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Old 10-14-2011, 12:08 PM   #1
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Default Reduced loads for .44 Magnum

I recently started loading for the .44 mag. I like the hotter loads and use H110 and 296. I use the Hornady 240-grain XTP bullet. I have a friend who is telling me I need a reduced target load. I am hesitant to take his advice because he is one of those loaders who tries to do it as cheap as possible. In this case he is using powders that I do not believe are well-suited for the .44 mag. He chooses the faster powders so he can use less of it. I have not found any of his loads in the manuals I have referenced.

Do you have any recommendations for safe and reliable reduced loads for the .44 mag?

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Old 10-14-2011, 12:37 PM   #2
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You can safely use the charge weights from 44 special in a 44 mag case but use the col for 44 mag if your using 44 mag cases. Starting at minimum loads and using light bullets listed in 44 mag data is a better place to start.

I do similar stuff with my 458 winmag. I use 45-70 charge weights and bulky powders giving nice pleasent shooting loads.

If your firing the ammo out of a semi auto you need to use the listed charge weights to cycle the firearm reliably.

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Old 10-14-2011, 12:53 PM   #3
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try reloading 44 special cases instead. as the recoil difference is significant. your friend may be a seasoned reloader who has made up his own load or is using an outdated load from the past. neither of which is recommended for a new reloader. another problem that could occur when loading a smaller charge in a big case like the 44 magnum, especially a reduced load, is not enough volume, (like JonM was saying using a bulkier powder to be able fill the case) is an incomplete burn, that could possibly leave the bullet stuck in the bore. best case, gunsmith will be needed to remove the bullet, worst case, firing another on top of it and blowing up the gun or yourself. i shoot 44 specials with Hornady 180gr XTP's out of my 44 magnum for target practice and fun, but i also practice with 44 mag reloads with 240gr XTP's, because i carry the gun with 240gr XTP's when i carry it. hope this helps.

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Old 10-14-2011, 01:00 PM   #4
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I think I will just stick with my loads. I don't mind the recoil and they actually group pretty good when I shoot from a rest. I shoot a Super Blackhawk with a 7 1/2" barrell and it handles the recoil quite well. I like the .44 mag for the power. I have a few other handguns I can shoot that don't kick much. The .44 mag will just take some getting used to.

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Old 10-16-2011, 04:44 PM   #5
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I always used Unique exclusively, with 200gr bullets. My favorites were my 13gr and 3.75gr loads (and several variations in between for experimentation), with velocities being about 1500 and 700fps, respectively.

What was said above about incomplete burns is real, though you have to go pretty far to do it. I would get inconsistent (though not incomplete) burns running 3.75gr of Unique under a 200gr bullet seated to the standard 1.6" COAL. Obviously, barely over 1/4 of the case was full of powder. I ended up seating the bullets backwards and nearly flush with the case (basically a wadcutter profile) to reduce empty case volume, and ignition became very consistent. I've shot maybe 600-700 of them since then with no issues.

If you don't want reduced loads, you don't need to bother.

The pic shows what I mean, though that was early in my experimentation. Most all of these loads I shot had the bullet seated another ~.05" deeper into the case (IIRC the final COAL was 1.33" whereas those pics were at about 1.38").

44_magnum_wadcutter_comparison.jpg  
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:53 PM   #6
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I load two very different loads for my 44s.

The first is a 240 grain JHP with mag primer and a charge of 630 (no longer available - I have a good 8 pounds now), but that is not a light load.

The second is a light loading. I buy cast 240 grain (they run closer to 245 grains) slugs. With standard primers and 5.6 grain of 231. I get comfortable loads running just over 800 FPS. This is compatible to standard .45 ball only lead semi-wad cutter.

In reference to your other thread, I don't use any crimp on these lead loads and they have not caused me any problem in the last 35 years.

Always error on the side of safety.

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Old 10-16-2011, 06:55 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info. I prefer to stick with the magnum loads and I want to get used to shooting the ammo that I would use if I was carrying this gun for protection. I don't shoot the .44 mag as much as my other handguns so the recoil is not that much of an issue. I also load for the .357 mag and H110 works great for it also. So far so good.

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Old 10-16-2011, 09:53 PM   #8
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Oh I definitely understand getting used to the loads you carry. I still always shot at least 100 loads that matched my defensive loads, though I found using the reduced loads in addition had some advantages. First, the same trigger time was a bit cheaper (maybe save $5 per range session, heh), and it did allow me to shoot a good bit more without fatigue, which meant more practice on trigger control, POA / POI, etc.

Though, I also just as much did it for the fun and personal interest. I honestly probably wasn't any better off as a shooter running 100-150 full loads per range session as I was shooting 150-200 total rounds with the light loads mixed in. But, it was neat and fun and did help me enjoy my range trips a little more (though not that I wasn't enjoying them with only the magnum loads :P ) .

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Old 10-16-2011, 10:36 PM   #9
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I had never owned a .44 mag before and the first time I took my Super Blackhawk out and pulled the trigger with factory ammo it really got my attention. There was a lot more recoil than what I was used to. I always thought the .357 mag with the 158-grain loads had a strong kick. So far the most I have shot the .44 mag at one time is just one box of 50. I have learned how to grip it and am getting used to the recoil. Even with the hard kick it is fun to shoot.

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