44 special questions


September 29, 2007, 02:50 AM
I recently came upon 100 new .44 special cases. Since I shoot a great deal of .44 Mag I was happy. Now I realize I know nothing about .44 special. Anybody have any pointers or favorite loads? Any special considerations firing it from S&W 629? Thanks in advance :)

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September 29, 2007, 07:02 AM
Nothing special (pun intended). Just follow a 44 Special load recipe and shoot them in your 44 Mag.

September 29, 2007, 07:22 AM
Bullets, crimping and Primers (standard, not magnum) are all the same. Several classic powders and some new work well in the .44 Special. Unique, 2400, Universal Clays, 231 will all give decent results it is a matter of preference. If you let us know what powder and bullets you have on hand we can probably point you in a good direction. Bill

September 29, 2007, 08:33 AM
I like IMR 4227 in this cal.

September 29, 2007, 12:36 PM
I like W-231 for Nos 200gr JHP with Fed 150's or WLP(I'll drop 2-3ths of a gr when using WLP) For 240gr cast I use Unique or AA#5, I hear Universal works well.

September 29, 2007, 01:47 PM
It is very hard to beat the old Skeeter Skelton load of 7.5 grains Unique over a 240 Keith style SWC.

That load will shoot very accurately in every gun I have tried it in, and is powerful enough to shoot through a deer, yet is very mild on recoil.

One caution:
If you shoot lead bullet .44 Spl. loads in a .44 Mag revolver, be sure and very throughly clean the chambers afterward.

The shorter .44 Spl. will leave hardened fouling in the front of the .44 Mag chambers that may cause hard extraction, or higher pressure when you switch back to .44 Mag jacketed bullets.


September 29, 2007, 02:26 PM
Old favorite load for Charter Arms 3" Bulldog, 7.0 gr SR-4756, Lyman cast 429421 "Keith" bullets, low pressure, easy to handle in the Bulldog. More recent +P loads for shooting in 44 Mag guns , 7.5 gr Hodgdon Universal, copy of the Unique load, and 15 gr 2400. They all shoot well, hard to pick a favorite. +1 on cleaning chambers also. Standard disclaimer in loading anything not advised by manuals and manufactuers.

September 29, 2007, 07:55 PM
700X with 215 or 240 Gr. Lead SWC's are hard to beat for accuracy in the .44 Spl. Burns real clean too. Never shot them in a .44 Mag gun though, just .44 Spl. Well, pistol anyway. I did shoot them in a Winchester model 94 and they shot real well in it as well.

September 30, 2007, 02:08 AM
On hand I have some Rainer 240HP, Hornady 200 & 240 gr XTP. Powders I have on hand are Accurate #9, Blue Dot and 231 as well as WST.

I didn't think I would ever shoot .44 Special but now and days you would be hard pressed to pass up 100 new brass cases.

Am I correct in thinking the .44 special is to .44 mag as .38 is to .357?

Many thanks........Sublimaze41

September 30, 2007, 09:31 AM
For target shooting I would use the Ranier's, save the XTP's for the Magnum. I believe the Ranier's say to use lead loading data. For 231 5.0 to 5.5 grains will give you some mellow target loads. 6.0 Grains will put you in +P territory but easily handled in the .44 Magnum. The 231 will also work with the XTP but will only give you 800 fps with 7.1 grains, this is why I would use them in the Magnum loadings. All my .44 Special loads use either the Lyman 429421 or the 429244 at 245 and 255 Grains. I use either 6.9 grains of Unique for my target load or if I want some more pop go with the Skeeter loading of 7.5 grains mentioned above. Both are very, very accurate in my SBH.

As a note, all of these loadings come from the Lyman 48th Edition with the exception of the Skeeter loading and the +P load mentioned. Non of these loads would be excessive for a Magnum revolver but the hotter loadings are not recommended for older weaker revolvers. Bill

September 30, 2007, 10:02 AM
If you have some Competiton, try it, along with your WST, with those plated Raniers. I think you will like the results. W231 will do fine as well, but the first two will burn cleaner.

Matt G
September 30, 2007, 10:11 AM
7 grains of Unique behind a 200 g LSWC is a very pleasant load to shoot out of a Magnum, but which actually generates respectable knock-down. (I haven't looked this load up, so I don't know whether it's considered appropriate for .44 Special-only firearms.) Extremely accurate, as well.

I've shot a bunch of Whitey's Skeeter loads through a Magnum, and it feels like you're cheating. It gives such a pleasant pop to the hand, with such good down-range results, and I wouldn't hesitate to take it deer hunting, or to carry it as a personal defense load. But Whitey's right: 7.5g of Unique is too hot to recommend using in Special-only revolvers.

