Unique and .44 Mag Help please


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HKGuns
July 26, 2012, 11:43 PM
Listed below are my components, I'd like some input as I have several different manuals, each with different data. I'm hoping someone with more .44 Mag experience can help me out as this is my first time reloading .44 Mag. (I have reloaded lots of 9mm, 45ACP, .223, 12GA etc....)

Bullet: 240gr Hornady XTP JHP
Primer: Remington Large Pistol
Powder: Unique
Brass: Once fired
Pistol: S&W Model 29 Classic 6.5" barrel

I have load data for unique that shows anywhere from 8 -12 grains. I want a stout loading, but of course I want it to be safe. (One manual says 10gr max, the other says 12 gr max.)

Is 11 grains of unique safe to shoot with the above components?

*Note that I want a stout but safe load.

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Robert101
July 27, 2012, 12:06 AM
My Richard Lee 2nd Edition indicates 10.3 of Unique is max load for a jacketed bullet. My Hornady 7th Edition indicates 10.7 grain of Unique. I would use the Hornady recommendation as the bullet you suggest is their 240 grain XTP. Now if you want a faster load, then Unique is not the best powder. Staying in the Alliant family, I tend to use Blue Dot for magnum loads.

HKGuns
July 27, 2012, 12:25 AM
I don't have a Hornady manual, guess I'll have to get one. Lyman is the one saying 12g max and Speer says 10.8 max if I am remembering correctly. I have a few other references, not bullet specific that have one loading and it is somewhere just above 10, either 10.2 or 10.3....

Hondo 60
July 27, 2012, 12:41 AM
Alliant's data uses a 240 gr Speer Gold Dot Hollow Point.
They also say 10.3 max.

You wouldn't think there's THAT much difference between the Gold Dot & the XTP.
So I would say start low & work up.
Starting at or near 10.3 seems less than prudent.

greenlion
July 27, 2012, 01:11 AM
You also have to take into account the depth at which they are seating the bullets. Deeper bullet + less powder = shallow depth + more powder.

codefour
July 27, 2012, 05:28 AM
With 240 grain hard lead SWC I have gone as high as 11.0 grains in my Ruger Redhawk. It was stout but no sticky extraction or flattened/cratered primers

mavracer
July 27, 2012, 07:27 AM
Don't try to make unique a magnum load powder. It's a great mid-range powder when you start pushing it past it's sweet spot pressure goes up a lot and you'll gain very little velocity. If 10.0gr doesn't give you enough power switch to a slower powder.

JLDickmon
July 27, 2012, 07:27 AM
My Richard Lee 2nd Edition indicates 10.3 of Unique is max load for a jacketed bullet. My Hornady 7th Edition indicates 10.7 grain of Unique. I would use the Hornady recommendation as the bullet you suggest is their 240 grain XTP. Now if you want a faster load, then Unique is not the best powder. Staying in the Alliant family, I tend to use Blue Dot for magnum loads.

or 2400

buck460XVR
July 27, 2012, 08:20 AM
Don't try to make unique a magnum load powder. It's a great mid-range powder when you start pushing it past it's sweet spot pressure goes up a lot and you'll gain very little velocity. If 10.0gr doesn't give you enough power switch to a slower powder.


^^^this.

HKGuns
July 27, 2012, 10:06 AM
Thanks everyone for your input. I'm going to go with 10 grains of Unique max, probably start out with 9.5 or so......

The frustrating part of reloading is that, at times, it seems more art than science with all the conflicting data.....I have numerous resources and depending on the source I get different answers. Given the potential hazards it should definitely lean more toward the side of science.

I'm also going to pick up some slower burning powder and a Hornady manual before proceeding further. It just isn't worth the risk of injury or damage to my pistol.

Salmoneye
July 27, 2012, 10:12 AM
I was going to give the loads from the Hornady 4th edition for Unique with the 240gr XTP, but as I have not personally used this data, I am leery of it...

Suffice it to say that the minimum load is over the earlier stated Alliant max for this combination (Post #4)...

For full on .44 Mag, I would highly suggest H110/W296, IMR4227, or AA#9...

44magmike
July 27, 2012, 11:06 AM
Start at 9.0 or 10 grains and work up your loads in .3 tenths of a grain increments .. Pay attention to how flat your primers are getting with each load. Also pay attention to how hard the brass sticks in the cylinder when you extract the cases..if your whacking the extractor rod with a piece of wood to empty the cylinder then back off the powder measure a few grains cause your at max load or over

mavracer
July 27, 2012, 11:09 AM
The frustrating part of reloading is that, at times, it seems more art than science with all the conflicting data.....I have numerous resources and depending on the source I get different answers. Given the potential hazards it should definitely lean more toward the side of science..
I definatly wouldn't ignore the science side, but paying attention to the art side is important too. There's a lot of safe loads that won't group worth a hoot. I've been reloading 30+ years and am finely figuring out why some of the "old standbys" are old standbys. 8 to 10grs of unique behind a 240-250gr 44mag is one of those. It just works, it'll be accurate and it'll have enough power for most of what you want a 44 for.

