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Thread: 44 SPL the RCBS 44-250-KT and VV N110

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    44 SPL the RCBS 44-250-KT and VV N110

    44 SPL VV N110 & the RCBS 44-250-KT

    It was requested on a couple other 44 SPL threads that I pressure test VV N110 with a “Keith” bullet in the 44 SPL if I could. Ranchman, in particular, was interested because he had been using 17.5 gr N110 in his 44 SPLs under the RCBD 250 Keith bullet and a 265 gr Arsenal cast bullet. Said he has “shot thousands” using 17.5 gr in his Colts w/o any problems but had yet to find any load data for N110 in the 44 SPL.

    I did not have any VV N110 because I had never tried it in any cartridge. I have always wondered how it would do in the 30 Carbine, 32 H&R, 357 magnum and the 44 Magnum as VihtaVuori says N110 is “comparable to H110 and 296”. Alas, a check with the LGS’s only got me a “deer in the headlight look”…… However, Ddixie884 came through by very graciously sending me a pound of VV N110. Many Kudo’s to Ddixie884!

    The high heat [been running 115 – 125 the last three months here] finally began falling off allowing me to conduct the test. I had 10 shot test strings in Starline 44 SPL cases primed with WLP primers with the RCBS 44-250-KT cast of COWW + 2% tin, sized to .430 and lubed with 2500+. They weighed 254 gr fully dressed. I had the tests loaded with 16.0, 16.5, 17.0 and 17.5 gr VV N110. The bullets were seated to the crimp groove and a medium heavy crimp was applied with the RCBS seater die.

    Test firearm was a TC Contender with a factory barrel that had been shortened to 8.4”.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A strain gauge is fixed to the barrel over the chamber at the SAAQMI prescribed location for piezo-transducer pressure measurement. The test barrel has been calibrated/ verified using Hornady factory 240 gr XTP ammunition of which the pressure for that lot was known.

    I had intended testing last week but the hammer spring broke during the testing of some Herco loads….. So yesterday with a new hammer spring I was off to test again. The temperature during the test ran 85 degrees +/- with a 10 % humidity. Targets were at 50 yards.

    Test results;

    The 16.0 gr load of N110 ran 1256 fps, SD 28 fps, ES 75 fps, psi 19,900, group 5.9”

    The 16.5 gr load of N110 ran 1286 fps, SD 26 fps, ES 72 fps, psi 21,700, group 4.5”

    The 17.0 gr load of N110 ran 1305 fps, SD 18 fps, ES 57 fps, psi 21,900, group 3.1”

    The 17.5 gr load of N110 ran 1337 fps, SD 13 fps, ES 36 fps, psi 23,400, group 1.75”

    As we see from the internal ballistics and the on target results VV N110 obviously requires 23,000 psi +/- before it burns efficiently. Once it got there the results were indeed very impressive. Appears to me the 17.5 gr load Ranchman is using is a particularly good and safe +P load in the 44 SPL.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    ddixie884's Avatar
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    WOW Larry, That is some great data. Thank you so much for doing these and the other ladder tests. You take away so much of the guess work from our hobby. It is so nice to know what the real pressure is on our pet loads.....
    JMHO-YMMV
    dd884
    gary@2texastrucks.com
    Gary D. Peek

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    I don't doubt that many, many readers of my recommendation for that big 17.5gr load under 250-260gr bullets the last number of years have had me pegged for a crack pot, but your results verify what I expected from the beginning. That 17.5gr load with those bullets is a proven, consistent, dependable one. And I've long said if there were a powder & a load to match or exceed the performance of our age old infamous Elmer Keith 2400 load, and do so at an even lower pressure, then this VvN110 load would be the one. Now the numbers prove it for sure.

    Can't thank you enough for the equipment and your testing. Hats off & very much obliged.

    You fellas should see what 16 can do under a 255 in the 41 special! ha ... my go to bronc-stomper load in that caliber Although a story for another time. N110 is likely THE most underrated, high performance modern-powder of our time far as my opinion goes. There isn't many powders on the market that can expand the high-end boundaries on these favorite for carry, special-length calibers and do so as easily inside a safety margin quite like N110 does ...

    Again, excellent & very worthwhile undertaking Larry .. great job

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy derek45's Avatar
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    great info
    thanks

    I've always wondered if my dixie gunworks SSA clone ( uberti) 44sp. was strong enough for those kind of loads???





    .


