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Discussion Starter #1
I have been gleaning this and other forums for hunting load information for my .44 SHR and .41BH.
What I have found seems to indicate if I drive a hard cast 250 Keith with a .300 meplat at a mv of 1300 fps. I should produce a permanent wound channel of .9+ out past 50 yards, and if I drive a hard cast 215 gr .300 meplat swc out of the .41 at the same 1300 fps, the wound channel would be the same except it would be about 14% shorter because of the lesser weight. On whitetails this would mean the .41 wouldn't penetrate quite so deeply as the .44 into the oak tree behind the deer.
The only place the difference in the two above loads and bullets would come into play would be at ranges that I don't intend to be shooting at deer anyway.


Am I wrong???
 

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I don't know if you're wrong, but you're overthinking.
As long as the bullet has a decent-sized meplat on it, and it's not too hard, either the .44 or .41 will work for deer.
Elmer Keith often cast his hunting bullets of 1:15 tin/lead ratio.
Keith (and others such as Phil Sharpe and Skeeter Skelton) found that the Keith bullet was ample for game.
Keith's loads in the .44 Special ran an estimated 1,000 to 1,100 fps in revolvers with barrels 6.5 inches or longer.
In the .44 Magnum, he estimated velocites at or near 1,400 fps.
In the .45 Colt, which Keith used before beginning his experiments with the heavily-loaded .44 Special, he used a 250 grain bullet at about 1,000 fps. He would have used a heavier load, no doubt, but the strongest .45 Colts then available were Colt's Single Action Army and Smith & Wesson N-frames.
Keith had high praise for the Ruger Blackhawk when introduced in .45 Long Colt in the 1970s and considered it strong enough to take loads that could be used on any game in North America.
Now, I'm the first to acknowledge that Keith was dogmatic, had the rationale' of a poacher (which he was, no doubt), and was probably a grump extraordinaire --- but he was also a careful observer of bullet reaction on game.
Now, if Keith could take game with a .44 or .45-caliber bullet of 240 or 250 grains at velocities of 1,000 to 1,200 fps, your .44 or .41 Magnums should too.
Two keys to anchoring game are often overshadowed by today's gimmicks, new calibers and toys.
One key is stalking close for good bullet placement.
Forget applying formulas to meplats and agonizing over expansion. Just use a properly constructed bullet, of sufficient weight, and put it where it counts (head, neck or heart).
And that takes marksmanship, which is the second key.
Practice regularly at the range, with the loads you will lose, and take your time to place each bullet carefully.
Don't be afraid to lower your arm if you can't get a good sight picture. If possible, use a nearby upright post to steady your aim, as you might use a tree.
Also shoot kneeling, standing upright and even prone.
Formulas are fine, but bullet placement is final.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Gatofeo,
Thanks for the reply.
I know that both guns are certainly adequate to take a whitetail. I am also aware of the shot placement necessity. I have over 40 years of sucessful whitetail hunting with gun and bow.
But: This year will be my first effort with a handgun.
My point in posting this thread was to assure myself that the loads I am anticipating to use were "adequate". I don't like the excessive recoil of the ultra heavy loads but at the same time I don't want to risk a wounded animal when the only reason for a "reduced" load is for my comfort.
All of my research on wounding etc would indicate these loads are of sufficient power. I simply wanted some input to boost my confidence.
By the way, I posted a thread on another forum indicating that I did not believe Elmer Keith did the 800 yard mule deer shot. Never again will I write anything questioning anything that he did. I never got so much crap dumped on me in my life. I guess some people believe he could walk on water and some of them believe he still can.
Again, thanks for the response.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Jim,

Either bullet will go lengthwise through any deer that you are likely to find in your area! Wound channel should be "plenty".

A .357 180gr. bullet, with a meplat of around .270" or so, even works well.

So the .41 & .44 bullets that you mention will just be that much more insurance.

I would not get too worried about the exact MV, just work up the load that is most accurate.

Last deer I shot with a 280gr. .44 WFN, gave a lot wider wound channel than that, probably close to 2 inches. Range was about 50 yards. That's a meplat of .340" I think. I don't recall what the exact wound channel was when I used the .357 but suffice to say the deer ended up in the freezer.

Good hunting.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Mike,
I just needed someone to pat my fuzzy little grey head and say "It's OK"
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Jim,

No problem. Where are you hunting? My dad hunts deer in Taney county (along the AR state line, east of Branson). Likes his .25-06 for deer termination.
 

