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44 Rem. Mag. Shotshells data

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Randy1911, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. Randy1911

    Randy1911 Well-Known Member

    Does anyone have any current load data for Speer plastic 44 Rem. Mag shotshells. The only data that I have is about 12 years old. It is a Speer #12. I don't know if the data has changed, but I would like to be sure.
  2. Encoreman

    Encoreman Well-Known Member

    Randy, I made my own .357 shotshells. I used bullseye powder, cut thin cardboard wads about like shotshell box or equivalent, put wad over powder, topped it off with 8 or 9 shot to about 1/8 " from end of brass, put another wad and sealed it off with a shot of hot glue. I shot them and they work better than the store bought cci's. You can make them mild or hot.
  3. Randy1911

    Randy1911 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the instructions, but I have the capsules. I just wanted current load data. My data is old.
  4. David Wile

    David Wile Well-Known Member

    Hey Randy,

    I make shotshells with both .357 and .44 mag cases. Instead of cardboard wads, I use gas checks in both cases. The process is the same for both calibers, but the two parts to my response may seem backwards in chronology.

    Once the cases are sized and the mouths are very slightly belled, they are charged with whatever gunpowder you choose to use. Then a gas check goes in the case with the "skirt" pointing upward. Once started in the case mouth, I use a wood dowel to seat the first gas check all the way down on the powder. A predetermined amount of shot, usually #9, is added and fills the case to the mouth. A second gas check, with the "skirt" down, then goes on top of the shot, and the loaded cases are then finished by running them up in the bullet seating die to remove the belling of the mouth and to put a slight roll top crimp on the mouth. The crimp holds the 2nd gas check in place quite tightly.

    Now, how does one determine the amount of shot and powder to use? It is really a trial and error method for both calibers. First you have to determine what powder you are going to use. Since the amount of the powder and the amount of shot are co-dependent upon each other, you might as well choose your powder first. Remember, since the case is completely filled with powder and shot, the more of one you put in mean the less of the other you are able to use. Since I am not looking for any high speed as you might want out of a bullet, I am more interested in delivering the maximum amount of shot possible at a short distance but with enough speed to kill little critters. Generally speaking, the faster the powder you use, the more room you have for shot.

    Now to figure out a safe recipe, I go through the following trial and error process. Since I have my .357 load information handy, I will proceed as if I am working up a recipe for .357 Mag. First I would fill a case about 3/4 of the way with #9 shot and weigh that amount of shot plus two gas checks. Lets say the shot and the two gas checks weigh about 130 grains. I look in my loading manuals for .357 Mag loads with bullets at or near 130 grains, and I compare the charge data for Bullseye powder. I see in my old #8 Speer loading manual they list a 158 grain cast bullet with a Bullseye charge between 3.7 and 4.7 grains. Like I said, I really don’t need a hot load, so I put 3.7 grains of Bullseye in the .357 case, put a gas check firmly on the powder with a wood dowel, and then put my 130 grains of shot on top of the powder. I see the shot does not quite fill the case, so I pour out the shot, remove the gas check and powder charge, and then put in 3.8 grains of Bullseye. I then put my gas check and shot back in, and find that it fills the case to the rim just fine. I place the second gas check on top of the shot (skirt down), and then crimp the gas check in place.

    This .357 Mag load of 130 grains of shot and gas check with 3.8 grains of Bullseye powder is actually a rather mild loading considering the manual lists a Bullseye load range of 3.7 to 4.7 grains of Bullseye under a 158 grain bullet. It does, however, work very well. I use it in an old Ruger 2 3/4 inch Security Six revolver, and when patterning the shot at 15 feet, I do not find the “doughnut hole” effect so often mentioned when using shot loads in rifled barrels. My patterns have no center hole, and no snake or rabbit would find room to get between the shot.

    The practice of working out a load as I described above is somewhat misleading. When starting from scratch, it may take a half dozen or more tries to get the right combination of powder and shot/gas checks. It takes a bit of time, but it is not difficult to accomplish. The .44 Mag. holds a lot more powder and shot and will, of course, deliver a lot more shot to the target. I used the same procedure as described above to come up with a recipe for my 7.5 inch barreled Ruger Blackhawk, and the shot pattern is just the same as my .357 Mag at 15 feet. I do not have my .44 Mag recipe at hand, so I am unable to provide the details of same.

    In any event, both calibers lend themselves very well to making shot loads that are quite effective at least at 15 feet.

    Best wishes,
    Dave Wile
  5. GP100man

    GP100man Well-Known Member

    the info is still good ,mite be some newer powders added though.
    when i use the capsules i put 5grs of clays under the shot shell capsule with #9 shot for the 44 mag .

    the way Encoreman was saying is much better & no chance of the cyl being tied up by a slippin capsule.

    no matter how tite ya load em they seem to loosen up & slip, seems like the older they get the easier they are to slip.

    in 357 i use max brass to form full cyl length shotshells.

    the reason i went to the cards was not only the slippin problem , it was pattern also .

    with the cards ya can back off a little & get better patterns & still have good killin power.
    if ya back off the capsules they won`t break upon exiting the barrel .

    i live on the sixth creek of Seven Creek Run to the Waccamaw River & get , have my share of snakes up in the yard & gettin to my stands!!!!
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  6. David Wile

    David Wile Well-Known Member

    Hey Randy,

    After making my last post, I noticed you had posted that you already have shot capsules to use. By all means give them a try, but I would also suggest you try loading shot in the shells as I have described. I tried shot capsules many years ago. A few broke while riding in my cartridge belt, and I found they did not pattern as well for me as my plain Jane loads.

