44 Magnum

The .44 Magnum is a large bore cartridge that was first introduced in 1956. A highly accurate round, the .44 Magnum was originally designed by Elmer Keith, an Idaho rancher, writer, and firearms enthusiast. Keith had previously developed the .357 Mag cartridge and solidified his reputation in the firearms community. Keith set out to create a multi-functional cartridge and convinced Smith & Wesson and Remington Arms Co. to manufacture it for the Smith and Wesson Model 29. Although Remington manufactured the first. 44 Magnum at Keith’s request, S&W is credited with introducing the .44 Mag to the public. Not many people seem to remember that Ruger beat S&W to market by a few months with a .44 Mag version of its single action Blackhawk revolver.

Keith had intended for the .44 to be used for hunting, self-defense, and target shooting. The cartridge is strong and packs a big punch. The .44 is extremely precise, giving the shooter as much as a 90% accuracy rate. However, the high-pressure causes it to carry a heavy recoil and muzzle flash, making it less than ideal for novice shooters or people of smaller stature. Those that find the .44 Mag a bit too intense may opt for the .44 Special, a slightly smaller cartridge with less recoil. Shooters should experiment using both rounds to find which is best suited to their style and experience. Note that .44 Special cartridges can be fired from guns chambered for a .44 Magnum, but the reverse is not true.

While the .44 Magnum seems to be the perfect bullet for self-defense experts often rebut the choice due to its deep penetration. They claim that the cartridge is too powerful for in-home defense and may cause collateral damage.

Clint Eastwood in "Dirty Harry"

Superior Ammo

The .44 Magnum ammo has deep penetrating cartridges and precise shot placement. These features make it ideal for hunting even the largest of game. You can also use it for self-defense against elephants. Another advantage of this ammunition is that it uses flat point bullets. You will not have trouble with it as is the case with some high velocity, lightweight, pointed bullets.

The .44 Magnum ammo also has very good accuracy. If you load it with a heavy, non-expanding bullet, this ammo can easily shoot through large game such as bison and elk without trouble. The limiting factor of its cartridge is not terminal ballistics, but rather the trajectory of the bullet. It is going to work better if you limit your hunting range to 100 yards when shooting. The casing of this ammo is slightly longer compared to other ammunitions to prevent the far higher pressure cartridge from being chambered in when you are shooting, and in turn preventing possible deaths and injuries.

Best .44 Mag Self-Defense Ammo

Law enforcement relies on .44 Mag out in the field for its maximum stopping power. However, .44 Mag ammo is also an excellent choice for home defense. SP and JSP are best suited to home defense to prevent over penetration in close quarters while HP and JHP are better suited for law enforcement and open areas for maximum effect.

Buffalo Bore Anti-Personnel 180 Grain Lead Hollow Point

This round is touted as one of the best for self-defense. It is a no-nonsense ammunition designed for self-defense and eliminating two-legged targets. It has a Muzzle Velocity of 1500 fps.

Buffalo Bore Anti-Personnel 200 Grain .44 Spl Wadcutter

According to Buffalo Bore: “This load is designed to permanently and quickly disable human threats.” This round offers a Muzzle Velocity of 1300 fps.

Federal Ammunition 240 Grain Fusion Bonded JHP

This medium-priced American-made Fusion bullet with brass casing delivers a Muzzle Velocity of 1290 fps.

Federal AmmunitionHydra-Shok 240 grain Personal Defense

The new production Hydra-Shok 240 grain Personal Defense round is an excellent choice for concealed carry and law enforcement agencies. The center-post design delivers controlled expansion. The notched jacket gives maximum penetration. It offers a Muzzle Velocity of 1180 fps and Muzzle Energy of 742 ft-lbs.

Hornady Ammunition JHP XTP Load

HornadyXTP is highly recommended by seasoned shooters. The American-made self-defense cartridge makes the list for the best .44 self-defense ammo. It’s slightly more expensive than the Remington, but also more powerful. It boasts 1150 fps Muzzle Velocity.

Remington Ammunition 240 Grain HTP Rounds

Top of the list of the best .44 ammo for self-defense. Available in 240 grain SP and SJHP rounds, this American-made defense load is inexpensive, but powerful. It boasts 1180 fps Muzzle Velocity and 742 ft-lbs Muzzle Energy.

Speer Gold Dot Handgun Personal Protection 44 S&W Special

Speer Gold Dot has an excellent reputation for quality and accuracy. This 200 grain hollow point has plenty of what it takes for self-defense. It offers 875 fps of Muzzle Velocity.

Winchester Ammunition Platinum Tip 250 Grain JHP

A bit more expensive than the other brands, Winchester offers this American-made self-defense cartridge with 1250 fps Muzzle Velocity.

Best .44 Mag Ammo for Hunting

The following .44 Mag ammo is at the top when choosing rounds for hunting. Most are best suited to whitetail deer hunting, although, with proper placement, can be used on big game such as black bear, elk or wild hogs.

Deer Hunting

Black Hills 240 Grain

Black Hills is known for producing reliable, high quality products. This new production round is Boxer primed with reloadable brass casings. It delivers a Muzzle Velocity of 1260 fps.

Buffalo Bore 240 Grain Deer Grenade +P

Deer Grenade +P Ammo was designed specifically to do maximum damage to medium sized game and does not penetrate like a hard cast bullet. It offers about 30% penetration as a typical flat-nosed bullet, perfect for shallow game like whitetail deer, medium-sized pigs, and black bear. Deer Grenade has a Muzzle Velocity of 1550 fps. Great choice for the Redhawk or Super Blackhawk.