Josh45
July 27, 2012, 11:32 AM
Hornady 8th edition shows me that 9.5 gr of Unique is the starting load.
While 10.7 gr is the MAX load for a 240 gr bullet in .44 mag.

Salmoneye
July 27, 2012, 02:01 PM
Hornady 8th edition shows me that 9.5 gr of Unique is the starting load.
While 10.7 gr is the MAX load for a 240 gr bullet in .44 mag.

That seems a tad more rational than my aforementioned 4th edition listings...

:eek:

mdi
July 27, 2012, 03:28 PM
The load data will vary from manual to manual usually because of different test equipment, different methods, and different personel. Also some loads are bullet specific, as your Hornady 249 XTP loads will prolly differ from a Sierra 240 bullet. I haven't loaded any jacketed bullets for my .44 magnums for mebbe 20 years so I can't help you with a load, but I would rely on my Hornady manual for loading Hornady bullets...

Patocazador
July 27, 2012, 04:38 PM
If you want a hot accurate load, use H-110 or WW 296 with magnum pistol primers. Both will give you top velocity and accuracy. Save your Unique for cast bullets at lower velocities.

DC Plumber
July 27, 2012, 08:36 PM
I use 9.0g or either Universal or Unique with 240g JHP bullets in my 44mag loads for my 29-2. If I want a magnum load, I use 2400. 9.0g make a nice load that you can shoot all day long.

If I load 240g LSWC in my 44mag brass, I use 8.0g of either Universal or Unique.

I don't like magnumizing fast powders either.

HKGuns
July 27, 2012, 09:54 PM
Hornady 8th edition shows me that 9.5 gr of Unique is the starting load.
While 10.7 gr is the MAX load for a 240 gr bullet in .44 mag.

Thanks Josh and everyone else. I received a lot of great advice, and appreciate all of your responses. As it turns out tonight I loaded up 100 and went with 9.5 grains of Unique with the components listed above, which is dead on your post as a starting load Josh! I'm going to try them out at the range tomorrow in a likelihood.

HKGuns
July 27, 2012, 10:44 PM
One additional question. I see above that H110 and W296 require Magnum primers.

Which of the slower burning powders will work correctly with regular large pistol primers? I have a bunch of LPP and really don't want to fiddle around with magnum primers. Does 2400 work effectively with regular LPP?

rcmodel
July 27, 2012, 10:58 PM
2400 gives the lowest ES and shot-to-shot uniformity using standard primers.

The use of mag primers is not recommended or necessary with it.

Mag pistol primers were not invented until the ball powders like W296/H110 became common in the 60's/70's.

rc

greywolf444
July 27, 2012, 11:06 PM
i use 9.5gr of unique with a 265gr cast bullet as my all around everyday load. Does whatever I need doing from varmits to deer in both pistol and rifle. Works well enough with jackected also,I just don't need the added expense of them and can make the cast ones for nothing. I get no leading with this load.

ljnowell
July 28, 2012, 02:53 AM
Your 629 would love some alliant 2400, I would bet on it!

sniperlongshot
July 28, 2012, 04:17 AM
i'm into .45 longcolt, my hunting load for my old model vaquro is 10 grn of unique, for white tail dear in TX, it's really overkill, but it will work on an elk @100 yards if you have a good shot placement

anyway, a good friend, who is much older than i am used to hunt solely with a superblack hawk, deer, hogs, bear etc.,

his favorit/ and his friend liked to use a 44 spc case, with 10.5 grn of unique and a 240 grn 3/4jkt flat point will take the shoulder of a 300lb bore

magnum primer, don't get to into it......if your going to buy 1000's of primers, us a fed 215 mag rifle primer, that's good for just about anything that will set if off.

just make sure the gun your using is heavy enough to hold the presure, and in a big gun like a super blackhawk you'll find the recoil pleasant and managable

TheCracker
July 28, 2012, 06:33 PM
Don't try to make unique a magnum load powder. It's a great mid-range powder when you start pushing it past it's sweet spot pressure goes up a lot and you'll gain very little velocity. If 10.0gr doesn't give you enough power switch to a slower powder.

