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First loading of .44 special ???.........

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Mikej, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Gun: S&W 629 6"
    Brass: .44 S&W SP once fire trimed to 1.150
    Bullet: S-N-S 200gr RNFP, BHN 17
    COAL: 1.435
    Medium roll crimp?

    I had some conflicting load data. The Hodgdon site says 4.5-5.6gr of 231 from an 8" barrel, and the Speer 14 book says 6.0-6.8gr in a 5.5" barrel. I loaded on the conservative side and started at 4.7, loaded 10 each up to 5.5. It shot really good/accurate at 5.1 and 5.3. I noticed recoil increased from the beginning, nowhere near too much though. The issue is, unburnt powder! The lower charged shells had a lot of soot down the side of the brass, which lessened as the the charges increased (expected). The insides of all the shells were filthy, with chunks. Seemed pretty smokey too, but that may just have been the lube burning off. (Not used to this, first time loading lubed cast in a large bore). At home there was a brown dust in the bottom of the bag, that BURNED when I put a lighter to it! LOL I read a bunch before loading these and a lot of people recomend 231. Had I wanted heavier loads, as I understood, I'd use HS-6 or another somewhat slower powder.

    Is crimp going to be a big factor here? I'm thinking of trying some Unique for my next shoot. Might I lose the unburnt powder if I increase the charge of the231? The speer book says 6.0-6.8gr of 231, so I figure I'd be safe with that. At this point I WOULD get another powder just for the .44sp, IF any one had it, but it would be shame if I couldn't use it in my other calibers should it not work well in the .44.

    It just seems like I might be wasting the potential of this fine historic caliber! I really loved the feel of that big gun with such a light recoil, and it was hitting pretty good for someone like me to boot!

    Any suggestions?

  2. sneakboxer

    sneakboxer NW OR Active Member

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    I had a similar issue with HS-6 in a 38spl and light bullets (110-125gr). The pressure was too low and i did not get a full burn until i was 3/4 the way to a max charge. A heavy crimp will help but i believe that a minimum pressure needs to be met before you get a full burn. On the high end or with heavy bullets it burned clean but my goal was like yours, low recoil. I found that IMR's trailboss worked great to super soft loads w/ light bullets. Unique works too but it was dirtier and had more felt recoil in my 38spls.
    I have been seeing TB on the shelves around my neck of the woods, it might be worth a shot (pun intended).
    Best of luck,
  3. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Good, makes sense. I'm not needing "Super soft loads", I'm looking for that magic, "Super accurate" load I hear of. You know, ultra clean, pefect recoil AND, sub 2" groups at 50'.....LOL