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Thread: More 44 special ... err less

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    bigted's Avatar
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    More 44 special ... err less

    Well bit the bullet so to speak, bought a 3 inch GP 100 in 44 special.

    First outing I had loaded 200 grain swc, 240 swc and some 300 grain Lee gc'd rf.

    The 200's loaded with 7 and 8 grains of Unique.

    The 240's had 6 and 7 grains of Unique.

    The 300's had 5 grains Unique.

    The 200's and 240's seem plenty hot for my taste. Those 300's seem a bit more tame but I do not really see the need for slinging 300 grains every shot.

    What I seek is a tamer, easy on gun n shooter and accurate boolit loads. I do not desire to find the upper end with this lil rascal. Small game and targets of opportunity is my idea of usefulness for this little 44. Maybe larger 2 legged critters if the drastic need arises.

    What say yee ... lite loads in the 3 inch 44?
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master
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    A 240 grain (ish) bullet in a 44 Special case with 7.5 grains of Unique would be the "Skeeter Load". That's an excellent load but a little above SAAMI specs for 44 Special. You could drop that down to the 6.5 - 7.0 grain range and probably still have decent energy.

    IMO, 300 grains is too heavy for the 44 Special.
    A 200 grain bullet is as light as I would want to go with a 44 Special.

    I think the 44 Special does its best work right around the 240 -250 grain weight range.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    The "Skeeter load" is what many, many .44 spl folks use. Why? Because it works quite well.

  4. #4
    I used to use a nice flat base 240 grain SWC maybe 245grs [as cast] with about 5.5 grains of Unique. Easier on the gun & the shooter.

  5. #5
    Oh yeah, If you have Bullseye powder . Find a mild load [less than five grains] using that powder in the short barrel.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master oldhenry's Avatar
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    With the 200 gr. try 5.0 to 5.5 gr. of WST. It's accurate, clean burning & has mild recoil.

    You'll love that 3" GP100. I have the 3" and the 5" and shoot the 3" way more than the 5".

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    5.0 grains of Red Dot with a 429-421 works very well. IME, Red Dot is a hidden virtue for the 44 Spl in light loads.
    A favorite of mine is the NOE 432-227 WC over 4.5 grains of Red Dot. The only two 44 Spl. loads I use these days are the afore mentioned Skeeter load, and the NOE Wadcutter/Red Dot. And though I came late to the party, I am loving my GP100 44 Spl., almost as much as my Flattop.
    Last edited by rintinglen; 03-11-2020 at 08:55 AM.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master
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    An old Speer manual shows a load for a 240gr LSWC and 6.3 grains of Unique yields 820 fps from a 3" barrel. I used that load in a 4" barrel years ago and felt that it was very mild even though it is listed as a max load. In fact, I felt it was too mild.
    Interestingly, that same manual lists a load using 7.2 grains of Unique and a 240 grain jacketed bullet at 805 fps. Jacketed bullets are harder to push through the bore and typically have lower velocities when compared to identical loads with lead bullets but that shows the 7.2 grain charge of Unique is still within SAAMI pressure limits even with a 240 grain jacketed bullet.
    7 grains of Unique behind a 240 Lead SWC is well within SAAMI pressure limits.

    My advice would be to use a 240 grain LSWC and somewhere between 6.5- 7.0 grains of Unique. You could safely go to the Skeeter Load (7.5 grains of Unique and a 240-250 gr LSWC) and not harm that GP-100 but you would likely be just a little above SAAMI specs at that point.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post
    5.0 grains of Red Dot with a 429-421 works very well. IME, Red Dot is a hidden virtue for the 44 Spl in light loads.
    A favorite of mine is the NOE 432-227 WC over 4.5 grains of Red Dot. The only two 44 Spl. loads I use these days are the afore mentioned Skeeter load, and the NOE Wadcutter/Red Dot. And though I came late to the party, I am loving my GP100 44 Spl.
    4.5 to 5 red dot with a 240 swc is what am shooting the most from mine works good in my 3" gp100
    When I get my casting station set up ,just moved I will cast me up some 250 gr Keith boolits from my Lyman mold and see if I can find a good load for those.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy KVO's Avatar
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    Rintinglen,

    Is this your NOE WC?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    How deep are you seating these for best accuracy? Top groove as a crimp groove or seating longer out into the throats?

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    An old Speer manual shows a load for a 240gr LSWC and 6.3 grains of Unique yields 820 fps from a 3" barrel. I used that load in a 4" barrel years ago and felt that it was very mild even though it is listed as a max load. In fact, I felt it was too mild.
    Interestingly, that same manual lists a load using 7.2 grains of Unique and a 240 grain jacketed bullet at 805 fps. Jacketed bullets are harder to push through the bore and typically have lower velocities when compared to identical loads with lead bullets but that shows the 7.2 grain charge of Unique is still within SAAMI pressure limits even with a 240 grain jacketed bullet.
    7 grains of Unique behind a 240 Lead SWC is well within SAAMI pressure limits.

