Why does my Redhawk shoot high with handloads?


January 9, 2007, 06:53 AM
I've tried everything I can imagine and this thing still shoots high with handloads! I even went so far as to put a higher, by .060, front sight on the thing and it still shoots about 2" high at 25 yards. I tried factory ammo and it's adjustable to the target. I tried the same weight bullet as factory ammo and still high. I'm using 20.5 g of 2400 under 240 magtech SPSJ bullet with CCI large primer. Any ideas other than live with it?:banghead:

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January 9, 2007, 08:28 AM

I've read elsewhere that heavier bullets will sometimes cause this. The theory is the time the bullet spends in the barrel and the recoil. The heavier bullet moves slower so it leaves the barrel later than a lighter bullet would and therefore also leaves with the barrel at a higher point in the recoil.

Since you tried the same weight bullet, I would say the problem is velocity or recoil related. Looking at the load data (I assume .44 Rem Mag?) the load you are using is a pretty hot load with high velocity. Maybe back off the charge a bit and see if reduced recoil helps? The reloading data from Alliant's website shows a charge of 18.7 gr of 2400 with 240JSP bullet and is the highest velocity out of all the loads.

January 9, 2007, 09:04 AM
If it will adjust to center with the factory ammo, it's your load.

Try bumping up to about 22.0gr of #2400, or try H110 or Hod.Lil'Gun.

Also, 2" high at 25yds is about a correct sight-in for a .44mag. Gives you a zero of about 75yds, and 3" low at 100yds if my memory is correct.

The impact is a function of recoil and barrel time for the bullet.
A lighter bullet will shoot lower, a heavier bullet will shoot higher.
A faster bullet will shoot lower, a slower will shoot higher at shorter ranges.
The recoil is beginning before the bullet leaves the barrel, hence barrel position at moment of bullet exit determines its path to the target. This is why "lock-time" is an important function (time from hammer fall initiation to ignition of propellant charge).

My Redhawk is in .45colt. With the 250-255gr bullets, the sight range is "nominal", with zero being about 17 clicks up from bottom.

With a heavy load of 20.0gr of #2400 under a 315gr WFN-GC, zero is two clicks up from the bottom.

Seems I got lucky with the sight set up.

Also, Have you changed the grips from the factory grips.
This will also change the recoil impulse and affect the shot impact on the target. If you have gone to a very soft grip, or if the gun is recoiling freely from a "loose grasp" on the firearm, the shots will also go high.

In PPC revolver shooting, it takes Much-much-much practice to aquire and maintain a consistent grip to maintain accuracy on the target at 50yds, shooting from 4 positions, one of them being left handed.

Thats all I can think of at the moment, though something else may have slipped my memory.

January 9, 2007, 09:13 AM
mugsie, NavyLT is correct your load appears to be too hot by almost 2 grs according to the Alliant data tables, http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/RecipeDetail.aspx?title=Pistols%20and%20Revolvers&gtypeid=1&weight=240&shellid=1027&bulletid=88
I reload a 240 gr JHP using 23.4 gr of H110 for my Colt Anaconda and I have never had to adjust the sights since I bought it. Also, four years ago I dropped a 6-1/2 foot black bear at 30 yrds with a single shot so I know it is packing plenty of punch.

January 9, 2007, 12:04 PM
My load came directly from the new Speer catalog. They show 21g max for 2400 powder with a 240g SPSJ bullet. I actually backed off from the 21g's since the groupings were too loose. The 20.5 does a nice job of actually putting some shots in touch with one another, benched of course. I wish I could do it off hand but not yet. I sent for the Ruger original sights so I'll see what they do when they're applied.

January 10, 2007, 01:21 AM
mugsie but you are not using Speer bullets correct? I have noticed that load data varies greatly between the different powder and bullet manufactures for the same weight bullets. I suspect that these variances are because of different bullet tolerances and material hardnesses between the manufactures that causes different pressures with the same load, but I don't know that for a fact. If you are not using a Speer bullet I think I would go with the powder manufacturer's recommendation and then work up the load from there.

January 10, 2007, 01:44 AM
I agree with the others, your handload is too slow.
To prove this, try shooting at 50 or 75 yards. The slower and/or heavier will start out on a higher trajectory and be high at first, but gravity will catch up with them, and somewhere it will sink below the lighter and/or faster bullets trajectory.
The book 'Sixguns' by Elmer Kieth is a must read IMO for big bore handgunners. He expains all that stuff pretty well. Great Book with a taste of the way things used to be.

January 10, 2007, 10:16 AM
Expanding upon what Idano posted:

Speer 240gr JSP has a sectional density of 0.186 and coefficient of 0.164 .
Magtech 240gr SJSP has s.d. of 0.169 and coefficient of 0.172.

I would assume these differences would cause loading data to be different.

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