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Old August 22, 2012, 10:39 PM   #1
czf
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Modern .44 Special Loads

My Dad has carried a Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Special for about 15 years now.

His only other gun is a SBH .44 Magnum.

I've shot his gun more than a few times and liked it,
but have been wondering if there is anything better than a 240 Semi-Wadcutter, or a 210 gr. handloaded JHP
for that gun or other .44 Specials these days.

I've also shot Silvertips and the Federal Lead hollow-point loads as well.

Factory level Cowboy loads seemed pretty tame in all of my guns.

Thats said.

My two favorite bullet these days for 9mm, 38+P, 357 SIG and even .357 Magnum are the Gold Dots
and newer on the market, BARNES X bullet.

Both designs have been proven on the street and hunting fields- with the most data going to the Speer
bullet.
http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/b...-Old-large.jpg
The 200 grain SPEER Gold Dot in .44 Special just looks plain wicked.

Deep and wide cavern for the hollow-point and it's also a bonded bullet that holds onto the jacket for the most part
in testing that I've seen with the larger caliber Gold Dots, or bonded Defense JHPs, ect.

Same bullet- but different names.

Advertised velocity for the SPEER load is 875 fps, with energy at 340 ft/lbs

You can also buy the 200 gr. BLAZER Gold Dot load that's identical in both muzzle velocity and energy.

Know for high-performance ammo:

DOUBLE TAP, steps up to the plate with an advertised velocity of 980 fps for the applicable 2.5 inch barrel, but no energy figures,
however - it should be near the Speer specs.


You can see some other .44 Special loads as well.

240 gr. BBWC and 210 gr. Remington JHP that are both handl-loads with less power than the Speer or DT loads.
http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/b...Ls/DTsmall.jpg
These run about 800-820 fps have always shot nicely through my various .44 Mags and a S&W Model 624 back when I lived in Idaho,
and had both a room and time to reload.

Not too shabby through the Bulldog as well.



In looking at the more expensive but more advanced (according to some people ) TAC-XP load.

It is both longer than the SPEER Gold Dots and the DT Bonded Defense load, but also slower for the 2.5 inch
barrel mark at 900 fps.


Solid copper/lead free technology with a ICBM missile profile- and a deeper cavity than the Gold Dots.
http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/b.../DT-modern.jpg
No need to be bonded...it has 100% expansion and also full weight retention in most media/testing.

You can see it alongside the Bonded Defense 200 grain load a very old SPEER Lawman lead round nose .38 Special
bullet from my Dad's old police K-38 stash of ammo.

We have came a long ways in the past 25 years of ammo evolution and some think the X bullet to be the
zenith in both defensive and hunting ammunition.

Yes, it is more expensive than a traditional JHP, but the cost is coming down a bit..especially for hand loaders.

There seems to be a number of people who shoot and carry it from Double Tap in .380/9mm, .40, .357 SIG, the 38+P/357M

and of course- .44 Special!

Others like it in Cor-Bon DPX or even from Wilson, and love the very adequate/tactical penetration and perfect expansion it provides.

I don't know of any Double Tap defensive shootings with the TAC-XP other than in hunting situations, but the DPX
has performed very well on the streets in actual shootings.

Some savvy cops and ccw holders use DPX or nothing else!


Well, whether you decide Speer or Double Tap GOLD DOTS, you will be getting powerful ammo for your .44 SPECIAL that you can
count on.

Proven Gold Dots bullets that have been dropping bad guys and game for decades!

Or you can choose the BARNES TAC-XP bullet that is gaining steam across the country each day.


Me, I like them both!

I'm hoping to get out and shoot this ammo through the Bulldog, but it might be a while with this heat wave here in Washington state.



For more information:

http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/cat...roducts_id=492

http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/cat...roducts_id=340





Thanks for viewing!

KEV
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Old August 22, 2012, 11:07 PM   #2
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CZF - wow - what a nice presentation and outstanding photos! I have a box of 165 gr. .44 Spl. in Critical Defense, as "just in case" ammo for a single-action beater that I won't risk firing .44 magnums in, but those Gold Dots are just plain fearsome looking, pokin' out of that cylinder.

Thanks much for all that nice work! A relative has a Smith .44 Spl. for a defense gun and I'll recommend the Gold Dots to him.

LOL - I still have an MTM Ammo Wallet full of those same old round-nose lead .38 Speers from around 1973, that I had for my K-38. Another reason to love nickel-plated cases.
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Old August 23, 2012, 12:19 AM   #3
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Thanks, I've been away from .44 Special for a long time, but the .38 LRN
is about 35 years old now.

Back then- the 38 brass would gunk up in a hurry with the leather loops.

I only wish that a person could buy a Bulldog with the XS or or tritium
front sight on it.

That's one reason why I might be saving up for a S&W model 396 Night Guard.

