Hunting with a 44 Magnum

Hunting with a 44 magnum revolver

A look at the considerations you need to keep in mind if you want to use 44 magnum for hunting.

When it comes to hunting with a 44 magnum handgun knowledgeable outdoors will give you the green light. 44 Mag is unique in that regard. Many of the most common pistol cartridges are debatable. For example, does the 9mm Luger, .375 Magnum, or .380 ACP have enough power? Some will say yes (depending on the game), while other will say no.

But not the 44 Remington Magnun caliber. Often referred to simply as the “.44 Magnum,” this large handgun cartridge, which can also be used in rifles, was made for dropping medium and large game.

If you are considering a new angle to your hunting; if you’d like to add a new challenge or simply add some variety to your outdoor adventures, then perhaps hunting with the .44 Remington Magnum would be perfect.

What Types of Guns Load the .44 Magnum?

The .44 Remington Magnum is largely associated with modern double-action revolvers. Of course, everyone knows the connection between this cartridge and a certain hand-cannon-wielding movie detective played by Clint Eastwood. (There, we’ve made the mandatory Dirty Harry reference), but this gun can actually be loaded into a variety of weapons.

The majority are, of course, revolvers. This cartridge was made for “wheel guns.” These weapons provide a high level of utility, simplicity, and reliability that is hard to find from other weapons. So the .44-Magnum/revolver association is not inaccurate; it simply doesn’t tell the whole story.

There are pistols, namely the Desert Eagle pistols, that are both functional and visually attractive. (Attractive to many, at least; some find them gaudy.)

But you can also find rifles that pack the .44 Magnum, which makes this an excellent dual-purpose cartridge. Lever-action rifles are the most common type of long gun for the .44 Magnum, but there are single-shot breach loaders as well as bolt-action rifles.

With the ability to load into both handguns and rifles, the .44 Magnum is a popular dual-purpose cartridge, especially for hunting.

A Straight Wall Too!

Another advantage to hunting with this cartridge is that it’s a straight-wall round. Essentially, this means that casing runs straight from top to bottom and doesn’t have a shoulder and neck near the front. This makes the cartridge viable for use in many areas where necked-down rounds are illegal for hunting.

For more on the straight-wall issue, see this article.

The .44 Magnum: A Look at Performance

A 44 magnum bullet expanded after it was fired into ballistic gelatin

The most important aspect when choosing a cartridge for hunting (besides legalities, of course) is performance. When choosing a round, you need to know that it has the capability to effectively drop the game animal of your choice. For the .44 Magnum, there is little doubt: it can handle most of the toughest game, at least within range.

While you can review velocity, trajectory, wind-resistance, and other factors, perhaps the most important factor is energy. To help you understand the capabilities of the .44 Magnum, we’ve selected four rounds, each from a different manufacturer. These rounds range from 180 to 280 grains, giving us a broad range to consider.

Muzzle Energy (ft-lbs)50 yards100 yards
Remington 180-Grain UMC1,036745552
Hornady 225-Grain FXX LEVERevolution993761609
Sellier & Bellot 240-grain SJMP872730623
Federal 280-grain Swift A-Frame851693594

As you can see from the table above, the .44 Remington Magnum has some impressive stats compared to many other handgun rounds. It usually comes out of the barrel with energies ranging from 800 to about 1,100 foot-pounds (ft-lbs.) Plus, it maintains over 500 ft-lbs to 100 yards or more. Few handgun hunters will take shots over 50 yards, so this certainly demonstrates its capability.

When compared next to other rifle cartridges, it might not be high on the rankings (.308 Winchester ammunition, for example, consistently has a muzzle energies around 2,600 or more) but for a handgun round it is near the top, and its power makes it capable of dropping many popular game animals.

What Can You Hunt with the .44 Magnum?

Man hunting with a 44 magnum revolver

If you adopt the .44 Magnum as part of your gun collection, you’ll have the chance to pursue an assortment of different game animals, including…

Whitetail Deer

As the most popular game animal in North America, it only makes sense that people try to hunt the whitetail deer with a .44 Magnum. Because this is a straight-wall cartridge, you can use the .44 Magnum in many areas where the only other option would be a shotgun, muzzleloader, or bow.

Wild Pigs

Wild pigs can be extremely tough animals, but the .44 Remington Magnum can handle the challenge. However, it may be wise to only place shots on medium and small pigs, as large hogs may only be wounded by this handgun, especially when placing shots at a distance. (Distance is, of course, always a concern when hunting with a handgun.)

Black Bear

If you have the chance to do any black bear hunting, and you want to use a handgun, the .44 Magnum will be a good choice. If you can get within 50 yards of a black bear, and can place an accurate shot, the .44 Magnum will create the performance you need.


You might be an oddity in the turkey stand, but the .44 Remington Magnum has the capability of delivering effective ballistics to this tough bird. Most turkey hunting is done at relatively close range with a shotgun, so a handgun seems perfectly viable, assuming it’s a legal hunt in your area.

Selecting .44 Remington Magnum Ammo for Your Hunt

Once you’ve settled on the .44 Magnum for your next hunting season, you’ll need to select the right 44 mag ammunition. First off, you’ll want an expanding round such as a hollow-point or jacketed hollow-point round. Even a soft-nosed round will provide decent expansion, but you’ll want to avoid non-expanding rounds such as a full-metal jacket.

Usually the larger the bullet, the more effective it will be on the hunt. For most hunts, this means roughly 240 grains or larger. At a distance of 50 yards or more, a large bullet will often maintain energy and deliver the performance you need.

Quality, Budget-Friendly Ammo is Waiting for You

The .44 Magnum creates a new twist on your hunting adventures. When you are ready to start hunting with the .44 Magnum, visit our site and find the affordable, high-quality ammunition you deserve!


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