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Discussion Starter #1
I have as of this week so far hit two deer with my 44 Mag Rifle and to this point I have no deer tagged in.

The first shot was taken at 30-40 yards Deer moved at the last moment before the gun went off and I hit it a little far back. Tracked this deer for around a mile and had good blood the whole time it was bright red and had bloody corn every 100 yards or so in the blood trail. Deer left the area I hunt in and went through a cut corn field that is about a mile wide and went into another woods that I do not have permission to hunt and there were 2 guys in there hunting already the woods is only 10 acres. I am assuming that they got it when the deer got over there.

Deer two shot was taken standing still at 100 yards quartering away from me. I put the cross hairs a little high right behind the shoulder. When the bullet hit the deer it kicked its back legs in the air and feel down with the front legs on the ground. The deer gets up and starts running its loping pretty bad and I figure that this one is going down for sure. I track this deer for over a mile and ran out of light to track. This blood trail is as good as the first blood trail but there is no sign of a gut shot. After about half a mile I start seeing clots in the blood trail but no deer. Neither of these shots where outside of what I consider my skill level. Everyone that I hunt with uses shotguns and says that the 44 is just to small of a gun for deer hunting. I am close to just using a shotgun for the rest of the season so I can get a deer on the ground but I really want to see what the 44 does to a deer.

My current load is a 240 grain Magtech Soft point jacketed bullet running around 2300 FPS. I think that this is a good load for deer and I have just made two errant shots and a shot gun wouldn't have killed these deer any quicker. Sorry for the lengthy rant but I am not happy one bit to have wounded two deer this season. Any suggestions about anything you have heard here or any bullet selection suggestions are welcome. Thanks ahead of time.
 

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I shoot a Ruger 44 carbine with Win. 240 gr JSP. Have kept all my shots 100 yds. or less and thru the ribs behind the front shoulder. I haven't lost any of them. I have a 4x scope on it, so i can put bullet accurately where it needs to be. Every deer i ever saw kick out its hind legs up in the air was hit in the heart area. Don't know anything about magtech ammo. Mine shoots around 1700 fps i guess as they're factory loads.
 

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You got exactly what you should expect with a gutshot deer on the first one. You DO NOT follow up right away on a gutshot deer but rather give them time to lay up and stiffen up. Leave them alone for several hours and likely you'll find them dead at the end of a short blood trail. Follow them up quickly and you'll likely never find them but it is dead somewhere out there now and will feed the scavengers.

On your second it's hard to say where you hit the deer. Clearly it was NOT a lung hit from the description of the blood sign. Since you say you were aiming high (not a good thing to do in my opinion) you most likely put the bullet into that no kill zone between the top of lungs and spine. It's not a killing shot but can stun the deer momentarily thus the fall down and get up and run you experienced. That one is most likely still alive and doing fine.

You need to put your bullets into the kill zone of lungs/heart. Do that and you'll have a short blood trail with a deer deer at the end of it. The .44 magnum is a fine choice for deer and I've taken a huge pile of them with it almost all to one shot kills except when my first shot didn't go where it should. I think that has happened once and it required follow up shots but the deer was too weak to do much other than wait for me to finish it off. All but one have fallen in sight of me other than the one that required a follow up shot.
 

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A 240 gr. bullet at 2300 fps in a 44 mag. rifle! That .44 is on steroids! Remington shows the .444 240 gr. at 2350 fps and the .44 at 1760 fps. Are these handloads, or factory loads, or have I missed something?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies. Graybeard I agree with everything you have said in your post. The first deer when we started tracking I didn't think it was gut shot and it did indeed lay down a couple hundred yards away. It would have probably died there. I had not yet seen any sign of a gut shot before this point. The second deer I do believe that I hit it right where I had the cross hairs. My ballistics table says the bullet would be right on plane at that distance and my few shots that I had taken with this gun at that distance it was right on plane. I have no idea why I thought I needed to holdover. I guess I am going to blame both of these deer on a user error and go out a practice shooting more. I am reloading some more ammo now and going out to the range today when the weather breaks in a few hours. Tomorrow I will be out after them again. Hopefully my luck and skill take a turn for the better and I can post a picture of a buck by the end of the week.

