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American Handgunner July/August Digital Edition - Page 106
the insider .44 MAgnuM TM roy HUNtINGtoN left to right: test guns were s&w .44 magnums with 4" (bowen Custom), 2¾" (mag-na-port) and 6.5" (stock model 29 Classic) barrels. load cor-Bon 240 Barnes JHP Buf.Bore 200 lead Wc speer 240 Gold Dot DoubleTap 200 Barnes JHP cor-Bon 200 DPX BH “Keith” 250 lsWc Buf.Bore 200 lead Wc DoubleTap 240 lsWc .44 SpeCIAl 2¾" 1,250 1,086 1,150 1,304 635 656 894 719 4" 1,316 1,250 1,314 1,396 935 697 971 753 6.5" 20" 1,449 1,804 1,352 1,687 1,444 1,877 1,529 1,843 1,105 724 1,061 782 1,461 926 1,265 985 LSWC: Lead Semi-Wadcutter/WC: Wadcutter/JHP: Jacketed Hallowpoint/DPX: Copper Hallowpoint A theinsider couple of issues ago, I wrote about velocity and why we shouldn’t worry about it too much, as long as there’s enough (“How Fast Is Fast?” March/April 2012). I hap- using dinosaur-killing loads like that my past experience, .38 Special wadpened to use the .357 Mag as an on whitetail deer, or on your next hog cutters shoot very well in .357 rifles, example because I had revolvers hunt in Texas. You just don’t need ’em amazingly accurate even. There might and a rifle in a wide range of barrel for that. be some leading with the Buffalo Bore lengths to test loads. While the focus load, but so what? I’ll report what I find of the article rang true for many, What’d We Learn? out later. what surprised me was the interest Quite a bit actually, and I was surHaving said that, virtually any of the it generated simply reporting how prised on more than one occasion. One loads I tested, from the .44 Magnum or barrel lengths affected the velocity of the first things I learned was I now .44 Special side of the fence, would have of different loads. Many of you need to actually target some of these managed just about any chore I’d ever asked for more, only this time to loads through that handy Model 92 need addressed — from virtually any of choose another caliber. Browning. One other thing I learned — the barrel lengths tested. From a low of Nosing around I realized I had once again — is why so many people 635 fps from the Cor-Bon 200-gr. DPX a S&W .44 Magnum Model 29, or love the .44 Special. It’s mild, control- .44 Special load in the 2¾", to a high of variant, in 2¾", 4" and 6.5", and lable, accurate (from prior experience) 1,877 fps from the Speer 240-gr. Gold a nice Browning Model 92 lever and can be very effective. For instance, Dot .44 Magnum in the rifle, any of the action .44 Magnum with a 20" barrel the 200-gr. Buffalo Bore “Anti-Per- loads could defend you, and all of the (a beautifully made Winchester 92 sonnel” .44 Special load (a flat wad- .44 Magnum loads could easily take any clone done decades ago by Miroku cutter, hardcast lead bullet) delivered game I know of in North America — of Japan, for Browning). After col- 894 fps from the 2¾", 971 from the 4", even from the 2¾" S&W! Don’t believe lecting a small cross-section of .44 1,061 from the 6.5" and an astounding me? Look at the chart. How about the Magnum and, just for grins, .44 Spe- 1,265 from the 20" barrel of the Model DoubleTap 200-gr. Barnes .44 Mag. at cial ammo, I set up the chrono and 92. That lead me to thinking I need 1,304 fps from the 2¾"! It was ugly to went to work. to target that load to see how it does. shoot, but it could save your butt. While this is not scientific at I mean, heck, a full .44 wadcutter at On down the chart we’ve got the any level, it’s still revealing. Once 1,265 doesn’t need to expand, and in Buffalo Bore 200-gr. wadcutter .44 Mag again I’m reminded how all the at 1,086 from the 2¾" — possibly one Internet forum rants and gunof the most effective perstore arguments could simply sonal protection loads for be put to rest by just doing a short-barrel big bore, some simple testing. My if you ask me. It was total investment was about controllable, modest 45 minutes, some ammo muzzleblast and, well, and a notepad. I confess I looked like it would chickened-out on the 300work. I liked the .44 and 320-gr. loads, though. Special version too After firing one through that — maybe better — Scandium 2¾" S&W Night and that load at 894 Guard (even with gloves), just might be the one I just didn’t have the heart most useful for urban to do it again. I don’t think carry. All of the loads that’s a terrible loss, since showed often-dramatic roy grabbed an assortment of ammo he had most of us simply won’t be on-hand, trying to go from one extreme to the other in loads. Continued on page 104 THose FABulous . 44s 106 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JULY/AUGUST2012