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Old December 2, 2002, 06:53 PM   #1
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44 Mag for 1894 loads

I just bought a new Marlin 1894 with a 20" barrel and a 38" twist. I'm in the market for a matching 44 pistol (5 1/2" Redhawk, but I'm waiting until the new year to buy to protest the new handgun laws coming into play in CA). Rife will be used for short range (under 100 yards) deer and pig hunting. Pistol is backup only; I don't enjoy shooting a hot 44 Mag load.

Anyways, howabout some tips on loading for the 1894 in 44 Mag. I hear you can't load too hot with H110 or you'll run into extraction problems. Favorite recipies? Howabout suggestions for lead bullets (Ballard rifling) as well as jacketed?

I am more interested in tuning the cartridge to maximize the performance of the rifle, but I want it to work well in the pistol as well.

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Old December 3, 2002, 06:12 AM   #2
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I'd try a cast 300 gr. gas check bullet for the rifle. The RCBS 44-300-SWC is a good one and can be had in a double cavity mould. The mould we have casts at 313 grs. Most guys I know use the same loads in both sixgun and rifle. About 21.5 grains of H-110 should do it with most 300 gr. bullets. If the 300's won't fly straight go to a 250. We make the Lyman 429244 which is a 245 grain gas check SWC designed by Thompson. It's a great bullet and Lyman still sells the moulds in both 2 and 4 cavity. The Thompson bullet works great in sixguns also.
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Old December 3, 2002, 10:26 AM   #3
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let me note right here and now, you CANNOT

load this levergun hotter than a 44MAG sixgun and get away with it for long.
The topend 44MAG loads will gain enough speed in the longer barrel as-is. There ain't no substitute for velocity and there's no substitute for barrel length to get it.
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Old December 3, 2002, 04:13 PM   #4
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There still is some confusion about longer barrel lengths, and expected gains in velocity with pistol cartridges used in long guns.

While it is certainly true that some gains occur, it is NOT true that an 18 or 20 inch barrel makes a handgun cartridge into a super gun.

Pistol cartridges have limited powder capacity, and no matter how much you stuff into them, the burn is accomplished be the time the bullet has traveled a distance of around 14 to15 inches. Once all the powder is burned and the gases have reached max expansion, then entropy sets in and you will not get anymore speed. Velocity actually begins to drop at that point, as the drag of the bullet in the rifling slows it.

You can vary this by manipulating the different components, such as powder type and amount, primer and bullet weight. Finding the ideal barrel length for a given cartridge is usually a matter of trial and error. It helps to keep careful records, and a chronograph is a must.
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Old December 3, 2002, 05:38 PM   #5
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Those are great comments. I don't want to push the envelope with this gun, 1600fps with a 240gr bullet is about all I'll need out of this one. The Speer manual lists this as a medium 44 mag rifle load.

How hard/soft do the bullets need to be for this? I've heard that hard bullets lead the barrel more. Comments?

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Old December 3, 2002, 09:03 PM   #6
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You probably wont enjoy shooting it. I have a Winchester 94 in 44 and it kicks like a mule.
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Old December 3, 2002, 09:34 PM   #7
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Nah, I really enjoy potent rifles, but handguns that kick stopped being fun after I smashed my strong hand. It never healed properly and repeated heavy recoil causes me problems. IMO, 44 Mag pistol's sole purpose is to dispach a bent-out-of-shape boar/buck/bear at close range.
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