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Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting into 44 magnum handloads very soon and being the lazy individual that I am, I just want one or two bullets for the Ruger Redhawk. I know H110 is the powder of choice for heavy bullets in the 44 but what do you veterans suggest for the bullets?

I'm planing on using Hornady 300gr XTPs as the hollow point but I want a hard cast for other heavy lifting. What do you think of the 300gr WFN Beartooth bullet? Do you think that they would shoot at a similar point of aim out of the 7 1/2" barrel Ruger with H110? Would those bullets use the same setting on the Hornady dies? .429 or .430 diameter bullets?

I do plan on taking advantage of the longer cylinder of the Redhawk in these loads (and could use some advise on that).

Sorry for all the questions.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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I had the pleasure of owning and shooting a 7 1/2" Redhawk for many years. Of the thousands of rounds that I've fired, probably 30% were of the H110/W296 variety. Mostly 240 grain XTP's but there were a efw 300 grainers thrown in there for "variety". I'm not saying there's anything wrong with using H110/W296, but IMO there are better powders. According to the manuals I've read, H110/W296 must be loaded at or near maximum loads to avoid firearm damage. Other posters can verify this. I feel that the repeated use of these loads can damage your revolver.

They say that pictures are worth a thousand words? Well here's a couple of my Redhawk's dimpled firing pin area. Ruger says this is "nothing to worry about" and I've seen this same thing on trap and skeet guns and the owners continue to shoot them so . . . . . . . .





As I "aged" I found that I didn't enjoy being beaten every time I wanted to shoot my 44 magnum, so I started casting and using my own 429421's (250 grain bullet designed :rolleyes: by good old Elmer) using either 2400 or Bullseye depending on the temperment of the load I was after.

Now I'm not saying you shouldn't shoot hot 300 grain loads, just that you might want to limit the amount.

That being said, I feel that yes, the 300 grain cast bullets and the 300 grain XTP's should hit close to the same POA. I've found this to be true with the 240 grain XTP's and the 250 grain 429421's (at the same velocity) and if memory serves, the 300 grain XTP's were pretty close out to say 50 yards where they started to drop faster than the 240's.

I can't say that the two 300 grain bullets you are asking about will not require different settings for seating, but I can say that the 240 grain XTP's and the 250 grain cast bullets I shoot do require different settings of the seating stem.

RJ
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info Recoil Junkie. Friends don't let friends damage guns right! I don't have the money to shoot that many hot rounds through the Redhawk. What powders have you found to be better than the tried and true H110? And how can more powder prevent damage?
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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IMR4227, Alliant Bluedot and Alliant 2400 are my choices for "magnum" loads. 2400 is very forgiving and you are able to make milder loads without the fear of a bullet being stuck in the barrel like there is with H110/W296. (a squib load)

This is why both H110 and W296 (same, same all same) require the use of at or near maximum loads. They are hard to ignite and require the exclusive use of magnum primers. IF you Google "H110 detonation" you will find several explanations of this phenomenon that are a way better than mine.

Alliant's Unique or Bullseye work well for plinker loads. I use Bullseye because, well, because that's what Dad used with the 429421's in his 44 special and I found that same load (in 44 mag brass) to be very accurate and comfortable to shoot in my Redhawk.

Both 2400 and Bullseye are "dirty" powders especially with cast bullets. For this reason, most shooters don't like them, but in their cases, cleanest is not the most accurate. At least for me. Plus I really don't care if my revolvers get dirty. I didn't buy them to sit on a shelf. :D

RJ
 

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I've shot quite a few different bullets in my Ruger Blackhawk and Marlin 1894 and haven't found any thing I liked better than Hornady XTP's 240 grains.
 

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Walt,

Well first, for my working/hunting guns I am pretty much a one bullet for one gun person. I think it is a poor practice to be switching between different bullets in a hunting firearm.

Now, on my 38/357s which I personally do not consider "hunting" firearm, I might switch around, but usually more with the load/velocity then the bullet.

For other then social carry in Semi-autos or the .38/.357, I am a cast bullet shooter. Cost of shooting here being a major factor. Social issues being of an up close and personal nature, it really makes no difference how close the bullet hits to the point of impact with my cast practice bullets, as at the range these situations are likely to come down, that will not be a factor in sucess or failure.

The RUGER RedHawk is one tough gun!!!!!!!!!!

My go to load has been for quite awhile a 310gr LBT - LFN (Long Flat Nose) cast which I am putting out the 5.5" tube at just over 1300fps.

I have given some thought to dropping back to something in the range of 260 - 280gr, but without question a cast bullet with the Long Flat Nose or Wide Flat Nose bullet profile.

But My .44 is a work gun, and hunting gun and if I want to shoot light loads, that will be done in the .22s, the 38/357 etc.

