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  • Starting point...

    I am new to reloading and have recently come into a BUNCH of reloading equipment (I now have three presses and 6-8 sets of dies, bullets, lots of powder, primers, etc..). I am wanting to come up with a light load to shoot from my S&W 629 (3" bbl) that isn't too punishing. Can anyone give me a starting point for some easy loads for target practice that I can play with?

    Thanks in advance,


    The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  • #2
    I like a 240-250 gr bullet over 7 gr of Unique, should be around 600 fps and change from your short barrel. Recoil is very mild, and accuracy is typically quite good. You can also increase charges to 10 gr for 900 fps and change, recoil rises but some guns group much tighter with the increased load.

    Unique has had a reputation for being a dirty powder, but I believe the new formulation is much cleaner burning. I've used pounds of it, and it is one of the most flexible powders for mild cast bullet shooting in pistols and rifles.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


    • #3
      I agree with Paul about Unique. It's my favorite for moderate loads in most handguns.

      On the 240 grain bullets, beware of the Speer or Hornady swaged lead bullets if you move much above that 7 grain charge. They're leading fools in spite of the lube, mostly because they are swaged from such soft lead.

      Even with the mild charge they are prone to leading if you scrape the lube off the sides of the bullet while seating them in the cases. At the cost of case life, it helps to bell the case mouth a little more than usual.

      Better yet is to forego those bullets completely. I cast my own from wheelweights or #2 Lyman alloy and they are fine up through the 10 grain charge Paul mentions. No extra belling on the case mouths or anything- just load and shoot.

      Best is to go ahead and locate a source of the hard cast 240's, even if you aren't pushing them to max. They work great for reduced loads, but are entirely suitable if you want to push the loads up the scale.

      I have several 44's including a magnaported 4" 629. Unique really cuts noise and flash in short barrels, even as you move up toward max for that powder.

      Along the way I have accumulated a bunch of 44 Special cases, and mostly use those for reduced loads simply to help keep track when also using the same bullets in hotter loads. I am careful about keeping my loads organized and sorted, but the visual reassurance of the shorter case for lighter loads is kinda nice both at the range and in the field. Out of curiosity I have whacked several deer with the 44 specials loaded to factory velocities with the hard cast 240's. Watching the animals' reactions, I defy you to tell the difference between the mild specials and hot magnums inside 50 yards.
      "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
      Merle Haggard


      • #4

        That info is exactly what I am looking for.

        BTW - If anyone needs any brass..... I have POUNDS of it! Large amounts of various pistol, and rifle brass. I haven't had a chance to go through it, but if you are in need of a specific caliber just let me know and I'll take a look.

        The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....


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