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What weight bullets for mild 44 special loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by MikeInOr, Aug 31, 2022.

  1. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I currently load full power (not extra hot) 44 magnum for my Dan Wesson 744 and Desert Eagle 44 magnum barrel. They work well in both firearms and cycle the Desert Eagle very reliably.

    I would like some light target loads for my Dan Wesson 744 revolver. Rather than having 44 magnum full strength loads and 44 magnum light target loads I have am going to load some light 44 special loads for the Dan Wesson. It will be much easier to not accidentally put 44 special loads in my Desert Eagle than light 44 magnum loads that look very similar. I currently load 240gr jhp for 44 magnum. For some light weight wimpy but reliable 44 special loads what bullet should I use? I could stay with the 240gr JHP and not stock an extra bullet? Or would a light (~180gr?) cast bullet be better for a soft shooting load that my teenage daughter would enjoy?

    I know about carbon build up in magnum revolver chambers when using special loads... but I actually clean my firearms on a regular basis so I am not worried about 44 special loads making 44 mag loads not seat correctly in my Dan Wesson.

    There are a lot of mild 44 special load data out there but if you have a pet bullet / powder combination you love please feel free to post it. I do not go below book starting loads or use internet recommendations without some reliable book values to back them up.

    P.S. I have not ordered 44 special cases yet so I might be persuaded to load some light 44 magnum with cast bullets. I will only load jacketed bullets for my Desert Eagle so 44 Magnum loads with cast bullets would be easy to differentiate. I don't cast and am not really interested in taking up that branch of the hobby at this time. I know the extra space between the bullet and the forcing cone with 44 special length cases has been reported to have an adverse effect on accuracy.

    How about wad cutters?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2022
  2. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    200 grain cast coated would do nicely.
     
  3. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    240 gr SWC with 6.0 grs of Unique. About 800 fps. Mild load but capable of making an entry and exit wound in most targets. Once that's done there is nothing left to be done.
     
  4. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    240 gr SWC with 6.0 grs of Unique. About 800 fps. Mild load but capable of making an entry and exit wound in most targets. Once that's done there is nothing left to be done.
     
  5. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    I use a 200gr RNFP loaded with Promo to about 800-850 fps in 44 Spl brass. Try 5 to 5.5gr Promo or RedDot in 44 Mag brass. Very nice load - my small-framed wife loves shooting it, especially from a big revolver. And, I have lots of Promo (jugs - plural).

    Since you don't cast, and don't want to, try Missouri Bullets for their coated 200gr RNFP. Stick with the softer alloy, the 12 BnH. You don't need (or want, buts that's another conversation) the harder 18 BnH.

    Good luck.
     
    brewer12345 and Targa like this.
  6. Targa

    Targa Member

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    Excellent suggestions above. For my light .44mag loads, in magnum brass, I have been using 240 grain LSWC over 6 grains of W231 and 7 grains of Universal. I am averaging 791 fps with the W231 and 909 fps with Universal out of a 5.5” Ruger SBH. I have no idea how these would run out of a Desert Eagle, I would be surprised if they cycled the slide reliably.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2022
  7. Shivahasagun

    Shivahasagun Member

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    You want light?

    I just tested a load in .44 Russian cases (available from Starline) intended for my Charter Bulldog if Charter sends it back.

    200 gr LFN 3.9 gr Titegroup Federal primer with a good crimp in reloaded case from a 4 inch Taurus .44 Special averaged 665 fps. Talk about mild! Accurate, too. IIRC BHN is advertised as 12.
     
    Hooda Thunkit likes this.
  8. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I second the six grains Unique with a 240 cast bullet. It essentially replicates the (very light) original load, which in turn replicates the ancient .44 Russian target load. I generally use a roundnose bullet, both for ease of casting and historical correctness, but any 240-250 grain cast bullet works as well.

    It is permissible to go as low as five grains, but muzzle velocity will then be very low, and I worry about sticking a bullet.

    I generally dislike jacketed bullets in very light loads, again due to worries about stuck bullets. For someone who does not cast, one of the plated bullets is probably the easiest and cheapest way to get from here to there.

    Wolfe Publishing has a useful article regarding the topic. https://loaddata.com/Article/LoadDevelopment/The-44-Special-and-Unique/498
     
  9. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Heavy bullet, fast powder,(for revolver) I do not know what it takes to cycle the semi auto.
    I use 240 gr lead and either Unique or HP 38, Bullseye would be a good to try as well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2022
  10. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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    For my wife I load 240 grain with 4gr of Titegroup.
     
  11. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I load some wadcutters for my 44 Magnum but I cast them. I am sure some bullet maker out there sells them.

    I load all my ammunition for 44 Magnum in Magnum cases. If your loading your own light loads, you can do the same. Generally, my full power loads always use jacketed bullets. Light loads use cast or plated. Then I can tell the difference.

    I do make sure the containers the reloads are stored in are appropriately labeled with info on the ammunition.

    Besides, for me, I have some 44 Special revolvers so I save all 44 Special cases for the 44 Special guns.
     
  12. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I appreciate all the feed back! My initial gut feeling was to use a light bullet to lower recoil. Then I thought about it and a heavier bullet should be moving slower which should spread the recoil over a longer period of time which should reduce the snappiness of the felt recoil. I think I am going to start with the 240gr JHP that I have currently for testing with some of the suggestions above depending on what powder I can come up with. If / when that works I will look for some coated wad cutters or semi-wad cutters.
     
  13. BrotherMaynard

    BrotherMaynard Member

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    MikeInOr likes this.
  14. Shivahasagun

    Shivahasagun Member

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    From my experience the thoery of a bullet having a longer leade to travel before it engages rifling is overblown.

    I've shot .32 long and magnum from .327's, .44 Russian from .44 magnums, .38 short from .357, .40 from 10 mm's, etc. and any accuracy issues are either related to certain bullets or myself.

    I've never noticed a pattern of accuracy degradation just from firing shorter cartridges. If there is it must be extremely slight.

    There may be in a case in crazy long leades, like in a Bond Arms derringer or firing .45 Colt from a .410 revolver.

    People regularly fire hot .38 Colt Shorts in .357 magnum guns in competition so again, the difference must be slight.

    I do think there is a slight reduction in velocity because of more blow-by but it, too, is a small effect and will result in a little less recoil anyway and that's what you want anyway.

    I wouldn't factor this issue of leade time reducing accuracy into your choice.
     
    MikeInOr likes this.
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