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Old October 20, 2021, 03:06 PM   #1
44Caliber
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Can Win296 powder be used in reduced loads?

I possess a significant quantity of Winchester 296 powder for 44 Magnum loads. Due to arthritis in my wrist I can no longer shoot the 44 magnum loadsl. The only calibers that I see published for H110/Winchester 296 powder are 357 magnum, 44 magnum, 500 magnum, or 410 shot shells.
Does anybody have any experience with using reduced powder loads in less powerful handgun calibers?

I have the S & W Classic 6 inch 44 magnum revolver. Can you use a 44 special casing or a 44 magnum casing with a reduced W296 powder charge safely

Looking for information
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Old October 20, 2021, 04:38 PM   #2
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To answer your question, H-110/ 296 is not flexible for reduced loads.

However,odds are good you can find someone who will trade sealed cans.
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Old October 20, 2021, 04:52 PM   #3
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You can use 44 Special in the firearm build for 44 Mag no problem .
Now for reduced powder loads in W 296 no and no again . First what do you call a reduced powder load . I load a bunch of 44Mag but use cast bullets and Unique Powder .
I have Down Loaded W 296 BUT THAT IS STILL A 44 MAG LOAD . Just what do you need so as you can shoot the 44 mag with cast bullets i load 240gr lead at 850 fps and 240gr cast load bullets at 1200 FPS but not with W 296 . I know what you are trying to do but W296 is not the powder you need . Find more powders that like the 44 Mag at less FPS . GOOD LOCK it can be done with the right powder . I have shot the 44 Mag for over 50 years i still can (thank GOD) but my day will come .
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Old October 20, 2021, 06:13 PM   #4
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I use Green Dot in my .41 mag, anywhere from 4.5gr up to 8.4gr. On the low end shoots like a .38sp recoil wise, on the high end like a very hot .357mag recoil wise. Not sure how this would transpose to a .44, but it’s not too much different from a .41. These loads are with 210-220gr bullets, either copper plated or Hitech coated.
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Old October 20, 2021, 07:28 PM   #5
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No to your 296 and reduced loads. Concur with above. Sound like broken record . Sell your 296 to some youngster, who will pick it up in a heartbeat for that testosterone fix.

Pick a different powder like Unique, Universal, True Blue, Green Dot, etc. for reduced loads. For example, 8.5gn of Unique under 240gn SWC will reproduce the Skeeter load (.44 Special) in the .44 Mag case. Can go lower too, as I shot a lot of 7.5gn under 240g SWC back when. Point is, you certainly don't have to go to a .44 Special case to shoot .44 Special loads. All I feed my .44 Magnums is .44 Mag cartridges loaded down to velocities that I want to shoot. Right now that is 10gn of Unique under 240g SWC for around 1100fps. That is just enough umph, to know you are no longer shooting a .44 Special, yet isn't into the 'hard on wrist and elbow range'.
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Old October 20, 2021, 07:47 PM   #6
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I use to do it but it doesn't work very well. It burns dirty, lot of brown smoke, is erratic and very poor accuracy.
This was with standard primers also.
But yes, you can down load it. But it doesn't work worth a fiddlers you know what.
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Old October 20, 2021, 08:20 PM   #7
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Winchester 296 is one of the few powders that usually carries the warning DO NOT REDUCE LOADS.

The reason for this has to do with the way the powder is made and how it is formulated to burn. It is designed to burn under pressure a certain way and continue to do that as the pressure increases until its fully burnt. THe down side to this is that when you reduce the load density (amount of powder in the case) below a certain level that graduated burning rate gets screwed up.

Mostly what happens is you will get erratic burn, and/or incomplete burn and this can result in squibs (bullet not exiting barrel) BUT what can also happen is just the opposite and the powder can essentially detonate resulting in a massive overpressure event. (possible KA BOOM!!!)

And there is no way to know what you're going to get each time you pull the trigger. Its not consistent when there isn't enough of it in the case. And that makes underloading it dangerous.

In your situation, I would sell or trade some or all your 296 for a medium burn rate powder. My personal choice would be Unique. while not the absolute best for the very lightest or the very heaviest loads, its great for everything inbetween. Unique will give you good, safe loads from 800+fps to 1200+fps and doesn't need magnum primers.

