is the 44 mag enough gun...


New member
Jan 7, 2001
Northeast Arizona
is the 44 mag enough gun to take down a bear? i am looking for a lever gun and have been looking at the 45-70 but i seem to keep coming back to the 44 mag. so is this enough gun for black bear?
Well, I've never shot a bear, but I've shot a lot of wild pigs, and they are generally lumped together as approximately "equal in toughness." With a good bullet, it ought to be plenty unless you get into one of the really big 500-600 pound or bigger Northern bears. I've not had experience with the XTP-type hollowpoints, but in general, I've found that HP's don't penetrate as well as softpoints on tough game. I've had good luck on pigs with the Sierra 250 gr "full profile" jackets with a little dimple of lead exposed at the tip. They do expand on a pig's gristle plate and penetrate very well. Hard-cast lead would do well, too...but I've always been leery of whether they are legal here...."softnosed or expanding bullet." ???
Sorry about that Calif Coyote, when i saw the Heading, I IGNORED IT!!!! What Calif Hunter said!!! I dont have much faith in 44's but some people do, so thats good enuf for me! I aint gonna argue the subject. I like the 45-70 myself. I wish I owned one. bcat
I may get flamed for this, but I really don't consider the .44 mag as being useful beyond about 75 yards (100 yards absolute max), even from a rifle. I had a Marlin 1894 that was a real tackdriver, but those stubby bullets lose speed so fast! At closer ranges, it is a potent killer but don't ask it to be more than it is, and stay away from lighter bullets and hollowpoints. You're not after expansion with this round on big game. Save the 200 grainers for coyotes. Just my 2 cents.

[ 01 May 2001: Message edited by: Calif. Hunter ]
I really believe that ya would do way better with the 45-70. If ya choose the 44, I would hope you would tell us the sroey of the hunt, and the kill if there is one. THE WHOLE STORY!!! I dont have alot of faith in em myself, but its a personal opinion! bcat
If you where talking Hand guns I would say go for the 44 mag.But in a rifle I would definetly go for the 45/70 I think its one of the best bear killers there is Up to 100 yd's. I personaly cary a 41 mag and love it.I have never had a bear get up and ask me if that was a 44 or 41 yet
Hey, Tobey, I carry a S&W 57 .41 Mag., out in the boonies, too. Several years ago, in the Calif. Sierra, I used it to kill a 400 pound black bear. (Guided hunt with dogs.) Now, I use heavy, hard cast Beartooth Bullets, not only for my .41, but also in my Ruger B.H. .45 L.C., and my Ruger SBH .44 Mag.

If you want some great bullets, go to and check out the goods.

Actually, I can't find much practical diffrence between the .44 mag and the .41 mag, out in the field, other than the .41 shoots flatter with less recoil than the .44. That's subjective, of course, but it seems that way to me. I also have a Marlin lever in .41 Mag., and it is a great carry-along rifle out in the boonies, when just kickin' around.

I have a Ruger Blackhawk in .41 mag, and a S&W Model 29 in .44 mag, and there really isn't spit difference between the two. I guess if you want to go with the super-heavyweight bullets of 300 grains, then the .44 gets a slight edge in the "smack" department. I use 215 gr. D&J hardcast match grade bullets in the .41 and 250 gr hardcast or Sierra full profile jacketed in the .44. Both work great for their intended use.
My wife bought me for Christmas a Marlin lever action in 30-30. That is what I am going to use on my first bear hunt with dogs. I am sure there are better guns, but that is what I am going to use.

You can buy the lever gun for about $250 new at most gu shops.

Nuttin wrong with the 30-30 John!!!! Has more whoomp than the 41 or the 44....... Not as much as the 45-70 tho!!! Hell a bb gun will kill stuff if ya hit it rght!!! Somebody should start a thread!! bcat
John - there ain't nothing wrong with the .30-30 for deer and black bear at reasonable range! I have two of them...a 1948 Model 94 and a bolt action Savage. My two cents is that in a rifle, it's a better round than the .44 mag.
I guess most of you guys feel the same as I do about the 44mag.Like you guys said ,in a handgun its good but if I were buying a lever rifle i would absoulutely take it in 45-70 or 444 over the 44mag.Fortunatly or unfortunatly I have had quite a bit of experience with the 44mag on bears in recent years. I have had a couple hunters use it to take bear over my dogs and it worked fine.These guys were real handgun nuts who knew what they were doing.
I also carry one on my hip for a backup.It has been used several times in the last couple years. I have had to use it to anchor wounded bears until the client got the bal** to step up and finish the job.It is very hard to kill a bear when you are running away from the tree with your back to the bear !!!LOL I that the 45-70 is one of the best bear guns there is,especially when hound hunting.
As for the 30-30.Also a good bear gun.At close range it is excellent in my book.As I write this I am overlooked by a big NH bear that I took with a 30-30 Winchester.I have it all on video_Once in the tree,once while he was free falling,and he never went one foot.One thing I have personally found is the 30-30 hunters I have had,as with the 12 ga guys,seem to be really comfortable and good shots with them.Maybe they are just really used to them.
I shoot Speer Gold Dot 270 gr rounds from my 44.They really seem to pack a punch.I have heard the 300 grs are even tougher but I havent tried them.

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