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Old August 9, 2021, 07:08 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: March 13, 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,279
Speer shot capsules for .44 Magnum

It’s been said, when you get older, you get wiser. But I tend to review my current handloading techniques as I go along, with the thought that my youthful enthusiasm might have been blurred by less attention to detail.

And so it is with my return to handloading Speer shot capsules for my Ruger .44 Mag Super Blackhawk. I can recall a friend and I successfully used my now questionable recipe for pheasant hunting on a commercial Pennsylvania south-central enterprise. It was in 1983 when such pheasants were $9 each. The owner questioned what appeared to be an absence of shotguns, and when I displayed my .44 Mag and shotshell cartridges, he asked if we would mind if he came along with his dog. Clearly, he was anticipating a lot of wounded birds.
At the end of the hunt, the owner enthusiastically displayed the 9 birds we downed, while announcing, “They got them with handguns!!”

So what’s my concern now? What’s left in inventory from that period are 8 cartridges containing 63 pellets of #6 and 3 containing 102 pellets of #7-1/2.
These were fueled by 8.0 gr of Unique, but I can’t find where I obtained that recipe. The Speer box displays a recommendation of 7.2 gr of Unique, for use with shot sizes 7-1/2, 8, and 9. But that’s for a 6-1/2 inch barrel in .44 Special.

So I started from scratch, using #6, #7-1/2 and, #8, in 5 cartridges of each size.
I filled the capsules to the maximum, ensuring the base caps would fit, then physically counted the number of pellets.

#6 = 68 pellets, weighing an average of 129.7 grains.
#7-1/2 = 120 pellets, weighing an average of 134.1 grains
#8 = 156 pellets, weighing an average of 143.2 grains.

I then weighed various cleaned, sized, and primed cases and found R-P, Midway, and PMC averaged 113.9 to 114.7 grains, while Federal and Starline averaged 119-120 grains.

So, HOW did I get away with using the same charge in cases of assumed variable internal capacity with projectiles that differed in 3 weights?

Despite my previous use without any injury or unexpected interruptions, this now “wiser” elder stands, cautiously awaiting any comments that might shed some light of comfort on my continued production.
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