Downloading the 44 mag for kids

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Shopfox, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I bought a set of dies to load for my kids hunting rifle. Ideally, I'd like to load to 44 special levels or really light 44 mag levels for them to practice with, and then let them hunt with the full 44 mag loads. I'd like to use the same bullets, powder, and primer: just vary the charge weight.

    When I look at my reloading books, I see Titegroup in the 4.0 to 4.8gr range for the shorter 44 special cases, and 4.7 to 10.0 for lead 240gr bullets.

    For jacketed 240gr bullets, the 44 mag is 9.0 to 10.0gr range only for titegroup: nothing in the slower 5 gr starting range.I don't see any way to achieve this substantial downloading with jacketed bullets.
    I'm hesitant to buy and load 44 special cases because of forming a ring of crud in the chamber.

    How have others tackled this, and what are your recommendations?
     
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  2. jigs-n-fixture

    jigs-n-fixture Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I wouldn’t hesitate to load and shoot 44 special in it. Have Freinds who have done it for years in S&W 29s for years with no issues. If the metal in the chamber is so soft it will get messed up from it, you have real problems.
     
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  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

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    Beware of going BELOW a listed load. The jury is still out, but there HAVE been reports of blown up guns with extremely light loads in big roomy cases. 2 schools of thought- 1- shooter had a squib, and fired a second bullet up a bore blocked by the bullet the did not clear the barrel. Second- the very light charge, when in a horizontal position is all below the flash hole- and when the primer fires, it ignites the entire length of powder at once- giving higher pressure. There have been lab attempts to duplicate that, and could not. You pays your money, takes your pick.

    I'd go with the .44 Specials.
     
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  4. Viking

    Viking Well-Known Member

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    I'm totally with c3shooter on this, my Speer Reloading Manual also warns of reduced charges of certain powders. I have used .44 Special loads but not to any great amount due to such a large difference of point of aim with light loads.
     
  5. towboater

    towboater Well-Known Member

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    I would use the 44 specials also.
     
  6. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    as Mr. C3 mentioned, and i have heard of instances where the case didn't have enough powder for the case, that there are inconsistent ignition problems, that can lead to pressure spikes causing problems.

    i would stick with one or the other. look for a 44 Spl. load a that is to your liking for a plinking or practice load. i sometimes load the same weight bullets in both 44 Spl. and Magnum cases. and i simply follow the appropriate powder charges for that particular load.

    a lot of times, a reduced power load, requires using a specific powder, that has the appropriate burn rate for that purpose. some people mistakenly think that you can just reduce the powder charge, but that is simply not true. i have a couple of load data books that list reduced power loads for both rifle and pistol cartridges. i'll dig them out in the morning and see what i can find out for you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
  7. jigs-n-fixture

    jigs-n-fixture Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Loading too low of a charge weight can cause:

    1). Hang fire, where the powder charge doesn’t have the initial pressure to burn progressively, and then as the flame front spreads across of the loose powder, and the pressure comes up will suddenly go into a progressive burn, and the gun will fire.

    2). Bullets to get hung up in the barrel, because there isn’t enough pressure to push the bullet, all the way out.

    3). A catastrophic failure, as the powder transitions from a low pressure, to increased pressure burn, and a pressure wave starts, which causes, a series of increasing pressure waves, which far exceed the burn pressure seen with a consistent burn of a normal powder charge.

    I was at the range one weekend, a guy showed up who was trying to develop a light load for a 35 Whelen, using 158 grain pistol bullets. He was getting hang fires, with several seconds delay. By the third time he fired, I’d figured out what was happening, and held the rifle down, after he pulled the trigger, until it fired. He’d been moving the rifle, when the first two went off, trying to figure out why it wasn’t going Bang when he pulled the trigger. After he told me what he was up to, I asked him to go home, and pull the other seventeen rounds apart.
     
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  8. Hookeye

    Hookeye Well-Known Member

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    Reduced powder charge/funky ignition............couldn't you use a filler?
     
  9. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    yes, and some people do, with some cartridges. most that i have seen are some of the transitional cartridges the went from black powder to smokeless powder.

    and there are differing opinions on using a filler as well. personally, i don't load any types of cartridges that might require using a filler, so i don't really have an opinion on it, one way or the other.
     
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  10. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Load .44 special loads in .44 special cases and .44 mag loads in .44 mag cases.

