Getting the most out of the 44 Magnum


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Action_Can_Do
November 4, 2011, 04:41 PM
Hello everyone. I'm currently edging up, power wise, with 44 magnum loads. I'm not concerned about abusing the gun as it's a Ruger Super Redhawk, but I'm curious about other peoples' experiences with max loads for the 44 magnum. So far, H-110 seems to deliver the most accuracy with Hornady XTP bullets for me, but I haven't really tried all that many bullet designs. What have you learned while loading and firing max loads for this particular round and what are your favorite loads?

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buck460XVR
November 4, 2011, 08:24 PM
My experience with XTPs and the .44 mag is that best accuracy is achieved before I get to max loads. IMHO, The extra 50-80FPS from the max loadings is not enough to warrant the loss in accuracy. This is from a coupla 629s, lever carbines and a 77/44.

rcmodel
November 4, 2011, 08:37 PM
+1

Best Accuracy vis the Hottest MAX load you can concoct are seldom if ever the same load in any caliber.

An extra 50 - 75 FPS is meaningless in a .44 Magnum anyway, if you can hit what you shoot with it.

rc

beatledog7
November 4, 2011, 08:38 PM
As you approach max, pressure rises a lot faster than velocity. Each handloader has to decide whether the incremental increase in velocity (and theoretically flatness and energy) that can be achieved is worth the risks associated with excessive pressure or the shrinking longevity of a fine firearm.

sugarmaker
November 4, 2011, 08:43 PM
Powder that fills case at max load. I like the sierra 220 fpj / 22.5 2400 / cci mag primers / light roll crimp, gives best accuracy over a few guns I shoot. My favorite is a tuned Wesson 44V 8", it's a big caddilac shooting these. With this load the bullet just contacts the powder charge. Gun will shoot 3MOA from rested position from all 6 holes (6 shot group). My 29's (older 4" and 6")are much sharper in recoil and Either I'm worse or they are, can't match the wesson for accuracy.

Steve in PA
November 4, 2011, 09:33 PM
Abusing a SRH??? Are you serious??? Those revolvers are built like a bank vault! I know, I've been shooting and hunting with one for probably 15 years. And in theose 15 years, my SRH has been fed a steady diet of 240gr XTP's over 24.0gr of H110. My bear load is a 300gr XTP and 20.0gr of H110.

This is a target I shot at last week, making sure my scope was still on. That is a clenched fist sized group, fired at 100yds from a rest.

http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d159/Steve_in_PA/Targets/SRH44mag_240grXTP_100yds.jpg

These pics are from last year.

http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d159/Steve_in_PA/Guns/1016091545.jpg

http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d159/Steve_in_PA/Guns/1016091544c.jpg

gofastman
November 4, 2011, 10:19 PM
Abusing a SRH??? Are you serious??? Those revolvers are built like a bank vault!
ugh, what is it about the SRH that causes such bad magnumitus?
the ARE unquestionably very tough, but trying to turn a .44mag into a .454 Casull is just stupid.

An extra 50 - 75 FPS is meaningless in a .44 Magnum anyway, if you cant hit what you shoot with it.
well said

Hondo 60
November 4, 2011, 10:23 PM
I tried Lil Gun & Holy Cow!
It kicked harder'n a Missouri mule!

Maybe I'm a woss but I don't think I'll try that again.
For a Nosler 240 gr JHP, Hodgdon says the range is 22.5 - 24.5.
I tried 23.5.
I got about 1350 fps.
Accuracy was worse than lighter loads using Tite Group.
But I think I may have been flinching some too.

Hope this helps.

Stay safe my friends!

Action_Can_Do
November 5, 2011, 06:37 AM
Let me be clear about something. I'm not trying to push the 44 magnum to 454 casull velocities. I have a 454 casull that does that just fine. What I'm interested in is getting the kind of performance out of the 44 magnum that it originally delivered in it's first factory loadings, namely, a 240 gr bullet at around 1500 fps. We're always hearing how modern guns are much stronger than the ones made 50 years ago. If those old S&W 44 magnums were able to handle a limited diet of such potent rounds, than I have to believe that a modern, strong design like the Super Redhawk could handle an unlimited diet of them. This ammo can still be had in factory form, though it comes from companies like Buffalo Bore and is as expensive as sin.
I suppose the reason I put this post up is because I constantly see others putting up posts about how to load the 44 magnum down to 44 special levels. I think we've all seen posts like that. I want to hear about people's experiences with full power magnum loads, bullets they've tried, powders, primers, brass, guns, ect.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
November 5, 2011, 07:04 AM
If that target (in post #6) is what you are currently able to shoot with that gun at 100 yards, I would call that GREAT and take it to the woods.

I agree with others that nearly 100 FPS faster is not going to be worth a hill of beans if, when you place your shot, you hit the animal in a humane way for a quick kill.

You could be driving the bullet at any speed and if you end up hitting the deer in the gut (read intestines), he most likely will run off to live an excrutiatingly-painful death maybe only to be eaten by coyotes, fox, crow, hawk, etc.

Casefull
November 5, 2011, 12:48 PM
I would try some slower powders and also see how much clearance you have at the cylinder/barrel interface...you can lose a lot of pressure in revolvers if that is a few thousands larger than necessary. Compare a freedom arms to most revolvers and you will see what I mean. Have you tried lil gun powder?

gamestalker
November 5, 2011, 02:12 PM
I load for a SRH and a SBH using XTP's and a host of other jacketed bullets using H110 & 296. I've hunted and killed deer, countless jack rabbits & coyotes with both, and I've never had any accuracy issues of noticable degree even at extended distances.

