Alliant 2400 loads for .44 Mag?


John C
November 8, 2008, 02:35 AM
I have a pound of Alliant 2400 laying around, and I want to load up some .44 mag. I know it's a great powder, typically for heavy-hitting loads.

My problem is that I'm shooting pretty lightweight pistols, a 4 inch 629 and a 329, so I wanted to load up some light loads, ~1000 fps with a cast 240 grain bullet. I also want to go slow to avoid leading my barrels. Looking at the Lyman data in the .44 mag loadbook, they show a starting load (for a 245 gr cast bullet) of 18.2 grains of 2400 that will push the bullet 915 fps. Perfect.

However, the speer data in the same book shows the 250 gr LSWC over 18.0 gr of 2400 travelling 1290 fps, close to full power. I really don't want to touch one of those off in my scandium 329!

So what's the right answer? What kind of velocity will 18.0 gr of 2400 behind a 240 cast lead bullet will I get? Is 2400 the wrong powder to try and load light loads with? If so, I have other powders to use. No sense in trying to use a porshe to pull a horse trailer.



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November 8, 2008, 03:35 AM
2400 is a good powder for heavy 44mag. loads, but It can't be reduced too much for lighter loadings, without having igniton/powder burn poblems.

I would suggest a lighter powder(maybe Unique or similar) and loading for your cast lead bullets, especially if they are not gaschecked.

And keep your 2400 for heavy jacketed loads.

That's just my opinion, but I'm sticking to it.

evan price
November 8, 2008, 04:31 AM
Try 9 grains of Titegroup. Makes a decent load and doesn't kick much. I do have a 7.5" SRH however so mine soaks up more recoil than yours.

November 8, 2008, 08:17 AM
I have gotten away from 2400 for just the same reasons you bring up. I am not a big fan of 44 mag, prefer the 44 special but on occasion need to load some 44 mag. Like you, I like to keep mine in the medium load range and I use either tite-group, Hi-Skor 700X or w231(which I prefer). Save the 2400 for the heavy duty, hunting loads.


November 8, 2008, 09:04 AM
First off, that 250g bullet has more bearing surface, and thus develops greater pressure on the same powder load. That's part of where the speed jump comes from.

As to light 2400 loads, I did a lot of experimenting with that powder in 44mag, 240g LSWCs. I went as low as 10g, with the bullet loaded backwards and seated flush to the case mouth, slight taper crimp to aid in loading. The bullet that far inside the case keeps plenty o' powder near the primer. I'll tell you right now that it is my pet load for 44 plinking. Off of a sandbag and out of a 7 1/2" Ruger SBHH, I can keep all 6 close to touching at 25 yds. It's less "boom" and more of a throaty "poof." I haven't chronoed, but you can see the bullet in flight if you're looking over someone's shoulder. I have noticed a small amount of carbon buildup, but it comes off easy. No signs of unburnt powder.

I started with 18g behind a 240g LSWC, and wanted lighter... so I went to 44 spl load data, and added 10% powder to make up for the larger case. 44 spl data for 2400 and a 240g LSWC suggest 8.9 to 13.5g, with that 13.5 being hot. Knowing this, I jumped back down to 14g, and felt I was going in the right direction.

My next step was to load up 12 rounds with the minimum 44 spl load, plus 10%... hence the 10g of 2400. The case was very empty at that point, which is where I got the idea of dropping the bullet in backwards and seating flush. I wouldn't go that low without doing something to fill case capacity, or you risk poor ignition.

I would actually try 15g of 2400 if you wanted to use it, or try a reduced Unique load, either should do fine.

John C
November 8, 2008, 02:48 PM
Thanks, everyone, for the great info.

Floppy, I'm interested in your information. Are/were you concerned with getting a SEE with that little of slow burning powder in the case? I know you mentioned that you basically avoid that by turning the bullet around and seating flush, but do you think there's a danger with 2400?



November 8, 2008, 03:44 PM
I worked the load down gradually, looking for signs of unburnt powder or inconsistency... I feel safe with the load. Hopefully rcmodel or one of the other wizards can chime in here.

A 44 Spl case is about 1/8" shorter than 44 mag; if the volume bothered you, you could seat the bullets 1/8" deeper as not to tamper with case volume... and as low as 8.9g 2400 is an acceptable 44 spl load.

