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Thread: It pays to be cautious

  1. #1
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
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    It pays to be cautious

    Even the eggspurts get it wrong sometimes...

    From Handloader 236 (Aug-Sep 2005) Handloading the 44 Special by Brian Pearce:

    "The second category (22,000 psi) includes the Colt Single Action Army, New Frontier SAA, Charter Arms Bulldog and USFA SAA-pattern revolvers that are US Manufactured." ... "the Charter Arms Bulldog has proven strong enough to handle these loads, but to prevent premature loosening, they should be used somewhat sparingly."

    "The third category (25,000 psi) includes S&W Third Model Hand Ejector, or model of 1926, 1950 Target, Model 696 and 396 Titanium, Colt New Service and Shooting Master, and Freedom Arms 1997, 357 Model Blackhawk converted to 44 Special is also suitable" ... "the S&W L-Frames feature five-shot cylinders with bolt notches located between the chambers, resulting in strong chambers...the factory conducted some rather strenuous torture tests wherein the Model 696 easily endured the pressures well beyond anything we will present here"

    From Handloader 312 (February-March 2018) Pet Loads .44 S&W Special +P by Brian Pearce:

    "Not all .44 Special sixguns are suitable for handloads that exceed SAAMI pressure guidelines of 15,500 psi, which I will refer to as +P. Guns that should not be used with the accompanying +P data include....S&W 696 and 396 Ti Mountain Lite, Charter Arms Bulldog..."

    OOPS. So you downgraded the 696 & 396 from being handle to handle "pressure well beyond anything we will present here" including the 25,000 PSI Category III loads to now being unsuitable for anything beyond SAAMI pressure guidelines of 15,500 psi. And what can be said of the Bulldog, which you said can handle category II loads? Have you forgotten what you wrote 13 years prior?

    Glad I went with a N-frame for 44 Special. I would also be leery of that GP100 in 44 Special for the same reason. It's about the same size as the L-frame Smith.
    Last edited by curioushooter; 02-26-2020 at 03:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    There is no reason to be Leery of any of the guns you mention . There are some very useful loads even staying in the 15,500 SAAMI (category 1 Pearce ) Loads . To each his own but I don't try to make a .357 out of my 38s or a 44 mag out of 44 special . With saami spec. you can make factory 45 colt or 45 auto power that works for me.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    One, if they look can always find discrepancies in data, articles written from one year to the next by the same author or anything else one can name.
    Caution is good with anything one does whether it is driving, working on the job, doing odd jobs at home or walking. I know of a lady in her mid thirties that was walking, not paying attention, on a side walk when she made a misstep and fell hit her head and died a few days later. Know of an eldery man that was a member of the club that was carrying groceries from the market and fell backward, hit his head and died within a couple hours.
    What kind of caution do we exercise driving to and from the range?
    I guess we cherry pick things to worry about just because it is human nature.
    Remember loading data, articles etc. are written by and produced and printed by humans.
    And we know humans arent perfect.
    If we keep that in mind we would be far, far, far better off.
    We Know Mass Cannot Be Weighed But It Has Newtonian Weight And That Is Derived From Kilograms And Kilograms Can Be Converted to Pounds. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed. But How is the kilograms obtained? Can Kilograms Be Weighed? Evidentally Yes It Can. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed So Kilograms Must Not Exist. Funny Isn't It.
    One good thing out of this the next time I'm at the doctors and they want to weigh me I'll tell them mass cannot be weighed.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
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    No kidding we are not perfect. But we should strive to be correct and reasonable.

    Writing in 2003 that such and such revolver is "more than" safe with 25,000 psi loads and then in 2018 saying that the EXACT SAME revolvers are not safe for anything beyond 15,500 psi is a major credibility buster in my book. The fact that the matter was not brought up in the later issue that this was a REVISION DOWNWARD is a major oversight, especially for a magazine/author purporting to be authoritative.

    I was spared the mistake of purchasing a 696 (or a GP100) for heavy 44 Special Loads because my GUT instinct was that I better go with a N-frame since it was originally designed for that bore size and because it has a century of testing behind it, while the 696 doesn't. My gut was right in this case apparently. Unless there is more to this story that we are not being told.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Isnt the 696 an L frame 5 shot? My question is why wouldnt it be okay for heavy 44 Special. I seen to be lost in my understanding of that.
    I dont understand.
    We Know Mass Cannot Be Weighed But It Has Newtonian Weight And That Is Derived From Kilograms And Kilograms Can Be Converted to Pounds. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed. But How is the kilograms obtained? Can Kilograms Be Weighed? Evidentally Yes It Can. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed So Kilograms Must Not Exist. Funny Isn't It.
    One good thing out of this the next time I'm at the doctors and they want to weigh me I'll tell them mass cannot be weighed.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curioushooter View Post
    Even the eggspurts get it wrong sometimes...

