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Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum #16519077 10/11/21
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Llama_Bob Online Content OP
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This is my first foray into handgun reloading, but with the current shortage of ammo it's either that or don't shoot some guns. So I got dies for my .44 and loaded a set of reduced loads in Remington brass, federal magnum match primer (all I could get), 7 grains of Unique, and a 240gr Berry's bullet on the RCBS I normally use for rifle. The resulting load was as accurate as I was freehand, and very pleasant to shoot. It's probably in the 800-900 ft/s range and feels like it. I plan to make more. My only concern is the risk of a double charge. I think there's plenty of space in there to fit twice the powder, and I'm pretty sure 14gr of Unique is a kaboom. I've been paranoid about not letting the charged case out of my hand until a bullet is seated, but I'd feel better if there was some additional guard against double charges.

Is Trailboss the solution? Is there another medium speed pistol powder that is bulkier than Unique that would work better? Is it possible to do reduced loads with slower powders like H110 or 4227 that are bulky enough that no double charge is possible?


Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16519131 10/11/21
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I put the soft loads up in 44 Russian cases. I look at all the cases in a loading block and view powder level is consistent. 5.0 gr Unique, 250gr SWC, around 800 fps.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]



Three 44 Russian cartridges beside three 44 Mag cartridges,

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16519158 10/11/21
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Chrono them to see if you're getting anywhere near 900fps.

Use a flashlight to be sure you don't double charge.

I would load H110/296 near max.

Try 2400 or N110.

You could load 9gn of Unique and still have a mild load.


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Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: MontanaMarine] #16519303 10/12/21
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Originally Posted by MontanaMarine
I put the soft loads up in 44 Russian cases. I look at all the cases in a loading block and view powder level is consistent. 5.0 gr Unique, 250gr SWC, around 800 fps.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]



Three 44 Russian cartridges beside three 44 Mag cartridges,

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Key on this^^^^^^^^^

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Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16519606 10/12/21
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.44 Russian is an intriguing idea.

IC-A

Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16519900 10/12/21
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For practice and general shooting I load .44 Special cases with 6 grains of Universal behind Lee 430240 cast bullets. They're mild to shoot and accurate enough for me to keep a cylinder full, offhand, on an 8" plate at 25 yards.

Yes, there is a lot of extra space in the case for a double charge. I load all of my pistol ammo on my Dillon 550 press, and after 30-40 years of using it I have the loading sequence down pat. If I get an interruption I always take out and examine the powder charged case before I put a bullet in it.


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Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16519944 10/12/21
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I used 9.0 grains of Unique under my “homegrown” cast 218 grain semi-wadcutters.....very accurate and pleasant to shoot in my 629! Just use a nice bright light and look in the cases for a double charge! memtb


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Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16520678 10/12/21
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For a reduced load in .44 Magnum I've used 3.5gr. of Bullseye when introducing young shooters and ladies to the .44 Magnum. Once they're comfortable with the 3.5gr. load I step them up to 5.0gr. of Bullseye. I have a Bonanza Bullseye powder measure and rotors that throw 3.5 and 5.0gr. of Bullseye. Once powder charging is completed I inspect every case with a flashlight for consistent powder level prior to bullet seating.

Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16520727 10/12/21
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I use either an old Lyman-Ohaus Duomeasure for very light plinking loads or a Lyman DPS III. Whichever one I’m using, powder goes on the case, I look into the case to give it a reality check and then seat the bullet. With the DPS in “auto repeat” mode while I’m seating the bullet it’s measuring another load.

I used to weigh with a Lyman scale or use the measure for the powder and then drop an inverted bullet into the charged case and place the case into the loading block. After charging all the cases, I would seat all the bullets after taking a look into the cases for a reasonable powder level.


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Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16520973 10/12/21
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Trail boss IS the easy answer. However, some don’t care for the slight extra cost, and it might not shoot well in your gun. I’ve used it in .38/.357, .44 mag rifle, and .45 Colt with total satisfaction, and even some rifle loads with more mixed results..

It’s very fluffy stuff, and a sneeze will scatter it hither and yon. My Little Dandy didn’t work well with it either. I might just try dipping it next time.

DO NOT compress it.


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Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Pappy348] #16523490 10/13/21
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Originally Posted by Pappy348
Trail boss IS the easy answer. However, some don’t care for the slight extra cost, and it might not shoot well in your gun. I’ve used it in .38/.357, .44 mag rifle, and .45 Colt with total satisfaction, and even some rifle loads with more mixed results..

