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Reduced power .44 Magnum ammo

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by wlc, May 9, 2011.

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  1. wlc

    wlc Member

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    I enjoy shooting .44 Special ammo in my S&W 629. I don't like the mess the shorter cartridges leave in the cylinder. Does anyone have experience with .44 magnum cartridges that are loaded to about Special velocity?

    Thanks
     
  2. chipking

    chipking TS Member

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    Shoot them all the time and love them. My poor old wrists have had far too many magnum loads in my 63 years so now I treat them nice. Loads with Unique, HP-38, 231 or Universal behind 245 - 250 grain cast SWC bullets that produce ~850fps are a real pleasure to shoot and very accurate and you can also go down to a 200 grain cast SWC or bonded bullet at ~900 fps using the same powders for even less recoil and great accuracy.

    --- Chip King ---
     
  3. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    The problem you will run into with that big case is filling up the volume. This can lead to all kinds of potentially dangerous conditions when trying to use just a few grains of fast burning propellant like you might load a .44 special with. So what you need is a real low density propellant. CLAYS will work but don't go under about 5.5 grains and stick to the heavier bullets as they will help take up the case volume.

    If you really want to go into the powder puff lods, try TRAIL BOSS. You can get decent loading density and moderate velocity with this stuff all at pressures similar to black powder.
     
  4. vpr80

    vpr80 Active Member

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    Can you please elaborate why using a high density powder is "worse" than using something like Trail Boss. I was planning on using Clays or Bullseye. Using something like Trail Boss will easily double the cost to reload given the amount of powder that's needed. Thanks
     
  5. 90Tshooter

    90Tshooter Member

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    I have used Clays in the past for light .44 mag loads. I don't recall the amount. I currently load Hodgdon Titegroup in my .357 and .44 light loads. I drop 5.5 grains of Titegroup with a standard CCI primer and a 240 lead bullet in .44 mag cases. I haven't had any pressure problems with this load.

    Joe
     
  6. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

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    They problem you might run into is delayed ignition..from so much space for the powder to orientate away from the flash hole at the moment of ignition...if you use a filler on top of the powder like pillow dacron..you're ok
     
  7. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    There are many commercially made Cowboy Action loads, if you need to buy ammo. If you reload, there are many recipes for similar loads. TrailBoss is a very good powder, since it is very bulky and provides reasonable performance and consistency. The risk of a double load with denser powders is an issue if you don't keep your eyes open. I generally cast my own if I can find the time, but looking at the prices of cast bullets these days, the plated ones are almost even money, along with some of the "Bulk" jacketed ones. There is a LOT of data out there for reduced loads in the 44 Mag. Just be careful about some of the slow powders like H110/WW296. They can be dangerous to use for reduced loads. Trail Boss has been pretty clean in my revolvers. Unique is the gold standard for these types of loads. I found that a good solid crimp can help consistency with some lighter loads and is MANDATORY with heavy loads using slow powders. Before loading a ton of anything, be sure that the cartridge fits the chamber well. Some bullet designs seem to be longer than others and may need to be seated deeper to keep the OAL within specs. Seating depth can also changes pressures dramatically, so take note of what is listed for the load you are using. Using Plated bullets is much cleaner than most plain base lead styles. One manufacturer says to use "lead" data for their plated ones. Heavy Jacketed bullets of some styles can actually shed the jacket in the bore using reduced loads. I've seen this with some "half" jacketed styles.
     
  8. wlc

    wlc Member

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    I have not reloaded handgun ammo for 40 years. Back then I used the Elmer Kieth load with 2400 powder and thought it was great fun but I don't like the recoil anymore. I know I would have more options if I were to reload, but I don't shoot handguns enough to justify it. I may try some of the cowboy action loads, I've shot some in the special loading and they work fine, just a little smokey.

    Thanks all
     
  9. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    VPR80,

    The small volumes of fast burning powder in a big case can lead to a number of problems the least of which will be a squib load which might just result in a bullet stuck in the barrel. On the more serious end there is the 'secondary ignition' phenomina where part of the charge ignites with the primer and then the rest of the charge ignites a bit later resulting in extremely high peak pressures - sometimes enough to blow the gun up.

    Don't think it can happen? Okay there are a lot of doubters out there. But you will probably notice inconsistent ignition if you do try small charges of fast powder in the big cases - particularly if you holster the loaded gun for a while then bring it to the horizontal to fire. Then if you do this enough you will also get a bullet stuck in the barrel at some point and hopefully you will know this and get it cleared out before the next shot.

    I learned about loading the big cases with lite loads in the SASS game with the .45 Colt. This was before TRAIL BOSS was on the market so getting good consistent low vel / lite bullet ammo was a bit of a trick with those big cases. My best solution was to cut the .45 colt cases down to .45 acp length then load them on my Dillon 550 using .45 acp dies and the .45 colt shell plate set up. The equivelent for you would be the .44 Russian loading.
     
  10. vpr80

    vpr80 Active Member

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    Hum....very interesting...I was not aware that it's an issue loading 44's with the fast powders. Something definitely to keep in mind. Thank you
     
  11. oz

    oz Active Member

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    check hodgons.com for data
     
  12. stokinpls

    stokinpls Well-Known Member

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    8-9 grains of Unique under a 240 grain cast lead SWC for about 900 fps. Comfortable to shoot, good accurate plinkin' load, ejects easy, doesn't lead the bore much if the alloy is a good one, and kicks up a lot of dust when it hits. Nearly impossible to doublecharge the case (it'll only hold 19.0 grains) without noticing it, yet at 9.0 grains you get a nice fill for steady ignition. If you can only find 200 grain bullets, you can still use the 9.0 grains and get less recoil and a bit more velocity. Unique used to be kinda dirty, but seems better after 50 years. Good luck.
     
  13. wlc

    wlc Member

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    Thanks everyone, I did a little searching and it appears that I would need to reload to get what I was looking for. I could also just use .44 specials and scrub the rings left in the cylinder or use the cowboy action stuff and put up with the smoke and soot.

    Thanks again
     
  14. uplate

    uplate TS Member

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    Wow, cannot believe some of this fearful negativity. The 45 colt case has more
    capacity than the 44 mag and has been loaded with small charges of fast burning
    powder and lead bullets for many years. Fast powders like Bullseye are easy to
    ignite and give accurate consistant loads when used with lead bullets of normal
    weight and pressures are kept at levels normal for factory loads in the non magnum calibers. A favorite of mine is 6.2 grs Bullseye under a 245-250 gr
    cast SWC in 44 mag brass for 830fps in my 4" S&W 29. I would think by now all
    handloaders know to stick to lead bullets for light loads.
     
  15. shooterIII

    shooterIII Member

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    There is a wealth of information if you Google "44 magmum reduced load"
     
  16. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    Uplate,

    You are describing a normal .44 special equivent type load but not a powder puff by any means. It is the really lite loadings that cause the problems as in 180 gr bullet with 3 to 4 grains of high density fast powders. Normally you wouldn't think there is much use for that kind of load but the SASS crowd goes through lots of that type of stuff.
     
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