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.44 Special-VS-.44 Magnum, Talk to me please......

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Mikej, May 31, 2012.

  1. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I'm going to be loading .44Sp for use in a S&W 629, have shot some factory magnum in it and don't care much for it. A nice guy at the range let me shoot some of his handload special in his Ruger cowboy gun (Redhawk/Blackhawk?) and it was sooo nice. He had two of his loads, one was rather light, and the other "hotter", and I could feel the difference it recoil. My question would be regarding the amount of powder differences between special and magnum. In my book it calls for 6.0gr of powder for a 200gr JHP for special, and 10.5gr for the Magnum on the light side, same bullet of course. Considering there's only an 1/8" diffrence in the shell it's self, why can't you load anything between 6.0 and 10.5 in the special shell? OR the magnum shell? There looks to be a WIDE margin between the amount of powder in special and magnum. My common sense tells me I can load between special maximum and magnums minimum, but I want to hear others input.

    I don't want to be buying a bunch of new brass, however I did get 100 Wincester .44special brass to get me started. So far it looks like once fired .44mag brass would be easier to come by than .44special.

    I've got a pretty good grasp as far as pressures go, barrel length, powder burn rates, velocitiy etc, I look over all that when I'm loading different flavors just to soak it in. Every thing I load has been on the conservative side and will continue to be that way.. The guns I load for are capable of handling heavier loads than what I load. I havn't decided YET if I'm getting this gun it's OWN powder. I'll be using 231 to start as it's in the book and that is what I have handy. I've got Hornady 200grXTPs to start, but am considering going to cast after these are gone.

    Thoughts?

    Mike
    And, of course standard disclaimers apply. Any information gleened from this thread is to be used at my own risk and no one elses Blah Blah, and so forth.
     
  2. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I found the same thing with that Smith and magnum loads.
    Lots of tourque, feels like it's trying to twist your arm off.

    Like you say the Rugers are a lot tamer with the same loads.
    It's because they have more of a "Straight Line" recoil and the
    weight is in the barrel.

    If you want to keep the Smith try the .44 Russian, or .44 Spl.
    loads. They are a lot more pleasent to plink with.

    Why continue to shoot something that beats you up?:thumbup:

    Jack...:cool:
     
  3. toolfan

    toolfan North Portland Member

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    Personally, I see no problem loading special powder charges into magnum cases.

    I do this with 357, and the velocity I measure is close enough to the book velocity (for 38sp) that any number of factors could change it as much or more than the slightly increased case diameter.

    Reading a little closer - you want to split the difference. I do that as well, but only if there is a charge for a particular powder for both magnum and special. For the most part, I use magnum type powder (2400) for hard hitting loads and something else for the special type loads. Trying to get close to magnum velocities with by increasing the charge on a fast burning powder is potentially bad mojo.

    So, - my rule of thumb - in magnum cases it's okay to load special levels, and if the powder is listed in both magnum and special recipes, it's okay to load above the special max/below the magnum min.

    Going the other way - loading magnum powder charges into special cases - the danger here is that the really hot special could end up in a gun not designed to handle magnum pressures. I've heard of people doing it to take advantage of a shorter OAL - for exceptionally heavy for caliber (long) bullets for instance.

    Just my $.02, worth what you paid.
     
    unklekippy and (deleted member) like this.
  4. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    I have a lot of time invested in loading the .44. The problem in some instances is that if you put too little powder in too large a case(.44 Magnum), you may have ignition issues or a lot of unburnt powder and therefore, differing velocities and poor accuracy. At the same time "over"loading the Special case can give you undesired pressure. In my opinion, you should buy the '12 Hodgdon manual(it looks like a magazine, not a book. $12.99 or so) and look at what various powders will do with various bullets. I have used H110 when my goal has been to knock a charging Grizzly down. When I am only concerned with knocking holes in paper, HP38 works just fine. Keep working your loads until one suits you. I believe I would stick with Special cases based on your description. They are more expensive and harder to come by, but the lifespan of each should be long, considering that your goal is to minimize recoil and therefore pressure. By the way, my earlier sentence may be misleading. I have never used H110 in a Special and I have no intention of ever doing so. That powder is strictly used for magnum rounds. I hope this helps some. Kip.
     
