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.44 mag SWC Bullets

This is a discussion on .44 mag SWC Bullets within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I have never loaded cast lead bullets. I am looking at getting a box of 240 gr. SWC to load for plinking ammo. My LGS ...

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Old February 5th, 2013, 08:00 PM   #1
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.44 mag SWC Bullets

I have never loaded cast lead bullets. I am looking at getting a box of 240 gr. SWC to load for plinking ammo.
My LGS has them in plain lead and also with gas checks. My question is if I load the plain lead at what velocities can they be loaded? I know gas checks can be loaded hotter but I want to keep the velocity down just for plinking. I guess without a gas check it would be more like shooting cowboy loads. This is my understanding with plain cast lead bullets.

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Old February 5th, 2013, 09:37 PM   #2
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I have been casting my own lead bullets for many years. I shoot cast lead in many pistol calibers including .41 & .44 mag. I have taken those plain base, no gas checks, bullets up to 1400 fps with no leading in my revolvers. In fact I use a mix of 50% clip on wheel weights mixed with 50% pure lead and no leading at 1400 fps. this mix is around 9-10bn on hardness and most store bought cast bullets are far harder at 17bn.

It is not the hardness of the bullet that will keep your barrel from leading up, proper fit to the barrel grooves is far more important to prevent leading your barrel. I cast and size my lead bullets where they are 1-2 thousands over the dia. of the barrel grooves.

If you slug your barrel to determine the groove dia. then buy cast lead bullets that are 1-2 thousands over your groove dia. You should not have any leading problems and accuracy will also be better with proper fitting bullets.

If you do not know how to slug your barrel, go to the "cast boolits" web site and they have instructions on slugging the barrel and cylinder throats. If you intend to use cast bullets, that would be a good site to be a member of. Yes the spelling is cast boolits, not cast bullets.

For my everyday plinking load I like to load the bullets to around 900-1000 fps and save the 1300-1400 fps for hunting loads.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 09:39 PM   #3
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By plain lead do you mean the swaged bullets sold by Hornady and Speer, or are they a soft alloy cast lead. If it were me and I were using swaged or soft cast I would keep them subsonic and they must be appropriately sized for your bore and cylinder throats. Even hard cast bullets will lead if they are undersized so it's critical to make sure you start out with a bullet that has the proper diameter. I'd probably keep mine in the 850 - 900 FPS range and get the hard cast with gas check for magnum velocities. In truth, I don't use bullets with gas checks. I get bullets that are properly sized and they mostly come from Missouri Bullet Co at 18 Brinell. I'm sure they're quite busy but in the past they have tried to meet a customers need and cast a little larger diameter bullet for you if need be.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 05:27 AM   #4
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I cast my own for the 44 SBH - 200 grains Lee RNFP mould. They fly little around 900 fps with Unique charge. Fun load to shoot and it leaves the barell clean - welll as much as clean can be after Unique use
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Old February 6th, 2013, 10:29 AM   #5
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I've ran Rimrock's 240g SWC (BHN 15) from 700-1300fps no problem. Now if the bullets you found are 'pure' lead then I wouldn't run them above 900fps. Never saw the need for gas-checks
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Old February 6th, 2013, 10:46 AM   #6
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WyoShooter, You might want to take a look at my "Lead Bullets and Revolvers" document in the forum library. It helps explain the bullet hardness concept. See: http://rugerforum.net/library/19869-...revolvers.html
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Old February 6th, 2013, 05:01 PM   #7
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I'm probably way in the minority, but I gas check everything, hot or cold, hard or soft cast, doesn't matter if you gas check 'em. To keep cost down I use Charlie Darnell's Freechex tool and make mine out of .012 painted aluminum flashing, I got enough for several million rounds for $5.98 at Lowes. Of course I cast my own bullets too, and with a gas check installed you don't have to be too picky about your mix as long as the final product weighs the same. I use roughly 85% scrap lead to 15% pewter (which is mostly tin) and they run around 11 BHN. Not only do I not get any leading, they load easier, shoot more accurately, and I don't have to worry about powder sticking to any excess lube on the base and not igniting. I size a thousand's over bore diameter and never seem to have any pressure issues, even if I use jacketed bullet loads (although each powder/bullet combo varies and I always work up).

A good cheap 1000 fps plinking load is 7.3 g Titegroup and a 240 g Lee Microgroove SWC. Even though this bullet is not designed to take a gas check, because the base is tapered I can get one to stick on cleanly when I size them to .430. Now Titegroup is cheap because, compared to other powders, it is real flashy and so you use relatively less per load. However, this stuff does melt lead pretty bad, hence the gas check.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 07:18 PM   #8
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As Hillbilly Knifemaker said slug your barrel (or have someone do it for you.) I use a pure lead round ball that is larger than the bore and drive it through the barrel with a brass drift and brass hammer. Putting some grease in the barrel helps (be sure to clean the gun afterward). Bullets should be sized exactly to bore diameter or slightly larger to avoid leading. Leading is caused by gas cutting around a bullet that is undersized with respect to the bore diameter. A gas check really isn't necessary if bullets are correctly sized.
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