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Old December 31, 2004, 10:57 AM   #1
g_gunter
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.44 Mag Reloading Woes...

Hi all,

I've just got my reloading equipment set up on my bench and have been having a great time with it. I've started by loading the old traditional 250 gr. Keith style bullet from Leadheads over 20 gr. of 2400 using WLP primers using a heavy crimp from a Lee Factory Crimp Die. This is a couple of grains under Keith's later .44 mag loads of 22 grains of 2400 but I thought I'd work up. The current load of 20 grains of 2400 out of my 6" 629 is a bit disappointing for me. Its a bit inconsistent. I can hit a deer with it as it is but 2" groups at 25 yards is not at all satisfactory from a gun that can shoot .5" groups at the same distance using Winchester Supreme cartridges.

Any suggestions for this reloading newbie?

Thanks,

g_gunter
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Old December 31, 2004, 11:50 AM   #2
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Good plan

Sounds like the first step in a good plan. Now continue with load developement by increasing by ½ grain increments up to what you said is max at 22.0 grains.

If, along the way the group tightens up to what you want, then you're home! If not then it's time to try another powder,(assuming you want to stick with the same bullet). H-110 or WW 296 is a standard for the .44 mag. It should be loaded with a mag. primer and the same heavy crimp you're already using. My favorite is Alliant blu-dot. It won't reach the top velocity of the other two, but it's cleaner and uses less to achive it's top velocity.

Another that is said to be good is Hodgdons lil-gun. It was developed for the little .22 shells like the hornet, but it seems to be doing some good work for the .44. I've not tried it yet, mu Ruger SBH has to go back to get a new barrel put on.
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Old December 31, 2004, 02:49 PM   #3
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That load is one of the best I've fired in 44 mag. sixguns. It's true different revolvers like different things, but most of the 44's that's come through the shop will shoot that load in 3 inches at 50 yards. At 25, I'm not sure as I'm not able to shoot an open site sixgun into a 1/2 inch group at that distance.
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Old December 31, 2004, 03:37 PM   #4
Robert M Boren Sr
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Try some Ramshot Enforcer or True Blue. The Enforcer is a better powder for the 44 mag, and it's one of the cleanest powders I've ever used. Good stuff, it's worth a look at.
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Old January 1, 2005, 10:09 AM   #5
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trial

More or less crimp, Redding Profile crimp die, Federal primers, different bullet.

That powder and charge weight range are fine......
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Old January 1, 2005, 02:59 PM   #6
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I am told, and my limited shooting seems to confirm, that the current version of 2400 is NOT what Keith used. It's a good bit faster and that 20 grain charge is all I would wanna use. Doesn't shoot as well for me as the old stuff did, either.

I'm shooting a scoped Marlin 1894 and I am pretty well convinced that you need a gas check bullet for full house .44 Mag loads.
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Old January 2, 2005, 02:08 PM   #7
GlennH
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I quit on 2400 years ago. It was dirty and very inconsistant. H110 or WW296 are the best for heavy loads but I do plan to try Lil Gun soon(my K Hornet loves it). 10 grains of Unique is great for plinking.
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Old January 2, 2005, 08:48 PM   #8
Dusty Miller
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I'll second that suggestion of gas checks for hot loads. If that gun shot straight with jacketed bullets it should shoot straight with cast. If it don't shoot straight with either type you may have a problem with some aspect of the gun. Finally, when shooting cast you need to know your barrel size and and cylinder throats size. The cylinder throats need to be about .001 bigger than the barrel. Bullets need to be sized to bore size. If you don't have a caliper then beg, borrow, steal, or buy one. There are lots of folks here who can give you better info about this than I.
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Old January 2, 2005, 10:14 PM   #9
drinks
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.44

Dusty;
Did you mean groove size?
Don
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Old January 3, 2005, 01:03 AM   #10
Paul B.
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The comments about current 2400 being faster are very much on target, no pun intended. I had to reduce Elmer's old load to 20.0 gr. in my S&W 629, and like others, it ain't what it used to be.
Taker a few of those bullets (not cartridges, just the bullets themselves) and drop them into the chambers as if you were loading ammo. They should be a very snug fit as they slide though the throats or be tight enough that you need a pencil or dowel to get them to go through. If they just fall through, then the bullets are too small. next, drive a slug through the barrel and measure the groove diameter. Could be difficult if you have an S&W as they have five groove barrels, which are, to be perfectly blunt, a bitch to measure. Best you'll come up with is an educated guess. You could try the slug in the chambers and it should slip through fairly easily if the bore is correct.
FWIW, when Alliant took over making hercules' powders, they changed one of the ingredient in the making of the nitrocellulose, with wood fibers (sawdust, if I understand it correctly) replacing the more expensive cotton linters. Now, if it is now being made more cheaply, why did they raise the price? I just had to say that.
I still use #2400 in my .357 mag. loads and for some mid range cast bullet rifle loads , but have gone to W-296 for my full power .44 mag. loads. FWIW, I shoot only my home cast bullets in my 44s.
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Old January 3, 2005, 03:14 AM   #11
Dusty Miller
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Right you are Drinks! Gosh, I shudda used the right terminology! That's why I said there's plenty of guys here who can give better advice! (and now you see why)
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Old January 3, 2005, 10:47 AM   #12
Rmouleart
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I have found using 44mag SRH 7 1/2, using a Hornady 240gr XTP, on top of 24gr win296 old standbye, win brass, CCI mag primer, lee factory crimp(heavy), good to go. I get great accuracy and plenty of poop to expire anything, Im going to hunt. of course if you are stuck on using cast, you may have to play around with different cast bullets till you find the sweat one for your revolver, It will be apparent when you are developing loads, your tightest groups is your best choice, forget about FPS, there is plenty power there even at the start load, get the shot on mark, the bullet will do the rest. Good luck. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.
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Old January 4, 2005, 09:53 AM   #13
g_gunter
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Great replies guys!!!

