.44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

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.44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#1

Post by Crash » Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:32 pm

I've been reading about HSM's .44 magnum Cowboy Action Load (200 gr bullet, 975 fps mv from a handgun) and wondering if they wouldn't be more than adequate for self-defense from a 20" rifle barrel. I remember shooting .45 Long Colt Cowboy Action loads at cast iron pipe "bowling pins" and as long as I hit them about 2/3 of the way down from the top, it would take them right off the table. These were shot from an Old Model Ruger Vaquero with a
5 1/2" barrel and I think the mv was no more than about 750 fps. So, it seems to me that the HSM Cowboy Action loads from a rifle would do the job.

What say ye?

Crash

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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#2

Post by The Annoyed Man » Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:20 pm

I say, if you’re worried about recoil, etc., get some .44 Special self-defense loads with bullets that were designed for the role. Remember that your .44 magnum can also shoot .44 special.
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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#3

Post by Crash » Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:48 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:20 pm
I say, if you’re worried about recoil, etc., get some .44 Special self-defense loads with bullets that were designed for the role. Remember that your .44 magnum can also shoot .44 special.
The Annoyed Man,

My rifle is a Browning M92 and it won't load 44 Specials very well. Some it will, but most it won't. And, in fact, the marking on the barrel says ".44 Magnum," not ".44 Magnum/.44 Special." And the owner's manual calls for .44 Magnum--doesn't mention .44 Special at all. So, I wouldn't want to try .44 Special loads in an emergency situation and have to clear a mis-feed. And, yes, the recoil with full-power 240 grain .44 Magnum loads is more than I want to put up with. I guess that's understandable since the rifle weighs only 6 lbs and has the curved metal buttplate. By the way, I have the Commemorative model with the saddle ring made in 1978. Browning made only 6000 of these models that year and it's in about 95% condition, so I think I'm pretty lucky to have it. This will definitely be one that stays in the family. I take good care of it, but I do shoot it--I don't believe in "safe queens."

I'm guessing (WAG) that the HSM loads will do something like 1200 fps out of the 20" barrel and a 200 grain bullet at that velocity ought to have a decent amount of "persuasive power."

Thanks for your input.

Crash


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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#4

Post by flechero » Fri Apr 17, 2020 7:41 am

Rifle sounds like a beauty! Got any pics??


your cowboy action loads should be fine... remember in a 44mag you'll generate a lot more velocity in that rifle barrel than a handgun, which is probably why you hated the 240gr stuff! Even is if it generated no extra velocity, a 200gr @ 975 still beats all but 2 or 3 handguns.

If that's a gun you are comfortable with an practiced up on, I'd have no issues using it as a house gun.

You'd be a perfect candidate to handload since any 44 mag, low recoil loads are like unicorns! (especially with a self defense bullet)

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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#5

Post by threoh8 » Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:00 am

I wonder how the semiwadcutter (SWC) load would feed through your rifle.
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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#6

Post by The Annoyed Man » Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:50 am

Crash wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:48 pm
The Annoyed Man wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:20 pm
I say, if you’re worried about recoil, etc., get some .44 Special self-defense loads with bullets that were designed for the role. Remember that your .44 magnum can also shoot .44 special.
The Annoyed Man,

My rifle is a Browning M92 and it won't load 44 Specials very well. Some it will, but most it won't. And, in fact, the marking on the barrel says ".44 Magnum," not ".44 Magnum/.44 Special." And the owner's manual calls for .44 Magnum--doesn't mention .44 Special at all. So, I wouldn't want to try .44 Special loads in an emergency situation and have to clear a mis-feed. And, yes, the recoil with full-power 240 grain .44 Magnum loads is more than I want to put up with. I guess that's understandable since the rifle weighs only 6 lbs and has the curved metal buttplate. By the way, I have the Commemorative model with the saddle ring made in 1978. Browning made only 6000 of these models that year and it's in about 95% condition, so I think I'm pretty lucky to have it. This will definitely be one that stays in the family. I take good care of it, but I do shoot it--I don't believe in "safe queens."

I'm guessing (WAG) that the HSM loads will do something like 1200 fps out of the 20" barrel and a 200 grain bullet at that velocity ought to have a decent amount of "persuasive power."

Thanks for your input.

