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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know this can be as bad a the best motor oil thread but here goes. I travel out west on a motorcycle and camp in the Montana/Wyoming state line area. I'm on a bike so I can't carry a big bore rifle so I bought a Ruger Super Blackhawk. I'm 65 so I think the 44 is as big as I want to go.
I've been doing a lot of reading and have found what I think will be the load I try. Hodgdon has the load it's a Beartooth Bullet Company 325 gr hard cast with gas check. Mid 1200 to mid 1300 fps with W296. That will deliver 1100 lbs of energy.
I'm have great accuracy and good follow up with full bore 240s. I'm thinking these maybe another realm.
Any input is appreciated!
edit: oops, I already own Super Blackhawk
 
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I'm 66 and don't see the need in a .44 when I have a .45 Blackhawk which is lighter, shorter, and packs a bigger punch. :D Just me, of course.

We have no bears here, but I find that Blackhawk comforting when I have to go search for a hog I shot that ain't where I shot it...usually in the dark. That can get spooky, though I've only had to shoot once over the years. That big .451" Hornady 300 grain XTP at over 1200 fps will do the job. That's out of a 4 5/8" barrel. It clocks over 1300 fps out of a 7" barrel of my Contender.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm 66 and don't see the need in a .44 when I have a .45 Blackhawk which is lighter, shorter, and packs a bigger punch. :D Just me, of course.

We have no bears here, but I find that Blackhawk comforting when I have to go search for a hog I shot that ain't where I shot it...usually in the dark. That can get spooky, though I've only had to shoot once over the years. That big .451" Hornady 300 grain XTP at over 1200 fps will do the job. That's out of a 4 5/8" barrel. It clocks over 1300 fps out of a 7" barrel of my Contender.
NT, I hear ya. I had Blackhawk years ago in 45 before the Ruger only loads. It was hoot. I went with the Super for the heavier frame and a bit more load development with the 44. But the 45 is more than capable for sure!
 
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I can't help ya with a .44 load other than I'd stick with Keith style SWCs over 300 grains for development. Hopefully they'll be accurate with that much weight in the gun. 240 grains is the standard .44 pill, but they make bullets over 300 grains for serious use on serious animals. :D
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I can't help ya with a .44 load other than I'd stick with Keith style SWCs over 300 grains for development. Hopefully they'll be accurate with that much weight in the gun. 240 grains is the standard .44 pill, but they make bullets over 300 grains for serious use on serious animals. :D
Beartooth makes up to 355 gr. I thin the 325 will have plenty o push.
 
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I flyfished and hiked the Rockies from North of yellow stone to Guadeloupe mountains. I carried .357 Blackhawk annd my striker fired .40ve. I didn't want a hammer fired in a sleeping bag or in a river fishing. So striker in the sleeping bag and fishing bibs and Blackhawk on my hip for hiking and 4 wheeler. As long as it has a 4 or 5 In it , you'll get the job done. Just breath and squeeze. Shot placement, all about lead on target. Bearspray is when you forget to aim.
 

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I'm 62 on St Paddy's, so I guess that makes me a youngster, LOL! Nothing has really changed since I got started shooting magnum revolvers. The advice for large critters or when in bear country has been heavy hard cast. There is another opinion that made sense to me personally, and it's the one I follow: "Some expansion is better than no expansion." At one point, things kind of got out of control with extremely hard cast bullets up at around 25 BHN and shooters began seeing the bullets break apart.

Even if it's a sihouette bullet, I'd still use jacketed over cast. A few years ago a fella at the range was preparing to go on a Colorado Elk Hunt and asked me to shoot his 7 1/2" SBH with the SPEER 270 gr. DCSP. They shot very well and I would have no worries carrying the same. I prefer the SBH or Bisleys over the Blackhawk because of the larger grip. I've done a lot of comparisons between handloads in .44 Magnum and 30,000 PSI .45 Colt. Essentially, you can equal or exceed the energy of the .44 Mag with heavier bullets at lower pressure. And that's a good thing and Starline makes cases specifically for hi-pressure .45 Colt loads. It might take multiple loadings to find any adverse effect, but the .45 Colt started as a black powder cartridge and the 6 shooters of that day only had so much room in the cylinder to put 6 cartridges in. So, modern cases still have the same rim diameter.

As far as a load specifically for bear country, the 300 gr. XTP comes readily to mind. And really, any of the soft points at 240 grs or higher I'd feel pretty comfortable with. And with enough velocity, even the silhouette bullets will deform. And sectional density favors the smaller .429" caliber. So for me, that's not much greater than a bullet of .410" caliber and I used to load the SIERRA 220 FPJ (Silhouette) bullet at times.

