44 special load in 44mag

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Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
8,052
Location
People's Republik of California
For safest reloading to avoid concerns and eliminate doubts:
If you want reduced 44 magnum loads only use 44 mag data for light loads, period.
If you want even milder loads, switch to 44 Special cases and loads.

Tip: for light loads use a bulky powder to better fill cases. Trail Boss powder is made specific for this purpose for cowboy action shooters who prefer low recoil. Buy their loading manual.

Tip #2: steer clear of Bullseye powder, especially for light loads for two reasons:
1. It's a fast burning (high pressure) powder and therefore a very small volume powder which makes it more difficult to recognize a double charge when reloading, especially in a large case like 44 cases.

2. Small loads will spread out along the bottom side of the case when in the chamber. So instead of ignition and controlled combustion the result is detonation when the full surface of the powder ignites at once. This can be more destructive than an overload.

For those two reasons Bullseye loads especially light Bullseye loads are associated with more mishaps than other powders.
 
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Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
182
Location
TEXAS
For safest reloading to avoid concerns and eliminate doubts:
If you want reduced 44 magnum loads only use 44 mag data for light loads, period.
If you want even milder loads, switch to 44 Special cases and loads.

Tip: for light loads use a bulky powder to better fill cases. Trail Boss powder is made specific for this purpose for cowboy action shooters who prefer low recoil. Buy their loading manual.

Tip #2: steer clear of Bullseye powder, especially for light loads for two reasons:
1. It's a high pressure powder and therefore very small volume powder which makes it more difficult to recognize a double charge when reloading, especially in a large case like 44 cases.

2. Small loads will spread out along the bottom side of the case when in the chamber. So instead of ignition and controlled combustion the result is detonation when the full surface of the powder ignites at once. This can be more destructive than an overload.

For those two reasons Bullseye loads especially light Bullseye loads are associated with more mishaps than other powders.

I disagree with your assertion regarding Bullseye. It is not a "higher pressure" powder at all unless it is misused, same as any powder. Yes, it (and other powders) can easily be double-charged in some cases, but handloading is not for idiots or careless individuals.

With the cost of powder lately as well as the uncertainty of its availability, I've begun using faster burning powders such as Bullseye and its twin and now discontinued, IMR-Target, because one can achieve the same velocities as with slower burning powders but with much lighter charges. I've been using these two in .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum and 45 Colt.

As to your point #2, I'd like to see some first-hand evidence of detonation. Here's mine for lack of problems-
A dozen years ago I began competing in our local High Power matches (reduced course) with one of my Swiss K-31's. Seeing no need in burying 30¢(at the time) Matchkings in a 100 yd. berm, I developed a very accurate load consisting of a cast 145 gr. FP over 6.7 gr. of Bullseye in the 7.5x55 case. I used that load for 10 months worth of 80 round matches which would've meant, not counting load development and practicing, about 850-900 rounds of this very light load of Bullseye fired....with no detonation. More recently I fire-lapped my Flat Top .44 Special as well as a '94 Winchester 30-30 using a .5 Lee Dipper about 2/3 full of Bullseye which would be around 3 grs. 70-80 rounds through the .44 with 255 gr. bullets and another 20 with 220 gr. bullets through the 30-30 and again, not a single problem.

I understand encouraging caution, but some of these nanny-like warnings do nothing but cause confusion for new handloaders. So instead throwing some random, ambiguous warning out there, how about we just encourage them to follow the powder manufacturers data?
 

Blackhawk Convertable

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
494
Location
Rochester, Minnesota
Trail Boss is unobtainable. Unless you find an old jug on a shelf or at a gun show, you will likely never see it again. Wasn't all that great of a powder anyway. The ONLY thing it did well was fill the case. Other powders did everything else better.
 
Joined
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Messages
10,064
Location
missouri
Personally, I would look for a 'bulky' powder to help prevent 'double charge'. I had this happen ONCE with a light load in a 357 case. Blew out the cylinder and bent the top strap of a Blackhawk. NOT FUN.
 
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Messages
624
Location
Illinois - but I'm an Ohio Buckeye
It depends on the caliber and on the powder. In rifles with certain powders there is something called SEE or Secondary Explosive Effect. It can also occur is pistol calibers under certain circumstances. it seems the light load detonates instead of progressively burns. Back when revolvers ruled bullseye shooting there was many a revolver ruined with a light load of Bullseye powder.
 

Johnnu2

Hunter
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
Messages
2,915
Location
NYS
Trail Boss is unobtainable. Unless you find an old jug on a shelf or at a gun show, you will likely never see it again. Wasn't all that great of a powder anyway. The ONLY thing it did well was fill the case. Other powders did everything else better.
Trail Boss worked well with my 45-70 ammo....

