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Old May 12, 2002, 08:41 AM   #1
Jorah Lavin
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Help me chose components for .44 special

For my birthday, my wife has offered to buy the stuff I need to add .44 special to my reloading setup.

I'll be reloading for a Charter Arms Bulldog Pug, using a Rock Chucker.

My current thinking is:
[list=a][*]T&T Hard Cast Lead 200 gr bullets[*]Winchester brass (new)[*]Hornady dies[*]Unique powder, starting charge of 6.0 gr[/list=a]

Components are not real common for this round, and I'd have prefered to stick with my W231 but can't find a listing of charge weights for lead bullets... and the Winchester jacketed bullets are 5X the price, so I'd rather stick with hardcast. If I can extrapolate, it looks like a starting charge of 6.8 or so of W231 would be just about right.

I'd appreciate your comments on different/more prefered components, particularly if you can list URLs for sources of supply.

Thanks for your attention...

-Jorah
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Old May 12, 2002, 09:12 AM   #2
Bacchus
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There's an excellent thread linked below for information on the 44 special.

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...hreadid=110516


Personally, I like Hornady's 240 SWCHP. There's also an article in the most recent Handloader magazine about Hornady's bullets.

Can't go wrong with Unique.
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Old May 12, 2002, 09:20 AM   #3
MADISON
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Components for .44 special

When I shoot .44 Special in my 5 1/2 STAINLESS Redhawk, I load:
240 grain Jacketed or Plated bullet; Winchester LP Primers; behind 5.0 grains of UNIQUE for about 600 feet per second.
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Old May 12, 2002, 09:25 AM   #4
Jim Watson
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I think 6.8 grains of W231 in a .44 Special would be too much. I don't have specific load data for W231 and a 200 grain bullet; but Hodgdon's Cowboy leaflet tops out at 5.6 grains of HP38 and by all accounts that is the same powder.
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Old May 12, 2002, 09:56 AM   #5
Tom Matiska
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Consider adding a Lee factory carbide crimp die. My 19 oz Bulldog is harder on crimps than my 3+ pound 44 Mag.

Tom
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Old May 12, 2002, 10:05 AM   #6
Jorah Lavin
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Thanks... particularly for the link, Bacchus

I've not been coming to TFL as much lately, and I missed that excellent thread on the .44 spl from late April. Sorry for the close duplicate.

Looks like most people are shooting heavier bullets than the 200 gr.

Also looks like I need to expand my reloading manual selection past just the Lyman 47th.

A little more research, and I should have it nailed down. If I was reading things correctly, Unique and 2400 seemed to get the most "votes," but I'll need to tally on paper to be sure.

Lyman's lists W231 for accuracy with light loads, and IMR 4227 or Hercules 2400 for heavy loads. Since I've got the W231 on hand for my .45 acp, I probably will start with it, but not until I nail down the right starting charge weight for the hard cast.

T&T also lists a 240 gr SWC bullet... that is pretty durn close to the 230 gr LRN I shoot out of my short-barrel Kimber...

Lyman's also suggests slugging the barrel, so I'll look at doing that, too.

-J.
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Old May 12, 2002, 10:13 AM   #7
Bacchus
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No problem for the link.

My first 44 special loads used Unique and were pretty accurate. I don't remember the exact load, though I remember that it was on the low side. I have a second batch with 2400 but haven't shot them yet. I'll post the results when I can compare them.
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Old May 12, 2002, 10:24 AM   #8
Jorah Lavin
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Just realized I didn't post my purpose...

I forgot to mention that I'm mainly looking for a load to plink with. I carry Winchester Silvertip 200 gr HP "personal protection" load for CCW backup, but for this first batch of reloads, I'm looking for something I can shoot 50 rounds a month out of the Bulldog without hammering the gun more than need be. I know it probably isn't the most rugged pistol ever built.


-J.
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Old May 12, 2002, 01:55 PM   #9
C.R.Sam
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.44special, small gun plinkers, 200gr cast......
Iffen twer mine, would start with 6 gr of unique.

