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Thread: 624-3" trials....

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    Default 624-3" trials....

    Well it is the monsoon season here in the interior of Alaska and I have been able to get out to shoot only between squalls this summer.

    I have been feverishly working up loads for a group of guns, usually able to shoot three or four guns at each chronographing session. Today was, among others, 44 special day and these are 3" S&W's one of stainless and one lovely little 24 blued gun, all original S&W. The stainless version of it the 624 is a little more used and and with a very nice set of African black wood grips.

    Some of the loads I tried, quite honestly were rather pitiful, trying new powders in this case to launch the 250 grain WFN, plain base bullet. Hoping for only 850 fps and falling quite short making only about 750 and lots of unburned powder....back to the drawing board.

    After about 40 rounds through this newly acquired 624, it began to lock up and and be hard to open. So common and so typical of this revolver after a few hard rounds but this time it was just light and moderate loads. But as predictable as ever I found the screw holding the cylinder latch loose. The second most common ailment I suppose is the ejectors threaded rod loose. It was tight and of course this one is left hand threads which helps keep it together.

    This is a nice gun and I think I can make it do what I want but 3" just isn't much barrel to get a bullet going very fast. I thought I could use mid burning rate powders and get things to happen but not so far. The best load in this barrel length has been 9.6 grains of Blue Dot with this 250 grain WFN. That one will let you know you have hold of a 44. It gave me the 850 fps I wanted. It is funny with these too light loads of N105 the heavier bullets were progressively faster than the lighter because the ignition was better. Also I think Federal 150 primers are not any help with this powder. I'll find some CCI-300 and try again. I think 12.0 grains will get the needed velocity. No body publishes loads of this type for a 44 special. Once again out on a limb....what I do best, I guess.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  2. #2

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    No reason to wonder other than the mention of unburned powder, but how heavy is your crimp on these loads, Murphy? In my own 4" 629 .... okay, my wife claims it.... 44 Special loads with mid- to slow-burners just seem to work better if I bump the crimp up toward what I'd put on magnum cases. Don't know quite how I would measure degree of crimp in order to put measurable numbers on it. But it's a heavier crimp than I normally use on Specials with Unique, for example.

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    You know.....we have already good loads for the special I'm just trying to do something that I shouldn't do.

    I wanted a rather brisk load with this heavier cast bullet that would perform well in just 3". My four inch special has no trouble with these loads..well some of them, but that extra inch burns the powder.

    Actually I was just trying to find something along the lines of the case full of 2400 but it is miserable in 3" barrels also. I used Vihta N110. It works fine and is clean burning in four inch 44 mags but my load was too light to get pressure high enough to burn it well. I started at 14.0 grains and went to 14.5, 15.0 and I think I'll need at least 16 to get it to burn. Problem is this case holds 15.0 with this bullet. I'll try about 12.5 of N105 tomorrow and see if that is better.

    You're right of course about the crimp, more is greater confinement thus better burn. I didn't readjust my die. I had it set for my laser cast 240 grains, ran out of them, 500 rounds of 44 special development later, then went to the heavier 250 grain WFN PB's. I have about 25 of them left. They'll go tomorrow.

    Blue Dot has been the best 950 fps load for my 4" gun, and in the 3" in is about 876 fps. That may be it. Blue Dot burns clean and virtually no unburned powder. Unique also does fine though a little sooty in the short gun. I guess you could say I'm trying to broaden my horizons as to powders for the special.

    An interesting thing today with the 41 mag. I had a box of Federal hard cast. These are 250 grain WFNGC Cast Performance bullets, I took one apart and it is loaded wiht 14.5 grains of H110/296. I chronographed them in my 4" M58, my 4 5/8" old style Blackhawk, and my 1st year new style 6 1/2" Blackhawk.

    M58-4" Vel. 1109, ES 72, SD 29, Not much and inconsistant burn
    B/H 4 5/8" Vel. 1152, ES 109, SD 40, Still needs more barrel.
    B/H 6 1/2" Vel. 1257, ES 20, SD 07, Clearly an efficient load.

    An increase of over 100 fps in less than two inches. It is my belief that those slower powders need more barrel to get pressure up to get a good burn. 250 grains at 1250 is a decent load for a hunting revolver and it is consistant, repeatable velocity. These results were almost an exact duplication of a similar load with three different R/H revolvers with 4", 5 1/2" and 7 1/2" My 6" FA was the same velocity as the R/H 7 1/2", tighter gun, I reckon.

