The Firing Line Forums

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old October 16, 2012, 01:03 PM   #1
er775
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 9, 2011
Posts: 129
loads not grouping, need advice

Im shooting a s&w 629 in 44 mag with 6.5 in brl, I loaded up some hornady 240 gr xtp with 10 grns of unique using new starline brass and federal large pistol primers, col is 1.60 with what I would call a light/medium crimp

I just took off the red dot sight that was on it ( never sighted it or shot with it) and replaced with the factory iron sights, I am going to use this weapon during deer season and where my stand is located my shots will be 50 yards and under, since the thing weighs a ton as it is and with the added weight of the red dot I decided to go back to stock sights.

I went out to shoot today and the holes were all over the target there was no consistency at all, not even close to a group,,the first two shots where within a half an inch of each other dead on with the bullseye and just to the left (shooting at 45 yards ) the rest of them went all over the place. I was using sand bag rest and felt very confident in my shooting, but they were so all over the place there was no way to tell what was going wrong.

Any ideas????

Im thinkin of ditchin that load combo and tryin something different

maybe try lil gun powder, cci primers and winchester brass..really want to stick with the xtp bullet tho
er775 is offline  
Old October 16, 2012, 01:11 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,791
This is a near max load, did you work up to it?

Do you have a history of reasonable accuracy with irons sights so as to remove yourself reasonably as the problem?

Did you check to make sure that the sights are installed properly and are solid, not moving, bouncing around?

Is the barrel clean of any lead deposits, or even copper, from previous loads?

Do you have another known accurate load that you can try to make sure it's this specific bullet or powder choice that's the problem?
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old October 16, 2012, 01:22 PM   #3
er775
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 9, 2011
Posts: 129
sights are good and solid, I worked up these loads about a month or so ago, unfortunately I dont have anything else to compare it to as the only other loads I have shot thru it were some winchester 240 grn soft points that i got from the store when I bought the gun,,,those things were sooo harsh I could only shoot about 15 of em and decided to buy dies and stuff to load my own, the first loads i worked up where under the max at 9.4 grns of unique and they didnt really group any better either,,they were a little better but not by much..and gun was clean, Im pretty anal about cleaning them as soon as I get home from shooting

Last edited by er775; October 16, 2012 at 01:32 PM.
er775 is offline  
Old October 16, 2012, 01:37 PM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,791
Did those factory loads group reasonably well?
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old October 16, 2012, 01:48 PM   #5
er775
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 9, 2011
Posts: 129
unfortunately yes they did well, the only time i shot those was the first time I shot the gun and was just playing around with it and was bouncing a pop bottle around on the ground. but the recoil on those were like I said pretty harsh and 15 of them was all I could handle, but that was with a set of the wood grips that were a bit big for my hand, I have since replaced them with the hogue rubber grips,,but I dont know if that would help with recoil or not
er775 is offline  
Old October 16, 2012, 02:31 PM   #6
Sevens
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 28, 2007
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 9,196
I will second the notion that the bottom-priced Win White Box .44 Mag, 240-gr JSP loads are outrageously harsh. I have worked up some very harsh 240gr JHP handloads with Nosler bullets and a heavy dose of Alliant 2400 and they do all that you can ask from a .44 Mag and a 240gr JHP, and they seem to be NO MORE HARSH than those damn WWB rounds.

Advice: if you are looking to try a different powder, get some Alliant 2400 rather than Lil'Gun. Lil'Gun has gained a reputation for serious erosion. I'll suggest you do a google search on the effects of Lil'Gun on big bore revolvers.

I do NOT have any personal evidence to share, I don't know if it's limited to big bore guns, if it's limited to revolvers, and NO, I don't know how accurate the rumors are, I absolutely suggest that you don't take my word for it but do your own research.

Alliant 2400 is a fine powder for .44 Magnum.
__________________
Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.
Sevens is offline  
Old October 16, 2012, 02:57 PM   #7
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,494
. . . And did the dot sight do better for you? All it takes to put shots all over the place with iron sights is to let your focus drift forward of the front sight. It's a very common error with iron sights. Your focus drifts out part way toward the target because that gives you a sharper view of the target and it seems like a better compromise. What is easy to miss is that when you do this the rear sight becomes so blurry that you really are no longer able to determine whether or not the sights are accurately lined up. You think you can, but you can't. So, all focus on the front sight. These days I have to wear glasses to focus on a front sight well. A 1 diopter lens is about what it takes to move infinite distance focus to the front sight.