I agree 100%. If u want magnum performance get some 2400. Unique isn't going to get you to the same 44 mag levels. I use universal clays (basically same burn rate as unique) for plinking loads, 2400 for full power.

buck460XVR
July 28, 2012, 06:53 PM
One additional question. I see above that H110 and W296 require Magnum primers.

Which of the slower burning powders will work correctly with regular large pistol primers? I have a bunch of LPP and really don't want to fiddle around with magnum primers.


My .44s seem to like IMR4227 as much as they like H110/W296, and it doesn't require the use of a magnum primer. I don't get quite as much velocity, but accuracy is everybit as good and it gives me better results than I have had with 2400 in .44mag. This includes the 629s, the 77/44 and the lever carbines, a Rossi and a Marlin.

savanahsdad
July 28, 2012, 07:31 PM
I "almost" agree 100% lol 2400 is dirty , but works great and has been the go-to power for the 44mag from the get-go the Elmer K. load - cast SWC was loaded with 2400 way back when , however w296 and H110 are cleaner and less temp. senative. and there are more loads to pick from useing H110/W296 as they are the same power from the same spout at the factory, so if you find a load for 300gr xtp and it list h110 and you only have w296 you can used that , it is the same and there 3 others , but I can't remember what they are , you can get this info from loaddata.com
the up side too the power you are useing is that you can get twice as many loads out of a pound of power , but BE CAREFUL ! you can over charge very eazy !
I have loaded 44mag with Bulleye, (even hotter than Unique) H110, W296,2400,Universal and Unique, all have there ups and downs , I feel W296/H110 is the best way to go as I also load for two 44mag autoload rifles , and they need the gas to work , Unique wont even kick out the brass ! and make sure your primer matches your load ! some loads call for mag , some for large and some for rifle with a 44mag ,if a primer fits there is a load that uses it , good luck , and you may want to join Loaddata.con there not room here to tell you what I have learned there !

savanahsdad
July 28, 2012, 07:44 PM
go to loaddata.com click on articles tab then cilck on miscellaneous tab (far right) then the 5th Article down "Primers For Magnum Handguners" you don't need to join to read this , and I think everyone should .

HKGuns
July 28, 2012, 08:26 PM
Well, the 9.5 grains of unique shot very well today. I'm pretty satisfied with the stoutness of that load. My hand loads were a lot better from a power factor when compared to the cowboy loads I bought with the pistol.

kelbro
July 28, 2012, 08:39 PM
Also keep in mind that bullet diameters may vary in the same weight between manufacturers in the 44 bullets. That would explain some of the variances that you see in manuals. I always like to see the bullet manufacturer's data.

Can anyone explain to me why it isn't called a 43 Magnum? Was it a marketing thing to make it appears to be closer to a 45 Colt? :)

mavracer
July 28, 2012, 09:15 PM
Well, the 9.5 grains of unique shot very well today. I'm pretty satisfied with the stoutness of that load. My hand loads were a lot better from a power factor when compared to the cowboy loads I bought with the pistol.
I find myself shooting my midrange Unique loads 10 to 1 to the hot 296 loads. They are just more pleasent to shoot and will shoot through most critters.
As others have said if you want to get mag valocity without mag primers 2400 or 4227 work good.

HKGuns
July 28, 2012, 10:25 PM
Yeah, I picked up some 2400 today and am trying a 19gr load out next chance I get to the range.

FROGO207
July 28, 2012, 10:43 PM
I have shot a lot of Blue dot with 240 grain Jacketed bullets with just under MAX loads and find this is my most liked load. Second choice is using 2400 with that bullet.

ljnowell
July 29, 2012, 01:45 AM
I "almost" agree 100% lol 2400 is dirty , but works great and has been the go-to power for the 44mag from the get-go the Elmer K. load - cast SWC was loaded with 2400 way back when , however w296 and H110 are cleaner and less temp. senative. and there are more loads to pick from useing H110/W296 as they are the same power from the same spout at the factory,

I just cant agree with you on that. 2400 is plenty clean, when loaded to the upper range. There is no way that you can say 296 is less temp sensitive. You dont need mag primers in sub freezing temps with 2400, but i have seen inconsistent ignition in 296 in cold temps. As far as load data, there is a TON of data out there for alliant 2400.

In 357 mag, 44 mag, and hot 45 colt 2400 is a fantastic choice.