    Tighter crimp and heavier bullets will work to get a better burn in short barrels, this always results in better loads. When I get something close to expectations, I'll increase the crimp and clock them and see what happens. More fun.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Murphy, finally someone that understands barrel length! I can't believe some that want 2" or 3" barrels in .454's, .475's and .500's when most of the powder burns out in front of the gun. Some guys even want the 45-70 in a 3" barrel! 10" will drive you nuts for powder selection.
    Now about crimp. It has a minimal effect on powder burn. I have spent years testing crimps and came to the conclusion that only enough to hold in all of the boolits under recoil is as good as it gets. I have ruined brass with the Freedom factory type crimp to find that I gained little and even tried no crimp by shooting one at a time.
    The very worst thing I tried was to anneal revolver brass.
    What you REALLY want is case neck tension on the boolit. That means you need to use fairly hard boolits that fit the throats snug, no undersize boolits. Water dropped WW's or a little harder. Somewhere around 20 BHN works fine. You don't want the brass to size the boolit when you seat them.
    You might want to try a smaller expander to make the brass tighter.
    Loose boolits in a revolver will cause 2 problems; Bad powder burn and a hot primer will push the boolit foreward before the powder gets burning good. Since each will move a little different, each case then will have a different capacity once the fire is lit. A sure way to get high SD's and ES's. That is why I use Fed 150's in the .44 mag and .45 with 296 or H110 instead of a mag primer. (Unless it is bitter cold out.) I don't go to a mag primer until I get to the .475.
    Yes, heavier boolits help a lot but don't depend on the crimp alone.
    Here is what tight but even case tension can do for a .44 mag. Three shot drop test at 200 yd's.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    I like the line of your reasoning, Murph. Haven't tried Blue Dot in the Special cases, though I like it in mag cases to be used in that 4". Interesting points by bfrshooter on bullet diameter. Sounds like I could spend some profitable time with the mike.

  6. #6

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    Blue Dot has given the best results with bullets of 250 grains or less in my .44 mag. Alaskan with it's 2 1/2" barrel.

    Higher velocities are possible with slower powders, but they also have significantly more muzzle blast.

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    Bfrshooter,

    What you're saying makes sense, the tighter fit. One disadvantage of more crimp is that it by nature is inconsistant because of variations in the brass tension at the mouth. A lot of this preliminary testing here is with a mix of brass, saving my good stuff for when I get into the ball park. That too hot primer is probably also worthy of note, pushing the charge, at least compacting it. We do want it to burn from the bottom. I am using 150 primers now they do seem to be in between the 300 and 350. They did work against me with some powders but with this N105 they may be the ticket.

    When were talking before about H110 we didn't discuss barrel length but that is a big factor. I guess we agree we need a good consistant burn for good accuracy. Short barreled magnums are really just fire breathers anyway. Yes they will produce more velocity than a short special but with great loss of efficiency. What I'm trying to do here is find a good high performance load for the 3" 44 special. I was hoping to get 250 grain hard cast to about 900 fps.

    These bullets are about BHN 21 and fit the throats very well at .430 and my bore is .4296" from my soft lead slug so that is a good fit. The M24 (blue) is .4303" even though the throats are more even. I'll use the 624 for testing these. I had some laser cast (silver) sized .431 but were a FP round nose and fell into the cylinder throats. They shot well when driven hard except in special cases in the magnum cylinder.

    What do you think of the taper crimp. Would this just make things worse by swaging the bullet down inside the case? How about a taper crimp before seating? (And re-bell of course) I suppose all is moot if the case tension is not there. Some of my cases were loose, old R-P, when I seated the bullet some were tight, the new Starline, and these made more consistant loads but clearly the powder charge/burn rate was wrong. Vihta N105 is shown in the Vihta manual with 357 and 41 mag and it is an excellent powder for both with a wide range of bullet weights. It seems to work better in short 357 than any other powder I've tried so I thought I'd try in the special. There is of course is no data for it.

    Here this pursuit is for a specific load for a specific gun with a subsonic, heavy cast, low flash, short barrel, forty four special. It may not work for other calibers or barrel lengths.

