I'm getting ready...

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Aug 29, 2002
This year I wanted to develop a mid-level load that I could use with my Super Blackhawk instead of my shotgun for deer hunting. The area that I hunt is pretty heavily wooded and most of the shots are fairly close range due to the heavy tree cover. I wanted to develop a load that would launch a hardcast bullet to a speed around 1000 FPS. I was hoping to have the load ready before the end of the season, but didn't get a chance to work on it till recently, after the season ended.

I recently loaded up some mid-level 44 magnum loads that use a Cast Performance 255gr hard cast, wide nose lead bullet over 8.7 gr of Unique in a 44 mag case. I also bought a Shooting Chrony Alpha Master Chronograph to measure the velocity of these loads. I was able to sneak away to my local range this afternoon and test fire these rounds. I began by shooting a few rounds for accuracy and to make sure that I could stay on target and not hit the chronograph.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the rounds grouped nicely offhand at 11 yards. I then set up the chronograph. At first I had the chronograph placed about 10 feet from the firing line per the instructions. This turned out to be too close, since I kept on getting errors or weird results (6000 FPS) due to muzzle blast.

I then moved the chronograph to just in front of the target (11 yards) and got much better results. I was happily surprised to see that the velocity of my loads were consistent (between 990 and 1010 FPS)and I was very happy that I did not destroy my chronograph. I was a little nervous because the device sat right below my target, but thankfully everything went well.

Anyway, I'm extremely pleased. The loads were very accurate for my purposes, and the mean velocity was up there where I was hoping it would be. Also, the recoil was very manageable from my gun and the muzzle blast was not overwhelming. I'm not a big fan of shooting fire-breathing, full-powered magnum loads from this short barreled handgun and I think that this mid-level load suits me well.

I was so pleased today that I decided to snap a picture of my gun when I got home. Here is a medium res shot of the gun and a link to a higher res picture. I was surprised and very pleased with the accuracy of the load - the target in the picture was shot offhand at 11 yards and I was shivering from the cold!



I am looking forward to next year's deer season!!!


Jan 6, 2007
Terrebonne, Oregon, USA
Something is not right about your chronograph not functioning properly at closer ranges. I use mine at about 10 feet or less and have never had any problems.

I agree with you that the short barrelled revolvers should be loaded to about 1000 fps.

Using 265 grain lead bullets in my 4 5/8" .41 magnum Blackhawk, I found that Unique easily put me into the 1,000 to 1,100 fps velocity range. 2400 gives me a range between 1,000 fps and 1,250 fps at maximum charge. H-110 gave me a narrow range of 1,250 to 1,300 fps between minimum and maximum charges so it is only good for hotter loads.

While the recoil at 1,000 fps was certainly mild, it wasn't really objectionable at 1,300 fps. These extra heavy for caliber bullets are very pleasant shooters.

You might consider trying some 300 grainers in your .44.



Apr 17, 2006
Upstate SC
Tell ya what -- a load like that will do at least 90% of anything and everything a "normal" feller needs to do with a sixgun.