There are other powders that will do about as well, I just recommend Unique because I've been using it in a handful of different pistol cartridges for over half a century. its a little dirty and it smokes some, but then, so am I...
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Old October 20, 2021, 08:20 PM   #8
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Broken Record

Yes, we're sounding like a broken record here.

W296 (H-110) is notoriously bad for reduced loads. I have a lot of experience with W296. Been using it since 1985. It really is a one-trick pony. Granted, it does that one trick really well, but that doesn't help you - sorry.

When reducing the charge weight, first, burns get real inconsistent and it's measureable on a chronograph. Further reduction can even result in outright unspent propellant - yes, it's that bad. I've even heard of detonations occuring - which I'm skeptical (probably urban legend). Detonation tends to be a rifle phenomenon and I know very little about it, so I'll stop right there on that subject. At any rate, reduced loads with W296 is pretty much a non-starter.

You may be able to trade with someone - maybe. Problem there is that even in times of shortage, propellants of this genre (magnum revolver stuff) can often be found. It's the faster stuff that is hardest to find. So finding someone to trade with may be difficult.

Is getting a 357 or 44 magnum chambered rifle an option? It took me a couple decades to finally - finally - get a couple lever-action rifles. I really wish I had done so sooner - they are truly fun to shoot.
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Old October 20, 2021, 09:13 PM   #9
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No.
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Old October 21, 2021, 06:24 AM   #10
Mike Irwin
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Sounds like a good reason to buy a rifle chambered in .44 Magnum.

I LOVE WW296 almost as much as I love WW231.

I've also used a lot of it over the years in .357 and .41 Magnum.

But when I want reduced loads in those cartridges I go to 231.
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Old October 21, 2021, 07:59 PM   #11
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CAUTION: The following post (or a page linked to) includes or discusses loading data not covered by currently published sources of tested data for this cartridge (QuickLOAD or Gordon's Reloading Tool data is not professionally tested). USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The Firing Line, nor the staff of TFL assumes any liability for any damage or injury resulting from the use of this information.

Friend of mine uses W296/H110 in full power 44spl loads. With that said they are a fair bit lighter than 44mag loads but still full power 44spl loads. He said he was using 16.5gn over a gas checked 280g round flat nose using winchester large pistol magnum primers. Out of his henry rifle they were at 1325fps. If I remember right they were in the 900fps range out of his 6in blackhawk. If I remember right primers were lightly flattened but not flowed or cratered. He stated he would only recommend shooting them in a 44mag chambered gun as there is no official load data for it, just some forum posts he dug up years back. would be curious to see a quickload workup.

I think these were the bullets
https://www.mattsbullets.com/index.p...roducts_id=213

With that said trading to unique is probably your best bet
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Last edited by Shadow9mm; October 23, 2021 at 04:12 AM.
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Old October 22, 2021, 12:50 AM   #12
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W296/H110 are safe to use in .44SPL loads if you exercise caution. Get careless and you may have your firearm blow up in your face.
That caution being said, from my experience loading .44SPL with these two fine powders (which are ABSOLUTELY interchangeable), here are my recommendations:

1) Consult several reloading manuals before working up a load.
2) Use only magnum primers with these two powders
3) Don’t fire these type of handloads with older .44SPL revolvers
4) Stay with bullet weights of 240gr and below
5) Put a heavy crimp on these loads (preferably the Redding Profile Crimp)
6) Enjoy!
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Old October 22, 2021, 01:51 AM   #13
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Hodgdon shows no use of H110/W296 for any bullet in any 44 Special load.
QuickLoad shows no 90%-fill load for any bullet that isn't 150-170% of 44 Special Max Load.

I suggest trading it off for some nice Unique
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Old October 22, 2021, 11:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
I LOVE WW296 almost as much as I love WW231.
Apples n Oranges; but yes, I agree. For a couple decades, Those propellants were the only two I used (granted, it was a time in my life journey when I wasn't shooting much, but still).

