Problems

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the fatman

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
325
Took the Alaskan 44 to the range today. Had some 300 grain Hornadays loaded in winchester brass with a 17.7 grain dose of Lil'gun powder. Fired the second cylinder full had to push hard to eject and out pops two pieces of brass with almost half of it missing. Now several questions. How bad did I hurt the gun? And what to do with the remaining rounds? I tryed my bullet puller and they are in there tight enough that I broke the metal collet. The bullet actually expands the case somewhat. Could this be a reason for the the problem? Had this happen with the 454 alaskan and since I had never witnessed this before just thought my gun didn't like shooting 454 casul rounds and started shooting lite rounds with cast bullets and universal. But now wow. I loaded 44's years ago and never had this happen. Never had it happen with any other round either. I have loaded max loads with H-110 in 357 and 44 years ago and never had this happen. So can you guys help an idiot out?
 

Rock

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Messages
35
Checked on the Hodgdon reloading site regarding the load you stated, it seems that with the propellant you are using you are at a maximum load with Lil Gun. I have never used that powder so cannot say how touchy it is pressure wise.

My first thought would be to either reduce the load to minimum and slowly work your load back up or switch over to H-110 or 2400 and start at the minimum and watch for pressure signs as you increase the load. One of the things with big bullets is where you seat and crimp the bullet relative to the case, a bullet seated too deep can radically raise pressures. Another thing is to carefully inspect your cases for any signs of fatigue. Be sure the loaded round is not oversize for the cylinder and not allowing the case to expand adequately to release the bullet. All of the above can create serious pressure issues.

As regards the gun I would give it a good cleaning and carefully inspect the cylinder, forcing cone and top strap for any signs of cracking or metal flow, if you discover any signs of failure then it is time to send it back to Ruger for inspection. Your model is known for its strength and likely you are all right but I sure would change direction post haste and proceed with caution.

It might be wise to purchase an inertia bullet puller and break the remaining rounds down. You might try putting the loaded round in your press with the bullet seater die and back off the die so that you are not crimping the case and just use the seater to push the bullets down a bit to break the crimp, I have had some success with this where the crimp was really tight.

I have been using Vihta Vuori powder exclusively for some years now in all my large caliber handgun loads with excellent results, it measures well, is clean burning, develops some great velocity with no pressure issues and has proven to be very accurate with my guns. Might want to give it a try sometime.

Hope this gives you some ideas, good luck.
 

maxpress

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Messages
1,280
have you shot alot of .44spl or lead bullets out of the gun prior to shootin those rounds? somtimes shooting short cased rounds or lead round can leave buildup in the cylinder. the other lead rounds will just skip right by but if you put a longer case in it will "fire form" around the residue and or the jacketed bullets wont be as forgiving of the leading.

another thing that will happen if the pressure is to high is the base of the bullet just above the rim will bulge which is hard to see but easy to feel.

my limited guess would be that the 300gr. bullets were seated to low and "ballooned" the case head. (yes i know thats not the right terminology)
 

the fatman

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
325
Thanks. The brass is new and no 44 specials or lead bullets have been used.
 

HardBall

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 13, 2004
Messages
55
I've never used Lil'gun but remember reading on some forum that Lil'gun does weird things at high pressures. I don't remember the specifics but I think the pressure doesn't build linearly- once it gets past a certain pressure level it spikes. Meaning, a few tenth's lower and it's fine, add a few tenths of a grain and you've got stuck cases.

Maybe someone else knows?
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,740
Hi,

Just some of those thoughts that occur while waiting for the first cup o' joe to take hold:

Most cartridges seem to have certain bullet sizes and powders that are recommended most often. There may be a reason...

In the .44 Mag, 2400, Win296 and H110 are "on the list" as preferred powders in most of the stuff I've read. A buddy likes 2400 because he likes a "one powder fits more" approach, I use 296 when I want full house .44s, and Unique for most lighter stuff (cuz I like a one powder fits most) approach.

Now there are lots of other powders one can use for most cartridges, but there's often some "deficiency" or "problem" depending on your point of view. I've never used L'il Gun. But applying a fair dose of conjecture, it was developed for .410 use, where 2400 and 296 work quite well, so I'd make my first guess that L'il Gun oughta work well in the .44.

However, there ARE situations where some powders can be, as another poster described, "touchy." Blue Dot's one of 'em I've noticed. It may well be that L'il Gun is one of them, too? I dunno...

So w/ that in mind, I'd be doing a lot of reading to see what "starting" loads are advised, and keep things "cooled off" until you know if L'il Gun is a touchy one if I were in your shoes.

Now, for something I do know for sure:

If you have an impact puller, replacing the aluminum 3 piece collet w/ the shellholder from your die set will give you an "unbreakable" solution, along w/ being easier to use than the collet.

Best of luck figuring out the answer to your "situation!"

Rick C
 

revhigh

Hawkeye
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
5,590
Your Alaskan is fine ... no legit max charge could ever hurt a SRH.
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,098
With a short-barrel 44mag gun I would look at a faster powder. Maybe something like HP-38 / W-231. :shock: :D

...Jimbo
 

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