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Old August 23, 2012, 08:03 AM   #4
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Excellent writeup. Im a dyed in the wool SWC guy, but I must say that those rounds do look devastating and look pretty mean in that blued Bulldog.
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Old August 23, 2012, 08:52 AM   #5
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I've been taken with the Remington 240 gr. SJHP (Semi-jacketed Hollow Point) bullet for my .44 Specials. My daily carry load is 6.0 grs. HS-6 for about 1,000 fps.

Very accurate and mild shooting in my Ruger Blackhawk.

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Old August 23, 2012, 10:46 AM   #6
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Now I'm digging through my ancient ammo boxes. The old RNLs are R-P, not Speer, but look near-identical. I also have some soft-nose HP's by Norma and their also-nickel cases look brand-new. Believe all those are from the early '70s. Anyone remember Super Vel from back in those days? I have a yellow box or two of those in .45ACP around here somewhere. They closed up shop in the 1970s but were making some kick-butt ammo at the time.

And the "ammo wallet" is an old brown MTM Case-Gard 18, in much better condition than I am. Back then, speed loaders were great for matches and qualifying but very bulky for just the firepower of six .38/.357 rounds unless you wore a Sam Browne. A flat pack of 18 rounds that wouldn't spill all over the place when opened was a decent way to carry spare revolver ammo.

My wife would think I'm nuts, getting nostalgic over old ammo.

The photo of that .44 Night Guard makes me think I might be one gun short after all.
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Old August 23, 2012, 11:25 AM   #7
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No, nostalgia is a longing for either something you never experienced or something that never existed.

I just looked at the Charter Arms website a while ago. I wasn't sure they were still around and I'm surprised the 9mm Pit Bull is still listed. All of their .44 Specials look like they have a full under-lug barrel. The one in the nice pictures about looks like it could even be a three-inch barrel and is really nicer looking than the current models.
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Old August 23, 2012, 12:44 PM   #8
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I still like the .44S and put one in the truck for travel often. I still use the Fed LHP and WW Silvertips along with handloaded 240gr SWC and a 180gr WC. I have dabbled with most other modern loads but don't see much improvement in performance over the older reliable loads from the shorter bbls. The main advantage of the .44S is the guarantee of a .430" hole in your target. Most of the hotter loads warn against use in the CA Bulldog.
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Old August 23, 2012, 02:20 PM   #9
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My 'modern' .44Spec load is still the o' lead 240g SWC under standard SAAMI load of 6.5g of Unique for my .44Spec Bulldog. For my other .44 special revolvers it is 7.5g of Unique/Universal under 240g SWC. As 'modern' as I need to get .
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Old August 23, 2012, 06:47 PM   #10
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There is NOTHING wrong with a good 240 gr. .44 Spl load traveling at 800 fps. Anybody who tells you it's not enough cartridge is an idiot. Now on the Charter Arms guns if you push one with anything hotter than a standard load you are going to destroy it. Pretty quickly. No, it won't blow up in your hand but it was not made to take the hot stuff for very long. Use of Buffalo Bore and Corbon loads will beat a Chearter to death. It is a lightly built .44 Spl. and attempting to make it into a .44 Magnum is immature and pointless. I have been shooting one since 1987 and mine is still tight and I still love it and carry it quite a lot. But I have watched a number of people beat them to death with stupid handloads and +P stuff. All you really need in a Bulldog is any type of 200 gr. bullet moving at 850 to 900 fps. Trust me, it's enough. It doesn't need to expand or be traveling at the speed of sound when it's punching a hole that size.

Last edited by drail; August 23, 2012 at 06:55 PM.
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Old August 24, 2012, 07:58 AM   #11
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Using a .44 special doesn't guarantee a .430 hole in the target. You first have to hit the target. That's the hard part.
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Using a .44 special doesn't guarantee a .430 hole in the target. You first have to hit the target. That's the hard part.
Also, a .430 hole cannot be guaranteed even with a perfect hit unless a bullet with a good, sharp cutting shoulder like a wadcutter is used. Round nose bullets often stretch rather than crush tissue as they pass through and thus cause a permanent wound channel smaller in diameter than the bullet itself.

My personal preference in a small .44 Special would be the Blazer 200gr Gold Dot as that particular bullet has a good reputation for both expansion and penetration even at low velocity, that loading will not beat up a small frame gun needlessly, and it's about the most affordable JHP loading available in that caliber.
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:57 AM   #13
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In Chic Gaylord's old book about handgunning, he had several photos of corpses with bullet wounds. The difference between wounds (that is, the external holes) were not all that great. Of course, that was a long time ago, and all the exotic bullets were still in the future, along with all those drug-crazed assailants.
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Old August 24, 2012, 01:44 PM   #14
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In my 44 Ruger Bisley, I like 8.0gr of Unique under 240 Hard Cast. I also like 17gr of 2400 under 240 RemSP. With the Bulldog, you're limited to SAAMI standard pressure.
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Old August 24, 2012, 07:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Using a .44 special doesn't guarantee a .430 hole in the target. You first have to hit the target. That's the hard part.
True. And a pound of mashed potatoes with butter and gravy will not add inches to your waist line, unless you eat it.
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:57 PM   #16
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I have an old school Charter .44 that shoots the Gold Dots into a pattern roughly the size of a Volkswagen at 7 to 10 yards. The only loads it likes are the Federal LSWCHP, and the Mag Safe and Glaser frangibles. The Federal is just a big brother copy of the same load in .38, and I can't afford to shoot any more of the frangibles so I go with that and I feel pretty safe. I figure that gun will last forever shooting that load.
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Old August 24, 2012, 09:06 PM   #17
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Plus one on Webley's comments about the 200 gr. Gold Dots. Shoot some milk jugs full of water! I also love the #9 shot for various vermin. Love those .44's!



