The Best 44 Magnum Ammo For Self Defense and the Range
44 Magnum has earned its place in firearms folklore and the best 44 Magnum Ammo is good for hunting, home defense and just having a whole lot of fun at the range.
Now a 44 Magnum revolver is not the most powerful handgun in the world anymore, not by a long shot. You can find 50 Cal pistols everywhere these days, but the 44 Magnum is often considered the ceiling of real world, usable performance.
Elmer Keith is credited with its discovery after he went looking for a 250 grain bullet that could hit 1200fps for hunting. As with the 357 Magnum loads that he also created, the 44 Magnum arose from stuffing the 44 Special far beyond the accepted limit…
Now Elmer Keith encouraged Smith & Wesson to produce a commercially viable version of the 44 Magnum cartridge and a revolver to take the load. Ruger beat them to the punch, but Smith & Wesson is now synonymous with this hunting and personal defense cartridge.
It’s not the easiest stuff to find at the moment either. Many mainstream dealers have basically given up on stocking 44 mag ammo. So if you’re just looking to buy in bulk, now, maybe try these links first to see what’s in stock.
- Lucky Gunner – Maybe the best 44 ammo dealer out there right now.
- Sportsman’s Guide – 44 Remington Magnum ammunition, big choice and bulk deals.
- Guns.com – A growing ammo selection with a variety of suppliers.
- Palmetto State Armory – 44 Mag ammunition offers and daily deals.
But what is the best 44 Magnum ammo? Here are our top picks.
1. Buffalo Bore Anti Personnel
- Price per round: $2.25
- Price per box: $44.99
- Bullet Weight: 305 grain Hard Cast Wadcutter
- Energy: 751 foot pounds
- Velocity: 1325fps
With all the high performance jacketed hollow point bullet options these days, it’s kind of a surprise that we’re opting for the Buffalo Bore Anti Personnel 44 Magnum rounds.
They don’t expand, they aren’t especially meant to tumble and rip. These simple flat nose bullets are just really big, really strong and this ammo is designed to punch a really big hole in human threats.
Yep, there’s not even a hunting kind of pretense to this hard hitting 44 mag self defense ammo. This is absolutely aimed to disabling people who may want to do you harm and it is a great choice for concealed carry.
It is a full profile hard cast wadcutter simply crushes living tissue and punches a great big hole in whatever is in front of it, leaving a massive muzzle flash behind.
Deep penetration of around 24 inches in mammalian tissue is more or less assured as the hard shoulder and hard cast flat design don’t deform or attempt to mushroom.
This flat nose, hard cast bullet is as simple as it gets. But when you’re faced with an intruder, or a black bear, that can work.
It’s a big heavy bullet, with very few tricks, and it gets ALL the stopping power as a result.
2. Black Hills 44 Mag 300gr
- Price per round: $1.50
- Price per box: $75.99
- Bullet Weight: 305 grain Jacketed Hollow Point
- Energy: 881 foot pounds
- Velocity: 1150fps
We’d love to show you the Black Hills Honey Badget FTM pistol bullets in 44 Mag, but we’re not actually sure you can buy them anymore.
These Black Hills 44 Mag 300gr hollow points are available in limited numbers, though, and both hunters and home defense guys seem to love them.
Controlled expansion and reliable penetration make this an excellent choice for self defense ammo and medium sized game hunting
3. Hornady Custom 44 Magnum 240 grain XTP Extreme Terminal Performance
- Price per round: $1.28
- Price per box: $26.99
- Type: 44 Magnum 240-grain Jacketed Hollow Point
- Muzzle Energy: 999 foot pounds
- Muzzle Velocity: 1500fps
The Hornady Custom 44 Magnum ammunition is basically the safe bet and one of the best for self defense ammo, at the right price.
This is a high performance jacketed hollow point that aims for expansion and a massive wound channel with that 240 grain boxer primed brass cased ammo. It’s a solid concealed carry ammo and will do the job for you at defensive distances.
You could easily hunt with Hornady Custom 44 Magnum ammunition, and people do go big game hunting with these 44 Magnum 240 grain JHP bullets.
These days this is a decent price point for 44 Remington Magnum hunting ammo. The Hornady XTP 240 grain Jacketed Hollow Point has the fps and muzzle energy to bring down all North American big game, medium game and intruders.
It’s a higher velocity, lower power round, and there are pros and cons to each approach. But the faster rounds tend to hold the course at longer range and punch through barriers and light body armor. They also make this great ammo for hunting thanks to the expansion.
We’re big fans of high quality Hornady Critical Defense jacketed hollow point in other calibers and so are most law enforcement departments. You’ll find the 9mm and 45 ACP versions on other handgun ammo lists, but this is the best 44 Magnum ammo they’ve got.
4. Winchester White Box
- Price per round: $1.33
- Price per box: $69.99/50
- Type: 44 Magnum 240 grain Jacketed Soft Point
- Muzzle Energy: 741 foot pounds
- Muzzle Velocity: 1180fps
Winchester White Box 240 grain Jacketed Soft Point bullet that is relied upon by whitetail deer hunting with a powerful handgun. It’s one of the best for self defense, hunting, target shooting, all that stuff.
This boxer primed brass-cased ammo is versatile, too. The soft core and open tip means this handgun ammo is really an evolution of the typical hollow point.
If you’re going handgun hunting for black bear, this is a solid handgun hunting round that will do an effective job for home defense.
There is more effective 44 Remington Magnum hunting ammo.
But this boxer primed brass cased soft point bullet is an excellent choice for defensive duties, whitetail deer hunting, medium sized game and lots of other stuff besides.
It is also cheap enough to use for target practise, which makes it one of the best 44 Magnum ammo choices.
5. Prvi Partizan 300gr SJFP
- Price per round: $1.10
- Price per box: $55.00/50
- Type: 300-grain Semi Jacketed Soft Point
- Muzzle Energy: 1095 foot pounds
- Muzzle Velocity: 1270fps
Prvi Partizan is one of our favourite low budget ammo suppliers these days.
Since 1928 the Serbian company has produced custom ammunition for target shooting, law enforcement, home defense and hunting applications.
This 44 mag ammo is a semi Jacketed Soft Point ammo and it is still aimed at target shooting. They are still a hollow point bullet, so you can’t use these for range shooting target practise in most places now, but they are supremely accurate and seasoned shooters like them for target practise and live fire.
This is some of the best 44 mag ammo for targets, but you will also get deep penetration with this semi jacketed soft point bullet and that infamous 44 mag stopping power and terminal performance.
This controlled expansion doesn’t go for maximum penetration, because that’s largely a giant hole in the target. Instead this ammo is designed to tumble and rip and that works for hunting, self defense and more.
How’s About a 44 Magnum Lever Action Rifle or Pistol?
You might want to go with the standard Smith & Wesson Model 44 Magnum revolver, but there are more creative ways to enjoy 44 Mag ammo.
The cut down Henry Mare’s Leg is an amazing thing. Steve McQueen carried one in Wanted: Dead or Alive. Now these sawn off Henry lever action rifles are hellafun, and you should have one.
Inevitably the longer barrel on a cut down lever action rifle gives more muzzle velocity, more muzzle energy, deep penetration and stopping power.
Lever action rifles are also readily available in 44 mag,
You can even get Magnum Research Desert Eagle semi autiomatic pistols in this smaller cartridge now.
Other High Quality Handgun Ammo Calibers You Need Now
Now you realize how little of the best 44 Magnum ammo you can actually still buy, it might be time to look at stocking up on 9mm, 45 ACP ammo and other things.
As we said before, Hornady Critical Defense is our favorite if it’s available, for everything except target practise.
Now we have a separate piece on 45 ACP ammo here, and you can get the best 9mm ammo, rifle ammo, shotgun ammo, the top AR-15 ammo, 38 Special ammo, Model 500 S&W ammo, 40 S&W ammo, 44 Magnum special ammo, FMJ target practice ammo, rimfire ammo for hunting small game and lots more in our other carefully considered posts.
Rifle ammo is freely available in most calibers at the moment, apart from the increasingly hard to find 50 BMG, 338 Lapua et al. But even those rifle ammo calibers are available if you know where to look.
Take the lesson from those calibers, though, and stock up on shotgun ammo, rimfire ammo and handgun ammunition, while you can…
Remember that full metal jacket bullets are great for target practise
- High Quality 45 ACP ammo for self defense in 2023.
- 9mm Ammo, the top brands, 115 grain jacketed hollow point, FMJ and FTM bullets for target practise.