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Old May 24, 2005, 08:49 AM   #1
zimm
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44 mag light target load needed

I'm buying my first .44 mag and looking for a good load for it.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to set up my Dillon 550B to crank out the 44 mag with the same bullet, then have a light target load that's accurate and confortable to shoot, then also be able to crank up the power charge (going to a different powder charge will be okay too) for full power loads.

I also want to be able to shoot these through a Marlin rifle when I get one some day.

I don't hunt, this will be used for punching paper at the range. Full power loads carried in the woods for protection.
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Old May 24, 2005, 09:17 AM   #2
brickeyee
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You can always start with .44 special loads.
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Old May 24, 2005, 09:18 AM   #3
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.44 mag loads

I shoot 15.5 grns Blue dot under a 240grn swc bullet that i cast myself. they are very accurate and also pretty heavy. i am about maxed out. if i want a lighter load i move down to about 12grns. as always work up to max loads slowly.
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Old May 24, 2005, 09:19 AM   #4
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We'll need to know what bullet type/weight you intend to use, and what handgun you'll be using it in. The Marlins can be a bit finicky about bullet shape and overall cartridge length, so keep that in mind when selecting a bullet.

A good place to start looking at loads would be:

http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/de...=&Type=Handgun
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Old May 24, 2005, 09:52 AM   #5
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One of the great things about the .44 mag is that you can fire .44 specials in it for light loads. For years I've shot the Hornady 240 gr. swaged semi-wadcutter (Item #11108) over 3.9 grains of Bullseye in the .44 special. This load lopes along at a meager 650 fps from a 6" tube, but punches 1" groups at 25 yards all day long. If I were working it up again today, I would try about 3 grains of Hodgdon Clays, which should perform about the same, but burn more completely. To get the same velocities and pressures in the larger .44 mag case, up the Bullseye to 4.3 grains and the Clays to 3.4 grains. The low velocity with swaged bullets is important to preventing leading.

For a full-house load, I've used the Sierra 250 grain silhouette bullet (item #8615) over 23.0 grains of W-W 296. My Redhawk shoots 1.25" groups at 50 yards (scope sight) off bags with this bullet. Note that Winchester originally recommended 296 be used only at their recommended charge of 24 grains for its 240 grain jacketed bullets, and not to raise or lower the charge. Exactly why this is so, when Hodgdon's near-equivalent H110 has no such special restrictions, I don't know? The 23.0 grain load is one my internal ballistics software suggested to correct for the weight and length difference. I've had this work fine in my gun when the bullets are seated to crimp on the cannelure.

Nick
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Old May 24, 2005, 10:33 AM   #6
zimm
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I plan to get either a 626 S&W or a Ruger super blackhawk. What's the best bullet? I'm looking into a semi-wadcutter hollow point, maybe a 225 or 240 gr? Lead or jacketed, I don't know. What about the plated lead bullets from Ranier? They work good in my .40 Glock.

Will 44 special load data work in a 44 mag case? I don't want to have the issue of fouling in the cylinder with 44 special brass.
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Old May 24, 2005, 11:08 AM   #7
brickeyee
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"Will 44 special load data work in a 44 mag case? I don't want to have the issue of fouling in the cylinder with 44 special brass."

Yes. To get the stated velocity you might need a few more tenths of a grain of powder.
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Old May 24, 2005, 01:25 PM   #8
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I use 6grs of Titegroup under a 200gr RNFP cast lead bullet.
It makes nice groups from my Super Blackhawk.
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Old May 25, 2005, 08:23 PM   #9
zimm
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Okay, I decided on the 629 with 5" barrel. I just ordered brass, dies, etc. from Midway.

I'd like to go with 240 or 250 grain keith type cast bullets. I can go with JHP if I can't find good cast bullets. Are the jacketed bullets easier to clean the bore after shooting?

Now I have to decide on powder. Looks like 2400 or H110 is the recommended heavy hitter powder, but only 2400 is also used in the 44 special loads in the Lyman manual. I'd like to start loading at the mid-top end of the 44 special specrum, and work my way up the mag loads as I get used to the recoil.

Any other recommendations?
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Old May 25, 2005, 09:26 PM   #10
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Zimm,
H110 or 2400 are good powders for FULL power loads in the .44 Mag but W296 works even better for me (255 gr cast bullet at 1400-1425 fps in my 6.5" S&W M629's). Refer to Winchester booklet for specific powder weights.

For target/general purpose loads, I like AA5 powder (210 gr cast bullet at 1100 fps). This shoots really nice in my 5" S&W M629. Refer to Accurate Arms booklet for specific powder weights.

Good shooting and be safe.
LB
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Old May 25, 2005, 09:46 PM   #11
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Zimm, for a Marlin carbine, for a plinking and playing load, 10 grains of HS-7 under a 240-255 cast plain base SWC at least .431 in diameter is as good as it gets. That gives around 1100 fps in a carbine, probably right around 1000 fps in a revolver. Much hotter than that and you have to go to a gas check bullet.

