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Old February 10, 2011, 08:02 AM   #1
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 9,333
444 HL ( handload ) for Contender... bullets... balls... shot...

My Contender is ready for test firing... ( I bought a 10" 44 Mag hot shot barrel, & had the chamber reamed for 444 Marlin... the barrel has shallow rifling, & a screw in straight rifled choke tube ) the barrel was then fitted with an under barrel Weaver base, for a tactical light, as well as a custom rear sight base & see thru laser mount, as well as a set of Williams fiber optic sights... the barrel also came ported, & we made a thread protector that allows a small chamber to make the ports more efficient... pictured here...

main purpose of this gun once done, is as my main truck gun... we have alot of skunks & other varmints I don't like seeing in my yard, in my neighborhood, ( I live on a farm ) & seems I always see them heading up my driveway ( 1/4 mile long ) at night, when I'm coming home after dark, lighting them up with the headlights... I've been looking for something best to shoot them with... I had been thinking about a .410 / 45 Colt barrel in 10"... which I do have one in 16" & I like that, but I got a smokin deal on this 44 Mag hot shot barrel... that & buying .410 shells is expensive, & I had been talking about building something to load shot shells in 444 Marlin cases, with my local builder...

the 444 Marlin is a bit too hot for the Contenders, at the hotter loadings, but safe for it at starting loads ( which will still be a handfull out of the 10" barrel ) BTW... we stamped the barrel as "444 HL" to keep any future owner from just stuffing factory 444 Marlin ammo in the gun without questioning it

so here are my 1st 2 loadings that I'm trying ( I don't have any .375 round balls yet... which I'm hoping I can load 3 in a case for a ball load )

my shot load has the 444 Marlin head stamp removed off of Remington brass cases I used Remington 9.5 primers, 13 grains of Hodgdon Lil Gun powder, 2 Balistic Products 1/8" Nitro Cards pressed tightly down to the powder ( used a black powder rifle ram rod to tightly seat the cards ) #5 lead shot, enough to fill the case, just slightly over the case mouth ( aproximately 275 grains of lead shot ) I have a custom flat bullet seater made for my seater die ( Lee ) & I compress the shot enough that a Balistic Products .030" over shot card will sit on the top of the shot, then seat & crimp the overshot card into the case... ( I've never loaded shot shells before, & my 1st 2-3 are shootable... er well maybe )... but I now have everything adjusted where the shells look pretty good... the over shot card stays in well enough with just the crimp, & no glue, that I can invert them in my plastic cartridge boxes ( so far ) with no issues... once all the pieces get here, I'll begin annealing the case mouths to get a little more life out of the cases during reloads, by rotating them in a drill & using a propane torch

tried to get a pic of the knurled case head...

... & of the over shot card...

the bullet loads...

use a Remington Nickel case, Remington 9.5 primer, Hodgdon H322 at 50 grains ( just because I had it handy from loading hotter 45-70 loads ) & a Sierra power jacket 240 grain hollow point ( I'm actually getting some Speer 240 grain deep curl flat points to try as well )
I have not knurled the case heads off the nickel cases... at least yet

basic 444 HL nickel case

it's supposed to be warmer this weekend, so I'll try to sight in the gun, & hope to pattern this shot load...I may try just using one Nitro Card, & adding a couple more shot... as mentioned, this is my 1st attempt at loading a "brass shot shell" so any suggestions or comments are welcome...
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg Guns 450.jpg (50.7 KB, 326 views)
File Type: jpg Guns 451.jpg (43.5 KB, 324 views)
In life you either make dust or eat dust...

Last edited by Magnum Wheel Man; February 10, 2011 at 08:10 AM.
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