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.44 Magnum: Hands down the best survival cartridge!

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posted on Nov, 4 2009 @ 08:27 PM
.44 Mag is a good round but IMHO there's nothing that it can do that can't be done with the larger, slower and infinitely more recoil friendly .45 Colt in a modern steel action like the Ruger Single Action.

At pistol and carbine ranges with game, I'll take accuracy over power any day. I live in wild boar country and the .45 Colt is heavily favored over the .44 Mag. A whitetail deer won't notice any difference between them at normal pistol hunting distance(under 50 yards).

One of my fellow hunters here does the smart thing with his Model 29 with a 6" barrel. He loads the heaviest lead flat nosed bullet (325grain?) that he can stabilize with his twist rate to about 1,000 fps and said adios to the full power loads. He killed a 350 lbs. boar recently and the bullet when clean through both shoulders at 30 yards.

posted on Nov, 4 2009 @ 09:57 PM
reply to post by WyrdeOne

now that's what I was waiting for... someone who who could reason and think things through.... I tip my hat to you...

Let me tell you why and keep in mind, I share many of your views about the very versatile .22lr... I didn't pick it because it cannot be reloaded where the .44 can...

See I don't need to lug around a truck load of ammo crates... I just need a couple kegs of powder Couple cases of primers, my Lee press and a few bullet molds... As long as I can find wheel weight... trust me when I say there everywhere, usually free if you know who to ask... I have all the rounds I'll ever need... true there's not much rabbit left after a clean hit with a .44 325 gr. but that's what bated snares are for. True lowland game would be scarce, for a while... getting past the first year or two is the real challenge and by them we'll have wild cows to add to the menu.

I think the more common rounds, .357 9mm .45 ACP even the 5.56
will be the rounds that become horded and hard to come by... .44's offered up for trade

due to my granddaughter I had to cut my post short.. I'll try to correct that flaw now...

Loading the .44 Magnum to full-power levels is what everyone has looked toward for decades. Huge mistake on most people parts... I go the other way to great success!

At the basic level, we're talking loads that run at .44 Special or .45 ACP pressure levels. Maybe .45 ACP +P. But the difference between a 15,500-psi .44 Special load and a 23,000-psi .45 ACP +P load is nothing to the .44 Magnum case and the firearm for which it is chambered. The SAAMI ceiling for the .44 Magnum is 36,000 psi. These light loads in a heavy gun like my Dan Wesson or RedHawk make for a low recoil steady shot

FOr light loads I use 180-grain lead bullet (Specal order Round nose mold from RCBS) and slow down to five grains of Titegroup.(No filler) At its 925-fps velocity, the load just makes major for USPSA/IPSC shooting, the cost in powder is cheap, and the bullet shape is conducive to quick reloading. Were I loading for better accuracy--say, for a match where I'd want to use jacketed bullets--a 180-grain Hornady XTP over 6.3 grains of HP-38 would deliver just under 950 fps--a soft load with plenty of accuracy.

Now a lot of you brought up small game Yes the .44 can do magic and to learn that trick I ask you go look at this web siteDo it yourself Shotshells squirrels rabbits birds anything small with minimum reloading skill. Factory made 44 magnum shotshells run about $1 each. Factory made 22LR shotshells run about 30¢ each. My 44 magnum shotshells cost about 10¢ each.

For larger game try Speer 240gr Gold Dot's.
The load is WLP primer and either Win or Rem brass and 24gr of 296.
I get just under 1800fps in my rifle. ( 1785fps to be exact.)
The factory ammo gets 1845fps in my rifle, but I can't match it without getting sticky extraction.
I have had excellent results with the Gold Dots on hogs, and recovered projectiles all look the same whether they've hit bone or not, perfectly mushroomed with all 8 petals intact. They are a tough bullet.

I have used two jacketed bullets in my 44 mag,handgun and rifle. Hornady XTPS And Speer. The XTP has a chart on the box as I recall showing the intended velocities that they are designed to be used in and I believe they go fairly high. The Speer 240 gr flat point,Semi jacketed, I have killed elk with them using my Marlin94 and recovered the bullet.It looked just like bullets are supposed to look, nicely expanded,but not overly so.

Heavy loads for the .44 cause problems with to much recoil making it hard to get back on target for a quick second shot. I have looked at .44 special loading data but I like to stay at the upper range of that data... Stick to large pistol primers... a large rifle primer will fit but they are a bit taller and take a stronger hit from the hammer... In a SHTF the ability to use either is just another plus for the .44

So once again I contend... For general purpose use on anything from bumble bees to elk... the .44 is the best general purpose single cartridge many guns round you can lay your hands on...

posted on Nov, 5 2009 @ 04:32 AM
No doubt the .44 mag is a powerful cartridge. But power isn't everything.

But for SHTF my weapon choice would be something of a more common caliber. .44 mag ammo isn't always easy to find even now, would be even harder in SHTF.

