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Workin' Up Some .44 Magnum Loads

black mambablack mamba MemberPosts: 158 Member
I showed pics of my new (used) S&W 629-5 about a month ago, but my eyes ain't what they used to be, so I put a Millett red dot sight on it. Mounting the Jack Weigand base was easy and the sight went on beautifully. NOW I CAN AIM AGAIN !! Here she is with the target from this morning's range session.

95270GD6in629.jpg

This is just the second load I've tried for it, 9.0 grains of HP-38 being the first, but slightly less accurate. Average of 7 shots with the Chrony at 12 feet was 1049, so I called it 1060 fps at the muzzle, with the 270 grain Speer Gold Dot JSP. WW Super once-fired brass and WLP primers @ 1.605" OAL with a good crimp in the groove. I believe the horizontal stringing is still human error. I think this would shoot 5/8" from a better rest, or with better eyes. Recoil is a pussycat, just a good puff.

Next is my T/C Encore with Bullberry 10" heavy .44 mag barrel and 2x Leupold LER scope. The chambering on this pistol is so tight that .430 bullets will not chamber, thus the Nosler (.429") 300 grain JHP is my bullet of choice. I need to try some Sierra's as well, as they are .4295" in diameter.

190300NJHP10inEncore.jpg

I worked this load up to 19.5 grains of Accurate 4100 powder with CCI-350 magnum primers, but then backed off to 19.0 grains and the standard CCI-300 large pistol primer. These loads may be over book max, but being a single shot pistol, I can load them long. COAL for these loads is 1.718", which is still .02" off the lands, and gives a much larger powder space in the case. Average of 7 shots over the Chrony (over two separate sessions) was 1353 fps @ 12 feet, so I called it 1365 fps at the muzzle. A nice 1" group at a breezy 25 yds, and again, the pistol is more accurate than I am.

It was an excellent day at the range!

Replies

  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Nice shootin irons!

    Is that a 629 "Classic" I ask because of the underlug on the bbl?

    Try 9 or 10 grains of Unique as a good target and all around load with a 240 grain bullet.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • black mambablack mamba Member Posts: 158 Member
    Yes, Chief, a straight Classic, not the DX (Deluxe) Classic. Thanks for the Unique tip.
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,089 Senior Member
    Looks like your're right on track. Nice groups. For a light target/plinking load, HP38 works. It's really a fast burning powder for the 44 mag. I'm sure Unique would do the trick and I have nothing against it, but I've personally had much better luck with Titegroup than I have with Unique and HP38. I've used Titegroup in everything from 45ACP and 38 Special to 454 Casull plinking loads. I've loaded and tested many different loads using HP38, Unique, Accurate No 2 and No 5, Titegroup, Universal, Trail Boss (mostly with cast bullet loads) and some others that I can't remember off the top of my head. I've seen better accuracy with Titegroup in most cases. For the harder hitting loads, I've had good results with Winchester 296 and Accurate No 9. Trail Boss works really well for mild cast bullet loads. Being a very bulky powder developed for cowboy action shooting, it fills the case well even with very mild loads. Just something to keep in mind. Your mileage may vary......

    BTW - Titegroup can be very unforgiving as far as load data goes. For example, with a 240 grain Speer bullet, Hodgdon shows starting load at 9 grains, max load at 10 grains. Not much wiggle room.
  • black mambablack mamba Member Posts: 158 Member
    Jay wrote: »
    BTW - Titegroup can be very unforgiving as far as load data goes. For example, with a 240 grain Speer bullet, Hodgdon shows starting load at 9 grains, max load at 10 grains. Not much wiggle room.

    That's why I like HP-38: it works well over a wide velocity/pressure range. Does anyone like any of the medium slow powders with cast bullets in .44 mag, like IMR-800X, or similar?
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    I've been using Titegroup for some warm .44 Spl loads and have had good luck with it in .45 ACP, as well.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Yes, Chief, a straight Classic, not the DX (Deluxe) Classic. Thanks for the Unique tip.