It’s very fluffy stuff, and a sneeze will scatter it hither and yon. My Little Dandy didn’t work well with it either. I might just try dipping it next time.

DO NOT compress it.



I'll have to give Trailboss a try when I can get some. I know to load only to the bottom of the bullet.

Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16525236 10/13/21
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I like cast lead bullets for light loads. Less chance of sticking in the bore. Less pressure.

Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16525444 10/13/21
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Use a loading block and inspect each case. A double charge will stand out like a sore thumb.


Big gulps huh. Well, see ya later...
Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16525739 10/14/21
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Using your 44 mag case, open up your loading manual and look for 44 spec data. I use. for 357 mag reduced loads, the mag case 4.5 grains of Bullseye and a 125 grain cast bullet. Shot bullseye with this, There's no bullet jump to the cylinder's forcing cone, maintains accuracy.


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Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16527138 10/14/21
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This is an excellent suggestion but leaves out some important information.

Handgun load performance is very much dependent upon volumetric capacity behind the bullet. Light 44 Special data will not perform in 44 mag brass as the load data suggests it will, unless internal capacity of the magnum brass is adjusted to match that which the data was written for.

Fortunately it is very easy to adjust that volume. Simply seat the bullet deeper into the brass until you match COAL of the Special data.

My experience is with 41 mag, 327 mag, and 357 to a lesser extent. But the principals hold to 44 mag or even 460 Smith/454 Casull/45 colt.

Extremely light loads in magnum brass (650 to 800 fps) at magnum COAL gives inconsistent ignition, very high velocity spread, and soot and carbon all over the revolver.

Deeper seating of the bullet cures those issues.

I load 41 mag brass to 41 special specs, and I load the 327 to 32 H&R or 32 S&W long specs with the bullet seated to the COAL listed in the data I am using. Sometimes the ogive is below the case mouth. Sometime the tip of the bullet might be below or even with the case mouth.


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Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16529154 10/14/21
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44 special brass is usually easy to find. For informational purposes, I just weighed 14grains of unique and put it in a starline 44 spc case. Below is what it looks like... pretty hard to miss.

I buy trail boss whenever I can but for me it has been one of the harder to find powders.

You can double charge just about any pistol round, at least with a fast or medium powder, if that's any comfort. It's pretty rare. A squib load is way more common. I cannot think of a single person I know who has double charged a pistol round though, but I can think of plenty of folks who loaded rounds without any powder. The headlamp is your friend.

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Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16529776 10/15/21
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If you try TrailBoss I think you'll continue using it for your intended purposes. I bought Trail Boss several years ago out of curiosity. Since then, it's either Trail Boss or Varget that is most likely in my automatic powder dispenser. Depending on the task at hand.

Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16533534 10/16/21
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Trailboss

Never a double charge


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Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Llama_Bob] #16533691 10/16/21
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Here are three .44s. The Russian, the Special and the Magnum. For low velocity pure plinking fun, a Russian is very hard to beat.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

My target board got blown over a bit by the wind, and gave me some oblong holes, but you can see what kind of groups at 25 yards it is capable of.


[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


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Re: Reduced Load Safety For .44 Magnum [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16533846 10/16/21
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Originally Posted by Idaho_Shooter
This is an excellent suggestion but leaves out some important information.

Handgun load performance is very much dependent upon volumetric capacity behind the bullet. Light 44 Special data will not perform in 44 mag brass as the load data suggests it will, unless internal capacity of the magnum brass is adjusted to match that which the data was written for.

Fortunately it is very easy to adjust that volume. Simply seat the bullet deeper into the brass until you match COAL of the Special data.

My experience is with 41 mag, 327 mag, and 357 to a lesser extent. But the principals hold to 44 mag or even 460 Smith/454 Casull/45 colt.

Extremely light loads in magnum brass (650 to 800 fps) at magnum COAL gives inconsistent ignition, very high velocity spread, and soot and carbon all over the revolver.

Deeper seating of the bullet cures those issues.

I load 41 mag brass to 41 special specs, and I load the 327 to 32 H&R or 32 S&W long specs with the bullet seated to the COAL listed in the data I am using. Sometimes the ogive is below the case mouth. Sometime the tip of the bullet might be below or even with the case mouth.


I agree with your assessment. But, (there's always a but), if one uses very fast powders then most of those problems go away.
People have a tendency to use mid-range powders like Unique, to make plinkers and discover that Abraham Lincoln's favorite powder doesn't work very well.

I use Hodgdon Clays in 44mag brass to push 240gr cast between 850-950fps. Nothing magic about Clays other than I have a lot of it.

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