What is the best powder for 44 Mag/Sp? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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oISHUTupNrocKIo
08-11-2010, 10:56
Hey guys, I'm new to reloading, in the past few weeks I read alot about reloading including this forum, videos on youtube, and Richard Lee Manual. I'm going to be loading 44 Mag/Sp and 10mm to start off... I was just wondering what is the best powder for standard-hot loads in 44 Mag? I know almost all the powders from Win#296 to Blue Dot, but I hear bad and good from most powders except Win#296 (and Win #231), but since I can't find Winchester powder and it's not readily available... I was just wondering what is the most popular powders that people here use in their 44 Mag loads, and also in their 44 Sp loads...? Thanks!

fredj338
08-11-2010, 11:13
First, get the Lyman #49 to go w/ the Lee. The Lee manual, IMO, just a bit vague & lacks a good cross section of bullet/powder combos. For full power 44mags; 2400, AA#9, H110/W296 (same powder), LilGun all get the most from the 44mag w/ any bullet wt. For midrange 44mags & full power 44sp, 2400 can still give good results as will any med burner like Unique, WSF or Universal. Anything faster than Unique, target loads only.

degoodman
08-11-2010, 12:11
More is better when it comes to manuals. The internet has ALOT of load data on it these days, but I still like my paper. I like having the book from the bullet maker I'm using whenever practical.

Fred's powder list covers all the bases. I only use two powders off the list however. H110/296 (as indicated, its the same powder, load data is identical) for my full power work, and Unique for midrange stuff. I don't bother with "target" stuff in .44 mag. If you're loading CAS loads in .44 Special, I use alot of titegroup and 700-X. Watch yourself though, basically nothing target load wise comes close to filling the case when double or even triple charged, so be extra vigilant with your powder drops.

dla
08-11-2010, 12:33
Hey guys, I'm new to reloading, in the past few weeks I read alot about reloading including this forum, videos on youtube, and Richard Lee Manual. I'm going to be loading 44 Mag/Sp and 10mm to start off... I was just wondering what is the best powder for standard-hot loads in 44 Mag? I know almost all the powders from Win#296 to Blue Dot, but I hear bad and good from most powders except Win#296 (and Win #231), but since I can't find Winchester powder and it's not readily available... I was just wondering what is the most popular powders that people here use in their 44 Mag loads, and also in their 44 Sp loads...? Thanks!

H110/W296 (identical) is probably the most available powder for high-end loads. You will need magnum primers (CCI350).

Any of a bunch of mid-range powders will give you good results for mid-range loads. Since you are going to load 10mm, use your 10mm powder (AA#7, Power Pistol, etc.) for your 44mag mid-range fodder.

See load data section for ideas.

44mag load data info (https://sites.google.com/site/hobbyhintstricksideas/Home/s-w-329pd-info)

AZBru88
08-11-2010, 12:50
I like Bluedot for my heavier loads for both 44mag and 10mm, even 9mm. For my easy, shoot all day long fun loads for 44 mag, Unique.

Old Style
08-11-2010, 20:01
I have loaded hundreds of 44 mag rounds using 23gr of H110, Hornady 240g XTP's & large pistol primers. Accuracy is excellent. This load is used for white tail deer hunting out of a Encore Pistol and I have had excellent results. It is by no means a tame load but I use the 44 mag for hunting not target practice.

MakeMineA10mm
08-11-2010, 21:44
Hey guys, I'm new to reloading, in the past few weeks I read alot about reloading including this forum, videos on youtube, and Richard Lee Manual. I'm going to be loading 44 Mag/Sp and 10mm to start off... I was just wondering what is the best powder for standard-hot loads in 44 Mag? I know almost all the powders from Win#296 to Blue Dot, but I hear bad and good from most powders except Win#296 (and Win #231), but since I can't find Winchester powder and it's not readily available... I was just wondering what is the most popular powders that people here use in their 44 Mag loads, and also in their 44 Sp loads...? Thanks!

First off, do yourself a favor and get used to the process first. There is plenty of time to get all geeked out about this load or that one. For right now, get yourself a pound or two of Unique, and just get used to sizing, re-priming, bell-mouthing, powder-charging, seating, and crimping.

