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Forum Index > Medium and large game hunting > .44 RM performance on medium-sized game

.44 RM performance on medium-sized game

11 Jun 2018
@ 05:40 am (GMT)

Jean Dupuis

Hi everyone,

After having read your excellent article titled "effective game killing", I have noticed that it was said two things :

"Good frangible bullet designs can continue to produce mechanical wounding and a measure of hydraulic shock down to impact velocities of 1600fps with some exceptional projectiles continuing to produce excellent performance down to velocities as low as 1400fps"

"Fast incapacitation can remain evident at velocities as low as 1800fps depending on bullet designs"

So... I would like to know how a .44 RM cartridge, fired out of a carabine like a Marlin 1894, would perform on medium-sized game at "close range", under 40 - 50 yards. I don't actually reload ammo and was thinking of using commercial ammo like Hornady FTX or soft point/HP ammo from any other brand. What "disturb" me is the low velocity of this cartridge, as it produces a velocity between 1650 and 1800 fps, which is quite slow. Despite the energy of the bullet (nearly equals .30-30) and the important size of the bore as well as the meplat of the bullet, I fear that it won't produce any notable hydraulic shock and that it will result in a slow death of the game - in other words, that it would perform more like a pistol (with a small permanent cavity and minor temporary cavity) rather than like a "true" rifle which will produce an important hydraulic shock and give the (theorical) promise of a quick death of the game.

Thank you in advance, and please pardon my poor english, I'm doing my best...

Jean Dupuis

Replies

11 Jun 2018
@ 10:58 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .44 RM performance on medium-sized game
Hi Jean, no worries regarding your english, your communication is just fine.

The .44 Mag performs quite well at close to moderate ranges and can be a joy to own and use. A well designed projectile like the FTX and XTP can produce full expansion and some weight loss (leading to energy transfer) at mild impact velocities. Muzzle velocities of around 1600fps work well for both the .357, .44 and similar kin.

As for a more specific example, on running boar, the .44 can produce quite a large wound but if shots strike too far back, large boar will run some distance. The projectile will often create a decent blood trail but if the boar is at full gallop and the terrain rough, it is possible to lose the trail. Cheap / slow loads tend to be the worst for such shots (rear lung dead run over 200 yards). But with a good projectile like the Hornady pills and by trying to keep shots forwards, the cartridge is quite reliable. Further to this, the step up to the .444 Marlin does not always guarantee an increase in wounding. In some cases, the wounds appear no different in size and if anything, can at times display less penetration due to the increase in target resistance. The .444 tends to show a flattening of trajectory more than an increase in wounding performance, more so if we do not pay close attention to bullet selection. This is not to say that the .444 is redundant for it is a fine cartridge. But as always, it is the projectile design which determines final outcomes.
11 Jun 2018
@ 08:16 pm (GMT)

Jean Dupuis

Re: .44 RM performance on medium-sized game
Thank you for your answer, it is very enlightening. The cost of ammo is one of the main reasons why I chose this caliber - as I will use it at the shooting range as well. Rifle ammo is quite costly where I live and rifles are accepted in fewer ranges, which is a concern for me. So, if a pistol caliber carabine can perform quite reliably at close range against medeium sized game, that's perfect for me !

Thanks again and have a good day,

Jean Dupuis
11 Jun 2018
@ 08:41 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: .44 RM performance on medium-sized game
you mentioned cost of ammunition...a man after my own heart...
the hornday flexitip stuff is the "go to" load for most guys using this for a hunting round and there are quite a few guys who do indeed use it on deer and pigs in bush type hunting.... the hornady does cost a bit more but is worth it for hunting,for range plinking have a look and see if you can find cowboy action loads as they are relatively cheap,cast lead projectiles and mild loading will make them really mild to shoot,Ive seen it in 50 round packs for a reasonable price.
12 Jun 2018
@ 08:14 am (GMT)

Jean Dupuis

Re: .44 RM performance on medium-sized game
I'm ready to spend some money on good ammo for hunting, that's not a problem. As the Hornady FTX delivers good performance, I'll take it. Sadly, no cheap "cowboy loads" are available here in France, so either you plink with your own reloads, or you use lower quality hunting ammo like soft points rounds that can be found for around ~30€ or 35€ /50. It is quite costy, but for someone like me who wishes to have a decent hunting/plinking rifle it is in fact quite good.

The only thing I still ask myself about is if .30-30 would work better because of its velocity for close range hunting (under 40-50 yards, 60 yards max) and if it would be worth to spend much more money on ammo in that case : I can get 20 .30-30 cartridges for the same price as a box of 50 .44 mag cartridges... The subject has already been discussed in an other thread here some time ago, but I have a hard time to come to clonclusions. I may seem to be hesitating a bit too much, as Nathan Foster already assured me that .44RM would perform well, at least as long as I don't aim too far back. However, I would just like to have a clear consciousness about my choice - I wouldn't want to have a .44RM and keep telling me from time to time that I should have taken a .30 WCF rifle...

Anyway, I appreciate that you take the time to read my posts and even to answer !

J.D.
12 Jun 2018
@ 09:08 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .44 RM performance on medium-sized game
Jean, in a world where everyone is moving towards smaller bores, we are beginning to lose touch with large bore performance. I believe that curiosity balanced with some caution is a good thing. It is important that we follow our curiosity provided we are taking measures to ensures to ensure good performance, just as you are doing.

This really is an itch that you might just need to scratch. What is the worst that can happen? Lets say for example that you shoot longer than you might have planned for, lets say its a 150 yard shot that hits too far back and a bit low, just behind the heart. Well if you did the same with a .30-30 the wound might possibly be narrower depending on the bullet used. So really, you have nothing to lose, especially if using the scoped Marlin. With the FTX set 2" high at around 50 yards you will be about 1.7" high at 100 yards and dead on at around 130 yards, then 3" low at 150 yards. This is plenty flat enough for shooting bush and river flats. At 150 yards, the impact velocity is still within its design parameters. If this bullet doesn't do it for you, then the XTP will cover your needs.
13 Jun 2018
@ 09:48 am (GMT)

Jean Dupuis

Re: .44 RM performance on medium-sized game
Okay, so I settle on .44RM. It should really meet my needs. Thanks again for your advice, as well as for having succeeded in lifting my doubts on the performances of this cartridge !!

J.D.
 

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