That would be about my only caveat, meaning I would prefer a DA revolver and the Redhawks work for me. Tote-ability is another consideration and I'd probably compromise with a 5 1/2" Redhawk. Mine come in both lengths and were bought used but in excellent condition. Now there is the distributor exclusive 4" .41 that, of course, is chambered in .44 Mag and .45 Colt as well. I certainly don't feel that anyone would be undergunned with any of them, but I would feel better, personally, with a jacketed bullet that allows for at least a small amount of expansion or deformation.

Even in .357 Magnum there were good 158 gr. Soft Points available when I read opinions that JHPs might not be constructed heavy enough. Use a soft point like the XTP, it's plenty for hunting purposes, or just load the 180 gr. XTP. Bear are a different matter where many considered that the .41 Mag was minimum. We know, however, that Black Bear get taken with heavy loaded .357 Magnum rounds, and some are now saying that the 10mm is enough. Getting up to Griz in the Rocky Mountain states, my caliber choice would start at .41 Mag. That would likely change for the really large Brown and Polar bears in Alaska, even with a guide as back-up.;)
 
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My local gun store has a new $800 Taurus Raging Bull in .45 that'd probably do the job. I understand that it shoots 45 Colt very nicely. It also shoots 454 Casull, should you feel the need. I was briefly tempted, but it ain't even close to fitting my budget. :(
 
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Another thought (dangerous, me getting thoughts), but you should give Li'l Gun a look. It works VERY well in the .45. It's a little slow for revolvers in .357 and has a rep for forcing cone erosion in that caliber, but it works fantastic in my .357 carbine and limited use in my .357 Blackhawk won't hurt it. With a 325 grain in .44 mag, I doubt it'd erode anything and I BET it'd put up some big numbers. I've shot 296, 2400, and AA#9 in magnum revolvers and I think for the .45 Colt hot loads, Li'l Gun is my favorite. Unholy recoil, though. :laugh:
 
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240-gr. Oregon Trail LSWCRem LPN-35012.61,289
240-gr. Hornady JSPRem LPN-10516.11,411
280-gr. BerryRem LPH-422720.61,292
300-gr. Hornady XTPRem LPN-11017.71,269
310-gr. Oregon Trail TrushotRem LPN-11017.71,271
310-gr. Oregon Trail TrueshotRem LPH-110211,311
310-gr. Oregon Trail TrueshotRem LPLil' Gun16.21,211


I found this chart showing a 310 grain bullet using Li'l Gun pushihg 1211 fps from a 7.5" Ruger Blackhawk. That would be a bad end to a bear's day if placed well. :D N110 and H110 look pretty wicked, too. :D H110 is a slow powder like Li'l Gun, but I've never tried it. Looks good on THIS chart, though. :D
 

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As always, work up to max from 10 percent below max suggested.
 

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I do .357. 158 or 180 grain most of the time in a 627 Tracker, or a 9mm of various flavors, but I'm east of the Mississippi and just west of the Appalachian mountains. Where I'm at, I'm more likely to have to worry about stray dogs, two legged vermin, than a Black bear or feral pigs.

Of the four I mentioned, stray dogs are most likely, than the anything else, and feral pigs I look for and rarely encounter. I've not really been threatened by Black bears and tend to hold my ground. They tend to make a fake lunge at you and that gets them shot, if you don't run, they will take off. It's people that give off a bad vibe I worry about the most.

We are already planning our next camping trip. I seem to have started something with my fellow campers. It seems a lot of them want to carry this spring. I'm lucky with this group as I trust everyone of them with a gun.

Maloy
 

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I do .357. 158 or 180 grain most of the time in a 627 Tracker, or a 9mm of various flavors, but I'm east of the Mississippi and just west of the Appalachian mountains. Where I'm at, I'm more likely to have to worry about stray dogs, two legged vermin, than a Black bear or feral pigs.

Of the four I mentioned, stray dogs are most likely, than the anything else, and feral pigs I look for and rarely encounter. I've not really been threatened by Black bears and tend to hold my ground. They tend to make a fake lunge at you and that gets them shot, if you don't run, they will take off. It's people that give off a bad vibe I worry about the most.

We are already planning our next camping trip. I seem to have started something with my fellow campers. It seems a lot of them want to carry this spring. I'm lucky with this group as I trust everyone of them with a gun.