I went with 10g as it was a little higher than the minimum, and it has worked well for about 600 total rounds. No unburnt powder, so I'm getting consistent burn. I'd love to chono it just to see what the spread is... but this is by far my favorite 44 plinking load.

The other cool part is that backwards loaded 240g LSWC's cut BIG, perfectly round holes, so it makes it easy to spot when you've put two bullets almost on top of one another. :D

November 8, 2008, 04:33 PM
While 2400 wouldn't be my first choice for mid-level loads:
You can load 2400 down safely to a mid-power .44 Mag load without concern about too much case capacity.

Unlike ball powders (H110, WW296, etc.) 2400 is very easy to ignite.
It won't burn real clean with reduced pressure loads, but it will always light off and make the bullet go down range!

You might try about 13.0 grains with your 240 cast bullet. That should give you around 900 FPS.

November 8, 2008, 05:21 PM
Alliant Unique is a better choice for a mid-range load. But 15gr. Alliant 2400 in a 44mag will give you around 1000 fps with a 240gr lswc cast bullet.

November 8, 2008, 05:21 PM
"The other cool part is that backwards loaded 240g LSWC's cut BIG, perfectly round holes..."

Don't forward-loaded 240g LSWC's cut big, perfectly round holes? Seems mine do, all other purposes towards that particular loading aside at least. Don't question it's safety.

November 8, 2008, 07:40 PM
I bet my load was running as slow as 700-800 fps, so to get the 900-1000, rcmodel's data would be a good starting point. I listed mine merely to illustrate that I had dipped much lower and had great results.

@depoloni, I got somewhat torn holes at low velocities, but not with backwards bullets. The point wasn't to cut neater holes, but to fill case space. The side effect was neat, grease-ring free holes.

Alright John C, let us know what you load and how it works, I'm always looking for 44 target load ideas!

John C
November 9, 2008, 02:52 AM
Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful replies.

I've been looking at other loads, and the Alliant website shows what I presume is a max load for the .45 colt (250 gr LSWC) at 15.2 gr 2400, pushing 972 fps. Now, the .45 colt has a larger case size than the .44 mag, and the bullet weights are similar. This gives me confidence that 2400 WILL go lower for slower velocities. I think I'll start with 15 gr, as suggested, and check it out. I've heard that at low charges, 2400 can leave unburnt powder and burns dirty. Have you guys found this to be true?



November 9, 2008, 07:21 AM
Put the 2400 back on the shelf and spend $15 on a lb. of Unique. Just my opinion.

November 9, 2008, 07:49 AM
2400 can leave unburnt powder and burns dirty. Have you guys found this to be true? No unburnt powder, but dirty. Some of the leftover residue/dirt can find its way behind the ejector making it hard to get the cylinder into the action on a tight S&W. When ejecting shells, hold the muzzle straight up. I would use a magnum prime when working up loads.WLP IMO Others will say no mag primer needed. Do you own test if you have both mag and standard primers and see what gives you the best accuracy and the least dirt.

November 9, 2008, 09:18 AM
I use magnum primers too. They may not be neccessary, but they don't hurt.

November 9, 2008, 12:27 PM
Others will say no mag primer needed.Not only "others" say that.

Alliant says that too!

Magnum primers & 2400 will give wider extreme spread, higher pressure, and reduced accuracy in any load.

It's not just my opinion, it's a fact!

November 9, 2008, 01:15 PM
I'll try regular then, instead of the CCI 350s. I've had nothing but luck, but non-mags may improve things even more.

November 9, 2008, 01:36 PM
i solve the primer problem by using the WLP the only choice. If it will light up W296 it will do well with 2400

November 23, 2008, 07:37 PM
First post for this forum. Looks like some good stuff in here.

Got back into reloading after being away from it for 6 years.

Noticed this thread about 44 mag max loads. Would it be safe to fire 20 grains of 2400 with wc lead bullets, using Magnum primers? I'll be shooting a Ruger Super Redhawk with a 7.5 inch barrel.

The local sporting good store had this 2400 but was sold out of the Unique. Didn't have the standard primers either. So I loaded a few rounds with the above loads, but after reading a few threads about magnum primers and 2400, not sure about pulling the trigger on this load with non-jacketed bullets.

What do you think? The bottom line, is it safe? Will it screw up my bore with lead?
And finally, how easy is it to de-lead these bores?

November 23, 2008, 11:26 PM
Haven't tried Unique yet, but 11gr of 800X powder is a great target load for 240gr lead SWC.