    From Handloader 236 (Aug-Sep 2005) Handloading the 44 Special by Brian Pearce:

    "The second category (22,000 psi) includes the Colt Single Action Army, New Frontier SAA, Charter Arms Bulldog and USFA SAA-pattern revolvers that are US Manufactured." ... "the Charter Arms Bulldog has proven strong enough to handle these loads, but to prevent premature loosening, they should be used somewhat sparingly."

    "The third category (25,000 psi) includes S&W Third Model Hand Ejector, or model of 1926, 1950 Target, Model 696 and 396 Titanium, Colt New Service and Shooting Master, and Freedom Arms 1997, 357 Model Blackhawk converted to 44 Special is also suitable" ... "the S&W L-Frames feature five-shot cylinders with bolt notches located between the chambers, resulting in strong chambers...the factory conducted some rather strenuous torture tests wherein the Model 696 easily endured the pressures well beyond anything we will present here"

    From Handloader 312 (February-March 2018) Pet Loads .44 S&W Special +P by Brian Pearce:

    "Not all .44 Special sixguns are suitable for handloads that exceed SAAMI pressure guidelines of 15,500 psi, which I will refer to as +P. Guns that should not be used with the accompanying +P data include....S&W 696 and 396 Ti Mountain Lite, Charter Arms Bulldog..."

    OOPS. So you downgraded the 696 & 396 from being handle to handle "pressure well beyond anything we will present here" including the 25,000 PSI Category III loads to now being unsuitable for anything beyond SAAMI pressure guidelines of 15,500 psi. And what can be said of the Bulldog, which you said can handle category II loads? Have you forgotten what you wrote 13 years prior?

    Glad I went with a N-frame for 44 Special. I would also be leery of that GP100 in 44 Special for the same reason. It's about the same size as the L-frame Smith.
    It's been a while since I read read the article from 312, but I think you're taking the information out of context. Being able to handle the pressures and being suitable for the pressures are two different subjects.

    My Nissan Frontier can handle towing a 7,000 lb. trailer, but is not suited to do so, and won't last long if that's what I choose to do. Conversely, my Dodge 2500 not only can handle a 7000 lb trailer, it is wholly suited to do so.

    If I remember correctly the issue is not the strength of the revolvers, rather it's the forcing cones and damage that occur to them.

    35W
    Last edited by 35 Whelen; 02-27-2020 at 03:29 PM.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    It's really not much different than the situation with k frame 357s the guns hold the pressure of the heavy loads but they shoot loose and crack forcing cones if feed them to many hot 357s you can shoot an N frame loose as my model 29 is evidence of.
    The lighter built guns are a little more sneaky when they break because the indications most of us use for signs of to heavy a load don't show up , Until you find the cylinder end play is growing or you have a crack in the forcing cone .The gun holds the pressure fine but the pounding still causes accelerated damage .

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Being an engineer, I do not accept as “fact” things that do not cite reference data supporting said “thing”. I have been happily shooting a 696 with Skeeter loads since the year it came out, mine is no dash. I read that article in 03, went humm well I wonder if I can find a reference from that extensive testing, nope. 50% over the certified pressure on a nice revolver is asking for increased wear. Nope, no need, Skeeters load does anything I expect of a 44Special. I think Pierce May have reconsidered his 03 statement after 15 more years experience, or was told by editor to “stick to established loads”. Skeeter got a similar discussion over his loads for 32hr to be used in single sixes. Nothing wrong with gp100 or 696 using loads up to Skeeter level, if I need more there is a Redhawk for the mastodon invasion. He published a 41special article with lots of 25k loads and suggested a standard should be set there. I disagree, specials are the 18k psi level fit in nice small light and handy guns. I don’t want the manufactures to feel a need to put the little 41special in the same size frame as a magnum, defeats the purpose. Sorry, I wandered....

    Besides in 03 the 696 was a 400$ gun, now it’s an 800$ gun, could be a consideration.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    The Skeeter load 7.5 gr is not much over Pearce's category 1 load with the same bullet 6.8 gr Unique and is a full grain below the category 2 max load 8.5 gr. At least in whatever pressure gun it was tested in.
    I will be satisfied with a 250 anywhere between 850 and 950 attainable in the gp100 without beating the gun up to bad.
    Pick your guns , pick your loads , and have fun.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    "At least in whatever pressure gun it was tested in."

