Bullet Pull, Heavy 44 Loads, and Light Weight Guns

If you are going in to harms way, obviously it would be wise to put fresh ammo in the gun (visually inspected anyway). If that is not an option, then at least look at your ammo in the crimp groove area and don’t use any that seem to be coming apart. If in the back country with a combo that is prone to bullet pull issues, (heavy bullet hand loads or lower quality ammo, you could have bullet pull issues in even standard weight guns, it has been fairly common with hot-n-heavy 45 Colt) and you have a limited supply of ammo (I will gladly sell you all the best quality ammo you can pay for!). It might pay to dump the rounds you don’t plan to shoot out of the gun, (you must have cases, loaded or not, in front of loading gate of late Blackhawks to avoid derailment) if you are just finishing an animal or busting a rock, just to save the beating on the integrity of the loaded ammo. At a given power level, the elements of the cartridge integrity, as it concerns bullet pull, include but are not limited to; bullet alloy, bullet heat treatments, bullet design, bullet weight, neck tension, crimp die design/application, case thickness/quality and intensity of load, chamber dimensions and gun weight. A heavy bullet load in a lightweight gun makes for a great horsepower to weight ratio and good bullet puller. If it is life and death, using high quality ammo and paying attention is key. Personally, if I was going to carry a model 329 in griz’ country, it would have our 310HH in it (already did it!). If I was in griz’ country with a .44 Ruger Alaskan, it would have our 330HH+P in it. But that’s me and I may deal with recoil differently then you.

Now what about that recoil thing? First off, the Ruger Alaskan in 44 Mag is not really a ‘light-weight’ gun and its short barrel cuts power quite a bit. This is why I would use our 330HH+P, because it is still going between 1000-1100fps (did I mention it is my favorite 44 load?). The Alaskan I used for testing was noticeably milder on the hand than my standard 5-1/2” Redhawk. Partly because of grip design and partly because the short barrel lets a bit of horse power get away and losing approx. 300fps to have a 3” shorter barrel is a good trade for some people.

The Scandium 4” model 329 S&W is another animal and I would still have mine if I spent a bunch of time in the high country wilderness fishing. Much lighter than my beloved Redhawk, and noticeably lighter on the belt then my well-worn 629 4” Mountain guns. This lightweight kind of has a sting to it, (a bit startling to some folks), because of its light weight, it comes back in the hand at a higher velocity, but because it has so much less momentum it is easily stopped. What I am getting at is that if the shooter is a skilled and experienced big bore revolver combat shooter, he will probably be able to shoot ‘well’ faster with a 4” 329 than a model 29 or Redhawk. Get a firm grip and get behind the gun; you will be surprised (after all the “you can’t” make quick follow up shots b.s. on the internet) how fast these lightweights get back on target.

Pay attention and bullet pull will not stop your gun with Garrett ammo. If you leave a round in the cylinder and start shooting with that round in place, I guarantee it will eventually let go, or pull enough to stop the gun. In a test I ran for Randy’s benefit back when the 329 and 4” 44RH’s were still pretty new, it took just over 30 rounds in both the 329/310HH and 4”RH/330+P combos to stop a gun with bullet pull. I believe any handloader will have trouble duplicating such good results. There you have it. The Redhawk Alaskan was surprisingly mild and the 329 S&W was surprisingly fast back on target. Garrett has ammo to work in both of them!

-Ashley Emerson