J.
 

jgt

Buckeye
Joined
Jul 30, 2008
Messages
1,002
Location
coleman texas
I will pitch my hat in this ring on the side of Hondo 44. I don't doubt what 308 Scout claimed to have been his experience. What he is ignoring or ignorant of is past history. In the days when Smith & Wesson model Seventeens and Colt target 38 revolvers were widely used in handgun target competition match shooting, there were enough detonations that took place to cause quiet an uproar in the shooting world. The powder companies and gun makers tried their best to duplicate the condition to come up with a remedy. They could never get it to happen in a lab. A lot of Monday morning quarterbacks swore these events happened from double charges. Their claims exposed their ignorance of the subject because a double charge of the amount used would not be dangerous. These events were random and could happen while using a load the shooter had been using for many thousands of round without mishap. But, in some cases, not so much. It drove people batty.
When I started loading, I read about the condition. My wife was a gifted seamstress so I went to the fabric store with her and pick up a bag of pillow stuffing. One bag was a lifetime supply. I would pinch off a small amount and stuff it into the case over the powder charge and then load my bullet. Most of the time you could not tell it was in the case, but now and then if I got a little generous on the "pinch" I would have tiny feather like particles falling out of the air after a shot. What I did not experience is any harm to my handguns and that was my goal.
A few years ago, I read a string of posts on the Cast Boolet Forum that was a discussion by some posters about using small amounts of Red Dot powder in 444 cases to shoot mouse fart loads in that caliber. I tried to warn them to refrain from that practice due to its Russian Roulette type danger of a detonation. They got highly indignant at the very idea. I believe in letting people do as they want in this country while they are still free to do so. I said no more, after giving them the information.
I have the same outlook in this situation. Continue on the path if you choose to do so. Feel free to label us "naysayers" how you choose. I wish you good luck. I hope you are one of the ones that manage to win the game no matter how many times you spin the cylinder.
 
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Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
182
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TEXAS
I will pitch my hat in this ring on the side of Hondo 44. I don't doubt what 308 Scout claimed to have been his experience. What he is ignoring or ignorant of is past history. In the days when Smith & Wesson model Seventeens and Colt target 38 revolvers were widely used in handgun target competition match shooting, there were enough detonations that took place to cause quiet an uproar in the shooting world. The powder companies and gun makers tried their best to duplicate the condition to come up with a remedy. They could never get it to happen in a lab. A lot of Monday morning quarterbacks swore these events happened from double charges. Their claims exposed their ignorance of the subject because a double charge of the amount used would not be dangerous. These events were random and could happen while using a load the shooter had been using for many thousands of round without mishap. But, in some cases, not so much. It drove people batty.

Ignoring or ignorant of history? Please, PLEASE point me to where I can read about this history. I've read SIXGUNS, pored through my fathers old reloading manuals, re-read Ken Waters Pet Loads for the .38 Special, including an article that focused on wadcutters and light charges of fast powders such as Bullseye, re-checked the old Hercules and new Alliant manuals for warnings, looked through my handloading manuals and found exactly nothing regarding this uproar of which you speak. You're telling us that this horrible occurrence could not be repeated in a laboratory setting, yet it could happen at any time with shooters outside the lab.
Do you not realize just how absurd all this sounds???? Can you not understand why the posters on the Cast Boolit forum rolled their collective eyes at this nonsense?
 

gnappi

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 4, 2023
Messages
429
Location
Florida
Always go by what a loading manual says. A lesser charge in a larger case can be as bad as exceeding maximum loads.
Agreed 110%. If a manual says it's safe it's GTG. If your 240gn. bullet is a lead RNFP and you trying to load 850-950 fps the Speer manuals will get you there.
 

gnappi

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 4, 2023
Messages
429
Location
Florida
I have these three, you can have them... under two conditions, you promise to read them and not only get the data, and you pay it forward. :)

PM me your address and I'll get them to you. Be advised that my trips to the USPS are infrequent, and stuff going out of FloriDUH is notoriously SLOW, so I'll send you tracking here when I get it.

PS, the Lyman book was my dad's and he had some loads scribbled in the book, I'd not use them unless he had 30-30 data scribbled there with 748, they're killer loads.

Regards,

Gary
 

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crow#2

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 21, 2023
Messages
414
Location
Mooreland Indiana
yes sir I sure will. I've gave alot away over the years.
Good feeling. Your gonna need shipping let me know how much.
Daryl Pelfrey
307 south cory street
Mooreland In. 47360
 

Rclark

Hunter
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,545
Location
Butte, MT
If I understand correctly the 44 split loadings can be used in 44 mag casings safely.
Yes. Of course. Gives you a lot more range of loads. For Unique/Universal add 1.0gr to aproximately match the .44 Special velocity. Ie. If 7.5gr is your load for .44 Special, then 8.5gr in the .44 Magnum. Not rocket science here. The case isn't 'that' much longer. FWIW, I usually start at the 'high end' of the .44 Special range and see how it looks over the chronograph, move up/down depending on what velocity/accuracy/ES I are looking for. Simple. Same of course for .38 Special and .357 Magnum.
 

Maverick

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
64
Crow#2….your question is too vague. Thus the multitude of responses and questions to your post. Of course you will want to consult your manuals/online info. as everyone mentions. I like Lee 2nd Edition. Of course all components matter w/ powder type being critical as some powders are NOT meant to be used for downloading as they have a very narrow range. In regards to the the 44 magnum, H-110 is probably the most popular and is one powder you should NEVER go below the minimum charge listed in your manual.
Personally I have great success w/Light charges of HS-6 under 250-255 Keith Style cast lead bullets. Very mild recoil…if you need lighter than that buy some 44 spl brass. I did….and again used HS-6 in the 44 Spl. case w/ book listed min. charge. At this point out of my 10in Super Blackhawk recoil is more in the pellet gun range if that's your goal. I did it just to have some ammo on hand for recoil sensitive people like the wife or kids learning to shoot.
 
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