The rubber grips have always helped me with single-action handguns because they stop the recoil from shifting the grip in my hand. The actual recoil is not reduced, but the perceived recoil is.

I'd recommend trying the Federal made American Eagle factory rounds for comparative testing. I've had spectacular accuracy from them and don't recall the recoil being anything special for a .44 Mag.

If in doubt on the cause of the scatter gun groups, I'd maybe consider putting the dot sight back on. The added weight is a nuisance in transport, but that weight will help absorb recoil, too. More importantly, it'll eliminate the focus issue so you can be sure that's not the problem.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old October 16, 2012, 03:08 PM   #8
er775
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 9, 2011
Posts: 129
Never did shoot it with the red dot on it,,Gonna pick up some factory stuff tomorrow and see what happens, ( not that crap in the white box!!! )

when sighting the only time the target is clear is when I first line up the sights on the target, then shift my focus to the front sight, front sight clear,
target blurry,,

would you recommend the american eagle brand for hunting?

Thanks for the info guys
er775 is offline  
Old October 16, 2012, 09:12 PM   #9
Gdawgs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 1, 2009
Location: Hutchinson, MN
Posts: 593
It is possible that for whatever reason, your gun doesn't like that load. When I first got my BFR, I loaded up some 45 Colt rounds with 255 lead bullets and 10 grains of Unique. That shot all over the place(and I mean all over the place). At 20 yards I would be hard pressed to get more than one on a piece of paper shooting off a rest. For whatever reason, that gun will not shoot straight with 45 Colt brass and Unique powder. The bullets tumble in flight so accuracy is horrible(I knew they were tumbling becuase some of the bullets were going through the target sideways-keyholing). That same load in my Super Redhawk works just fine. Winchester 231 and Trail Boss powders work just fine with 45 Colt brass with the same bullet out of the BFR.

So you may just need to do more playing around. I have used quite a bit of Lil Gun and have had good results with it. So if you already have some, give it a try. But there are many other good powders as well, 2400, W296/H110, IMR4227, etc.
Gdawgs is offline  
Old October 16, 2012, 10:40 PM   #10
WESHOOT2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 20, 1999
Location: home on the range; Vermont (Caspian country)
Posts: 14,270
clues

Try HS6 or AA9 with that bullet.
Try a Redding Profile Crimp Die, medium/firm.
(Did you first size your new cases?)
Try shooting a larger number of fouling rds first before shooting groups.
Try a different bullet.
Try L'IL GUN if you already have it.

DON'T: switch cases / primers.
__________________
.
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
WESHOOT2 is offline  
Old October 17, 2012, 11:10 AM   #11
oldpapps
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 22, 2011
Location: Middle America
Posts: 480
" er775

loads not grouping, need advice
Im shooting a s&w 629 in 44 mag with 6.5 in brl, I loaded up some hornady 240 gr xtp with 10 grns of unique using new starline brass and federal large pistol primers, col is 1.60 with what I would call a light/medium crimp

I just took off the red dot sight that was on it ( never sighted it or shot with it) and replaced with the factory iron sights, I am going to use this weapon during deer season and where my stand is located my shots will be 50 yards and under, since the thing weighs a ton as it is and with the added weight of the red dot I decided to go back to stock sights.

I went out to shoot today and the holes were all over the target there was no consistency at all, not even close to a group,,the first two shots where within a half an inch of each other dead on with the bullseye and just to the left (shooting at 45 yards ) the rest of them went all over the place. I was using sand bag rest and felt very confident in my shooting, but they were so all over the place there was no way to tell what was going wrong.

Any ideas????

Im thinkin of ditchin that load combo and tryin something different

maybe try lil gun powder, cci primers and winchester brass..really want to stick with the xtp bullet tho
"

My first thought is something is loose, yet you have stated that the sights are tight. Next option is the shooter. If the first two were " within a half an inch " and the loads are getting close to the hot side.....

