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Old December 15, 2000, 05:45 PM   #1
CoyDog
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Join Date: December 15, 2000
Location: Wyoming
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I'm working up some 44 SPL loads for use in a S&W 696, and I'm wondering whether the Rainier copper plated bullets should be treated as a lead bullet or a jacketed bullet. My loading manuals don't make a distinction between plated or jacketed.

Also, I'd like to hear about anyone's pet loads for 44SPL using Unique powder.
Thanks, CoyDog
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Old December 15, 2000, 06:32 PM   #2
sw627pc
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Everything I've ever seen says treat the plated bullets like lead. They apparently act more like lead as far as sealing the bore than they do like jacketed. (that's what I would expect given how they're made)
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Old December 16, 2000, 03:14 PM   #3
Johnny Guest
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Favorite .44 Spl load

Warning! WARNING! W A R N I N G !!!!
The following reply contains information concerning handloads which are considerably above CURRENTLY published data.

NOTE: Neither The Firing Line, the administrators, moderators, me personally, nor Aunt Tillie's foster cousin's step-tortoise accept any responsibility for ANYONE's misuse, abuse, reuse or deuse of this information, nor for any damage, injury, death, destruction, maiming, mutilation, fire, flood nor volcanic eruption precipitated by the use or reading of this data. No warranty express or implied. Your mileage may vary significantly.


CoyDog--

I agree that plated bullets should generally be treated the same as hard cast lead bullets. As such, they should develop slightly less pressure with same amount of powder, as they are softer than jacketed bullets.

You asked for favorite loads in .44 Special, so here is mine. As moderator of this forum, I feel even more responsibility than usual to warn people that this is MY experience, in MY guns. I got away with it for many years and continue to use this load, undaunted and unafraid. But YOU use it at YOUR own risk, et cetera, ad nauseam,

240 gr lead semi-wadcutter and seven-point-five (7.5) grains of Unique. Any case, but lately I've used mostly Starline (*-* headstamp) and Frontier. Any primer, but mostly WLP.
I have shot several thousand of this load in several revolvers: S&W 1926 Military--I don't recall model number. Colt Single Action Army. Colt New Service. A few in a Charter Arms Bulldog, but recoil is painful in this little revolver. Some in helping a gunwriter friend evaluate a pre- production example of the current S&W 696 L-frame five-shooter. And in numerous .44 Magnums.

Actually, I've used a lot of 240 jacketed hollow points and solids, and a bunch of Lyman 255 gr gas check cast bullets as well.

None of these loads ever did any damage to any of the handguns. None showed any alarming signs of high pressure. You can tell you're shooting a major caliber load, but it is not painful, other than in the little Charter Bulldog. I have no reservations about passing this information along on THIS forum, when accompanied by proper cautions. I have also loaded and shot several loads with 2400 powder which I would NOT share on this forum. In retrospect, I realize that some were pushing the envelope of safety and causing inexcusable wear and tear on the test gun.

If I were starting over, I'd probably go with Universal Clays for load development, just because it tends to be a little cleaner shooting than Unique. But I am happy with what I have. It is reasonably clean burning. In my guns, accuracy ranges from good to amazing!

Best of luck to you. I hope you enjoy the .44 Special as much as have generations of shooters before you.

And to recapitulate:

Warning! WARNING! W A R N I N G !!!!
The ABOVE reply contains information concerning handloads which are considerably above CURRENTLY published data.

NOTE: Neither The Firing Line, the administrators, moderators, me personally, nor Aunt Tillie's foster cousin's step-tortoise accept any responsibility for ANYONE's misuse, abuse, reuse or deuse of this information, nor for any damage, injury, death, destruction, maiming, mutilation, fire, flood nor volcanic eruption precipitated by the use or reading of this data. No warranty express or implied. Your mileage may vary significantly.

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Old December 16, 2000, 08:13 PM   #4
CoyDog
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Join Date: December 15, 2000
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Thanks for the responses, and the warning. I am new to reloading and inclined to be very careful. I'm not looking to push the safety envelope in my 696, but to develop some accurate loads with a good level of power.

The 44 SPL actually motivated me to buy handloading equipment, since I hadn't found any economical factory ammo. More and more I find myself evaluating guns on the basis of how enjoyable they are to shoot, and the 44 SPL is always a pleasure. I use mine for a trail gun, with a shot cartridge under the hammer during snake season.
Good Shooting, CoyDog
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Old December 16, 2000, 10:56 PM   #5
Stephen A. Camp
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Hello, Coydog! Welcome to reloading. I suspect you'll find that the grand .44 Spec is one of those cartridges that truly benefits from judicious handloading. Having shot quite a few of the loads mentioned by Mr. Guest, I can attest to the fact that with decent placement, they'll "handle" any critter needing "handling" in Texas. Best.
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Old December 17, 2000, 08:35 AM   #6
zeke
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CoyDog-Speer's 200 gn jhp (it's a Gold dot, but not listed as such in catalogs)gives excellent accuracy in the 696 i have experience with. Midsouth also lists CCI blazer ammo loaded with it for $13.82/box of 50. This is the only factory loaded ammo - pistol combo that haven't been able to best in handloaded accuracy (yet). The CCI Blazer load gets Approximately 900 fps out of 696, while being downright pleasurable to shoot.
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