Yes these are hand loads Loaded out to be just short of the lands and just a touch or maybe more over the loading data. I spent a lot of time working these loads up and even with these really hot loads I have yet to see any signs of high pressure.
 

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Its a H&R Handi. I won't post load data but they wouldn't fit into a revolver anyway. The only reason that I have loaded them so hot is because I was trying to see how much about the load data it would take to go with the way they are loaded to see the first sign of high pressure I got far enough above the max load data to get nervousness and stop going up. They are loaded more like a 445 Super mag.
 

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Hmmmm..I might start looking for a .44 barrel for mine. All I've got now is a .45-70. I would like to load it down for fun use, but pistol bullets are too small in dia. A .44 would let me load it hot with jacketed bullets for deer and still use light cast loads.
 

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The first sign of high pressure you are likely to see is when that barrel explodes in your face. Been there done that and it wasn't fun. I survived but the barrel didn't. If you are exceeding loading manual data by more than a grain or so you really shouldn't do it. It really gains you nothing of value. If you need more than a safely loaded .44 magnum can deliver then rechamber it to a larger round like the .445 or .444 Marlin.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In this particular case I feel that the only thing that is different is that the 445 supermag case is the same as the 44 mag case but longer. I am still below the load data for the 445 supermag. I would think that I would run into sticking cases or flattened primers. I could be wrong but from everything that I have read this is still a very safe load and from all signs that I have it is a safe load.
 

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There is a big difference between what you are loading and the 445. You are stuffing the same powder of the 445 into a shorter case raising the pressures much higher, the 445 and the 44 were designed to work at the same pressure.

Dave
 

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I may have been wrong here and today I worked back a load that is near the max load for a 44 a little under. I was thinking that as long as a load is not compressed weather or not the case length is 44 mag length or 445 length it would make no difference. A problem would arise when you load a bullet to the length that it would be required for a pistol load and your above max load would be compressed.

Like I said I have stopped using these load until I can test them with a pressure gun. As a side note there is no need to run a 44 mag this hard a factory load 44 should kill a deer with no problem like I said I was just doing some load testing and this is what I arrived at.
 

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I put the cross hairs a little high right behind the shoulder. When the bullet hit the deer it kicked its back legs in the air and feel down with the front legs on the ground. The deer gets up and starts running its loping pretty bad and I figure that this one is going down for sure
My guess is you hit too far back on the second one too... I've seen gut shot animals act exactly that way before... But, we will never know for sure, as you didn't recover it... :'(

Have you check your gun on paper since this happened?

DM
 

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GB's right. The first one you gut shot and pushed. He's dead. If you see sign of a gut shot, let 'em go for a few hours then trail 'em. You'll find 'em not far away. Run after 'em right away and you will get your results. The second one he's right also. My huntin buddy did this in archery season this year. Put that arrow right above the lungs and below the spine. The "twilight zone". We found the arrow.....the buck will probably get his in rifle season.

I shoot the 44 mag from a revolver. A 200 grain Hornady XTP hollow point. Let the air out of the lungs and they go down every time.

Dave.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Dave have you recovered any bullets from your deer? I am thinking about using some XTP bullets next year I have heard nothing but great things about them.
 

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I'm with Dave on using 200gr XTP's with the 44 revolvers. They perform the best on deer in a revolver. In my Ruger 44 carbine I use 240 XTP's. I used the 200gr bullet a couple of times in the 44 carbine & they expanded a little to much for my like'n. Have never had to track one too far with these bullets. I recovered one bullet from a deer shot front to back with the revolver. It expanded excellent.
 

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varmint917v said:
Dave have you recovered any bullets from your deer? I am thinking about using some XTP bullets next year I have heard nothing but great things about them.
I have not. This year, if I down one with the 44, I will make a bit more effort to "search the gue" and see if I can find the bullet. :-\

Dave
 

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i shoot a handi rifle in 44 mag. its been a great gun for the terrain i hunt in. ive taken 14 deer with this gun and havent lost or even had to track one that was shot with this gun. i dont know what it is but my 44 doesnt like the heavier 200 and 240 grain factory loads. i looked around and found some federal classic 180grain pistol loads and have been using them with great results on deer.
 
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