My .44 load will remain one bullet for all use.

AS per H110 in the .44 mag, I haven't shot the "thousands or rounds that apparently Recoil Junky has, but I'd have no problems with that powder as again, the .44 is a work gun and will not have a bunch of different bullets or power level used in it. As he indicates, do not shoot "reduced loads" with the H110, but the same should be said with any of the slower handgun or rifle powders, and for the same reasons.

My current .44 powder is and has been for some years, AA#9.

When developing loads some years back in a .44 BlackHawk Hunter, it appeared that the AA #9 had an edge to the H110/296 or the 2400, so I've just stuck with it.

In the .38/357, I use a powder suited to the lower velocity practice/plinking/fun loads and save the 2400/H110-296/AA#9 for the heavy loads.

I've used Bullseye for years in those lighter loads as well in my centerfire semi-autos.

Baring an unexpected bad barrel, and providing you have proper bullet to barrel fit and using a good bullet lube, you can probably shoot cast bullet without gas checks at top velocities and have no leading problems.

Keep it simple and save yourself some money by just shooting good WFN cast bullets. That bullet profile is a real game getter and can provide many advantages to the much more costly jacketed bullets.

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
 

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I think a 300 gr WFN-GC would be an excellent choice for your heavy load, and would suggest either the 240 gr Hornady XTP or Speer 240 gr Deep Curl for a lighter but faster load.
 

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Seems that 1300fps and likely more with the 7.5" barrel and a 300gr WFN cast bullet will get anything done that needs to be done with a .44

What is to be gained with a faster and softer "J" bullet that can't be done with the cast WFN.

CDOC
 

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As others have said, I believe that you will find that a good cast bullet, either a SWC or WFN, will take care of all your needs in your .44. It will be a totally reliable bullet while JSP and JHP's cannot be relied upon for game. At least that's been my experience with the .44 mag since 1968.
 

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Marshalls 280 grn is the best compromise of weight, and bullet performance. I never had a hard cast fail to perform, but hp's did. H-110 needs barrel length to completly burn, in a 7 1/2" ,at max load you still see unburnt powder. Choose your powder for the barrel length of you weapon. If you'r not needing max velocitys then clays,universal,blue dot, and trail boss will burn compeatly in shorter barrel guns and are very cheap to burn. Unique will do the same and give you good velocitys too boot. Thats what i like about hand loading, variety,suspense,and having fun all at the same time.
 

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I used to shoot 320 grain bullets in my Ruger Blackhawk. I don't know of anything that I'm mad enough to shoot at to shoot that bullet much anymore.

I've moved to Keith or Thompson style bullets at 240 and 250 grain.

I have used H110 a lot and still do. It is the powder I use for the 44 in full power loads. I think I have a partial can of 2400 and still like it -- wanted to work up a load with that this spring when I saw the dismal supply and buying powder right now is absurd. And I use another Hodgen powder for less than full power loads, but my memory is failing. For light loads I used to use 10 grains of Unique -- have not used that for years, probably because I bought other lighter revovlers.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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I used to shoot 320 grain bullets in my Ruger Blackhawk. I don't know of anything that I'm mad enough to shoot at to shoot that bullet much anymore.
Now that there's funny. :D

RJ
 

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While the Keith style SWC are and have been good selections, you might want to read Veral Smith's writtings on the semi-wadcutters. While they are good bullets, they may not as is the common thought cut full caliber holes through tissue as has been claimed.

The Meplat is a bit small on a SWC when compaired to a WFN profile.

Read to see what Veral's test have shown.

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
 

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As SoDakota said, unless you chase Alaskan grizzly daily, a good 240-265gr cast bullet should serve perfectly for game large and small. Sometimes the old powders serve just fine. 2400 works well for velocities from about 1100fps to near 1400fps. Unique serves for the 800 to 1000fps range. Bullseye is great for target loads in the 650 to 800fps range.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you all for your information. I wanted to use the 300gr XTP's since they are available in most places. However the order that I placed at Gunstop Reloading Supplies was canceled since they are out of the Hornady die set that I need. Ill keep looking at Sportsman's Warehouse for the set.
 

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Not 300's or a Ruger, but in the interest of loading .44's especially over here on my favorite hard cast bullet website.

I have a 4" 629 that I carry from Colorado to Northern Idaho as a woods gun and and I've worked up three loads for it.

Two plinker's a 240 grain Colorado Cast bullet over 7.0 grains of 231 and 9.0 grains of Unique, this gives me 826 and 985 fps respectively, both are accurate and pleasant all day shooters, especially the light 231 load.

7.5 grains of Unique worked well too, but the 7.0 gr. 231 is a tad more accurate.