What I would do:
I don't know your powder selection, so. Load up 12 rounds with the same stuff you have but load them on the light end. Don't know what grips your 29 has, maybe a golf glove. Try this 12 rounds. If still not grouping, look to other options. I like Star brass, I use what ever brass I can gather, but do sort it. I use the same bullet some times. I have no problem with the primers or powder, don't use either (CCI primers and a Winchester powder). Crimping is a whole world of controversy. Some powders/primers/charge combinations seem to need a firmer grip, others, not so much.
Maybe get a second shooter to try.

So I haven't helped any, just some observations and they may well be wrong.

Be safe and enjoy,

OSOK
oldpapps is offline  
Old October 17, 2012, 04:52 PM   #12
Clifford L. Hughes
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 24, 2011
Location: Southern Californis
Posts: 795
Er 775:

Finding a solution to your dillema is a long process but soluble. First, I would snap in on a blank white wall. (dry fire ) While snappng in develope your grip and trigger placement and sight alignment to the extent that you can release the trigger without disturbing the sights: any sight movement will be apparent on the blank white wall. I know that I'm leaving out the target because this exercise is ment to develope the shooting basics.

When you carry your new skills to the range focus on the front sight and let the target blurr. Your eyes can only focus on one object at a time. So if you focus on the target your sights will blurr making your shot go wild.

This was my training program when I shot on several Marine Corps pistol teams, even after I earned a master's classification.

The next time that you go to the range move the target to twenty-five yards or less and see how you group. If you group well at twenty-five move the target to fifty yards. If your shots are scattered at fifty you need to pratice focusing on the front sight, sight alingment and trigger control. Just a few thousands of an inch of sight alignment on a fifty yard target will result in scattered shotsl

I covered the subject lightly because there is a lot to mastering the pistol.

If you have any questions please send me a message.

Semper Fi.

Gunnery Sergeant
Clifford L. Hughed
USMC REtited

Last edited by Clifford L. Hughes; October 17, 2012 at 04:57 PM. Reason: woirding
Clifford L. Hughes is offline  
Old October 17, 2012, 05:02 PM   #13
Xfire68
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 31, 2010
Location: Communist State of IL.
Posts: 1,428
er775, are you shooting from a rest or from a stance?
__________________
NRA Life Member, SAF Member

www.aac300blackoutbrass.com A Veteran owned Business.
Xfire68 is offline  
Old October 18, 2012, 06:47 AM   #14
er775
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 9, 2011
Posts: 129
after an 18 year career in law enforcement and 11 years as firearms instructor I almost have the whole sight picture sight alignment thing down

I was shooting from a rest and very confident in my shooting ability, I have checked the sights twenty times over again and all seems to be good. the first chance I get I am going to load up a few rounds at the lightest load the manual calls for and take a box of factory loads to the range and compare them.

Had to order factory loads online,,went to 6 different stores yesterday and none of them had anything in 44 mag except that crap in the white winchester box,the cheap remington or 20 rnd 200 gr hornady for $30, and that was at bass pro and cabelas too is the 44 mag such a popular caliber that nobody can keep a good selection of ammo in stock,,,,and now I remember why I started loading myself.

I just need to try some different loads til I find what my gun likes,,,or trade the dam thing for a good rifle!!
er775 is offline  
Old October 18, 2012, 08:38 AM   #15
HiBC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 13, 2006
Posts: 3,840
Odds are pretty good a 629 will shoot.
You might check to see how the bullets fit the cylinder throats.If your bullets are .429,.430 might work better.

A strong crimp is important for good ignition.

You have suggested full power loads are uncomfortable for you.No problem.I do not know how it works for you,but how it works for me,if I shoot ammo that exceeds my recoil tolerance,I get a little cringe thing going.Fixing it just means identifying the problem and focusing on sight picture and follow through,as I am sure you already know.
Try doing the old"Have your buddy load the wheel with an empty hole or two"

You will know how you are doing when you drop hammer on the empty hole.

No disrespect there,its a drill we all have to do sometimes(me too!).We can't fix that with different loads.

I have mostly loaded H-110 in the .44 Mag,but it is not a flexible powder,you cannot reduce the load much.

Elmer himself got her done with 2400,it will still get her done!

