New reloader starting 44MAG; some questions


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A strange person
July 8, 2011, 12:50 AM
1. Would it be safe to substitute the .430 diameter Hornady XTP's for the .429 diameter Nosler HP's for the loads listed on the Hodgdon load data site?

2. I've heard the Lee carbide bullet seating die for the .44 either cannot or has difficulty seating cast bullets. Is this true?

3. Why are there no loads using "lil' gun" powder listed for rifles?

4. Have people been having success with .430 cast bullets in the newest run of Marlin 1894's with "ballard" rifling?

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Lost Sheep
July 8, 2011, 04:16 AM
1. Would it be safe to substitute the .430 diameter Hornady XTP's for the .429 diameter Nosler HP's for the loads listed on the Hodgdon load data site?

2. I've heard the Lee carbide bullet seating die for the .44 either cannot or has difficulty seating cast bullets. Is this true?

3. Why are there no loads using "lil' gun" powder listed for rifles?

4. Have people been having success with .430 cast bullets in the newest run of Marlin 1894's with "ballard" rifling?
Thanks for asking our advice.

1,Does Hornady's web site have suggestions for their bullets' loading?

2. Bullet seating dies are not carbide. Only the sizing die is carbide. The case mouth expanding die is tool steel (as there is no heavy-duty metalwork going on) and the seating die does no metalwork at all. The Lee Factory Crimp die has a carbide sizing ring in it similar to the carbide sizing ring in the sizin/decappind die, but most crimp dies have no carbide in them, again, because the metalworking is not that intense.

As far as cast bullets being harder to seat than plated or jacketed, they aren't. Becuase lead bullets are often slightly oversized. This does not make them a lot harder to seat. You just have to make sure the case mouth flare is just enough that the mouth doesn't dig into the bullet's sides. Same thing applies to jacketed bullets, but you are more likely to have problems with the bullet's base. But neither is a "difficulty". Just a matter of adjustment.

3. Go to the makers of Lil' Gun and ask them via email?

4. Sorry, I don't know.

Lost Sheep

Grumulkin
July 8, 2011, 09:28 AM
1. You can use both .429 and .430 diameter bullets.

2. The Lee Factory Crimp Die does have a carbide sleeve that straightens the case and bullet during the crimping operation. I've never tried it with cast bullets so don't know if there would be a problem with that.

3. It's a myth that you have to use different loads for handguns and rifles. What shoots well in one, will most likely work well in the other. As for Lil' Gun, I wouldn't use it at all as flame temperatures from it are excessive.

Sam1911
July 8, 2011, 09:51 AM
1. Would it be safe to substitute the .430 diameter Hornady XTP's for the .429 diameter Nosler HP's for the loads listed on the Hodgdon load data site?Yes. That little difference won't be of any concern. As always, start low and work up. (But if you're using H110 or 296, don't start too low.)

2. I've heard the Lee carbide bullet seating die for the .44 either cannot or has difficulty seating cast bullets. Is this true?I've loaded something like 20,000 cast bullets with my lee dies into .44 Mag and .44 Spc. cases. So far it seems to work. But I'll keep you posted. ;)

Actually, I find that when I put a good heavy revolver crimp on my cast bullets, the crimping groove on the bullet will set it's own OAL.

I do have the Lee Factory Crimp Die, but I no longer use it for revolver cast bullet loads. I set the seating die to crimp and it does a wonderful job. The FCD is very tight on cast bullets (which tend to be more like 0.431") and makes loading too much of a chore, with no benefit.

3. Why are there no loads using "lil' gun" powder listed for rifles?Don't know. If you REALLY want to use it, call the manufacturer and ask. They'll be happy to answer. But, as Grumulkin said, a .44 Mag is a .44 Mag. Your rifle was made to fire .44 Mag "pistol" ammo. The data will be interchangeable between guns.

4. Have people been having success with .430 cast bullets in the newest run of Marlin 1894's with "ballard" rifling? From what I've heard, yes!

Asherdan
July 8, 2011, 10:55 AM
1. Hornady would be glad to shoot you their current load data for that bullet via email. Hodgdon's data is good, comparing to Hornady's makes sense. The sheet they sent me listed H110, W296 and IMR & H4227 from Hodgdon. Give them a ring or an email.

2. What others have said about the seating die and no carbide insert. I've had no problem with it and cast bullets. The carbide sleeve on the Factory Crimp Die is a problem on .430 - .431+ cast because it squeezes down your nice fat barrel groove filling cast bullet. If you get one, call in and order it direct. Tell them it's for cast bullets and ask them to take it out larger for you. When I called they offered to enlarge it by .002 - .003 for no charge, I paid to ship it to them. That did the trick.