November 24, 2008, 07:32 AM
Be carefull with 800X powder as it can bridge in certain powder measure drop tubes causing light and heavy over maximum charges.

November 24, 2008, 07:57 AM
The classic Keith load (which I'd consider a max load) was 22.0gr of 2400 under a 250g LSWC. Our resident sage (rcmodel) doesn't like 2400 with magnum primers, and I trust his judgement. I have put about 500 rounds of 22.0g of 2400 under a 240g LSWC, using magnum primers, through a 7.5" Super Blackhawk Hunter, and I've had no problems... but I may be lucky.

As to de-leading, I take a copper chore-boy and cut into smaller pieces, which I wrap around an undersized bore brush. That paired with Shooter's Choice Lead Remover get the job done quick. If you lube your bullets on the heavy side, you'll get a lot of smoke, but a lot less leading.

Ben Shepherd
November 24, 2008, 01:57 PM
Rc and I have PM'd a bit about mag vs standard with 2400. Some guns like one, some the other. My guns like mag primers with 2400. Chrono and targets have verified this.

Yours may not like magnum primers, mine do.

Get a chrono, get serious off the sandbags, and figure out which primers your gun(s) prefer.

And as mentioned 22.0 of 2400 behind a 245-255 HCSWC is usually an excellent full-tilt offering. But start lower than that(18-19 grains or so) and work up to it carefully, as it is a stomper....

November 24, 2008, 03:04 PM
My guns like mag primers with 2400.

Wasn't 2400 orignally supposed to be used with mag primers?

Ben Shepherd
November 24, 2008, 04:20 PM
Wasn't 2400 orignally supposed to be used with mag primers?

Yes. But 2400 has changed a bit over the years. Not much, but noticeably.

November 24, 2008, 05:07 PM
I've heard that at low charges, 2400 can leave unburnt powder and burns dirty. Have you guys found this to be true?

Absolutely, if you go less than 15 gr. of 2400, you'll have unburned granules in your barrel and less than consistent ignition, regardless of the primers used. Now I know this thread was about using your stock of 2400, but the criteria that you list makes it a less than desirable choice.
There are many powders better suited for your application and my choice would be Alliant's Unique. 8gr of Unique should get you close to 1000fps with a 240 gr cast bullet. Alliant's site list 7gr good for around 900fps under a 240 cast.


Ben Shepherd
November 24, 2008, 05:43 PM
A few things if you decide to pursue this:

1. Use magnum primers
2. Use a good firm crimp
3. Make sure you have a good amount of neck tension.

However as others have noted, this is a road I would not travel. Spend the 15-20 bucks for a correct powder, or load them up as a true magnum level load.

There is NO getting around it. 2400 burns dirty at low pressures. Nature of the beast.

the foot
November 24, 2008, 08:26 PM
In my opinion 2400 is not suitable for "light" loads. If the load is light, there will be some unburned powder there.

I use 2400 only for hunting loads in 44 magnum. My most accurate .44 magnum loads loads with 2400 are with maximum powder volume and pressures.

So, unless you are ready to "rock the Casbah" with those big loads, choose another powder for .44 Magnum.

November 24, 2008, 09:22 PM
Absolutely, if you go less than 15 gr. of 2400, you'll have unburned granules in your barrel and less than consistent ignition, regardless of the primers used.

I disagree. I've run my loads as low as 10.0g, which made for complete powder burn, and nothing dirtier than Unique is known for. My ignition was consistent enough that from a rest at 25 yds, I could keep them inside a racquetball, from a 7.5" Super Blackhawk Hunter. I'll put the scope on and see if I can shrink that down a bit.

I'm not saying that there aren't easier ways to get slow 44 loads, but the OP's question was if he could download 2400, and in my first-hand experience, the answer is yes, and remains a choice load of mine.

November 25, 2008, 02:25 PM
I think, maybe, reloading hardware and procedures can get added to the mix.

A 'tight' bullet in the case burns the 2400 powder better as does a longer barrel.

Chronographs weren't available to mere mortals then. So my comments are, at best, subjective.

At least that has been my experience in 45 ACP,45 AR, 36, and 44 revolvers.

Some folks made taper crimp dies for .45 ACP...most revolver dies were roll crimp.

A reloading tip courtesy of Dean Grinnell, circa 1970, turn down the expander ball a couple thousandths. Then you do not necessarally have to heavily fold the brass into the bullet crimp groove to get a tight bullet/case fit.


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