Maloy

Regards to hogs, they're pretty timid unless you miff 'em off with 7mm Remington Magnum with a shot too far back. I learned not to shoot BEHIND the shoulder, but ON the shoulder. :rofl: In thick cover, especially in the dark, a large caliber handgun is comforting. I use a head lamp to illuminate where I'm going. I can even see the sights of the gun well enough to make an accurate shot.
 

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L'il Gun appears to be a very good .44 Magnum powder that I haven't used and I wouldn't mind having some N105. But really, W296 is the king. at least in terms of offspring along with it's excellent capabilities. The offspring being H110, Alliant 300MP and now Accurate 11FS which is flash suppressed for some reason that someone felt was important.

For defense loads with JHPs, I don't use powders that slow. Something else I've considered for some years now is using different powders based on the case volume of the 3 most common magnums. Gonna get into some testing soon and may add 11FS to illustrate how much velocity powders give up as barrel length decreases in .357 Magnum. W296/H110 really are hard to beat for the .44 Mag. I have not used 300MP as yet but I've seen some pretty impressive data. In .357 Magnum I really like AA #9 and I made great loads with Blue Dot back when I used it. Yeah, the .41 Mag being the middle-child, it doesn't get the love it deserves, IMO, while it's pretty flexible as far as powders that work. Ramshot Enforcer/AA 4100 is also an interesting powder that comes from Belgium. It's Placement on the various burn rate charts can be a bit conflicting.

In case you're not aware, Vectan Ba 6 1/2 is the NobelSport replicant of N110 that I haven't bought because of its price. Vihta Vuori and NobelSport/Vectan are owned by the same defense conglomerate in Europe. Back when V-V had a labor strike, NobelSport began making 3 copies: Ba6 1/2 = N110, Ba7 1/2 = N350 and Ba 9 1/2 = N320, supposedly. The comp shooters believe that Ba 9 1/2 is a bit slower than N320 and Prima V a bit closer. The Vectan powders are a very good value and come in 1/2 liter qty, or 1.1 lbs. I did use SP2 back when it was available, but when Grafs began selling the Vectan powders, SP2 was not included, but evidently does pretty well to this day in Europe. Kinda like AA #7 and N105 and SP3 was their spherical handgun powder that's not available in the US, either, unless something has changed.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
240-gr. Oregon Trail LSWCRem LPN-35012.61,289
240-gr. Hornady JSPRem LPN-10516.11,411
280-gr. BerryRem LPH-422720.61,292
300-gr. Hornady XTPRem LPN-11017.71,269
310-gr. Oregon Trail TrushotRem LPN-11017.71,271
310-gr. Oregon Trail TrueshotRem LPH-110211,311
310-gr. Oregon Trail TrueshotRem LPLil' Gun16.21,211


I found this chart showing a 310 grain bullet using Li'l Gun pushihg 1211 fps from a 7.5" Ruger Blackhawk. That would be a bad end to a bear's day if placed well. :D N110 and H110 look pretty wicked, too. :D H110 is a slow powder like Li'l Gun, but I've never tried it. Looks good on THIS chart, though. :D
Great input. I ve seen Lil Gun best 296 in some 44m loads. I have 296 on hand but never miss an excuse to buy something else!!!!llolololol
 

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My local gun store has a new $800 Taurus Raging Bull in .45 that'd probably do the job. I understand that it shoots 45 Colt very nicely. It also shoots 454 Casull, should you feel the need. I was briefly tempted, but it ain't even close to fitting my budget. :(
How much do th.... no, I'm being good. I'm a good boy. Darn it.
 
