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Input please/loading .44 cast.....

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Mikej, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I'm going to be loading(eventually) .44 special. I've already got 100 Hornady 200gr XTPs, and 100 new .44 special brass and I pretty much know how I'll be loading those. I'm planing on doing cast/lead after that. I'm needing to understand the difference, if any, between "Cowboy", "Cast", "Hardcast", and what may be best to run through my 6" S&W 629. I'm pretty much wanting to stay with a middle weight, 200gr. I've done a bit of reading re brinnel numbers, and have a fair grasp of the relationship between hardness/pressures/barrel leading etc.

    The guy that ordered the "Bullets" for his .40 and only got the "Bullets" (LOL, ICOULDSEEMEDOINGTHAT too!) got me looking at the Freedom Munitions "Hard Cast" as a possibility for myself.

    Suggestions for projectiles and powder and low to middle load data appreciated, with economy in mind!

    Thank You!

    Mike
     
  2. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have used HSM 240 grain in my SBH over 6.5 grains of Unique. Please refer to Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook for reference. As for hardness, opinions vary, but with the relatively slow (800 fps or so) special, 11 or greater should work. A Lee hardness tester would be helpful as a reference. I cast my own, so for me it is a necessity. As for the difference between cowboy, cast and hardcast, I believe it is all in the brinnell. To ring a steel plate at 10 yards does not require a high degree of hardness, and truth be told, a VERY hard bullet will not expand in thin skinned game, so too much is not a good thing either!

    Check out the cast bullet forums on line for information from folks much more knowledgeable than myself...enjoy!
     
  3. OreShooter

    OreShooter Portland Member

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  4. jonn5335

    jonn5335 Longview Active Member

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    Have you thought about casting your own? I cast for my 44 mag and it is very cheap to shoot. It cost any where from $0.05 to $0.10 for a loaded cartridge depending on how I load them. I would load up a 200 grn with 5gs of bullseye and run hardcast :twocents:
     
    evltwn and (deleted member) like this.
  5. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    If you ever decide to go to the "dark side" aka bullet casting, just know it is very addictive...just be safe and for pity sakes, wear protective gear when casting! 700+ degree lead is hard on the skin.
     
  6. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    every gun is a mystery unto its' self where cast boolits are concerned. and to define 'hard' takes a Rhodes scholar.
    one imprortant thing is to get ALL the jacket material out of the bore before shooting lead.at least it is in most guns. the flecks and flakes can 'grab ' the lead and mess things up a bit,including accuracy.
    it do'n't take much powder to get a .44 specail to the target,so economy is easy. I like unique in big bores because it fills the case a might better.trail boss fills them even fuller,just don't mess with the low end loads,they are WIMPY.
    'cowboy' usually indicates a low-powered load,for economy and for less recoil.
    ie: I 'could' use up to 9 grains unique in my guns,but 7 grains rings the steel and is much more managable.
     
  7. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I WILL NOT be casting my own "Boolits", no! I have plenty of fun making my own ammo with store bought plated/jacketed projectiles. I'd been to that "Cast Boolits" site and after reading a little bit my head was spinning. I don't want to be neck deep in all that, ankle deep will be fine thank you. I just want to get a cast bullet/load that will not mess up my barrel(s), if i like cast I may load those for .38 also.

    I will be getting some cast bullets, most likely from the Ariel Shooting Supply at the gun show in Aug., he's a nice guy and seems to be knowledgable It seems to me $50.00 + shipping is a bit much perhaps for 500 cast bullets? I'd really like to be able to get just 250 to start.

    What I'm thinking is that a BHN of 12-14 is probably the best for me, I'm not going to be shooting magnum loads, or hunting.

    As far as powders go I really didn't want to get another powder just for the .44, I may have to though. I'm currently using 231 and HS-6 for all my other calibers, and the results suit me just fine.

    Thanks guys.

    Mike
     
  8. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Especially when a big drop of sweat falling in the open pot can cause an explosion of hot metal.
     
