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New reloader starting 44MAG; some questions

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by A strange person, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. A strange person

    A strange person Well-Known Member

    1. Would it be safe to substitute the .430 diameter Hornady XTP's for the .429 diameter Nosler HP's for the loads listed on the Hodgdon load data site?

    2. I've heard the Lee carbide bullet seating die for the .44 either cannot or has difficulty seating cast bullets. Is this true?

    3. Why are there no loads using "lil' gun" powder listed for rifles?

    4. Have people been having success with .430 cast bullets in the newest run of Marlin 1894's with "ballard" rifling?
  2. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    Thanks for asking our advice.

    1,Does Hornady's web site have suggestions for their bullets' loading?

    2. Bullet seating dies are not carbide. Only the sizing die is carbide. The case mouth expanding die is tool steel (as there is no heavy-duty metalwork going on) and the seating die does no metalwork at all. The Lee Factory Crimp die has a carbide sizing ring in it similar to the carbide sizing ring in the sizin/decappind die, but most crimp dies have no carbide in them, again, because the metalworking is not that intense.

    As far as cast bullets being harder to seat than plated or jacketed, they aren't. Becuase lead bullets are often slightly oversized. This does not make them a lot harder to seat. You just have to make sure the case mouth flare is just enough that the mouth doesn't dig into the bullet's sides. Same thing applies to jacketed bullets, but you are more likely to have problems with the bullet's base. But neither is a "difficulty". Just a matter of adjustment.

    3. Go to the makers of Lil' Gun and ask them via email?

    4. Sorry, I don't know.

    Lost Sheep
  3. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Well-Known Member

    1. You can use both .429 and .430 diameter bullets.

    2. The Lee Factory Crimp Die does have a carbide sleeve that straightens the case and bullet during the crimping operation. I've never tried it with cast bullets so don't know if there would be a problem with that.

    3. It's a myth that you have to use different loads for handguns and rifles. What shoots well in one, will most likely work well in the other. As for Lil' Gun, I wouldn't use it at all as flame temperatures from it are excessive.
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Yes. That little difference won't be of any concern. As always, start low and work up. (But if you're using H110 or 296, don't start too low.)

    I've loaded something like 20,000 cast bullets with my lee dies into .44 Mag and .44 Spc. cases. So far it seems to work. But I'll keep you posted. ;)

    Actually, I find that when I put a good heavy revolver crimp on my cast bullets, the crimping groove on the bullet will set it's own OAL.

    I do have the Lee Factory Crimp Die, but I no longer use it for revolver cast bullet loads. I set the seating die to crimp and it does a wonderful job. The FCD is very tight on cast bullets (which tend to be more like 0.431") and makes loading too much of a chore, with no benefit.

    Don't know. If you REALLY want to use it, call the manufacturer and ask. They'll be happy to answer. But, as Grumulkin said, a .44 Mag is a .44 Mag. Your rifle was made to fire .44 Mag "pistol" ammo. The data will be interchangeable between guns.

    From what I've heard, yes!
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011
  5. Asherdan

    Asherdan Well-Known Member

    1. Hornady would be glad to shoot you their current load data for that bullet via email. Hodgdon's data is good, comparing to Hornady's makes sense. The sheet they sent me listed H110, W296 and IMR & H4227 from Hodgdon. Give them a ring or an email.

    2. What others have said about the seating die and no carbide insert. I've had no problem with it and cast bullets. The carbide sleeve on the Factory Crimp Die is a problem on .430 - .431+ cast because it squeezes down your nice fat barrel groove filling cast bullet. If you get one, call in and order it direct. Tell them it's for cast bullets and ask them to take it out larger for you. When I called they offered to enlarge it by .002 - .003 for no charge, I paid to ship it to them. That did the trick.

    3. Not a Lil Gun fan, but +2 to Grumulkin's answer.

    4. Yes and no. The barrels on the newer run ballard barrels tend to run close to .430 - .431. I'd say no smaller than a .431 cast bullet and .432 is even better, but my barrel slugged at .4305. Then, remember not to squeeze it down by post-sizing it with an unaltered Factory Crimp die. I like 240 grain cast bullets, 200g for plinking fun. The 1-38" twist on the barrel will give you stabilization problems somewhere upwards of 300 the grain bullets.
  6. A strange person

    A strange person Well-Known Member

  7. GaryL

    GaryL Well-Known Member

    You didn't ask, but 2400 is a very nice (and forgiving) powder for 44mag. A good one to "git yer feet wet with".
  8. A strange person

    A strange person Well-Known Member

    I don't even see any loads for 2400 on the Hodgdon data site. I already picked up some H110, just because the Hodgdon data site lists the exact same load with this powder for both rifles and handguns.
  9. A strange person

    A strange person Well-Known Member

    Hopefully I can use .430 cast bullets, seeing's how 99% of the .44 caliber cast bullets out there are .430. But if I cannot, I found this site called "Beartoothbullets" that makes cast .44 bullets up to .432, complete with lube rings, gas checks, and everything. Has anybody ever used their bullets?
  10. Eb1

    Eb1 Well-Known Member

    I am fairly new to .44 Magnum loading. I find that the .429 cal XTP out of my SBH 5.5" works great. The powder I use with it is 2400.. Close to the 1460 fps range.

    Lead bullets? I use RCBS dies, and have found that it makes no difference that I can see if I seat and crimp in different stages. So now I just do that process all at once. I do trim my brass though. Makes for quicker loading on my part. For lead I am throwing IMR-4227 and Trail Boss. My lee dispenser throws Trail Boss really accurately, and IMR-4227 pretty close. Within' .2 of a grain. That is fine for me to hit my target.

    I weigh the 2400 because I want those XTPs to be a close to the same as the next.

