A 44 Magnum, Handloads, and an afternoon to burn some powder

This is a discussion on A 44 Magnum, Handloads, and an afternoon to burn some powder within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Just recently purchased a new 44 M629. Bought it at Buds with an LE discount. I have been working up some handloads, with a specific ...

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Thread: A 44 Magnum, Handloads, and an afternoon to burn some powder

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    A 44 Magnum, Handloads, and an afternoon to burn some powder

    Just recently purchased a new 44 M629. Bought it at Buds with an LE discount. I have been working up some handloads, with a specific goal in mind. Since I have decided to use this piece this year in the deer woods, I wanted to see how closely I could get my hardcast handloads and XTP handloads to shoot together, using the same bullet weight, primers, but different powders.

    Now, for those of you who know me, you know I have a tendancy to enjoy a little longer range shooting. I grew up reading Elmer Keith, and his exploits with the 44, and have constantly pursued his handgun philosophy, and technique. Elmer seemed to prefer a 4 inch gun, for its utility, and that has rubbed off on me. And, big boomers just make me very happy.

    So, for my first load, I dug up some old personal notes, and settled on 10 grns of Unique under my 240 weight lswc. It chronoed at just under 1100 fps. I dialed it in to POI/POA at 25 yards.

    The HP load on hand was a 240 weight XTP over 21.5 grns of H-110. It passed under the screens a little slower than the LSWC bullet, but still easily broke 1000 fps. In doing this, it had a bit more felt recoil, but not by much, and I kinda expected that. At 25 hards, it seemed to shoot a little lower, and to the left, but I felt like there was still a good chance of being able to "dope" them in together further out.

    So, I moved my self about 40 yards out,(36 long steps), and set up. I used a paper plate as a target, because thats a good reference for determining good shot groups at distance on deer sized critters.

    Dang! that looks a long way off dont it?

    First 3 rounds of lswc bullets

    3 rounds of XTP'S

    SUCCESS! I decided to quit right there!

    Smith and Wesson, they are still making a good revolver.

    Anyway, just wanted to pass this along for you handloaders who may be new to assembling your own loads, and are having trouble making a round to practice with that shoots just like your factory carry load. It can be done, but keep good notes of everything you try, because they will be a good reference later on.
    bmcgilvray, wmhawth and RKflorida like this.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    My hardcast bullets are my go to round. I rarely have seen the need for the more expensive bullets. But sometimes its fun to see what you can do.I think the XTP's would make a good defensive load, if someone felt they needed those.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    I hope you are using .430 bullets. Never had anything bet grief using the .429's and that is what everyone tries to sell.

    Michael

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlr1m View Post
    I hope you are using .430 bullets. Never had anything bet grief using the .429's and that is what everyone tries to sell.

    Michael
    I think what is happening, is everyone is making them too hard, and they dont seal properly when fired. A bullet too hard will not melt properly on its base, and the gasses will blow past it, melting the sides of the bullet, and actually cause more leading. A properly hardened bullet for a given velocity will melt slightly on the base, and "seal"off the gases as it makes its run thru the bore.
    I believe this is the culprit 9 out of 10 times with commercial "hardcast" bullets.
    mprp and bmcgilvray like this.
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    VIP Member Array mprp's Avatar
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    glockman, have you ever chron'd the Federal Premium hunting load in 300 gr. Castcore? I need to suck it up and get a chron. just haven't yet. The box says that they're 1,160 fps @ 50 yards but not sure what barrel length they're baseing that off of. But it also specifies "Pistol." I have a Ruger Super Redhawk w/ 9 1/2" and for a 300 gr. Castcore, 1,160 seems a bit fast even with a longer barrel at 50 yards.

    Makes sense to actually burn a little hotter with hard cast than with lead but in my book, (real reloading book, not the "according to my beliefs book) even the 300 gr. XTPs are about maxed out at around 1,200 at the do not exceed mark. (H 110 and WIN 296) And that's at the muzzle. I don't have specs for hard cast but another question is, would this mean that they pretty much load the hard cast like they would jacketed?

    Anyways, thanks for the good info in the OP. I just thought I'd throw that out there to ponder beings that I only reload rounds to exactly what the book says and don't have a book with all of the bullets in it but have been wondering.
    Vietnam Vets, WELCOME HOME

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    VIP Member Array mprp's Avatar
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    Oh, and by the way, NICE shooting!
    Vietnam Vets, WELCOME HOME

    Crossman 760 BB/Pellet, Daisy Red Ryder, Crossman Wrist Rocket, 14 Steak Knives, 3 Fillet Knives, Rolling Pin-14", Various Hunting Knives, 2 Baseball Bats, 3 Big Dogs and a big American Flag flying in the yard. I have no firearms; Try the next house.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mprp View Post
    glockman, have you ever chron'd the Federal Premium hunting load in 300 gr. Castcore? I need to suck it up and get a chron. just haven't yet. The box says that they're 1,160 fps @ 50 yards but not sure what barrel length they're baseing that off of. But it also specifies "Pistol." I have a Ruger Super Redhawk w/ 9 1/2" and for a 300 gr. Castcore, 1,160 seems a bit fast even with a longer barrel at 50 yards.