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I know this can be as bad a the best motor oil thread but here goes. I travel out west on a motorcycle and camp in the Montana/Wyoming state line area. I'm on a bike so I can't carry a big bore rifle so I bought a Ruger Super Blackhawk. I'm 65 so I think the 44 is as big as I want to go.
I've been doing a lot of reading and have found what I think will be the load I try. Hodgdon has the load it's a Beartooth Bullet Company 325 gr hard cast with gas check. Mid 1200 to mid 1300 fps with W296. That will deliver 1100 lbs of energy.
I'm have great accuracy and good follow up with full bore 240s. I'm thinking these maybe another realm.
Any input is appreciated!
edit: oops, I already own Super Blackhawk
well it really depends on what meat eater that you think you might want to discourage!
personally I hunted a bit for wild boar(not wild hogs) and then of course hunted in areas with black bear as likely the largest creature that might seriously fight back or hunt me.
I had a dan Wesson 41 with heavy vent barrel, a S & W # 57 with 6 inch barrel and a Ruger Blackhawk with a 6 1/2 inch barrel.
while I liked all I found out after a few trips that the ruger in both size and weight did the same as the heavier ,larger other 41 mags and became my choice for such hunts.
a short barreled Super Blackhawk might very likely be my choice but a short barreled ruger Blackhawk in 41 mag/ 45 LC would win out over that for me as it is lighter in weight.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
well it really depends on what meat eater that you think you might want to discourage!
personally I hunted a bit for wild boar(not wild hogs) and then of course hunted in areas with black bear as likely the largest creature that might seriously fight back or hunt me.
I had a dan Wesson 41 with heavy vent barrel, a S & W # 57 with 6 inch barrel and a Ruger Blackhawk with a 6 1/2 inch barrel.
while I liked all I found out after a few trips that the ruger in both size and weight did the same as the heavier ,larger other 41 mags and became my choice for such hunts.
a short barreled Super Blackhawk might very likely be my choice but a short barreled ruger Blackhawk in 41 mag/ 45 LC would win out over that for me as it is lighter in weight.
The 41 and 45 are excellent rounds fer sher. I needed to cross the 44m off the bucket list. Add to the fact I just love a single action wheel gun. I've loaded three types of 240 and 200 gr Xtreme. and very impressed with accuracy. A couple of my buddies from Montana are avid hunters and they said most guides up there recommend at least 300 gr and 44 or 45. I'm focusing on the 325 Beartooth because Hornady has a load developed for it. I'm not locked in to any specific powder however I do have 296 on hand.
 
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I'd say you're pretty well set. 296 is as good as any for pushing the 325s as fast as possible. Avoidance is the best policy, so with the NFL Combine less than a month away, here's an analogy. Watching the potential rookies run the 40 is probably the biggest draw, so think about how fast an adrenalized Griz can run the 40 on all 4s. Can an SA be operated fast enough under that kind of pressure?

On the flip-side of that, if you can't miss fast enough . . . I think that's why we see guys talking about double-stack 10mms. In this case we're talking about 105 grs. less bullet unless you can find something heavier than 220 grs. that works, and 220 is about the heaviest I've seen. Then you still have an energy/momentum deficit compared to the .44 Mag with a 325. Shooting them accurately enough to boost your confidence will take some practice and why I would advocate for the Ruger Redhawk. The Super Redhawk might have a better SA trigger by virtue of the trigger having its own return spring whereas the Redhawk does everything with a single mainspring that also returns the trigger. Mine have been pretty good in terms of the DA trigger while the SA has not handicapped me much when testing new loads from the bench. A 5 1/2" Redhawk is still in the 50oz range, and that could come up pretty large if you need to get off faster shots with a 325 gr. bullet.

And while I'm on bullets, there is an equalizer that sometimes gets overlooked. Sectional density is a large portion of penetration, and penetration is the prime directive when it comes to non expanding bullets. A 325 gr. .429" bullet has plenty and certainly more than a same weight .452". Likewise with the .41 Mag with the 265 gr. and heavier projectiles since sectional density is the ratio of length/mass vs. diameter. With non expanding bullets, the difference in the size of the wound channel is slight. Then again, so are the chances of hitting a charging Griz in the CNS.

But take that for what it is because in the Heart of Texas we have plenty of feral hogs and the very occasional cougar and some pretty funny stories about whitetail bucks turning the tables on the hunter. My Rancher buddy, whom I hunt whitetail with says there's still no evidence of hogs on his and his families land. I'm almost positive that will change, and of course, I'll be ready to help. But when talking about planning for an out of state, or special hunt; cost has to usually be a consideration and taking the best tool for the job eases the pain of parting with money.

You're comfortable with the chosen bullet in a great caliber and have a powder that's as good as any for handloading. Getting comfortable with the recoil that load generates might be the greatest consideration. Shooting enough fast strings to shrink the group sizes might help with the overall evaluation. If I were going to lay down the big $ to hunt out of state and knowing I would be firmly in Griz habitat, I might even add a Marlin Guide Gun in .450 Mag or .45-70. I have had a few conversations with Rob Behr at Western about his exploits since he lives and works in Montana and enjoys the outdoors about as often as anyone I know. He's the editor of the Western blog, and he'd be glad to hear from you. You can reach him through the blog.;)
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Great advice as usual! Follow up and accuracy have been my objectives thus far and moving to the heavier bullet is the next step. But number one avoidance and situational awareness is supreme. I ain't lookin for trouble!!! Lololol
 
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