Crash
Very interesting. That’s the first time I’ve heard of a magnum that won’t also cycle specials. It was worth a try. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I do have a single box of reduced power .44 magnum cowboy action loads in my gun room, but that room is also doubling as a bedroom for a my DIL's brother, who’s staying with us for a while. He works nights and is asleep in there right now, so I can’t get in to retrieve the box without waking him. I don’t remember what brand it is, but I’ll get it later and tell you what brand and load data it is. I do recall it being fairly anemic by .44 magnum standards, but that was in a 5” Model 29. But honestly, I wonder if a 20” barrel wouldn’t actually slow the bullet down a bit due to drag, there not being enough powder to take advantage of the barrel length. I’ll let you know what I find out.

PS: sounds like it’s a beautiful rifle.
• Give me Liberty or I'll get up and get it myself.
• I don't carry because of the odds, I carry because of the stakes.
• My dream is to have lived my life so well that future generations of leftists will demand my name be removed from buildings.
• Independent Minarchist.


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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#7

Post by Crash » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:05 am

Annoyed Man,

"Very interesting. That’s the first time I’ve heard of a magnum that won’t also cycle specials. It was worth a try. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I do have a single box of reduced power .44 magnum cowboy action loads in my gun room, but that room is also doubling as a bedroom for a my DIL's brother, who’s staying with us for a while. He works nights and is asleep in there right now, so I can’t get in to retrieve the box without waking him. I don’t remember what brand it is, but I’ll get it later and tell you what brand and load data it is. I do recall it being fairly anemic by .44 magnum standards, but that was in a 5” Model 29. But honestly, I wonder if a 20” barrel wouldn’t actually slow the bullet down a bit due to drag, there not being enough powder to take advantage of the barrel length. I’ll let you know what I find out.

PS: sounds like it’s a beautiful rifle."

Yes, you may be right that the longer rifle barrel might slow the bullet down compared to a revolver barrel. However, I don't have a chronograph, so I don't have any way to find out. I would hope that even if I don't get more velocity, it doesn't slow it down below the advertised velocity of 975 fps, which, with a 200 gr bullet, should make a bad guy decide he'd really rather be somewhere else.

And you're right, it is a beautiful rifle.

Cheers,

Crash


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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#8

Post by Crash » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:09 am

flechero wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 7:41 am
Rifle sounds like a beauty! Got any pics??


your cowboy action loads should be fine... remember in a 44mag you'll generate a lot more velocity in that rifle barrel than a handgun, which is probably why you hated the 240gr stuff! Even is if it generated no extra velocity, a 200gr @ 975 still beats all but 2 or 3 handguns.

If that's a gun you are comfortable with an practiced up on, I'd have no issues using it as a house gun.

You'd be a perfect candidate to handload since any 44 mag, low recoil loads are like unicorns! (especially with a self defense bullet)
flechero,

Sorry, don't have any pics right now. I'll send some along as soon as I take them (if I can figure out how to post them.....).

As far as handloading goes, I haven't done any in 35 years, and I'm too old and lazy to start up again. I'll just stick with the HSM Cowboy Action loads and, as you stated, that would beat all but a few handguns.

Thanks for your input,

Crash


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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#9

Post by Crash » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:14 am

threoh8 wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:00 am
I wonder how the semiwadcutter (SWC) load would feed through your rifle.
threoh8,

Can't say for sure. All I've fired through it were Remington 240 gr semi-jacketed soft points and Ultramax round-nosed lead Cowboy Action loads. They both fed fine.

Crash

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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#10

Post by C-dub » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:37 pm

I have a Ruger Blackhawk .44mag and a Henry Golden Boy .44mag. I haven't tried any .44 specials in either of them yet.

For a self-defense round, though, .44mag would be amazing. Dirty Harry liked it!
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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#11

Post by Crash » Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:14 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:50 am
Crash wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:48 pm
The Annoyed Man wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:20 pm
I say, if you’re worried about recoil, etc., get some .44 Special self-defense loads with bullets that were designed for the role. Remember that your .44 magnum can also shoot .44 special.
The Annoyed Man,

My rifle is a Browning M92 and it won't load 44 Specials very well. Some it will, but most it won't. And, in fact, the marthe HSMking on the barrel says ".44 Magnum," not ".44 Magnum/.44 Special." And the owner's manual calls for .44 Magnum--doesn't mention .44 Special at all. So, I wouldn't want to try .44 Special loads in an emergency situation and have to clear a mis-feed. And, yes, the recoil with full-power 240 grain .44 Magnum loads is more than I want to put up with. I guess that's understandable since the rifle weighs only 6 lbs and has the curved metal buttplate. By the way, I have the Commemorative model with the saddle ring made in 1978. Browning made only 6000 of these models that year and it's in about 95% condition, so I think I'm pretty lucky to have it. This will definitely be one that stays in the family. I take good care of it, but I do shoot it--I don't believe in "safe queens."

