44 mag. reloading... need some advice [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Kentguy
09-23-2012, 08:27
Greetings everyone,
I could use some advice here because I’m in some uncharted waters for me. I am trying to develop some “target type” or possibly hunting loads for a .44 magnum and what I have used so far have yielded I guess you could call “so-so” results perhaps a different powder or brand of bullet? I’m just not sure, what have you folks use with good success perhaps you could steer me in a better direction.
All my test rounds fired without failure – accuracy was tested at 25, 35 & 50 yards. After checking several sources I settled on using the numbers from my “Speer” manual. The temp was around 75 degrees with a very slight left to right breeze, rounds shot from a bench/gun rest position. Here are my details;
Case – Win. (used) trimmed to 1.275”
Bullet – 240g JSP (Remington)
Powder – Alliant 2400
Powder range – 19.0g up to 21.0g
Primer – Winchester WLP
OAL – 1.590”-1.595”
Crimp – Heavy (suggested in Lyman’s manual)
Winchester Factory rounds Vel – 1,409.83 fps & SD – 37.60009
My Test charges;
19.0g Vel – 1,309.83 fps & SD – 28.44937
19.5g Vel – 1,318.66 fps & SD – 15.00222
20.0g vel – 1,374.00 fps & SD – 29.42788
20.5g vel – 1,361.66 fps & SD – 27.68875
21.0g vel – 1,408.16 fps & SD – 24.26039
My test gun is an S&W 44 magnum model 629 w/8-3/8” barrel
Again my results with all of this were just average (at best) with the exception of the charge of 21.0g – the tights groups achieved but still nothing to write home about. I know that 2400 is a long standing powder used for this caliber along with the 240g bullet, but if there is something out there you have found that yields great results for you – by all means please let me know. I am certainly open to any procedural thoughts you could offer as well. Like I said this caliber/gun is all new territory for me.

TKM
09-23-2012, 09:16
The Keith load is a pretty good place to start.

http://www.handloads.com/articles/default.asp?id=4

Pat T
09-23-2012, 10:01
Kent-

I recently reworked my hunting load for my S&W 29. I am using H110 powder and a CC1350 primer, but what I found was that differences with this powder and primer combination in accuracy was significant with only a .2 of a grain increment. I have not loaded 2400 for this caliber and no doubt there are others here with more experience on your combination of components, but it may be you are jumping over some sweet spots with the .5 grain load steps. Good luck and have fun with this!

sig357fan
09-23-2012, 11:25
Kentguy,

I've never used H110 and never gotten "as good as" results with jacketed bullets as I do with cast bullets, and yes, I'm a dyed it the wool 2400 user for magnum and cast bullet rife loads.

what I do know about H110 is from the manufacturers warning to not reduce H110 loads as much as you would when starting with other powders, you'll see it about half way down the first page of the link provided below.

http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp

when you look up the 44 mag data, your loads are below what Hodgdon recomends as a starting load, this may be your problem.

sig357fan

alank2
09-23-2012, 12:47
Hi,

For a target load, I like loading 7.5 grains of VV n320 with a 240gr JSP. I get around 828 fps (sd 15, es 43) with a 2 1/2" Alaskan.

Good luck,

Alan

fredj338
09-23-2012, 12:49
I guess the first question is what kind of accuracy are you looking for & how much hangdun exp do you have shooting boomers? I have been an avid 44mag shooter & reloader for 35yrs. I jabe even managed to wear out a Ruger SBH shooting in met sil. Most of my early years was all full power stuff. Now days, I have throttled back most of my loads to extend the lif of my older S&W. It's not diff to get 44mags shooting 4" @ 50yds w/ open sights, even better with younger eyes. Slap a scope on my RBBH, 4" @ 100yds is pretty routine.
My guns never see jacketed bullets anymore. All lead, all the time, even for hunting loads. I can cast a LHP that works just as well, maybe lightly better, than many JHP for hunting out to 100yds. The lead bullet also has less wear on the critical forcing cone area (how I managed to shoot out a RBH). So you are on the right track w/ 2400. You might try switching to a std primer for 2400 loads. If you want only full power loads, then try H110/W296 & mag primers.