    That is my comcern, I have yet to see any callout of his pressure TESTING protocols. This leads me to the conclusion that there is no actual pressure data. Larry Gibson has posted actual measure pressurs data for the 7.5 gr load being above the limitisted for Pierces level 2 where he lists 8.5 gr unique beimg OK. Something dosent add up, if he has ever posted his pressure test info I have never seen it. If manufactures are testing it for him then they should be cited in reference to the loads tested and method.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  11. #11
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rking22 View Post
    "At least in whatever pressure gun it was tested in."

    That is my comcern, I have yet to see any callout of his pressure TESTING protocols. This leads me to the conclusion that there is no actual pressure data. Larry Gibson has posted actual measure pressurs data for the 7.5 gr load being above the limitisted for Pierces level 2 where he lists 8.5 gr unique beimg OK. Something dosent add up, if he has ever posted his pressure test info I have never seen it. If manufactures are testing it for him then they should be cited in reference to the loads tested and method.
    Pressure data from the Keith load dates back to at least the '50's, maybe further. In SIXGUNS, pp. 282, Keith discusses the pressure of "his" load. I'm sure Wolfe Publishing would not publish 22,000, 25,000 or whatever psi loads whose pressures were obtained by rectal extraction. I recall one of Pearce's article in which he'd had loads pressure tested, but I don't recall who tested them or if he even mentioned the name of the lab.

    If you'd like to research the loads yourself, there's plenty here to keep you busy reading for awhile.

    In the end, use the loads with which you are most comfortable.

    35W
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    if you want a 44mag buy a44mag don't hot rod a 44 special same with all guns and motors just because the red line is 6000 youd be an idiot to drive at the redline all the time .just my opinion.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
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    Skeeter load 7.5 gr is not much over Pearce's category 1 load.
    This is true...if pressure testing is to be believed. In fact, the data in 312 says that 8.5 grains of Unique with the 429421 is still under 22kpsi.

    Regarding the Skeeter load, which was actually Keith's load...8 grains of PowerPistol will get the same velocity and stay within SAAMI spec. PowerPistol has demonstrated itself to be a great powder for large capacity "special" class revolver cartridges. It is a favorite of mine in 38 as well. It is cleaner burning than even the newer formulation of Unique and it meters better, though it doesn't fill as much of the case.

    if you want a 44mag buy a44mag don't hot rod a 44 special same with all guns and motors just because the red line is 6000 youd be an idiot to drive at the redline all the time .just my opinion.
    You do know that it was "hot rodding" of the 44 spl that led to the development of the 44 mag? The problem with 44 mag is that it went overboard IMO, and they added weight to make the recoil more tolerable, resulting in overly heavy, un-handy revolvers. 44 Special revolvers often weigh less than the larger 357 class revolvers with the same barrel length.

    Also, have you ever driven a boat? Inboard boat motors are basically gasoline car engines with a redline set at ~3000 RPM, and they measure their lifetime in hours, not miles. Tractors are the same way. You run such vehicles just under the Redline, and that is where they run best and they were designed to run that way. They run continuously just under the redline, and they are fine. This is how guns are. They are designed to withstand a a stress of a certain amount, and they put a tad more strength in for caution. Some makers like Ruger seem to put more than a tad. They are desgined to operate this way and they are fine doing so. They are not like a gasoline car motor which is designed to operate at about 1/4 to 1/3rd of capacity most of the time and only run a full power occasionally (unless it is a race car). If guns were desgined this way there would be problems.

    The post WWI S&W N-frame 44 specials are plenty capable of taking the heavy 44 loads...they have demonstrated it for a century. The post WWII are even stronger. The Blackhawks are fine too...again built on a frame sized for that caliber.

    The question is will all the 5-holer 44 SPLs that have cylinders and frames sized for the 357 hold up to the heavy 44 loads? My guess is no. And it wont be because they "blow up" or something dramatic. It will be the gradual destruction of their thin forcing cones and perhaps premature loosening, just like the K-frame magnums (which I own by the way...my 19-3 is on to about 2000 rounds of ~30,000 PSI handloads and no worse for wear).

    The one exception to this may be the S&W model 69 which is rated for 44 Mag and has an oversized forcing cone (compared to the 696). I think that one will prove to take heavy 44 spl with ease, and would probably be a more appropriate choice for it anyway.

    It would be great if SAMMI sanctioned a 44 SPL+P (22kpsi) or 44 SPL+P+ (25kpsi). It may even usher in a further revival of things 44.