Bad Flynch
September 30, 2007, 12:46 PM
I load and shoot .44 Special in an S&W M624 (same frame, shorter cylinder, longer barrel extension). I use 185 grain DEWCs and 230 gr Kieth-style SWCs. Both are shot with varying amounts of Unique, which is perfectly satisfactory for this cartridge.

September 30, 2007, 02:08 PM
Whitey's right: 7.5g of Unique is too hot to recommend using in Special-only revolvers.
It depends on which "Special-only revolvers".
The S&W 1950 Target .44 Spl., and later model 24 & 624, were the guns Skeeter used to develop & shoot that load in.

All the later N-frame S&Ws, from the triple-lock on, and all Colt SA's are perfectly safe with this load.
And no, they won't shoot loose in 200 rounds either!

They are like play-toy loads compared to what Elmer Keith was putting through his 1950 Targets prior to the .44 Mag.

I would not recommend it for Charter Bulldogs however.

Actually, the .44 Spl. has always been way under-loaded by the factory for some unknown reason. In any later S&W or Colt, the 7.5 grain Unique/240 grain SWC Skeeter load is what the .44 Spl. should have/could have been to begin with.

It is just a great plinking or hunting load in a Model 29 or any other .44 Mag!


Bad Flynch
September 30, 2007, 08:12 PM
I calculated Skeeter's load using QuickLoad. Depending on whose lead 240-248 grain SWC you use, the pressure is right at max or just a little bit over. Remember, that is a calculation, not an actual measurement.

September 30, 2007, 09:14 PM
The Lyman shows the 6.9 grains of Unique as Max load generating 13,300 CUP using the 429421 bullet at 245 grains. Data provided by LoadData.com shows the 7.5 grains of Unique with the same bullet as a +P loading but does not publish pressures. I agree that that is that load in an N frame would last a lifetime, the Bulldogs and the Tauri are definitely another story. The 7.5 grain load is a great trail/general purpose load and according to published data is very efficient, only 5 fps extreme spread out of a Freedom Arms 1997 4 1/2" at 951 fps. LOL Bill

P.S. The .44 Special is just a great versatile cartridge, inherent accuracy like few others.

Magnum Opus
October 1, 2007, 12:22 AM
I've personally found 6.8 grains of AA#5 for a 240 grain LSWC to be a good and accurate loading.

October 1, 2007, 09:28 AM
Thanks everybody for the suggestions!

I have the next 4 days off and will try some of the loads. Heck, I have nearly as much fun working up loads and reloading as I do shooting. Am I alone on this one?

Reloading----->work, No-------Enjoyable, Yes.

My wife finds it amusing that I get all excited about a tupperware container full of newly reloaded, highly polished bucket of bullets.

October 1, 2007, 10:54 AM
Nope, not alone, that is normal reloader's behavior. Enjoy the .44 Special, you can tell from the responses that it has a good following. Now if we can get some of the manufactures to start making .44 Special revolvers more available that would be great. Bill

October 1, 2007, 01:00 PM
I calculated Skeeter's load using QuickLoad. Depending on whose lead 240-248 grain SWC you use, the pressure is right at max or just a little bit over.
I'm assuming you are using the SAAMI .44 Spl. max of 15,500?

Regarding Skeeters load, keep in mind that the exact same S&W 1950, 24, & 624, and Colt SA are, or have been, chambered in .45 ACP.

SAAMI spec on the .45 ACP is 21,000.
And the holes in the .45 cylinder are bigger, leaving less metal over the cylinder stop cuts. They are not quite as strong as the .44 Spl. version of the same guns.


Bad Flynch
October 1, 2007, 01:09 PM
>I'm assuming you are using the SAAMI .44 Spl. max of 15,500?<

Yes, as the CIP is lower.

Most of the lead bullets in this weight range for which I have data would not exceed 19000 psi, an entirely safe load in my M624. I do not know about the older M24s, but it should be OK in the new Thunder Ranch version, too.

October 1, 2007, 01:12 PM
I found A great variation in differant .44 spl brand cases. A friend of mine who shoots A lot of Cowboy SAS, told me some manufactures make .44 spl cases on .44 mag dies then trim to fit. While others have dedicated dies.
Its been awhile, but I had several brands buldge cases when I was seating bullets due to very thick brass. Not A big problem if you sort out brands and adjust for each.
I found it easier to stick to my .44 Rem mag cases.

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