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  9. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    shooters' service center on Lombard has Bear Creek supply moly coated/impregnated cast bullets at decent prices. his 38's run about 37 bucks for 500. only open wed thru sunday IF THAT.call 1st,they sometimes just close and go home it seems.
    EDIT: THEY ARE NO LONGER OPEN ON SUNDAYS.
    I like the bear creeks for indoor shooting..our range requires lead,some won't allow it...because with no waxy lube they smoke less.
    I'm with you,working with hot molten metal ain't in my program neither !
     
  10. taroman

    taroman Willamette Valley Active Member

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    A BHN of 12 is plenty in a 44 Special.
    Too hard bullets may fail to fully obturate a 44 Special pressures.
    This would lead to gas passing between the bullet and bore, causing leading.
    In my .44s, I use mostly "cowboy" bullets.
    The makers call 'em cowboy because they're made of a lead soft enough to seal at the low pressures generated by cowboy comp loads.
     
  11. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Thanks for confirming that, I had come to the conclusion that a BHN of 12-14 was the way to go. I was eyeballing some cast for sale, don't remember where now though, that were a BHN of 20. I would pass on those.

    What would you say to using 200gr cast over HS-6 for a load? 231? Those are the two powders I have on the shelf currently. I haven't done a thing so far towards loading .44Special, or anything else for that matter, too many other things going on during the summer ya' know.

    Mike
     
  12. taroman

    taroman Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Mike,
    Hodgdon lists 44 Special loads for both HS-6 and 231 on their website's load data pages.
    Hodgdon - The Gun Powder People
    In my guns, I've had better results with the faster powders. I'd try the 231 first.
    Not trying to make it a magnum. I plenty of other guns to do that job.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012
  13. Translator

    Translator Gorge Member

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    Mikej, you might contact Snappy Dan, a guy in Vancouver that has a Portland phone number 503-901-3422. Somebody on this forum gave his info last year and I bought some bullets from him that I was completely satisfied with in terms both performance and cost. I don't know if he has .44 or not.
     
  14. sheepman

    sheepman Las Vegas NV Member

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    You have been given some good advice already, stay with soft bullets for target loads as hard cast will lead the forcing cone and barrel just ahead of it. Hard cast is needed only if you are loading magnum loads. I believe that Speer and Hornaday both sell swaged bullets that may work for you also.
     
  15. jib

    jib Central OR Active Member

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    As a rule of thumb I multiply the BHN by 1422 for the best operating pressure for that bullet.
    A BHN of 12 multiplied by 1422 equals about 17,000 PSI this pressure is adequate to obturate a bullet of that hardness.
     
  16. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Thanks for reviving this old thread! That's some good info there, I will definately consider that formula. I haven't loaded or shot a thing in the .44 yet. Have only been to the range twice in the last two months, and only loaded a time or two when the weather was too hot to be doing the outside stuff. Come cooler weather I'll be digging back in to all things firearm related though!

    Mike
     
  17. jib

    jib Central OR Active Member

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    As for powders, I use W-231 and AA#5. If you have a powder throw that meters large flake powders well IMR 700X and Unique are good choices for 44spl.
     
  18. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    231 and HS-6 are the powders that I use for my other calibers, so hearing that someone has good results with those are just what I want to hear. I don't really want to buy another powder just for one gun as I don't think i'll be sooting it THAT much.....Of course that is what I said a year and a half ago when I got the Kimber .45.

    What are your loads for the 231 in .44spc if you don't mind telling? I always reference at least two resources for pressures/velocity/bullets(cast/jacketed) etc before loading and shooting anything too.

    Thanks jib.

    Mike
     
  19. jib

    jib Central OR Active Member

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    Some 44spl is load data sets limits so a load may be safe in any gun chambered in 44spl. Other data uses a actual firearm for testing instead of a test barrel, if the firearm used for testing is a S&W model 24 or Ruger Blackhawk the max pressure will likely be greater than the SAAMI max pressure.
    http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp