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Hot 44 specials

This is a discussion on Hot 44 specials within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Hello! I load for 44 special, and would like to get some 240 semiwadcutters up to about 1000fps from a 3 in barrel. Buffalo Bore ...


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Old March 6th, 2017, 03:14 PM   #1
 
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Hot 44 specials

Hello! I load for 44 special, and would like to get some 240 semiwadcutters up to about 1000fps from a 3 in barrel. Buffalo Bore says it's 255 grain Keith load is just over 980 from a 3.25 inch barrel, and I don't doubt it a bit. It appears they are using a gas check bullet as well. I have some .430 240 grain swc with no gas check that I think I can get up to this speed. My gun is the new gp100 44 special. Is this even feasible and how do you think my gun will handle it. My current loads are 200 grain bullets and 9 grains of hs6. It is pleasant but I want to stretch the legs on this gun a bit. I don't plan on a constant dose of these, just a few about once per year. I would just buy the buffalo bores, but I have a bunch of these swc bullets laying around.



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Old March 6th, 2017, 06:40 PM   #2
 
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I wouldn't try to match Buffalo Bore velocities unless you have a lab to pressure test your hand-loads. Just buy a box of their stout loads to have your "few rounds once-a-year" fun. You have a good supply of 240gr lead SWC projectiles? Great! Work up a safe, easy shooting load @ 850 to 900fps and shoot away. Power still exceeds .45acp hardball and you can learn the trajectory and where to hold at extended distances.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 06:59 PM   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngashooter View Post
I wouldn't try to match Buffalo Bore velocities unless you have a lab to pressure test your hand-loads. Just buy a box of their stout loads to have your "few rounds once-a-year" fun. You have a good supply of 240gr lead SWC projectiles? Great! Work up a safe, easy shooting load @ 850 to 900fps and shoot away. Power still exceeds .45acp hardball and you can learn the trajectory and where to hold at extended distances.
I have to agree with this /\

Without the ability to measure pressure you're playing with fire by setting a velocity goal without knowing pressure.

My gut feeling is the GP-100 chambered in 44 Special will handle a 250 grain bullet traveling at 1000 fps out of a 3" barrel but without pressure data you're really in the dark about how that happens.

MANY, MANY times, I've said that the SAAMI specs for 44 Special are held ridiculously low and that most modern guns chambered for the 44 Special can handle loads hotter than those anemic SAAMI specs. HOWEVER - because there is no sanctioned data for those "hot" 44 Special loads that exceed the SAAMI specs, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN when you venture into that territory.

The "Skeeter" 44 Special load generally exceeds the acceptable SAAMI specs for 44 Special and runs a 240-250 grain lead bullet in the neighborhood of 900-1000 fps out of a 4" tube. That's not a sanctioned load.

I agree with ngashooter, set your goal for an acceptable load (known max pressure) and take whatever velocity that load yields. That's a safer route that setting a velocity goal and not knowing the pressure it took to achieve that velocity
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Old March 6th, 2017, 07:49 PM   #4
 
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Thanks! This is good advice and I will heed it.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 08:15 PM   #5
 
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Hooksetter the Ruger GP100 .44 Special are beautiful revolvers. The load that you are working with really sounds like it would have quite the punch. Have you thought about finding out what brand of bullet that Buffalo Bore use's for their .44 Special load. Isn't one of their bullets a 240 grain soft lead semi-wad cutter hollow point with a gas check this would be a great bullet to work a defensive load with. Even the 200 grain bullets would work out for a nice loading as well. How has your GP100 .44 Special worked out for you?? I have a Ruger GP100 Wiley Clapp II 3 inch barrel .357, I keep thinking another GP100 would really go nice with my Wiley Clapp & the GP100 .44 Special is really tempting.

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Old March 6th, 2017, 08:47 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gqucool View Post
Hooksetter the Ruger GP100 .44 Special are beautiful revolvers. The load that you are working with really sounds like it would have quite the punch. Have you thought about finding out what brand of bullet that Buffalo Bore use's for their .44 Special load. Isn't one of their bullets a 240 grain soft lead semi-wad cutter hollow point with a gas check this would be a great bullet to work a defensive load with. Even the 200 grain bullets would work out for a nice loading as well. How has your GP100 .44 Special worked out for you?? I have a Ruger GP100 Wiley Clapp II 3 inch barrel .357, I keep thinking another GP100 would really go nice with my Wiley Clapp & the GP100 .44 Special is really tempting.
I found some 260 grain gas checks at Grafs and sons and thought about working those up. I am old fashioned and just check primers for signs of pressure. I like the hp swc too. I have worked up a load with 200 grain XTPs that is accurate, manageable, and within specs of what Hornady lists as usable velocity for the bullet. I absolutely love this pistol. It is smooth, the trigger is easily controlled in double action, single action it is light and crisp with barely any slack. I shimmed it last week and all side travel is gone from the trigger and there is just a little bit in the hammer. My 200 grain XTP load is just under max per the Hornady book. I have been carrying it with this load. Honestly, this may be the best handgun I have ever purchased in regard to its purpose. I absolutely love this thing. I just need my SP to smooth out as nice as this was from the factory lol. I put a set of badgers on it that he cut like the sp 3 finger grips and I did have to do a lot of trimming as they are wide up at the hammer and we're beating my thumb badly. I got that fixed though. I think if you tried one you would be hooked.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 09:08 PM   #7
 
