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Old August 1, 2011, 01:51 PM   #1
UtopiaTexasG19
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Need Advice On Initial .44 Mag. Bullet Weight

I just pulled my Ruger Blackhawk in .44 mag. out of mothballs after many years and am going over some re-load charts to decide on a initial load for target practice and then eventual hunting small whitetail deer. The charts show bullet weights from 160gr.-355gr. and I need some advice from those who are regular re-loaders what weight range they feel in the .44 mag. would be a good place to start. I remember from years back preferring something in the 240gr. range but my memory is not that good. Another side question...What in the world is the 355gr. used for???
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Old August 1, 2011, 02:35 PM   #2
AlaskaMike
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For me, the answer is a 250 grain Keith style SWC. Many people don't like cast bullets for one reason or another, so for them the answer might instead be a 240 grain JHP. Either one will work beautifully for whitetail deer.

A 355 grain bullet in .44 mag will take up a lot of powder space and will be a pretty slow-mover. I would think it would also penetrate like a Mack truck at short range. For me, the biggest I see as being practical is about 310 to 320 grains.
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Old August 1, 2011, 03:26 PM   #3
GURU1911
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Gotcha covered, mr. Utopia

This one will "git-er-done" for paper-punching, target shooting, & harvesting of texas size wt-deer. Have been shooting this load almost exclusively since 1977, from my 6.5" model 29-2:

240 / 250 grain hard cast lead swc----8.0 grains unique----winchester large pistol primer. Velocity: 950 to 1050 fps depending upon the barrel length.

Hunting only load: 240 grain nosler / sierra / hornady jhp---15.0 grains alliant "blue-dot"---winchester large pistol primer. Velocity: 1350 fps.

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Last edited by GURU1911; August 1, 2011 at 03:41 PM.
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Old August 1, 2011, 05:30 PM   #4
Hog Buster
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I’ve killed a few hogs and deer with this load out of a Model 29 with 8 3/8 inch barrel.

240 gr. JHP or JSP, 24 gr. of H110 or W296, w/ mag primer, fps around 1400.

Be careful, it’s a compressed maximum load and needs to be worked up to.

However, it's pretty much a standard hunting load for the .44 Mag and it’s worked well for me.

For plinking and targets 8 gr. of Unique behind a 250 gr. Keith type SWC will do the trick.
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Old August 1, 2011, 08:07 PM   #5
GeauxTide
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I'm with the others on 8.0gr of Unique with a 240-250 hard cast. I've been using the old 240Remington SP for a long time under 22-24gr of H-110 with good results, also.

One more thing - if you haven't heard of BearPaw Grips, give them a look. I've got them on 3 Bisleys and a SBH and they are the best I've ever used. JB Wilson is extremely pleasant.

http://store.ebay.com/bearpaw-ruger-grip-store
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Old August 1, 2011, 08:17 PM   #6
243winxb
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44 Magnum

240gr Jacketed or 250gr cast. Both bullets will work well with 10.0 Unique or 23.0gr W296 WLP. [IMG][/IMG] Click for larger photo.

Last edited by 243winxb; August 2, 2011 at 12:56 PM. Reason: Made photo smaller
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Old August 1, 2011, 08:23 PM   #7
GURU1911
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The verdict is in !!!!!

Well, mr. Utopia, the jury of your reloading peers have rendered a unanimous "guilty" verdict for a 240 / 250 grain hard cast lead keith-style swc bullet & 8.0 grains of unique for your everyday load.

For a jacketed bullet full-power load, a 240 grain jhp (nosler, hornady, or sierra) sitting on top of a stiff charge of alliant blue dot, 2400, or winchester 296 and ignited by a winchester large pistol primer will fulfill your wildest dreams for hunting any north american big game.

Glad we could assist you with your question !!!!!

Sincerely yours: "243 WIN, alaska mike, hog buster, geauxtide, & guru1911"
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Old August 1, 2011, 09:28 PM   #8
UtopiaTexasG19
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Guru1911, I live most of the year just to the East of you in Brookshire. If you shoot anything over the Brazos River in my direction be sure it's been fluxed real good so it's clean when I collect it and re-melt!
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Old August 2, 2011, 07:19 AM   #9
GURU1911
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MR. UTOPIA

Although i usually aim toward the north, but i get the urge to send one "over the river" i will give you a heads-up so you can see it coming!!! Seriously though, i hope the info that me & the other fellows who lurk in the shadows of this forum, have been helpful to your reloading endeavors.

If i can ever be of service to you again, just "pm" me.

Guru1911----on the west side of the brazos in san felipe.
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Old August 2, 2011, 07:35 AM   #10
Rifleman1776
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You did say "target" use. I load 180 and 215 gr hard cast, Keith style bullets for target use using light charges.
For hunting I like the 245 gr. hard cast Keith style.
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Old August 2, 2011, 07:53 AM   #11
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I use a 240 grain bullet exclusively in the .44 Magnum (or Special). In the Special it's 7.5 grains of Unique for 970 fps, for the Magnum it's 19.0 grains of 2400 for 1345 fps, both as measured from my 7.5" barrel. I can't imagine shooting a jacketed bullet from that revolver.
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Old August 2, 2011, 08:41 AM   #12
UtopiaTexasG19
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The reason I am asking the question is the problem all of us have when casting or just re-loading something new to us. Certain weight ranges just seem to work better in different calibers and going out to buy multiple new powders, bullets, sizers, dies etc., etc. can get real expensive. It would be nice if one sized primer and one type of powder worked well for every caliber but it just isn't so. Using the past experience of others on the forum at least gives me a place to start rather than experimenting at either extremes. I will eventually find what is right for my particular gun and my shooting capabilities but having a ball park figure helps out a lot. I wish the powder manufacturers sold "sample" sized small containers of powder just so one could experiment. Spending $17-$28 for every pound of powder on a new load can get expensive when you find out it just doesn't work in your particular case, especially when one is inexperienced in a new load.
PS- By the way, to any new shooters on the forum. I put this .44 mag. away 30 years ago because of a really stupid error in my judgement when I was in my early twenties and thought I was invincible. Listen up...Wear hearing protection, wear hearing protection, wear hearing protection! Got it?
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Old August 2, 2011, 09:01 AM   #13
dahermit
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A good place to start with hand loading the .44 magnum, is where Keith left off. 22 grains of 2400, standard primer, Lyman 429421 (or equivalent Keith type bullet RCBS, etc.). The was his all-purpose hunting load.
For target practice, plinking, look in the manuals for a light load of Unique and the same cast lead bullet.
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Old August 2, 2011, 10:20 AM   #14
totaldla
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I personally like fodder in 240-300gr weight. I'm cheap, but I don't cast. Hornady 240gr XTP's run $22/100. Leadhead 270gr WFN run $14/100. Oregon Trail 240gr LSWC run $10/100(I pick them up at the store). I use Ramshot Enforcer exclusively now and I don't load "plinkers".
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Old August 2, 2011, 10:49 AM   #15
Edward429451
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I do cast and have 11 moulds for 44 and the weights that get used the most are 245 Keith and the 300 Keith. The 300 actually finishes up ~320 with WW's and I can not imagine ever needing more than that. My goto loads are 19.0 gr 2400 for the 245, and 15.0 for the 300. Work these up and don't start there.
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