Old Dog Man
July 29, 2012, 03:04 AM
Be careful using heavy charges of 2400 in a 629, I've seen the side plate start to bulge out on some of them. I'd stay below 20 gr. to be on the safe side. I use 22.5 gr of 2400 with 240gr Speer half jacketed bullets in my Superblack Hawk, but it's a solid frame and handles it well, but lots of recoil, not for range work. Al

ljnowell
July 29, 2012, 12:28 PM
Be careful using heavy charges of 2400 in a 629, I've seen the side plate start to bulge out on some of them. I'd stay below 20 gr. to be on the safe side. I use 22.5 gr of 2400 with 240gr Speer half jacketed bullets in my Superblack Hawk, but it's a solid frame and handles it well, but lots of recoil, not for range work. Al

2400 is no different than any othe magnum handgun powder, you are always limited by the gun. 2400 does have more wiggle room than 296 though.

CraigC
July 29, 2012, 04:10 PM
A 240gr SWC over 10.0gr Unique is a load I use so much of, I bought a Dillon 650 to churn them out by the hundreds. It basically duplicates the Keith .44Spl load in Magnum brass. Yields 1100-1200fps in sixguns and 1450fps from rifles.


Can anyone explain to me why it isn't called a 43 Magnum?
Because the .44Mag was based on the .44Spl. Which was based on the .44Russian. Which was based on the .44S&W American which WAS a .44 caliber cartridge with an outside lubed, heeled bullet. It became the .44Russian when the Russians insisted on an inside lubed bullet seated down into the case and thus, the bullet diameter was reduced. We haven't always measured the same way. For instance, .44cal percussion revolvers use a .451" - .457" round ball. The .44 designation comes from the bore size.

HKGuns
July 29, 2012, 08:04 PM
Well, I made it to the range today for about 150 rounds worth of 19gr 2400 loads.

Even at 19 grains those rounds were some real butt kickers out of my 4" pistol! I think those are about as heavy as I will want to use out of that gun. They'd probably be a lot more tame out of my 6.5" but I didn't bring it with me. I did bring my .45 ACP and it felt tame by comparison.

The 9.5gr Unique loads were snappy and the 19gr 2400 loads were a lot more booming if you know what I mean.

Fun round both to shoot and reload. I sure am glad I stumbled across my first revolver in many years of shooting.

Taroman
July 31, 2012, 04:25 AM
I did a lot of 44 magnum shooting with 240 hard cast LSWC over 19.5 grains of 2400.
Plenty of power for any sane usage. This was with an 8-3/8" Model 29.
I never hunted bears and never will, but this load would shoot clean through any deer and really slam the silhouettes.

savanahsdad
July 31, 2012, 04:19 PM
I just cant agree with you on that. 2400 is plenty clean, when loaded to the upper range. There is no way that you can say 296 is less temp sensitive. You dont need mag primers in sub freezing temps with 2400, but i have seen inconsistent ignition in 296 in cold temps. As far as load data, there is a TON of data out there for alliant 2400.

In 357 mag, 44 mag, and hot 45 colt 2400 is a fantastic choice.
I have used a lot of 2400 over the years it's a great power , when I said it was dirty , I was not talking black power dirty , I was just saying H110/W296 was cleaner, I have two auto loaders in 44 (Ruger carbine, and a RugerDeer Field ) and 2400 will run those guns just fine but you need to tear them down more often. and you would swear you were shooting cast in them , not so much with W296, because it is cleaner , as for temp senitive , yep your right, you should use a mag. primer for cold shooting with W296 however I was talking high temps, you work up a hot load (max) on a cool day , then go out on a hot day with 2400 your PSI may go past max, not so much with H110/W296 ,and this is from there data, nothing wrong with 2400 , I have some and when I run out I'll get more. but if I could only have 1 power for my 44's it would be W296/H110 as for Unique,well I'll have to keep buying that too as that is my choice for my S&W 1911 .45

rugerron67
November 5, 2012, 11:12 PM
I have loaded unique up to 12.5 gr 44 mag with a 240 gr xtp.
and 10.5 gr with the 300 gr xtp.
Pretty hot loads .
Only for a Ruger or Marlin .
I do not recommend it .
I have just done it .

Salmoneye
November 6, 2012, 10:37 AM
Alliant 2004 Paper Manual

glarp.atk.com/2004/2004Catalogs/2004AlliantPowderSM.pdf

Page 43/44 for .44 Mag

blarby
November 6, 2012, 07:36 PM
10.5 Grs unique.

CCI LMP

240g Cast, plated, and nosler JHP

I stumbled on this combo sorta by accident when I ran low on LPP's, and used the magnums anyway. Lights a little hotter, which is why I presume its a little cleaner than normal Unique loads for me.

Works fantastic. Cant wait to try it on the new HP's I'm casting.

Otherwise, when using Unique, I just use 10grs for 240 gr bullets, or 11 for 200's.

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