The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old January 17, 2006, 03:09 PM   #1
samoand
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 1, 2005
Posts: 211
input needed: developing '44 load for a rifle

Good time of day, Gentle folks.

I might go on a mission to develop ideal 44 mag load for a rifle from commercially available components, with "ideal" being defined as giving projectile highest momentum. Why momentum? Because it seems to be the best "compromise" metric to balance stopping potential and longer range shooting, taking velocity and weight of projectile equally into consideration.

I have browsed around a bit and realized that even though people tried to develop such loads, the results are still inconclusive. Browsing, however, gave me some ideas about restrictions of the project:

1. Weight of projectile would probably be around 270 gr. In other folks efforts, these numbers seem to produce highest momentum. Although it may be anywhere from 240gr to 300gr.
2. Projectile has to have at least velocity of 1600 fps, otherwise 1:38 rate of twist in most rifles won't let to stabilize it. With length of projectile already being somewhat limited by req. 3, velocity (and therefore rotation speed) is single most important factor to set it stable.
3. Load has to be SAAMI complient, otherwise most rifles won't cycle it.
4. Powder has to be slow burning, possibly slower than traditionally used for heavy projectiles in 44, to take advantage of longer barrel.
5. Because of req. 3 and limited volume of the case, this slow burning powder has to have very high density.

As easily seen, some of these requirements are contradictive in nature; that's why developing such load might be a dead end proposition. Therefore, before I even get to the reloading bench, I'd like to solicit input from more experienced folks. That might save both time and $$$. Another reason is, I would probably attempt to look at powders that are not traditionally used for '44, with limited reloading data for this caliber, yet would like to come out of this project unhurt and not having any of my weapons blown up.

In particular, I'd like to look into using AA1680 loaded up to the max. It seems to satisfy the reqs (slow and dense); it's said to have been developed for 7.62x39 which is in many ways very similar to '44 for reloading purposes. Please provide your input if you ever experienced with it.

Or any other powder not traditionally used for '44, or just on the borderline. The reason I ask about "nontraditional" powders is because data for traditional is readily available from most manufacturers; yet they all seem to view pistol caliber rifles as only a subset rather than a new thing, none of them even consider crossing the line in their testing.

Anyway, speak out. All comments are welcome.

Best regards.
samoand is offline  
Old January 17, 2006, 11:27 PM   #2
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,257
I ran powder tables in QuickLOAD based on the 270 grain Speer Gold Dot and a 250 grain Sierra Tournament Master and also tried a 240 grain Speer soft point and a 300 grain Sierra soft point. These were seated to max overall length and with a variety of case water capacities (bigger is better here, so get the lightest weight commercial cases you can). The 250 and 270 were the better performers.

The table results showed 296/H110 was the top powder every time (Hodgdon tech told me these are the same powder from the same plant shipped in differently labeled drums). From an 18" barrel the 250 and 270 grain bullets produced 1670-1833 fps in maximum pressure loads depending on case capacity and whose maximum pressure standard I employed (C.I.P. or S.A.M.M.I., 40,600 and 36,000 P.S.I., respectively). In any event, one of these powder designations is what you want to use. Pick whichever costs less at the moment.

The 300 grain bullet requires a 24" barrel and the higher C.I.P. maximum pressure in a large case to just barely make it to 1600 FPS. That is a bit close for comfort. The advantage from attempting it is the high sectional density of that bullet will retain both more momentum and energy out to 300 yards than the other two. However, if you go down to an 18" tube, the only way to get that speed is with the greater powder capacity allowed by the 250and 270 grain bullets.

The 250 grain match bullet retained more energy (5%) and had 75" of drop verses 86" for the 270 grain bullet at 300 yards from an 18" tube. The 270 won on retained momentum only, being 11% greater than the 250 at that distance. This might not look good for the 270, but that thin skinned target bullet (the only 250 grain .429 in my database) probably performs better than other shapes will. A 240 grain soft point just didn't keep up energy or momentum out to distance, owing to geometry.