For woods carry I've pretty much settled on the 280 gr. WFNGC over 20.0 or 20.5 grains of H110, this is giving me 1130 and 1152 fps. I'm probably going to stick with the 20.5 grain load. I had to search high and low to find data for the BTB 280 gr. WFNGC and spoke to the manufacturer of H110 once or twice.

I have had limited good results with an old batch of 17.5 grains of AA9 with this same bullet and got 1179 fps. Even though I didn't see any obvious pressure signs I was concerned about it being to hot to handle for the delicate 629. Recently I purchased some new AA9 for the .44 and 10mm but haven't gotten around to trying it out yet.

Velocity figures are from 7200 foot altitude, bullets seem to fly a bit faster up here.

With the 250 grain WFNGC (which weighed in at 260 gr) I had good results with both old and new 2400 and the old AA9.

20.0 grains of the old Hercules 2400 gave me 1284 fps
20.0 grains of the new Alliant 2400 gave me 1215 fps

I don't know if these heavy loads will break my 629? My wrist may go first. I certainly don't plan on shooting many of them, probably no more then 100 per year, just to stay in shape with them...or relatively so. A cylinder of hot 280's now and then to check zero and form on a shooting outing is plenty for me.

There is about a 3" vertical difference in POI at 15 yards from the light 240 to the the heavy 280.

My goal with the 280/H110 was to obtain the same velocity over say AA9 with less pressure so I don't beat the 629 to death. Maybe I'm wrong and there are better options?

I'm using a CCI350 with H110 otherwise a CCI300 and new Starline brass on the warm loads.

I had some 2400, AA9 and H110 stored from over 25 years ago....still works but different then the new stuff and as always loads must be worked up. These loads have worked safely for me so far but use your own due diligence...I make lot's of typo's especially in the am without enough coffee.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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Good info there jitterbug. I was curious, did the heavier bullet land on top of the POA of the lighter bullet?

I also found the "new" 2400 to be different than the 'old". Not enough to be scary, just enough to make one be cautious when reworking a new load. Is seems the data in my "new" manual was for the "old" 2400.

RJ
 

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Guess it must be an age thing :) I have to agree with Recoil Junkie and others. Getting whooped every time you pull the trigger gets old after awhile. Back in the 70's it was SSK 320 FPs and 4227 or 2400. Then it was LBT 300 LFNs and the same powders. Did I mention I had to rebuild my Model 29 four times? Smith finally sent me a whole new gun as the frame had stretched beyond repair. Never bothered my Super Blackhawk even when I switched to 21.5 grains of H110/296. The light came on when I got a 3" Model 24. 17 grains of 2400 and #429421 cast out of straight wheel weights. Most all my hunting these days is confined to deer and hogs and I have yet to recover one of these from an animal. I do use 18 grains if I use Magnum cases in my Mountain Gun or Redhawk. Shot to shot velocity variations are in the single digits (not so with H110/296).

Since I de-prime, polish, size and re-prime brass separately, and I use a Lee turret press, I keep a separate set of dies in a turret for each bullet type. You can pick up steel sizer die sets cheap on EvilBay, chuck the sizer and use the expander and seater for the specific bullet.

Certainly would not want to stop you from banging away with the big stuff (as moat of us have done) but would just ask "Why?".
 

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As SoDakota said, unless you chase Alaskan grizzly daily, a good 240-265gr cast bullet should serve perfectly for game large and small. Sometimes the old powders serve just fine. 2400 works well for velocities from about 1100fps to near 1400fps. Unique serves for the 800 to 1000fps range. Bullseye is great for target loads in the 650 to 800fps range.
I would add Blue Dot as a great medium weight JHP powder. For cast 240-250 grain bullets these velocity and powder uses are cheap and effective. A charge of 10 grains of Unique is a super medium game load.
 

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Recoil Junky

Good question, I was testing out some new, smooth Ahrend's Banana Grips and I was concerned about the "heavy loads" and may have been anticipating a bit, I hadn't fire any since last fall. But, 5 rounds went into 2" at about 3" above the POI of the light loads.

The gun appears to be zeroed dead on for the two light loads, which hit about the same POI, not enough noticeable difference between the two.

I need to double check this of course but I think that is correct, I doubt if I "anticipated" 5 times in a row...

I vaguely recall adjusting my sights last fall for my light loads once the bears were down and I just didn't get around to shooing much .44 over the winter, next outing I'll have to double check readjust. I'm currently waiting on another batch of 280's from Marshall.

The Ahrend's smooth Banana grips where a very pleasant surprise! I was really concerned about recoil with the exposed backstrap and hard wood grips. I need to shoot more heavy loads but I think the Ahrend's do as well if not better then my rubber Houges that came with the gun, the new style that comes on the current 629-6 with the covered backstrap. My revolver is about 18 months old.

The grips were really nice with the light load and moderate 9.0 Unique load.
 
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