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A friend asked me if the loads he uses in 44 special cases are safe when loaded in mag cases. Both cases are fired from the same Ruger Blackhawk. He is of the black powder school in which excess air space is a no-no. I told him that to the best of my knowledge the only powders that this might cause a problem with are W296 and H110.

Am I right?

I also shoot sub1000 fps loads out of my 44. He's got me wondering as well. A couple of my pet loads are 8 gr of Unique and 9 grs of A 7. Both are pleasant to shoot and give great accuracy.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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There should be no problems with .44 special data in .44 Mag cases, unless the loads were at the extreme low end of .44 special data to begin with.

I have read some articles on this, and done my own load testing, and greatly prefer the full-length case to ease the chore of cleaning the gun.

If you want to minimize air space (and there will almost always be airspace w/smokeless powders and handguns), I would recommend seating bullets slightly deeper *IF* these are light target loads (NOT full power loads).

As an example, my typical practice load is a semi-wadcutter bullet, and I seat the bullet so the case mouth is even with the leading edge of the first driving band, rather than the crimp groove. You can still give a slight crimp this way. The cases come out very clean, which is not typical with low-pressure loads. As far as accuracy goes, I can't tell any difference. I'm sure it would vary from gun to gun, anyway.

Load data should be reduced somewhat and worked back up when changing the seating depth, however, even the most potent .44 Special data shouldn't be an issue with a .44 Mag revolver.

Read this in an old issue of Handloader's Digest so can't take the credit, but can't remember the authors name either.
 

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I mostly use 44spl loads in mag cases at the range. No problems. 5.5-6.5gr of W231 works nicely with 240gr SWCs giving 900-1000fps out of the 1892 lever gun. Can of 231 lasts years.
 

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I use w296 with 44 mag and 454. Some air space is ok -- just not excessive space. The rule of thumb I have seen in manuals is that air space should not exceed 10% on slow powders like this.

Of course this rule isn't necessary for faster powders. I often use 12.7 grains of Universal for "light" loads in the 454 (DONT USE ANYWHERE NEAR THIS MUCH IN THE 44 MAG!!!!) which fills the case maybe a third full.
 
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