Quote:
QuickLoad shows no 90%-fill load for any bullet that isn't 150-170% of 44 Special Max Load.
Yes mehavey, you are onto a great point here. Suggesting to load 44 Special cases with W296 is just plain poor advice. For starters, by the time you get the charge weights up to levels where W296 is running properly, you are back up to magnum pressures - and likely magnum recoil - defeating the purpose of what our OP is trying to accomplish. Not to mention that if this magnum pressure 44 Special ammo somehow makes its way into - say - a Charter Arms Bulldog, it could blow the gun to pieces. If one asks "what are the chances of that?" I'd respond with "stranger things have happened."

Our OP is trying to reduce recoil. There's two ways to do that: Reduce the load - which we have thoroughly established that W296 is not suitable for this task. Or, shoot the ammo in a much heavier gun (rifle).
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Old October 22, 2021, 01:29 PM   #15
Ruger4Life
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Here is an excellent article on the 44SPL handloads that Brian Pearce worked up:

http://www.goodrichfamilyassoc.org/4...%20Special.pdf
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Old October 22, 2021, 03:10 PM   #16
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A thought to ponder: smokeless gunpowder is scarce these days on retail shelves. Have you considered posting a “want to trade” for the unopened jug(s) of W296 for something you could use?
I managed to trade some small pistol and large rifle primers for large pistol of which I was running low. Found traders locally on the reloading forums.
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Old October 22, 2021, 04:28 PM   #17
Jim Watson
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Before Hodgdon acquired distribution rights to WW/St Marks/Gendye powders, Winchester data was to load 296 exactly as shown, no reduction, nothing but Winchester components, of which I suspect the aluminum doped primer was the most important.

Hodgdon then showed a 3% reduction to start with H110.

Nowadays, Hodgon data is exactly the same for both because they are the same powder under two labels. A .44 Magnum 240 gr starting load is one grain, 4.2% below maximum.
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Old October 22, 2021, 04:33 PM   #18
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In the pre-panic days, standard advice was sell what you can't use and buy something you can.

Today, while selling is even easier, there's damn little to buy to replace it with. SO, TRADES are better. Both sides get something they can use, instead of cash that can't buy what isn't there for sale, and will most likely be spent on something else instead, leaving you with no powder and no cash to get more WHEN it becomes available.
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Old October 22, 2021, 08:46 PM   #19
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You will want to get down to loads that are comfortable to shoot and don't make your arthritis worse. For that level, W-296 is not the powder for the job.

The good news is that if you trade it pound for pound with any number of powders suitable for lighter loads, you will likely get three times as many loads per pound.
Unique is a great powder to work with from mild to moderately powerful loads.
There are a variety of suitable powders if you can find them. Trading might be your best bet, since W-296 is a popular powder.
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Old October 22, 2021, 11:39 PM   #20
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for a little late night humor> get a 410 shotgun and a 300 blackout. now you NEED that powder. bobn
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Old October 24, 2021, 07:38 PM   #21
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bobn, you beat me to it. I was just going to say it's time for some new guns!

Along with magnum handgun loads, I also use H110 in 410, 22 Hornet, and 300 Blackout.
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Old October 24, 2021, 09:08 PM   #22
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Buy a .22 Hornet. That’s what I use my 296 in.
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Old October 25, 2021, 06:30 AM   #23
Mike Irwin
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"Apples n Oranges; but yes, I agree."

Did I say that 296 and 231 were comparable powders?

Did I say that they have the same usage ranges?

Did I say that they have similar behaviors?

Did I compare them in any way other than saying that I love both Winchester-branded powders, which is NOT a comparison?

In fact, my post very clearly excluded any comparison and addressed the original poster's question about reduced loads by clearly indication that I use as DIFFERENT powder for reduced power in cartridges where I use 296 for full power loads.

I'm not sure why you're thinking that it's a comparison scenario.
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Old October 25, 2021, 09:22 AM   #24
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To the OP: post your location. There’s probably someone who will trade powders with you. I’ve been doing this quite a bit over the last year. Lots of people use a lot of WW296 in .357mag and .357max guns. It’s more desirable than you think.
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Old October 25, 2021, 12:20 PM   #25
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Quote:
I'm not sure why you're thinking that it's (WW296 vs WW231) a comparison scenario.
I didn't. I was just putting my own emphasis that they are different. Didn't mean to step on toes. Sorry.

P.S. Did I miss something, or did we go through an entire page without our OP responding?
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