Don't work on hot loads. Just make medium loads. The difference between medium and heavy loads in a 44 Magnum is about 200-400 fps, which means the medium loads are still doing 900-1000fps, which is quite powerful with a 240gr bullet. It will be exciting, but easy on you and the gun. There's a shear joy just from cranking off the first 50 rounds you assembled yourself, and it makes no difference if they're hot loads or mediums. In fact, you'll be so thrilled, you'd be better off with the medium loads, so you can shoot many more of them, which you'll desperately want to, because of the shear joy of shooting your own ammo...

Unique is also ideal for 44 Special. It's a very flexible and forgiving powder. It bulks well, so an inadvertant double-charge will either over-flow the case, or be clearly noticable as "too full."

Get some experience and keep reading before you load hot loads. That's vitally important.

GioaJack
08-11-2010, 21:47
First off, do yourself a favor and get used to the process first. There is plenty of time to get all geeked out about this load or that one. For right now, get yourself a pound or two of Unique, and just get used to sizing, re-priming, bell-mouthing, powder-charging, seating, and crimping.

Don't work on hot loads. Just make medium loads. The difference between medium and heavy loads in a 44 Magnum is about 200-400 fps, which means the medium loads are still doing 900-1000fps, which is quite powerful with a 240gr bullet. It will be exciting, but easy on you and the gun. There's a shear joy just from cranking off the first 50 rounds you assembled yourself, and it makes no difference if they're hot loads or mediums. In fact, you'll be so thrilled, you'd be better off with the medium loads, so you can shoot many more of them, which you'll desperately want to, because of the shear joy of shooting your own ammo...

Unique is also ideal for 44 Special. It's a very flexible and forgiving powder. It bulks well, so an inadvertant double-charge will either over-flow the case, or be clearly noticable as "too full."

Get some experience and keep reading before you load hot loads. That's vitally important.


:goodpost: Heed this excellent advice... you'll never hear anything better.


Jack

degoodman
08-11-2010, 23:09
First off, do yourself a favor and get used to the process first. There is plenty of time to get all geeked out about this load or that one. For right now, get yourself a pound or two of Unique, and just get used to sizing, re-priming, bell-mouthing, powder-charging, seating, and crimping.

Don't work on hot loads. Just make medium loads. The difference between medium and heavy loads in a 44 Magnum is about 200-400 fps, which means the medium loads are still doing 900-1000fps, which is quite powerful with a 240gr bullet. It will be exciting, but easy on you and the gun. There's a shear joy just from cranking off the first 50 rounds you assembled yourself, and it makes no difference if they're hot loads or mediums. In fact, you'll be so thrilled, you'd be better off with the medium loads, so you can shoot many more of them, which you'll desperately want to, because of the shear joy of shooting your own ammo...

Unique is also ideal for 44 Special. It's a very flexible and forgiving powder. It bulks well, so an inadvertant double-charge will either over-flow the case, or be clearly noticable as "too full."

Get some experience and keep reading before you load hot loads. That's vitally important.

While I agree with your underlying sentiment, you're kinda missing the point on "hot" vs "medium" loads in this case.

The "magnum" pistol cartridges, .357, .41 and .44 in particular are fairly unique in that there are "mild," "medium" and "high" pressure loads at a wide range of velocities. Just because a particular load reaches full power velocities does not necessarily mean that you're playing on the fringes of pressure. And with unique as our example, you can make some really unsafe high pressure loads that are 100 FPS slower than many published starting loads with 296/H110.

With medium loads and faster powders, you are also playing in the danger zone with load density, with some charges of faster powders barely filling 1/3 of the case. That can cause ignition problems, and also let you miss a double if your technique is off.

So yes, you want to avoid playing on the fringes of pressure with your early reloading efforts, but that doesn't mean you have to shy away from full performance loads in the .44, as long as you select an appropriate powder. You also don't want to try and stretch a medium speed powder into higher end velocities because you're playing with more risk there than with a slow powder at minimum / medium loads.

fredj338
08-11-2010, 23:27
While I agree with your underlying sentiment, you're kinda missing the point on "hot" vs "medium" loads in this case.

The "magnum" pistol cartridges, .357, .41 and .44 in particular are fairly unique in that there are "mild," "medium" and "high" pressure loads at a wide range of velocities. Just because a particular load reaches full power velocities does not necessarily mean that you're playing on the fringes of pressure. And with unique as our example, you can make some really unsafe high pressure loads that are 100 FPS slower than many published starting loads with 296/H110.

