Reloading 44 mag with short Hornady brass

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Shopfox, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I sorted my 44 mag brass and have just loaded some rounds. I'm not sure if what I've done is safe.

    I have Hornady brass that is about 1.285" long and some about 1.255" long. The 1.255" long brass came from factory loaded 300gr XTP rounds.

    I'm trying to duplicate this load, so I'm using the 1.255" brass, and 300gr XTP bullets. My COAL is about 1.602" (some are a few .001's longer). The factory loads are 1.580". Based on my Lee manual, I loaded H110 at 18.0, 18.3, and 18.5 gr. The 1.255" brass hits about the middle of the bullet cannelure, so I "thought" everything was good.

    Neither my Hornady, nor Lee manuals mention using the shorter brass. The Lyman manual has this bolded caution regarding 1.255" brass (with 225gr Flex Tip): "Care should be taken so that these shorter cases are not used for standard loads as dangerous pressures could result."

    The other piece I'm a little worried about is that I used standard CCI primers instead of Magnum primers.

    Thoughts? Opinions?
     
  2. jigs-n-fixture

    jigs-n-fixture Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Call Hornady and ask tech support.
     
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  3. Balota

    Balota ... but I used to play keyboards. Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

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    First, I'm not a reloader. So, take the following with a grain of salt.

    You are reloading magnum rounds, so the potential for overpressure is high. You are right to be cautious.

    That said, you mention your COAL as 1.602" while the factory loads are 1.580". A few years ago I was reviewing bullet setback and published an article here on the results.

    https://www.firearmstalk.com/articles/semi-auto-setback-testing.666/

    I took a box of Hornady Critical Defense 9mm as the test basis. I found that the box itself had lengths that varied from 1.074" to 1.097", so the range in the box was as wide as the difference you are describing. I realize that 9mm is nothing like 44mag in terms of power factor. The point is that the variation within the box itself was as great as the difference you are describing. I would not let that difference alone deter me from using your loads, especially considering your length is longer.

    If the 1.602" length is within spec for that round, then you are leaving more space for the powder charge than the factory loads. So, you should not be in a situation of compressing the powder. I would start with the lowest powder load and try them with a chronograph. If the muzzle velocity is in a reasonable range, proceed to the higher loads.

    I repeat, I am not a reloader. YMMV.
     
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  4. SGWGunsmith

    SGWGunsmith Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've been loading .44 magnum and .44 special rounds since 1969 when I got my first RCBS Rockchucker press. These rounds were for a Ruger Super Blackhawk and a Smith & Wesson Model 29. Both guns have survived since then, but I profess prudence during my loading process, nothing in excess.
    You most likely already know that the bullet cannelure is where you want to crimp the case mouth, unless you're using a "roll-crimp" die.
    If your "Case Over All Length" measures 1.602-inch, it will not hurt a thing if you adjust your seating die to seat the bullet another 0.020-inch deeper. You can still crimp the case mouth with your crimping die, or you can run the loaded rounds through your sizing die to remove any mouth belling you did with the de-priming die. Crimping only prevent the bullet from seating back deeper into the case from recoil, and then to hold the bullet a milli-second or so longer to gt better powder burn.
    The standard primers may not have a hot enough brisance ( shocking energy ) to ignite some powders, but it should be OK for H110. The magnum primers are mainly designed for the more hard to ignite magnum slower burning powders. Only thing you can do to see if there are any issues with using the standard primers is to shoot a few rounds to see how they perform. You certainly won't hurt your gun, but beware of any weird sounding rounds. if they sound "funky", pull the rest of the bullets you loaded and go with the magnum primers.
     
  5. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Quick update, this was the reply from Hornady:
    "Thank you for contacting Hornady. Of course, it's always a risk when going outside the lines on load data. That said, I really don't see .030" being an issue of any kind. Especially since you are still able to crimp."
     
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  6. SGWGunsmith

    SGWGunsmith Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That's good to read! Especially coming from the technician at Hornady. Truth be told, in a pinch, I've trimmed .44 magnum brass back only to make it the same length as .44 Special cases without any issues when used in a .44 Special revolver.
     
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  7. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I went to the range, and everything functioned ok. The only thing I noticed is that the H110 seemed really sooty. I had to blow air down the barrel to clear the dark black smoke. It seemed like there was a lot of dark residue in the barrel.

    Would the magnum primers help this?
     
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  8. jigs-n-fixture

    jigs-n-fixture Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    They could. The soot is an indication of an incomplete burn. Be aware the pressure will go up.
     
  9. SGWGunsmith

    SGWGunsmith Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, they would help, as mentioned above. The "magnum primers", especially those made by CCI have a much brighter and longer lasting 'brisance' that swirls through the cases flash hole and gets deeper into the powder charge. Consider though, that H110, is by nature, a more sooty powder due to the coating on the powder kernels used to control the burn rate.
     
  10. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The reloading manual used Remington 9-1/2 primers for their load development. How does the the CCI 300 brisance compare? Just thinking, if it's the same (or nearly the same), maybe the CCI 350 magnum primers won't do much for me.
     
  11. SGWGunsmith

    SGWGunsmith Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The CCI magnum primers when hit, and as the flame goes through the flash hole, the igniting particles swirl around and into the gunpowder, while the Remington primers go through the flash hole in more like a cone shape.
    I'd suggest you just try a 100 count tray of the CCI primers just to see how they work for you.
     
  12. PaPow

    PaPow Active Member

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    Ever notice that winchester large pistol primers are boxed and saying;
    "For Standard and Magnum Loads"

    As none of us knows the recipe`s of ANY of the primers out in the market,
    i would be watching for pressure signs. And please use a chronograph as well!!!
     
  13. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Use magnum primers (I prefer Remington) and see if the soot clears up.

    I've never had a problem of any kind with H110, but I've never loaded it less than max.