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Old August 7, 2012, 11:54 PM   #1
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Reloading 44Mag for a Win 94

Just started loading 44 Mag. I will use it in a little Win 94 carbine. Have the following questions:

1. What is a good overall length for the finished cartridge.
2. Any suggestions for loads for this rifle cartridge combination. (not for pistol use)
3. How much crimp should I use.

For My first attempt I used 22.1 grains of WW296, Large Pistol Primer behind a Hornady 240XTP bullet. Matched factory length. Had a fairly heavy crimp similar the crimp I use on my 357 146 grain hunting loads. (pistol)

Any recommendations?

Last edited by ltc444; August 7, 2012 at 11:56 PM. Reason: add info
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Old August 8, 2012, 12:15 AM   #2
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When I get hold of a new bullet, I make a dummy round -- it basically has to feed, I always end up with my rounds too long and then it catches under the barrel and you have to force the lever down to get the round lifted. So make a dummy and make sure it feeds with a little space to spare for "manufacturing tolerance"

Lots of crimp, for consistency and to hold the bullet in the magazine. Trim your brass for a consistent crimp... but you probably knew that.

Sounds like you're spot on where you need to be. Depending on your rifle you might be able to push that load another grain or two, but depending on your rifle that might also be dangerous... this is pussyfooting through Chrony territory IMO.

So, what's it shoot like?
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Old August 8, 2012, 12:18 AM   #3
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Sounds like you have it figured out.

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
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Old August 8, 2012, 07:59 AM   #4
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I would just add do not rely on crimp alone to hold a bullet in place. You have to have sufficient case neck tension, if you don't you can crimp the round until it looks like a Coke bottle and the bullet will still move in and out. Every expander I own has required turning down to keep it from overexpanding the case. Your expander button needs to be at least 3 or 4 thous. smaller than your chosen bullet's dia. so that when the bullet is seated you cannot push it deeper into the case when you press it against the edge of your bench by hand as hard as you can. Then apply your crimp. You should be able to faintly see where the bottom corner of the bullet is in the case. The purpose of a crimp is simply to remove the flare you put in when you expanded it to allow a bullet to be seated and to prevent the case mouth from interfering with feeding. It cannot hold a bullet in place if the case neck tension is too loose. Heavy crimping will only work harden the case mouth and weaken it. Too much crimp will actually weaken the case's grip on the bullet. I have loaded thousands of 300 gr. .44 Mag rounds for use in a Winchester 94 carbine (yes it kicks) with a moderate roll crimp and have never had a bullet move from recoil or feeding. They also feed very well. I must have got lucky because this 94 will feed everything from short .44 Specials to heavy .44 Magnums with 100 % reliability.

Last edited by drail; August 8, 2012 at 08:05 AM.
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Old August 8, 2012, 10:56 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input.

I ran 9 rounds which I made up through the carbine to check function. For normal people it probably does not kick that bad. I have major shoulder problems so I feel the recoil more.

No problems with the bullets in the magazine.

Did not do an accuracy check. Practically it held on a standard paper plate at 50yds. The short sight length and my aging eyes do not make for precision open sight shooting. Did split a piece of fire wood with one bullet.