With medium loads and faster powders, you are also playing in the danger zone with load density, with some charges of faster powders barely filling 1/3 of the case. That can cause ignition problems, and also let you miss a double if your technique is off.

So yes, you want to avoid playing on the fringes of pressure with your early reloading efforts, but that doesn't mean you have to shy away from full performance loads in the .44, as long as you select an appropriate powder. You also don't want to try and stretch a medium speed powder into higher end velocities because you're playing with more risk there than with a slow powder at minimum / medium loads.
Agreed, but playing w/ H110/W296 & reducing loads can be just as unsafe. Like Freak said, good manual or two gets it done. 2400 is probably your best bet for mid range to full power loads as it does done load pretty well into nmidrange.

MakeMineA10mm
08-12-2010, 21:54
While I agree with your underlying sentiment, you're kinda missing the point on "hot" vs "medium" loads in this case.

The "magnum" pistol cartridges, .357, .41 and .44 in particular are fairly unique in that there are "mild," "medium" and "high" pressure loads at a wide range of velocities. Just because a particular load reaches full power velocities does not necessarily mean that you're playing on the fringes of pressure. And with unique as our example, you can make some really unsafe high pressure loads that are 100 FPS slower than many published starting loads with 296/H110.
I appreciate and agree with what you're saying. However, I am more concerned with the point that he is a new reloader. No reason to over-complicate things by getting him into high-velocity/moderate-pressure loading powders and techniques, which tend to have more limited applications.

He can load light, medium, and heavy loads with Unique, as he gains experience and confidence with it, but initially, he just needs something safe that goes "bang." But still, a 240-250gr LSWC @ 900 fps is quite powerful, and has been used to take many head of big-game. It's more-powerful than a 45, a very-highly-reputed "man-stopper." Nothing to be ashamed of with a load like that... It's also easier on the gun and the shooter.

I agree with you that there are unsafe high-pressure loads with Unique that are only 100 fps below what he could do safely with something like 2400 or H110, but my post above pointed out that he shouldn't expect to load that heavy with something like Unique. I suggested a good Unique load would be several hundred (not ONE hundred) feet per second slower than those with a slower powder, and I pointed out how happy he should be with that, because it's still a powerful load. It's just not a top-end load for the 44 Magnum. (It would be a top-end load for the 44 Special that he also mentions though...)

I'm also not saying he shouldn't load full-power loads, just that those should come later, after he has some more experience. Reloading is safe and fun, but it's most-safe and most-fun, when you get into it slowly and carefully and build on your experiences incrementally. Slower learning in safer in this instance, IMO.

With medium loads and faster powders, you are also playing in the danger zone with load density, with some charges of faster powders barely filling 1/3 of the case. That can cause ignition problems, and also let you miss a double if your technique is off.
Well, that's why I suggested Unique. It's slower than a "fast" powder - being about in the middle of the pistol burning rates, which means it won't have tiny little charges with powder. It bulks better than a ball powder, and although in most loads I'm suggesting, it won't overflow the case, it will be quite noticable if there is a double charge. Lastly, Unique is one of the most-forgiving/least-problemtaic powders I've ever worked with in terms of ignition. It will work much better than the slower powders in that regard, not requiring a magnum primer or having ignition problems in cold weather...

So yes, you want to avoid playing on the fringes of pressure with your early reloading efforts, but that doesn't mean you have to shy away from full performance loads in the .44, as long as you select an appropriate powder. You also don't want to try and stretch a medium speed powder into higher end velocities because you're playing with more risk there than with a slow powder at minimum / medium loads.
Thanks for making that point clearer. I don't agree with the advice of going for full-power loads with a slower powder for a new reloader as his first attempts for the reasons I outlined above, but I agree that he should also not go for full-power loads with a medium powder too. That would be folly as well.

Get some Unique and practice loading, paying particular attention to each step in the loading process, preferrably with a single-stage press. After a few hundred rounds have gone down range, and some more reading and conversing with others, it will be time to get a slower powder and practice safe loading practice with that, and work into full-power loads with that. But for starting off, it's wise to go slow.

garyjandfamily
08-12-2010, 22:20
:goodpost:First off, do yourself a favor and get used to the process first. There is plenty of time to get all geeked out about this load or that one. For right now, get yourself a pound or two of Unique, and just get used to sizing, re-priming, bell-mouthing, powder-charging, seating, and crimping.

