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Thread: 44 magnum to 44 special length

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    44 magnum to 44 special length

    Gents would anyone who has shortened 44 mag to 44 special have an idea of the case capacity in grains of water? I know the thickness of 44mag brass and its web is going to produce less capacity than normal 44 special. Just curious as to how much this is. No lectures on the why of it, its just random weekend musings

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    I've shortened and and used 44 Mag brass in my 44 specials but I have not checked the volume. Not a bad idea to do so. I guess I can do it but not before Sunday night/Monday. You (we) may get an answer before then.
    Chill Wills

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    Chill Wills thanks it would be interesting to know

  4. #4
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    Hickory's Avatar
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    I have done this also.
    The problem you might run into is 44 magnum brass tends to be thicker than 44 special brass, so that the case may bulge out near the base of the bullet. This could lead to the cartridge loading difficulties in the cylinder and higher than normal pressures.
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  5. #5
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    I checked AmmoGuide (I'm a subscriber) and here below pasted their case images of each; the .44 Smith and Wesson Special has a case capacity of ~34.3, versus the .44 Remington Magnum case's ~37.9 grains of water. (I assume by crediting AmmoGuide for their data, and NOT divulging any proprietary loads, "no harm, no (e.g., Copyright) foul")
    Looking at a couple of each of the two calibre cases in hand, the thickness of each's brass does not seem thaaaat significant. For "kicks & giggles" I have a birch dowel which is a snug fit in a 'Mag case -- it still fits, albeit snugger, in a 'Special case -- hence my suggesting the difference as not being so great.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    BEST!
    geo

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks I read similar figures for 44 special but 44 mag usually at 40 grains, though its probably down to brass variance.

    As to the capacity Im assuming its not just affected by the case wall thickness, Im thinking the 44mag's thicker web might cut into capacity as well. I havent seen these cases sectioned but its just my guess.

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hickory View Post
    I have done this also.
    The problem you might run into is 44 magnum brass tends to be thicker than 44 special brass, so that the case may bulge out near the base of the bullet. This could lead to the cartridge loading difficulties in the cylinder and higher than normal pressures.
    My lever action has no cylinders. This is why I didn't want lectures, just the numbers

  8. #8
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    Sorry!
    I'll put your name down as someone who doesn't like non lectured information.
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

    I am a sovereign individual, accountable
    only to God and my own conscience.

  9. #9
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    At the risk of asking a dumb question, with the availability of 44 Spl brass, why go to the trouble of cutting magnum brass? It's a lot of work and obviously skews published load data. And if you wanted to go into the 2nd tier pressures, which has no published data at all, 44 Spl brass will withstand all of that you can hand it in the stronger guns.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  10. #10
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    DougGuy - Yup, fair question.
    I have a lot of 44 mag brass. The work involved in making them shorter is next to nothing for me and my home machine shop. Super fast and I wanted to use existing "stuff" rather than buy more stuff. I've made about 150 so far and have no plans to make more.

    It was my assumption the little difference in volume if any, would be lost in the noise of the load variance.
    I do not load 44 Special hot or Plus P level. No need to. I load to less than maximum, pleasant shooting level and let the big bullet do the work. I still have a 44 Magnum if I think I need more horse power, and these days that is almost never.

    That is my story and I am sticking to it
    Last edited by Chill Wills; 11-11-2019 at 11:17 AM. Reason: typo
    Chill Wills

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Chill Wills View Post
    DougGuy - It was my assumption the little difference in volume if any, would be lost in the noise of the load variance.
    I was thinking, but did not add to my response (post #7) that, imho, the main, if not only significance to any cartridge case length is to the calibre/chamber of the specific firearm it's intended for. To wit, in the ".44 family", first came the .44 Russian. To not risk blowing up firearms in that caliber, the CASE was made longer for the new .44 S&W Special; then, manufactured even longer for the .44 Rem Mag. There are lots of similar paradigms: the shorter .38 S&W Special to the .357 Magnum; the .45 to the .454 Casull; and the like.
    I personally, in same .44 S&W Special case seat wad-cutters alllmost flush -- AND flat point round nose bullets just seated to crimp groove -- not very deep in same case.
    I've been "taught" that the less volume in a case equates to lots more pressure -- which is why I use reputable published load handbooks as my powder level criteria .
    I've read lots on the results of volume as a result of seating depth, and frankly having neither the requisite test equipment to "know" what I'm doing, nor resources to replace "oops!" blown up firearms -- and, as a piano player who values ten fingers highly -- again, my ONLY used published, proven loads and seating depths.
    geo

  12. #12
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    Fabled Elmer Keith, and also John Taffin published a lot of information about 44 specials. Spend some time reading the seemingly endless reports of experimentation. Unless taken to some of the crazy pressures that Keith experimented with, I would think that most all 44 Magnums that get cut down to 44 special length will be safe, and probably last a couple of lifetimes.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hickory View Post
    Sorry!
    I'll put your name down as someone who doesn't like non lectured information.
    Sorry I was being tongue in cheek but it came off wrong. The information you mentioned may be useful to some as more fellas use revolvers than lever guns in 44sp.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougGuy View Post
    At the risk of asking a dumb question, with the availability of 44 Spl brass, why go to the trouble of cutting magnum brass? It's a lot of work and obviously skews published load data. And if you wanted to go into the 2nd tier pressures, which has no published data at all, 44 Spl brass will withstand all of that you can hand it in the stronger guns.
    Doug, no real practical reason, interested in doing something different if I go ahead. The advantages if any might be longer case life, possibly less powder, possibly less powder position sensitivity, possibly less noise But really the first sentence is the main reason. Might be fun working up some load data, like a poor mans wildcat.

    Georgekahn, a lot of my earlier career was obscure calibres and wildcats, I resurrected several for myself, this is pre-internet when you couldnt just google loads. I designed one as well. We usually kept our fingers intact.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy Boogieman's Avatar
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    One reason for cutting them down is to salvage 44mags with cracked necks. Yes I'm cheep.
    The 3 people a man must be able to trust completely are his gunsmith his doctor & his preacher ..,his gunsmith for his short term health ,his doctor for long term health ,and his preacher incase one of the others mess up.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogieman View Post
    One reason for cutting them down is to salvage 44mags with cracked necks. Yes I'm cheep.
    I do the same also and do it with 357mag also to 38spl. also will do it with 327mag if need to .
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  17. #17
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    I think, if you sectioned one of each, you will find there is no difference. This was published in Handloader a number of years ago. You will find more difference between brass manufacturers than you will between 44Special and 44Mag from the same manufacturer. They are made on the same machines from the same blanks.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I cut 100 new Win 44mg cases down to make 44 Russian years ago. Was to dumb back then to know it was a problem. So was the gun it didn't know any better either, it shot them fine and never complained.

  19. #19
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Smith View Post
    I think, if you sectioned one of each, you will find there is no difference. This was published in Handloader a number of years ago. You will find more difference between brass manufacturers than you will between 44Special and 44Mag from the same manufacturer. They are made on the same machines from the same blanks.
    Quite possibly Wayne, if I had them Id section them. Will be interesting to see what Chill Wills weighs his at

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I guess I don't see the logic behind butchering 44 mag cases to make 44 special cases when you can buy 44 special cases. I don't know about some of you but my time is still worth a little. Taking time to cut the brass back and remove the inside and exterior burr would take more in time than simply buying some 44 special brass.

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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