For shorter ranges this question of energy matters a bit more. The shorter the bullet, the lighter it is and it has less ability to retain momentum over a distance, but it does allow more powder capacity when it is seated. The energy at the muzzle comes from the powder burned behind it, and in this case the 296/H110 burn fast enough to have good ballistic efficiency even in a carbine, so the light bullets will get you more energy up close. The difference declines with distance.

The bottom line is, you will have to choose a barrel length and a maximum distance to define what bullet is best.

Nick
Unclenick is offline  
Old January 18, 2006, 12:16 AM   #3
Leftoverdj
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 15, 2004
Posts: 934
I've shot my share of WW 680 and WC 680 and they are too slow for your purposes. My lot of WC 680 gives the results predicted for AA 1680 which is mighty close to 4198 rates. I don't think you are going to beat H110 for top loads for the .44 Mag., even in a carbine.
Leftoverdj is offline  
Old January 18, 2006, 05:08 PM   #4
samoand
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 1, 2005
Posts: 211
Unclenick, Leftoverdj:

Yes, I'm well aware of restrictions and inherent contradictions of the project; like mentioned earlier it might be a dead end proposition. In fact, both your comments and also feedback I got on Marlinowners lean me towards this conclusion.

The reason I thought about doing it are following:

1) I'm "one gun" kind of person when possible, and my Ruger '44 is an amazingly handy little rifle. It would be really cool to find it's max potential.
2) This is a fairly generic problem. Pistol caliber rifles come in different calibers yet 5 listed restrictions, except possibly rate of twist, apply to all of them. This might be a cool semi-scientific project.
3) Pistol caliber rifles occupy an interesting niche. They are recognized enough to have market and following, yet probably not popular enough to justify extra expense in development and testing for leading powder manufacturers. However, tackling some other challenge for a different caliber, they might've already come up with a powder that, as a side effect, would also be a perfect fit here (that thought lead me to another, to look at more popular rifle cartridges with similar issues, which pointed at AA1680 - that's why I mentioned it in the first post). The solution might be there and just awaits to be found, and if so, the solution would not be a pistol powder.

It appears though that this project has fairly low probability of success. Being practical, I decided to put it on hold until stars align in a perfectly favorable way, i.e. until I will have incidentally collected all necessary components by reloading bench and have nothing better to do.

Leftoverdj: I heard somewhere that AA1680 was one reason why WW680 was discontinued (almost identical). Is there some value to this, or am I totally off?

Unclenick: Special thanks for running these numbers. I never heard of QuickLOAD (I do now. Is it available for download anywhere? Sounds too good to be free.)

Best regards!
samoand is offline  
Old January 18, 2006, 05:15 PM   #5
Ultima-Ratio
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 227
H-110/WW-296 Or?

IME AA-1680 is a bit slow, Lil Gun will out perform H-110/296 at less pressure.
Ultima-Ratio is offline  
Old January 18, 2006, 09:54 PM   #6
Leftoverdj
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 15, 2004
Posts: 934
Sam, at an informed guess, WW 680 was a spinoff from a military contract. WW was making the stuff anyway and decided to add it to their canister lineup. Sales could not have been very high since it is such a specialized powder. If the military contract came to an end, and it must have since there is an abundance of WC 680 on the surplus market, and AA 1680 was competing in the canister market, it did not make sense for WW to keep it in their lineup.
Leftoverdj is offline  
Old January 19, 2006, 12:18 AM   #7
onlybrowning
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2005
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Posts: 272
I have read in numerous sources that it is a myth that a longer barrel has anything to do with the useful burn rate of a powder. No matter if the barrel is 16" or 22" or 6" the powder used will be the same with all else being equal. This shows that your idea for use of a different powder because it is a rifle is not valid. I have not personally tested this and am not an expert in the subject, I am just relaying information.
onlybrowning is offline  
Old January 19, 2006, 02:37 AM   #8
samoand
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 1, 2005
Posts: 211
> I have read in numerous sources that it is a myth that a longer barrel has anything to do with the useful burn rate of a powder.

