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by James Swidryk a.k.a. jamesfromjersey Last updated: 2012-11-24 21:04:15
"Veteran big game hunters and handgun enthusiasts have long been calling for a cartridge with increased velocity and striking energy. Now they have it. The new Peters "High Velocity" 44 Remington Magnum, the fastest and most powerful handgun cartridge in the world".....These words are from the first paragraph in the then new advertisement for the 44 Mag. Since everyone reading this is a handgunner in one form or another I feel that its safe to eliminate Elmer Keith`s contribution in the making of this cartridge as we have all read or heard about his influence in its design...
A numnber of years ago I purchased a blue Ruger Redhawk with a 7 1/2" barrel that was an excellent shooter with a mirror finish bore. Using this gun I tested Remington 240gr LSWC
ammo verses the same type as produced by Winchester. Since I was not yet into handloading I read the spec`s on both brands and found that Winchester`s was slightly faster and range testing showed it to be more accurate in my Ruger. Handgun scopes were fairly new at the time and I choose a 1 1/2X Tasco with an illuminated post-crosshair reticle that was geared more toward action shooters rather then handgun hunters. For close range shots the Tasco performed perfectly. Whitetail hunting was slow that year so I arranged for a first time boar hunt with a ranch in Pennsylvania. My Redhawk was loaded with 6 of Winchester`s 240gr cartridges and with 3 boar inside of 25 yards it was no trouble to get the illuminated Tasco onto the largest target. Six shots later my first boar was down and my love of boar hunting began.
Three of the six bullets were recovered with one deformed from striking bone and the other two showing perfect expansion. When these lead semi-wadcutters hit game in the right place they worked. One bullet opened up to .540" while the other went to .561". After reading the old American Rifleman articles introducing the 44 Mag my curiocity got the best of me and I pulled one of bullets made by Remington which were for all purpose`s is a mirror of the original. The charge weight was 22.0grs and according to the gun writers this powder resembled DuPonts 2400. Amazingly I was given 3" to 4" groups at 100 yards which says quite a bit about the bullet and the blue Redhawk. As with the .357 that Smith & Wesson and Winchester introduced some 20 years eariler, the joint venture between S&W and Reminton produced a handgun/cartridge combination that began handgun hunting as we know it today.
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