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Thread: 44 Magnum Load Question

  1. #1
    Boolit Master mtnman31's Avatar
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    44 Magnum Load Question

    I've had my .44 magnum for a few years now and haven't done much with it. I'm shooting a Taurus Raging Bull with 6" barrel. I finally started some serious load development to try and find my "go to" load for this revolver. I did a marathon shooting session this afternoon and tried a number of different load combos. My bullets were a 230gr lead semi-wadcutter. My question concerns the powder. One of my combos used IMR-4227, which I've never used for anything other than M1 Carbine loads. I had a fair amount of unburnt and partially burnt powder. Is this common with IMR-4227? Using the same 22.9gr charge, I tried both standard primers and magnum primers and had about the same results with each. Velocity was averaging 1190fps. My crimp was probably in the "medium" range, not light but definitely not heavy. Groups were decent with the IMR-4227 but the hands-down winner for the day was a load with Unique. The Unique recipe ran about 1300fps and had some great groups. If I continue to work with the IMR-4227, can I expect the unburnt powder or do I need to change something?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    If you don't require full-charge .44 Magnum loads, you might try something in the range of 7-8 grains of Bullseye in your .44 Mag. which approximates .44-40 velocity and is more pleasant to shoot, about 1000 fps.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Man lawdog941's Avatar
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    Try loading closer to max and heavier crimp. It leaves a little less. Doesn't hurt anything. I use it for heavy 45, shoots the most accurate of the powders I've tried. Just doesn't have top end speed for heavier bullets. The only down side would be leading above 1200.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    imr 4227 leaves lots of junk in the barrel. even in my 44 rifle with max charge the barrel is coated, but its sort of little "tubes" or a "shell" left from the burning. id check the remains closely if you haven't. but you should be able to get the same speed or better with 4227 than unique as its more a magnum pistol powder than unique. and also safer at max speed because its slower and you cant double charge. id recommend using 4227 at max or very close book charge with heavy crimp as your high end load. and then unique for medium or low power.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy Cast_outlaw's Avatar
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    I’m using the lee c429-240 sac and 429-240-2r with 14g bluedot makes a nice crisp and accurate load in my SBH I’m going to work it down to a more gentle load but at 1400 it’s got some punch

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    Standard Load of 240-250gr SWC over 22grs of 2400.
    Has always worked well for Me. From 4" to 8 3/8" bbl.

    Outpost's medium load is very comfortable to shoot.
    With Unique I like 9.5 -11grs.

    Good Luck
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walks View Post
    Standard Load of 240-250gr SWC over 22grs of 2400. has always worked well for me
    not for me, I worked up to 21.5 in a SRH and that was the most pressure signs ive ever tested
    current alliant max data
    Minimum OAL(inches) 1.71
    Bbl Length 7.5
    Primer CCI 300
    Powder 2400
    Charge Weight grains) 20
    Velocity fps 1,390

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    Remington Primers for Me.
    I have a goodly supply of the old 2400 formula.

    Used an old Ruger BH made prior to the SBH frame.
    SBH, RH, SRH & M29 Revolvers and Desert Eagle .44Mag. Old Vaquero's and for a short time a Viginian Dragoon.

    NEVER had a problem.

    Each gun is a law unto it self.

    Had a Weatherby Vanguard in .25-06 for about 43yrs or so. It shows pressure signs at 2grs below book max.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
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    1300 fps 6" barrel with unique is getting pretty close to max if not a little over I'm guessing around 12-13 grains was your load. You should get better accuracy and higher velocity and less pressure with the 4227. My most accurate loads for the .44 magnum with a 240-250 gr SWC has been between 18-20 gr range with 2400. Lawdog941 is right you will get cleaner burn when pressure increases as you get closer to max charge.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    4227 will work in the .44 Magnum but by no means is it a star performer. I'm willing to bet that your 22.9gr powder charge was just about a starting load, right? 4227 is a Magnum powder- it needs to be loaded to Magnum levels, not lightly. Undoubtedly your ES and SD was pretty large too. Hard to get good accuracy that way. If you're looking for a soft-shooting load, this powder will not get you there without issues.