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Already totally hooked on my GP100 WCII mine is the blued finish with the Novak sights. I really like the Novak sights the front sight on mine is a brass bead. I keep thinking a large bore revolver would be nice. But not a magnum either a .44 Special or a .45 acp. You load up a large bore load with 200 grains or more moving at 900-1000 FPS hey the mass of a large bore bullet that alone will do the job. Between a S&W Model 69 & the Ruger GP100 .44 Special hands down to me the Ruger GP100 wins. Even though the S&W is a .44 Magnum I would still shoot .44 Special's no need to beat up my hands in a medium framed revolver. I really like the 3 inch barrel setup,I have the Ruger GP100 Compact grips on it. They actually work quite well with the recoil from .357 Magnum loads.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 03:45 AM   #8
 
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I too have always been impressed with the Wiley Clapp revolvers. The Novak sights are the one thing I wish they would have put on the gp44. I do like the green fiber optic though. However I may order the good bead front sight for my sp from Gemini customs. Haven't decided yet.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 05:32 AM   #9
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I tried to match BB 38 Spl +P's with the exact same bullet. I stuck to the loading manual +P specs using Power Pistol and fell about 100 fps short. BB uses soft lead so the need for GC's. The bullets I used were GC's and they still leaded the BBL to the point after a few rounds it looked like it was a smooth bore.

As to the 44 Spl I have had good luck with the Skeeter load with 250 gr cast bullets. No need for GC's and they are quite accurate. I don't own the 44 GP yet so can't comment it.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 12:57 PM   #10
 
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I was just reading a Skeeter Skelton article "Handgun Loads" and his favorite 44 Special load is the Lyman 429421 SWC , 245 gr. plain base ( or gas checked ) , sized .429,
over 7.5 grains of Unique for about 940 fps from a 4 inch barrel.
Gary
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Old March 7th, 2017, 02:29 PM   #11
 
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I may have err on the side of safety here. I loaded a few 240 grain swc at what hodgdon lists as max with hs6. I think I'll chrony them and see what happens. I was just curious because it shows the cup at 13,000 and I thought I was safe up to 15,000, but as mentioned before I have no way to tell what the exact cup pressure is.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 04:33 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
I was just reading a Skeeter Skelton article "Handgun Loads" and his favorite 44 Special load is the Lyman 429421 SWC , 245 gr. plain base ( or gas checked ) , sized .429,
over 7.5 grains of Unique for about 940 fps from a 4 inch barrel.
Gary
I have shot 1000's of this load(cast 250 gr SWC) through my Smiths and Ruger SA's with no problem.............Plan to shoot 1000's more......It's the only .44 spl load I load.......
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Old March 7th, 2017, 04:50 PM   #13
 
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Me too. The skeeter load is all I use with the one exception with the CA Bulldog which gets 6.0g Unique behind the 240g SWC.

Reading material:

.44 Special Articles

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Old March 8th, 2017, 05:02 AM   #14
 
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Just a couple of notes on this topic,

I've never been a fan of gas checks and avoid them on revolver bullets. A properly sized, properly lubricated plain base bullet of the correct alloy will work just fine. And harder bullets are rarely the answer, particularly at non-magnum pressures.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I seriously doubt that Buffalo Bore uses an "off-the shelf" powder to achieve their higher velocities. I don't think a reloader could duplicate Buffalo Bore's velocities with commonly available powders and published loading data. Nor do I think it would be a safe exercise to attempt to match those velocities with off the shelf powders.

There's no voodoo involved; Buffalo Bore simply had the means to develop loads with the aid of pressure testing. They are able to achieve those higher velocities because they can get very close to those maximum SAAMI pressures without going over. If I had to guess, they probably use a proprietary powder and probably test each lot of powder to safely get close to the maximum allowable pressures without exceeding them. The average handloader just doesn't have that type of equipment and information available to them.
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Old March 12th, 2017, 09:38 AM   #15
 
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Back when Clements was doing .44 Special conversions on GP100s he claimed they could take a 250 gr at 1200 fps (don't know the barrel length he was using). Here is a link to his site:

Clements Custom Guns

I am not advocating doing this but just mentioning. I assume this is the "Keith load" at 26000 psi.
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