MidSouth Shooters SupplyTitan ReloadingInline FabricationADvertise here
Lee PrecisionRepackboxRotoMetals2Wideners

Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: A sweet 44 Special +P load

  1. #1
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    565

    A sweet 44 Special +P load

    This load is above SAAMI spec; it would be considered a Level II load (under 22kPSI). It is safe in a Blackhawk or a N-Frame S&W.

    8.0 Grains of Unique pushing a 429421 cast of COWWs+2% Sn lubed with Carnuba Blue sized .431 (revolver throats measure .432).

    No lead fouling...only a dusting of carbon fouling. I am using "new" Alliant Unique.

    Absolutely stunning accuracy. I sat back against a tree and shot with my hands between my legs as depicted by Ted Keith in Sixguns. Put a cylinder full through the bull of a NRA 50-yard smallbore target at 50 paces, the group measuring about 2-3". This is the first time I've ever tried this position and it is a winner.

    The load has already proven itself...it's basically the Skeeter load with a half grain more Unique (with improve the accuracy slightly for me). It chronos 1075 +/- 10 FPS from my 6.5" 624. It is not abusive in terms of recoil, but it is not a target load either. This is a real working load that I would think would be plenty for deer or anything smaller.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Avery, Texas
    Posts
    516
    A lot of people used to shoot 8gr with 250gr bullets, back when there weren't as many powder choices.
    JMHO-YMMV
    dd884
    dgilbert07 at windstream dot net

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    East Central Illinois
    Posts
    2,820
    A good load, a good gun, and that backrest position spells trouble for gallon jugs at 200.
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    OKC , Oklahoma
    Posts
    1,583
    I bet there are several here that saw that shooting position the first time in Six Guns . I got that book in the 70s and learned so much from it . I was on my own for the most part I knew no one that cast or reloaded or even shot handguns often. Six Guns should be in all our library's it's entertaining and full of great information . Its an opportunity to sit listen and learn from one of the pioneers of modern hand gunning .

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy JoeJames's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Arkansas Delta
    Posts
    465
    Quote Originally Posted by onelight View Post
    I bet there are several here that saw that shooting position the first time in Six Guns . I got that book in the 70s and learned so much from it . I was on my own for the most part I knew no one that cast or reloaded or even shot handguns often. Six Guns should be in all our library's it's entertaining and full of great information . Its an opportunity to sit listen and learn from one of the pioneers of modern hand gunning .
    Excellent book. I really liked the penetration tests he did with the 44 Special, the 45-70, 30-40 Krag, and 30-06. Eye opener to me.
    You Can Vote Your Way Into Socialism, But You Have To Shoot Your Way Out of it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Loudenboomer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    North Western Minnesota
    Posts
    598
    Been using that exact load in my 629 Smith. Accurate. A little sooty in the Magnum case though.

  7. #7
    I'm A Honcho!
    bluejay75's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    1,527
    Quote Originally Posted by Loudenboomer View Post
    Been using that exact load in my 629 Smith. Accurate. A little sooty in the Magnum case though.
    Go a little deeper with the boolit and the sooting goes away. Crimp ON the first driving band.
    You never know how you rank amongst men 'til you have seen what will break another man.
    The original "Bluejay" US Army/ US Navy 1945-1970.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    6,331
    The +P 44 Special -
    In an appropriate gun it is a wonderful thing !

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    winelover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    North Central Arkansas
    Posts
    1,979
    Been using that improvised rest since I started using handguns for deer, in the 80's. Took my first, seated in one of those short legged beach chairs, where your butt is about one inch off the ground. Never read the book Sixguns.

    Winelover

  10. #10
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    565
    So everyone knows what we're talking about if a tree or something like it is available, the first position is about as good as it gets for deer hunting at shorter ranges with revolver. I've long used shooting sticks with my contender but this is almost as good really.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ted-keith.jpg 
Views:	21 
Size:	34.8 KB 
ID:	258800

    And if no tree is available, this position works, but is far less stable.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	keith.jpg 
Views:	19 
Size:	56.4 KB 
ID:	258801

