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Old August 14, 2013, 09:26 PM   #1
Swampman1
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44 special load in 44 mag cases

OK my 44 die set is finally coming in on Thursday, so I'll get a chance to use them. I want to load these 44 magnum cases with a 44 special load, so am I correct in assuming that everything pertaining to the dimensions of a 44 magnum cartridge will be the same...just the powder load will be that of a 44 special? I'll be using Hornady 200 gr XTP .430 bullets and Hodgdon HP-38 powder. Hornady shows a COL of 1.600 for 44 mag with said bullet. A little uncertain about this one guys..I want to make sure I get it right. Looking for advice, thanks.
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Old August 14, 2013, 09:53 PM   #2
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Does the bullet have a crimp groove or canalure? If so just seat it to there and crimp . . . your COAL will be whatever that is . . .

I make light loads all the time using 44 mag cases and have never had a problem.

In fact . . . I would rather light load 44 cases than use 44 special cases because there is less chance for messing something up and I don't get cases mixed up, because if you accidentally put a 44 mag full house load in a 44 special case . . . you could have a problem. I had that problem by mistakenly putting a .454 load in a .45 case by mistake which caused a serious ejection problems. I only shoot .454 brass and If I want .45 loads, I just just make light loads. Also removes the problem of having the shorter cases gunk up your chambers.
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Old August 14, 2013, 10:00 PM   #3
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If you are shooting them in a 44 mag. chamber, seat the bullet for the mag length. The charge will probably be light, considering there is more volume in the case. Try a few and see how they shoot. Increase as needed. I would start near max load for the 44 special, as a starting load in magnum cases.
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Old August 14, 2013, 10:09 PM   #4
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Yes the bullet does have a canalure on it. Hornady's suggested 44 sp loads of Win 231(HP-38) start at 4.9 gr @ 650 fps, so I think I'll work up to 6.4 gr @ 800 fps. But these listed velocities are related to a 44 special load in a 44 sp case...NOT a 44 mag case. So the listed velocities probably aren't accurate?
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Old August 14, 2013, 10:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
I would start near max load for the 44 special, as a starting load in magnum cases
Ok thanks, it is a magnum chamber, and it seems like I had read that somewhere, about having to "up" the starting load.
So here is what Hornady has listed for 44 sp
4.9-650 fps
5.4-700 fps
5.9-750 fps
6.4-800 fps
6.9-850 maximum

So should I start at 5.9 or 6.4?
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Old August 14, 2013, 10:42 PM   #6
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For reference as I've tested both W-231 in .44Spec and .44Mag . I don't use jacketed bullets, so the following data is with 240g SWC but the relation would be the same regardless of bullet type :

.44 Spec (5 1/2")

7.0g W-231 996fps

.44 Mag ( 6 1/2")

8.0g W-231 1004fps

Basically you use about 1g more in the magnum case to duplicate the load in the special case.

Just crimp into the bullet crimp groove as you usually do.

FYI, same goes for good o' Unique as well.

.44 Spec
7.5g Unique 1033fps

.44Mag
8.5g Unique 1056fps
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Last edited by rclark; August 14, 2013 at 10:47 PM.
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Old August 14, 2013, 10:55 PM   #7
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What velocity are you wanting? 1,000 fps would be nice for that bullet, with not too much recoil. I'd start at 8.0 grains and move up in .3 grain increments to 9.5 grains and see what gives the best accuracy. 5 loads at each charge weight will let you compare groups. Have Fun!!
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Old August 14, 2013, 11:24 PM   #8
mehavey
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Quote:
I want to load these 44 magnum cases with a 44 special load, so am I correct in
assuming that everything pertaining to the dimensions of a 44 magnum cartridge
will be the same...just the powder load will be that of a 44 special?
No.

A 44Special load in the larger 44Mag case will not produce the advertised 44Special ballistics.
The pressure developed in the larger case with more blank volume will be lower.

Look at the Lyman manual for their cast 210SWC at the recommended OAL for each cartridge:

- 7.7gr Unique in the 44Sp produces ~900fps
- It takes 10.0gr in the 44Mag case to produce that same velocity
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Old August 14, 2013, 11:31 PM   #9
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Bag to differ there Mehavey, 10g of Unique puts me up around 1100fps.... Not 900... Unless the chronograph lies of course .
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Old August 14, 2013, 11:37 PM   #10
SSA
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For a light load, try starting at 8 grains hp38. You can start at 9 or 10 if you want.
Seat to the cannelure, crimp.
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Old August 14, 2013, 11:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
But these listed velocities are related to a 44 special load in a 44 sp case...NOT a 44 mag case. So the listed velocities probably aren't accurate?
Thats correct.