Sam
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Old May 12, 2002, 05:05 PM   #10
Northwest Cajun
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Jorah,
I'll say it agian on this thread,
Try Berry's Electroplated bullets
www.berrysmfg.com
I use the 180gr FP and Bullseye.
They make great bullets
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Old May 12, 2002, 10:31 PM   #11
Mike Irwin
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Don't extrapolate -- 6.8 grs. of 231 sounds way too high.

Hornady 4th edition says that for 240-gr. lead bullets you can go from 4.8 to 5.4 grs.

Use that as starting information for a 200-gr. bullet.

Also, check out Winchester's reloading manual.

I'd think that the Lyman manual should have loading info for this round/bullet weight, as well.
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Old May 12, 2002, 11:46 PM   #12
Jim Watson
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Mike,

Lyman may be part of his problem. They show a max of 7.1 gr W231 and a 200 gr JHP and NO load for W231 and any cast bullet. They are usually pretty sensible but I think they are out of line here for some reason. The Winchester book does not show but the one load for .44 Special - 246 gr LRN and 5.4 gr 231. That agrees pretty well with what Hank Williams writes IN THE LYMAN P&R MANUAL that he loads 5.0 gr W231 and a 245 gr RN.

I would have no qualms about loading a top load for a 246 grain bullet as a starting load for a 200, (5.4 gr, not 6.8) but if he wants published data, Unique or one of the other Alliant powders or something from Hodgdon where they have Cowboy data with 200 grain bullets would be reassuring. In a Charter I would want to start looooow.
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Old May 13, 2002, 05:29 AM   #13
LAH
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Special loads

For plinking loads from your lite gun I'd use 4 grs. of 231 and the 200 gr. bullet. You can go up in charge weight if you feel it's needed.
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Old May 13, 2002, 10:07 AM   #14
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I gotta meet this C. R. Sam character one of these days - - -

- - - 'cause we think so much along the same lines. I don't believe there's ever been a topic on which we've seriously differed.

I do second all he says above. The Charter IS a small revolver. Recoil is pretty brisk even with the factory 246 RNL, a notoriously mild load, when you grew up reading Elmer Keith and Skeeter Skelton .44 Spl load stories.

Jorah, I think your choice of the 200 ST for defense is a good one, unless you're some kind of masochist. And the 200 cast lead with 6.0 Unique SOUNDS real good. Normally, I believe in practicing with a load which is at least somewhat similar to the "working load." I've revised this thinking in recent years, after having an Airweight Chiefs Special in the shop TWICE to remove end shake induced by +P level practice loads. Now, I use gentler loads for practice in my alloy frame revolvitos. I mean, they are NOT used for hunting or silhouette matches.

Again, like C. R. Sam,, I prefer to second-source all loading data. However, I know that considerably more 6.0 Unique with 240 gr. bullets is safe enough in larger revolvers--Just unpleasant to shoot in the little Charter five-shot.

Please let us know your results.

Best,
Johnny
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Old May 13, 2002, 07:30 PM   #15
zeke
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Speer's #13 manual lists loads for cast 200 gn fN using 231. The starting load is 6.0 gns, the max is 6.8 gns. They state their loads are between 11,000 and 15,500 psi

Am using 6.2 gns HP-38 under Magnus 200 lrnfp for 800 fps from 3in 696. Same POI as Speer's 200 GD Blaser load (good 44 sp defense load), which gets 900 fps. Both have very good accuracy.

Recoil is mild out of 696, which is heavier than the Charter Arms.
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Old May 14, 2002, 10:11 PM   #16
Jorah Lavin
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Gents and ladies, I'm cautious by nature and getting moreso

I plan to be around as long as possible to enjoy my newfound passion for firearms, so I'll double and triple check my starting load and work up gradually. I increased my load in my .45 acp LRN just enough to clean up the soot, and have a nice little practice round (but I've been told some people think they are "crisp," )

I'll do much the same with the .44... I don't want the gun or my face in little chunks on the ground.

Will report on how all this turns out...

-J.
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Old May 14, 2002, 10:45 PM   #17
C.R.Sam
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Jorah is like the old bull.

Go gently down and do em all. And yet again.