  5. 2506

    2506 Seattle Well-Known Member

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    Loads I used to use in my SBH with 250gr Keith and Large Pistol Primers:

    10 Grains Unique - 1055 FPS

    11 Grains Herco - 1086 FPS

    12 Grains HS6 - 1033 FPS

    13 Grains HS7 - 964 FPS

    These won't be as tame in your gun, since the SBH weighed about 3 pounds. Sadly, I sold that gun with holster and belt and ammo for waaaaay too little. But that's part of why my ex-wife is my ex-wife.
     
    Wildcat and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Good info guys, thanks. Echos pretty much what I thought.

    Common sense tells me I don't put magnum amount of magnum powder in special cases.

    Unklekippy...I realize the concern with too little (slower) powder in larger cases. HS6 for instance is listed for the magnum round, with a notation of needing a magnum primer. It doesn't list HS6 for special. might be tough to get it fired off in such a large case. I do use HS6 im my CZ75 .40 with good results, small case/burns well. And of course I know I can go to the powder site and get data, at this point I haven't researched that much yet. I'm not interested in knocking down a grizz for sure.

    2506.....Your loads are closing in on magnum, 'cept for the HS7. I wouldn't mind trying a new powder, but I'd also like to be able to experiment with any "new to me" powder in my other loads too, so that lets out "Magnum" powders.

    Toolfan....I'm not a "HOT LOAD" kind of guy. If I can't get a confirmation in writing I'm NOT going to load anything above what the book says. 2400 happened to be the powder that was recomended buy the guy that let me shoot his Ruger with .44 special. I almost got a # of it but as it said magnum on the label, I didn't want to mess with it, at this time.

    Capn Jack...The Ruger I shot was with the gentleman's hand loaded .44 special, first five light and the next five hotter, both very nice. I like the feeling of the power but not a lot of recoil. I guess that's why i don't get a lot from shooting .22. I don't see any sense in beating myself up, OR the gun!

    Mike
     
  7. branchbuster

    branchbuster Albany Active Member

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    Try Trailboss for light loads. Look it up.
     
  8. chainsaw

    chainsaw East side of Or. Active Member

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    Try 8.0 gr. of Unique behind a 180 gr cast bullet in a magnum case.Its the load I use to shoot silhouetts with my winchester 94.They also shoot very well from my Redhawk.Really mild and pleasurable to shoot with little recoil.
     
  9. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it does, but probably not for the reason you're thinking. If you can squeeze a magnum load into a 38 spl case you probably won't have any issues as long as you shoot it in a Magnum pistol. The reason the Magnum Cartridge was made longer wasn't to make it stronger, just to make sure someone who had both types of ammo lying around didn't slip the "hot stuff" in their little 38 and have the thing go KaBlooey when they fired it.

    As for light loading a magnum case, I would use a powder that filled the case as much as possible to avoid the problems associated with small amounts of powder in big cases.
     
  10. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I was pondering.....It's the cylinder that takes the shock, of the case expanding. And, of course the frame has to hold everything together around the cylinder.

    My next decision will be what powder to use. Unique would be a good choice, if it wasn't for the way it binds in my RCBS thrower. And, availabilty would be nice, i'm not going to be ordering an 8# jug so I'll need to be able to find it localy. I'm not going to be shooting the .44 all that much....I said that about the 1911 a year ago too though, before I was a reloader.LOL

    Mike
     
  11. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I just finished loading 200 rounds of 240 gr. Speer hollowpoints over 20 grains of 2400 ifor my SBH. With the Hogue grips, I have no problems with recoil or aching wrists...and if that bear comes back on my deck again I will have a new rug for the gun room!
     
  12. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes! I love the smell of burned 2400 in the morning--------

    Next to 296 that was my favorite magnum load powder.