    My advice would be to use a 240 grain LSWC and somewhere between 6.5- 7.0 grains of Unique. You could safely go to the Skeeter Load (7.5 grains of Unique and a 240-250 gr LSWC) and not harm that GP-100 but you would likely be just a little above SAAMI specs at that point.
    Some loads in the manuals are light because of those soft bullets and leading if you drive them to hard , and are not to max pressure because of the limitations of the bullet.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Yes I am a newcomer to the 44 special. From what I see, it may run my 45's a close race.

    As of now I gotta say that in a bigger game survival/fishin revolver, I might have a hard time not carryin those 300 grain penetrators. Loaded with 5 to 6 grains Unique, they should take care of any situation I will find myself in.

    Most shooting however, those 200 and 240's with a bit lower charge than I used initially will be found in the cylinder and used for targets of opportunity while cruising the woods and brush. Target and rock smashing work is never done.

    I will give the 4.5 and 5 grain Unique a try under the 200's. Also have Trail Boss and found that 5 grains under the 240's will be max and 6 grains under the 200's.

    Fun gun fer sure. Starting to feel very attached to it already.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by onelight View Post
    Some loads in the manuals are light because of those soft bullets and leading if you drive them to hard , and are not to max pressure because of the limitations of the bullet.
    Agreed, Speer in particular, seemed to be overly concerned about leading issues. A lot of their data was on the slow side for lead bullet loads. It's interesting because some of their old data for jacketed bullets is downright hot.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Using the top groove as a crimp groove and yes, that’s the one. I got mine years ago as a group buy, and it has since been renamed.
    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master
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    bigted, in a 44 Special the 300 grain bullet just gives up way too much velocity for me.
    I think if you stay within reasonable pressures you will find that big slug will have very little velocity, even with a slow burning powder. While all of that mass may be attractive, it will have the trajectory of a bowling ball and it's hard on the gun.

    In a 44 mag it's a little different (you have more than twice the pressure to work with) but even then, that 300 grain slug is getting heavy for the caliber.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Yes probably so. I carried 300's very hot on a 4 inch model 629 for the off chance of being the hunted instead of the hunter.

    Never had to use it ... but practice was kinda uncomfortable ... no rite down uncomfy. But ... in an adrenilin punched moment I would barely know I had shot anything ... such as defending my dog and cabin from a very determined bull moose once with my 375 Ruger with the 18 inch barrel. Dont even remember any recoil at all.

    44 special IS like the 45 Colt tho. 250ish is all ever gets loaded in them also.

    Great info fella's. Keep it comin
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  17. #17
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    Ive been a huge .44 Special fan for close to 10 years now, own six of them and have shot/loaded more of them than all others combined. So, some observations and suggestions...

    Pick a bullet weight, or at least a narrow range, and stick with it. Mine are a little over 240 to a little under 260 grains. Load up or down depending on what you're doing. This keeps you from having to twiddle with sight adjustments when changing bullet weights.

    Use powders as they were intended to be used. 4.5 - 5.0 grs. of Unique is way too light for that powder and will get you sooty cases. .44 Special Unique loads should start at at 6.0 grs. and go up to 8.5 IF you're shooting a stout revolver. Someone mentioned Red Dot and they are spot-on. I use 5.2 grs. and a 250 gr. RN that approximates the original load. Super, super accurate out to 75 yds.
    For a general purpose, shoot every day and carry-in-the-field load, 6.0 of AL20/28 or Unique and a 250-ish gr. SWC yields 830 fps from my 4" Model 21-4.
    If/when I'm places where things might bite or claw I load 8.5 grs of Power Pistol under a 258 gr SWC cast from an RCBS 44-250 KT mold which runs a little under 1000 fps out of a 4 3/4" barrel.

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  18. #18
    Boolit Master Boogieman's Avatar
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    My every day load for my 3" GP100 is 429421 0ver 7gr. of unique gets 800+fps. 6.6gr. gets 768fps. 5gr. of Titegroup under a Lee 200gr. RNFP shot good but I didn't check the speed
    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.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Bullets in the 240-250 weight range is what I prefer in my fixed sighted Bulldog. The 200 grainers print much lower and recoil impulse isn't much softer. Wouldn't even think of using 300 grainers.........they would be printing much higher.

    I use a lot of Bullseye for practice, 2400 for higher velocity loads.

    Winelover

  20. #20
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
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    The "Skeeter load" is what many, many .44 spl folks use. Why? Because it works quite well.
    So true, so true!

    7.5-8.5 grains of UNIQUE pushing a 429421 will do pretty much anything you can want it to do, and in a shorter lighter revolver like a GP I'd probably stick on the low end.

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