    I also have a S&W 629 Classic, it's the most accurate .44 I've ever fired and that has been quite a few.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,089 Senior Member
    That's why I like HP-38: it works well over a wide velocity/pressure range. Does anyone like any of the medium slow powders with cast bullets in .44 mag, like IMR-800X, or similar?

    I've never used 800x, but Accurate No. 7 fits right in that category. I've had some really good results with it in 357 mag. and 45 Colt. Burns clean and meters very well. Overall, I like the Accurate line of handgun powders. 2, 5, 7 and 9. You can pretty much do anything you need to do with any handgun cartridge with Accurate 5, 7 and 9 powders. You can get better velocity with other powders, such as using 296 or other slow powders for handpounders, and possibly better accuracy with Titegroup or HP38 for target and plinking loads.

    There are just too many powders out there. I've played with a whole bunch of them, buying them one pound at a time and testing different loads with them. I've narrowed my preference down to Titegroup, AA7, AA9, Win 296 and Trail Boss for cast plinking loads. With those, I can load every handgun cartridge I personally load, mild to wild, target, plinking or hunting. 9mm, 45ACP, 38spcl, 357mag, 45 Colt, 454 Casull and (when I loaded for it) 44spcl and mag.

    I think everyone has thier powder preferences. If I had to narrow mine down more than I have, I'd go with the Accurate Arms line of handgun powders.
  • backwaterbobbackwaterbob Member Posts: 102 Member
    Black Mamba
    Good shooting !! Unique 9 - 10 - 11 grains is good for a 250 gr bullet. ( i use cast Keith style ) 1 inch off the bench.
    bwb
  • black mambablack mamba Member Posts: 158 Member
    BP, just make sure with H110 to use magnum primers and don't go below published start loads, which are usually about 3-4% below max.

    Light loads are a no-no with H110.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,991 Senior Member
    I have always used Elmer Keith's load 24gr of 2400 and a 240gr bullet, for me its hard hitting and accurate

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    BPsniper wrote: »
    One of these days, I'm going to get around to loading for my .44Mags. I've got brass, dies, and Hornady 240gr XTPs to try. Going to use H110 and see how they do. Once I get over my fear of handloading straight wall cases. Not fear really. Just haven't done straight wall before.


    Actually some LOOK straight walled like the .30 carbine, but have a slight taper and require lube, trust me.

    .44/.357/.45 and so forth require no lube, just use a carbide sizing die, standard issue with modern reloading die sets.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    BP, just make sure with H110 to use magnum primers and don't go below published start loads, which are usually about 3-4% below max.

    Light loads are a no-no with H110.

    And there is no such warning using Winchester 296 powder, the same thing as H-110, go figure.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Senior Member Posts: 1,720 Senior Member
    I have never had a problem getting H-110 to light, using standard primers. Hodgdons Clays makes good light loads........Robin
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,089 Senior Member
    BPsniper wrote: »
    One of these days, I'm going to get around to loading for my .44Mags. I've got brass, dies, and Hornady 240gr XTPs to try. Going to use H110 and see how they do. Once I get over my fear of handloading straight wall cases. Not fear really. Just haven't done straight wall before.

    Reloading straight wall cases is far easier than bottleneck when using carbide dies, which I'm sure you have. When you load handpounders, like 44mag with H110/W296, you might have to trim your cases a little more often to get consistent crimps. Of course, you'll have one extra step, flaring the case mouth. Not hard, just don't want to flare any more than needed so you don't work the brass too much. Just enough flare to accept the bullet. I'm pretty sure you're aware of this. Just trying to prod you a little to get you to try it. I'm getting tired of watching your tiny groups out of rifles. I want to see new range reports........biggrinjester.gif And black mamba is right about not reducing loads when using 110/296. As far as primers, I just use whatever the load data I'm using suggests. I'm pretty easy that way............