Don't work on hot loads. Just make medium loads. The difference between medium and heavy loads in a 44 Magnum is about 200-400 fps, which means the medium loads are still doing 900-1000fps, which is quite powerful with a 240gr bullet. It will be exciting, but easy on you and the gun. There's a shear joy just from cranking off the first 50 rounds you assembled yourself, and it makes no difference if they're hot loads or mediums. In fact, you'll be so thrilled, you'd be better off with the medium loads, so you can shoot many more of them, which you'll desperately want to, because of the shear joy of shooting your own ammo...

Unique is also ideal for 44 Special. It's a very flexible and forgiving powder. It bulks well, so an inadvertant double-charge will either over-flow the case, or be clearly noticable as "too full."

Get some experience and keep reading before you load hot loads. That's vitally important.

:goodpost:

This is one of the best reasons for a beginner to use Unique. Even in the cavernous 44 mag case, a double-charge is instantly obvious!!

fredj338
08-13-2010, 13:44
:goodpost:

This is one of the best reasons for a beginner to use Unique. Even in the cavernous 44 mag case, a double-charge is instantly obvious!!
Not to mention your gun might actually survive such a dbl charge event. Not true w/ faster powders like TG.:wow:

Zombie Steve
08-14-2010, 00:11
.44 Special - Unique
.44 Mag - Unique for midrange (like the man said, don't assume midrange means lower pressures), 2400 for full power loads
10mm - Blue Dot

Just my opinion.

sig357fan
08-14-2010, 02:21
I've gotta agree with the "Unique as a first powder", thats the advice I got when I started reloading and I couldn't tell you how many pounds I've burned up in everything from 9mm to 45 Colt.

One other point to consider is that with the mid-range Unique loads, not only are they easier on on your gun, they are easier on you.

when I first got my Ruger NM Blackhawk I didn't have reloading supplies and started with a box of full power 240 gr. JHP, took a couple hundred Unique mild loads to get rid of the flinch I developed in that first box of 50 "hot" rounds.

just my $0.02

sig357fan

dla
08-14-2010, 17:47
How many of those giving advise load for the 44 mag?

The 44 mag is a very easy cartridge to load. Unless you want a shelf full of weird canisters of powder, pick 1 for real 44 mag loads and pick another for your 10mm. The powder you use for the 10mm will also work nicely for your 44mag poofter loads. So don't go and buy a can of Unique unless you plan on using it for 10mm - there's nothing special about Unique for 44mag.

The best powder for full-house 44mag will tend to be too slow for the 10mm.

MakeMineA10mm
08-14-2010, 23:29
How many of those giving advise load for the 44 mag?

The 44 mag is a very easy cartridge to load. Unless you want a shelf full of weird canisters of powder, pick 1 for real 44 mag loads and pick another for your 10mm. The powder you use for the 10mm will also work nicely for your 44mag poofter loads. So don't go and buy a can of Unique unless you plan on using it for 10mm - there's nothing special about Unique for 44mag.

The best powder for full-house 44mag will tend to be too slow for the 10mm.

Hiya dla, I load for both 44 and 10mm. (Truth be told, I'm loading much more 44s than 10s these days... [please don't tell them in the 10mm Reloading Forum! :) ])

I agree with your evaluation, but would look at it a little different. Unique is a very good powder for a beginner. I think many look at things from their current, more-advanced loading knowledge and don't take into consideration enough that he has stated he's relatively new to the process. In that case, practice to get used to things.

My two primary powders are W231 and AA#9. I use the W231 in all of my pistol calibers for plinking/practice loads, and I appreciate it's flexibility and good flow through powder measures. BUT, I won't recommend it right out of the gate for a 44 Magnum reloader, because it gets kind-of "peaky" with pressures spiking suddenly when you get towards the top-end. It's faster than Unique, and I want to avoid recommending something that will give the problems degoodman mentioned earlier. So, just because I use it, doesn't mean it's right for the OP.

Now, AA#9, I'd suggest he look at, after he burns up that first pound of Unique. AA#9 gives max-performance loads in 10mm, and it's geometry is such that you almost can't get enough of it in the 10mm case to get it over-pressure-max. It's also a good and flexible powder for high-power 44 Mag loads.

