.44 Magnum

I need to develop a brown bear defense load for my Smith & Wesson 329PD. Eventually, I will have a Smith & Wesson 629, for which I may want to develop a deer load.

Firearms: Smith & Wesson 329PD, Ruger Redhawk

Brown Bear, Feral Hog (Sierra 300 gr. JSP)

This load is intended for my S&W 329PD, and it should be effective against brown bear and feral hog. The Sierra 300 gr. JSP has a thick jacket and a hard 6% antimony core for minimal expansion and deep penetration.

Bullet300 gr. Sierra JSP
PowderIMR 4227
CrimpHeavy (Cannelure)

In my S&W 329PD, this bullet produces reasonable accuracy. IMR 4227 gave me the most accuracy, lowest recoil, and minimal muzzle flash. Now I need to try some different charge weights.

Target, Plinking (200 gr. Cast)

This is a low-cost, low-recoil target and plinking load. The lighter bullet, the reduced velocity, and the low charge weight of a fast burning powder all add up to light recoil.

BulletMo. Bullet Co. 200 gr. RNFP "Cowboy #5"
Powder6.1 gr. Titegroup
CrimpHeavy (Cannelure)

This load is based on the Missouri Bullet Company "Cowboy #5" bullet, a 200 gr. RNFP lead bullet. It has a Brinell hardness of 12, and according to MBC's formula, the optimum pressure for this hardness to produce the least amount of leading is 15,357.6 CUP. With Titegroup, that works out to a charge of 6.1 grains for a predicted velocity of 1005 fps.

Mo. Bullet Co. "Cowboy #5": On Hand

Deer Hunting

I will eventually want a deer hunting load for a Ruger Super Blackhawk Bisley Hunter once I get it, and probably for my S&W 629. To be legal in Missouri, it must be an expanding bullet, so not hardcast. I assume I'll start with the 240 gr. Hornady XTP.

Hornady has recently introduced Handgun Hunter ammunition, using a copper hollow-cavity bullet filled with elastomer that they are calling MonoFlex (handgun). They aren't selling the bullets as components yet, but if they do, I might want to use them instead.

Sierra 300 gr. JSP: It should be ideal in this caliber for brown bear defense, and also feral hog hunting. It is not recommended for deer due to minimal expansion. The seating die deforms the edge of the meplat a little, so I have acquired a custom seating plug.

IMR 4227: This powder gave me the least recoil and relatively low muzzle flash. I will have to put this through the chronometer.

Hodgdon Lil'Gun: Max charges with 300 gr. bullets caused the cases to stick.

Berry 240 gr. FP: This bullet has no cannelure, and I am only able to force a light crimp on the bullet without buckling the case. I haven't had any bullets jump, but given the recoil, it concerns me.

Missouri Bullet Company 200 gr. RNFP (Cowboy #5): This bullet has a Brinell hardness of 12, and according to their formula, the optimum pressure is 15,357.6 CUP. The bullet seats easily without deforming.

Jan 8, 2022 – Tested max charges with H110, IMR 4227, and Lil'Gun in my S&W 329PD. H110 and Lil'Gun both created large, loud muzzle flash. Lil'Gun caused the cases to stick, and the accuracy was attrocious (13½" group at 7 yds). H110 and IMR 4227 both yielded reasonable accuracy, with H110 stringing more vertically. IMR 4227 was the most accurate, had the least recoil, and produced low muzzle flash. IMR 4227 is clearly what I should use to develop my load.