240gr XTP bullet 12.6grs of Unique with a fed primer. This load still has some reoil but I found that it works well in my 44mag hand gun for punching paper. I have also have used this load to drop some OH coyotes and TN wild bore. I have also used this load to hunt OH deer on gun season.
44's are generally target grade guns. I would use the Magnum hull for best accuracy.
A well made bullet with a consistent powder will give you great accuracy. I would use hulls with the same headstamp, and load it with the same care we use when loading our 45 Wadcutters. A heavy crimp is not needed for light loads. Just get rid of the bell in the case for positive chambering.
My go to load is 6 gr Titegroup, Red Dot, Clays, etc. Also 8 gr of powder in the Unique class will work. I shoot Rugers and use Ruger-Only loads in them with the Nosler 240 gr HP and either H110 or 300MP by Alliant. The 300 is much faster than most other powders in the big gun, with an obvious increase in recoil.
I consider powder a fuel, like gasoline. I do not see a "magic" combination for handgun accuracy.
For the best Machine Rest accuracy, a Match grade jacketed bullet is the ticket. For serious plinking, a well made 200 gr Cowboy bullet by Missouri Bullet Co will please you.
I have loaded the 44 Mag since 1958, and am still impressed at its versatility.
Match heavy loads to the gun system. The Smith & Wesson will not stand up to continued use of loads suited for Rugers and other, more robust gun systems.
Personally I have not seen a factory 'light' load. The lower bullet weights like 180 gr kick less than say factory 240 but 44 special fits what you should be considering. They won't work in the Ruger 44 mag carbines however because not enough power -
As was stated previously, 44Spl make nice paper punchers in a 44mag, but the best alternative to loading your own would be "Cowboy/SASS loads" similar to those offered by UltraMax or BlackHills. Most of these are low recoil loads intended for plinking and SASS (Cowboy Action) shooting. Midway, Brownells, Cabelas, and Sportsman's Guide carry some version of it, by one vendor or another.
BTW, for the cost of a couple/3 boxes of these, you could be loading your own using a small single stage press or even the Lee Loader setup.
Bitterroot Valley makes a 240 gr. swc lead load that is supposed to be about 1000 fps. I've shot a few hundred with good results. Georgia ammo also had a similar load with plated bullets. I had some problem with the plating peeling when fired and the expected accuracy issues.
I realize you are looking for factory light loads. I'm not real sure on what's out there as I pretty much quit buying any factory loads for the .44. I actually reload .44 Mag for my T/C Contender. The .44 Mag is one of those calibers that you can really save a considerable amount by reloading. Factory ammunition for it no matter the maker is quite expensive.
I loaded some 180 grain Hornady XTP bullets with Green Dot powder and they were pretty mild compared to some of the heavier grain II thumper bullets I have tried. 180 grain bullets are pretty darn light for the .44 Mag.
I presently load and shoot two loads in my 44mags. Both are accurate and comfortable to shoot. My powder of choice is Universal clays for both. Quality 240 gr SWC behind 8.0 grains of Universal and 7.8 gr. of same with a 200 gr. LRNFP Laser-Cast. These are also my hunting loads for deer and antelope.
When I was shooting SAS I loaded my 44's with 6.0 gr. of W-231 and the 200 gr. Laser-Cast. This is a very mild load.
Do you have a friend that could load for you? If you shoot very much, it would definitely be much cheaper and being able to taylor a load that you are comfortable shooting will make that 44mag much more enjoyable to shoot.
Good luck with finding the load you are looking for.
If one does not wish to reload, Cowboy loads in the Magnum brass, or 44 SPL loads are going to run around 80+ cents a shot. That is almost FIVE DOLLARS per cylinder full.
Loading the big bores is a necessity if you want to shoot it more than once a month or so.
I must repeat what I said about the versatility of the round. With the right ammo, an eight year old can shoot it. With the right ammo, it can harvest an elephant (not that I would care to try, 44's have been taken to Africa and harvested the Big Five)
new ammo is running 50 to 60 cents each now. Up until the big rush I could get it for about 33 cents a round. I have a comericial reloader here that is just gearing up to load it and he thinks he can be under 40 cents a round.
Ultramag and HSM both manufacture Cowboy Action loads for the 44Mag. Most mail order companies have those and a few others available. One of the UltraMag 240 grain lead loads clock around 750 fps. I had a box of these recently and they were more like a mild 44 Special load. Light enough for comfortable plinking. I would look at most of the Cowboy Action Loads that are available.
Unfortunately, factory ammo is at a premium these days. Reloading your own will save a bit of money in the long run. Casting your own bullets can save quite a bit more, depending on your source for bullet metals. I usually roll my own and use a 200 grain cast bullet over whatever powder is appropriate for the performance I want. I've used a lot of Bullseye, W231, Red Dot, Trail Boss, and Unique in the light loads. Tightgroup also works well and is pretty consistent in the large magnum case. I use full length 44 Mag cases, since I don't like the ring that gets left in the cylinders from the shorter 44 Special shells.
Don't load a lot or buy a lot of one load until you have had a chance to try them. Sometimes leading can become an issue or you may find they don't perform as expected. In that case, Plated Bullets are a good option as well. Berry's and Rainier both make decent plated bullets. There are a lot of manufacturers of plated bullets that would be suitable. There are a few custom loaders that can load plated bullets for you.