    Makes sense to actually burn a little hotter with hard cast than with lead but in my book, (real reloading book, not the "according to my beliefs book) even the 300 gr. XTPs are about maxed out at around 1,200 at the do not exceed mark. (H 110 and WIN 296) And that's at the muzzle. I don't have specs for hard cast but another question is, would this mean that they pretty much load the hard cast like they would jacketed?

    Anyways, thanks for the good info in the OP. I just thought I'd throw that out there to ponder beings that I only reload rounds to exactly what the book says and don't have a book with all of the bullets in it but have been wondering.
    No sir, I have not. It is very do-able in the factory, with the technicians and all there equipment and ability to blend pwders for the optimum burn rate.
    At one stage, early in my research and experimenting, I tried 315 weight cast bullets. I found that, while they can work well, they are a better match for the 45 Colt, in its upper loadings. Its hard to get a 6 cylinder to do an 8 cyl engines job, if ya know what I mean. I think the highest loading that works efficiently in the 44 is about a 265 weight bullet.

    One time, I went on my first Hog hunt, and asked Sherrif Jim Wilson of "Shooting Times" about loading the 315 grn hardcast bullet in my Ruger SB. He told me it would be a dandy load, and to "stuff" as much H-110 under it as I could. It was a little too much for me. I have since found that a goodly cast 240-250 weight Keith style will do all that anyone could need doing at around 1000 fps or so. As a matter of fact, I took a nice Blue Wilderbeast at a little over 100 yards with a 41 magnum using a 215 weight cast bullet from a 4 inch BH, and if I recollect it was about 1250 fps.

    I very seldom, shoot factory ammo, and havent purchased anything but 9mm for a long, long time.
    You get some free velocity from a cast bullet, which is one reason I prefer them. Its not unusual to get 75fps or so over the same weight jacketed bullet.
    I hope this helps.
    And yes, get that chrono. You will be glad you did!
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlr1m View Post
    I hope you are using .430 bullets. Never had anything bet grief using the .429's and that is what everyone tries to sell.

    Michael
    I cast and lube my 240 grn lswc at .430,shoot them out of a LAR Grizzly,it handles the recoil well,but the grip is a handfull
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    I cast and lube my 240 grn lswc at .430,shoot them out of a LAR Grizzly,it handles the recoil well,but the grip is a handfull
    I'll bet it is!
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    VIP Member Array mprp's Avatar
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    Good food for thought, thank you.

    I went on my first Hog hunt, and asked Sherrif Jim Wilson of "Shooting Times" about loading the 315 grn hardcast bullet in my Ruger SB. He told me it would be a dandy load, and to "stuff" as much H-110 under it as I could
    Nice to see that he has confidence in the Ruger at least. Sounds like a harsh round indeed. I have that box of factory Federal 300s for hog hunting in fact. Not my primary which is a .30-06 but it's a wonderful backup handgun. So I have't been sent up a tree yet and the rifle has worked just fine but I figure that the 300 cast are the best out there that I can find without reloading as I believe they would be better than the 240 gr. hollow soft points or any JHP for that matter.

    And I now have an excuse to get that chrono. I'm going to tell my wife that glockman told me I had to. Glad they're not too expensive but we are still both in trouble buddy. LOL

    Honestly though, thank you sir for letting me pick your brain.
    Vietnam Vets, WELCOME HOME

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by mprp View Post
    Good food for thought, thank you.



    Nice to see that he has confidence in the Ruger at least. Sounds like a harsh round indeed. I have that box of factory Federal 300s for hog hunting in fact. Not my primary which is a .30-06 but it's a wonderful backup handgun. So I have't been sent up a tree yet and the rifle has worked just fine but I figure that the 300 cast are the best out there that I can find without reloading as I believe they would be better than the 240 gr. hollow soft points or any JHP for that matter.

    And I now have an excuse to get that chrono. I'm going to tell my wife that glockman told me I had to. Glad they're not too expensive but we are still both in trouble buddy. LOL

    Honestly though, thank you sir for letting me pick your brain.
    The pleasure is mine. I could talk about shooting, revolvers, reloading, and hunting all night and day! My chrono is a simple one, but works. It truly is a necessary part of reloading. Tell the Mrs how it will "save'' you money in the long run.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    I think what is happening, is everyone is making them too hard, and they dont seal properly when fired. A bullet too hard will not melt properly on its base, and the gasses will blow past it, melting the sides of the bullet, and actually cause more leading. A properly hardened bullet for a given velocity will melt slightly on the base, and "seal"off the gases as it makes its run thru the bore.
    I believe this is the culprit 9 out of 10 times with commercial "hardcast" bullets.
    I have believed for years that the problem with commercial cast bullets is the hardness, not necessarily the size. When I had the time to cast my own, they were from straight wheel weights, not as hard as commercial, and shot better sized to .429. But given how hard commercial cast are, I agree with the .430, plus I add a light coat of Lee tumble lube. No leading with the Lee TL.
    NRA Life Member

