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Thread: Light load 44 Mag question

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Light load 44 Mag question

    Being mostly a rifle shooter I thought I would get some opinion on making ACCURATE light loads for the 44 Mag.
    I would like to try to shoot our local 100meter Silhouette match with this ammo.
    1970's era Ruger SBH, 0.432" cylinder by pin-gauge.
    I intend to shoot bullets cast from RCBS 250K mold, or maybe the RCBS 250KT. I have access to both.

    Primer and powder are the questions.
    I am thinking 850 - 1000 FPS maximum

    Red dot, Bullseye, Universal, Unique, Herco ???
    Please tell me what I don't know about making an accurate revolver load.

    -Chill
    Chill Wills

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I'd read up on it in the Lyman cast handbook, for a couple of reasons, but those seem awful fast.

    H110 & 2400 are some favorites for it.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    H110 for 800 FPS light loads?
    Chill Wills

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    You want a fast burning powder. Don’t know about 100m but my friend used Bullseye at 50yards for fun steel targets with his Henry...

    Should add they are powder puff loads....

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Here you go:

    Tales from the Back Creek Diary - Bullseye Powder .44 Magnum “Medium” Velocity Loads

    Soft, plain based, bullets and fast-burning powders provide economy and utility.

    C.E. “Ed” Harris, Gerrardstown, WV

    A firearm does not need to be operated at “full power” any more than any other machine. It is true that some people still believe that if you own a .44 Magnum and reload for it, you must be able to feel the heat on your face every time you pull the trigger, as your hand stings and your ears ring. But this is nonsense, of course. Less power loads are fine for recreation and most field shooting. They indeed have their place. My friends and I probably shoot 100 rounds of “medium velocity” loads for every dinosaur killer. Few reloading manuals list loads for the .44 Magnum other than hand busters. Experienced reloaders successfully improvise, but less intrepid, practical shooters are frustrated.

    The so-called “medium velocity” load is subsonic when fired in from a typical revolver. It also does not exceed the leading threshold of about 1300-1400 fps., when a soft, plain-based bullet is fired from a rifle. Remington offered marketed exactly such a .44 Magnum load for a short time during the early to mid 1980s. It was intended for the police market, as a counterpart in .44 Magnum, to the similar lead bullet .41 Magnum police load, which has also, unfortunately been discontinued.

    Remington’s .44 Magnum Medium Velocity load offering used a flat-nosed, 240-grain, plain- based, swaged lead bullet with two cannelures, resembling an elongated .44-40 slug. Its shape mimicked today’s “Cowboy Loads” having a catalog velocity of 1000 f.p.s. from a 4-inch vented test barrel, simulating revolver conditions.

    These ballistics approximate those of the original 1873 black powder .45 Colt service cartridge, when fired from a 7-1/2 inch barrel. This is hardly today’s “mouse-fart” cowboy load, but stout stuff like they used to kill buffalo and shoot Indians. For today’s hand loader the greatest economy is realized by being able to exploit plain-based cast bullets, using the least expensive, soft scrap alloy, such as wheel weights or common scrap, with faster-burning pistol or shotgun powders which provide twice as many rounds per pound, as the slow-burners normally used for full power .44 Magnum loads.

    Lyman’s Cast Bullet Handbook, 4th Edition lists .44 Magnum charges with using fast-burning powders, but their starting loads, while useful in revolvers, often exceed the leading threshold of plain based bullets, when fired in a rifle. Newer powders such as Titegroup or Trail Boss are listed, but my favorite, Bullseye was not. Be careful in reducing slower burners, such as #2400, because ballistic uniformity is impaired if you go below about 16 grains in the .44 Magnum case with 240-gr. bullet.

    What follows is my listing of loads which “work” and are well proven. I hope this shortens your learning curve and that they work as well for you as they do for my friends and I.

    Medium Velocity Loads for .44 Mag., 265-gr. Saeco #441, BHN11, unsized .433”, LLA

    Case, Primer and______Velocity Velocity_______Five, 5-shot Groups* @ 50 yds. H&R
    Charge Weight________5-1/2” RBH____H&R 22”*__Largest_Smallest__Average

    Remington .44 Mag. WLP
    6.0 Bullseye, LD#11____774, 36Sd_____983, 49Sd___2.5_____1.9___2.24
    6.6 Bullseye, LD#12____948, 13Sd____1141, 9Sd____2.5_____1.4___1.94
    7.8 Bullseye, LD#14___1017, 11Sd____1233, 10Sd___2.5_____1.2___1.88
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  6. #6
    It is dirty, but I'm sticking with Unique powder. Love that stuff. Mid range loads it is my Fav. 45 ACP, 357 & the 44 mag. Lot's of fun, accurate & cheap too

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Just go to the top end of the 44 special loads... I think all of those powders are listed. I shot some lighter loads with unique in short barrel 629 "trail boss". Pretty pleasant actually.
    Last edited by arlon; 02-08-2020 at 12:12 AM.

  8. #8
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    As I recall, 8 grains of Unique behind a 240 grain lead semi-wad cutter worked for me. I don't have my data here for that load, tho.