I would start at 6 gr and work up to the recoil and accuracy you like without exceeding 44 mag charges. My manual does not list your powder for 44 mag. There should be a load listed somewhere. Google is your friend
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Old August 14, 2013, 11:55 PM   #12
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it will be different.
the air inside the case will cause the charge to behave differently. your best bet is to try to find 44 mag data that falls into the range of 44 spec velocities.
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Old August 15, 2013, 12:16 AM   #13
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I have 2 sources that say max is 11.5 & 11.9 gr.
Starting light is good. 7.5 or 8 gr is light.
For a powderpuff load, a lead bullet might be better than jacketed.
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Old August 15, 2013, 06:14 AM   #14
mehavey
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Quote:
Beg to differ there Mehavey, 10g of Unique puts me up around 1100fps [I assume in the 44Mag].... Not 900... Unless the chronograph lies of course.
Lyman notes the data is in 4" universal receiver barrel.
Since I have a 44Mag (and both Mag & Special cases), I will try loading up same to confirm/deny.

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Old August 15, 2013, 07:30 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the input guys, also, I failed to mention, the gun used will be a Ruger 44 mag w/8" barrel(being we're talking about velocities). Also do you guys see any problem with using 40 yr old magnum primers?
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Old August 15, 2013, 07:36 AM   #16
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Quote:
do you guys see any problem with using 40 yr old magnum primers?
No problem if the "go bang" without causing any hang-fires. It depends upon how well the "store in a cool, dry place", has been adhered to. If they have been stored in a sealed metal ammo can inside your house, they should be good to go. If they have been stored out in your garage, not so much...shoot and see.
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Old August 15, 2013, 07:47 AM   #17
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It depends upon how well the "store in a cool, dry place", has been adhered to
Well I "believe" they've been in an old "unplugged" refrigerator, but I'll have to confirm that.
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Old August 15, 2013, 08:59 AM   #18
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Quote:
...shoot and see.
+1

Heck, I've used some primers I've had since `71 not too long ago.
Primers tend to be 'go' or 'not go'
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Old August 15, 2013, 09:29 AM   #19
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Thanks guys, I guess I was more concerned about the "magnum" part of what is already an unusual load.
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Old August 15, 2013, 11:23 AM   #20
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FWIW; I have been reloading for my .44 Magnums (5) for nearly 25 years. I find it the most versatile cartridge I've ever run across. I have reloaded everything from balls (single ball, about 125 gr. over 3-4 grains of Bullseye) to 265 gr. Ranch Dog RNFP (at times near max. loads of WC820). Yes, you can very easily down load your Magnum to Special pressures, and use Special data in your Magnum brass. The only difference noticeable will be a lower velocity from Special loads in Magnum brass, than Special brass. I would suggest you not try to interpolate loads, just substitute Special loads in your Magnum brass. No problem, been doing it for years (in my old age I don't care for "Magnum" recoil and muzzle blast, 'cause I shoot alone and there's nobody to impress , so light-med. loads are the norm for my .44 Magnums...).
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Old August 15, 2013, 12:55 PM   #21
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Quote:
I will try loading up same to confirm/deny.
That's the way to do it . I tested a 'lot' of .44spec and .44Mag loads over the years. Chronograph is your friend . Just rechecked my tables and I've got 1136fps for 10g of Unique under 240g SWC (my test ran from 7.0g to 10.0g) out of 6 1/2" barrel. My .44Spec tests ran from 6.0g to 7.5g (Skeeter Load) out of 5 1/2" . Hence my comparisons. 1g more in the .44Mag case will get you comparable velocity to the .44 Spec with either Unique or W-231. Just spot checked 2400 power too and 1g rules applies to it as well. Could go down the whole list, but the OP was asking about W-231 . So if you liked 6.0g W-231 in the .44 Special, load up 7.0g in .44Mag. Simple.
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Old August 15, 2013, 01:02 PM   #22
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I gots some W231 and 240 LSWC.
Will try (& take my Press/scales to range to adjust charges on-the-fly)
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Old August 16, 2013, 04:03 PM   #23
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UPDATE

OK I reloaded the 44 mag cases this morning. I started loading with the HP-38(win 231) with the higher end of 44 special-6.4 gr, then 6.9 gr, 8.0 gr. Everything went well. 6.4 was definitely weak, so I know I won't bother with that load again. I'm thinking I will settle around the 7-8 grain loads for now. My Dad liked shooting it with not nearly the recoil of a 44 magnum load. Thanks for all the input guys.
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Old August 16, 2013, 05:34 PM   #24
mehavey
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That 200gr XTP/6.4gr W231 load was likely not more that 12,300 psi (in a 36,000 psi gun) and drundling along at 970 fps or so.

Your suggested 8.0gr/W231 would kick it up to ~18,00psi (in that 36ksi gun) and hit 1,120.
( . . . a reasonably pleasant plinking load for Dirty Harry. )

Last edited by mehavey; August 16, 2013 at 05:44 PM.
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