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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaT View Post
    I have believed for years that the problem with commercial cast bullets is the hardness, not necessarily the size. When I had the time to cast my own, they were from straight wheel weights, not as hard as commercial, and shot better sized to .429. But given how hard commercial cast are, I agree with the .430, plus I add a light coat of Lee tumble lube. No leading with the Lee TL.
    It seems the term ''hard cast" has become generic. I guess its just one of those things that get out of hand over time.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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    Great shooting Gman, and I had to clean my reading glasses to see that 40 yard photo. That's a deer-killin' load right there.

    Still a good load, that 240 XTP, cranking over 1000 fps when kicked in the rump by 21.5 grains of H 110, from a 4-inch barrel. What a powder for high-end .44 Magnum loads H110 is!

    A pleasant time for sure and the photo shows a pretty setting.

    I've noticed over the past 10 years or so that H110 is being used with cast bullets by lots of folks. I remember reading somewhere (Speer No. 9 perhaps?) that H110 was incompatible with cast lead bullets. That proviso has apparently gone out the window. I don't recall ever reading of a reason for proscribing H110 with cast lead bullets to begin with. I've been eyeing a box of cast lead .41 Magnum bullets and thinking of working up a full-powered H110 load with them just as an experiment.

    I came of age during the general gravitation to "hard cast" bullets. I've dabbled with casting my own bullets off and on since I was a teenager and was borrowing the use of my uncle's equipment from a cousin. I would read of the wonders of hard cast bullets and then go out and make bullets from straight wheel weights and scrap lead, feeling guilty for not producing "hard cast" bullets. As most were shot from .38 Specials or .45 ACP guns they did perform decently and leading wasn't too bad unless one got over-bumptious and shot off 500 in an afternoon.

    As it turned out I was on the cutting edge by producing softer bullets. Now some have gotten away from hard cast.

    Has anyone had any luck with H110 and cast lead bullets for full-powered straight-walled magnum revolver cartridge applications?
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Great shooting Gman, and I had to clean my reading glasses to see that 40 yard photo. That's a deer-killin' load right there.

    Still a good load, that 240 XTP, cranking over 1000 fps when kicked in the rump by 21.5 grains of H 110, from a 4-inch barrel. What a powder for high-end .44 Magnum loads H110 is!

    A pleasant time for sure and the photo shows a pretty setting.

    I've noticed over the past 10 years or so that H110 is being used with cast bullets by lots of folks. I remember reading somewhere (Speer No. 9 perhaps?) that H110 was incompatible with cast lead bullets. That proviso has apparently gone out the window. I don't recall ever reading of a reason for proscribing H110 with cast lead bullets to begin with. I've been eyeing a box of cast lead .41 Magnum bullets and thinking of working up a full-powered H110 load with them just as an experiment.

    I came of age during the general gravitation to "hard cast" bullets. I've dabbled with casting my own bullets off and on since I was a teenager and was borrowing the use of my uncle's equipment from a cousin. I would read of the wonders of hard cast bullets and then go out and make bullets from straight wheel weights and scrap lead, feeling guilty for not producing "hard cast" bullets. As most were shot from .38 Specials or .45 ACP guns they did perform decently and leading wasn't too bad unless one got over-bumptious and shot off 500 in an afternoon.

    As it turned out I was on the cutting edge by producing softer bullets. Now some have gotten away from hard cast.

    Has anyone had any luck with H110 and cast lead bullets for full-powered straight-walled magnum revolver cartridge applications?
    Thank you for chiming in Bryon, I do enjoy your imput! And congrads on your position. I did use H110 with cast bullets in my M28 with mixed results. Seems like if they are too soft, they lead up pretty fast. However, as a point of interest, I have found that in larger caliber guns, they can be more forgiving, by that I mean less leading.

    But by and large, I believe if one plans on shooting more than a couple of cylinders with lead bullets pushed much above 1100 fps, then a gas check or harder BRN is the order of the day.

    And it was an enjoyable afternoon, the grass is once again green after a little rain. While sitting up, a nice buck and a few does gave me the snort-wheeze from the treeline.Seems I was interrupting their evening ritual of dining in the field. Saw a flock of turkeys, and contemplated launching one at a meandering coyote that was getting too close to the edge of my outer sight limit for his own good.

    I am going to do more work with the magnum. Also still working on new loads for the 45acp, and 40 S&W. Lots of fun. Take care.
    And could you PM me the data for Erichs "the danged load"?
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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