A .357 would suffice in most of the same situations, as would a 10mm. Plus the .357 can shoot .38spl, and the 10mm can (usually) shoot .40S&W.

Six-round capacity and slow reloads would suck too. You miss, and I can empty my 9mm at you before you're back on target with that hand-cannon.

If you have one, great, stock up on ammo and keep it. I wouldn't go out & buy one for my "what if x happens" gun.

posted on Nov, 5 2009 @ 01:57 PM
How bad is the recoil of a .44 mag in a lever action carbine?

I had hear that the .357 is very mild in a lever rifle.

Does the advantage of more rounds in a pistol cartridge outweigh the knockdown power of a .30-30 or .45-70?


posted on Nov, 5 2009 @ 07:18 PM
First - emsed1 asked if magazine capacity is more important than stopping power. I think the choice of every military the world over should speak volumes on this subject. If you're in an actual firefight, magazine capacity is everything. You could be shooting bb's for all the enemy cares - the longer you can keep shooting, the longer their heads stay down. It's just that simple.

Shot placement is the number one factor in hunting, in warfare it's a pipe dream (IMO). Taking the time to shoot really well in a combat situation is just as likely to get you killed as get you a kill.

In a situation with large predators, like bear, stopping power is much, much more important than magazine capacity. If you stumble on a bear nursing her cubs or something, you'll be lucky to get one good shot off. You absolutely need that one shot to deliver as much energy as possible to the target and, at the very least, give you time to shoot again, if not kill the thign outright.

Guns are tools. You wouldn't use a hammer to saw through a 4x4, and you wouldn't use a hacksaw to pound a nail (unless you absolutely had no other choice). So - know your guns, know what they're good at, and use the right tool for the right job. I wouldn't dream of bringing a high capacity 9mm into the woods for protection against bears, and I think it would be pretty foolish to bring a five-shot large caliber revolver to a firefight.

The reason I ramble at such length is to make a point about what defines a survival firearm. The .22LR is, in my opinion at least, the multi-tool of the gun world - it can do almost everything (except stop a charging bear), even if it does some things poorly. If you have to have one gun, you're going to make sacrifices.

reply to post by DaddyBare

Let me tell you why and keep in mind, I share many of your views about the very versatile .22lr... I didn't pick it because it cannot be reloaded where the .44 can...

A very valid point. I don't have any experience reloading so for me it's not a factor - personal bias and nothing more.

rue there's not much rabbit left after a clean hit with a .44 325 gr. but that's what bated snares are for.

Another very valid point. I also believe very firmly that hunting is the least efficient method of putting food on the table, and snares are the most efficient. That said, you can't throw a snare at a squirrel - the .22LR gives you the opportunity to take whatever low hanging fruit you happen across in the woods - be it small or large.

My belief is that lighter is better. You contend that the .44 is the best all around, and I ask - have you ever backpacked with a satchel full of the damn things? I never have, and never would. I cut pounds wherever I can.

The wonderful thing about my little .22 is that it's so light you can carry it all day and all night and barely notice it, it's ridiculously accurate, reliable as sunrise, and I can have several years worth of ammunition tucked away in less space than would be taken up by one additional jar of peanut butter.

I do believe in the necessity of a sidearm in bear country, but even then a .44 wouldn't be my choice. .357 all the way...

posted on Nov, 5 2009 @ 08:34 PM
357 S&W revolver for me, you could use .38 specials in it for hunting and the Magnum rounds for defense. A downloaded .38 Special would not even penetrate the prey and you could charge down for what ever you are going after to eat.

I load up some 38's for target shooting that would barely kill a rabbit....and would probably not even penetrate its skin leaving it dead with no internal leading

The Magnum rounds would take down most land animals at close range and even out to 100+ metres.

posted on Nov, 5 2009 @ 09:15 PM

Originally posted by emsed1
How bad is the recoil of a .44 mag in a lever action carbine?

I have a Marlin 1894 that I really like. Worst case (full power/heavy bullets) it's not bad at all for an adult. With lowered powered rounds it's a cream puff and actually a very enjoyable plinker.

The first thing I thought of when seeing this thread has been mentioned earlier and that's the weight of the rounds. Mine will hold 10 in the tube and the thing weighs a ton like that. I just put 3-4 in it to hunt.

posted on Nov, 5 2009 @ 09:42 PM

Originally posted by emsed1
How bad is the recoil of a .44 mag in a lever action carbine?

I had hear that the .357 is very mild in a lever rifle.

Does the advantage of more rounds in a pistol cartridge outweigh the knockdown power of a .30-30 or .45-70?


the advantage isn't in the more rounds... it's the ability to use that round on both your pistol/revolver and rifle...

I had a Ruger Model 44 Carbine. (Clip Fed Semi-auto) Originally, this compact gun was called the Deerstalker and sold with a matching BlackHawk... the Idea of one cartridge many guns is not a new one the Deerstalker came out back in the 1960's following that same line of thought I've never seen a production handgun that will chamber the 30-30

one other real good advantage in my book is the .44 scares a lot of people.. they are plentiful used in gun stores...Cheap...

posted on Nov, 5 2009 @ 10:01 PM
reply to post by DaddyBare

OK Daddybare, I'll play.