Kentguy
09-23-2012, 14:37
Thanks guys,
My original thoughts were not to develop a “full Power load”, which is why I choose 2400 instead of H110 or something else, but a load I could control, achieve a decent reacquisition and of course be as accurate as I could get. I have never tried VVn320 powder, it’s a faster burning powder that 2400, but I certainly not opposed to trying a different powder..
Fred,
I was expecting to get groups of 2”-3” groups at 25 & 35 yards and 3”-4” groups at 50 yards. Bullets at all charges were outside those expectations thus my feelings of “so-so” accuracy. As far as my experience shooting boomers… I have been shooting 45 ACP & 357 magnum for over 20 years but like I said this is my first go around owning, reloading & shooting 44 magnum. As a general rule, I like to develop loads that are a bit on the liter side, they are more fun to shoot and I generally achieve a more accurate round going in this direction.
It seems most of you gents run lead bullets – something like a LSWC? These are what I run through my 38 Special & 357 Mag. Switching to Standard primer like CCI #300, Federal #150 something like that (I have both of these in stock).

sig357fan
09-23-2012, 16:12
Kentguy,

Sorry for my confusion, I got the idea you were using H110 instead of 2400.

And I’d have to agree with Fred on using standard primers and cast bullets with 2400, my current load is CCI 300 LPP, Win brass and a Lee 310 GCFP, cutting clover leafs at 50 yards off the bench with a scoped TCC super 14.

I had tried a couple different jacketed bullets and a couple different powder with the Lee 310er and was lucky if I got under 2” at 50 yards, my 2400 load is accurate and should have plenty of thump with out being too abusive to me or my pistol.

Sig357fan

countrygun
09-23-2012, 16:38
When I am working up for a new gun in that caliber I start out with a 240-250 gn SWC from either my Lyman 429421 mold or the RCBS 250-K and Unique powder with aCCI lpp.



I start with a top end .44 spl load from the manual and work up as longas accuracy doesn't decrease. I am generally happy with an all-around load for a .44 magnum at somewhere between 1,000-1,100 fps. I kind of like playing around in that area between the top end special and the mid range magnum loads. If I go beyond 1,100 fps I switch to H110 at it's "safe" level, 4227, or 2400. I don't usually quote powder charges for a couple of reasons, but one of my Smiths goes just ape over a charge of 17.5 gns of2400 under a 245-250 gn SWC cast fairly hard and sized to .430" and crimped firmly. To my frustration my Winchester Trapper wants 1.5 gns more and accuracy starts to slide with the pistol at that point. besides I don't want that heavy a load as a general rule. i wish the rifle, with it's velocity advantage in a given load would at least agree with one of my pistols on "pet load"

Mongosafari
09-23-2012, 16:43
My standby load for my Ruger Redhawk 7 1/2" 44 mag is a Remington bulk 240 gr JHP over 20.0 gr 2400 and a CCI Large Pistol Magnum Primer. Mostly R-P brass but some Win and Starline.

fredj338
09-23-2012, 17:49
3"-4" 50yd accuracy w/ open sights is quite good, especially if you are not a regular to the 44mag. Recoil management w/ full power loads is an aquired taste so sounds like some add'l. trigger time will help your groups a bit. Should I assume you are testing off a bench? I would if looking to isolate an accurate load. Nothing wrong w/ jacketed bullets, but IMO, you gain little to nothing in a big bore moving a good cast bullet along @ 1200-1400fps.

PCJim
09-23-2012, 20:31
There's always Unique that works well in the 44M if a milder load is preferred.

Zombie Steve
09-23-2012, 21:01
240 grain lswc and 18.5 grains of 2400 with a standard primer for a good accurate mid-range load... found 20.0 grains with the same bullet is a good load close to the upper end. Both accurate, but my Marlin doesn't like the 20 grain load. It will cut a ragged hole at 50 yards with the 18.5 though, so I usually stick to that as a standard (works fairly well in the revolvers too).

DarkShooter
09-23-2012, 21:23
Mid Range Load - 240gr LSWC, 8.5gr Unique, CCI 300, Mixed Brand Brass

Standard Load - 240gr Hornady XTP, 19.0 2400, CCI 300, Starline or Winchester Brass

Been using these two loads in several 29's and a Winchester 94 Trapper for years.
Very consistant and more than accurate enough.

noway
09-24-2012, 00:10
If that's your first go around, than those are nice numbers.fwiw, I also get better accuracy with lead hardcast than a jsp. leadheads or mtbaldy bullets are all that I used and with H110 or Lil'Gun powders.

Highspeedlane
09-24-2012, 03:23
Try out some H110/W296. Use the starting charge in your load data, give it a heavy roll crimp and touch it off with a magnum primer.

I used 2400 when starting out loading the .44 Magnum several decades ago but was never happy with my groups. My first outing with H110 out performed anything I had tried before.

It's now my go-to powder for any heavy bullet loads from .357 Magnum and up.

Kentguy
09-24-2012, 06:28
Wow thanks for all the advice everyone,

The accuracy I was getting was not horrible at all it is just from a bench rest and my revolver firmly planted in my pistol rest - I expected a much tighter grouping. If I was shooting free hand... I'd say "thank you very much" and call it a day.