    Try it. I think you'll have a blast............pun intended.
  • wildgenewildgene Senior Member Posts: 1,036 Senior Member
    ...personally, I'd go w/ "Lil' Gun" over H-110 or 2400 for "heavy loads", pretty much as good or better velocities, w/ considerably less fouling, "flash & bang", so the "same" loads are more comfortable to shoot...
  • Jim TomJim Tom Member Posts: 338 Member
    Jaywapti,

    I don't want to start an argument, but I believe 24gr of 2400 is pretty hot for a 240gr load. Are you sure you're not getting that mixed up with 24gr of H110/W296? 20.5gr of 2400 is as high as I need to go with 240gr'ers, I get @ 1350 ft/sec with that out of a 6 1/2" model 629. 21.0gr of 2400 gives me around 1400 ft/sec, but CCI primers are too flat for my liking, and extraction is getting sticky.

    Actually, 20.0gr is nice for 2400. If I want something hotter, I prefer H110.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,991 Senior Member
    Jim Tom,

    No argument, back in 69 or 70 when i bought my Ruger there was a article in the Rifleman or G&A by Elmer Keith, his load was the 24 - 2400 - 240, if i remember right he was using a S & W M-29 with a 4"bbl. I dont think H-110 or W-296 was around then. If you look in older Speer manual's you will find this load. In todays reloading manual's many loads are reduced compaired to the older books, im sure this is due to libelity issues. In a later artical by Keith he thought the Ruger was stronger than the S & W. Over the years thats the only load i've used and i've never had any problems with the Ruger, no flatened or extruded primers or hard extraction.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • black mambablack mamba Member Posts: 158 Member
    As to 2400, I'm sure I've read that it has been changed a little over the years, and is a little faster than it used to be. I thought the famous Keith loading was 22 gr of 2400 with a 250 gr SWC, which now corresponds to about 20.5 to 21.0 grains with the modern 2400.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,991 Senior Member
    Jim Tom

    Correction, I bought the Ruger in 1960 when i got back from Africa. I also load 21.5gr of 2400 with a 210gr bullet in my .41 mag Ruger, thats a higher load than is listed in todays manuals.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,991 Senior Member
    As to 2400, I'm sure I've read that it has been changed a little over the years, and is a little faster than it used to be. I thought the famous Keith loading was 22 gr of 2400 with a 250 gr SWC, which now corresponds to about 20.5 to 21.0 grains with the modern 2400.

    I've never loaded the 250 swc only the 240.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,089 Senior Member
    BPsniper wrote: »
    When I do, though, reduced loads are not in the books. I'm gonna stuff those cases as hot as I accurately can. Why else have a .44 Mag?

    Glad to see you and I are like minded on that. 44 specials are for weenie loads. 44mags are for manly loads. Why choose that cartridge if you're not going to use it for what is we designed for? Some goes for 45/454.
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    BPsniper wrote: »
    reduced loads are not in the books. I'm gonna stuff those cases as hot as I accurately can. Why else have a .44 Mag?


    There's something I can agree with. I've got three pistols and one rifle in .44mag and I've never shot .44specials or light loads out of them. I have lighter calibers for lighter loads. I only separate my .44mag loads by "Ruger" level loads, and "Smith and Wesson" level loads and I buy H110 by the keg.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • JeeperJeeper Senior Member Posts: 2,954 Senior Member
    BPsniper wrote: »
    Yeah, I've had the process explained several times. Just haven't taken the plunge yet. I will soon, though. Running out of rifles to load for. :-)

    When I do, though, reduced loads are not in the books. I'm gonna stuff those cases as hot as I accurately can. Why else have a .44 Mag?

    Ahh... but if you carry your .44 from time to time (I do), it's nice to have some ~950-1000 fps loads on hand. :-)

    Luis
    Wielding the Hammer of Thor first requires you to lift and carry the Hammer of Thor. - Bigslug
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,155 Senior Member
    Nice shooting! You've got that wheelgun singing! A tip fora rest: I don't know what you're using, but I have had excellent luck resting the trigger guard in the folds of a Protektor rabbit ear bag and the grip on its base. It does put some scorch marks on the leather around the ylinder gap, but it's ultra-stable for what you are trying to to do. The groups I posted with my Anaconda/Wiegand combat ring/Burris 2x scope setup were shot using that exact setup.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
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