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I got a whole bunch of Oregon Trail Laser Cast 44 Mag bullets (240gr.) (.431 diameter) and I can't find any load data on them. I'm hoping someone will share some load data or point me in the right direction. I'm wanting to shoot them in my 5" S&W Classic and My NEF Handi-Rifle with 22" barrel. I appreciate any info.

Thanks,

Ken
 

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Don't have any first hand knowledge of that bullet but loads from any of the loading manuals should do for 240 gn bullets, If you plan to shoot a LOT, in the Smith I would suggest keeping the loads from max. loadings, like say 19-20 gns of 2400 instead of the "standard" Keith load of 22 gns.
just my $.02
 

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2400 Powder has been changed from the days of Elmer Keith and 22 grains is no longer considered a safe load PERIOD. I believe the new max load is closer to 20 grains. Be sure to check with up to date loading manuals rather than going on old data that is no longer acceptable due to changes made in the powder.

As stated the data from most any recognized manual will work for the bullets you have there is nothing special or magic about them they are just normal hard cast lead bullets with an extremely tiny amount of silver added so they can use it as an advertising gimmick.
 

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Graybeard said:
2400 Powder has been changed from the days of Elmer Keith and 22 grains is no longer considered a safe load PERIOD. I believe the new max load is closer to 20 grains. Be sure to check with up to date loading manuals rather than going on old data that is no longer acceptable due to changes made in the powder.
Graybeard

I talked with Alliant and they say they've not changed the formula of 2400 at all and that it's the same as it always has been. I have ran several tests in several (Hawes Western Marshall, Colt Anaconda and Ruger BHFT) comparing some old 2400 (Hercules) that I had for a long time and was well stored. I used a RCBS 429-250-SWC mould that I've had for years. Cast of WWs and sized .430 those bullets weight 255 gr and over 22 gr 2400 ran 1325 fps years ago when I first got the keg of 2400.  The recent test (last year when I got the BHFT) that same load ran 1328 fps. The "new and hotter" Alliant 2400 with the same 22 gr load ran 1278 fps.  Hmmmm.....that doesn't seem "hotter" to me.  Velocities in the Anaconda and BHFT were correspondingly slower with the same 22 gr load of the new 2400 but closer to the velocity of the older powder (in the BHFT 1331 fps for the new 2400 and 1339 fps for the old).  I also found that the older Hercules 2400 gave slightly higher velocities in a 30-06 when loaded with a favorite load under 311299.  The difference between the two lots of 2400 that I have are about what I would expect between lots.

I further believe this whole "the new 2400 is hotter than the old 2400" myth started when a well known gun writer published an article in a major gun magazine in which he had to use less than 22 gr of new 2400 with jacketed bullets as the 22 gr load seemed 'hot". Now I'm not saying that gun writers are opinionated or might say something that is not correct but this whole myth started from that article.  The discrepancy he observed was within tolerance between lots.

Alliant says 2400 has not changed and my own tests verify that fact. I use 22 gr of Alliant 2400 under 240 255 gr bullets without any problems.

Larry Gibson
 

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KenSel said:
I got a whole bunch of Oregon Trail Laser Cast 44 Mag bullets (240gr.) (.431 diameter) and I can't find any load data on them. I'm hoping someone will share some load data or point me in the right direction. I'm wanting to shoot them in my 5" S&W Classic and My NEF Handi-Rifle with 22" barrel. I appreciate any info.

Thanks,

Ken
Ken

If you want the same load for both rifle and handgun then load for the rifle and accept what you get in the handgun. Reason being is that magnum handgun loads with plian base bullets most often are then pushed too fast in the rifle for good accuracy. I've shot a couple thousand of the Lazer cast 240 SWCs through a M94 Winchester (mine had a 16" barrel) and found that with any load that bushed them beyond 1550 fps accuracy (factory sights) went from 2" at 50 yards to 6+" groups. That velocity is about the upper limit with PB cast bullets for accuracy regardless of barrel length. I found 2400 and H4227 to give the best accuracy in the rifle and excellent accuracy in the revolvers also. I used 20 and 22 gr respectfully. These were still fairly healthy loads for the revolvers though not full magnum loads. It worked for me.

Larry Gibson
 

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Alliant 2400 Re: Oregon Trail Laser Cast 44 Mag bullets - Can't find load data

I have been wondering about this 2400 issue. I load the 41 mag and several of my most recent manuals show the max load as much reduced from manuals of 10-20 years ago. Kind of frustrating as I'd like to use 2400 more often but I've been afraid to use some good old loads from my log that were 1.5 or more grains over current published data. In the Lyman, they switched primers and brass from one manual to the next which might account for the difference but I believe Alliant's own data shows lower max now than the old Hercules pamphlets. So I tend to go with H110. I have old and new 2400 but haven't done a comparison over my chronograph.

