44 Magnum 240 LSWC OAL effect on loads?


January 1, 2012, 02:42 PM
I am loading the Dardas 240gr LSWC, which when seated to the crimp groove is measuring around 1.594. In the Hornady book, they list minimum OAL for their 240 LSWC as 1.610. Then when you look at Lyman, it has the Lyman #429667 listed with minimum OAL of 1.645, and a larger 250gr bullet at 1.610. And good old Lee manual 2nd Ed lists "240 grain lead bullet" with minimum OAL of 1.600.

Lee's data for this load in Unique runs from 10.7 to max 11.8, which is similar to the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook 4th Ed which lists 10 to 11.7gr, although at the 1.645 OAL.

Previously loading these same bullets, I chronographed them at 991 avg at 8.5 gr and 1092 at 10.0 gr of Unique. This is in Starline new 44 mag cases, Federal LP primers, shot in a the S&W 629 V-Comp 4" barrel (with comp installed, haven't tested if it makes a difference on or off) This was back in June, so it was probably 70s or so temperature wise.

So the 10 gr load looks like it was running a little hotter than the Lyman data from a 4" universal receiver. Hornady says 7.6 of Unique will go 1000, but that is out of a 7.5" Redhawk barrel. And finally, the Alliant data lists a 240 at OAL 1.605 and 7 gr Unique (of course they list a 250 Keith bullet at max 11.0 gr Unique, but a 1.710 OAL)


So, after all this data, does the Lyman Cast Bullet data look ok to use? I think that the 8.5 and 10 gr loads are what most people recommend as "sweet spots" for Unique and a 240 LSWC.

If you enjoyed reading about "44 Magnum 240 LSWC OAL effect on loads?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
January 1, 2012, 03:06 PM
Yes, it is O.K. to use.

You really can't compare Hornady swaged soft lead bullet to Lyman's hard cast lead bullet, to Lee's data (copied from old Hercules data), for some unknown bullet.

1.600" is not a minimum length.
1.610" is the SAAMI Maximum length for any bullet loaded in .44 Magnum.
Longer then that will not fit in many six-guns and still allow the cylinder to rotate.

And you can't compare three different bullets OAL's, out of three different mold or swaging die designs.

The correct OAL for any revolver bullet is what it measures when crimped in the crimp groove.

Lyman data for the 240 RNFP is 10.0 Start - 11.7 MAX.
For the 245 Keith it is 9.8 Start - 13.0 MAX.

So you 10.0 load should be perfectly fine with whatever 240 cast bullet you have, seated to wherever it is seated to the crimp groove.


January 1, 2012, 03:19 PM
You might want to remove the comp when shooting lead. Really tough to clean those up.

January 1, 2012, 04:22 PM
You might want to remove the comp when shooting lead. Really tough to clean those up.

Interestingly it hasn't been a problem. You think it would be, but even after hundreds of rounds it is still clear. These bullets from Dardas are BHN 16, so they seem to enjoy higher velocities and don't really lead much so far. I do need to scrape around on the inside of the comp a little to get lead out, but the vents of the comp stay pretty clear.

I was shooting my 627 Vcomp with lead 158 gr lswc's and they did fine. It is just another thing to clean however.

It would be nice if Unique metered better. I will keep trying...

January 2, 2012, 02:05 AM
Shrinkmd, I shoot a lot of .44mag and I use Penn bullets 240grs truncated. OAL is 1.60 Powder is Unique at 11.0grs. This a medium load for my 7 1/2 Redhawk. I have not had any lead issues. I find this a nice combo to shoot. Doesn't pound you at all. This load can be used in 44's in good condition. I use a full crimp and enjoy this load. In fact I just loaded another 250 of them yesterday. I do find that OAL 1.60 is pretty ideal.

January 2, 2012, 07:55 AM
I shot someone's Redhawk at the range, makes my 629 feel like a j frame!

How many loads are you getting in your cases with the Unique 11.0 gr load?

January 2, 2012, 08:31 AM
I tried single loading the led bullets with various crimp depths and found no measurable difference with my revolvers so I now just load to the crimp groove. Obviously if you put the bullet in deeper the pressure rises but changing propellent amounts will negate that. It is more important to choose the correct propellant and use a good solid crimp, they will provide complete ignition and therefor be more consistent = more accurate.
Now in the DE I was cautioned not to use lead bullets because it would plug up the gas system and comp. I am just mentioning this as general info.

January 2, 2012, 12:22 PM
Shot the 8.5 and the 10gr, lots of fun (and noise and smoke)

I could shoot the 8.5 all day. The 10 I was able to control, but started to tire me out more.

The 10 is a mid range magnum or still considered hot 44 special?

January 3, 2012, 11:56 AM
Shrinkmd, If using a S&W use 10grs of unique. The Redhawk is a little beefier. I like the Unique formula because 1: uses less powder 2: full crimp=clean burn 3: recoil is mangeable no problem You can definitly use a little less for an all day shoot. I really like shooting the 44special great round! feels like a .22 in the Redhawk but lots of fun to shoot. I inspect every case very carefully no matter what the load. After sonic cleaning I measure, visual inspection and check primer pockets, bulges, any that do not make it are scrap. With low to medium loads I can get 4 to 7 out of each. The less load the more they can be reused. Some of the guys at the range inform me they get as many as 10 with very easy loads. Some of my huntin' loads with 296 are 2 times maybe 3 then tossed. Start very soft and work up. The .44 is a great weapon to shoot I do understand why Elmer Keith liked it so much. Please post some picts of your loads. The bullets I use are hard cast 18 Brn I like these cause of the no leading. High quality jackets while outstanding are expensive. Lead makes it more cost effective to shoot the .44 as much as I do. So if you put Unique and high quality lead bullet together it is pretty reasonable. Good shootin' and have fun PS yes the 629 does feel like a J-frame to the 'hawk maybe you need to sell your 629 and get a 'hawk just kiddin'

January 3, 2012, 01:01 PM
I'm wondering how many loadings people can get with the 10gr Unique load. I'm using Starline brass and the new Redding Dual ring die, do I was hoping for 10 loads at that power level. Did you get splits or loosened primer pockets?

January 3, 2012, 02:55 PM
I have way more than 10 reloads on both Win and RP brass shooting that load. I don't over-bell my case mouths though. Just enough to start the bullets.

January 4, 2012, 11:29 AM
ShrinkMD, kelpbro is right, as I told you it all depends on the load. The Redding dies are top quality dies. If you only bell only enough to just start the bullet, this goes a long way to getting max usage out of your cases. I bell mine at approx .002 maybe .003. That doesnt sound like a lot but if your bullet supplier like mine has very consistance size you can do it. I use RCBS dies and found they are very good also. When I put them in the re-sizing die very little effort is needed to re-size them on my Redding press. Primer pockets I have had no problem. I did load load some hot as we all do and 240gr XTP's pushing 1600fps were fun to shoot. Well maybe 2 or 3 haha but the primers in those loads did show a very small amount of flattening. I do not recommend those loads in S&W sorry. Cleaning is by Lyman sonic and tumbling comes out like jewlery. Have fun and enjoy reloading it is truely a great hobby.

If you enjoyed reading about "44 Magnum 240 LSWC OAL effect on loads?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!