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Thread: Looking For Mid-range 44 Mag Load

  1. #1
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    Default Looking For Mid-range 44 Mag Load

    I just got back from Birchwood today, man what a great day to spend at the range! I shot 100 test loads out of three 44 magnums, Redhawk 5.5", Redhawk 7.5", and S&W 629 Classic 6". Bullet I am using is Missouri Bullet Company 240gr Keith style only it has a bevel base. Brass Federal, primer Fed 150, powder recent production Unique. I started with 7gr, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, and 9.5. I was looking for a lighter load for general shooting maybe 900-1000fps.

    I was really dissapointed with all these loads as the groups the three revolvers shot at 25 yards was anywhere from 3 to 5 inches and that from a sandbag rest. Three inches would be one of the better groups. I have used Unique for years, but honestly I am quite sick of using the stuff as it always seems dirty, meters worse than any other handgun powder I use (my RCBS or Lyman powder measure can vary by at least + or - 2 to 3 tenths of a grain using Unique). I know Unique is the old standby for many reloaders and many hold it near and dear to heart so I'm not trying to hurt any feelings. Just looking for something else to try.

    I have a good load using 19gr of 2400 that will shoot good from all three revolvers. This load is about max for this bullet as I get just a small amount of leading with them after shooting several dozen. Tried 17gr 2400 and increased up to 19 and that was the most accurate load. Now I need to find a good universal mid-range load for them. Seems like there should be some time tested universal loads out there that have a proven track record for accuracy in a variety of 44 magnums. I have HS6 on hand and was thinking of giving it a go, also Titegroup, Power Pistol, H110, Win 296, Bullseye.

    Anyone have a magic load out there they are willing to share. I keep reading posts on various forums of guys who can shoot 1 or 2 inch groups off hand at 25 yards and I can't seem to even get that from a sandbag rest except for my full power loads!!!

    Cast Performance bullets shoot exceptionally well out of the Redhawks but are too expensive to practice with much. Maybe I should try a different cast bullet so I'm open to suggestions there also.

    Thanks

  2. #2

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    For a rough equivalent of a factory 44 special load between 750 and 800 fps, I like 5.5 grains of Unique under a 240 grain lead bullet. For a "magnum" midrange I like a whole lot, try 7.5 grains of Unique under the same bullet for around 1k.

  3. #3
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    Default .44 Cast bullet loads

    If you are shooting that many .44s you need to cast your own bullets! For the price of a couple of boxes of bullets you can roll your own using the Lee equipment and work up to better equipment from there. With gas checks leading isn't a problem in my .44s even at maximum loads. I use the Lee 310 gr. bullet here in AK; a 240 is fine for the lower 48 or practice.

    Metering of the flake powder like Unique is not very consistant - hence the popularity of ball powder. I've been experimenting with Alliant STEEL powder which has very large bulky flakes. It is somewhat slower than Blue Dot - similar to HS 7 - but is the worse metering powder I've used due to its bulky large flakes. Otherwise it would be great for medium powder loads - it is bulky and burns cleanly and fall into a good range for medium power loads.

    Consistant 1" groups off hand at 25 yds with a .44 requires an outstanding shooter and a very good pistol and loads. The 10 ring of the NRA slow fire target is around 1.5" so even a 2" c-c group with a .44 will get you a perfect score to put that size group in perspective. Over sandbags you should be able to keeps all your shots in a ragged hole if everything is right.

    Try a .22 target pistol to see how well you can group before you look at your .44 groups. The .44 is harder to group due to the consistancy of group etc. required with the heavy recoil - the .22 groups will give you a standard for comparison.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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  4. #4
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    Default

    BrownBear, my starting load was 7.5gr of Unique. Maybe I need to start lower like around your 5.5gr load and work up from there. Unfortunately, I still have about 2 1/2 lbs of Unique to use up eventually.

    Tvfinak, I hear you on the casting my own. I shoot a lot of 1911, 38/357, 44, and 45 Colt (when I can get away to the range) and casting my own would greatly help reduce my expenses and give my the options of casting different bullets. My last bullet order from Missouri Bullet Company was close to 300 bucks and I'm starting to get to the bottom of the boxes. I bought 2 furnaces back in the winter, one was the basic starter kit with dipper style pot, ingot mold, dipper, and the other is a bigger bottom pour pot. That is as far as I've gotten with casting, but I'm getting ready to melt down 5 gallon bucket of wheel weights outside over a Coleman stove and cast iron dutch oven to pour into ingots. I need to break down and start buying some molds and I guess a sizer with dies? I want to cast and shoot heavy bullets for caliber, at least while I'm up here.

    I know my shooting skills are not NRA target quality for sure!! It just gets kind of frustrating loading up a bunch of test loads to shoot out of multiple 44's only to see the best group the size of a coffee can! I guess I'm searching/hoping to find some magic load that off of a sandbag rest, even my poor eyes can shoot those ragged hole groups! I guess I'm just thinking that with all the new powders they have developed in the last ten years, there has to be something just as versitile, cleaner burning, and accurate as Unique.