    These two pictures really have all you need to know about pratical handgun hunting shooting positions. I've tried many that use trees in a standing position. These are useful for stalk-type hunting, which I sometimes employ. But usually I still hunt, sitting on the ground as the public lands where I live make it big hassle to use stands. When deer hunting this way it is almost natural to recline against the tree...and a big rifle or shotgun can be pretty awkward.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    565
    Regarding the excellence of the heavy 44 special load, I began to think that it isn't magic or something. It is a large bore with a generous case at moderate pressure that makes this work so well. The reason why Keith used 44 Special instead of 45 Long Colt is one of expedience. No revolver in his era was built heavily/large enough to handle heavy 45 colt loads while the N-frame Smiths, with their thicker chamber walls in a smaller calibers (.357 & .429), could handle higher pressure loads. I'd imagine that if the Ruger Blackhawk had existed in the 1920s that Keith would have ushered into existence heavy 45 Colt loads instead. One of the objections I have to the 45 Colt is the wimpy rim it has...I think a consequence of it being designed around a revolver using a plunger type ejector rather than a star type (the 44 special/russian was designed around a star-ejecting revolver so it has a nice beefy rim). It's sort of odd but my experience with the 44 Special has turned me onto the 45 Blackhawk (years ago I sold my 44 mag super blackhawk due to the ridiculous recoil), and the blackhawk doesn't have the rim problem, and I have since recovered from magnimitus realizing that there is no need to push things as fast as possible.
    Last edited by curioushooter; 03-19-2020 at 12:50 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    565
    Been using that exact load in my 629 Smith. Accurate. A little sooty in the Magnum case though.
    This is one of the reasons I opted for the 624. It is also lighter and cheaper (since the typical non-reloader person wants the more common 44 mag). I also don't like crud rings. And being a 624 I will not experience a flare up of magnumits.

    One very consistent obersvation I've made is that ideally powder should fill up as much of the space as possible. Some powders will manage without this...Tightgroup for example...but almost every other is optimal at 90%+ case fill. Unique is about the only powder bulky/slow enough to work in a revolver case that isn't in the very-slow "magnum" class powders.

    I've tried 2400 in the heavy 44 special, but not the full powdered 17 grain load that Keith called for. I have so far been unimpressed by both accuracy and power. It gets 100-150 FPS more than Unique with a whole lot more blast and recoil as well. It will get you to the target 1200 FPS (actually I was able to do this with only 16 grains), but does it really make a difference?

    Out to 75 yards, about the practical limit for deer with an iron sighted revolver under typical deer hunting conditions, I think it will make little difference.

    The BC of the 429421 is ~.2. Starting at 1200FPS will result in it going around 1040 by 100 yards. Start at 1100 FPS and you are going about 970 FPS. The drop is about one inch and half difference at that range, and fractions of an inch at 75 yards. In both cases the bullet will not expand and will probably penetrate through a whitetail...even if Texas Heart Shot. The extra 100 FPS comes at the price of twice the powder charge and more blast and recoil and in my case noticeably less accuracy.

    The full powered Keith load (17 gr 2400 push 429421)

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	dropk.jpg 
Views:	20 
Size:	20.1 KB 
ID:	258804

    The improved Skeeter load (8 grains Unique push 429421)

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	dropunq.jpg 
Views:	26 
Size:	21.3 KB 
ID:	258805
    Last edited by curioushooter; 03-19-2020 at 01:12 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


    Walks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    1,903
    Always used 7.5grs Unique, going to 8.0 or 8.5grs opened up groups in both My M624 & New Frontier.
    But going to .44Mag loads I found 9.5grs gave Very Good Accuracy.
    Bullet didn't seem to matter. Either the RCBS 44-250-K or the Lyman #429421 worked just fine.
    I HATE auto-correct


    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    565
    It's funny like that. I tried the 7.5, 8, and 8.5 loading. The accuracy seemed better at 8 in my 624, but hardly. It was about 50 FPS faster.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

    softpoint's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Bryan-College Station Tx
    Posts
    1,249
    I own and like my 2 .44 Specials, I use the 429421 bullet and 8 grains of power pistol powder in both. I have other calibers if I want to go hotter. Regarding the .45 caliber guns, I like the ACP or AR case loaded with a 255 grain SWC to around 1000 fps is also about as good as it gets, and it's very efficient with the short brass. The 625 usually gets the AR brass, and the Blackhawk can use the acp or the ar brass as I have had it modified to handle the Auto Rim. I don't normally like to mess with the moon clips in a "woods" gun, so I always use the AR brass in the Smith
    Cast Boolits, Where lead balloons go over....

  16. #16
    Used 8 gr. Unique for ever in my Specials. Kills deer like a 44 mag with 10 gr Unique. I shoot a Ruger Bisley 4 5/8 and 8 gr. with a 240 hard cast.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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