For Your Communal Edification and Benefit:

For Your Communal Edification and Benefit:

This is a discussion on For Your Communal Edification and Benefit: within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; At the risk of being less than humble, I find myself now owning a total of four revolvers chambered for the majestic and worthy .44 ...

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Thread: For Your Communal Edification and Benefit:

  1. #1
    Member Array Archie's Avatar
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    For Your Communal Edification and Benefit:

    At the risk of being less than humble, I find myself now owning a total of four revolvers chambered for the majestic and worthy .44 Remington Magnum cartridge. Two of them are Ruger Super Blackhawks, both with 7.5 inch barrels; one is a New Model two screw and the other an Old Model three screw. The other two revolvers are both Smith & Wesson model 29-2, one a 6.5 inch nickel plated specimen and the other a four inch blue revolver - with actual stag grips.

    Developing a set of two or three loads for this group centered on the idea of a 'lighter', use for most everything loading and a 'heavy' loading for hunting or stopping automobiles or whatever might present.

    For an everyday load, I started with full size .44 Magnum cases, 240 grain lead SWC bullets, standard large pistol primers (Remington in this series, but my other testing show little difference between Rem, WW and Wolf LP primers) and nine grains of Unique powder. All loads were loaded on a Dillon XL650 press and all powder charges were thrown with the Dillon powder measure. I loaded them all in the same session.

    I fired three rounds from each chamber - yes, I marked the chambers so I kept track.

    Here are the results:

    Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk:
    Average: 1001.1
    Fastest: 1053.0
    Slowest: 962.6
    Extreme Spread: 90.4
    Standard Deviation: 25.3

    Ruger Old Model Super Blackhawk:
    Average: 1058.2
    Fastest: 1093.0
    Slowest:1006.0
    Extreme Spread: 87.0
    Standard Deviation: 24.3

    Smith & Wesson 29 - 6.5 barrel:
    Average: 954.8
    Fastest: 987.0
    Slowest:905.0
    Extreme Spread: 82.0
    Standard Deviation: 24.7

    Smith & Wesson 29 - 4 barrel:
    Average: 895.7
    Fastest: 958.2
    Slowest:789.2
    Extreme Spread: 169.0
    Standard Deviation: 45.0

    Obviously, the longer barrels give higher velocities. However, the two physically identical Rugers have a 60 f/s difference in average muzzle velocity. That is roughly the same difference between the two S&Ws having a barrel length difference of one and one half inches.

    I post this to illustrate the individual and unique (no pun intended) nature of firearms. The less experienced reloader should learn early on that all firearms are to some extent, isolated events in progress. The best the information in a reloading manual - or from another reliable reloader - can only provide a place to start development in one's own firearm.

    There is more complete information I won't post here for brevity. However, a six shot revolver is in some regards a total of six different pistols residing in one frame. Typically, one chamber will consistently shoot fastest and another shoot slowest; the difference can range from trifling to major. Also, one chamber will typically shoot a tighter group than all six, or any of the others.

    Happily, this load shown is safe in all four of my revolvers and all four revolvers seem to shoot this load with acceptable accuracy. So take heart, not everything is guaranteed to be completely different.

    DISCLAIMER: In the interest of complete disclosure, I did begin with eight grains of Unique. The online Alliant loading data indicates a maximum of SEVEN grain Unique for a 240 grain LSWC. However, they also show a maximum of ELEVEN grains of Unique with a 250 grain cast Keith bullet (another LSWC); I believe the lower maximum for the non-Keith bullet is to avoid leading with that bullet. Obviously the pressure level isn't excessive. HOWEVER, by any standard, you are making your own choices and I cannot be responsible for anyone blowing themselves up. As is true in much of life, you're on your own, Jack.

    Again, this information is presented merely for education and edification.
    QKShooter and bmcgilvray like this.
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  2. #2
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    I was just revisiting my S&W 629 this weekend after I purchased a new Marlin 1894 in 44 mag. Was reloading from 180gr lswc up to 265gr jfp to shoot from the rifle and then decided to shoot the pistol some since it's been in the back of the safe for some time now. I find your data very interesting, especially the ES and SD numbers. I have to admit I've never crhonographed any of my pistol loads before. I regularly chrono my BPCR rifles and don't call a load good unless the ES is in the teens and the SD's are low single digits.

    Now this has got me pondering? Shooting an identical load from the rifle and the pistol will produce what type of chrono data? Does the chambers on the revolver vary enough to actually cause a variance compared to shooting out of the rifle? I would expect there should be a marked velocity difference betwwen the revolver and the rifle, but will there be a big difference in ES and SD between the two. Well looks like it's time to do some expermenting and find out I suppose.
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    You may notice a difference in the old Unique and the new cleaner burning Unique. The new is a little hotter, so start lower than normal by a full grain.
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  4. #4
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    Good stuff Archie. Question: How accurate is the Dillon Powder thrower? My Redding is pretty good, but I find enough deviation where I weigh most of my charges anymore...
    "You don't have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body." CS Lewis

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  5. #5
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    My quick review of the data leaves me impressed with the consistency of both the extreme spread and the standard deviation in 3 of your 4 revolvers. Your 4-inch M29 seems to be the anomaly of the lot - any thoughts as to why?
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  6. #6
    Member Array Archie's Avatar
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    Rightwing

    The Dillon measure is pretty reliable. Fine grain powders such as 2400 tend to stay within .2 grains, throw to throw. That is, the charges run from .1 grain under to .1 grain over. With larger, extruded powder like IMR 4350 the variance goes up a bit. I ran a lot of .30-06 ammo a while ago and high to low charges ran about .5 grain spread.

    Frankly, it's no big deal. I've tested lots of ammo in which I weighed every charge and made sure they were as uniform as I could make them. The round to round velocities were as tight as a lot of the same ammunition using thrown loads. (I'll have to re-run that experiment and publish the results, rather than cite myself from memory.)

    I'm very happy with the results of the Dillon powder measure. I've used it to load both .38 Special and .45 ACP target ammunition for NRA 2700 Bullseye shooting and get very good results.
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  7. #7
    Member Array Archie's Avatar
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    Gasmitty

    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty
    ...4-inch M29 seems to be the anomaly of the lot - any thoughts as to why?
    Thoughts, yes; answers, no.

    The chamber mouths are pretty uniform and I find no obvious damage to any. Cases extract with a modicum of friction from all chambers. (I have had a bulged chamber in a revolver before.) It is a used revolver showing a degree of holster wear. It has been well cared for. I need to find my feeler gauges and see if the cylinder-barrel gap is uniform.

    The ES in this revolver bothers me, as it is the most user friendly of the bunch. However, the accuracy doesn't seem to suffer. It seems velocity has little effect on bullet placement inside fifty yards or so.
    Anyone Worth Shooting Is Worth Shooting Well
    Please take a look at my Blog: http://oldmanmontgomery.wordpress.com/

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