Lead bullets for 44 mag 45 colt

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by GMG2, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Back in the 1960, I experimented with just about every powder available in my .45 Colts.

    After all was said and one, I settled on 255 grain fairly hard cast SWC bullets and 8.0 Unique for my standard load.

    If I wanted a bit more, I bumped it up to 9.0 of Unique. The 9.0 load was in Ruger and modern S&W weapons, not original Colts.

    I still use those loads today.
     
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  2. Viking

    Viking Well-Known Member

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    I have been shooting 245gr. Keith type SW hard cast .44 bullets for about 50 years, I always try to add at least 1 to 16 ratio tin to lead, which is what Elmer Keith used, when I can get the tin. I use melted bullet lube with a cookie cutter to lube the bullets before sizing. For my .44 mag Redhawk I use 24.2 grains of 296 and have used 19.5 grains of Accuracy Arms #9, when I first got the RH I would get lead smearing in the barrel but after shooting a lot of jacketed bullets which took off the extremely sharp edges of the rifling lands the leading is no longer a problem. Now days it's getting harder to get a hold of tin and antimony is basically the hardener of choice, the only problem I've had in using antimony, which is mentioned in some information about casting bullets , is that you have to watch the melt temps as antimony can form pure lead on the antimony crystals, if the melt temp is too low antimony will crystalize when cooling.
     
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  3. at_liberty

    at_liberty Member

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    If you find a powder and bullet combo that is common to both 44 Special and 44 Magnum, try a powder weight in that range between max 44 Special and Min 44 Mag and loaded in Magnum brass. Even a minimum load using Magnum data could cause leading and certainly challenging recoil.

    One rule I follow is not to use Unique for magnums, because the recoil is worse with the sharp pressure spike. IMR4227 is the all around best performer for me. However, when you try my suggesting, loading below 44 Magnum minimum, Unique might serve very well and be a load you could certainly find for 44 Special to obtain that max load number.
     
  4. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Active Member

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    Yes, Unique appears to be a favorite for 44 Special and 45 Colt. I also use Accurate #5. Those two powders are my favorites. What you will find that 44 Special and 45 Colt do very well loaded many different ways. The two are my most favorite revolver rounds.

    What I look for: A too small a bullet fit in a revolver will give gas cutting. Too hard a bullet will cause Lead will build up in the throat area.This gas cutting can also be caused by a hard bullet fired at lower velocity. I find what what ever kind of load I am shooting good bullet fit will minimize problems. It's easier for me since I cast my own bullet. There are suggestions out there where the leading happens points out certain problems. Lee products are a great way to start bullet casting. A shooter can get started without having to mortgage the homeplace.
     
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  5. Mouser

    Mouser Well-Known Member

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    I recently happened on a store that had a bunch of reloading supplies just when all this craziness started again and snagged a couple of pounds of titegroup and some Trailboss...loaded the titegroup in some low velocity 44 mag loads and it works like a charm. That powder, based on the loading information, seems to have one of the widest ranges of published load data for 44 mag I've seen
     
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  6. Gatoragn

    Gatoragn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Titegroup is just so easy to double charge in large cases, but it shoots great in a wide range of calibers.
     
  7. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Active Member

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    Skeeter Loads: Skeeter Skelton was a LEO and writer some some note. He had inspired a revival of the 44 Special Round. Basically, he loaded the 250gr. Keith Style lead semi-wadcutter bullet to 950fps by using higher than current book max loads of Unique. These loads were for modern handguns. I have shot many of these loads in my 624 Smith and Ruger handguns. I prefer this level of load in my Model 29 Smith. Point being there is many ways to go with the 44 Special. These loads are accurate, powerful and easy to handle. Right, do not use Unique in full 44 Magnum loads. I had to do some homework to get data for these Skeeter 44 Special loads.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  8. Notrighty

    Notrighty Well-Known Member

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    I don’t have a 44 myself but I load for my brother and a couple of friends. Unique is a medium load that works ok but if you want zip go 2400 or aa7 or aa9 . I have A 454 casull that can shoot any bullet I want at any velocity I want but when you screw up it takes hours to clean the lead out. I’ve come to the point where I only want to shoot 350 gr bullets with 2400 . My gun is a Ruger and the 44 mags I load for are s&w. They seem to have smoother bores cause when I jack them up they don’t complain about cleaning problems. And yes bullet fit and hardness is important as everyone here knows.
     
  9. Notrighty

    Notrighty Well-Known Member

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    Also gotta ad that I guy gave me 50 44 specs to reload and I put the same charge of unique as I did with his mag loads and he said they were much cleaner. I asked if they were more accurate and he said probably. Not very scientific but you know.
     
  10. AgedWarrior

    AgedWarrior Well-Known Member

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    I would recommend not using Speer swaged lead bullets; they are pretty soft. Use cast bullets and use Unique or Universal; either powder will give you good mid range performance. Unique is a wonderfully flexible powder that will give a reasonable case fill; Universal is a bit cleaner, but you won’t notice it much shooting lead unless they are coated.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  11. Notrighty

    Notrighty Well-Known Member

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    AW I cast all my bullets now cause it ain’t that hard to make them better than the the ones you can buy. Used RimRock for a while with ok results but thought I could do better. Still use the RR but I get better results with the homecast. The the hotter you run them the more I am convinced tumble lube is the way to go.
     