Hornady Ammunition 200 Grain XTP

HornadyXTP is highly recommended by seasoned shooters. The American-made cartridge makes the list for the best .44 hunting ammo. It’s slightly more expensive than the Remington, but also more powerful. It boasts a higher velocity of 1500 fps.

Big Game

Buffalo Bore 305 Grain Lead Long Flat Nose

This .44 Mag ammo is designed for big game. The flat nose offers straight and deep, 3+ feet of penetration. Unlike a round nose bullet which slides though matter, the flat nose cuts and smashes it way, doing maximum damage. It delivers a Muzzle Velocity of 1325 fps.

Cor-Bon Barns DPX 225 Grain 

Cor-Bons Barns DPX uses a solid copper hollow point bullet. It has a lighter recoil and faster recovery than rounds with a heavy bullet weight. It offers deep penetration while maintaining soft tissue integrity. DPX has a Muzzle Velocity of 1350 fps.

Remington Ammunition HTP Copper Handgun 270 Grain

New for 2019, this Remington sport round uses a Barnes all copper bullet. It has six expanding copper petals guaranteed to take down medium to large prey. It has a Muzzle Velocity of 1235 fps.

Remington Ammunition Hog Hammer 225 Grain

New for 2019. Remington’s Hog Hammer features Barnes XPB Pistol Bullets to deliver maximum knock down power from a handgun. Wild boars don’t stand a chance. It offers a Muzzle Velocity of 1235 fps.

Winchester Ammunition Supreme Partition Gold 250gr 

Partition Gold offers a low velocity resisting weight loss upon impact. The bullet’s rear lead core is locked in place for extra bullet integrity. It offers a Muzzle Velocity of 1250 fps.

Winchester Ammunition Platinum Tip 250 Grain JHP

This new production round is high performance ammunition featuring a patented, reverse-taper jacket design. The notched lead core delivers superior accuracy and weight retention. It gives a Muzzle Velocity of 1250 fps.

Best .44 Mag Ammo for Target Shooting

Magtech Ammunition 240 Grain SJSP 

Brazilian-based Magtech offers this SJSP bullet with brass casing, touting 1180 fps Muzzle Velocity.

Buffalo Bore Anti-Personnel 180 Grain Lead Hollow Point

This round is touted as one of the best for target shooting. It is a no-nonsense ammunition designed for self-defense and eliminating two-legged targets. It has a Muzzle Velocity of 1500 fps.

Fiocchi Ammunition: 240 Grain JSP

Coming in at the same price as the Remington, this foreign made, jacketed soft point, 240 grain round offers 1838 fps velocity.

Hornady Ammunition 200 Grain XTP

Hornady XTP is highly recommended by seasoned shooters. The American-made cartridge makes the list for the best .44 hunting ammo. It’s slightly more expensive than the Remington, but also more powerful. It boasts a higher velocity of 1500 fps.

PMC Bronze .44 Remington Magnum Ammunition JHP 180 Grains

Poongsan Corporation makes “PMC” (precision-made cartridges) ammunition for competition shooting and hunting. The company has a solid reputation for high quality and currently exports more than 100 different types of ammunition. This jacketed hollow point has a high velocity of 1,750 fps.

Remington Ammunition: 240 Grain HTP Rounds

Top of the list of the best .44 ammo for shooting targets. Available in 240 grain SP and SJHP rounds, this American-made defense load is inexpensive, but powerful. It boasts 1180 fps Muzzle Velocity.

Best 44 Magnum for Lever Action Rifles

The choices for ammunition for rifles, shotguns and pistols are myriad. Below are top picks for lever action firearms.

HornadyLEVERevolution 225 Grain

Hornady ranks at the top for lever action ammo. Unlike most .44 cartridges, HornadyLeverevolution is a spitzer style bullet with a polymer tip, making it safe for use in a lever-action magazine. It will stand up to a jacketed bullet without denting the primer or cause accidental fire. LEVERevolution travels 250 fps faster than the average traditional flat nosed round. Muzzle Velocity: 1410 fps

Jesse James, TML Label, .44 Magnum, Jacketed Hollow Point, 240 Grain

Firearms designer Jesse James created the perfect load by balancing accuracy, velocity, and recoil. Note that this round has a higher velocity than most. Muzzle Velocity: 1,589 fps.

Magtech Sport Ammunition .44 Remington Magnum 240 Grain Semi-Jacketed Soft Point

Magtech has been around since 1926. The company manufactures all its components, maintaining high and consistent quality. This new production round is the choice for plinking and competition shooting. Muzzle Velocity: 1,180 fps

Remington High Terminal Performance .44 Remington SJHP 240 Grain

Remington® HTP (High Terminal Performance) .44 Magnum Ammo combines premium primers, brass cases and propellants with a wide assortment of bullet designs. This ammo gives you the instant-stopping power you need. Muzzle Velocity: 1,180 fps

Winchester ‘USA’ 240 Grain SJSP 

Winchester USA Pistol, .44 Rem. Mag, JSP, 240 Grain For serious centerfire handgun shooters, U.S.A. Brand ammunition is used by serious handgun shooters and is an ideal choice for range training, plinking or competitive shooting. Muzzle Velocity: 1,180 fps

Conclusion

Firearms experts and enthusiasts may not agree on using .44 magnum ammo. The .44 Magnum is a powerful gun that is not well suited to concealed carry. It is an excellent choice for self-defense although some claim that the .357 Magnum is easier to carry and aim. It’s important to keep in mind that not all .44 Mag ammo is the same. Some brands and grades are appropriate for self-defense while other, less powerful, grades are more appropriate for target and sports shooting and cowboy action.

 


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