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Thread: How to develop a load with no data for the powder/cartridge combo?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Oct 2017

    How to develop a load with no data

    I lurk here frequently but only post when I'm buying stuff in the "for sale" section. I hope this is in the right section, I apologize if it isn't.

    How do you determine a safe starting load for a powder and cartridge combo for which there is no load data?

    Case in point - Longshot in 44 Russian under a 180gr LSWC. There's no data for Longshot in a 44 Russian.

    How would you determine a starting point for this load?

    BTW, I'm shooting this in a S&W M629, so going slightly overpressure is not a concern.
    Last edited by drmordo; 12-01-2018 at 04:33 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Michigan
    I have contacted the manufacturer and suggest you do the same. I have found Alliant to be very responsive. They will have loads that are not listed on their web site. Also, some powders do not play well if not loaded to a certain pressure level while other powders have a wide operating range. There is usually a good reason why data is not available if it is a current powder...after all they want to sell the stuff.

    Best to get information from a reliable source than some arm chair ballistician.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    I have contacted sierra for some loads and the powder Manufacturers are helpful also. Some powders have skipped some powders because of poor performance in certain cartridges, or the cartridge dosnt operate at a pressure level appropriate to that powder.

    The old way was to find a case close in size to the one your loading and measure capacity in grains of water once this is found a known light load can be worked up from.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    SE Ohio
    I don't recommend it for everybody but I look for a powder with similar burn rate for same cartridge
    divide fps by grains to come up with FPS per grain they use algebra to solve for X. Use low end of
    the scale and work your way up. My intention is always to hit low end and work from there.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

    dragon813gt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Somewhere in SE PA
    Powder manufacturers first then Quickload. If youíre going off book itís an invaluable tool. Just be aware that itís like any computer program. Garbage in = garbage out. If you enter everything correctly it should give you a reasonably close prediction. It has some weird predictions w/ straight wall cases so be aware of that as well.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    bruce drake's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Brownsburg, Indiana
    Consider a starting load for 44 Special and than reducing it by 10-15% to account for the smaller cartridge volume of the 44 Russian. The 44 Special case is 1.16" length while the 44 Russian is .97" in length. That .19" in length difference will require you to develop loads appropriately. Your having a M629 should allow you to safely develop these lighter loads but it should help to start from these light load suggestions.
    J. Taffin did a write-up for the 44 Russian awhile back.
    He gives some modern 44 Russian load workups. Also Starline actually makes 44 Russian brass and Mike Venturino wrote an article about reloading for his Uberti copy of the S&W 44 Russian Revolver.
    I Cast my Boolits, Therefore I am Happy.
    Bona Fide member of the Jeff Brown Hunt Club

  7. #7
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Thanks for the tips. I've been googling it all afternoon, and just stumbled onto the idea of using proportional case volumes to work out a starting load for HS6 (I'd rather use the Longshot I mentioned above, but for the sake of this post let's look at HS6).

    44 RUS = 1.05 cc
    44 SPL = 1.68 cc

    44 SPL HS6 200gr LSWC = 8 to 9.5gr with a max pressure of 12.4kcups

    so (algebra)


    x=(8*1.05)/1.68=5gr starting load

    x=(9.5*1.05)/1.68=5.9gr max load also with a max pressure of 12.4kcups

    Thoughts? It doesn't really answer my original question, but it does get me a mid-speed powder load for 44 RUS.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    I could run it through quick load. However I believe longshot is to slow for that cartridge.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    west central Illinois
    I did something similar to what you are trying a few years ago when powders were hard to find.
    I needed a load for 9mm and could not find any powder that had load data available for 9mm.
    I ended up using Winchester WSH with a 135 grain boolit. There is no data for WSH out there anywhere for pistol use that I have been able to locate.
    By using the burn charts and my chronograph while paying close attention to case dimensions and primers, I was able to work up a good load for that combination that I still use to this day.
    I never tried to see how fast I could push it. When I got to the velocity I wanted, I stopped.
    It turned out to be a very accurate load for my pistol.
    Now I have plenty of pistol powders available. When I run out of WSH, I will switch back to regular pistol powders.

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Thanks for the advice, everyone!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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