i think the little piece will make a nice trail companion. We have bears and aggressive Mountain Lions in our area.
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Old August 8, 2012, 12:30 PM   #6
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For hunting with my 77/44 and the Marlin .44 lever, I have settled on the same load that I use for the 629s. 23.5 grains of H110/W296 under a 240gr XTP or Nosler JSP/JHP set off with a Winchester Large Pistol Primer. The Winchester LP primers are designated of magnum or standard loads. If I don't have the Winchesters I use a LP Magnum primer. For plinkin and range use I'll knock the down to 23gr.
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Old August 8, 2012, 03:03 PM   #7
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Some 44mag 94s have short throats. I would strongly advise not loading heavier for the rifle. I went through a stage in my younger years when I thought I had to shoot MAX velocity in everything. My brass only lasted about 3x and I shot a Model 29 loose. You'll pick up a couple hundred fps in the rifle, anyway.
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Old August 8, 2012, 04:10 PM   #8
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Ya , hot rodding a Smith 29 is a bad idea , gotta have a Ruger if shooting Max loads is your goal ! Preferably a SRH or SBH .
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Old August 8, 2012, 07:52 PM   #9
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My load is 23 grains of Win 296 with CCI 350 primers and 240 XTP bullets. Very accurate in my Win Trapper 16" barreled rifle and also my Ruger Super Blackhawk 7 1/2" pistol. I load to Hornady's recommendation for overall length at 1.600" with a heavy roll crimp. 1.590-1.600" should be fine in pistols or rifles. In my Winchester 16" barrel Trapper I get from 1645-1680 fps depending on which brass I am loading. 22 grains gets a few feet per second less than 1600 fps while 22.5 gets a few feet more than 1600 fps. 24 grains which is the maximum I'd load with Win 296 and the 240 XTP gets a few fps more than 1700 fps in my 16" barrel. In my limited testing CCI 350's gets a little more velocity than does Win LP and RP 2 1/2" just a little less than Win LP's. CCI 350's also gave the most consistent velocity in my little test.

Last edited by rg1; August 8, 2012 at 08:03 PM.
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Old August 21, 2012, 11:11 AM   #10
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Once again thanks for the input.

Never been a fan of max loads. I have always liked mid range loads which tend to be more accurate and less expensive.
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Old August 21, 2012, 12:44 PM   #11
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Once had a problem leading the Lyman 429421 Keith type cast lead bullets for my Marlin .444. There could be a similar problem with similar bullets in a .44 magnum lever rifle. When crimp into the crimping groove, the over-all cartridge was too long to feed through the rifle. Having access to a lathe I shortened the RCBS .444 Marlin dies and then trimmed the .444 Marlin cases shorter to enable feeding. I worked up the appropriate loads and the modification worked fine.
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Old August 21, 2012, 12:48 PM   #12
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Crimping in the XTP cannalure will give you a good OAL. I have a bar/plate in my shooting shoulder and when I shot a bunch of Magnums in my Puma Mod. 92 sometimes I drew blood (not a lot of feeling left in my shoulder). My solution was a leather recoil pad from Buffalo Arms, . I cut a couple pieces of mouse pad and put them in the leather pad for extra padding and it works great. The leather lace on pad looks fitting to a "western lever gun" and does reduce felt recoil...
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Old August 21, 2012, 05:26 PM   #13
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Never been a fan of max loads. I have always liked mid range loads which tend to be more accurate and less expensive.

Then you're barkin' up the wrong tree using H110/W296. It likes to be run at the upper end of it's parameters. If you're looking for something a little softer, I suggest IMR 4227 or 2400. I have gotten to like 4227 in the .44 and .460 lately. Altho it doesn't give me the velocities of H110/W296, accuracy is there and it seem to be less temperature sensitive. It also downloads much better than H110/W296. It really shines in my long piped handguns and handgun caliber carbines.
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Old August 21, 2012, 06:16 PM   #14
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I had a Model 94 in 44 mag for a few years. When I bought it it had a recoil pad on it and after shooting it with full power magnum loads I know why; the little carbine kicked harder than my 300 WM! I loaded it down a bit, and it was capable of 1 inch 3 shot groups at 100 yards using the side mount scope on 9x. I was really impressed!
WW brass, CCI 300 primer, RCBS 44-240-swc sized .430", Hornady gascheck
17.5 grains of 2400, bullet seated deep and crimped over the front drive band to cycle through the action. This was the best load that I could stand to shoot from my tree stand without getting kicked out of it.
If you load full house stuff, I recommend a 240 SOFT POINT because the JHP bullets have a tendency to come apart at short range from the velocity in the longer barrel. I used 24.0 of WW296/H110 and a CCI 350 primer. For lighter JHP loads, use the 200 grainer over 26.0 of 296, and the 180 grainer over 27.0 of WW296.
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Old August 21, 2012, 08:42 PM   #15
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I like to load at 18 grains of 2400 using a 240 jsp in my Win 94. To me that was plenty of power to challenge any game animal. Now all im loading is lswc using 10 grains of unique and love that round shoots great in the 94 and my raging bull.
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