I appreciate the responses, guys. I'm going to try reducing the load to 19.5 grains of 2400 (load 10 for testing) then will do the same with 20.5 and 21.0 grains to see what happens. I will slug the barrel, as well, and see what turns up in the measurements. It could very well be that my bullets are the wrong size.

I've got a new lb. of W296 that I'm going to be working with very soon after I finish experimenting with the 2400/cast bullet combo. I also plan to try the Lil'gun later on.

Should cast bullets not work out in my particular gun I do have a good standby...its a 240 gr. Hornady XTP over 10.5 gr. of Unique. Its nearly as accurate as the Winchester Supremes in my gun but cheaper to shoot. Very low recoiling load but runs at approx. 1200 fps. Plenty of punch for whitetail.

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Old January 4, 2005, 09:41 PM   #14
drinks
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.44

G;
I do not load the .44mag, but the .44-40, with cast bullets from 200 to 310gr.
Under 240gr, I get my best results, both accuracy and velocity, with IMR4227.
I am using up to 26gr with a 240gr swc with gas check and getting 1650fps with a '92 carbine, no case expansion at the base, I mike every case after firing it.
For the 310 rfn gas check, I am using 19gr H110 and getting1350fps, interestingly enough, the same load with the 240gr gives only 1200fps.
Accuracy was about 3" at 50 yds until I sluged the barrel and found it was .429, not .427, can't chamber loads with .429 bullets, so made the front end .429 and the portion in the case .427, brought the groups down to less than 2" at 50yds, good enough for the deep woods and brush I hunt, 50 yds is about usual range.
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Old January 4, 2005, 10:05 PM   #15
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I'll second the mention of WW296 for full-house .44 Magnum loads. My 629 seems to shoot well with this powder and jacketed bullets. I have yet to really try to see what it will do with this powder and 240gr lead SWCs, but that's most because I am having too much fun shooting this gun with lighter loads. 9.7gr of W231, a WLP primer and 240gr lead SWC to be precise. Very mild and pleasant to shoot and it clocks just over 1100fps from my 6" barrel. With the 296 I have tried 20.6 grains (it's what the disc in the measure threw) with Winchester 240gr SJHP and Hornday 240 XTPs. I may try heavier loads later, but with ~5-6" groups at 50 yards and 1200fps, I don't see much need to change it yet.

Rmouleart, whereabouts in New Hampshire are you?

Edited to add: Someday I will get some of the 255gr Cast Core bullets from LBT to try out. I think those bullets at ~1200-1300fps would be a perfect do-it-all load for the 48 contiguous states in a .44 Magnum.
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Old March 15, 2005, 06:33 PM   #16
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16.8 grains of 2400 behind a XTP 240 gr. Hornady shoots darn near perfect out of my 12 inch Encore. Very manageable and very tight groups.

15 grains of 2400 behind a XTP 300 gr. Hornady shows promise as well from the same gun.

19, 19.5 and 20 grains of 2400 behind a Leadhead Keith 250 gr. bullet are still not as tight. I'm considering lowering the load down to 18 or 18.5 to see what happens.

Don't know the velocity of any of these but hope to chrony some day soon. If any of you have a ballistics program that might estimate it, I would appreciate the help.

Also wondering if powder reduction behind the lead bullet will cause any issues.

I do have to agree there is quite a bit of powder residue from the 2400 left over after each shot.

Thanks,

Mike
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Old March 15, 2005, 09:36 PM   #17
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If you are serious about shooting cast bullets, I suggest you visit Beartooth Bullets (beartoothbullets.com). Marshall Stanton makes some of the finest .44 cal. LBT bullets in the world.
Careful reading also should be done there on the relationship ofbullet sized diameter to chamber throats. The fit there is the most important factor is accuracy.
If you deside on buying a mold, check out Mountain Molds........James
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Old March 16, 2005, 04:02 PM   #18
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I use a Redding Profile crimp, aa#9 or blue dot with good results.
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