    NRA LIFE Member

    USPSA/IPSC

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I think the Uberti SAA has the larger diameter cylinder, like the USFA. Have your cylinder tested for Rockwell C hardness if in doubt..............
    JMHO-YMMV
    dd884
    gary@2texastrucks.com
    Gary D. Peek

  6. #6
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    Hello Larry,

    great testing here, thank you. What is your bullet length and cartridge OAL? I got curious and ran a Lyman 255 in Quick Load,getting in the 20 k psi / 1200 fps ballpark.

    VV N110 is an old friend but loading 44 Special with it has never occurred to me. I have 44 Special brass, I let guests (especially women) shoot my magnum revolvers with factory Specials. I never loaded a single 44 Special round. But now that we have Bore Tech Carbon Remover, all that Special brass might find a new life with N110.

    Sorry for the pic quality,you get the idea.


  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Thanx for the simulation...........
    JMHO-YMMV
    dd884
    gary@2texastrucks.com
    Gary D. Peek

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Over the years I seemed to find that the most accurate loads in .357 and .44 mag were stiff loads of slow burning powder. Now a days I don't go there with my hand loads but your results would seem to suggest that. I'm too fond of my Smith 24-3 to try that load. 7 grains of Unique suits this shooter.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Petander View Post
    Hello Larry,

    great testing here, thank you. What is your bullet length and cartridge OAL? I got curious and ran a Lyman 255 in Quick Load,getting in the 20 k psi / 1200 fps ballpark.

    VV N110 is an old friend but loading 44 Special with it has never occurred to me. I have 44 Special brass, I let guests (especially women) shoot my magnum revolvers with factory Specials. I never loaded a single 44 Special round. But now that we have Bore Tech Carbon Remover, all that Special brass might find a new life with N110.

    Sorry for the pic quality,you get the idea.

    With the RCBS 44-250-KT the bullet length is .763" and the cartridge OAL was 1.580". With the Lyman 429421 the bullet length is .776 and the cartridge OAL; was the same 1.580". As you can see from the picture (Lyman on left, RCBS on right) the Lyman bullet seated .038 deeper into the case than the RCBS bullet. In pistol cases that always increases pressure with a given load. In another recent post on another thread with the 44 SPL loaded with both bullets using Herco and Unique the deeper seated Lyman bullet gave higher measured psi than the RCBS bullet with the same loads.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    As I mentioned numerous times regarding Quickload and the older Powley systems; they are an educated guess of the psi. The "education" is based on the accuracy and completeness of the inputted data. I'm not implying your data is incomplete nor accurate, just stating the general facts. Even with the most accurate and complete data input they are still guestimates. I have used both of those system/programs and found them, as compared to measured psi, to be sometimes close and sometimes not so close. The problem with the guestimates is they do not or can not take into account the inconsistent variables of the powder ignition and actual burn rate in the cartridge/firearm.

    The variations of the variables when it comes to the psi actually generated by a specific set of components can be greater than many, if not most, expect or understand. That is why every loading manual tells use to start low and work up watching for pressure "signs" especially if a change of components is involved. While the reloading manuals list "maximum" loads the advise to "work the load up" means that with some components or a different lot of those components sometimes, in some firearms, the psi will be different than expected or tested to be.
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 10-24-2020 at 10:43 AM.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    That is funny how bullets change. I have the RCBS 44-250-KT and the Lyman 429421 and they don't look like either in the photo.
    Of course leave it up to me to notice that. I have an RCBS 250 KT that doesnt look like the last one I bought.
    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.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post

    As I mentioned numerous times regarding Quickload and the older Powley systems; they are an educated guess of the psi. The "education" is based on the accuracy and completeness of the inputted data. I'm not implying your data is incomplete nor accurate, just stating the general facts.
    Agreed.

    Combined with a chrono, QL has been quite useful to me because I've been limited to Vihtavuori powders. It took many years to get official VV 500 S&W data, for example. That was almost 20 years ago, I'm still building new bullets in the database.

    Here is an interesting NEI 44 bullet I'm working on now.


  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    VV N110 often works best when slightly compressed. Very low velocity spread.

    I wanted to add a little Quick Load note:

    QL can not predict a gun's condition. This particular relatively new S&W revolver has .4285 throats so my 431 bullets give more velocity/pressure than QL suggests. (Yes I'm waiting for a reamer from Brownells,the barrel is .430")

    This same 335 grain ammo chronoes slower than QL estimates when fired from my 29 with .432" throats, a big gap and eroded cone.


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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
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