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Old Jim -

John Linebaugh praises the 260 gr. Keith, traveling 900-1000 fps MV, as a deer killer of the first order from 0 to 100 yards.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This year I'm going to have a true wilderness experience. I'm going to be hunting in the worlds largest farm machinery salvage lot. On the western side of Lawrence County near Freistat, Missouri. Deer have become a problem to the owner and I'm going to help him out. Dirty job but somebody has to do it.
Hope to do the first one with the .44 and then do #2 with the .41.
I also hope Santa comes to visit in December and the easter bunny comes by in the spring.
I just returned from a trip to pick up material for my shop and stopped by a pawn shop. They have a .45lc Bisley Vaquero. May have to belong to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alan,
I know the Linbaugh bullet would be a .45 but do you know the meplat?
It just scares me to think that a bullet traveling that slow would be effective. I know, I know. The .45 ACP at 800 fps is a real killer, but having grown up on the .30-06, .308, .243 and .270, 1000 fps sounds SO slow.
Of course, the last deer I killed and my biggest ever (131 BC) went down to a 12 gauge punkin ball from an Ithaca deer slayer at gunfight range.
 

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The 45 cal Keith designed SWC meplats that I've measured are from .310" to .340". Someone will correct me if I'm wrong but I do believe the original 44 cal Keith had a .275" meplat.

Mr. James Gates has many archived posts (hopefully still available) regarding terminal performance of hardcast boolits on big hogs. If my memory serves, his findings are that it is difficult to keep a 250 gr. Keith, traveling in the 1000 to 1200 fps velocity, inside a hog regardless of the animal's size.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
For MikeG

Does your Dad have room for another hunter?
My brother-in law works for the City of Branson Wastewater treatment plant and is needing a place to hunt in that area. He would probably be hunting with his .44 Anaconda.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Jim,

This year my dad is supervising one of my brother-in-laws on his first deer hunt.

So I'm thinking that will pretty much occupy all of his attention.

Wish I could be more helpful.
 

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Elmer Keith claimed to have shot a deer at 600 yards, not 800 yards, with a .44 Magnum S&W with a 4" barrel.
This was done in front of witnesses, who were named by Keith.
I dunno. Suppose it's possible. If he did, it's a total fluke and he had no damned business doing such a foolish stunt!
I once knew a man in Idaho who was a game warden around Salmon, Idaho when Elmer Keith was there.
This game warden tried repeatedly to catch Keith poaching, but was foiled largely by the ol' boy network in the area that protected him.
The warden had no kind words for Keith. He called him a "game hog" and a "poacher."
Yes, Keith was instrumental (but not unique) in the development of many fine advances in pistols. And yes, he had an awful lot of experience shooting game.
But he made me ill in the 1960s, when I first started reading him, because he seemed to shoot any animal without regard to its usefulness.
Hawks, eagles, porcupines, chipmunks, turtles and God knows what else fell prey to his bullets.
And I doubt very much that he ate or used any of these animals.
Keith had a magnificent mind for firearms, but I abhor his sportsman ethics.
In one of his books, I can't remember which, he speaks of hunting inside Yellowstone National Park when it was clearly illegal. At the time, U.S. soldiers patrolled on foot in a regular one-hour route of the park's border. Keith waited until the soldier passed, snuck in, and shot an elk.
He then packed it out, ducking the soldier's routine patrol each trip.
How he managed to put that in print and NOT be prosecuted is beyond me, since in nearly all jurisdictions game violations have no statute of limitations.
I guess that by the time he wrote those words, he had become an untouchable.
I appreciate Keith's work in improving rifles and pistols, but I don't have a lot of respect for him as a person.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Gatofeo,
The deer incident was supposedly a wounded deer and a jammed rifle. His handgun was the only available weapon. He "walked" the shot in by observing the impact of the rounds that missed. Apparently his skill with a handgun was nothing short of mystical. Unfortunately the prices of his books have gone through the roof and I have not had the opportunity to read one yet. You may no know but, I bought my first "serious" handgun in Dec of 2001.
 

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Wolfe Publishing has reprinted several Keith books. That's how I got mine. Originals are too scarce & pricey.

Yes, Keith was shooting at a wounded animal. It is an interesting story. His skill must have been nothing short of phenominal.
 

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Yes Keith was quite a marksman,and as far as him poaching I take that with a grain of salt and consider the times he grew up in,with the likes of Skeeter and Jordan and Ross to read and review,I have found that when it comes to hunting with hand guns they seem to be along the same lines as Keith,1000fps and a soild fairly wide nose lead slug,and it does the job. I have used the 357 set up this way for about 15 years now and drop deer on a regular bases.For me the 41 mag would make more sense in the area your talking about,either way heres wishing you good luck on your hand gun hunt:D
 
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