    I have a trio of 41 mags and intend to do some extensive testng with them when this is finished. I also have a project going with a 45 GAP, 45 ACP, 460 Rowland, 45 Winchester magnum, 45 Colt and 454 Casull. This one involves 8 different guns and 10 different barrel lengths with 2000 bullets of various size and type. My Wildey is on its way with two barrels.


    Brown Bear,

    Blue Dot was always my high performance powder for the 45 ACP. I worked up the special with it because they are about the same capacity.

    There is a lot here to explore. Factory ammo is made for a general audience of sixguns and rarely ever fits the needs of the many. Here is where the specialty handloader comes to bat. I want loads for very specific need for very specific guns. It is pretty easy to get a load for a 6" barrel in any caliber. It's when that barrel gets shorter that changes need to be made. Well it aint raining now so off I go. Where the heck is my old forty four?!
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    You don't want to use any crimp die that also sizes the brass around the boolit. Most of the time the crimp portion of the seating die works fine. Some are roll crimp and some taper depending on the caliber. The only difference is that cases like the ACP do not want the edge of the brass rolled in too far.
    You will find that the expander size for each boolit diameter will be the key to accuracy. Open the case too much for a smaller boolit and accuracy goes away.
    You hit the nail on the head about different brass having different tension. If you can feel boolits going in the brass with different pressure, you will get all kinds of variations.
    The revolver boolit has a gap to jump unlike a rifle boolit that can be close to or touching the rifling. We are trapped with having consistant boolit pull. It doesn't matter if all are a little loose or all are tight as long as all are the same. Each will print a different POI though. If you mix them the group will be large but if you shoot the looser ones together, the group will be tight and the tighter ones will still be tight but at a different place on the target.
    Working with the .44 for IHMSA I found looser booits still shot good but would be as much as 10" away from the tighter ones. That is how much it changed the burn rate of the powder. Mix the cases and a 10" group is all you can get.
    I switched to Hornady dies for all of my revolvers. They give me the best accuracy. RCBS gave the worst because of the large, long expanders. I never tried Lee dies but don't expect much. Lyman doesn't have the right dimensions either.
    I have BR bushing dies for the .44 mag but Hornady dies almost equal them.
    If you are working loads, never use a mix of brass. You will never find what you are looking for. Any time one boolit goes in easy and the next takes more force on the handle, you are done in! The secret is for all to have the same feel when seating.
    I worked out a method to measure seating pressure that really helped but is still not as accurate as I want.
    Of course, the boolit pull at ignition is the most important but it can't me measured, too late anyway!

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    Consistant ignition will yield low SD numbers, single digit, I know it.

    This will also give good accuracy, if the load can give it.

    Now, we must adjust so we can get this consistant ignition and burn of propellant.

    I did not change my crimp but I did change to good cases, these once fired with light load Starline cases, gave much more seating resistance and were very much the same.

    The 250 grain loads, in the older R-P cases, with N105 powder from this 3" barrel were around 920 fps and 980 fps. One round hit the 1000 fps mark with 12.0 and 12.5 grains respectively. I did not shoot the 13.0 grain charge in the little Smith. These both had SD of about 30, not good. I went back to the drawing board, in this case the loading bench and loaded the same load in the good brass. Twelve each with 12.0 and 12.5 grains of Vihta N105 and Fed 150 primers with the 250 grain WFN PB Cast Performance bullet. Don't try this at home! There is no loading data for this powder and this bullet, any bullet, in the 44 Special. IF it ain't raining, we'll see results tonite.

    I have a load in the 41 mag that is very accurate and was chronographed in three guns with different barrel lengths. M58 4", Old style B/H 4 5/8" and New style B/H in 6 1/2". The 6 1/2" gave a full 100 fps faster at 1377 fps with ten shots an Extreme Spread of 7 fps and an SD of 4 fps!!! The 4/58" gun had an SD of about 20 and 1267 fps, the 4" M58 was under 1200 and worse SD. All this was from the same once fiored Winchester brass with the same crimp, etc. The same box of fifty. This load is with 14.0 grains of Vihta N105 and Sierra 220 grain FPJ bullets with CCI-350 primers. Clearly this combo is a real performer in the longer and very tight fitting BlackHawk and would be called good from the instrumental view point but beyond the chronograph will print in about 2" at fifty with my old eyes and iron sights and that was for ten shots.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    No reason to wonder other than the mention of unburned powder, but how heavy is your crimp on these loads, Murphy? In my own 4" 629 .... okay, my wife claims it.... 44 Special loads with mid- to slow-burners just seem to work better if I bump the crimp up toward what I'd put on magnum cases. Don't know quite how I would measure degree of crimp in order to put measurable numbers on it. But it's a heavier crimp than I normally use on Specials with Unique, for example.

