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Old 03-27-2013, 11:47   #1
doc540
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Win231 Powder Test - .44 Mag

Goal: low powered (.44 Special) accuracy for 50 yd silhouette matches

Why .44 Mag and not .44 Special? Brass is more available around here

Loaded up Win231 last night and tested it this morning.

60 degrees, light wind

Disclaimer: Limited marksmanship skills

Revolver: 629 Classic with top port
Optics: Matchdot w/Leupold quick release rings
Mount: Warne Maxima Multi-Sight System (modified front sight for irons)
Reloading

(sighted in using 7.0gr Unique...shot 10 test shots)

Second round of targets
Reloading

Conclusions:
1. All loads would work ok for 50yd silhouette shooting
2. Better shooting skills would tighten all the groups
3. Reloading and testing bullets and powder is fun
4. Old pro's will soon set straight a rookie like myself
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Old 03-27-2013, 13:45   #2
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Yep, the 44mag is accurate. I used to shoot open sights @ long range met sil, 200M. On good days I could hold under 6" @ 100 from a reclining field position (Creedmoor), max loads though. I can still do it w/ a scoped rig. Fun, fun! You look well on your way.
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Old 03-27-2013, 14:48   #3
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Looks like some of those work well

I think if you adjust your sight the Win 231 5.5gr and 6.1gr look pretty darned accurate to me.

Thanks for sharing

OG03

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Old 03-27-2013, 21:25   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldgoat03 View Post
I think if you adjust your sight the Win 231 5.5gr and 6.1gr look pretty darned accurate to me.

Thanks for sharing

OG03
Thanks
If the weather holds I plan to dial in the sights with 5.5 tomorrow.
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Old 03-29-2013, 16:12   #5
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5.5gr W231 averages 740fps

I think that's the load I'll stick with since I was trying for something similar to .44 Special.

Guess I'll end up getting my man card cancelled.

Reloading
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Old 03-29-2013, 17:02   #6
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5.5gr W231 averages 740fps

I think that's the load I'll stick with since I was trying for something similar to .44 Special.

Guess I'll end up getting my man card cancelled.

I and a lot of others I know shoot the .41 and .44 mags in the 1,050-1,200 fps range as working loads. You might be familiar with that velocity with heavy bullets if you've ever heard of Elmer Keith. That was actually what he asked S&W for and his mancard was quite secure.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:21   #7
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My three 44 Mag loads:

(heavy load - not applicable to the topic, but one of my standards) - 18.0 grs AA#9 w/ 290gr Ly431640, 270gr home-swaged JHP, and 270gr Hvy Keith SWC. (Can, and frequently do, substitute Alliant 2400 in these loads for basically exactly same performance.)

Medium Load - 7.5grs W231 w/ 225gr -- 270gr lead bullet, giving 950fps (5" bbl.) to 1080fps (20" bbl.) with the 270gr bullet. This is an extremely comfortable load to shoot, accurate, and very powerful (heavier than a 45ACP & see comment above about how this power level is fully sufficient for 90% of purposes for a 44 Mag).

Light Load - 5.6grs W231 w/ 225gr LRNFP giving ~700fps in pistols (not recommended for carbines, although I've not had problems in my 16" Carbine). This load is like shooting a 22 in a big bore, yet is as powerful as a 45ACP out of an Officer's model. It's a great load for introducing new shooters to big-bores. My 7-yr-old daughter was shooting 1.5"-2.0" groups at 10yrds with this load...

My "low-pressure" (sticking to 12,000cup SAAMI limit) load in the 44 Spl. brass is 4.4grs w/ same 225gr LRNFP, but because Special-chambered pistols are often lighter-weight than Magnums, this load kicks a trifle more than the 5.6gr load in the Magnums...


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Old 03-30-2013, 10:28   #8
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Oh, and though you'll find loads far higher than 7.5grs w/ W231 in the 44 Mag., I've found that they do not perform well. Anything above 8.0grs of W231 in the 44Mag, even though perfectly safe and below max pressure, give bad characteristics - accuracy bad, smells acrid, recoil is violent, muzzle blast is more of a violent crack than a boom... This is why I switched to the heavier loads of 2400 and AA#9. (If you look it up, you'll find my 2400 & AA9 loads are well below max, and pretty close to what the book velocity of the max W231 loads is.) I didn't switch to the slower powders for velocity - it was this poor performance of W231 once that 8.0grs line is reached.