I have developed several really nice accurate loads for my S&W 357 magnum w/6" barrel using Allinat 2400 with Barns XTB & Hornady XTP bullets but that gun really likes the LSWC! :thumbsup:

I thought with my 44 magnum I'd try a compromise (of sorts) with the JSP bullet but is seems lead is the way to go here as well for my next round of tests.

I have to say when it comes to "full power loads" the 240g JSP with 21.0g of 2400 will give your wrist something to think about. This tested closest to the Factory loads I tested against and gave me my tightest grouping. But I wouldn't want to shoot those for an extended period of time in one day.

I have to say I love the 44 mag and I don't know why I waited so long to jump into this revolver. I do thank you all for your advice - I have jotted down your recommendations and now I have some shopping and testing ahead of me.

GotFour
09-24-2012, 09:30
296 w/mag primers and a heavy roll crimp. Accurate, top end velocities, meters great and burns a lot cleaner than some of the other powder choices that tend to gum up your wheel gun after extended shooting sessions. Works great in .357 mag too.

fredj338
09-24-2012, 12:58
296 w/mag primers and a heavy roll crimp. Accurate, top end velocities, meters great and burns a lot cleaner than some of the other powder choices that tend to gum up your wheel gun after extended shooting sessions. Works great in .357 mag too.
The issue W/ H110/W296 is it's a max effort powder & doesn't do reduced loads well at all. I still use it, but only for max loads. For more comfy range loads, 2400 downloads nicely into the upper midrange w/ good accuracy & burns pretty clean.

norton
09-24-2012, 18:21
I load a Lee cast bullet-310 grains-2400 -15.5 grains.
Bullets are cast from mixed range scrap.
My records show an average of 910 fps.
I have not measured my groups, but it shoots nice tight groups at 15 yards off hand.
S/W 629. 6" barrel.

dkf
09-24-2012, 19:15
What velocities can you push a hardcast too before you have to start putting on gaschecks.

A 5.5" Redhawk is in my future and of course I will need to start reloading for it.

fredj338
09-24-2012, 22:15
What velocities can you push a hardcast too before you have to start putting on gaschecks.

A 5.5" Redhawk is in my future and of course I will need to start reloading for it.

SIzed right, good lube, decent alloy like clip WW & 1% tin, 1400fps should be easily done. It always amazes me that so many manuf offering 300gr+ bullets gas check them, pointless, unless you want to shoot them very soft alloy.:dunno:

byf43
09-25-2012, 12:32
I echo what's been said about H-110/W-296.
It's "Full Throttle" or "Off". Period.

Alliant 2400, using 19.5 grains, with Winchester brass (trimmed to 1.280") and either WLP or CCI Large primers to ignite the charge.
I use a 'moderate' crimp, not a heavy one.

In the .44 magnum, for JHP loads, I really like the Hornady 240 grain 'boolit'. (They work very well on big, old boars!!)
Speer and Sierra just didn't group as well, on paper.
(I've not loaded any Remington bullets in the .44, so, I can't/won't comment on them.)

Out of my DW 44VH-8 (and VH-4) the load I gave is very accurate, and it's fantastic out of my old Marlin 1894S, out to 100 yards.

fredj338
09-25-2012, 12:38
I echo what's been said about H-110/W-296.
It's "Full Throttle" or "Off". Period.

Out of my DW 44VH-8 (and VH-4) the load I gave is very accurate, and it's fantastic out of my old Marlin 1894S, out to 100 yards.
The old DW are terrificly accurate guns. I used to shoot mine in met sil, hitting the steel chickens @ 220yd was not all that diff if the wind stayed down. I have never hunted it though, big piece of gear to tote around.

dkf
09-25-2012, 14:38
SIzed right, good lube, decent alloy like clip WW & 1% tin, 1400fps should be easily done. It always amazes me that so many manuf offering 300gr+ bullets gas check them, pointless, unless you want to shoot them very soft alloy.:dunno:

That sounds good. I figure I would only deal with cast boolits 240 grain and up. So if I stick to around an 18bhn bullet I should not have to deal with gas checks.

byf43
09-26-2012, 06:36
The old DW are terrificly accurate guns. I used to shoot mine in met sil, hitting the steel chickens @ 220yd was not all that diff if the wind stayed down. I have never hunted it though, big piece of gear to tote around.


Metallic silhouette is why I bought my DW!!
With the stock grip (hunk of walnut!) and the VH-8 barrel/shroud on it, mine was a couple of ounces less than 4 lbs.

Very accurate revolver.

I bought the VH-4 barrel/shroud, before a wild boar hunt, in Tennessee.

