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Old January 16, 2018, 06:41 AM   #1
Road_Clam
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Handloading data for my Desert Eagle 44

CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond or not covered by currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The Firing Line, nor the staff of TFL assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

Just want to pass along my experiences and some data with shooting and reloading for my DE44. These cannons definitely are a bit finicky with velocities for reliable functioning, so if your having some issues read on. This is cut/past from another forum I posted on which was DE specific:

The initial testing and identifying the issue:

So over the past few months I've been spending a lot of time testing and logging my data. I quickly learned that my DE44 is somewhat fussy about ammo, but as I outline my findings you will find that my data and comments will be completely contradictory to what is typically been previously voiced. A critical tool to helping me understand what's going on with my DE is my Crony Alpha chronograph. This has been a critical tool in helping me log real velocity data and track both positive and negative data. First let me say the past comments about DE44's needing "hot" ammo is totally false in my experiences tracking velocities. One clear fact I have learned with MY DE44 is when you load hot ammo you are over gassing the system and unique things begin to happen. First and foremost is when you load for velocities over 1300 fps you will consistently encounter the slide locking open on every shot. I know your first response is i'm "limp wristing" the DE, but I experimented with both holds, limp wrist and a rock solid firm grip and the slide lock occurred with BOTH holds. I do notice that also when loading above 1300 fps limp wristing actually allows the gun to cycle better. A consistent issue i'm having is getting the slide to lock open on the last shot fired. My DE is very hit or miss with this situation and i'm not sure why this is happening. I do know that my go to ammo for flawless functioning is Magtech 240 gr sp's. This ammo shoots at about 1215 fps. Adversely, American Eagle 240 HP is hot ammo that causes consistent slide locks after each shot unless I limp wrist then the ammo shoots more consistent. The AE ammo shoots about 1340 fps. Fiocchi 240 sjsp is also very good shooting ammo but I had some cycling issues in the colder weather this past winter. The Fiocchi ammo shoots about 1200 fps. Thus far i've been testing loads using H110 and Sierra 240 gr fmjsp's. I'm down to 21.9 gr @ 1255 fps and i'm starting to get excellent results, still am fighting the lack of slide locking on the last shot.I'm starting to find the sweet spot range of velocity and reliable functioning based upon the Magtech ammo's comparative velocity of just over 1200 fps.

Here's some of my load data:
24 gr/ H110 /1358 fps avg
23.5 / H110 / 1321 fps avg
23 / H110 / 1302 fps avg
22.5 / H110 / 1289 fps avg
22.3 / H110 / 1275 fps avg
22 / H110 / 1260 fps avg
21.9 / H110 / 1251 fps avg




The final outcome:
So my final update on my reloading experiences. After testing Alliant 2400 over the past few weeks iv'e decided to stop using H110. The problem i've realized after all my velocity testing is the fact my DE44 cycles flawless with the velocities between 1190 and 1250 fps. Doesn't matter if I use a relaxed grip or a firm grip, my DE cycles perfect. You shoot ammo over 1250 fps and you will start to encounter cycling issues such as the slide locking open after each shot, and the opposite which is no slide lock open after the last shot fired. I've read there is blame placed on the mags for the no slide lock open issue but I found my mags to both function as they should provided you stay within my outlined fps velocity window. I'm speculating that when you shoot excessive velocities something inertia mechanical is forcing the slide lock up during slide cycling causing the lock open condition. Another unique observance is when I tested both 2400 and H110 side by side , both loads were around 1250 fps I was observing the H110 load as having slightly more felt recoil and a louder db report. My chrono ES's were lower with 2400 vs. H110. In the end the fact that 2400 is easier to download vs H110 , and the fact I only need to load 18.2 gr of 2400 to achieve my target 1250 average fps vs the H110's load if 21.7 is why i'm choosing 2400 as my go to powder. I also found it to be advantageous to load the bullets slightly shorter to a COAL to 1.585" which helps with both mag insertion and chamber feeding.

My final go to load :
240 gr fmjsp , 18.2 gr of 2400 Low=1221 High=1287 avg=1256 es=66 sd=19
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Old January 16, 2018, 10:16 AM   #2
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Thanks for putting that up. It's interesting because of the slide locking effect. I suspect you are correct about the inertial mechanism in the case of the hotter load locking the slide back. In the case of the slide failing to lock back, do those loads feel noticeably lighter? I can tune targets loads in a model 1911 until the slide is no longer slamming all the way into the frame via the recoil spring guide, but still goes back far enough to eject and feed properly. I can tell when it happens because recoil abruptly becomes mushy when the charge weight comes down to that level. If you are experiencing something like that softened recoil, you may simply not have the slide going back far enough for the slide stop to engage. I don't have a copy of this particular gun, so I can't look to see if that's possible.

