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Need Some Reloading Advice

I’m going to start loading .44 Magnum and .44 Special.  I’ll be doing this for silhouette shooting, so I won’t want a load that will tear my arm off.  I already ordered 240 grain bullets.  Heavy to ensure sufficient energy to knock over the animals, but I will be mostly shooting field pistol, so only out to 100 yards.  So what would be a good .44 load?   Good powder to use?  Good primer to use?  Should I be using a lighter bullet maybe?

Also, does it make sense to load 44 magnum brass as if it were 44 special?  Or is that a no no?

13 Responses to “Need Some Reloading Advice”

  1. Jim W says:

    There is a certain threshold beyond which too much empty space in a case causes a risk of detonation (though I don’t know what the reloading term for this automotive phenomenon is)- basically a massive pressure spike from colliding ignition fronts. How close you are to that threshold loading 44 mag cases to 44 special levels, I have no idea.

    I would advise against looking for loads from anonymous folks on the internets. Someone could recommend a great load or they could typo and accidentally recommend a load that sends your fingers downrange.

  2. Sebastian says:

    I wouldn’t just ignorantly accept what someone says. I would research first to make sure the recommendation was within what I see from other loading data.

  3. Ahab says:

    A good low recoil .44 Magnum load would be 6.0 grains of IMR Trail Boss powder under that 240 grain bullet.

    Trail boss is extremely popular for Cowboy shooting, but for your .44 Magnum should be able to meet your needs pretty well.

  4. BobG says:

    I’ve had good luck with 2400 for 44 mag loads for quite a few years now.
    If you want a light load in 44 mag brass, 7.0 gr of Unique works well with a 240 gr lead bullet.

  5. Richard says:

    I suggest going to http://hodgdon.com/ for certified loads – I light-load .44 magnum using their titegroup cowboy loads and hot-load full jacketed using bunches of 2400. Titegroup was developed to be position-insensitive (powder up against the bullet, powder up against the prime, whatever) with light Cowboy loads. Trail Boss is a bulky powder to take up a lot of case space with light loads. My light load is 7.5g Titegroup behind 240g LFP (cowboy load).

  6. Timmeeee says:

    All of your questions will be answered at:

    http://www.handloads.org/

    Two examples you might like :

    240gr LSWC 10.0 gr Unique 1,100 fps OAL 1.6″ primer WLP
    Light for a magnum, hot for a special

    240gr LSWC 9.0 gr IMR- Hi Skor 700X 1,150 fps
    This is a nice target load based on a LSWC that is very easy to find. Average recoil and very accurate. Remington 2 1/2 primer. Crimp into the crimp groove with a heavy roll crimp done in a Lee Carbide Crimp die. Max powder charge is 9.5 grs.

  7. Rustmeister says:

    If I were reloading, I’d try for a .44 Special +P load. That would be perfect.

  8. GeorgeH says:

    This article is about Elmer Keith’s heavy 44 special load.
    After 75 years it still sets the standard.

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

  9. Jame Nelson says:

    The 7.0 grains of unique works well with the 240 grain bullet in my Taurus and Rossi 5 shot revolvers.

  10. Joe Huffman says:

    Energy in this (and nearly all) bullet/target interaction is irrelevant. Momentum is the variable that is important.

    I really need to do that blog post “Energy is irrelevant” I’ve been procrastinating about for years…

  11. Sebastian says:

    Makes sense from a physics point of view. I’d be interested to read that.

  12. Laughingdog says:

    You’ll probably have to load pretty hot to get a .44 magnum revolver to reach out to 100 yards effectively. I have a .44 magnum lever action rifle. At 50 yards, it hit just a little bit below the point of aim with factory ammo. At 100 yards, I had to aim roughly 18″ to 24″ inches high to be on target.

  13. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    Ah, yes, momentum, my perpetual foe.

    I ran into the energy versus momentum problem when I dreamed up a [fictional] recoilless rifle. Momentum just made more sense.

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