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Discussion Starter #1
I don`t mean to ask what may be a silly question, but here goes. Would 20 grs. of H110 w/320 gr. hardcast gc 44 bullet be a safe load? And 20.5 w/300 hardcast gc 44 bullet? I know there are hotter loads but I just want a good , sane yet potent load. I don`t want to reduce H110 too much. I did that once, and don`t care to again.I know there are knowledgeable people here and I want yor input. Thanks in advance for all your help.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Don, the answer is a qualifed "maybe."  There are a lot of cast bullet designs, and how much powder space they take up makes a huge difference in performance.

What were you thinking of using, bullet-wise?  If you don't know the brand/design, can you measure from the base of the bullet to the top of the crimp groove and report?  That will tell a lot about the bullet design.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The bullets are LBT hardcast with gas checks from cast performance. I just don`t want to get into trouble with H110. I had a bullet lodge in the barrel one time using H110. I thought about using 2400, but I read all the time that H110/W296 is better for heavy cast bullets. If I hadn`t of noticed there was no hole in the target when I shot that time I don`t know what would have happened. Bet it wouldn`t have been pretty. Hope this helps to get an answer.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Don44,

I'm sure that you have already reviewed Cast Performance's recommended loads for their 320gr. and 300gr. .44 cal bullets. If not, their listing is 19.0grs of W296 for the 320gr. and 19.5grs. of W296 for the 300gr. bullets.  In a prior conversation with them, they indicated that the listed loads are starting loads.  I used some of their 360gr. in my .454 and started at their recommended 22.0grs. Using Marshal's recommended process for determining max loads, I found 24.5gr. to be the max. load for my Taurus.  If you're not familiar with Marshall's suggested process, you can find it here on the web site, better yet, order the Tech Manual and get that information and a lot more. The referenced process requires a chronograph, so hopefully you already have one; if not, "Chrony" makes a respectable chronograph for less than &#36100.  I realize that can be a lot of money, but the referenced process is the best way I know to validate your max. loads. All in all, a rather cheap investment.

Dan
 

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Don,

Here's the link to the article Dan has directed to your attention:

<a href="http://beartoothbullets.com/tech_notes/archived_tech_notes.php/15" target='_blank'>http://beartoothbullets.com/tech_notes/archived_tech_notes.php/15</a>

It should help you in your load development, but as Dan has mentioned, requires the use of a chronograph... perhaps the next best &#3670 investment you can make in your reloading equipment!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you very much for your replies, I appreciate it very much. I am not trying to shoot max. loads however.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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don44

Understood, and sorry if it sounded like the response was oriented in that direction.  For a more direct answer to your question, I've used 20grs. of H110 with the 320gr. hard cast GC bullet  -- and it is below the maximum for my revolver based on the referenced process. I jump from the 280gr. to 320gr., thus am not able to help with the 300gr. load.

Comment on my initial response: What I was trying to suggest is the best way to determine if a particular load is a safe load is to know the max. load for your gun.
I respectfully suggest that some of the responses you will receive to safe load questions on the various web sites may be based on the shooters revolver not blowing up. I have a damaged &#361000 handgun in the safe because I used someone else's safe load -- worked for them, didn't work for me. Thus the suggestion on determining the max. load, thereby the safe loads.

Sorry for the windy response and wish you safe shooting.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #8
DOK,   Thanks for the above reply, I do appreciate it. I have been reloading for about 25 yrs. and the only problem I ever had was with H110. I just didn`t want to reduce it too much. I do know what cast performance uses for a starting load for 300 & 320 gr. LBT  44`s. I have seen some hot loads annd just don`t want to try them. I live in Idaho and wanted a good sane load, maybe to try on an elk this yr. I have Ruger SBH & RH revolvers and love both of them. Want to try BTB 280 gr. to hunt with next year. Sorry for the long reply, just trying to be better off safe than sorry. THANKS,    
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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don44,

Have enjoyed the discussion and your "just trying to be better off safe than sorry" is a perfect response. I have used the BTB 280gr. and have had excellent accuracy results. I'm sure you've noticed James Gate's post on the 280gr. with AA#5. I've also had good success with the 280gr. and 2400. This afternoon, I'm loading some H110 with the 280gr. to see what I get for accuracy.

Anyway, enjoyed the talk.

Dan
 

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Just for information. My standard load in my Dan Wesson 44V is a 300g Sierra and 21g of H110. It's quite safe in my revolver, but I use standard Win large pistol primers with the load. Cast bullets create less pressure and the load mentioned above would certainly be safe in my revolver.
 

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Don44,
       I think that what some of the other posters are getting at is that H110 operates most efficiently and consistently at maximum loading. It will probably give wider velocity variations and perhaps poorer accuracy at less than max loadings. That is just the way it is designed. If you are looking for good, less than max loads I think you would be better advised to use 2400 or AA#5, which will give consistent performance even at less than max pressures. Unless you've already got H110 that you want to shoot up, you would likely be happier with the other powders mentioned.      ID
 