    Many people do not like 44 mag, especially at its former power level. My father didn't like it. I didn't like it. I do not know a single person who handloads it that handloads it to full power after the first time he handloads it. ~17 grains of 2400 pushing the 429421 (Keith's heavy 44 special load) is about as good as it gets, IMO. Another 4 or 5 grains of 2400 doesn't make it work any better IMO, it just recoils more. Gel testing has proven to me that chasing FPS is nearly a pointless endeavor. Once you are at 1000-1100 FPS impact velocity it's about optimal performance with solids or cast hollopoints. More velocity may increase penetration slighly, but with solids its already a penetration monster. With HPs more velocity may cause fragmentation or over-expansion. Only JHPs can make good use of super velocity because they have those tough jackets that arrest expansion and hold it together.

    If you'd like to research the loads yourself, there's plenty here to keep you busy reading for awhile.
    I've read all those articles. Only the ones published after 1995 has truly reliable pressure info. And that is two of them. Issue 312 of Handloader is not included, furthermore, and should be, because it is the one that covers the pressure reduction for the L-frames and the Charter Arms Bulldog.
    Last edited by curioushooter; 03-03-2020 at 12:44 PM. Reason: edits

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    There is another hand loader article on these guns, I have it on my bench at home. Can’t remember the number (2014 Year)but it is the one on the M69, has an article on loading the 696 and 329, limited at that time to 18000psi.
    My issue is a documented (Larry Gibson)22,500psi for the 7.5 gr load and I cannot accept that increasing the charge by 12% raises the pressure none( Pearce’s article level2)and no citation of actual pressure measurement. Not personally interested , the 7.5 gr level is plenty for my needs and well proven over time to not be abusive to the guns or shooter. Will probably be getting some power pistol, but I use unique in shotgun so have 8 pounds always on hand.
    I will reread the 2014 article and maybe post some more info, for kicks and giggles.
    Last edited by rking22; 03-03-2020 at 06:20 PM. Reason: Clarity fix
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
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    Based on primers I do not think that the 7.5 Unique/429241 Skeeter/Keith load is <or= 22kpsi based on case expansion and primer shape.

    I just got done shooting 18 rounds each of 8.0 Unique, 8.0 Power Pistol, 16.5 2400 with the 429421 with exactly the same primers and brass from the same boxes of both. The 8.0 of PP is supposed to run at SAMMI spec. The Unique load should be between 18-22kpsi. The 2400 load is between 22-25kpsi. I would say that the primers shot a very precise and gradual indication of increasing pressure. It's sort of hard to tell but here is a picture. I can tell with my eyes.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Based on this I do think that the between 7.5-8.5 grains of Unique with a 429421 is between 18-22 kpsi as the Handloader article lists. Based on velocities I also believe this to me true, as 8.0 of PP did 975 fps, 8.0 Unique did 1075 fps, and 16.5 of 2400 did 1075 fps from my 6.5" 624.

    Larry's setup is in a contender if I am not mistaken, and has stated that revolvers due to the gap and the very long throats they may exibit somewhat less pressure than in a contender.

    Based on extensive experience loading for contenders I believe this to be true. In 357 mag book loads that seemed completely pedestrian in my 686 would show more pressure indicators in my 357 mag contender when I had one. When I got a 357 max contender barrel (which has the longer distance from case mouth to barrel engagement) the pressure signs went away and looked like they did in the revolver. I pretty much only use Federal 100 SP and starline brass in 357 mag. One of the reasons I like Fed primers is the are soft and thin and show pressure better. It also may be because they are a tad hotter burning than CCI or Winchester.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by rking22 View Post
    There is another hand loader article on these guns, I have it on my bench at home. Can’t remember the number (2014 Year)but it is the one on the M69, has an article on loading the 696 and 329, limited at that time to 18000psi.
    My issue is a documented (Larry Gibson)22,500psi for the 7.5 gr load and I cannot accept that increasing the charge by 12% raises the pressure none( Pearce’s article level2)and no citation of actual pressure measurement. Not personally interested , the 7.5 gr level is plenty for my needs and well proven over time to not be abusive to the guns or shooter. Will probably be getting some power pistol, but I use unique in shotgun so have 8 pounds always on hand.
    I will reread the 2014 article and maybe post some more info, for kicks and giggles.
    How much can pressure in the ranges we are discussing vary on different test barrels , days and locations when using the same brand reloading components from different lots ?
    I keep thinking about the Speer article " why ballisticians get gray "

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ol' Elmer often wrote that using magnum pistol primers required abut a 10% decrease in powder charge.

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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"
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