3. Not a Lil Gun fan, but +2 to Grumulkin's answer.

4. Yes and no. The barrels on the newer run ballard barrels tend to run close to .430 - .431. I'd say no smaller than a .431 cast bullet and .432 is even better, but my barrel slugged at .4305. Then, remember not to squeeze it down by post-sizing it with an unaltered Factory Crimp die. I like 240 grain cast bullets, 200g for plinking fun. The 1-38" twist on the barrel will give you stabilization problems somewhere upwards of 300 the grain bullets.

A strange person
July 8, 2011, 07:57 PM
Groovy.

GaryL
July 8, 2011, 08:10 PM
You didn't ask, but 2400 is a very nice (and forgiving) powder for 44mag. A good one to "git yer feet wet with".

A strange person
July 8, 2011, 08:18 PM
I don't even see any loads for 2400 on the Hodgdon data site. I already picked up some H110, just because the Hodgdon data site lists the exact same load with this powder for both rifles and handguns.

A strange person
July 8, 2011, 08:21 PM
Hopefully I can use .430 cast bullets, seeing's how 99% of the .44 caliber cast bullets out there are .430. But if I cannot, I found this site called "Beartoothbullets" that makes cast .44 bullets up to .432, complete with lube rings, gas checks, and everything. Has anybody ever used their bullets?

Eb1
July 8, 2011, 08:26 PM
I am fairly new to .44 Magnum loading. I find that the .429 cal XTP out of my SBH 5.5" works great. The powder I use with it is 2400.. Close to the 1460 fps range.

Lead bullets? I use RCBS dies, and have found that it makes no difference that I can see if I seat and crimp in different stages. So now I just do that process all at once. I do trim my brass though. Makes for quicker loading on my part. For lead I am throwing IMR-4227 and Trail Boss. My lee dispenser throws Trail Boss really accurately, and IMR-4227 pretty close. Within' .2 of a grain. That is fine for me to hit my target.

I weigh the 2400 because I want those XTPs to be a close to the same as the next.


You will have fun loading the .44 Magnum. Probably the main reason I bought mine. Mild to Wild it is. Just a great caliber. If I could today. I'd buy a light weight .44 SPC or .44 Mag as my conceal carry gun.

Jeff Holt/
July 8, 2011, 08:31 PM
Try Penn Bullets also.
www.pennbullets.com

A strange person
July 8, 2011, 08:31 PM
Yeah, I heard about the 1-38" twist not stabilizing heavy bullets. I don't really care. A 300+ grain 44MAG rifle load would be so slow that a shotgun slug would be better. The good ol' 240 grainers will do whatever I need to. 200 grainers did it in the 44-40 for decades, and who knows how many deer, bear, and even moose have fallen to .50 patched round balls, which have the worst penetrating qualities a firearm projectile could possibly have. Large, terrible ballistic coefficient, soft lead, and low velocity. But they worked. I honestly can't imagine what people use the heavy bullets for. Bear defense?

However, I have heard that some people do get 300 grain bullets to stabilize in the Marlin, but no heavier.

GaryL
July 8, 2011, 08:32 PM
I don't even see any loads for 2400 on the Hodgdon data site. I already picked up some H110, just because the Hodgdon data site lists the exact same load with this powder for both rifles and handguns.
2400 is made by Alliant. Which used to be Hercules.

H110 is not forgiving. It is full power magnum only. The loading range is fairly narrow, and it is a very stout load. I haven't had any issues lighting it with Winchester LP primers, but I'd seriously consider magnum primers in any other brand, especially if the data calls for it. After I chronographed my loads, I've actually decided to stop using H110 in 44mag. My slightly upper mid loads of 2400 come within 100fps of H110, with a lot less recoil and better accuracy. If I want to push up the 2400 loads, I still have plenty of overhead to work with.

A strange person
July 8, 2011, 08:34 PM
"Mild to wild". Exactly.

Thanks for the link Jeff.

A strange person
July 8, 2011, 08:43 PM
I got H110 powder precisely because the loading range is so low; I can count on having the velocity I want. If it's stout, good! I want my Marlin 1894 to be at least a 100 yard big game gun with 240 grain bullets, and I'm gonna need at least 1700 fps to do it. somehow, the recoil of the .44MAG in a 6.5 lb. gun does not inspire fear in me, not after my 6.25 lb., 18" Ruger M77 in .308. Ugh! Glad I got rid of that thing.

ironhead7544
July 8, 2011, 08:52 PM
The 1 in 38 twist will work with bullets up to 265 gr or so. Sometimes they will stabilize a 300 gr if they are driven fast enough. 200 gr RFN cast works fine with Unique for about 1400 fps. This is the bullet and speed the 1 in 38 twist was made for. I heard they changed the 444 marlin to a 1 on 20 twist so the new 44 Magnum rifles may have been changed also.