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  12. AgedWarrior

    AgedWarrior Well-Known Member

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    If you cast your own, better yet.:) I was thinking of the OP when I suggested purchasing, not everyone casts their own. Personally, I do not shoot near as many cast lead bullets as I did at one time. But, when I did, I never had leading issues even with stout loads.
     
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  13. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Active Member

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    Day before yesterday I went to my favorite indoor range. I had gotten out my old S&W 586 that had not been shot lately. My load was a top end charge of Accurate #9 and my personally cast Keith SWC's bullets. There was no lead in the barrel. Loads were powerful and accurate. Those results came after experimentation and coping with frustrations over the years. Alloy and size of bullets is crucial. It's a crap shoot with store bought lead bullets. Shooting lead in my handguns is my interest. If yours is shooting jacket bullets that also great. Right now I'm getting set up to do casting my 44 and 45 caliber bullets using new equipment.
     
  14. Viking

    Viking Well-Known Member

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    I quit using Speer lead bullets because they are probably pure lead, okay for plinking, but not for my loads. Years ago I was able to get lead bullets from some gun shows that had the proper lead/tin mix, I finally got a hold of a Elmer Keith type double cavity bullet die and then just a few years ago I finally got a Lee bottom feed lead melter, before that I always used a small aluminum sauce pan over a propane camp stove. I've never used 2400 powder but it's the powder that Elmer Keith used when he developed the .44 mag load, 296 and AA#9 were not around then and I'm not sure H-110 was either. A friend sold me an 8 pound can of 296, I haven't used any of that can as I have almost all of my .44 brass loaded, that can of 296 will probably last beyond my years. H-110 and 296 are pretty much the same and AA#9 is a very good powder, it's just not been all that available around where we live, but those three powders burn extremely clean as far as I have seen and they have proved to be accurate, so I have no complaint with them. 296 and H-110 being ball powder also give very consistant loads from my old Redding powder machine. I've a few bad experiences with double based low charge powder, I think it was PB, not sure as that was a long time ago, all I know is that you could double charge the powder far too easy, I bought a couple of MTM 50 round universal plastic trays so that I could eye ball the cases before installing the bullets to make sure the charges were right and will never again use fast burning low charge powders.
     
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  15. freefall

    freefall Well-Known Member

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    I am a huge fan of the Winchester ball powders. For heavy loads I use 296, for lighter I use 231.
    They just measure so well, and all those old Hercules powders just blow so much soot around...
     
  16. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Active Member

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    I had used Bullseye for target loads in my 1911's forever. Bullseye worked great. There was no Bullseye to be had and the eight pound can was empty. I had some 231 from a rifle club raffle. The first run of loads was made with the RCBS 200gr. SWC. Looks like it will be 231 from now on here on the hill. For powder in this famine it's more from Shooters World. The next batch of 44 Magnums will be made up with Heavy Pistol which has a burning rate similar to Accurate #9. This powder is classed with 2400 and 296.
     
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  17. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Active Member

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    Added: I'm also loading some some test loads using Shooters World 4350. So far, it looks good.
     
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  18. noylj

    noylj Member

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    Rules for lead bullets:
    1) Slug your barrel so you know the ACTUAL groove diameter of your barrel and order lead bullets (and, in general, plated bullets) that are AT LEAST 0.001" LARGER that the groove diameter.
    2) If you go to harder alloy (say from 10 to 22 BHN), using a LARGER bullet becomes more critical as the hard bullet will not expand due to pressure to seal the barrel.
    Examining barrel leading:
    A clue to what is causing the leading is where the leading first begins to appear.
    If it appears near the chamber, chances are the cause is either bullet diameter or hardness. A diameter too small or an alloy too hard will allow high-pressure gas to leak past the bullet, which erodes the bullet and leaves leading near the chamber.
    If the leading first appears on the leading edge of the rifling (if you imagine the bullet being pushed through the barrel, you will note that one edge of the rifling does most of the work of imparting a spin to the bullet—this is the edge you see when you look through the barrel from the breech end) the bullet might be too soft or the velocity too high.
    If the leading appears in the second half of the barrel, the bullet is running out of lube.
    About three years ago I contacted all the swaged bullet manufacturers I could think of. At that time, they all reported that their swaged lead bullets were 11-13 BHN. This is NOT a soft alloy and has worked well for me in everything up to .44 Rem Mag and light loads in all my rifles.
    Last week, someone posted a response from Speer saying 9-10 BHN. Speer, however, does coat their bullets so leading is usually indicative of the coating being damaged (during bullet seating or crimping). Don't know why Speer reported different hardness number to me from what they report now.
     
  19. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Active Member

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    I just got home from the weekly unnamed retirees match at the rifle club. Today it was shooting the revolvers. What went on today was trying out 44 Special loads in the ancient Model 29 and a 624-0. Bullets were cast here. Coming out of the mold the bullets were a slip fit the the cylinder throats. Bullets were made from range scrap. The lube was the old time 50/50 NRA formula. Alloy is in the same hardness range as Lyman #2 Alloy. The powder used is Accurate #5. This is a Skeeter level load. The bullets fit well and the alloy was good. Accuracy is very good. Sticking with traditional methods of loading revolver cartridges has worked. I cannot remember shooting jacketed bullets from either of these guns. I not going to start now. Hoppe's and a bristle brush does good work.
     
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  20. Notrighty

    Notrighty Well-Known Member

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    Another problem that can cause leading is inconsistent throat diameters. Have a Ruger that had to be reamed cause 3 of the throats were too tight. Once reamed the gun never had leading again.