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Unique and .44 Mag Help please

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by HKGuns, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. HKGuns

    HKGuns Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. Robert101

    Robert101 Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. HKGuns

    HKGuns Well-Known Member

    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....
  4. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. greenlion

    greenlion Well-Known Member

    You also have to take into account the depth at which they are seating the bullets. Deeper bullet + less powder = shallow depth + more powder.
  6. codefour

    codefour Well-Known Member

    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
  7. mavracer

    mavracer Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Well-Known Member

    or 2400
  9. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

  10. HKGuns

    HKGuns Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Well-Known Member

    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...
  12. 44magmike

    44magmike Member

    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
  13. mavracer

    mavracer Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. Josh45

    Josh45 Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Well-Known Member

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

  16. mdi

    mdi Well-Known Member

    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...
  17. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Well-Known Member

    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.
  19. HKGuns

    HKGuns Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  20. HKGuns

    HKGuns Well-Known Member

    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?

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