I like the Lee Factory Crimp die as it will set the cartridge up to fit in any chamber. I hate trouble at the range. For cast bullets it would be worthwhile to get it enlarged like the other guys said here.

I started out loading for the 44 Mag in 1972. It is a good one to learn on. I use 296/H110 for heavy loads and Unique for practice.

A strange person
July 8, 2011, 09:25 PM
I'm planning to create the following loads:

240 grain XTP, 1700-1800 fps
For deer and black bear out to 100 yards (Northwoods hunting)

240 grain cast flat nose, 1000 fps
For target, plinking, small game, self-defense, and for quick, opportunistic shots while hiking, as it would be relatively hearing-safe and would pack enough wallop for deer out to 40 yards or so in my opinion.

200 grain JSP, 2050 fps
This would be enough velocity for me to reliably hit deer with at 150 yards or more. At this range, it would be ballistically identical to a 44-40 at the muzzle. I'd probably restrict this to whitetails.

Eb1
July 8, 2011, 10:16 PM
I shoot the Missouri Cast Bullet Co. 240 LSWC without issues. Between 900 and 1400 fps there isn't any leading. Just fun, fun, fun with easy cleanup.

ArchAngelCD
July 8, 2011, 11:36 PM
3. Why are there no loads using "lil' gun" powder listed for rifles?
If you're talking about the data provided on the Hodgdon load data site it's simple, Hodgdon doesn't update their handgun caliber load data often in the rifle section. It seems they never add new powders to the rifle section and I'm guessing it's because they don't want to do the velocity tests. The only difference between the 44 Magnum load data in the handgun section and rifle section is the reported velocity. The charge weights and pressures are the same. You can use any of the load data from the handgun section in a rifle because like I said, the only difference is the reported velocities.

Powderman
July 8, 2011, 11:51 PM
240 grain XTP, 1700-1800 fps
For deer and black bear out to 100 yards (Northwoods hunting)

Friend, you're in dangerous territory here.

Current data from the Hodgdon reloading site shows maximum loads and velocities with H110 and the 240 grain Nosler JHP at 1522 fps. Even with the longer rifle barrel, I cannot see stacking on 200 fps more.

And, for the 200 grain jacketed bullet, 28.5 grains will just barely break 1800 fps with H110. That is a max load, by the way.

If you want a good bullet for game, I highly recommend a good, heavy bullet pushed at moderate velocities. My favorite load for my .44 Magnum is my own cast Keith style LSWC, sized to .430 inch, and lubed with Javelina Alox. 8.5 grains of Unique makes the bullet clear my revolver (8 inch Smith and Wesson) at slightly over 1000 fps. I have personally driven that bullet (cast from wheelweight) through 2 inches of CDX plywood at 50 yards. It is a hard-hitting and accurate load. Max for that bullet is 11.0 of Unique; I'd probably start at 9.5 and work up for a good, hard hitting load.

I can give an even better example...

I shoot a black powder cartridge rifle--a .45-120 Sharps. I use a number of bullets in it, but my favorite load is 120 grains of Goex 1F, compressed, with sealer and overpowder wads and a grease cookie, under a 500 grain Postell-type cast bullet, sized to .459 inch. Out of a 34" barrel, this load will come cruising out at about 1630 fps--but it will knock an elk out of its socks at 300 yards. Not the fastest load in the world--but it hits like a rabid locomotive on steroids.

Asherdan
July 9, 2011, 03:19 AM
H110 and W296 have been used at manual levels to achieve that velocity range in 20" carbines for quite some time. Heck, I get 1745 with a 240g XTP and a 20.5g charge of 2400 and that's a full grain short of Hornady data max.

Depending on powder type, you can stack 300 to 400 fps out of a 20" barrel on top of revolver velocities.

Don't take my word for it though. I've attached the Hornady data their customer service emailed me when I got in touch with them after I first bought some of their 240g XTP's.

They list 8 different powders that'll reach the OP's goals and I've run two of them my ownself and can vouch for them.

As far as running the XTP at that speed? They've killed deer and pig for me just fine from 50 to 180 yards.