I'm guessing (WAG) that the HSM loads will do something like 1200 fps out of the 20" barrel and a 200 grain bullet at that velocity ought to have a decent amount of "persuasive power."

Thanks for your input.

Crash
Very interesting. That’s the first time I’ve heard of a magnum that won’t also cycle specials. It was worth a try. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I do have a single box of reduced power .44 magnum cowboy action loads in my gun room, but that room is also doubling as a bedroom for a my DIL's brother, who’s staying with us for a while. He works nights and is asleep in there right now, so I can’t get in to retrieve the box without waking him. I don’t remember what brand it is, but I’ll get it later and tell you what brand and load data it is. I do recall it being fairly anemic by .44 magnum standards, but that was in a 5” Model 29. But honestly, I wonder if a 20” barrel wouldn’t actually slow the bullet down a bit due to drag, there not being enough powder to take advantage of the barrel length. I’ll let you know what I find out.

PS: sounds like it’s a beautiful rifle.
Annoyed Man,

I checked out Ballistics By The Inch and got the following info:

A Corbon 200 gr DPX in .44 Spl has a MV of 977 fps from a S&W 629 with a 5.625" barrel. From a Henry Big Boy with a 20" barrel, the MV was 1280 fps. Since the bullet weight and diameter are the same as the HSM Cowboy Action load, and the MV is only 2 fps different, I'm guessing that the
mv of the HSM Cowboy Action Load from the 20" rifle barrel would be pretty close to the same. If I'm anywhere near correct, I think the HSM load would be pretty "persuasive" from my Browning M92 with its 20" barrel.

Does that make sense?

Crash

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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#12

Post by The Annoyed Man » Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:18 pm

Crash wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:14 pm
The Annoyed Man wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:50 am
Crash wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:48 pm
The Annoyed Man wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:20 pm
I say, if you’re worried about recoil, etc., get some .44 Special self-defense loads with bullets that were designed for the role. Remember that your .44 magnum can also shoot .44 special.
The Annoyed Man,

My rifle is a Browning M92 and it won't load 44 Specials very well. Some it will, but most it won't. And, in fact, the marthe HSMking on the barrel says ".44 Magnum," not ".44 Magnum/.44 Special." And the owner's manual calls for .44 Magnum--doesn't mention .44 Special at all. So, I wouldn't want to try .44 Special loads in an emergency situation and have to clear a mis-feed. And, yes, the recoil with full-power 240 grain .44 Magnum loads is more than I want to put up with. I guess that's understandable since the rifle weighs only 6 lbs and has the curved metal buttplate. By the way, I have the Commemorative model with the saddle ring made in 1978. Browning made only 6000 of these models that year and it's in about 95% condition, so I think I'm pretty lucky to have it. This will definitely be one that stays in the family. I take good care of it, but I do shoot it--I don't believe in "safe queens."

I'm guessing (WAG) that the HSM loads will do something like 1200 fps out of the 20" barrel and a 200 grain bullet at that velocity ought to have a decent amount of "persuasive power."

Thanks for your input.

Crash
Very interesting. That’s the first time I’ve heard of a magnum that won’t also cycle specials. It was worth a try. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I do have a single box of reduced power .44 magnum cowboy action loads in my gun room, but that room is also doubling as a bedroom for a my DIL's brother, who’s staying with us for a while. He works nights and is asleep in there right now, so I can’t get in to retrieve the box without waking him. I don’t remember what brand it is, but I’ll get it later and tell you what brand and load data it is. I do recall it being fairly anemic by .44 magnum standards, but that was in a 5” Model 29. But honestly, I wonder if a 20” barrel wouldn’t actually slow the bullet down a bit due to drag, there not being enough powder to take advantage of the barrel length. I’ll let you know what I find out.

PS: sounds like it’s a beautiful rifle.
Annoyed Man,

I checked out Ballistics By The Inch and got the following info:

A Corbon 200 gr DPX in .44 Spl has a MV of 977 fps from a S&W 629 with a 5.625" barrel. From a Henry Big Boy with a 20" barrel, the MV was 1280 fps. Since the bullet weight and diameter are the same as the HSM Cowboy Action load, and the MV is only 2 fps different, I'm guessing that the
mv of the HSM Cowboy Action Load from the 20" rifle barrel would be pretty close to the same. If I'm anywhere near correct, I think the HSM load would be pretty "persuasive" from my Browning M92 with its 20" barrel.

