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Discussion Starter #1
I have an older barrel 44 mag on its way to me and am very excited to see what all the fuss is about as far as accuracy goes. I was thinking that we could compile a bunch of info on this thread that people with first hand accounts have had with the older 44 mag barrel and maybe get some idea of common problems.

I have already ordered dies, 270 grain Speer Gold Dots, 240 Mag Tech Soft points, 100 Brass. For powder I am going to use either H110, or Hercules 2400. These are slower burning powders and they should give me some very decent fps using the rifle barrel. Undecided on what primers I am going to use.

The gun will be setup with either a red dot scope or a 3-9x40 Bushnell Banner. Since this is a very short range rifle I think that the red dot will be enough. I would like to get this gun shooting 3" or better at 100 yards and its going to be my deer gun this year.

I look forward to seeing what everyone has dealt with using there 44 mag. I will be going to the range next Wed to start the testing with the different loads and whatever else I can think of.
 

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The older .44 Mag barrels were over-bore to the point where accuracy was affected with factory .429 bullets. Some reported acceptable accuracy with jacketed bullets, but they were the minority.

Those that used cast bullets near or at bore diameter reported decent accuracy.

The newer .44 barrels seem to be coming in at .429 - .430 and accuracy at 100 yards has been better than 3".

Keep us posted on your results. One never knows when he will come across a older .44 for a good price.
 

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The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook recommends cast bullets that are .001"-.002" over groove diameter for best accuracy. ;) I don't have a 44mag barrel yet, 6 weeks and counting so far since they got my order, but I do have a .444" barrel, I've shot .432" Beartooth bullets in it which are .0015" over the groove depth, accuracy is superb with their 355gr bullets.

Tim

 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks and thats some nice shooting. Will a cast bullet expand? I have never used any im thinking that if its soft lead it will mushroom and if its hard lead it will just punch through.
 

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Most of us that use's the old 44 mag barrel got 1 1/2" at 100 yds with a max load of H110 and the 300 gr. XTP's seated in the 2 nd. channelure. Even the .432" bore barrels shot them well enough for deer hunting. Digger
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I didn't order any 300gr xtp's because I thought that they were a touch over kill but if I can't get what I have working well I will have to order some.
 

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varmint917v said:
Will a cast bullet expand? I have never used any im thinking that if its soft lead it will mushroom and if its hard lead it will just punch through.
Hard cast bullets with a large meplat(flat frontal area) are very effective without expanding. ;)

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #11
one more quick question. Since I am not loading these 44 bullets for a semi auto do I have to use the cannulure as a point for the crimp or can I load them with no crimp and set them to the length that works best?
 

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Sure, as long as there's sufficient neck tension and bullet pull for the load you're shooting. ;)

Tim
 

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I will add my 2 cents worth.
This experience comes from a Remington 788 in 44 Mag with 38" twist and a Contender Carbine barrel with 20" inch twist.
The jacketed 180 and 240 grain Sierras and the Speer and Nosler 200 grain bullets were very accurate with top loads of H110.
I later read a forum post from one of the Hodgdon sons that H110 and Winchester 296 are the same powder.

Low velocity cast loads (900 fps) with the Remington shot poorly (keyholes with 250 Keith bullets) while the Contender shot much better with the same loads. Just the twist difference.
 

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Does anyone have any more info on H110 and Winchester 296 being the same powder?....<><....:)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am in the middle of researching some load data for 296 and H110 and for a lot of the load data for the 296 powder it says to use a magnum primer should I get magnum primers for either one of these powders?

Update on my situation as of today.
I have received everything I need to reload for the 44. I am still waiting on the barrel and I am going to pick up the powder and primers on Saturday. I might be able to get some loading and shooting in on Sunday if it is nice out if not I have to wait until the range opens up on Wed. Pictures are coming soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Today I started loading for the 44 and unfortunately I had to use HS-7 instead of H110. No shop in town had the H110 and I wasn't going to wait to get to shoot so I went with the HS-7. I decided that 1.775" was a good length to start with and once I find a good load I will see what adjusting the length will do. I do not think I can go much longer then what they are loaded now.

I have not yet decided on what I am going to use for a sight so I just took the scope rail off and used the iron sights. When I first shot this gun I was amazed that it has almost no muzzle raise. I have the tamer stock on it and it has no recoil pad and with just a t shirt on I was feeling it after I got the 270 grain bullets worked up to some semi hot loads.

I shot two groups from 25 yards from a prone position with no sand bags just more for the fun of shooting then anything. The first two shots of both groups were within 1/4" of each other and the third shot got pulled both times. I think this is going to be a shooter. I have done no work on the gun at all the barrel locked up great and there is no gap at the breach.

Wednesday I will put up pictures of my groups when I get to the range and see how well I can get this thing going. For now here is a picture of the gun the 410 tammer stock holds the 44 cartridges perfect.

 

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For what it is worth, my 44 barrel was from 3 years ago. Slugged it at .432. I shot 300gr XTP's out of it at 2-3 inch groups. It was "okay". But I figured that there was no point in loading expensive Beartooth 432's in a rifle that shoots pistol ammo. My whole raison d'firearm was to shoot cheaper pistol ammo, handloaded or not.

I sold it.

I believe that Digger reamed his to 445 and the bullets perform better under higher pressure (everyone's favorite word here--"obduration")

H4227 was very dirty and/or left a lot of soot and unburned powder even with heavy crimp and higher charges. Was going to try H110 but ran out of patience.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Is the only difference between the 44 mag and the 445 supermag the length of the case? Does anyone have any good articles on the 445 supermag or any load data?
 
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