44 special or light 44 mag loads, which for me?


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Photoguy
October 1, 2011, 01:14 PM
Howdy folks, first post on THR.

I've found that I really enjoy shooting 44 special. Typically out of 44 magnum guns, as I don't have a dedicated 44 spcl gun.

However, 44 special brass is sure hard to find and not cheap. None of the "once fired" places have it in stock and I've yet to find a better price on any of the auction sites than $19/100 at midway for new starline. 44 mag brass however is much easier to find, not to mention the fact that I already have a pile.

So, my question is: Should I just keep scrounging 44 spl brass and load those loads as they should be loaded? Or should I work up some light 44 mag loads and just use the bigger cases? Yes, I know that I don't want to just blindly use 44 special loads in 44 magnum cases because the pressures will be all different. I'm more talking about starting with some proper light magnum loads if I go that direction rather than trying to modify special loads for the larger case.

My uses for the guns I would be firing these out of are mostly paper punching and range games. There's a slight chance that I would someday carry one of them if I were fishing in "furry" areas. But that sort of thing isn't a concern in 99% of my fishing areas. So it wouldn't be enough of a issue to say flat out "just shoot the 44 magnum cases so that you don't have to worry about fouling up the cylinder with the shorter special cases and then not being able to chamber the 44 magnum cases when you wanted". If I shoot 44 special and then find myself wanting the full house loads for some reason, I will just double down and make sure that the cylinder is properly scrubbed.

Lastly, any thoughts on loads for either special or light magnum? Lots of good info in the archives, but it's always worth checking in to see what people are using.

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rcmodel
October 1, 2011, 01:25 PM
If you have them, use them.
Just use .44 Spl data in .44 Mag cases.

It will work just fine.

I would suggest the old standard "Skeeter load" which is a 250 grain Keith SWC over 7.5 grains Unique in .44 Spl. cases & guns.

Maybe bump it up to 9.0 - 9.5 grains in .44 Mag brass & guns.

A 250 Keith SWC at 1,000 will kill anything that crawls or walks with little recoil and blast compared to full power .44 Mag loads.

rc

CraigC
October 1, 2011, 02:13 PM
However, 44 special brass is sure hard to find and not cheap.
I've heard this several times over the last few months and still don't understand it. There are more new .44Spl sixguns on the market today than at any other time in history. Ruger alone now has at least six variations of Blackhawks plus several New Vaqueros. Starline .44Special brass is available from Midway and costs exactly the same as .44Mag brass. Which is $40-$60 less than Remington and Winchester. Starline is better anyway. No, you might not find dirt cheap once-fired brass but these cases will last a very long time and even buying new Starline the cost will be insignificant spread over 20-30 firings. Buy it if you need it.

Walkalong
October 1, 2011, 02:19 PM
Agreed. cases are available.

I have two .44 Specials, so I need .44 Spl brass. Love my .44 Specials.

I do not download .44 Mag, but there is absolutely no reason not to. I do it with .357 brass all the time.

You can load .44 Mag brass anywhere from very light to max, using the appropriate powders of course. No reason not to, and many people do.

Welcome to THR.

Photoguy
October 1, 2011, 02:44 PM
To be clear to everyone, I agree on the fact that 44 special brass is available new. Starline is a good deal compared to the crazy prices that winchester brass sells for. And of course the price differences are negligible between once fired and new starline across the life of the brass.

The issue isn't so much the fact that I can't find once-fired brass in 44 special (though I would like to be able to) it's that I already have 44 mag brass I could use for free. So the price comparison isn't $19/100 new vs $8/100 once-fired or whatever. It's $19/100 new starline vs $0/100 magnum I already own.

I'm just trying to figure out if there's a reason I should care to shoot one over the other. I love saving a buck, but if there's a good reason to load special rather than light magnum, I want to know about it. Of course, if you have a 44 special the question is answered. But at the moment, I just have magnums.

Thanks to everyone so far. THR has so much good info and good people willing to help. It's pretty cool.

Sam1911
October 1, 2011, 02:47 PM
I do not download .44 Mag, but there is absolutely no reason not to.I would say exactly the same thing.

In my years of shooting .44 Spc. in competition (through a .44 Mag revolver), I've found exactly ONE range-left-over case that wasn't mine. So what? I bought a couple of boxes of Starline .44 Spc. brass and still have 90% of it. A little will split after a handful of loadings, but most seems to last something like "indefinitely." The cost of the brass trends toward zero as you load it over and over.