Sam
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Old May 14, 2002, 10:57 PM   #18
Jorah Lavin
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C.R.Sam, if you are ever down this way, let me buy ya dinner

Or I might even be able to talk my wife into cooking one of her excellente dinners for ya.
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Old May 15, 2002, 12:27 AM   #19
C.R.Sam
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Thankee Sir.

Chance tho that your wife would shoot me on sight and leave you for lettin me in the house.

Sam, I may be old but at least I'm confustipatd.
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Old May 15, 2002, 05:54 AM   #20
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RAMBLINGS

Suggest looking at Penn Bullets (www.pennbullets.com); they offer some excellent choices for .429".

Hodgdon Universal Clays, the modern clean-burning easy-metering to any version of Unique. Virtually the same burn rate, but often more accurate (these two powders are almost the same, but you must try them in your gun).

Redding Profile Crimp die; fairly heavy crimp, will improve consistency, and normally improves accuracy.

CCI or Federal primers.

You may need to try multiple combo's to get the load you seek; don't give up.
Can try: adjusting OAL, W231, HS6 (highly recommend this powder in 'medium' loads), Titegroup, and 700X.

Trim cases when new.
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Old May 15, 2002, 08:15 AM   #21
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Sounds like what you suggested at first will be good to go. Don't overstress the Bulldog too much. They are OK though for standard 44 loads.
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Old May 15, 2002, 10:55 AM   #22
C.R.Sam
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I have found in the .44spec, as in many other calibers, that two tenths of a grain can often make an appreciable difference in accuracy. And since each gun is unique, you get the fun of finding what each one likes.

Tim (WS2) has far more experience than I with the more modern powders but we are lookin for the same result. Gentle and accurate for the little fellers with the big holes.

Sam
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Old May 15, 2002, 11:43 AM   #23
Mike Irwin
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Hate to tell you this Johnny/Jorah, but C.R. Sam doesn't really exist, or at least not as a human.

He's an entity that began as an experiment in cognative team entropy that got loose from the LSU science labs when one of the lab monkeys, which were trained to change the plasma tanks, left the containment field down. Punishment for the monkey was originally supposed to be standing in the corner, but it quickly devolved into a nasty laboratory hazing ritual, resulting in a new and different kind of Rhesus Pieces...

The entity has since gone Louisiana native, and while the LSU research team was sorely cheezed at losing their research subject, they were more interested in getting drunk at Marti Gras than they were in getting the entity back.

No one's really sure just how the C.R. Sam entity became interested in guns. Some thing the entity became paranoid after seeing an episode of "The Pretender" on TV (having lived in a lab, and possibly being chased, easily induced paranoia in the entity). Some think it hid out in the culvert under the road leading into the Bayou Rod & Gun Club. Most, though, just aren't interested enough to care...
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Old May 15, 2002, 12:32 PM   #24
Jorah Lavin
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WS2, Mike I.

Quote:

Redding Profile Crimp die; fairly heavy crimp, will improve consistency, and normally improves accuracy.
They don't show the .44 spl on their site. I'll probably go with Lee Precision, just for the Factory Crimp die.

Quote:
but it quickly devolved into a nasty laboratory hazing ritual, resulting in a new and different kind of Rhesus Pieces...
{ groan }
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Old May 15, 2002, 01:52 PM   #25
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With the cognative part of the experiment failing, the resident agent in charge ordered my infusion meals to be laced with Lesmok powder. Didn't make me any smarter but the powder in the system enabled me to escape. Escape was accomplished by lighting the gasses emmitting from my own body. A huge ball of fire ensued and then an immense cloud of smoke. I disguised myself as smoke and flowed through the bars unnoticed while all around were confused by the occurance.

Since Lesmok has been out of production for lo these many years, I have lost my powers and have been forced to live in the world disguised as a Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

The disguise works most of the time. Except for the times when I get a two pound bag of Rhesus Pieces off the shelf and get to the checkout counter with naught but an empty bag. Being both addicted to and reactive to chocolate, by that time I am glowing like a neon tube and my cover is blown.

Sam..........at times.
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