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Thread: Lee 430-240-SWC in .44 Special for the Bulldog?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Lee 430-240-SWC in .44 Special for the Bulldog?

    Recently added a Charter Bulldog to the stable, and initial outing had the Lee 429-200 RF shooting at least a foot low at 10 yards over 5.5 of Trail Boss in Starline brass. Wondering if going to the 240-grain bullet and playing with powders might get me closer to point of aim. I have never used this particular tumble lube mold. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    44 mag unique 9gr LEE 240-SWC-TL PC'd 0.43 group size-1 1/4" @ 35ft RSBH so far, still playing with the load

    NOTE ***This is a mag load for a full-size revolver***
    Last edited by Conditor22; 09-17-2019 at 01:43 PM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Don't want to bust into the thread, but how about 7.0 of Unique or Universal Clays with that 240 TL boolit in the Charter Arms in special brass? I think that 7.5 grains might be a bit hot/uncomfortable in that small frame gun. GF

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Is the bulldog safe with +P ammo? I'm seeing 6.3 grains Unique as max for the 44 special. I'm seeing plenty of data for 240, and even 260 grain bullets. A heavier bullet should raise POI.

  5. #5
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    Walks's Avatar
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    I used an old Lee 240 non-TL bullet over 6.5grs of Unique in my old CA Bulldog.
    Which is also a load shown in the Lyman #4 Cast Bullet Handbook.
    I HATE auto-correct


    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy JoeJames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    Is the bulldog safe with +P ammo? I'm seeing 6.3 grains Unique as max for the 44 special. I'm seeing plenty of data for 240, and even 260 grain bullets. A heavier bullet should raise POI.
    My standard target - plinking around load for my Ruger SA 44 Special is 6.8 grains of Unique and a 240 grain swc = @890 fps. It sure ain't a max load. IIRC the Skeeter load was 7.3 grains of Unique. But upon reflection the bulldog is a bit lighter and shorter than my Ruger with a 4 1/2" barrel. But I would not call a 6.3 grain Unique / 204 grain swc in 44 Special a +P load in anything.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy Greg's Avatar
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    Abert Rim

    I load a 200 RF from a group buy mould over 6.0 Green Dot in RP cases
    shoots to sights @ 25 yards.


    P.S. Skeeter's load - 7.5 Unique, 240 SWC is a hand full
    God Bless ya'll
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  8. #8
    When I got my first Bulldog back in '75, I played with a lot of boolits from the Lee 120 gr WC to their 255 gr SWC and the Lyman 245 K. At a certain point, the muzzle flip would start the 255 tumbling. That 3" gun, and a 4" target Bulldog, both liked the Lee 208 gr WC and their 210 gr SWC best. They shot either of those two boolits very accurately. Neither of them ever liked the Kieth. IIRC (my logbook was lost in a move), recoil was very manageable with a charge in the neighborhood of 4 to 5 gr of W231/HP38 or 6 of Unique. I also bought the HP version of the 210 SWC but any tolerable load in the little 19 oz Charters would not give any expansion with ACWW, and softer alloys would skid and tumble. I ended up only using the HPs in .44 Magnums (for an understudy load when I adopted the Speer 225 gr JSWCHP/10.0/Unique as my hunting/duty load for a 4" M29), and while the short little 120 gr WCs made a great low-recoil plinking load, the best use I have found for that boolit was stacking two of them in .44 Mag cases. That gives the equivalent of a double tap with a 9mm except they are already expanded. It also will let you win a lot of bets regarding putting twelve holes in a target with your revolver, faster than your bettor/victim can with his crunchenticker auto. Sadly, the Speer 225 JSWCHP and the Lee 120 WC are both discontinued now. I read where the load I settled on was also the favorite .44 load of Jim Cirillo and Jerry Miculek. I wonder whether Jerry has an 'in' with Speer and could access any NOS of that J-word. I'm hoarding 50 of them and have another 30 loaded, which happens to be one cylinder and four speedloaders full. Good luck with your Bulldogs. Just don't load them up past your recoil tolerance; nerve damage in your hand and wrist takes a long time to heal.
    My current .44 SPL loads are the M-P HBWC, either conventionally seated or inverted, or the RimRock flat-face/flat-base WC, over 4.5/HP38. This is for either of the Bulldogs and a 4" 624. The 29 is now a dedicated match gun and my match load for it is the M-P HBWC over 4.5 of HP38, seated to the upper grease groove so that the front band has a head start in the throat. 'Normal' .44 Mag loads are now restricted to Blackhawks and carbines - a Deerstalker, a heavy barrel Handi-Rifle, a stubbornly cantankerous 788 and my pet B-92.
    Last edited by Old School Big Bore; 09-17-2019 at 02:58 PM. Reason: Additional Info

  9. #9
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    My .44 Special Load is 6.0 gr of W231 with a 240 gr Keith boolit. I started with 200 gr Boolits and less powder but they shot way high.

    The 6.0 gr load shoots to the sights. My gun isn't a Bulldog, it is a S&W 696 which is a 3" bbl 5 shot revolver. The gun is really fun to shoot.

    Randy
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  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Max standard pressure is right around 6.8 grains Unique with a SWC of 245 odd grains in 44 Special. More would be considered in excess and somewhat Plus P.