I like how positively a .44 Spc. case ejects from a .44 Mag. gun, so I shoot loads that work with the shorter cases most of the time. But if you have magnum cases, load them.

gamestalker
October 1, 2011, 05:44 PM
I've never done it, but can't 44 mag. brass be trimmed down to 44 spcl. specification? It would probably be a little thicker around the mouth, but after reaming and chamfering I would think it would be just fine?

rcmodel
October 1, 2011, 05:46 PM
It would.

But there would be no point, as he has a .44 Mag revolver already.

rc

joed
October 1, 2011, 06:11 PM
I've loaded light .44 mag loads for years. My plinking load is 7.5 gr of Unique with the 250 gr LSWC in mag brass.

The downfall of the .44 Spl is brass, it's every bit as much as mag brass. Luckily I have lots of it that I bought about 12 years ago when I bought my first .44.

I have a few mags as well as Spl revolvers. Truth be told I have never shot a mag load out of the magnums, I have no use for that hot a load.

Walkalong
October 1, 2011, 06:26 PM
The issue isn't so much the fact that I can't find once-fired brass in 44 special (though I would like to be able to)
Some calibers are just that way. Not many people leave .44 Spl brass at the range. .32 Long is another. I have to buy it, as well as .32 Mag.

I find some .38 Spl., and a few .357's, even a few .45 Colts, but I have found maybe five .44 Spl cases all these years.

ArchAngelCD
October 2, 2011, 04:43 AM
I'm just trying to figure out if there's a reason I should care to shoot one over the other. I love saving a buck, but if there's a good reason to load special rather than light magnum, I want to know about it. Of course, if you have a 44 special the question is answered. But at the moment, I just have magnums.
There is absolutely no reason not to load .44 Special loads in .44 Magnum brass. If you already have a lot of magnum brass use it. Like said above, all you need to do is use .44 Special load data in the .44 Magnum brass and you're good to go. You will probably get slightly less velocity from the magnum brass than when you load it in Special brass because the magnum brass has slightly more case volume. That can be cured by adding a grain or two more powder if the velocity matters to you.

Mr.Revolverguy
October 2, 2011, 04:50 AM
8.5gr of Hodgdon Universal is one sweet load.

FROGO207
October 2, 2011, 10:14 AM
Well the thing that has me loading the 44MAG brass with the reduced loads is that if you do that there is no need to clean the cylinder of that powder/lead ring that will develop when shooting the shorter 44SPL. When you want to go back to shoot the 44MAG rounds the ring would need to be removed or dangerous pressures would result. I do use 38SPL in my 357's and have to clean that ring out of them as I have a metric buttload of 38 SPL brass on hand but relatively few 357 brass cause I am so cheap.:D

RevGeo
October 2, 2011, 12:08 PM
No reason to use .44Sp brass. A .44Mag case loaded with 7 grains of Unique is a .44Sp.

George

ArchAngelCD
October 2, 2011, 12:15 PM
Like "FROGO207" I also shoot .38 Special brass in my .357 Magnum. I carry a spent .357 case to the range when I want to shoot both in the same day. If there's a carbon ring left from the .38's I tap the spent .357 case into each cylinder and the ring is gone...

mdi
October 2, 2011, 12:54 PM
Well, there you have it. Most say down load Magnums to Special velocities/pressures. Me too. I have a S&W 629 that had a steady diet of full patch Magnum loads until I sent it to S&W for repair, now she likes between 8 and 9 grains of Unique under a Lyman 429421 touched off with a lg. pistol primer in magnum brass...

Photoguy
October 2, 2011, 02:21 PM
Thanks everyone for all the advice, I appreciate it. Looks like I'm going to give downloading 44 mag a try.

gofastman
October 2, 2011, 03:28 PM
If you already have a bunch of .44 mag brass, use it!
pick up some IMR Trail Boss (http://www.imrpowder.com/shotpist.html) powder, the stuff is great for light loads.


7grs under a 240gr bullet should give about 900fps and has great case fill.

Eb1
October 2, 2011, 05:30 PM
Gotta love loading the .44 Magnum. Just a great caliber to load. Even when downloaded you are still sending a 240 grain LSWC @ 900 fps. Now I have to go to the range tonight to shoot the .44 Mag. Thanks. I'll be sure to tell the wife it was all of you guys fault... :)

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