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Old 03-30-2013, 10:54   #9
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The .44 Magnum is a very large case. Unique, 5744, or IMR 4759 are excellent for use in light loads in large cases. Also, loading up some black powder rounds and running them over the chronograph will give you a good idea of what a "standard" load in this cartridge might have been.

I know low density loads with ultra fast burning powders are de rigueur, I use a lot of Titegroup in just this way. But, if you want a consistent, reliable, accurate load in big cases, the higher density, moderately fast burning powders are the safe and prudent way to go.

Another powder that works great in big cases is IMR Trail Boss. It is extremely fast burning, but very high density for safety and consistency.

Like I said, I know fast, low density powders are all the rage, but they're not to be recommended or advocated in the presence of novice reloaders, IMHO.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:32   #10
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Originally Posted by Three-Five-Seven View Post
The .44 Magnum is a very large case. Unique, 5744, or IMR 4759 are excellent for use in light loads in large cases. Also, loading up some black powder rounds and running them over the chronograph will give you a good idea of what a "standard" load in this cartridge might have been.

I know low density loads with ultra fast burning powders are de rigueur, I use a lot of Titegroup in just this way. But, if you want a consistent, reliable, accurate load in big cases, the higher density, moderately fast burning powders are the safe and prudent way to go.

Another powder that works great in big cases is IMR Trail Boss. It is extremely fast burning, but very high density for safety and consistency.

Like I said, I know fast, low density powders are all the rage, but they're not to be recommended or advocated in the presence of novice reloaders, IMHO.
Agreed. Small charges of low density powders in big cases is just not a good idea IMO.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:55   #11
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Originally Posted by MakeMineA10mm View Post
Mag).

Light Load - 5.6grs W231 w/ 225gr LRNFP giving ~700fps in pistols (not recommended for carbines, although I've not had problems in my 16" Carbine). This load is like shooting a 22 in a big bore, yet is as powerful as a 45ACP out of an Officer's model. It's a great load for introducing new shooters to big-bores. My 7-yr-old daughter was shooting 1.5"-2.0" groups at 10yrds with this load...

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yessir....5.5 is working very well overall and knocks 'em down at 50yds.

thnx
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:43   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Three-Five-Seven View Post

I know low density loads with ultra fast burning powders are de rigueur, I use a lot of Titegroup in just this way. But, if you want a consistent, reliable, accurate load in big cases, the higher density, moderately fast burning powders are the safe and prudent way to go.
I agree with all your comments and recommendations, but for clarity's sake, I would point out that W231 isn't exactly "low-density." I'd call it "medium-density" myself.

In the 7.5gr load I mainly use, the powder fills approximately 80% of the space between the case's web and the base of my 270gr SWC, and a double-charge not quite fills the case to the mouth, making seating a bullet impossible, if one misses the obvious signal of a full case.

The 5.6gr load with a lighter/more-standard weight 240gr LSWC, still fills about 1/2 the powder space.

Double charges are always a possibility, but any and every loader, novice and veteran (whom I find to be more vulnerable to errors of this kind than tyros), should not get lax about inspecting powder levels. (The 5.6gr load, IF double-charged, merely becomes a "max load" as I believe 11.3grs is Win's max load.--I'll double check that and come back and edit if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall checking this.) Edited to add: current Hodgdon website shows 11.0grs is max at 38,000 cup. I do recall (but don't have access to it, since I'm out of town) that one of my Winchester load booklets showed 11.2 or 11.3grs max - probably running closer to the 40,000cup max. Either way, although it will be a surprise to fire that round, it will be safe, all other things being equal.

I use both single-stage and progressive loaders and I've visually looked at every powder charge I've ever thrown. (Over 250,000 rounds now, at least.) Always good to have a reminder about safety, but not a reason to totally discount the use of a particular powder. (Although I do feel guilty of being a bit two-faced here, since I do feel W231 becomes undesireable at the heavier load levels above 8.0grs.)



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Old 03-30-2013, 12:46   #13
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Quote:
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yessir....5.5 is working very well overall and knocks 'em down at 50yds.

thnx
Awesome! That extra .1gr in my load comes from the fact that 5.6grs is my standard load in 45ACP & 10mm, so I leave one powder measure set up for that weight and move it between the toolheads for those calibers. I'm sure load-to-load variations (which run about .1grs with a good measure) make the loads nearly identical. It's a good one!


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