    Best wishes,
    Dave Wile
  7. GP100man

    GP100man Well-Known Member

    David that was a problem also they broke in ya pocket or after ya shot 1 of em .

    Randy it may sound crazy but the shorter the barrel the better the pattern , less time for the rifleing to spin the load , just my theory though .
  8. rg1

    rg1 Well-Known Member

    I've got Speer manuals # 11 and 13. 11 was printed until 1991 and 13 last printed in 2003. They have the exact data except # 11 tested 630 powder and it was dropped in manual # 13.
    44 MAG with Speer Shotshell capsules:
  9. Randy1911

    Randy1911 Well-Known Member

    Thanks rg1

    That was what I was wanting to know. I have the #12 and the data is the same. I guess that it hasn't changed.e
  10. Taildragger-J3

    Taildragger-J3 Well-Known Member

    This is a fascinating thread. Since my two wheel-guns are .38s I guess I could do pretty much the same with them.

    Here's a "what if" question though:
    I know a loaded .357 round is not supposed to chamber in my 38 Special cylinder. BUT would a 357 brass fit without the bullet? My guess is that the cylinder may not be bored to accept brass that is longer than the .38. BUT if it would fit, I would have a little more room for shot in the shell than in the shorter .38. HMMMM . . . .
  11. RidgwayCO

    RidgwayCO Well-Known Member

    Taildragger, it shouldn't fit. The .357 Magnum was designed to not fit in .38 Special chambers (it's brass is .135" longer than .38 Special).

    That being said, some magnum rounds will fit in special chambers, but should never be fired in them. I've got a .44 Special revolver that will accept .44 Magnum rounds, but I'd never shoot a magnum round in it.
  12. Taildragger-J3

    Taildragger-J3 Well-Known Member

    I understand not shooting a regular magnum round in my .38. I like my hands still attached to my arms!!! I was just speculating about using the .357 case for a shotshell only. Since there would be no slug extending past the end of the case I thought it might chamber and you could load it with .38 load data (X grains #9 shot & X grains powder). I've never tried making a pistol shot shell and didn't know if there was enough room in a .38 case to load powder/wad/shot/wad as described above.
  13. fprefect

    fprefect Well-Known Member

    6 grs of Bullseye or 6 1/2 grs of Unique will work, but I really believe you'll find it a wasts of time. I fired a few through a 10 1/2" barreled Ruger Blackhawk and was very disappointed in the results. Lucky to hit a blackbird at 20 ft. But perhaps your results will be better.

    F. Prefect
  14. Randy1911

    Randy1911 Well-Known Member


    The 38 Spl has a lip inside the cylinder that will prevent the mag brass from chambering.
  15. Taildragger-J3

    Taildragger-J3 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Randy1911. I thought that might be the case, but it was a point to ponder.
  16. GP100man

    GP100man Well-Known Member


    all ya gotta do is get the .135 down to the size of a bullet so it`ll go by the end of the chamber .356 or 355. a 9mm bullet sizer may do it after a little annealin to stop the spring back
  17. David Wile

    David Wile Well-Known Member

    Hey folks,

    A good many years ago I thought I would try making some longer brass for my .357 to use for shotshells. I forget what case I used, but I cut six of them just about 1/8 inch shorter than the chamber length. I sized those guys, champhered the ends, opened the cylinder, and tried to put one in a chamber. Sorry - it would not go in. When I looked at the inside of the chambers, I realized the last quarter inch or so was smaller than the rest of the chamber.

    Not to be stopped by this little problem, I then took the six special cases and sized the last quarter inch or so in some other die that made them fit the chambers just fine.

    I was on a roll now; I had made six special .357 cases for shotshell use that would hold an extra quarter inch or so of shot. I figured out a powder charge to start and put it in one of cases. Then I tried to seat a .357 gas check on the powder and immediately found the gas check would not enter the case mouth because of its reduced size.

    I thought about the problem for quite a while: use a carboard gas check over kapok, and even reduce the size of the last quarter inch after the shot had been loaded, but I would still not be able to use a gas check to close off the mouth. That was when I tried the plastic capsules and figured my old fashioned loads were better than the capsules.

    I finally gave up on the idea of making longer special cases, but I still have those original six test cases somewhere in one of my boxes. Just one of many experiments that did not work out. Win some and lose some.

    Best wishes,
    Dave Wile
  18. Randy1911

    Randy1911 Well-Known Member

    I sat down tonight to load some of the shot capsules. I noticed a slight problem, maybe. The capsules easily slide into the sized cases. The box said .429 so I measured a capsule. It only measured .418". Is this normal or are they defective is some way, like undersize? I went ahead and loaded some of them and they looked okay. I will try them if it ever quits raining (it's been raining for 2 weeks).
  19. wankerjake

    wankerjake Well-Known Member

    I use 6.0gr bullseye for homemade .45 Colt shotshells, seems to work fine.
  20. GP100man

    GP100man Well-Known Member

    thats the problems with the capsules trying to get em to stay in the cases !!
    crimp too much & ya got a busted capsule when ya fire a reg. rnd. off .

    i cut cards from cereal boxes to "build" my shot shells with & the top is crimped just a little then sealed with waterproof carpenters glue.
    ain`t had one to spill yet 44 or 357 .

    David Wile

    do as above , i cut em with the case in a lee case trimming holder & take the drill & cut away . 1 case will have to be sacrificed to make the cutter , drill out the primer to push out the cards & notch the mouth to create "saw" teeth then sharpen with a chamfer tool inside & out.
    experiment with the powder card ,the formed mouth may cut a card too small to keep powder & shot seperated

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