    My Ruger security Six has been shot enough that it had to go back to Ruger to be rebuilt twice. 90 Percent was .38 special loads. Clean your gun and you'll never have problems with .44 spec in .44 mag.
     
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  11. headspace

    headspace Well-Known Member

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    That "ring of crud" is an inconvenience because it makes it difficult, if not impossible to chamber 44 Mag cases until you clean it out. But there's the secret - "clean it out." A couple of passes with a bronze brush is all it takes. Then you can go back to chambering 44 Mags.
    I even saw a picture once of a homemade tool built just for dealing with that "crud ring" problem. Some guy had soldered an ever so slightly flared 44 Mag case on the end of a piece of brass rod. After firing a bunch of 44 Specials in his 44 Mag, he would simply push that slightly flared 44 Mag case into the cylinder holes, thus reaming the "crud ring" out of them.
    That said, 90% of the shooting I do with my 44 Mags (and my 357 Mags for that matter) is done with lightly loaded magnum cases. But I never go below published minimum loads. A bullet stuck in a barrel could be a disaster, not just an "inconvenience."
    Something else I've read is that jacketed bullets have more friction in the barrel than cast or swaged lead bullets. I don't know that's true or not, but I suppose it is. That's why I only use cast or swaged lead bullets for light loads in my magnum handguns - even though, as I said, I never go below published minimum loads.
     
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  12. mikld

    mikld Member

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    Not reloading data, but I ave been shooting 44 Specials in my 44 Magnum guns since '88. I have had to make up some "custom" ammo to feed SWC in my Puma carbine using Special brass, but I clean my guns after each range session so there is no problem with the dreaded "carbon ring"...

    I have taken load data right from the 44 Special section of my manuals and loaded it in 44 Magnum brass. I have had no squibs/stuck bullets and they preformed as expected. If a youngster is going to shoot a 44 Magnum, recoil can be a problem, but I think I'd start with starting Magnum load data with a slower powder in Magnum brass if they plan on hunting with the magnum (they don't have to shoot a lot/enough to get a sore shoulder or develop a flinch)...
     
  13. Dakota1

    Dakota1 Well-Known Member

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    You can certainly load light 44 Special-level loads in 44 Magnum cases safely, but NOT with the same powder or bullets. There is a good reason loading manuals don't provide data for light loads with jacketed bullets. There is much more resistance in the barrel with a jacketed bullet than a lead bullet & a light load can result in a bullet stuck in the barrel. Using the same powder is also a bad idea. I recommend purchasing a Hornady Loading Manual. You will find many light 44 Magnum loads from 800-1,000 fps with a variety of powders & lead bullets. One of my favorite loads is a 240 gr. bullet with Trail Boss powder. 950 fps.
     
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  14. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    if you are cleaning your firearms in a proper and thorough manner, the "ring of crud" should never be an issue in the first place.

    i have shot more than my fair share of 38 Spl. in 357 Magnums, and 44 Spl. in 44 Magnums over the years, and have yet to ever have chambering issues, or the dreaded "ring of crud" in any of my firearms. does it exist? i'm pretty sure it does for some people who are negligent in cleaning their guns in a proper manner.

    so if you are properly cleaning your firearms after every shooting session, IMO, it's a moot point.
     
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  15. headspace

    headspace Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that true. I was talking about switching to 44 Magnums right after a firing a bunch of 44 Specials in a 44 Magnum handgun during a shooting session - before you've cleaned your gun.
     
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  16. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    simply a personal observation from my past experiences, and others may have different experience than mine, but i don't seem to see the issue of the "ring of crud" in the 44's like i have with the 357's.

    and i have two 357 revolvers, and two 44 revolvers.
     
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  17. PaBushMan

    PaBushMan Well-Known Member

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    My neighbor loads 180 grain wad cutters with shot gun powder for me and him to practice with.
     
  18. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I happen to have this manual. I had the impression the lead SWC or cowboy FP would drop off in accuracy.

    What's been your experience with group sizes?
     
  19. headspace

    headspace Well-Known Member

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    Oh my goodness, no. Shopfox, I don't mean to sound like a wiseguy, but if you had any idea how many forest grouse I've neatly snipped the heads off of using a 44 Mag loaded with 240gr Speer SWCs over 6.7grs of Unique, you wouldn't have even asked that question. All you have to do is aim at the base of their necks, because your 44 Mag is gonna shoot high with 240gr bullets at 750fps if it's already sighted for 220gr bullets at twice that speed.:)
     
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  20. primer1

    primer1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How about using trail boss?
     
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