The entire thread, I was concurring that the .44 mag round in a wheel gun was likely the most versatile cartridge for the wide range of survival situations.

I reload, and only after finding out you do as well, do I find your logic in all but one thing impeccable.

While many like the fist-busting hot loads, I also used a combination of lighter bullets (that shoot flatter with higher velocity - all other things being equal) and sometimes loaded just a tad above the .44 Special equivalent.

I have to take exception on only one item.

I was carrying a .44 magnum, full 240 grain loads, walking along a lake several miles north of Nome.

The terrain was knobby, and I heard something and stopped, and a big brown bear stood up fifty feet from me, sniffing the air.

Didn't actually stand up, but it kept on and on and on as it stepped up. Absolutely huge.

That .44, as proud as I was of it, was feeling mighty puny. Even had I had a .338 Magnum rifle on me, I still would have required another fifty yards distance before engaging.

The .44 Magnum was certainly a powerful cartridge, but I don't think six would have been enough.

Certainly wouldn't have wanted anything smaller, but compared to this mass, that can outrun a horse in a sprint, I think I'd have been better off putting it to my head.

Accurate? Yes. Versatile? Yes. Good for MOST game out to 100 meters? Yes. Reliable? Yes. Easy to reload? Yes.

Shooting a large bear in self-defense with a .44 magnum is one thing. Even thinking about starting a fight with a large bear while holding a .44 magnum is to run where angels fear to tread.

Good post.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 12:36 PM
reply to post by dooper

In the bear situation you described I think it would take me about an M60 to reach any level of confidence. Better to shoot to miss with the .44 and maybe scare it if a person decided to shoot I would think. Shoot to hit and it would probably die eventually but would be in a very bad mood until then.

[edit on 11/6/2009 by beezwaxes]

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 02:43 PM
I've gotta throw in with the .22lr crowd. I live in Central Illinois and bears just aren't a concern here
Nor would I relocate very far in Sitx, because I am very familiar with the area, I wouldn't want to exasperate an already stressful situation by transplanting myself into unfamiliar territory.

As far as hunting is concerned, I tend to think I would stay relatively mobile during Sitx so dropping deer isn't going to be high priority. To much effort for the yeild. I would rather take a squirrel or rabbit as needed than have to preserve and transport deer meat.

The only place I can see the .22lr lacking in my situation is defense against predators, particularly the two legged variety. Even then, I'd take my scoped Savage .22lr with a 21 inch barrel over open sights and a 6 or 8 inch barrel .44 at longer distances. With a 10 round magazine in the rifle, I am a good enough shot to make someone think twice about coming any closer.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 11:09 PM
I haven't mentioned it yet but I'm a .22 guy too for the tough times. My biggest decision would be the 2nd weapon. First would be a .22 S&W kit gun.

For the long gun I absolutely fawn over an old Remington model 14 in .35 Rem I have. It's fits like it was made for me and is about as stout as they come. But- it's an odd round these days so I'd would have to go with the .308 not only for ammo availability but range. I wouldn't want to make much noise if I could help it but if really hungry, it would be ok. lol I'd make more if there was trouble.

I'm thinking pretty light and loose here. If I could stay put, I'd keep everything I have hid in a few places.

posted on Nov, 7 2009 @ 07:27 PM
reply to post by beezwaxes

I think you make a really good point.

If you're setting up caches, then you don't have to make nearly as many sacrifices. And if you're bugging in, so to speak, you can prepare a great deal more ahead of time.

Sometimes I get fatigued even talking about this stuff because it is so incredibly situational. In one situation I might do one thing, in another situation I'm going to do another thing.

I try hard to restrict my input to specific scenarios, because then at least I can sort of draw boundaries and limit the hypothetical to something I can wrap my head around.

Just a single example, but if I'm not heading out on foot, if the SitX is something that's survivable from the spot where I'm currently at, then a 12 gauge Mossberg is probably my favorite gun, and the one I wouldn't be caught dead without. It's just not something I want to pack around, not to mention the shells, a terrible deal in terms of volume and weight.

I guess my own personal bias clouds my responses too much, because when people say "Survival Gun" my immediate thought is wilderness, on foot, maybe in the winter, foraging, hunting, trapping, fishing. When someone else hears "Survival Gun" they might think zombie invasion for all I know.

Anyway, I'm done rambling, I just thought you brought up a good point about caches, and how they change the equation of what is necessary and what can be considered a survival item.

posted on Nov, 7 2009 @ 07:39 PM
A .44 is too big a gun for me, sure I can hit the bullseye with the first shot, but Im lucky to hit the target with the 2nd...

I want my 2nd or 13th shot to be as accurate as my first...

People come in different sizes, so do guns.

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