  11. #11
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    You didn't say which model Bulldog you have...........

    Mine is the Fit for Duty, with the 2 1/2" barrel.

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    Bullets in the 240 -250 grain range, shoot to the fixed sights. So that is my preference.

    This light weight firearm is a handful.

    Here is Brian Pearce's load data for 44 Special:

    http://www.goodrichfamilyassoc.org/4...%20Special.pdf


    For the Bulldog, he recommends not going, over Category Two loads. I pretty much stick to the Category One loads...........because they are more pleasant to shoot.

    My powder choices are Bullseye, Unique, 231 and 2400............with the 240-250's.


    Winelover

  12. #12
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    In the older original Bulldogs I found a soft cast 240 - 250 gr SWC over 4.5 - 5 gr of Bullseye usually shot very nicely to the sights. I always sized them at .429 back then and used s soft 50/50 lube.
    Larry Gibson

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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have an old discontinued Lee mold for a 210 gr full wadcutter. Loaded in 44 special cases with 4.0 grs Bullseye and shot in 7.5" Ruger Super Redhawk made very small groups. Never loaded heavy but now I've got try it just to see. Work, work, work.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Just like you Larry I found 250 Keith with 5 grains of Bullseye shot right to the sights. Shot an old wooden hedge post with that load and it buried the bullet base flush with the post. 7.5 of Unique with the Keith was somewhat brisk. This was back in '77 with the original Bulldog, like an idiot I sold it after awhile.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Winelover, I have a similar Bulldog -- without the laser sight, shrouded but exposed hammer for single action. I've got Universal on hand, but probably should look at laying in a can of Bullseye. I live in very large diamondback country, hence the shot loads.
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  16. #16
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    Shotshell loads would be fun. What is the pattern spread at say 2-3 yards/ 6-10 feet?

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
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  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I would most certainly suggest avoiding the use of Universal in the 44 Special as it is allergic to low SAAMI spec pressures and large case volumes and shows it by being very annoyingly positive sensitive.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Randy, I have not patterned the .44s from the Bulldog yet, but should, as snake season here will last at least another six weeks. 35Rem -- good to know about Universal.

  19. #19
    Before gas checks became so expensive, I used the Lee version of the Kake Kutter in a drill press to cut .44 overpowder wads from rubber/cork matrix sheet gasket material (it's wonderful growing up in a mechanic shop) and shirt cardboard and loaded .44 Spl and Mag with Bullseye, card, gasket, #8 shot, either card or gas check. I used a long, flat wadcutter seating punch to stuff the overpowder/cushion wads down. I also experimented with cord-reinforced butyl rubber sheet but it required pounding out with a 7/16" gasket hole punch and were just too much labor. The home-brewed shot loads worked great on snakes and pest birds out of the Bulldogs and Blackhawks. This was before I got the M29, and a cylinder dump from the DA Bulldog was magic when I'd find a hole full of South Texas Diamondbacks under a prickly pear. At the time, we had a deer lease in Starr County between La Gloria and Rio Grande City and I would 'walk-hunt' the pastures, senderos and less-dense portions of the mezquitales wearing the Blackhawk full of deer/hog loads and the Bulldog full of snake loads. Using the card as overshot gave less of the usual revolver hole-in-the-pattern than the gas checks, but the gas checks were more weatherproof. I always spread a drop of hobby paint on the cardboard overshot wads in an attempt to seal them and to toughen them up a bit after I had a few split and spill their shot from the recoil of an adjacent round. I made a version in .38/357 and .30 Carbine but of course they didn't hold enough shot to make it worthwhile, which I already knew from reading the two 'special application' luminaries of my misspent reloading youth, Nonte and Grennell, but some of us have to pee on the electric fence for ourselves.
    I didn't take it as far as making cylinder length shells from Krag etc brass and did not have any spare cylinders to make into dedicated throatless versions, nor any barrels whose rifling I wanted to 'minimize', and when the LGS got some Speer capsules in, I gladly switched to them. They are a lot less labor-intensive and I still keep some handy in 38, 44 Spl & Mag, 45 ACP, 45 AR and 45 LC. This was back when they were still made of a harder opaque yellow plastic. They did not break up on firing as well as the later transparent blue ones, in fact they would frequently exit the bore intact.
    IDK whether anyone still makes the Kake Kutter, but if you have a set of gasket punches, the 3/8" works for .38/357 and the 7/16" works for .44s - my guns never realized I was using free shirt cardboard rather than Nitro card, and gas checks and shot capsules are getting kinda spendy lately.
    Have fun with the shot loads and let us know how they work for you.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Got a late 70’s target 4” bulldog coming. I had a nickel 3” bulldog in the late 70’s early eighties but traded it off. Looking forward to reliving old memories. Back then modest charges of bullseye or unique pushed Lee’s 240 2R round nose. Today, it’s 4.9 grains 700X pushing 429421 or 429383 for about the same results. I’ll also try my cowboy load of 4.2 700X behind lee’s 200RF. If I were to use the gun as a truck gun or night stand, then 7.5 unique and 429421 will be in the chambers.

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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
GC Gas Check