View Full Version : 44 mag loads

08-17-2010, 03:15 AM
Hello all,

I'm new here and fairly new to handloading, but having a lot of fun learning!

I would like some input on 44 mag hand loads. I am currently loading a hard cast 240gr LSWC by sutter's choice (from scheel's), Alliant Blue Dot powder (14.0gn) and CCI primers. (I'm using blue dot only because i had it for some shotgun loads i was working up and saw it would work for the 44mag)

These are being shot through two different pistols with very different results.
#1 - Ruger Vaquero 5.5" bbl (fixed sight)
#2 - Taurus 44SS4 4" ported (actually 3")

in the Ruger, the blue-dot loads solved my pistol's tendency to shoot off POA, so that's good. But they seem rather soft in comparison to any of the better store bought loads (I've tried remington 180's, federal 240's, Winchester 240's, and Blazer 240's). I'd actually compare them to the blazer's as far as power (noticeably softer).

in the Taurus, they appear to be melting lead and depositing it on the front sight adjacent to the ports (very hard to clean off). Also, with the shorter barrel, there are often flakes of un-burnt powder left on your hands after shooting. it also seems rather "smokey" when shooting.

going by my Lymann reloading manual (The current one sold at scheel's) for a LSWC 240gr 14.5gn of blue dot is the Max load for this combo.

I had thought about using Accurate Arms #9 powder, but it is a slower powder than the blue dot. Ive heard some rave about H110, unique, and 2400.

The goal is to "clean up" the way the taurus shoots (not leading the front sight would be a major plus), and still shoot well through the ruger. I don't need a Max Effort load, but a "full power" comparable to a Winchester or Federal would be quite fine.

thought? recommendations, different powders or charge weights to try?

thanks for the help!

Mike B

08-17-2010, 02:35 PM
The first and probably largest single source of the smoke and waxey residue around the cylinder and front sight/muzzle of your revolvers is from the lubricant used on the cast bullets. That is not likely to change much, no matter which powder you use. As far as leading your Taurus, its ported, so you are always going to collect residue there. The cast bullets need to fit your cylinder throats and bore, its difficult to do that with mass produced, hard cast bullets. More often than not they are too hard and either too large in diameter or too small. You need to slug the bore and fit the bullet to the chamber mouth. Try dropping a bullet into each chamber and push it thru, it should move thru with only moderate force and no distortion, be aware of differences in each chamber, use a new bullet for each chamber. Slug and measure your bore for comparison with the bullet/chamber. It sounds complicated, but its basic to accurate shooting and reduced leading.
Good shooting!!!!!

08-21-2010, 03:15 AM
good advice there guesser.
as to a good semi-heavy does well enough for hunting load.
the 19 grs of 2400 behind your hard boolit works well. [the alloy i normally use is half as hard as the commercial guy's use]
a hotter primer and good crimp help also.
velocity will vary depending on your brass brand.

08-24-2010, 06:00 AM
runfiverun what alloy you useing for 44 mag ? i been useing a lyman#2 or very close to it boolits been testing 15bhn.


08-26-2010, 06:08 PM
i mainly use a 1% tin and 3% antimony or as close as guessing and using a bhn tester will get.
i have a ton [at least] of the older 80's ww's and they seem to have about 4% antimony in them.
i add 1 part soft lead to the ww's as i have a bunch of it also.
and then just bump up the tin as needed.
i use that same alloy waterdropped for most of my rifle loads too.

when i need a larger boolit i go to a 3/6 alloy made with linotype, and old stick -on weights or roof flashing.
and sometimes i add antimonial ore into a lead/ tin mix to make it.
i used to get the commercial terracorp magnum 2/6 alloy from a rival caster and cut it 1/1 with roof lead it has turned into a very good versatile alloy.
i use it for bout everything from38 up through my 450 express mag from slow to go.
there are a few grumpy guns that wanna do something else, but they are usually fixed [either mechanically or with changing the pressure curve] rather than chase them down with alloy.
generally if one of the three above alloys well two don't work in a rifle or handgun it's got other problems or the loads are just plain wrong.
the 1/3 alloy works well in paper patching projects also, and i have even used it in swaging. only withless tin.

08-26-2010, 07:23 PM
Have you ever tried any zinc/lead alloys for swaged bullets?

I don't have any swaging tools to experiment myself, but have always wondered if accidentally contaminated WW batches might be usable for it. I assume pure zinc is much too hard, but thought that if alloyed with lead to make it softer it might be a good way to salvage an otherwise unusable batch when someone let the smelter get a bit too hot and melted in a few zinc weights by mistake.

What do you think?

08-27-2010, 02:24 AM
zinc is soluble in lead alloys.
i have made up zinc alloys on purpose.
about 1.5% zinc will not mess up your alloy but will add significant hardness.
i have often wondered how many guys have melted zinc into thier ww alloy then never knew it was in there.
you can pull a ruined pot of alloy back down to the soluble level with sulphur powder.
and zinc is used at the foundry to pull tin from alloyed lead to clean it up.

anyways zinc ruined alloy wouldn't do a swager much good. the swaging squeezes air from the alloy, and zinc would not allow that it would break.
even as a filler for jacketed swaging, zinc needs to be squeezed.
it would possibly break the swaging tool.
thats why most swagers want dead soft lead or lead with just antimony in it thats been extruded.
if tin is added to the mix it adds hardness to the alloy even if it's extruded.
funny how metals react to stuff like melting,alloying,or just plain old heating and cooling.
or how they react under pressure.