Originally Posted by Mainiac
I wonder if 8.5 gr. Unique behind a 200 gr. Hornady JHP XTP bullet is too hot for my .44 Special Rossi 720. It has a 3" heavy barrel and a non-fluted cylinder.
HOLY CRAP!!! Someone with the exact same .44 I've got! Yours is the only other unfluted 720 I've ever heard of. I thought (and still think) my unfluted 720 is pretty unique...and stylish. Now, on to the load questions...
I believe the 8.5gr Unique / 200gr load is from Speer's 13th, right? But I think the load is for a cast lead bullet, not jacketed. Definitely confirm that before you load any. I do use this recipe in my 720, but I use a 200gr RNFP cast bullet, which keeps the pressure within specs. I've used Unique and the Winchester 210gr Silvertip bullet, but I think the charge weight was considerably less than 8.5gr.
As for other loads in the 720, my primary load is a 250gr Keith bullet over 6.8gr Unique. This is just a hair shy of maximum, and according to the Lyman reloading manual, pressures are well within SAAMI specs. This load shoots a little high, but I've never adjusted the sights on my gun, just adjusted my aim.
Finally, Rossi's are much better than many people give them credit for. I've fired thousands of rounds through my M720 .44 special and M88 .38 special, and both are as tight, smooth, and accurate as the day I bought them....and I bought both used. Furthermore, the 720 is built on Rossi's .357 magnum frame, which is designed for much higher pressures than the 15,000cup that the .44 special generates. Just keep the loads within published specs, and your Rossi will last a lifetime.