The blame put on magazines for the failure of the slide to lock back would be the magazine spring not having enough extra force to push the slide stop up quickly enough to engage before the slide is on its way back into battery. It could have that problem and still feed rounds. You can test for this by pulling one of your mags apart and stretching the spring out a little bit—maybe the length of one turn of the coil—and putting it back and seeing if that fixes it. If so, the fix may not last, as the need to do it in the first place is a sign the spring has taken a set or is fatigued, and will wind up back where it was eventually. If this fixes it on your first few tries, you want to consider getting new mag springs, and ones with extra power if they are available.

Your observation about recoil and noise is correct. H110 burns more slowly and its charge weight for the same velocity is heavier. Your 2400 load is producing higher peak pressure, while the H110 is getting more of its bullet acceleration from holding pressure up higher in the barrel after its lower peak has passed. This means that when the bullet clears the muzzle, you have more powder mass to blow out of the barrel and it blows out at higher pressure, and the combination makes a bigger rocket impluse, pushing the gun back harder. This is something that is generally true about using slower versus faster powders in all guns. Relieving the barrel of the rocket effect pressure is why muzzle brakes work, leaving only recoil due to pushing the bullet out for you to feel. In some overbore rifles, rocket effect can be half the total recoil.

I added the forum load warning because your H110 loads are below Hodgdon's minimum of 23 grains and Hodgdon has long had a warning not to reduce H110 loads that much because of problems with squibbing out and leaving a bullet stuck in the barrel for the next round to fire into and cause damage. My personal assessment is that this is mainly a revolver problem, abetted by the barrel/cylinder gap gas leak, but someone may try to fire your loads in a revolver, so the warning is still appropriate.
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Old January 16, 2018, 12:20 PM   #3
Road_Clam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenick
I added the forum load warning because your H110 loads are below Hodgdon's minimum of 23 grains and Hodgdon has long had a warning not to reduce H110 loads that much because of problems with squibbing out and leaving a bullet stuck in the barrel for the next round to fire into and cause damage. My personal assessment is that this is mainly a revolver problem, abetted by the barrel/cylinder gap gas leak, but someone may try to fire your loads in a revolver, so the warning is still appropriate.
Thanks for adding the caution warning. Should have done this myself, but wasn't thinking "under loaded data"
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Old January 16, 2018, 12:26 PM   #4
Sequins
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Thanks for the data. I've long considered picking up one of these magnificent firearms and it's interesting to hear the nitty-gritty of loading for a Desert Eagle.

Besides cycling how is the accuracy at 1200fps?
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Old January 16, 2018, 03:17 PM   #5
T. O'Heir
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The H110 Start load for a jacketed 240 is 23.0. The jacketed Max load of 2400 is 21.0. The Start load is 18.9.
All data on Alliant's site is max load data. Reduce by 10% for the Start load.
Velocities between 1190 and 1250 fps are well below minimum with either powder. Going below minimum can be as dangerous as over max.
Using a chronograph to establish load data is decidedly unsafe as well. Follow a manual.
The slide locking open has nothing to do with velocity. "Limp wristing" doesn't do it either. The pistol will jam but not lock open. Usually the next round fails to feed properly and fails to chamber.
1300 FPS is slower than the H110 Start load too. That has nothing to do with the slide locking open. The DE is gas operated. Bullet velocity doesn't matter for functioning.
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Old January 16, 2018, 05:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir
Velocities between 1190 and 1250 fps are well below minimum with either powder. Going below minimum can be as dangerous as over max.
Not in a 6" barrel like his. 2400 is not sensitive to being reduced below the starting charge the way H110/296 is. That's one of the advantages of working with it.
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Old January 17, 2018, 06:31 AM   #7
Road_Clam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir
Using a chronograph to establish load data is decidedly unsafe as well.
No logic in this statement. Chronographs are an invaluable tool in tracking velocities for varied data comparison purposes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir
Follow a manual.
Manuals are an excellent "baseline" reference to begin load development. Too much varied charge weight min/max windows between brands of manuals and older / newer edition releases. One manual lists load data using a 4" bbl, and another outlines same data with different results with a 7-1/2" bbl.
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Last edited by Road_Clam; January 17, 2018 at 06:48 AM.
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Old January 17, 2018, 06:43 AM   #8
Road_Clam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sequins
Thanks for the data. I've long considered picking up one of these magnificent firearms and it's interesting to hear the nitty-gritty of loading for a Desert Eagle.

Besides cycling how is the accuracy at 1200fps?
My main focus last spring when testing my DE44 was the cycling issues. At the end when I finally was observing reliable functioning I was seeing 2" groups at 50 ft, however this was shooting off a tripod rest , and me being a terrible handgun shooter, lol. (I'm more of a precision midrange rifle guy). I'm pretty confident in stating that with the 6" fixed barrel configuration of the DE's, a seasoned handgun marksman should see tighter groups than what I was able to produce. There's not a lot of wiggle room with varied loads with the DE44, but like any passionate handloaded i'm still going to try and play with bullet weights and some varied loads. I'm not sure how the DE44 will respond to a lighter or heavier bullet. There's not a lot of experienced data out there on the net so I would be on my own with this type of bullet testing.
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Old January 17, 2018, 11:30 AM   #9
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Has anybody tried Blue Dot in a 44 Desert Eagle?
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