And regarding over working either of those Ruger's, I'm still loading for them with the same full house loads as described above without any noticable signs of wear or loosening up. That SRH of your's is built to handle anything you put through it, and will likely out live you.

Grab your H110/296 and load within the published data and just enjoy that power house handgun. But my best experience for velocity and accuracy has been with bullets in the 200 gr. to 225 gr. weights. They go through and through a mule deer with no problem.

Steve in PA
November 5, 2011, 06:11 PM
Yes, that target is from 100 yards. Last week I was shooting at the range you see in the other pictures and several rifle shooters asked me, "is that thing accurate at 100 yards"? I let them look through my spotting scope and they were amazed at the groups. They were truely amazed at;

1) That a .44mag could shoot at 100 yards
2) That a handgun could shoot groups like that

kelbro
November 5, 2011, 08:27 PM
Last week I was shooting at the range you see in the other pictures and several rifle shooters asked me, "is that thing accurate at 100 yards"? I let them look through my spotting scope and they were amazed at the groups. They were truely amazed at;

1) That a .44mag could shoot at 100 yards
2) That a handgun could shoot groups like that

I sometimes get the same thing when shooting my SBH Hunter. The sometimes are my rare 'good' days. :) The pistol is more than capable.

gamestalker
November 5, 2011, 08:27 PM
Using a rest of course, I've shot jack rabbits at 100 + yards and have aquired a great deal of respect for the 44 magnum for long range shooting with full house loads. The Super Red Hawk is sporting an optic and is very functional as a hunting weapon out to 150 yards and beyond, and using a laser range finder/BDC increases it's long range capacity a good deal.

So as I stated in my previous post, load up with some H110 or 296 and get everyting you can out of that jewel. Full house magnum loads aren't everyones cup of tea, so too speak, but if your anything like myself and family, you'll get a great deal of satisfaction from properly worked up maximum 44 mag. performance. But I'll be prefectly hinest in that respect too in that when loading with those powders and for my SBH or SRH I don't work up from the bottom. I've never experienced any reason to with those almost indestructable boat anchor's. I don't remember off the top of my head what the H110/296 powder charge range is, but I do know I've exceeded it with little or no change in performance or pressures.

Action_Can_Do
November 7, 2011, 07:26 PM
I recall in a magazine article that J.D. Jones spoke of a 44 magnum handload he came up with that would drive a 300 gr. bullet at 1500 fps out of a redhawk with a 7 inch barrel.:eek: I'm not trying for anything that potent, but it's interesting to know it can be done. J.D. Jones wouldn't reveal the load data so it's pretty obvious how he felt about others trying it.

Hondo 60
November 8, 2011, 12:10 AM
I have a very nice soft shooting load.
Hodgdon Tite Group 9.0 gr w/ 240gr plated or jacketed bullet.

It's a lower end recipe as far as speed & kick - about 1000fps.
But I've allowed several young people to shoot it & they always want more.

I've also tried Lil Gun as mentioned above in post #8.
Decent speed, but I'll bet other powders will kick less.

Stay safe my friends.

evan price
November 8, 2011, 07:10 AM
+1 on Titegroup; I use 9.5 grains and a 240 SWC. I also use 8.0 of Promo and that's a nice soft load.

41 Mag
November 9, 2011, 05:47 AM
When I purchased my Redhawk in 44 back in the mid 80's I got it specifically to trade for a 41 if I ever found one. This said, I ended up mounting a Leupold 4X on to of it and started working on hunting with it. When I found the 41 I traded off my BH instead.

Anyway, as with quite a few loads I have worked up in the past, I looked through all my manuals, and called a couple of the bullet manufactures to get their opinion and test results with different bullets. I as concerned with downrange energy and expansion and it just seemed logical.

I had two manuals from which I was actually using to work up the loads, one the Lyman 46th edition and the other Sierra. I can honestly say that the top listed 180gr load in the Lyman manual, is about as much as I wanted, and it shot consistently 2" or less at 100yds, from a rest similar to the one pictured. The concussion from this load will knock dirt loose from the rafters, but it shoots.

Along this same theme, I have also worked the 200 and 240gr bullets up to similar performance levels for their perspective weights. All have been easily as accurate as the 180's or as tight as I could hold them depending upon the rest I had at the time.

I was heading to WI for a handgun only hunt one year and working up loads with the 240gr XTP and 296. I had my loading gear at the range and was tweaking up the powder ever so slightly looking for an accurate top end load. What I found was I ran out of room in the case before I started to flatten out primers, and the velocity actually fell off when I got there. I was using two different primers and there was little difference in results between the two. I have for the most part always used the Win-WLP's but in this case I had also tried some Fed Mag as well.

I guess the bottom line is I have been to the top, but nowadays I am back to the middle with 99% of my loads. I have since found with the 41, that I don't need the full bore flame throwers to get the job done in the areas I hunt. Out to 100yds and further the 41 loaded with a 200gr Rem JHP to around 1300fps, shoots flatter than you would ever imagine, and will roll a 200# feral hog on it's ear. Like the 41, the 44 loaded with a 240gr to around the same velocity or so will easily do the same or more.

Like you, if I want more than I can get with those I have the 454 to roll with, and no need in pushing the others to their limits anymore.

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