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I think Marshall, Dan, and the rest gave some positive answers as to how to approach a safe load. Anyone that has followed my posts and answers over any period of time, know I get touchy when talking about maximum loads. It is my opinion that max loads are not neccessary most of the time and the small amount of velocity gained does little if you are shooting game. There has been, over the years, suggestions as to measuring the expansion of the brass, ahead of the rim, on factory ammo....using that as a guide. This works fairly well if you use the same brass as factory in your reloads. The other most important point brought out is the seating depth of various bullets of the same weight. This is a most significant factor, especialy with the faster burn powders! The difference in standard and magnum primers is the temperture in the middle of the flash, not the amount of priming mixture. There is a high and low spec on primers, tested by the drop test. One must remember, in testing primers, that if one primer came from a batch running on the high side of specs, and the other running on the low side of the specs, there will be quite a difference. Flash holes can make a real difference on max loads. The tolerances in the firearm , among other things also. So.....the point is, why
run to risks of working right up on the red line of pressure? The overall gain of velocity is low compared to the risks involved. This certainly is not aimed at taking away from some of our members that tests all matter of things involving loading, but I will warn that what might be a max load in one firearm could be a bomb in another.
Best Regards, James
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I really want to thank everyone for all the replies. The guns I have are Ruger SBH and RH revolvers. I am not trying to use max loads, far from it. I only wanted to ask the original question so as not to reduce H110 too much, thats all.I do not want to use max loads! I couldn`t find any loads on loadswap or anywhere else that weren`t what I would consider pretty hot.I`d like to be able to just use a safe, yet potent load. I hope this will answer some of the things I may have left out before.  
 

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The best I can do to help you is to say that if you can find the max or somewhat close to this and then back it off 3%.  That would be the starting load so to speak.  That is what Hodgdon has in their book.  They express their Max loads and then they say not to reduce by more than 3%.  It seems too small of a percentage to me but that's what they have in there.  And that is what I follow.  I do know from experience that  as you get closer to max pressures the accuracy gets better.  And 2400 doesnt need the higher pressures to give good accuracy.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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James,

I say with a smile that, yes, I have noticed your reaction to emphasis on max loads. Your comments have caused me to reflect on my max. load usage. One thing that occurs to me is that I've been educated that "THE" powder(s) for .44mag is W296/H110. And we all know that W296/H110 should not be reduced more than 3% of max load -- and that they operate most efficiently at max loads.  Thus using "THE" .44mag powder means max loads.

The negative effect that has had on my development is my lack of experience with other powders and thereby missing good opportunites and successes. 2400 is mentioned but is considered obsolete by many, and Blue Dot gets little press, yet after testing with over 3500 rounds, it was a more accurate load than W296/H110 -- and gave me 1350 fps.  Your comments on AA#5 caused me to try it, but never would have ever thought of it otherwise -- and the 11.7gr. load has been the most accurate load I've ever used. Another gentleman recommended trying 8.0grs. of Green Dot (practice loads). Turned out to be another excellent load that for my guns is more accurate than either Unique or Universal, which my education said were the standards.

So, I slowly learn to think for myself, and realize that the oft repeated "standard" powder recommendations, while helpful, can be restrictive to my development.

Dan  
 

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Dan....What bothers me most is when we work toward "maximum" load, is defining just what that term means. Does it mean max pressures that the firearm can take without letting go? Does it mean the max pressure one can go to without blowing primers? Does it mean the max level we can go to and still maintain accuracy? What means max to some people doesn't hold the same meaning to others. What really bothers me is the new shooter/reloader, who just now has learned to adjust id loading dies, picks up on a load that is red line in the writer's gun, a puts a bomb together. This is not to be taken that I don't think the experienced reloader should not keep working to develop the most "efficient" powder burn rate/bullet weight combination for a caliber. I cut my teeth on #2400, since that was all there was in the slower burn rate when the .44 Mag came out. It's still a good powder, but its flash bang is still there. WW296/H110 are excellent for 6" and out barrels with heavy bullets, and so on. It the ongoing search for more and more velocity (or heavier bullets),some of the best powders have been overlooked. Medium burn powder like the old(new)Unique still works great in handgun barrels from 4" to 7.5" barrels! The AA5 powder has turned up some of the most accurate loads in .44 Special and Mag that I have ever seen. even when used in the 16.5 " ported barrels decent velocity can be reached without those ports looking like a flame thrower. Yes, we will lose a couple a hundred feet per second, but did we need them to start with is the question?  I have, and will continue, to stress that controllability in handgun hunting as being much more important than a couple a hundred feet per second.
My criteria for a maximum load is simply one that is within safe working pressure, accurate, and easy to contol that pushes a bullet weight/velocity that I have found, from actual experience, to give a clean quick kill. Anything above that is a waste, in my opinion. But again, we handgun people are looking for different results and are interested in different aspects of the game. There is room by all, as long as we keep it safe.
Best Regards as Always, James
 

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My hats off to you James.  Some of the best advice I have seen yet.  As I have heard before.

You cant kill something unless you can hit it.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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James,

"to stress that controllability in handgun hunting as being much more important than a couple a hundred feet per second"

That was as well said as I've seen it done.

Dan
 

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Dan & Mark....Thank you for your kind words. Many times, over the last two years, I have felt I had no business on this, or any other, forum. Handgunning has changed radically over the past 40 years. On one hand present shooters/hunters like Elmer Keith, Esquitar Skelton, Bill Jorden, and the rest are held high as examples and on the other hand most present day handgunners push for velocities and weights none of the old crowd would have approved of. Elmer was the finest game shot of anyone I know of , living or dead, and he always said a pistol bullet weighing 250 grs to 265 grs(in .44 & .45) at velocities between 1200 and 1400 fps was the best! He even thought that 1400 fps was a little high! Taking everything into consideration, I think he was correct.
My day of a handgun hunter is passing. We, on this forum, represent a very small percentage of the overall and the handgun hunter represents a small percentage of this forum.
My handguns are not "backup" guns, they are mainline meat guns. I hunt large wild hogs, as do most of my friends. No....they are not Griz, but you can bet they will tear you to pieces! Therefore, the handgun/load must have all the before mentioned requirements.
So, while being passed by by the new breed of handgunners with their hand cannons, I'll just keep trying to advise the serious meat hunters.
Best Regards as Always, James
 
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