New 44


October 27, 2011, 11:53 PM
New 44

I just got a Ruger Blackhawk in 44 Mag. It has a 5.5 inch barrel, fluted cylinder, and rosewood grips. Since I have been loading for 44 Spl for many years, and have all the stuff, I don't know if I will ever shoot any factory ammo in this new gun.

I have a bunch of the old Elmer Kieth semi-wadcutter cast bullets, about 250 gr. I am thinking about loading them with 9.8 grains of Unique for starters. (The load from The Lyman Manual) Thoughts?

If you enjoyed reading about "New 44" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
October 28, 2011, 08:38 AM
That should work but you might want to back off a little and work up. I found good loads at 8.5 and 9.0gr of Unique. 10gr works for a lot of people but didn't shoot all that great in my SBH Hunter.

October 28, 2011, 09:51 AM
That's a safe load in 44 Mag brass. Hopefully you are not using 9.8 gr of Unique in 44 Special brass? If so, you are seriously overloading those cases, and a 44 Special case could just let go and possibly damage a fine collectable revolver.

October 28, 2011, 11:06 AM
I will be using mag brass in this gun. Well, the new brass is all prepped and primed. This morning I will drop some powder and go try it out.

The Lyman book says that the mold 429421 will drop a 245 grain bullet. Mine are coming out at 251 to 254. I have to wonder how much that little bit extra weight would affect the pressure?

The Lyman manual also suggests linotype for lead bullets in the 44 mag. These bullets are from wheelweights with a bit of tin added. They seem fairly hard, but I have no way of testing them for hardness. I hope they will work if I don't drive them too hard.

October 28, 2011, 06:05 PM
I loaded 24 with 9.8 gr of Unique and went and shot them. They worked OK. Can't say much about the accuracy at this point. I spent a bit of time adjusting the sight. It may still need some tweaking. I will load up some more now that I know this load works and maybe next time I shoot I can go for accuracy and see how it goes. Problem is ........... accuracy results are often compromised by the shooter. :o


October 28, 2011, 06:18 PM
I have that same gun in Stainless. I switched out the SA grips for Hogue Mono Grips because I could control it better with higher loads.
The gun shoots awesome. I bought the gun to hunt with, and use for protection while out in the woods. I think the rosewood grips are beautiful, and really look good, but for me they didn't allow me to keep a good firm grip. The gun rolled to much on me, and I would get mediocre accuracy. The same loads with the Hogue grips shoot great. It was night and day, being able to control the revolver made all the difference.

I will share my favorite loads for my 5.5" SBH.

LSWC 240 grain from MO. Cast Bullet Company:
7.3 grains Trail Boss, Win Brass, CCI Primer (I have a pic of 3 cylinders @ 25 yards or so in another thread) see pic below. That is a 6" target.
22.0 grains IMR 4227, Win Brass, Win primer (Shoots around 3" groups @ 50 yards with irons without a rest)

I use Unique sometimes with Beartooth Bullets @ 255 grains. I have used up to 12 grains of Unique, but that is my choice in my gun. I am not recommending you use this load. I think your load of 9.8 gr of Unique will be fine in magnum brass.

I also shoot a 240 gr. XTP, win brass, win primer, and 20.5 grains of 2400 (shoots about the same size groups as the IMR 4227 load).

You'll really like this pistol, I think.
One little tip. If your rear sight pin starts to walk on you. Ruger's recommended fix is it give it a little bend before you flush it up, and it will stay put, and doesn't void warranty. I thought I'd share that with you because you don't want to let it fall out. Just keep an eye on it.

October 28, 2011, 07:37 PM
Use the old Bullet hardness scale.
If you can scratch them with you thumbnail, they are soft.
If you can't scratch them with you thumbnail, they are hard.
If you clamp one in a vice and hit it with a hammer and it breaks, they are Linotype.


October 28, 2011, 07:58 PM
rc, you're a world of knowledge when it comes to firearms. Thanks.

October 28, 2011, 11:37 PM
Some years back when the printers stopped using lead for type setting, I was able to get a bunch of linotype metal. Alas it was all used up some time back. I have been using wheel weights lately. I get them at no cost so it makes some inexpensive bullets. I can't scratch them with a thumbnail.

I had an old lead shower pan which was soft lead and I mixed it with some wheel weights and cast a bunch of 45 bullets. These are probably a bit softer bullets. Any way, they all shoot, and I have had very little problems with leading in the barrels. I cast 45, 44, and 38 bullets.

Eb1, thanks for the recipes. Yes, I think I will like this gun. I bought a Colt SAA in 44 spl while I was still in high school (1957- Yep, guess that dates me) I also got into reloading and casting back then. I shot that 44 like most kids shoot a 22. Any way I get along fine with the SA type grips. Probably cause I grew up with them. Always wanted a 44 mag, So been saving pennies to get this one.

Back in those old days, some of the recipes for 44 SPL were pretty stout. Not for the old guns, but just for the new ones with the better metals.
I have noticed the loads in the current manuals have been cut back some from those times.

For instance, the vintage Lyman manual calls for max 7.8 grains of Unique with a 250 grain Keith bullet. The current Lyman manual calls for max 6.9 grains of Unique with a 245 grain bullet.
My pet load was 7.7 gr of unique with the Keith 250 gr bullet. I shot a lot of those. (Caution, just cause I got away with it, doesn't mean we should disregard the current data)

I think both manuals referred to the Lyman bullet mold 429421, The Elmer Keith design. My mold always cast bullets a little over 250 grains, yet the new manual says that mold casts a bullet at 245. Go figure?

November 1, 2011, 12:47 PM

Thought I'd post a picture. It is not that often I get a new gun. Have a great day!

Bull Nutria
November 1, 2011, 04:02 PM
James 2 ,

that is a fine looking piece!! i like the photo composure and the fine looking reloads!

have fun with that gun!!


November 1, 2011, 10:24 PM
I have a particular fondness for that kind of artillery.

Puurdee. :cool:



November 1, 2011, 10:33 PM
While a 10 grain load of Unique with a 250 Keith should be safe in most guns, I'd still back off to about 8 grains and work my way up. I'd do it to find the best accuracy and watch for leading.

Hondo 60
November 1, 2011, 10:46 PM
According to Alliant for a 250 gr Keith bullet the max Unique load is 11.
So 9.8 is in the safe zone.

Load up a few & have at it!

Stay safe

November 1, 2011, 11:34 PM

This pic really makes me want to put my rosewood back on my SBH, but I know I could not shoot it as accurately with them, but they sure look good. Nice looking hardware. Like I said, I have the stainless model. It is more gray than shinny.
I just love shooting the .44 Magnum. More than any other handgun I own.

November 2, 2011, 09:45 PM
I gotta get one of them.

November 2, 2011, 10:40 PM
I have an old Super BH 44 mag. and those grips are very nice looking but they do put a hurt on the hand, especially with full house H110/296 loads. For some accurate full house magnum shooting try H110 or 296 and you'll see why that cartridge was labled the worlds most powerful handgun when first introduced. The 200 gr. jacketed will fly at near 1900 fps while still delivering excellent accuracy. I've killed several deer, one at almost 150 yds., and tons of coyotes and jack rabbits with that load.

If you enjoyed reading about "New 44" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!