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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, all.  I'm new to the post and pretty much a novice when it comes to weapons and ammunition too.  While I was posting to another forum, one of your users, JackStrange, recommended I stop by here to learn a little more.  Just reading a few of the other topics has been really helpful so far.

I came in to see if you could help me with a specific question.  In a few weeks, I'll be doing some serious hiking in the backcountry of two parks in Alaska and I'll be carrying an S&W model 629 .44 Magnum for protection.  But I have little knowledge about how I should load it.  I have a box of Remington FMJ hollowpoints (275 grain), but I have no clue what the signifigance of that last statement is.  Anyway, do you have any suggestions for me?  I'm hoping I won't have to fire my weapon at all, but I want to be able to stop any bear or moose that thinks I look tasty.  (I know moose don't eat people, but they're big and can step on me, which is almost as bad.)
Thanks for taking the time to consider and reply!
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Hi New Guy,

Best thing that I can think of is the Federal "Cast Core" hunting loads.  In .44 I believe it is a 300 gr. LBT-design bullet, very blunt.  It'll be all you want to shoot in the Smith, I'd wager.

Next choice would be one of the Cor-Bon solids, ie. their "Penetrator" load.

Stay away from hollowpoints for bear/moose repellant.  The Win/Nosler Partition Gold handgun bullet might be an exception to the avoid-hollowpoints rule, if you can't find anything else.

Not sure what a FMJ-HP is?????  Must be a new load.

Good luck and enjoy your trip.
 

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Welcome to the site newsboy. You came to right place for answers, or at least, strongly held opinions. You will find a lot more useful information on a wide range of topics and a lot less self-promotion than on that "other" site.

I concur with Mike completely. The Federal CastCore is a 300g Cast Performance WFNGC LBT bullet that is just about as good as you can get as a defensive load for a 44 mag revolver against large or dangerous game.

Hotter loadings for the .44 magnum can be found from both Buffalo Bore and Garrett Cartridges but I would avoid these in a Smith 629.
 

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Newsboy:

The ammo you have is probably Remington 275g Core-Lokt .44 mag bonded core hollowpoints. Great for deer, black bear and elk but do not penetrate enough to take on the really big stuff like the great bears.
 

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Newsboy,
           MikeG, and Stanger took the words right out of my mouth. For factory loads, the Federal cast core rounds would be hard to beat, for a non-handloader. Perhaps more important than ammo, is how you handle your gun ! Practice, and use it often, to build proficientcy and confidence. Gun handling is probably the least used skill , but the most vital skill, for when the odds are against you.

          I would read everything you can get your hands on about hiking in bear country, to avoid a confrontation. But that's another topic. Good luck, and have a great trip !

                     Jeff
 

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I agree. Been shooting this 44 mag a while and I still miss. If I was in bear country and afraid I'd stay home. If I knew brave bears were around I would carry my .44 lever. If I was a veteran of bear country and just wanted the security of an easy carry bear stopper.....

I obviously am out of my league. I don't know what I would do. Do whatever boosts your confidence. I used to wear snake chaps in the woods. Now I tromp through high grass and brush without them. Come to think of it I may start wearing them again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks a bunch for the input, gentlemen.  I'm happy to see there seems to be unanimity on the recommendations.  THAT builds my confidence.
I forgot to check out exactly what those Remington rounds are.  I was listing them from memory and I guess I got confused, MikeG.  Stranger, I'll let you know if you were right about them.
Anyway, I think I'm gonna go get a box of those Federal Cast-Core bullets.
I'll definitely be hitting the range a few more times before I go into the woods too, and I took a great firearms laws, safety and handling course at a shop in Philadelphia.  If anyone's interested in their contact info, I can forward it along.  Sounds like you fellas could probably teach it!

Thanks again,

Chris
 

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My .02 -
You don't sound like an experienced handgun user. Handguns for bear protection are marginal at best in the hands of an experienced user. Large caliber heavy loaded guns take a while to master. Start with .44 special loads and work up.

If your trip is this summer I would reccomend a 12 ga. pump shotgun for bear protection. They are commonly used for that and you would be much more likely to be effective with it. Remember this is not a game- not a competition with "points" or cowboy shooting" with fancy costumes. If you need it your life will depend on it.

Brenneke (sp?) slugs are reccomended for their penetration. I think one of the major commercial ammo loaders uses them now (Federal?)

Good luck. And make lots of noise when you hike.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Newsboy,

While I agree with all my buddies vis a vis the Federal Cast Core load in your S&W, Eric makes an excellent point. If you're not well-practiced with a sixgun it's handiness won't do you much good. The 12 gauge pumpgun stuffed with Brenneke slugs is a superior choice for bear and moose protection. It is the most common combination used in the Canadian and Alaskan wilderness areas by biologists, foresters, etc.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Newsboy,
You may be back from your trip already, but if not, the National Park Service has some very strict rules about the carry of firearms in the parks.

Having said that, I concur with what other folks have said, but want to stress that common sense is indeed your best weapon. Not getting yourself into a situation where a firearm is needed is a lot easier than doing battle. Make plenty of noise, cache your foodstuffs away from camp, keep an extremely clean camp and stay off those game trails. Anytime you are near a stream salmon are running in, be very wary and always let the wildlife know you are around.
 

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For everyone above,

The term FMJHP I know is used by Fiocchi to describe a bullet having the profile of a conventional FMJRN bullet. Theirs has the jacket material completely covering the core at the nose which allows only the harder material to contct the feed ramp. There is an exposed hollow point. I guess they use this to differentiate this from their conventional HP which has exposed lead at the point. The Remington is probably similar. Everyone else just calls them hollow-points.

Have to agree about the Federal Cast Core being an excellent hunting bullet. There is no deep secret to these bullets, they are merely an LBT WFNGC. I was curious a couple of years ago and aclled Federal customer service about these bullets and their source. They indicated that they were out-sourced, but the CSR didn't have access to information on the vendor. Since Cast Precision was the big supplier of pre-cast LBT bullets at the time, I called Kelly Brost at C-P and asked him if he was the vendor for Federal and he indicated he was. So, if you handload and want to use the same component bullets Federal does, call Cast Precision.

Since you are obviously interested in Beartooth, or you wouldn't be on this forum, I'm sure their product is equal to the C-P item. Since I cast all my own this isn't an issue to me.
Nuff said.
 
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