I like flexibility in my powder magazine. That way I can buy in bulk and save money, and still be able to get optimum loads out of it. AA#9 also works for me in 357 Mag, 30 Carbine, and 300 Whisper, in addition to 10mm and 44 Magnum. It's nearly as flexible and useful at full-power end of things as W231 is at the low-end. BUT, for this fellow's first Summer of handloading, Unique will get him there. I don't burn much Unique anymore, but it's a dandy powder to learn with.

degoodman
08-15-2010, 00:11
I'm not trying to start a fire here, but Unique is not necessarily the solution to the problem here. Its a good powder, I use a ton of it, 8 pounds at a time, so I'm not dissing it.

Unique bulks well in a service cartridge, or the .44 Special. Not well enough in the .44 Mag in my opinion. I just checked, at level full in a sized remington case there was 24.5 grains of unique in there. With a 240 grain jacketed pill and an alliant listed max charge of 10.3 grains, you can double charge a case, with 4 grains of room left, and no spillage. drop the weight to a 225 grain lead slug, and you're still looking at 11 grains, for 2.5 grains of room before spillage on a max charge. If I'm counting on "bulk" to catch a double charge, my personal rule is at least 60% fill on the case to guarantee a visible powder spill and a bullet that likely will not sit on the case mouth. .

the other thing is that we have to be very clear about is PRESSURE. I've seen it again in a few posts here. In terms of the "strain" on the gun, the chamber and forcing cone don't know the difference between a unique load at 30K PSI and a load of 2400 at 30K PSI. the difference between them is going to be a couple hundred FPS out the muzzle, and a little bit more shove on the shooter. but the cylinder didn't know the difference.

The last thing I guess, and I didn't do it either, was to ask the reloader what he's hoping to accomplish. I myself, have no use for .44 special or powderpuff .44 loads. I have revolvers in .38, .357, .41, .44, .45, .454, .460 and .500. If I want a "lite" .44, I pull out my .41 with its full power loads. and when I reach for the .460 or .500, I'm not loading them with .45LC's or .500 specials. To make it explicit, I don't load hot. I don't have to. But I do load to full power relative to caliber. Is the OP looking to cut costs, cut recoil, load a bullet not easy to find from the factory for hunting, or what? If you're looking for powder puffs, the right powder is alot different than the one for full power hunting stuff.

Like I said in the beginning, I have no beef with unique. but I am not convinced in the least that its a "safe" "newbie friendly" powder in .44 Mag. Other powders have their own quirks too, no doubt. 296's admonition to not reduce loads more than 5% off maximum, instead of the more customary 10% or more. etc. But if you're within the book, I think you're almost safer with low to middle pressure loads of 2400 than you are with unique.

kshutt
08-15-2010, 05:34
The only two I ever used were 2400 and W296.

fredj338
08-15-2010, 14:08
How many of those giving advise load for the 44 mag?

The 44 mag is a very easy cartridge to load. Unless you want a shelf full of weird canisters of powder, pick 1 for real 44 mag loads and pick another for your 10mm. The powder you use for the 10mm will also work nicely for your 44mag poofter loads. So don't go and buy a can of Unique unless you plan on using it for 10mm - there's nothing special about Unique for 44mag.

The best powder for full-house 44mag will tend to be too slow for the 10mm.
Yeah, since maybe 1976? It was my 2nd handgun, a RBH. I shot it so much I have actually worn the forcing cone to where it is unsafe. 1000s of rounds fired in plinking & MetSil competition, all full power loads back then. Now I only have 5 rev from a 3" snub to RBBH for hunting.:dunno: Unique or other med burner works great for 800fps plinkers to 1000fps 300gr loads. You can certainyl get a bit more gas out of H110 or 2400, I use both for max effort loads, but med burners will work fine for most range duty. I pretty much only shoot lead bullets today. A steady diet of jacketed certainly beats the forcing cone up more than lead bullets in the same pressure range. The S&W are a bit more fragile than Rugers, so a steady diet of magnum loads should be avoided if you expect longevity form your fav 44mag.
Like I said in the beginning, I have no beef with unique. but I am not convinced in the least that its a "safe" "newbie friendly" powder in .44 Mag. Other powders have their own quirks too, no doubt. 296's admonition to not reduce loads more than 5% off maximum, instead of the more customary 10% or more. etc. But if you're within the book, I think you're almost safer with low to middle pressure loads of 2400 than you are with unique.
Let's say, more safe than loading TG or other uberfast powder. Any powder that fills half the case is easily spotted in a dbl charge if you are paying 1/2 attention. One should push any powder past it's max levels, so if max vel loads are wanted, only slow powders will do. If you only want accurate midrange, say 240-250grLSWC @ 1100fps, Unique or WSF do that w/ more efficiencey & often better accuracy than downloading the slower powders like AA#9 or 2400 (as we know, H110/W296 should not be downloaded significantly).