    You will have fun loading the .44 Magnum. Probably the main reason I bought mine. Mild to Wild it is. Just a great caliber. If I could today. I'd buy a light weight .44 SPC or .44 Mag as my conceal carry gun.
  11. Jeff Holt/

    Jeff Holt/ Member

  12. A strange person

    A strange person Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I heard about the 1-38" twist not stabilizing heavy bullets. I don't really care. A 300+ grain 44MAG rifle load would be so slow that a shotgun slug would be better. The good ol' 240 grainers will do whatever I need to. 200 grainers did it in the 44-40 for decades, and who knows how many deer, bear, and even moose have fallen to .50 patched round balls, which have the worst penetrating qualities a firearm projectile could possibly have. Large, terrible ballistic coefficient, soft lead, and low velocity. But they worked. I honestly can't imagine what people use the heavy bullets for. Bear defense?

    However, I have heard that some people do get 300 grain bullets to stabilize in the Marlin, but no heavier.
  13. GaryL

    GaryL Well-Known Member

    2400 is made by Alliant. Which used to be Hercules.

    H110 is not forgiving. It is full power magnum only. The loading range is fairly narrow, and it is a very stout load. I haven't had any issues lighting it with Winchester LP primers, but I'd seriously consider magnum primers in any other brand, especially if the data calls for it. After I chronographed my loads, I've actually decided to stop using H110 in 44mag. My slightly upper mid loads of 2400 come within 100fps of H110, with a lot less recoil and better accuracy. If I want to push up the 2400 loads, I still have plenty of overhead to work with.
  14. A strange person

    A strange person Well-Known Member

    "Mild to wild". Exactly.

    Thanks for the link Jeff.
  15. A strange person

    A strange person Well-Known Member

    I got H110 powder precisely because the loading range is so low; I can count on having the velocity I want. If it's stout, good! I want my Marlin 1894 to be at least a 100 yard big game gun with 240 grain bullets, and I'm gonna need at least 1700 fps to do it. somehow, the recoil of the .44MAG in a 6.5 lb. gun does not inspire fear in me, not after my 6.25 lb., 18" Ruger M77 in .308. Ugh! Glad I got rid of that thing.
  16. ironhead7544

    ironhead7544 Well-Known Member

    The 1 in 38 twist will work with bullets up to 265 gr or so. Sometimes they will stabilize a 300 gr if they are driven fast enough. 200 gr RFN cast works fine with Unique for about 1400 fps. This is the bullet and speed the 1 in 38 twist was made for. I heard they changed the 444 marlin to a 1 on 20 twist so the new 44 Magnum rifles may have been changed also.

    I like the Lee Factory Crimp die as it will set the cartridge up to fit in any chamber. I hate trouble at the range. For cast bullets it would be worthwhile to get it enlarged like the other guys said here.

    I started out loading for the 44 Mag in 1972. It is a good one to learn on. I use 296/H110 for heavy loads and Unique for practice.
  17. A strange person

    A strange person Well-Known Member

    I'm planning to create the following loads:

    240 grain XTP, 1700-1800 fps
    For deer and black bear out to 100 yards (Northwoods hunting)

    240 grain cast flat nose, 1000 fps
    For target, plinking, small game, self-defense, and for quick, opportunistic shots while hiking, as it would be relatively hearing-safe and would pack enough wallop for deer out to 40 yards or so in my opinion.

    200 grain JSP, 2050 fps
    This would be enough velocity for me to reliably hit deer with at 150 yards or more. At this range, it would be ballistically identical to a 44-40 at the muzzle. I'd probably restrict this to whitetails.
  18. Eb1

    Eb1 Well-Known Member

    I shoot the Missouri Cast Bullet Co. 240 LSWC without issues. Between 900 and 1400 fps there isn't any leading. Just fun, fun, fun with easy cleanup.
  19. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    If you're talking about the data provided on the Hodgdon load data site it's simple, Hodgdon doesn't update their handgun caliber load data often in the rifle section. It seems they never add new powders to the rifle section and I'm guessing it's because they don't want to do the velocity tests. The only difference between the 44 Magnum load data in the handgun section and rifle section is the reported velocity. The charge weights and pressures are the same. You can use any of the load data from the handgun section in a rifle because like I said, the only difference is the reported velocities.
  20. Powderman

    Powderman Well-Known Member

    Friend, you're in dangerous territory here.

    Current data from the Hodgdon reloading site shows maximum loads and velocities with H110 and the 240 grain Nosler JHP at 1522 fps. Even with the longer rifle barrel, I cannot see stacking on 200 fps more.

    And, for the 200 grain jacketed bullet, 28.5 grains will just barely break 1800 fps with H110. That is a max load, by the way.

    If you want a good bullet for game, I highly recommend a good, heavy bullet pushed at moderate velocities. My favorite load for my .44 Magnum is my own cast Keith style LSWC, sized to .430 inch, and lubed with Javelina Alox. 8.5 grains of Unique makes the bullet clear my revolver (8 inch Smith and Wesson) at slightly over 1000 fps. I have personally driven that bullet (cast from wheelweight) through 2 inches of CDX plywood at 50 yards. It is a hard-hitting and accurate load. Max for that bullet is 11.0 of Unique; I'd probably start at 9.5 and work up for a good, hard hitting load.

    I can give an even better example...

    I shoot a black powder cartridge rifle--a .45-120 Sharps. I use a number of bullets in it, but my favorite load is 120 grains of Goex 1F, compressed, with sealer and overpowder wads and a grease cookie, under a 500 grain Postell-type cast bullet, sized to .459 inch. Out of a 34" barrel, this load will come cruising out at about 1630 fps--but it will knock an elk out of its socks at 300 yards. Not the fastest load in the world--but it hits like a rabid locomotive on steroids.

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