One more thing to try,you mention you are shooting from a rest.A handgun is pretty dynamic when you shoot!Its moving when the bullet departs.How it is resting will influence POI.Think bounce!Try just resting your forearms,but having nothing but your hands touch the gun.

Last edited by HiBC; October 18, 2012 at 08:45 AM.
HiBC is offline  
Old October 18, 2012, 10:54 AM   #16
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,494
Er775,

I misunderstood your original post. The way you described removing the dot sight to go back to the iron sights, I assumed that meant you had fired the factory ammo with the dot sight and it shot well, and that the accuracy problem showed up only with the new loads after going back to iron sights. That's why I made the comments on sight picture. But if you took the dot off before getting good accuracy from the Winchester white box loads, then we've eliminated the gun and the shooter from the error equation. That brings us down just to the load.

Can you clarify that?

If it's just the load, Unique doesn't usually present problematically. I would slug the chamber throats to measure their diameters for consistency and to be sure that they are at least half a thousandth over bore diameter, and slug the bore to feel for constrictions. Especially, feel for the constriction commonly found where the barrel screws into the frame. Either that constriction or throats smaller than the bore groove diameter can cause severe accuracy problems. If you have either condition, your load has to reach enough pressure to upset the bullet back out to bore diameter after passing through the tight spot. Since you are using a fairly mild load, that may be what you gave up as compared to the white box load.

The diameter of the 5 groove rifling on your 29 is not easily measured without some special tools, but Dardas Cast Bullets will measure it for you for free. I just measure land to groove all around and average it, then chuck the slug in my lathe and turn it while a dial indicator tells me the height of the land impression steps and add the average impression height to the average of the land-to-groove diameters.

If you have the bore constriction I mentioned, it has to be either hand lapped or firelapped to remove it. Search the site for information on that process. If you have tight chamber throats, having the chambers reamed to maximum SAAMI dimensions is the standard cure. Firelapping also can correct chamber throats to some degree. You could also hone the throats open with a miniature hone or with a slotted rod and wet/dry sandpaper.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member

Last edited by Unclenick; October 18, 2012 at 11:05 AM.
Unclenick is offline  
Old October 18, 2012, 12:20 PM   #17
Jimro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 18, 2006
Posts: 5,774
I would try increasing the crimp first. A "moderate" crimp in 44 Mag might not be enough to ensure positive ignition of 10 grains of Unique in that big old case.

I'm not saying that ignition is the issue, but what it sounds like to me is a combination of weak crimp and recoil causing the powder in the other bullets to get "shoved forward" against the base of the bullet.

I recommend crimping a bit harder, and trying 6 rounds loaded one at a time so you eliminate the "powder placement" issue all together from the equation. If that fixes your problem, then you need to test a full cylinder of ammo, and see if the heavier crimp solved the issues. If it doesn't, switch to a powder that has better case fill than Unique.

Jimro
__________________
"Gorsh" said Goofy as secondary explosions racked the beaten zone, "Did I do that?"

http://randomthoughtsandguns.blogspot.com/
Jimro is offline  
Old October 18, 2012, 05:55 PM   #18
er775
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 9, 2011
Posts: 129
Good info gentlemen!!! I`m going to take the remainder of loads I have left and crimp them some more, theres only about 20 rnds left so cant hurt anything.

will be testing things out on my next day off and will give a progress report then.

thanks again everyone its all been good and helpfull info
er775 is offline  
Old October 18, 2012, 06:59 PM   #19
Sure Shot Mc Gee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2012
Posts: 2,162
er775. Are you interested in (Recipe's from those here on TFLF) who have and use for the same caliber your threading Sir?

I don't use Unique myself. I find the powder to dirty and smokey for my liking. Don't get me wrong. Unique is indeed a very good powder choice for those who like it. I just prefer to use another brand for my high powered 44 mag application.
__________________
Watch it!!! their both out to get us.
Sure Shot Mc Gee is offline  
Old October 19, 2012, 06:31 AM   #20
er775
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 9, 2011
Posts: 129
Hey if it saves me time and money I`m open to others recipes..I would agree unique is dirty, even tho the label on the can says its new and improved and burns cleaner I have to soak the cylinder for about 2 hours on break free and scrub the hell out of it to get the rings off it.

