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Beartooth's .44-250gWFNGC
J. Marshall Stanton on 2005-07-26

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Passage of half a century has only strengthened the popularity of the .44 Remington Magnum cartridge, and today is revered as the handgun hunting cartridge by which all others are compared.  It is to the world of hunting revolvers, what the .30-06 is to hunting rifles.  During this time a significant number of new bullet styles, and weights have cropped up, giving today’s .44 magnum handloader a plethora of bullets from which to choose when developing that perfect hunting handload.

Many of the bullets developed for this cartridge are heavy-for-caliber offerings, ranging from 300 grains, and over, all the way to 400 plus grain bullets for this handgun perennial favorite cartridge.  However, the cartridge was originally designed around a 250 grain bullet, as per Elmer Keith and Harold Croft’s specifications.  Thus loaded, the .44 magnum has become legendary in terms of practical field performance, and terminal game harvesting capacity.  Although many, if not most factory loaded ammunition now employ 240 grain jacketed bullets of various nose configurations, it was the 250 grain bullet that spawned this great handgun hunting cartridge.  While heavy-bullet-loads make this cartridge the equal of any North American game, within some range constraints of course, the vast majority of hunters in the lower 48 United States will never encounter a situation requiring such extreme penetration capacity as the 300 plus grain bullets afford in the .44 magnum.

For whitetail deer, average black bear and feral hogs normally hunted across these United States , the .44 magnum cartridge is well equipped for the task when loaded with a good, hard-cast 250 grain bullet.  For the most part, hunters will never recover one of these bullets from game, even on angles giving the maximum penetration possible, when shooting a 250 grain cast bullet.  This being said, albeit probably controversially, shooting heavier bullets on deer, black bear and hogs merely creates more recoil, muzzle blast and muzzle flash!

 Too, for many shooters, the recoil generated with a 250 grain bullet load from the .44 magnum is all many enthusiasts care to endure.  Such being the case, Beartooth Bullets has introduced a new 250 grain WFN gas-checked design bullet specifically for hunting deer, black bear and feral hogs with the .44 magnum.  This bullet incorporates the proven Wide Flat Nose design, with a huge .340” meplat diameter for wide permanent wound channels all the way through game!  The bullet is hard, BHN 22 to prevent deformation even on the heavy bones encountered on black bear and feral hogs, and the gas check design insures that barrel leading will never be an issue, regardless of the velocity these projectiles are pushed out of a .44 magnum revolver or carbine.

To facilitate feeding in the now popular .44 magnum carbines from various manufacturers, we have designed this bullet with a somewhat foreshortened nose, with a length of .320” to feed flawlessly through the magazine of the Ruger 96/44, and Deerfield carbines, as well as the entire line of Marlin 1894 carbines chambered for .44 magnum.  Too the Model 92 Winchester/Browning guns and all their clones slickly feed ammo loaded with this bullet without a hitch.

Prior to introducing this bullet we did some preliminary accuracy testing and load development both to prove the bullet’s accuracy potential and to give a baseline for customer load development.  Below are given data developed in a Ruger Super Blackhawk with a six inch barrel and a Rossi M92 20” barrel Carbine both chambered for .44 Remington Magnum.

Data Developed Using Beartooth Bullets .432”-250gWFNGC

Winchester Large Pistol Primers/Remington Brass/C.O.L. 1.592”

Chronographed 12 feet from muzzle.  Groups fired from bench at 25 yds.

Test Gun: Ruger Super Blackhawk 6” Bbl. Factory Sights .003” Cyl. Gap

Powder

Grains

Velocity

ES

SD

Group

Blue Dot

15.0

1268

36.18

14.69

1.76”

W231

10.7

1278

22.20

15.55

1.83”

IMR 800X

12.1

1180

53.74

30.34

1.66”

Universal

9.1

1155

16.53

8.88

1.12”

H4227

24.0

15.18

83.52

42.19

3.24”

Unique

12.0

1261

4.78

3.50

1.04”

2400

17.5

1139

71.09

50.20

1.21”

H110

24.0

1514

34.68

16.32

3.12”

AA#5

13.6

1306

19.34

9.65

1.02”

Data Developed Using Beartooth Bullets .432”-250gWFNGC

Winchester Large Pistol Primers/Remington Brass/C.O.L. 1.592”

Chronographed 12 feet from muzzle.  Groups fired from bench at 50 yds.

Test Gun:  Rossi Model 92 20” Barrel Factory Sights

Powder

Grains

Velocity

ES

SD

Group

Blue Dot

15.0

1555

54.91

27.67

1.68”

W231

10.7

1462

7.85

4.12

0.64”

IMR 800X

12.1

1498

N/A

N/A

1.28”

Universal

9.1

1467

16.68

9.23

1.11”

H4227

24.0

1951

37.77

26.87

1.21”

Unique

12.0

1436

8.22

3.26

1.02”

2400

17.5

1529

N/A

N/A

N/A

H110

24.0

1926

54.09

38.18

0.76”

Interestingly there were some surprises in shooting the test data for this bullet.  The first surprise came when Alliant 2400 powder, in the Ruger SBH revolver, even with the high ES and SD values, still performed on paper so very well in terms of group size.  Generally large variations in these values tend to indicate a load that doesn’t shoot well, but in these tests that rule of thumb did not hold.  In measuring the handgun groups for each load, I did throw out one shot for each of three groups fired due to operator error, and called fliers during the shooting sessions.  The groups recorded are pretty representative of my abilities with factory sights and my heavily corrected vision using this revolver.  The obvious larger groups I feel truly reflect the actual deficiencies of those loads, as underscored by SD and ES figures.

Another surprising load was H110 behind the 250g WFNGC bullet in the Rossi Carbine.  Despite huge SD and ES numbers, this load took top honors for accuracy, and velocity.  Here too the gains in velocity from the revolver values to those garnered from the 20” barrel of the Rossi carbine are stunning!  I might add too, that the crescent butt plate on the carbine was a little stunning to the shoulder as well with these loads!

No attempts were made to fine tune these loads to either firearm tested, but rather just give a baseline load from which an individual may evaluate the suitability of a powder for their purposes, and develop a load for their individual firearm tuning the load as necessary.

This new .44-250gWFNGC bullet fills the need for a wide-meplat bullet in a traditional bullet weight for the .44 Remington Magnum to produce a superior performing medium-game hunting load within the standard weight parameters for this cartridge.  Loaded even to modest velocity levels, this bullet provides a much enhanced performance potential than the typical semi-wadcutter designs, or the much vaunted Keith bullet, simply due to the huge .340” meplat carried on the nose of this projectile.  Couple this devastating game performance with the velocities attainable with standard acceptable pressures, this bullet might change the way you look at a .44 magnum for hunting purposes!

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