A strange person
July 9, 2011, 12:29 PM
Quote:
240 grain XTP, 1700-1800 fps
For deer and black bear out to 100 yards (Northwoods hunting)
Friend, you're in dangerous territory here.

Look at the .44MAG rifle data. The starting load with H110 gives 1750 fps. I may not have made it clear that I am using a Marlin 1894, sorry.

Asherdan
July 9, 2011, 01:28 PM
BTW, strange person...

Missouri Bullets (http://www.missouribullet.com/results.php?category=5&secondary=12) doesn't list .431 bullets but the operator confirmed he has that sizer and can run them if requested. Oregon Trail Laser Cast (http://www.laser-cast.com/44Cal.html) run .431 as well.

Beartooth bullets are good stuff and Marshall Stanton is a gentleman, but they aren't exactly priced as plinking fodder. For more serious things, great stuff.

A strange person
July 9, 2011, 07:29 PM
Beartooth bullets aren't any more expensive than the cast bullets I was looking at on midway, but the Missouri bullets are dirt cheap. Thanks for the link.

Sam1911
July 9, 2011, 07:36 PM
And Brad from Missouri Bullets is a contributing member here who is more than happy to help you with any questions you might have and any special requests, too.

Send him a PM at MissouriBullet (http://www.thehighroad.org/member.php?u=80576).

(And make sure you use the THR code when ordering! ;) )

A strange person
July 9, 2011, 07:39 PM
The 1894 hasn't come in yet, but I am ordering the dies and bullets and stuff tonight. Let's say my 1894 can handle .430 bullets just fine. If that is the case, is there any reason I should not use .431 bullets? I have never loaded cast bullets before.

Sam1911
July 9, 2011, 07:47 PM
No, you'll be fine. The difference of 0.001" is not something to concern yourself with.

The only time that might be an issue is if you were to get bad leading because your bore is over-sized. That's not terribly likely as modern bores are usually very consistent, but if it was the case, the more bore-filling your slugs are, the less blow-by and leading you'd be likely to get.

Now, you are planning to drive a lead bullet pretty fast, IMHO. Might want to ask Brad (or whomever you're buying from) for his reccomendations on hardness for that speed. A lot of folks using cast bullets at velocities over ~1,500 use copper gas checks, but some combinations of bullet, gun, and lube seem to get along ok up closer to the 1,700-1,800 range.

To do the calculating yourself, read Brad's page on hardness and pressure: http://www.missouribullet.com/technical.php

Shaky
July 9, 2011, 08:01 PM
One thing to keep in mind when you order your boolits: the "true" Keith style swc's will yield an overall length of 1.71", which will almost certainly be too long for your Marlin (unless it has been modified). Make sure you order boolits that will give a oal of 1.6 or less (nose length of</= .315") to ensure it'll digest them.

A strange person
July 9, 2011, 08:04 PM
I'm just going to go with the .431's then. Thanks for all your help guys.

I'm not going to be shooting them fast. The fast loads will be XTP's and a 200 grain JSP if I can find one.

Sam1911
July 9, 2011, 08:06 PM
Oh, whoops! Just re-read your previous posts. At 1,000 you're golden.

A strange person
July 9, 2011, 08:14 PM
No one ever called me golden before. I'm flattered.

ArchAngelCD
July 9, 2011, 10:41 PM
And Brad from Midway is a contributing member here
I'm sure you meant Brad from Missouri Bullets...

Sam1911
July 10, 2011, 08:39 AM
Oh good grief! Yeah. That was a slip! I'll go back and fix that.

ssyoumans
July 10, 2011, 11:34 AM
24.0gr of 296 using 240gr XTP's gets me 1771fps out of my 2009 Marlin 1894. Great accuracy. Hodgdon lists this as max (although it looks like Hornady lists a little hotter, 24.8).
10.3 gr of Unique with the MBC 240gr Smasher runs 1402 fps. I don't use the factory crimp die. Firm roll crimp is much better with these loads, especially with any 296 loads.

zxcvbob
July 10, 2011, 11:48 AM
If you're just starting out, don't use Lil'gun, 296, or H110. Save those for later when you know what you are doing and know what to expect. There are plenty of other good powders than will get you to almost the same power levels without the dangers of undercharging or poor ignition etc. 2400 is a good one. I really like Herco with heavy cast bullets, but you don't hear much about that one anymore. Power Pistol should be good but I haven't gotten around to trying it (there's an unopened pound on my powder shelf.) Blue Dot can be very good if you find a load your gun likes, but there are as many bad loads as good for some reason, so put that one in your "try it later" list too. Red Dot is excellent for low power loads with lead bullets and might be good for your 1000 fps load. It gets unpleasant if you load it too high.