Like GB says, for Laser cast just use data for cast lead. And as usual, start low and work up carefully for YOUR gun. There are lots of sources for variation among guns, brass, bullet hardness, bullet diameter, primers, crimp, temperature.

I've had good results with Laser cast in my 41 and I expect you will do fine with the 44s too.
 

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Alliant might say it hasn't changed but all the loading manuals seem to disagree as load data has been reduced in them. In my own loads it sure seems I get more velocity with it now than in the past. Dunno as I have none of the old to compare it with but me I'll continue to assume the current manuals are right and use a reduced max charge from the days of old. Perhaps it never was safe to load 22 grains.
 

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KenSel,

It doesn't matter if Alliant has changed the powder or not, really.

The oft quoted load that was used by Elmer was "safe and reliable" in his guns. If you read much of his writings you will find he made reference to that load showing pressure signs in some guns. By the time you see pressure signs, the pressure is pretty much off the charts.

Elmer, God bless him, loaded by the seat of his pants. And blew up guns. He lived to write about it but that doesn't mean we need to follow just because he says so.

I've seen a Ruger SBH hammered to death with a steady diet of that load.

I also remember Skeeter Skelton recommending to reduce that load by at least one grain.

Now I don't have a horse in this race as I got rid of all my 44 magnums in favor of 45's, ACP and Long Colt. As many others have found 255grains at 900 fps goes right through a deer, what more do I need?

Most of the manuals are reliable as written. I don't believe any of them push the envelope but then again I no longer feel the need to do that either.

Pick a load and try it out, if it works for what you need use it. If not try another one
 

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We find many, many loads reduced in the current manuals. This not because the previous loads were necessarily unsafe but that they were worked up to be safe loads in, most often, ordinary rifles and handguns like you and I have. The new manuals do not show loads that exceed arbritary pressures established by SAAMI. Those loads are also established with pressure barrels which are made to minimum tolerance as is the chamber. When considering the "Keith" load you may find it interesting to note that Lyman says 23.4 gr is the max load at 36,000 CUP (within SAAMI specifications) with 429421. That IS 1.4 gr above "the" Keith load. Hornady lists 19 point some grains as max with their 240 jacketed bullet, so which is the gospel? I've generally found 20.5 to 21.5 gr (depending on lot) of 2400 to be a safe max load with jacketed 240's. I've always preferred H110 with the jacketed 240s anyways. I do not consider loading a magnum cartridge to it's safe potential as "pushing the envelope". All that is actually beside the point. The point is some reloading manuals and many of us who shoot the Keith load have no problems with it. My point was that Alliant did not change the formula of 2400 therefore loads that were safe with the old are safe with the new. For those who take manuals as gospel that is fine with me. However many of us take manuals as guides because of the great contradictions among them of loading data. As long as we stay within recommended charges and work up the loads for our own firearms then should be no problems with our way also.

Larry Gibson
 

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StrawHat,

I like what you said...255 grains @ 900 will go right through a deer. What experiences do you have with loads like that? Distance, shot placement, etc. I have really been wanting to get into handgun hunting and have been playing around (in my mind) with loads such as 255 - 300 grain bullets pushed at 950 - 1,100 fps in 44 or 45. I've even had a thought to try the ACP at around 950 fps. I also have an NEF in 44 that I might try the same load in for a bit more velocity out of that 20" tube for a bit more distance.

Thanks!!
 

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Larry said:
When considering the "Keith" load you may find it interesting to note that Lyman says 23.4 gr is the max load at 36,000 CUP (within SAAMI specifications) with 429421. That IS 1.4 gr above "the" Keith load.
I just want to interject here to mention that Lyman gives these figures with a #429421 cast from linotype at 245 grains. Was linotype available to Elmer Keith? It is also loaded to a generous 1.710 C.O.L. A softer alloy would distort more and create higher pressures "sooner". I have a batch from an alloy that is more like Lyman #2, and they weigh in at 255 grains. I personally wouldn't push them that far, and anyway a 1.710" C.O.L. is unrealistic because the crimp would be insufficient with the bullet that far out.

Did Keith use the #429421 as the pattern appears today? I know that he was not happy with Lyman's revisions of some of his designs. If Keith was using a bullet with a wider, sharper or deeper grease groove, for example, the bullet would have to be slightly longer to be the same weight.

I've never actually measured the hardness of a Laser-cast bullet, but other sources peg them at about 4-6 less than linotype on the BHN scale.