mmm.. and that's why we use slower powders in rifles than in handguns? not sure what you mean. Cheers!
samoand is offline  
Old January 19, 2006, 03:14 AM   #9
Crosshair
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 16, 2004
Location: Grand Forks, ND
Posts: 5,320
The 44s powder capacity is the limiting issue here. The advice above is good advice. AA-1680 works best with heavy 44 bullets, you will likely want to upgrade to 300+ grain loads. (If they work in youre rifle) AA-1680 can be had for very cheap from surplus powder dealers. The only downside is that you might sacrifice velocity in a revolver. I would try AA-1680 and see what you get out of youre gun. As a plus, the slow burn rate means that you may be able to use lead bullets at higher velocity. (Carefull for leading.) From what I understand, AA-1680 performs very well when moderately compressed. (Like Blue Dot) Be carefull not to compress the powder too much though. That part is more of an art than a science.
__________________
I don't carry a gun to go looking for trouble, I carry a gun in case trouble finds me.
Crosshair is offline  
Old January 19, 2006, 09:27 AM   #10
onlybrowning
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2005
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Posts: 272
I was not aware that it was common to use a different powder for a 44 rifle than a 44 pistol. I do know, however that we use slower burning powders in rifles because most of the cases are bigger, which allows a larger capacity of a slow burning powder for maximum velocity without increasing pressure beyond safe levels. I also got that info from reliable sources and if you choose not to use it as a reference that is your perogative.
onlybrowning is offline  
Old January 19, 2006, 11:56 AM   #11
samoand
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 1, 2005
Posts: 211
onlybrowning

I wasn't in any way sarcastic or negative, just thought that due to wording I misinterpreted your message.

As to differences - yes, even in a given caliber (although I meant it in broader way). Hodgdon has performance data both for rifle and handgun in 44. Many powders are used in performance data for handgun yet aren't considered for rifle (too fast, not much gain)
http://www.hodgdon.com/data/pistol/44remmag.php
vs
http://www.hodgdon.com/data/rifle/44magrif.php

The idea would be to find a powder dense enough (to meet limited case capacity) yet slow enough (to take full advantage of extra inches)

This discussion makes me believe that it might be impractical to undertake the project, at least at this time. I'll probably still experiment with different pressures in 1680.

Crosshair: yes, heavier bullet is a plus. Unfortunately, it also introduces issues with slower rate of twist (restriction #2 in first post) Just in case life wasn't easy enough
samoand is offline  
Old January 19, 2006, 12:45 PM   #12
Crosshair
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 16, 2004
Location: Grand Forks, ND
Posts: 5,320
Yea, I was aware that the heavier bullets would bring the rate of twist into play. But, it would not hurt to try it and see what happens.
__________________
I don't carry a gun to go looking for trouble, I carry a gun in case trouble finds me.
Crosshair is offline  
Old January 20, 2006, 08:33 AM   #13
onlybrowning
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2005
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Posts: 272
No worries I am now informed about the load data differences. Cool. Makes me wonder...
onlybrowning is offline  
Old January 29, 2006, 03:45 PM   #14
Mannlicher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 8, 2001
Location: North Central Florida
Posts: 2,971
For what its worth, I have been loading the Speer 270 grain GDSP for many years now. The powder that works best for me, (in loads for my 1894 Marlin, with 20 inch barrel) ,is 21 grains of H110. I get a pretty consistant 1540 to 1550 fps, and exellent accuracy. This load has accounted for a lot of hogs, and several whitetails.
__________________
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.".........Ronald Reagan
Mannlicher is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:56 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.11013 seconds with 7 queries