    Normally unburned powder is a lack of good bullet pull, crimp being part of this. I think in this case the charge was just so light that pressure wasn't enough to get into the range of pressure to allow this particulart powder to burn. I don't know what that is but it burns cleanly in the magnum cases when near max. I wanted a max for a 44 special load which will be at pressures lower than the magnum guns. What velocity do you expect this to be for my 3" gun with my 250 grain cast bullet? Have you loaded that weight in your wife's 4" barrel lengths?

    I think BFRshooters case tension theory is sound, it certainly will effect the outcome I just don't know if I can ever get this combo to work with stronger neck tension. I still believe crimp, and bullet to case fit (neck tension) are equally important.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    I wanted a max for a 44 special load which will be at pressures lower than the magnum guns. What velocity do you expect this to be for my 3" gun with my 250 grain cast bullet? Have you loaded that weight in your wife's 4" barrel lengths?
    Well now, there's max, and then there's wife max. I've never pushed anywhere near max in the Special, both because she doesn't like it and because I just switch to mag cases when I want to go hot. I'm shooting Specials in mag guns, rather than purely specials.

    I'm not sure how much velocity you'll lose between your 3" barrel and my 4", but I'd bet it's no more than 50 fps, and probably less. I just haven't chrono'ed a 3". Our standard load with the Keith 250in a special case is 6 grains of Unique for right at 700 fps in a couple of 4" 629's, though both are magnaported.

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    I have had good results with Winchester 231. If memory serves, I'm not home now so I'll just say, around 6.1 to 6.5 grains does wonders for the 250 grain Keith bullet. I am shooting the 3inch 696 and they work just fine. I think I am getting around 850 fps out of them. A friend of mine has had really good results with Trailboss too. Jim

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    I like the "wife load" thing!
    When I bought my first .44 in 1956 I loaded a bunch of wife loads but at that time she was still just my girlfriend. I let her shoot a bunch and during the shooting I slipped in a few full house loads. After she shot, I asked if she noticed any difference. All she said was some were louder then others. So I married her!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfrshooter View Post
    I like the "wife load" thing!
    When I bought my first .44 in 1956 I loaded a bunch of wife loads but at that time she was still just my girlfriend. I let her shoot a bunch and during the shooting I slipped in a few full house loads. After she shot, I asked if she noticed any difference. All she said was some were louder then others. So I married her!
    The right way to pick a woman!
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    The right way to pick a woman!
    And how! When I started dating my wife-to-be I learned her dad owned a sporting goods store, a liquor store and a boat, plus had a trap range in the back yard along with a kennel full of bird dogs. Talk about love at first sight!

    Oh yeah, and I learned to love her too!

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    Well, yesterday after work the sun was shining. Igrabbed the 44's and went to the range. I had two loads for the 44 special in once fired Starline brass. They fit tight when seated and they had the same crimp as before. They were loaded with 12.0 and 12.5 grains of N105 with Federal 150 LP primers and the CP 250 WFN PB bullet.

    12.0 grains 909 fps SD was 37 fps for 12 shots.
    12.5 grains 984 fps SD was 21 fps for 12 shots.

    The 12 grain load had 8 shots within 24 fps of each other with one shot almost 100 fps away.

    The 12.5 grain load ranged from 950 fps to 1005 fps. This from a 44 special with 3" barrel. Except for the fact that this load is at a higher pressure than I want it was a very good load. By the way there were no signs of high pressure. No sticky extraction, no overly flattened primers, no bulged cases, everything was perfectly normal. Will this gun withstand 44 mag pressures? Does anyone have a 44 mag with a 3" barrel that will shoot 250 grains at 1000 fps?

    Is this a good load or a bad load? Is a 44 special snubby bear load?
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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