Using the load I quoted above, I dropped a 265+ lb boar at 7 feet. (1 shot.)
He dropped like he'd been hit by a freight-train.

I'm quite fond of that old DW.

fredj338
09-26-2012, 09:32
Metallic silhouette is why I bought my DW!!
With the stock grip (hunk of walnut!) and the VH-8 barrel/shroud on it, mine was a couple of ounces less than 4 lbs.

Very accurate revolver.

I bought the VH-4 barrel/shroud, before a wild boar hunt, in Tennessee.

Using the load I quoted above, I dropped a 265+ lb boar at 7 feet. (1 shot.)
He dropped like he'd been hit by a freight-train.

I'm quite fond of that old DW.

I still kick myself for not getting a 4"VH setup for mine. It is a heck of a shooter w/ the 8" bbl, would be a really good hunting revolver, even w/ open sight. I would think 75yd would bea good practical max for my old eyes & that gun.:supergrin:

byf43
09-26-2012, 10:48
Fred,

The VH-4 barrel/shroud assemblies are still available!!!!!!!!

http://shop.cz-usa.com/P-20018/Dw-Barrelshroud-Blued-44-Mag-4.aspx

They're showing one (1) in stock.




Here's a snapshot of my DW VH-4.

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a366/byf43/DW44VH-4-1.jpg

Colorado4Wheel
09-26-2012, 11:17
That is kinda cool the way DW revolvers work.

Zombie Steve
09-26-2012, 11:19
Alright. Stop it you guys. You're making me jealous.

I can't buy another .44 yet.

byf43
09-26-2012, 12:08
That is kinda cool the way DW revolvers work.

They're a real PITA to find holsters for, though.

Kinda/sort have to resort to the way "Tuco" carried his revolver in "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly".


"Anybody got a spare boot lace?"

:whistling:

fredj338
09-26-2012, 13:14
Thanks, I'll look into it. I love the 4" bbl as an all purpose tool. I would certainly shoot it more often. A custom holster would not be put of the question, couple of good makers @ fair prices. One for the M625 would be a pretty close fit. The Safariland series is sort of adjustable, might try that. For the 8", I use a cheap UM nylon belt rig. Mine wears a terrific set of Hogue finger grooves.

Colorado4Wheel
09-26-2012, 13:19
I had a friend in college with a DW .357. Had a 4 and a 6 inch barrel. He shot his freezer with it by mistake. I should try that over at Zombie Steve's house today. Opps.... ;)

dkf
09-26-2012, 13:50
Those DW revolvers are nice. I will go the Redhawk route myself. Am torn between the 4" and 5.5" version (if my LGS ever has any) I figured the 5.5" version would be best for possibly use it to shoot a deer and for the extra velocity. I figure the extra 1.5" will probably help a bit to more efficiently burn powder and increase velocity?

How hard is it to change the barrels?

countrygun
09-26-2012, 14:05
I had a friend in college with a DW .357. Had a 4 and a 6 inch barrel. He shot his freezer with it by mistake. I should try that over at Zombie Steve's house today. Opps.... ;)

"...By mistake" ?

was he actually trying to hit the stove?

:rofl:

Zombie Steve
09-26-2012, 14:19
I had a friend in college with a DW .357. Had a 4 and a 6 inch barrel. He shot his freezer with it by mistake. I should try that over at Zombie Steve's house today. Opps.... ;)

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x214/sbecht/balls-in-vise.jpg

byf43
09-26-2012, 17:52
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x214/sbecht/balls-in-vise.jpg



:rofl::rofl::crying::rofl::rofl:

fredj338
09-26-2012, 17:55
Those DW revolvers are nice. I will go the Redhawk route myself. Am torn between the 4" and 5.5" version (if my LGS ever has any) I figured the 5.5" version would be best for possibly use it to shoot a deer and for the extra velocity. I figure the extra 1.5" will probably help a bit to more efficiently burn powder and increase velocity?

How hard is it to change the barrels?

You can't easily change a bbl on the Ruger or any other rev. The DW uses a bbl w/ a shroud secured by a hidden nut @ the muzzle. The bll goes under tension when the nut is tightened, this is supposed to reduce vibration & make it more accurate.:dunno: Mine shoots great though.
As to what bbl length to buy. I prefer a 4" for packing & general shooting, but a 5.5"-6" is going to certainly give you more bang for the buck.:supergrin:

AZ_Quailhunter
09-29-2012, 08:03
I would have a look at trying AA#7 mor medium power target loads and AA#9 for full magnum hunting loads...I have been using both for quite awhile and am satisfied...they meter great, as they are very fine grain ball powders.