    Is there a velocity level you're trying to reach? Or are you just looking for accuracy regardless of speed? Unique, Herco, 2400, #9 and W296/H110 are all powders which are known for accuracy. With each of those you will be able to find accuracy AND the velocity you are looking for.

    If you give us an idea of what type of load you're trying to develop then we can help you get there faster.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Go with w296 or 2400 full or close to full power.
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  12. #12
    4227 is a slow burner that can work well in the 44, BUT you need a hefty crimp and a magnum primer. It seems to be a normal condition to find some granules left in the barrel. It was originally designed for rifles like 30 M1, 22 Hornet, etc. Other posters here recommend some good loads. If your looking for full power try 296 or H110. They are the exact same powder.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Nobody has mentioned the light bullets the OP uses. IMR 4227, W296 & H110 work best with heavier bullets, in my experience. Unique and 2400 are better for lighter weight bullets. My best 44 Rem Mag load with the Accurate Molds 43- 240K is a max charge of 2400. This load shoots a little over two MOA at 100 yards from my S&W PC 629.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master mtnman31's Avatar
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    The Unique load was 11.9 gr with 230gr bullet. The IMR 4227 load of 22.9 was closer to starting load. I had good Standard Deviation for the IMR load - it was under 10 across ten shots, but the grouping was still not nearly as good as with the Unique. I have already tried W-296 and got pretty poor groups with it. I use 296 exclusively for my 480 Ruger and get great performance. I have 2400 on hand and will try it next. I've got a half dozen molds for 44, so I can change it up if I can't get what I want out of this 230gr bullet. Thank you for the replys and help so far.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master mtnman31's Avatar
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    To answer Todd N, accuracy is always King for me. I want to keep velocities in the magnum range but don't necessarily need to have max velocity. Just want good accuracy and respectable velocity.

  16. #16
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    IMR and H4227 work well in the 44 magnum with 250+ gr cast bullets. Shot a lot of H4227 at 23 gr under a Lyman 429421. I used CCI LP magnum (CCI 350s) and that load burned pretty clean, cleaner than Hercules 2400 back then. I found 4227 to be to slow burning for lighter weight bullets.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnman31 View Post
    To answer Todd N, accuracy is always King for me. I want to keep velocities in the magnum range but don't necessarily need to have max velocity. Just want good accuracy and respectable velocity.
    The most accurate loads I have for my .41 and .44 Magnums as well as my 2 .454 Casulls all use top-end loads of H110 behind heavy-for-caliber bullets. Yes, they do produce noticeable recoil but after all, they are Magnums! LOL

    If you do not prefer a heavy-recoiling load, I would recommend using your reloading books to get you into the 180-225 grain loads and a faster powder. Again, it comes down to the ultimate use of a given load- hunting, target practice, teaching, long-range shooting? A buddy of mine shoots the same gun. His "all-around" load uses .44 Special brass, 2400 powder, and a 290 gr LFN-GC. He calls it "The Planet Killer". Comfortable recoil, excellent accuracy, and on the 3 deer I've seen shot with it, Hammer Of Thor performance.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    For over thirty years I used Elmer’s load of 22 grains of 2400 under a 429-421. In a Ruger Redhawk, I would still use that load. Nowadays, I use 20.5 grains. My Taurus and S&W M-29 are not as strong. (And my own abilities have declined as well).
    I have used 4227, but I found no benefit to doing so. 4227 works better in 30 Carbine.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    One of my favorite. 44mag loads is 8.6g of Green Dot behind a Lyman 429421hp seated to an OAL of 1.710 and primed with a Rem.2-1/2.Accuracy is excellent. 5 shot groups of less than 1" from a Smith 629 Classic DX with a 4x Leupold EER scope. Velocity is 1000fps +-
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  20. #20
    Boolit Man
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    If you're going with 4227 , a firm crimp , mag primer & within 1.0 to 0.5grs below max . 4227 will not give top velocities but when in it's preferred pressure range is quite accurate . In my 41 mag Henry a good crimp , Fed 155 primer & 0.5grs below max is very very good . RS Enforcer / Acc 4100 just a tad better with more velocity & 10 round group @ 100yds about a 1/2" smaller . As stated above tell us what you want to do & we'll help you get there . Personally I prefer heavier boolits , but everyone has their own ideas .

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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