-7-
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Old August 25, 2012, 05:50 AM   #18
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A7..... That looks like my Taurus, grips and all. I had a hard time finding grips a year or so back but run up on a couple of pair on auction at a good price. I must confess, I put more rounds throught the CA than the 431. I guess because my first .44S was a CA and I like the feel with the Pachmayr
Compacs. The few times I've shot the 431 with cowboy loads it performed well. QC seems to be good on the SS and Blue steel 431s I bought, both used.
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Old August 25, 2012, 07:28 AM   #19
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Nice presentation czf.
Having both a Bulldog, 445 and a half dozen N frame Smiths and several Rugers in 44 special I have been carrying Win Silver tips for 20+ years. I purchased a case of them back in the 80’s and have a few left.
With my experience with the Bulldog shooting more than half a case of those bullets and many others. I don’t think the dog will have a problem with standard SAMMI pressures as long as you stay in the 210 or less GR bullets. The one I own now is as tight as the day it was new.
But I do agree with drail that shooting big heavy bullets in the 240 GR will shorten the life of the gun and shooting +P’s is showing a lack of knowledge. I had a used Blued Bulldog I picked up in the early 80’s and my only load at the time was a stout 240 Gr Semi wadcutter hand load.
I turned it into a hunk of junk that rattled and had about 12 inches of end shake.

Last edited by Ozzieman; August 25, 2012 at 07:34 AM.
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Old August 25, 2012, 08:03 AM   #20
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I have an old 3" CA that has had 5-600 240 SWC over 6.5gr Unique fired through her with no ill effects. Don't know what the future holds for this 30+ year old shooter but I don't think it will wear out in my lifetime with my reduced shooting opportunities these day and arthritis issues. I've never hotrodded the .44S in my 5 shooters, even the Smith 696, or Colt style SAAs. I will stoke the Smith N frames and Rugers on occasion.

Old Folklore: A reputable regional smithy here in the 70s tells of a customer distraught over his uncontrollable CAB. Upon examination found the early piece cylinder were straight bored and the uninformed customer had managed to tap off a .44 Mag factory load in it. Fortunately, no damage for the one shot to the gun or shooter. I would never try to repeat this feat and I know of some who have worn out the CAB with a steady diet of hot handloads. I've noted many mfgs of hotter loads warn against using them in the CAB.
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Old August 25, 2012, 08:35 AM   #21
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You can pick up a good mold and make yourself some nice 44 hpt bullets from soft lead, then load them to a reasonable level in the Bulldog.





This mold from MP Molds is very versatile, with removable pins you can mold solids or 3 different types of hpts. Just use some pure lead with 2.5% tin added and you will be set for 850 fps type loads.
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Old August 25, 2012, 11:24 AM   #22
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Hamor, I'm too old to mess with the hot lead anymore. I have some commercially Lyman mold HP but they are fairly hard and I think would require 1000+ fps to perform well. A commercial caster of these shown would be a good thing.
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Old August 25, 2012, 10:29 PM   #23
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Chesster:

I never really liked those Uncle Mike's. I looked everywhere for the Pachmayr Gripper but couldn't get any at the time. Since then, you can tell my 431 is dirty and worn from being carried so much. It is simply my favorite woods gun. I just never took the time to replace the grips after I got used to shooting it with the UM's. I put Wolff springs in her about 12 years ago and buffed everything inside. It's a dream to shoot, but the XTP's are the hottest thing I run through it.

-7-

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Old August 26, 2012, 11:11 AM   #24
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Well my 44 mag is set up for 100 yards with magnum loads but at 25 yards I get my best groups with these two loads without having to mess with my deer hunting sight setting.





The PMC are a lighter load and easier to shoot but my Hornady are a little tighter and for serious work I would go with them. Depends on what you want to do. Make pretty targets or do some serious damage.

Don't have any loaded right now but my #1 favorite bullet is LSWC loaded to 800 fps, works well for me.
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Old August 27, 2012, 06:15 PM   #25
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IMO... the 200 grain DPX load is the pick of the litter if you want to carry a .44 Special as a CCW revolver.

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