn core work well too ON SMALLER PIGS eg under 100lbs our boars get a very hard thick shield over neck n shoulders,no its not armour plating ,but it is hard gristle that is 1-2" thick and will stop smaller lighter projectiles. try poking your razor sharp knife through it sometime...go on I double dare you.....just dont try it on a live pig...
    your lad has good reflex's that sure would put the frighteners up you.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I do not know if you have this powder but my favorite for and upper medium field loading that gives you good control in a DA revolver is HS6.

    From the Hodgdons #26 manual they list 250 gr lead from 10.0 to 12.0 gr. (Start to max) and in later editions they raised the max higher.

    I personally like the old school loading because it’s less bite on the shooters end and less stress on lead alloys.

    My load consists of 11.8 gr of HS 6 ignited by a mag pistol primer (Fed 155 in my case) and the RCBS 250K boolit (wheel weights with a bit of tin added for better fill out).

    I get 1066 FPS with a SD of a mere 7 FPS out of my Smith 629 Mountain Gun (4”). I suspect that lead in whatever configuration weighing from 240 to 260 and the rest of the above concoction should be satisfactory.

    Easy on the paws, tough on what irritates you. Meters like sin through any powder measure worth its salt.

    That’s my 2 bits worth

    Three44s
    Quote Originally Posted by Bret4207

    “There is more to this than dumping lead in a hole.”

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I have 8 pounds of green dot. I tried some 10 mm 180 grain cast loads that were looked up by a member here on load data’s website. Seems max load is 6.2 grains. I’ve have tried a 5.8 grain load so far and they are pretty tame vs factory recoiling rounds. Cycles perfectly in my Glock 20 and brass falls anywhere to my shoes out to 5’. Factory ammo land 15’ to 20’ plus feet away…if I can find my brass. Seems green dot is a pretty tame powder. Haven’t tried green dot in any of my 44 mag rifles yet. I have tried trail boss in my 77/44. It was around 950 fps with close to a full charge along with a 263 grain Lyman devastator. Don’t have any pigs around here to test on. I also tried 5.2 grains of trailboss in my new Ruger vaquero chambered in 45 Colt. Chronograph average was 575 fps using a lee 250 grain boolit. I tried a few head shots on some nuisance trapped raccoons. Dead is dead…but I can tell you plain old Winchester 333, 22lr ammo killed quicker and with more shock value. I would have to guess if your trying to slow the boolit down shot placement is going to crucial imo since the “shock value” will be minimum. I would “Think” a brain and or spine shot is going to be a must when slowing down the 44 mag if your trying to anchor pigs with a slow load that won’t exit. IMO It’s easier imo to speed up a high velocity fragmenting jacketed bullet like a Nosler ballistic tip jacketed varmint bullet to get shallow penetration and keep from exiting. Don’t know if any of this will help but figured I’d offer an opinion to your post.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 08-13-2022 at 10:08 AM.

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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