Eb1
July 10, 2011, 01:10 PM
I have some 255 grain Beartooth GC bullets that I tried from my SBH. I couldn't get them to shoot very well. Must be made for rifles, but I tell you what. That meplat on the bullet is so big. I think I could cut a ribeye on it. Geez.
I hope to get them shooting good. I could send you five if you wanted to try them out of your rifle. Just PM me.

A strange person
July 10, 2011, 09:12 PM
I have not opened my can of H110 yet, and after hearing what you all have to say about, I may not for a while. I'm glad I got it though, because I will want to really get the most performance possible out of the .44MAG at some point. Maybe when I get a more accurate (more expensive) scale, for safety's sake. I tend to stay away from max loads in general, though.

2400 powder has been mentioned often, but I cannot find any loads with it on Hodgdon's site. Where could I find some?

I'm going to use trailboss powder for my cast load. I have plenty of it left over from when I was trying to make Townsend Whelen's "grouse" load for my .308. It worked pretty well.

ssyoumans
July 10, 2011, 09:28 PM
2400 powder has been mentioned often, but I cannot find any loads with it on Hodgdon's site. Where could I find some?

2400 is made by Alliant, not Hodgdon.

Google Alliant 2004 reloading guide PDF

It has a lot more data than the current limited data Alliant publishes now.

A strange person
July 10, 2011, 10:21 PM
Thanks ssyoumans. One can never have enough reloading manuals in his favorites folder.

Eb1
July 10, 2011, 10:57 PM
ASP, look here http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/default.aspx

That is max data listed. So you will want to back off 10% for your starting loads. ASP, another thing about TB in your .44 Magnum is that it shoots dirty. It shoots good, but you will think you are shooting black powder. LOL There will be a nice smoke trail. Maybe why they name it Trail Boss.
I load 7.3 grains under a Missouri Cast Bullet Company 240 grain LSWC, and it is very accurate at 25 yards, and it has very little recoil out of the 5 1/2" Ruger SBH.

It has been mentioned to me to save the 2400 for the jacketed bullets. I am starting to listen to that advice. Seems with the same 240 grain bullet I use with Trail Boss doesn't do so well with 2400. If you are wanting a little more boom for your lead bullets up to around 1350 fps. I would suggest IMR 4227. It works great for me. Others might disagree, but I can only speak from my experiences. I like IMR 4227 with lead.

A strange person
July 11, 2011, 12:46 AM
I never noticed any smoke when I was was using TB in my .308.

zxcvbob
July 11, 2011, 01:04 AM
I've found that all powders work best when loaded towards the upper end of their range (not necessarily right at the max, except for 296.) So I pick the powder that will top out at the performance level I'm seeking. This also is an economical way to select powder.

With cast bullets, Herco really is a good one, and Unique is right behind it. I haven't tried it with j-bullets.

Eb1
July 11, 2011, 02:31 AM
Comparing .308 rifle to a .44 Magnum with a cylinder. Apples to Oranges.

Also were you using cast bullets with your .308? You see lube seems to smoke when you shoot cast bullets, and you can especially see it when you are not loading full power loads, but hey. You probably know more about Trail Boss and .44 Magnum that I do. Seems here lately everybody wants in on the act.

But then again you may have one of those rare .308 revolvers that are floating around.:banghead:

Sam1911
July 11, 2011, 08:08 AM
I shoot a flippin' HEAP of Trail Boss through a .44 revolver. May I comment? :rolleyes:


I don't find it to be a dirty powder at all. I often put 500-1,000 rds through the gun without any cleaning. (Something I was never able to do with Herco or Blue Dot, which left chunks and crumbs in every crevice of the gun within 100 rds.)

It is somewhat smoky with cast bullets -- but everything seems to be. I run cast bullet loads in various guns over TiteGroup, W231, Clays, American Select, Herco, Blue Dot, H110, ... and probably some I'm forgetting. They all smoke ... well, maybe not the H110 loads. They're going too fast to smoke! :D

A strange person
July 11, 2011, 09:29 PM
I thought about using cast bullets in my .308, but never got around to it. They wouldn't have really been good for anything anyway, except squirrel hunting. That's what I like about the big slow calibers; both the "mild" and "wild" loads will put anything from squirrels to deer on the dinner table. You're just changing the recoil and muzzle blast mostly. The survivalist in me craves that kind of versatility.

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