Does that make sense?

Crash
Yes, that makes sense. And like I said in my PM to you, if you’re anywhere near NW DFW, I’ll be happy to meet you at a range and chrono the load for you.
• Give me Liberty or I'll get up and get it myself.
• I don't carry because of the odds, I carry because of the stakes.
• My dream is to have lived my life so well that future generations of leftists will demand my name be removed from buildings.
• Independent Minarchist.


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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#13

Post by Crash » Sat Apr 18, 2020 2:59 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:18 pm
Crash wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:14 pm
The Annoyed Man wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:50 am
Crash wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:48 pm
The Annoyed Man wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:20 pm
I say, if you’re worried about recoil, etc., get some .44 Special self-defense loads with bullets that were designed for the role. Remember that your .44 magnum can also shoot .44 special.
The Annoyed Man,

My rifle is a Browning M92 and it won't load 44 Specials very well. Some it will, but most it won't. And, in fact, the marthe HSMking on the barrel says ".44 Magnum," not ".44 Magnum/.44 Special." And the owner's manual calls for .44 Magnum--doesn't mention .44 Special at all. So, I wouldn't want to try .44 Special loads in an emergency situation and have to clear a mis-feed. And, yes, the recoil with full-power 240 grain .44 Magnum loads is more than I want to put up with. I guess that's understandable since the rifle weighs only 6 lbs and has the curved metal buttplate. By the way, I have the Commemorative model with the saddle ring made in 1978. Browning made only 6000 of these models that year and it's in about 95% condition, so I think I'm pretty lucky to have it. This will definitely be one that stays in the family. I take good care of it, but I do shoot it--I don't believe in "safe queens."

I'm guessing (WAG) that the HSM loads will do something like 1200 fps out of the 20" barrel and a 200 grain bullet at that velocity ought to have a decent amount of "persuasive power."

Thanks for your input.

Crash
Very interesting. That’s the first time I’ve heard of a magnum that won’t also cycle specials. It was worth a try. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I do have a single box of reduced power .44 magnum cowboy action loads in my gun room, but that room is also doubling as a bedroom for a my DIL's brother, who’s staying with us for a while. He works nights and is asleep in there right now, so I can’t get in to retrieve the box without waking him. I don’t remember what brand it is, but I’ll get it later and tell you what brand and load data it is. I do recall it being fairly anemic by .44 magnum standards, but that was in a 5” Model 29. But honestly, I wonder if a 20” barrel wouldn’t actually slow the bullet down a bit due to drag, there not being enough powder to take advantage of the barrel length. I’ll let you know what I find out.

PS: sounds like it’s a beautiful rifle.
Annoyed Man,

I checked out Ballistics By The Inch and got the following info:

A Corbon 200 gr DPX in .44 Spl has a MV of 977 fps from a S&W 629 with a 5.625" barrel. From a Henry Big Boy with a 20" barrel, the MV was 1280 fps. Since the bullet weight and diameter are the same as the HSM Cowboy Action load, and the MV is only 2 fps different, I'm guessing that the
mv of the HSM Cowboy Action Load from the 20" rifle barrel would be pretty close to the same. If I'm anywhere near correct, I think the HSM load would be pretty "persuasive" from my Browning M92 with its 20" barrel.

Does that make sense?

Crash
Yes, that makes sense. And like I said in my PM to you, if you’re anywhere near NW DFW, I’ll be happy to meet you at a range and chrono the load for you.
Annoyed Man,

Wish I could meet with you, but I live in Fredericksburg and that would be a pretty long trip. Also, what with the Corona Virus problems, I'm sticking
pretty close to home for the time being.

Crash

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Re: .44 Magnum Cowboy Action Load for Self-Defense in a Rifle

#14

Post by Iunnrais » Thu May 07, 2020 9:22 am

As folks have mentioned, it should be fine.

The chrony results for my Trail Boss loads (240gr Lead) should give a rough idea:

1894 Marlin: Average: 1026.7 FPS (562 ft.lbf)
S&W 629 6" Barrel: Average: 859.2 FPS (393 ft.lbf)

Big bore lead at black powder levels worked well for folks for many years.

For comparison, My H110 loads with the same bullet:

1894 Marlin: Average: 1708.6 FPS (1556 ft.lbf)
S&W 629 6" Barrel: Average: 1352.0 FPS (974 ft.lbf)
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