Can't help you on revolvers except that that load is worth trying.
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Old May 26, 2005, 07:47 AM   #12
Al Norris
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Zimm, I have not been loading all that long, so take what I say with a few grains of salt...

For "enjoyable" plinking, I've settled on 240 gr. hard cast SWC from Oregon Trails with 8.5 grains of TightGroup and Win LP primers. I shoot a Vaquero with a 5.25" bbl. This load is very accurate out to about 75yds (the best I can do, as of the moment) and considerably less than full load magnum. This load chronos at 1025 fps +- 12 pfs.

This load also works well in my Marlin 1894SS. I haven't chronoed this with the Marlin, but it's still real mild. At 100yds, prone position, open sites, the drop is just a tad under 8 inches, so I figure the velocity is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1100 fps.

I also make up hunting loads using H110. But for just general fun, I prefer the lower speeds and recoil that I get with TG.

My 2 bits... As always, YMMV.
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Old May 26, 2005, 11:31 AM   #13
MADISON
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44 mag light target load

44 mag light target load
All these loads are with a 240 grain JHP.
For a normally lite .44 Magnum load I use my .41 Magnum load of 17.5 grains of 2400.
For a PPC load I use 5.0 grains of Unique.
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Old May 26, 2005, 12:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Are the jacketed bullets easier to clean the bore after shooting?
Quote:
Any other recommedations?
Every time I shoot lead bullets I always end up with leading in the barrel. So I asked numerous gunsmiths if it is ok to finish up a shooting session with jacketed bullets. In other words, shoot the leading out with jacketed bullets. I have yet to hear a gunsmith say that practice is bad.

However, because of all the press about lead bullets and lead poisoning, I no longer shoot lead bullets. Plus, all of my shooting is now done at an outdoor range (partly for this reason).

I now shoot plated bullets. Either West Coast Bullets or Rainier Bullets. They are perfect for reduced velocities. In fact, I have consulted the CEO of West Coast and he says there is no problem with using lead bullet data.

The only problem is if you try to extract magnum velocities out of plated bullets you might get some slivers of copper in the barrel. I have not seen this, personally.

http://www.rainierballistics.com/loaddataMW.htm
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Old May 31, 2005, 11:22 PM   #15
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unclenick

Back many days ago W296 with a reduced load was making guns blow up. They recomend you only run 296 at near or max load. It was a rare thing to have a gun KB because of 296 and a reduced load. But I think it had something to do with the increased air space in the cartridge.
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Old May 31, 2005, 11:38 PM   #16
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I've taken Lymans 180g WC all the way down to 10.0g 2400...so light there was no muzzle rise.

Unique is a good powder for mid range loads also.
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Old June 1, 2005, 01:33 AM   #17
EchoFiveMike
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Why not just use the time proven Skeeter Skelton load; 9gns Unique and the Keith SWC? Runs about 1000-1050fps from most guns and is quite pleasant to shoot all day. S/F...Ken M
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Old June 1, 2005, 01:37 AM   #18
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I load 8.5 of Unique under a 250 grain Keith style SWC that I cast myself, sized to .430.

Gives me outstanding accuracy from my gun, a SW 29 with 8 inch barrel.
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Old June 1, 2005, 09:57 AM   #19
zimm
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That's my plan- the 9 gr of unique under a Keith 250gr cast bullet. I ordered 500 from leadheads, now I just need the powder. The nice thing is I won't have to change my bullet seating or crimp die for full power loads, just change out the powder in the measure and re-adjust.

Thanks for all the help
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Old June 1, 2005, 10:32 AM   #20
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Be careful to use the same headstamp in each reloading session--unless you plan to trim all of your cases.

The reason is that the .44 Mag functions best with a good, firm roll crimp. Also, I highly recommend RCBS or Lee dies--the expander is of a small enough diameter to ensure a good bullet "pull", referring to case neck tension.

If your case lengths are different, you will end up crumpling a few cases before you catch it. For jacketed bullets, make sure that you crimp firmly into the cannelure.

My favorite powders for the big .44 are:

For light loads:

Bullseye (first powder I used!)
HP38
W231

Midrange loads:
Unique
Blue Dot
Herco

And, for those heavy (really get your attention) loads,

W296
H110

Suggestion:

Order 1000 cases from someone. They'll last you forever! I am still loading off of the original 1000 Midway cases I got in 1986.

Good luck! Now, go forth and make fireballs.
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Old June 1, 2005, 10:19 PM   #21
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Light- W231

Med- HS6

Heavy- W296

You can do it all with these three, and 231 is so versatile that you can really get by with just 231/296.
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Old June 3, 2005, 09:03 PM   #22
billstclair
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I use 7.5 grains of Universal under a 200 grain cast lead bullet (Northeast Bullets) in my Marlin 1895P. It hits minute of clay pigeon offhand at 25 yards. Costs about 10 cents a shot. I've read that IMR's new Trail Boss powder is very accurate, but I have yet to see it anywhere.
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