Im open to other prowders,,Ive been lookin at some different ones just dont know which one to try next
er775 is offline  
Old October 19, 2012, 09:21 AM   #21
Xfire68
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 31, 2010
Location: Communist State of IL.
Posts: 1,428
I just shot a bunch of loads yesterday I made for my buddy's Ruger Red Hawk using 240g XTP's and 13.4g's of Blue Dot.

We shot some factory WWB which were harsher than I would have imagined but, the hand loads were nice and mild and accurate.
__________________
NRA Life Member, SAF Member

www.aac300blackoutbrass.com A Veteran owned Business.
Xfire68 is offline  
Old October 19, 2012, 11:11 AM   #22
GWS
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2010
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 477
Quote:
........the first two shots where within a half an inch of each other dead on with the bullseye and just to the left (shooting at 45 yards ) the rest of them went all over the place. I was using sand bag rest and felt very confident in my shooting, but they were so all over the place there was no way to tell what was going wrong.
How do you explain the very respectable first two shots? At 45 yards, especially. I know you are a super experienced, instructor, and all. But just how much have you shot and trained with the 44 mag.....especially loaded near max. I've shot .45, .357, and lately .40 every week for 40 years. But I was flinching by the third shot on the occasion of shooting my friend's damned Ruger Super Blackhawk. (yup Win. White box) Wasn't much fun to shoot for me....I admit I wasn't blessed in the genes department with tree trunk wrist bones like you probably are.

Tell me folks that shooting S&W 29's and Redhawks are more pleasant....please!
GWS is offline  
Old October 19, 2012, 11:33 AM   #23
buck460XVR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 28, 2006
Posts: 2,289
Quote:
Odds are pretty good a 629 will shoot.
You might check to see how the bullets fit the cylinder throats.If your bullets are .429,.430 might work better.

I agree, odds are pretty good the 629 will shoot. Mine are scarey accurate and not picky at all about loads. Did you buy the gun used? If so how is the crown? Unique is not finicky about crimp like H110/W296, so I doubt very much that is the problem unless brass is of different lengths and crimp is inconsistent. Since 240gr XTPs are .430s and jacketed, I doubt if that is the problem either. Hornady lists 9.5 min and 10.7 as max with Unique and the 240 XTP, so it may be your load is a bit light. Hornady is generally petty conservative with their loads recipes also. Lyman lists up to 12 grs with a 240grainer. Most problems with Unique including dirtiness can be solved with upping the load a bit.

I would suggest you Google Lil' Gun and premature forcing cone erosion before you load up too many shells with it. I no longer use Lil' Gun in my revolvers due to what many have experienced with it. Since it never gave me the claimed velocities with less recoil and it never performed for me as well as H110/W296 and IMR 4227, it wasn't hard to give up. IMR 4227 does not give quite the velocities that H110/W296 does, but it's every bit as accurate and performs very well in .44 mag. It seems to do very well in my long piped revolvers and the carbines.
buck460XVR is offline  
Old October 19, 2012, 12:54 PM   #24
rmorgan9718
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 20, 2012
Posts: 14
44 Mag Loads

Most of my loads use 2400 or Win 296. Of the two, 296 gets the most work, and at the 'firebreathing' level, is dependable and accurate. I agree with the recommendation to move your target closer to start, and also with reducing your load levels to find a comfort zone for your gun and yourself.

Good luck,
rmorgan9718 is offline  
Old October 19, 2012, 02:55 PM   #25
FrankenMauser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2008
Location: 1B ID
Posts: 7,008
Basic reloading principle #1: Start low and work up.
That practice is recommended for more reasons than just a safety precaution for increasing pressure levels. It also lets you find an accuracy load.

Randomly selecting a single powder charge, and expecting it to shoot well, will leave you disappointed almost every time.

In .44 Mag, especially, I have almost never found a near-maximum load of Unique to be the most accurate. Unique is a bit "out of its element" in .44 Mag.

As other posters have suggested, trying a powder better-suited to .44 Mag use would really help, as well. H110/W296, Alliant 2400, H4227, IMR4227, and Ramshot Enforcer would be far better choices. And you'd probably see an instant improvement in accuracy with all loads, in my experience.
__________________
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."
FrankenMauser 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 10:22 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 0.13087 seconds with 9 queries