Alliant Powder says:
http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/Index.htm (Please read disclaimer first)

The closest they have is with a gas-check; go from 18.5 to 20.6 grains:
Click here
 

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DWTim

"I just want to interject here to mention that Lyman gives these figures with a #429421 cast from linotype at 245 grains. Was linotype available to Elmer Keith?"

Yes Elmer Keith had access to linotype. Probably greater access than we have now as all printing back then was with type made from linotype. I would suggest you read some of what Elmer wrote. A good place to start would be Reloading the .44 Magnum which was published in Lyman's Reloader Handbook #42. You'll find in there that he like his 429421 to be cast of 1-16 tin-lead alloy. Not as hard as linotype or #2 alloy but probably giving the higher pressures you suggest of softer alloyed bullets. His "Keith load" was tested by HP White Labratory (they have a substantial reputation for scientific testing) and was found to give an average of just under 34,000 pounds with only 3,000 pounds variation.

"It is also loaded to a generous 1.710 C.O.L. A softer alloy would distort more and create higher pressures "sooner". I have a batch from an alloy that is more like Lyman #2, and they weigh in at 255 grains. I personally wouldn't push them that far, and anyway a 1.710" C.O.L. is unrealistic because the crimp would be insufficient with the bullet that far out."

I'm not sure where you are crimping your loads but with my .44 magnum loads using a solid crimp in the crimp groove on the Keith bullet the OAL is 1.713". The case mouth is right up the the bottom of the driving band and the crimp is as good as it gets. These loads fit quite nicely in every .44 magnum I've tried them in (Ruger BHs and RHs, S&W 29s, Hawes, Colt Anaconda's, Tauris and several others).

"Did Keith use the #429421 as the pattern appears today? I know that he was not happy with Lyman's revisions of some of his designs. If Keith was using a bullet with a wider, sharper or deeper grease groove, for example, the bullet would have to be slightly longer to be the same weight."

Well Keith designed the bullet then Lyman changed it to round grease groove instead of square. I've used both and can not tell any advantage of one over the other with modern lubes like Javelina. Keith designed his bullets with square grooves "to hold the lube better" as the older lubes were not as good as the ones today. If you would read Keith you would know that's why he liked the square grooves.

"I've never actually measured the hardness of a Laser-cast bullet, but other sources peg them at about 4-6 less than linotype on the BHN scale."

That is correct and if you'll read the original question you'll find the Laser Cast .44 bullets in question are 240 gr bullets. lighter than the Lyman 429421 cast of Lino. I've used the 240 Laser Cast bullets over 22 gr 2400 without problem other than the usual leading because of the hard wax lube. I usually wash the wax lube off and relube them with Javelina. Then they don't lead and accuracy is then better.

Larry Gibson
 

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Larry Gibson:

I think we agree and have mostly the same information. I'm not actually challenging you on anything. I'm just pointing out little variations that could explain why there is a 1.4 grain difference in the classic Keith load and what Lyman has published recently -- in regard the question about reformulation of Alliant 2400. This would be in addition to the fact that lots of the same powder vary in burn rate.
 

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DWTim said:
Larry Gibson:

I think we agree and have mostly the same information. I'm not actually challenging you on anything. I'm just pointing out little variations that could explain why there is a 1.4 grain difference in the classic Keith load and what Lyman has published recently -- in regard the question about reformulation of Alliant 2400. This would be in addition to the fact that lots of the same powder vary in burn rate.
That's very true that there is some lot to lot variation. But my point is loading data has gone down in most all manuals because they all adhere to SAAMI listed max pressures for cartridges. SAAMI determines those pressures based on the weakest actions made for the cartridges and for older cartridges the weaknesses of the cartridge cases themselves. I do not advocate loading a cartridge "hot". But I do load some of my cartridges to their potential. The '06 in a new modern bolt action. There is no need to limit the pressure to that which is safe in the lever action M95 (SAAMIs listed max). In a new M70, M700, Savage , Ruger, etc. bolt actions there is no reason it can't be safely loaded to athe same pressures as the .270. Same with the .357 Magnum which has been dumbed down to .38+P+ levels because of the smaller and weaker handguns being made for it. Also seems aweful coincidental that about the same time S&W M29s supposidly were being shot loose with full .44 loads that it was discovered by a major handgun writer (and fan of S&W) that Alliant 2400 is "hotter" and loads should be reduced from the classic Keith load. BTW; I'm not pushing Elmer Keith here just his .44 load which is a damn fine one.

Larry Gibson
 

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I have the Laser Cast load manual. Let me know the powder and I can tell you the loads they list. Or what velocity you want and I can give you the loads.
 
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