    That Lee 310 gr bullet you use, is it shot as dropped from the mold or is it sized and gas checked? I've read that the Lee bullets that are used as sized then rolled in Liquid Allox are pretty good for velocities up to maybe 900 fps. I guess that would be a cheap way to get started casting as the sizer/lube presses with dies are expensive. One question I have about the casting is what happens when I use up all the wheel weight lead and can't find any more? Is there a source to buy casting lead in Alaska or do you have to order online?

  5. #5
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    Default cast .44 bullets

    If you already have the furnaces you are off to a good start. I use a bottom pour for pistol bullets to speed up the process. A ladle and dipper is perhaps better for precise for rifle bullets but I generally don't use mine.

    Lee makes some bullets that can be shot as cast but they are generally for lower velocities. The cheap route for bullets that need to be sized like the 310 gr. 44 is to use the Lee sizer that mounts in your press and pushes the bullets thru the die to size. With that sizer you have to use the liquid alox but it actually works pretty well. I bought one for my .500 S&W to try and I was pleasantly surprised how well the set up worked. For your .45 acp the "as cast" bullets should work fine - the velocities just aren't high enough for leading problems.

    Check the gun shows for bullets sizers and other used casting equipment. I bought a RCBS sizer at the Nov. gun show for $20 or so and also some molds for good prices - you just have to keep your eyes open and beat me to the deals

    The Lee six cavity molds are the way to go for voume. You can cast a lot of bullets in a big hurry. The pail of wheel weights will change to bullets faster than you can imagine. Where you get lead after tha may take some scrounging. I bought a bunch of wheel weight ingots off Craigs List a few years ago - $200 for 900 lbs or so plus I shipped a lot up from down south in priority mail boxes - $9.95 for 70 lbs. You can buy it that way off EBay also.

    I need to sit down and see how good of groups I can get with my reloads and take my S&W Mdl. 41 out and see how good I can still shoot- or not. You can also mount a scope on your 629 classic to help eliminate sighting errors if your eyes are as bad as mine. I need to do that myself - I had mine (629 Classic) scoped at one time and I was amazed how accurate it was - a couple of inches at 50 yrs from a rest but that wasn't with the 310 gr. bullets.



    Quote Originally Posted by HUNTERKJL View Post
    BrownBear, my starting load was 7.5gr of Unique. Maybe I need to start lower like around your 5.5gr load and work up from there. Unfortunately, I still have about 2 1/2 lbs of Unique to use up eventually.

    Tvfinak, I hear you on the casting my own. I shoot a lot of 1911, 38/357, 44, and 45 Colt (when I can get away to the range) and casting my own would greatly help reduce my expenses and give my the options of casting different bullets. My last bullet order from Missouri Bullet Company was close to 300 bucks and I'm starting to get to the bottom of the boxes. I bought 2 furnaces back in the winter, one was the basic starter kit with dipper style pot, ingot mold, dipper, and the other is a bigger bottom pour pot. That is as far as I've gotten with casting, but I'm getting ready to melt down 5 gallon bucket of wheel weights outside over a Coleman stove and cast iron dutch oven to pour into ingots. I need to break down and start buying some molds and I guess a sizer with dies? I want to cast and shoot heavy bullets for caliber, at least while I'm up here.

    I know my shooting skills are not NRA target quality for sure!! It just gets kind of frustrating loading up a bunch of test loads to shoot out of multiple 44's only to see the best group the size of a coffee can! I guess I'm searching/hoping to find some magic load that off of a sandbag rest, even my poor eyes can shoot those ragged hole groups! I guess I'm just thinking that with all the new powders they have developed in the last ten years, there has to be something just as versitile, cleaner burning, and accurate as Unique.

    That Lee 310 gr bullet you use, is it shot as dropped from the mold or is it sized and gas checked? I've read that the Lee bullets that are used as sized then rolled in Liquid Allox are pretty good for velocities up to maybe 900 fps. I guess that would be a cheap way to get started casting as the sizer/lube presses with dies are expensive. One question I have about the casting is what happens when I use up all the wheel weight lead and can't find any more? Is there a source to buy casting lead in Alaska or do you have to order online?
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

  6. #6

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    I have some 250gr. keith style bullets that you may want to try they are great in my 629. I have found that the unique is what I refer to as dirty to some others means that it has not been fully burned yet I am getting ready to try universal same type charges but it is supposed to meter much better same velocity look at some hodgen data. I am new to casting but if you want to try some bullets before buying molds
    contact me and we can either cast some so you can do it from start to finish or just load and shoot some.

  7. #7
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    Default

    I use Traiboss for less than full power loads. Should be able to do 850-900 I would think.

    8.5 grains gets me 900 with a 255 in Ruger 5.5" Blackhawk 45 colt.

    I think I was loading 7.5 in my dads 44 with a 240 grain bullet but didn't chrony those. In these cartridges base of the bullet is max load but not hot in any way and you can go down to 75% from there.
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