Hound_dogs_01
08-15-2010, 14:17
Unique and Win. 231 are my "go to" powders for any revolver cartridge. I LOVE 7.1grains of Unique with Hornady 200grain XTP bullet in my .44 Special.

Or 6.5grains of unique with 240grain cast bullet is also very good.

I've found that 231 just doesnt have the raw bone power like unique does. Espically out of a 3" or shorter barrel.

Although unique burns much dirtier I perfer it over 231.


Alex

Edited to mention : The old man that is still teaching me about/how to reload is 70 years old and has drilled unique into my skull. This man started reloading when he was 15, thats 55 years of experience. Hell he still has cans of al-5 powder laying around thats still good. Those of you that have been reloading along time will know about al-5 shotgun powder. Even still has cans of dupont powder.. He says he can remember when there wer eonly about 10 different powders on the market and 1 pound can would cost no more than $4. lol Sorry kind of pointless talk here but I guess my point is, he's used unique for 40+ years and hasnt stoped yet. He loads unique in everything from 9mm to 45long colt.

FLSlim
08-16-2010, 13:28
I certainly don't know what's best, but all I ever used when reloading the 44 mag (Ruger Redhawk) was dirty old Unique and 2400. I never had a complaint with either powder and midrange loads with Unique were extremely accurate out of the Ruger (another gun that I wish I had back...). I still use some Unique in the 10 and find it serviceable and accurate as a moderate load. I use other powders most often in the 10, but for punching paper I have no Unique problems.

MakeMineA10mm
08-17-2010, 00:38
I'm not trying to start a fire here, but Unique is not necessarily the solution to the problem here. Its a good powder, I use a ton of it, 8 pounds at a time, so I'm not dissing it..
I don't smell any smoke. :supergrin: We're just looking at the same problem from two slightly different points of view, and it seems to me that in a non-abusive way, our friendly difference of opinion is giving the OP (and others reading) more and more insight, and I think that's a good thing, no matter how we cut it! :wavey:

Unique bulks well in a service cartridge, or the .44 Special. Not well enough in the .44 Mag in my opinion. I just checked, at level full in a sized remington case there was 24.5 grains of unique in there. With a 240 grain jacketed pill and an alliant listed max charge of 10.3 grains, you can double charge a case, with 4 grains of room left, and no spillage. drop the weight to a 225 grain lead slug, and you're still looking at 11 grains, for 2.5 grains of room before spillage on a max charge. If I'm counting on "bulk" to catch a double charge, my personal rule is at least 60% fill on the case to guarantee a visible powder spill and a bullet that likely will not sit on the case mouth. .
What you say is absolutely true. What I said above is that the OP must learn and follow good loading practices. Now, if you throw a double-measure of Unique (using your 10gr load for example) and the OP is going slow (because he's learning) and following procedure, would he not catch that in a visual inspection of the charged cases under a good light while their lined up like good little soldiers in the loading block?

Yes, it will NOT overflow the case, but it will be visually obvious. In fact, that non-overflowed case will be so full, that even if he doesn't look at in the loading block, trying to squeeze a 240gr bullet on top of a case that full will feel and look different and should raise alarm bells. In fact, I've used slow powders that filled the case too much (like 2400 and H-110), and I had bullets (cast lead ones) come up out of the case from the hydraulic force of the powder underneath while the ammo was waiting between the seat and crimp stages of the loading process...

I just loaded some 44s with my favorite light load last night. 7.5grs of W231 take up exactly .345" of case (checked across 5 different headstamps I had on the bench at the time - suprisingly consistent). My bullet seats down into the case mouth .345" also (not a typo - the bullet and powder take up the same space). That leaves .419" of empty space in my cases, which means with my powder and load-level a double charge would fit under the bullet. Just for grins, I double-charged a couple cases and stood them in the loading block next to the others. It was easily obvious to see which ones were double-charged. But, since it fits, this is why I did NOT recommend my usual powder for lighter 44 Mag loads...