  9. #9
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    HS6. Start at 10.5 grains and see what you get. My favorite load is 12 grains with 250, 260, and 290's. While the 290's are a stouter load than the lighter bullets, it's still what I consider a medium load (subjective I know). At the level I load to, HS6 is very clean and more importantly, very very accurate.

    HS6 is what I use in all of my revolvers when I don't want the extra goodness that H110 offers. At lighter charges HS6 can give you the idea that it is dirty, but get it to where it wants to run, pressure wise, and it's as clean as any powder I've used.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Anyone have a recipe for Trail Boss with a 250 gr boolit for around 800-900 fps?

    Thanks
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    6.5 of red dot and 7.0 of 700x have shot well for me in several different. 44's with Keith boolits.
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  12. #12
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    Okay, thanks for the input. Based on the replies, unlike rifle I guess there aren't that many variables. Just load the different combinations and follow the best results.

    I cast 59 sample bullet from the RCBS Keith mold in a scrap alloy that tests about 10-11 on the LBT hardness tester and does not age harden much more than a point in two weeks. They weigh 269 grains on average.. Kinda heavy for a 250 grn mold. They run 0.429" on one side of the parting line and 0.431 on the other.

    Other than powder choice, charge weight, primer choice and maybe degree of crimp, I am not sure what else I can adjust that will produce an accurate load from just another load, by that, meaning the "the also ran's".

    I am going with a few load levels of BE and RedDot to start with, Wolf LPP primers and, a light crimp. It will be a few days until I can get past the deep snow that just arrived to know much on the target.
    I'm not sure the Chrono numbers mean much so I will leave that at home. The target will say.
    Last edited by Chill Wills; 02-08-2020 at 06:57 PM.
    Chill Wills

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Groo's Avatar
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    Groo here
    I have had luck with Trailboss loaded as follows.....
    In a magnum----- Fill the case to the bottom of the bullet with powder[a little lighter OK but NO Compression]
    Light with a magnum or hot primmer.
    Use a HEAVY crimp...
    Trailboss likes to be treated like 296/H110 ...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast ronnie View Post
    As I recall, 8 grains of Unique behind a 240 grain lead semi-wad cutter worked for me. I don't have my data here for that load, tho.
    Bingo!

    I use 7.5 grains in 44 special (900 FPS skeeter load) so 8 grains in 44 mag. Would be very close. In my colt new frontier, this load drops everything out to 100 yards. It just plain works without punishment.

  15. #15
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    These days it's 8.0grs of Unique/250 #429421 or RCBS 250KT for Me.

    In the past I shot 1,000's & 1,000's of a little heavier load of 9.5grs of Unique under a 250gr #429421.
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  16. #16
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    I've shot a lot of the RCBS 44-250-KTs and the Lyman 429421s over 8.5 gr Unique to know that's my favorite load in my 44 Magnums. It runs right at 1000 fps out of my 6 1/2" Ruger FTBH and is extremely accurate and easy to shoot. The pressure, as measured in my Contender test barrel via an Oehler M43 runs a gentle 19,000 to 19,5000 psi.

    I suggest you try 8 gr, 8.5 gr and 9 gr in your Ruger under either bullet you have. BTW; I size my COWW + 2% tin bullets at .430 and lube with BAC.
    Larry Gibson

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  17. #17
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Ditto with using some 44 special recipes.

  18. #18
    My favorite 44mag light practice load is Saeco 200gr truncated cone with 7grs of W231. About 900fps with 7-1/2" bbl. For the 44spl, I use same bullet with 6grs of W231. The 44mag. load is accurate in 3 different guns. And dropping to 200gr. bullet saves some lead just for practicing.

    BigboreShooter

  19. #19
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    I have some comments about my experience with accuracy, that you may want to consider.
    I'm assuming this 100m Competition is off hand?

    I gotta ask, why light loads?
    Is there a reason? ...100m Competition Rules? ...arthritis in the wrist?

    I don't know if there is anything more to it, then just the boolit going faster, but when I shot 100m, I got the best groups with H110 loads. I'm pretty sure everyone here knows you can't download H110...so when I suggest H110, I am talking loads near the top end of speed. My theory is that the boolit moves through the barrel faster, so there is less time for the gun to be influenced by my reaction to the recoil. It also could have something to do with the pressure curve of H110...I'm not smart enough to know how that works? ...And of course, with higher pressures, you should use a harder alloy, and likely a GC. Remember your boolit is going 100m, and a GC will likely eliminate any potential boolit deformation during launch. Boolit base deformation will add to any instability as it exits the muzzle, and that instability may show up at 100m.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy Rodfac's Avatar
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    I've had great success with 6.5 gr of Win 231 or 7.5 gr of Unique in .44 Special brass & 240-255 gr LSWC's...giving just over 950 fps in 4-5/8" bbl'd Ruger FTBH's.

    In Magnum brass, increase each of those loads by 1/2 grain (0.5 gr) to achieve the same velocities.

    These are plain base SWC's from Lyman (429421) and RCBS (44-250K) molds. I use ACWW alloy sweetened with just enough tin (<2%) to allow good mold fillout. I size them to 0.430" and use 50-50 lube. Accuracy runs less than 2" @ 25 yds from a rest. Lyman's excellent 429215 & 429244, both gas check designs by Thompson, do equally well, with or without the GC.

    HTH's Rod

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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