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Looking for a good load/ bullet recomendation for a S&W m396 mountian lite. According to S&W (printing on the barrel) it must be 200 grains or less. I am looking for a back packing defense load. I know there are better choices for defense from hungry critters but this pistol is very light and packs like a dream. I also shoot it well, inspiring my confidence in it's capabilities.
Thanks
 

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The "Lee Reloading Manual" has a section devoted to 44 spcl loads. I'v e used some as plinkers in my 44 mag with good results. I don't have the book in front of me or I would give you some of the loads.
 

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I've been playing with loads for a Taurus 445 snubby using 200 gr copper plated lead bullets (I'll bet our "sponser" has some dandy hard cast lead, maybe even a Keith design that would work well). So far I've used Unique based on the Speer 13th Edition Reloading Manual showing 7.8 gr (1043 fps) to maximum 8.7 gr (1143 fps). These velocities are published ones based on 5-1/2" bbl, not my 2" snubby. 8.1 grains seems to be pretty good in my gun. I've also tried Win 231 from 6.0 gr (888 fps) to 6.8 gr (964 fps) with very accurate results in my gun at about 6.2 grains. I'v used CCI #350 primers and loaded to an o/a LENGTH OF 1.435". My copper plated bullets don't lead but have no crimping cannelure so mfg. says to be careful not to roll crimp so hard that the copper plating is cut. As I recall your S&W has a longer bbl than the Taurus so you will probably get more out of them than I do unless your cylinder gap is excessive.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to all who replied to my question. I will see what Beartooth has to offer in the 200gr weight. Any suggestions in Beartooth bullets? Currently I am using a 180gr XTP backed by some N- 320. I have had great luck with their bullets in my F.A. 44mag (265 gr and 325gr)
 
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