(As an aside, I was also checking the accuracy of my Lyman #55 powder measure. It has no baffle system like the Redding or Dillon (and others), and I've always heard the powder charge would vary between having a full powder reservoir and a nearly-empty one. Near the end, every time I charged a case, I could watch a little whirlpool of powder above where the empty drum returned, but the charges were still throwing right between 7.4 and 7.5grs. I re-filled the reservoir and still got 7.5grs - though with more consistency. Overall, I was pretty impressed, but I'm not sure this would translate to a rifle-size load of powder, either. I wouldn't load benchrest ammo that way, but for pistol plinking ammo, it's fine...)

the other thing is that we have to be very clear about is PRESSURE. I've seen it again in a few posts here. In terms of the "strain" on the gun, the chamber and forcing cone don't know the difference between a unique load at 30K PSI and a load of 2400 at 30K PSI. the difference between them is going to be a couple hundred FPS out the muzzle, and a little bit more shove on the shooter. but the cylinder didn't know the difference.
Here I'll disagree slightly. As far as the peak or total pressure, yes, you're right. But, there is a difference between a single-based flake powder's effect on forcing cone erosion and a double-based slow-powder's. There's also a difference on the length of the strain on the mechanism.

S&W did some engineering upgrades to it's 29 and 629, specifically because heavy-bullet, heavy-powder silohuette-type loads shot in large quantities brought the problems to light. Numerous issues came up. My earlier 629 (pre-endurance package) also got most of those problems, but I never shot any bullets heavier than 250gr cast lead out of it (certainly no silohuette loads). Why did mine develop problems? Because of too much 2400 and H-110, and a youthful over-exhuberance for the application of same. Also, I've never recommended a load, but I've been pretty clear that I'm not advocating that the OP pick the max charge of Unique and bang away. In fact, I've implied that he should NOT do so. I've always emphasized that the ammo should be reliable and fun, not powerful. You have always used the max-load comparison in your arguments, but there's more to handloading than max loads.

As you state below, you're a full-power kind-of guy, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I was the same way for a long time. I still shoot full-power loads on occassion (hunting, sighting in, intermittent long-range plinking with friends), but I primarily shoot lighter, mid-range loads now, even in my Rugers and Marlin, which don't suffer from the same endurance issues as my early S&W. These loads are easier on the gun and me than my heavier loads of AA#9. Since it's inefficient and can produce unbalanced loads, I don't recommend slow powders for medium loads. Likewise, for a new reloader, I didn't recommend my medium-fast ball powder (W231), because I think it's better he learn good loading practices with a better-suited powder. And, my recommendation for the OP was the same type of mid-range loads, for reasons already gone over above.

The last thing I guess, and I didn't do it either, was to ask the reloader what he's hoping to accomplish. I myself, have no use for .44 special or powderpuff .44 loads. I have revolvers in .38, .357, .41, .44, .45, .454, .460 and .500. If I want a "lite" .44, I pull out my .41 with its full power loads. and when I reach for the .460 or .500, I'm not loading them with .45LC's or .500 specials. To make it explicit, I don't load hot. I don't have to. But I do load to full power relative to caliber. Is the OP looking to cut costs, cut recoil, load a bullet not easy to find from the factory for hunting, or what? If you're looking for powder puffs, the right powder is alot different than the one for full power hunting stuff.

Like I said in the beginning, I have no beef with unique. but I am not convinced in the least that its a "safe" "newbie friendly" powder in .44 Mag. Other powders have their own quirks too, no doubt. 296's admonition to not reduce loads more than 5% off maximum, instead of the more customary 10% or more. etc. But if you're within the book, I think you're almost safer with low to middle pressure loads of 2400 than you are with unique.
(The emphasis in the quoted section here is mine.)

I had a feeling this was the case when I responded in a previous post about looking at things from a different point of view than where we're at now, as more-advanced handloaders. This is why I've pointed out repeatedly here and in the previous post that what WE like for ourselves is NOT always the best advice for a novice.

Just as you have no prejudice against Unique, I have none against heavy loads. (If I did, I wouldn't own a 44 Mag, and could get everything I wanted to accomplish out of a 44 Spl. or 45 ACP...) I'm just putting forth what I think is good advice for a freshman handloader and encouraging him to learn, be safe, and advance as he gets comfortable with the process.