Handloads for an antique .44 russian revolver?


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kletus
March 10, 2009, 12:21 AM
A friend inherited an old Smith &Wesson top break revolver in fine condition and he plans on shooting it.
Someone online told him that 12.5 grains of 5744 powder and a 255 grain keith bullet was recommended, as was 9.5 grains of 2400 powder with a 240 grain bullet.
Neither of us handload ,I just want to know if these loads are safe for that old gun?
Any info would be much appreciated.

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Bezoar
March 10, 2009, 12:49 AM
someone online? the greatest rule of reloading ammunition is to USE A REPUTABLE source. Like reloading data from a major powder company like hodgdon. And since the weapon is as old as it is, load it light.

kletus
March 10, 2009, 02:12 AM
The Hogdon sites loads appear to be for smokeless guns.

RidgwayCO
March 10, 2009, 11:44 AM
If it were mine, I'd load it only with black powder cartridges like it was designed for. And only after a reputable gunsmith had checked it thoroughly.

If you need to shoot smokeless .44 Russian loads, I recommend the Navy Arms 3rd Model Russian (made by Uberti). It's a very close reproduction, a lot less expensive than the original, and is made for smokeless loads. I really enjoy shooting mine.

Old Fuff
March 10, 2009, 12:55 PM
A friend inherited an old Smith &Wesson (.44 Russian) top break revolver in fine condition...

That great! Depending on what it is, it may be worth several thousand dollars.

... and he plans on shooting it.

That isn't so great, because if he makes a mistake the value will be reduced to that of the remaining parts.

It is pretty safe to say that this revolver is over a century old. The cylinder was made using low-carbon steel, and not heat treated. It was not intended to be used with smokeless powder. Even a light charge of smokeless can bring you to grief because it burns far quicker then black powder and the pressure in the cylinder is therefore higher then it might otherwise be.

.44 Russian cartridges are now available because of the Cowboy Action Shooting game. But they are intended to be used in modern replica revolvers rather then original ones.

The wise course would be to not shoot this revolver at all. If the owner is determined to go forward, whatever he shoots should be charged with black powder.

Unfortunately I can offer no solution to stupid. :banghead:

rcmodel
March 10, 2009, 01:57 PM
+1

Black Powder only if he must shoot it at all.

rc

Jim Watson
March 10, 2009, 05:47 PM
Yup.
David Chincoine, a leading gunsmith of the old revolvers, says he has seen a lot of topbreak S&Ws with stretched topstraps and broken latches as Cowboy Action Shooting got popular and people thought they could shoot them with light smokeless loads. The cylinders can usually take it, the frames and latches are what get beat up.

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