Primer test for .44 Spl

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
I have had pretty good results with my 2nd Model Hand Ejector S&W 6.5"bbl with 4.8 gr of TG, which
happens to be what I have settled on decades ago as my std .45ACP load under a 200 H&G 68 or clone.
The .44 load has been using 240 Cramer RN and a few 240 Keith's, too, although much fewer Keiths tested
so far.
In any case, I have found that Rem brass and Rem 2 1/2 primers definitely beat other brands of each
with .45 ACP in many repeated tests. I only have Starline .44Spl brass, so not a variable (yet?) but I wanted to
see if primer brand made a noticable difference. So far, I have been using my most common pistol
primer, CCI-300. So I loaded 10 rds each with CCI-300, Rem 2 1/2 and Fed 150. Was going to use
WW LP, too, but was surprised to find that while I have lots of LR, SP, and SR in that brand I am
actually out of WW LP. Will need remedy that. I hate not to have all brands in substantial quantities
on hand. I have been caught out by primer shortages several times and have sworn to never be caught
primerless again.

In any case. I shot 5 rds with Rem 2 1/2 on one target, the 5 rds of CCI-300 on the one next to it.
My little back yard backstop won't accomodate more, so the Feds were tested after these. Then back
to the first target and 5 more Rem 2 1/2, then on the other one 5 more CCIs. Then photograph, pull
targets and shoot the Fed 150s, 5 and photograph and then 5 more.

I think I have a winner.

Remington 2 1/2:
S&W44Hand Ej 4.8TG Rem2 1-2 small.jpg

Federal 150
S&W44Hand Ej 4.8TG Fed150 small.jpg

And the CCI-300

S&W44Hand Ej 4.8TG CCI300 small.jpg

Of course, the jerk behind the trigger is probably causing a good bit of this. But on a sunny day, like today, I
can usually do OK.

Bill
 
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CZ93X62

Redlands, Kalifornistan
Remington primers are VERY difficult to find where I live. Federals are none too frequent, either. CCI rules the roost, with W-W a close-to-distant 2nd place (depending on primer type). When in Rome......
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
While I have never spent the money for a real test of ten groups of ten shots, my feeling is that primers that are the same brand as the case usually shoot very well. Or at least as well as I can shoot. Where I live, it is Federal, CCI and some WW but rare to see Remington. Guys that like them have to order them from the East.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
I will get some WW LP at the next gun show. There is a guy and his wife who always have lots of
powder and primers at good prices. Usually have WWs. I have used them a lot, just ran out.
Would like to know how they do in this application.

Anyone have a particular load for .44 Spl that shoots particularly well for them? I was going to try
Red Dot and Power Pistol. I got a really nice group with PP on one test with Keith 250, need to see if
it was a fluke.

Bill
 

Winelover

North Central Arkansas
Pet loads for my 2 1/2" barreled Bulldog, all using Starline brass.

Lyman 250 RNFP, 5.5 grains of 231, CCI 300 for 728 fps.

NOE's 265 RNFP, 13.0 grains of 2400, WLP for 828 fps.

Magnus 240 RNFP, 4.5 grains of Bullseye, WLP (haven't checked the velocity but it's pretty mild target load)
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
I shoot 4.5 gr of Titegroup with a 265 gr NOE version of the HG 503. Runs 725 or so for a 6.5” barrel.
 

462

California's Central Coast Amid The Insanity
My 6 1/2" Model 624's accuracy load with a square groove Lyman 429421 is 13.0-grains of 2400, and 15.0-grains with Hornady's 240-grain HP/XTP.

Can't remember exactly, but think a 429421 plinking load is 11.4-grains of 2400.

Never shot the 3" Model 24 enough to develop an accuracy load, but the above loads worked well enough.

All loads use Winchester primers. Have never seen Remington primers.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
I like a lighter load of titegroup,, 4.1grs.
and 7.? not .5 though grs of unique under the 241 using the CCI LP.
I have thought about getting the LEE 240gr T/L SWC mold over the years after buying a bunch of them for stupid cheap [like cheaper than 50 cents a lb alloy] years back and shooting them on top of the above titegroup load.


Like Ric Remington primers are not real common in my area either.
I did nab a bunch of them in small pistol a few years back but they are long gone now, and I'm pretty much locked into CCI and Win for that size.
I try to keep a big variety of primers on hand but mostly for my rifle shooting, I'm not good enough with a handgun to really tell a difference unless it's a glaring in your face type thing.
 

CZ93X62

Redlands, Kalifornistan
I no longer own a 44 Special, but made use of "Skeeter's Load" in that caliber quite a bit--7.5 grains of Unique under Lyman #429421. I get roughly the same results (900 FPS/4" barrel, 1000 FPS/7.5" barrel) using 44 Magnum brass and 8.5 grains of Unique or 9.5 grains of Herco. There is a time and a place for full-tilt 44 Magnum loadings, but not very often and not very many. Most of my high-order 44 Magnums get launched from rifles these days. My view? (Heresy Alert)--the 44 Magnum is a far better rifle round than it is a handgun caliber.

I am very fond of "standard weight" SWCs in revolvers running 900-1000 FPS. They can "Punch way above their weight class" when properly directed. In 38 Special, the "FBI Load" of LSWC/HP running 950-975 FPS from a 4" barrel makes pretty good felon repellent, but is a little light for deer hunting whether in 38 or 357 cases. The 41 Magnum's old lead 210 grain SWC at 950 FPS/4" barrel was (and is) no slouch on the street or in the game fields, as long as ranges aren't too distant. At some point, it's just time to select a rifle--or a stern load. 44 Special/Magnum I wrote about above. 45 Colt running Lyman #454424 at 900-1000 FPS is a formidable package.

These views place me well outside modern/current thinking, in this day of 45-50 caliber monster magnums. For the folks who wish to herd such beasts, have fun and don't miss supper--but they aren't things that I seek out. The 44 Magnum is more than enough, its daddy Elmer Keith even said "1200 FPS is all you need" using his 240 grain SWC design. Mr. Keith was correct, AFAIC. Yeah, I know--I'm a heretic. I'll own that.
 
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462

California's Central Coast Amid The Insanity
That the .44 Special is a ballistic sibling to the .45 ACP, it is good enough for my needs.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
Thanks, guys, useful info. Fiver, I will go down and see what I find with TG. This gun is old (early 20s) and I am
not going to run many loads through it any hotter than 7.5 Unique, and may back that down to 7 gr after I chrono
and get actual velocities. I have a nice 4" modern 21 Thunder Ranch Special that will be better for the
hotter end of .44 Spl. I have plenty of actual .44 Mags for hotter loads, where my go-to load is 10 gr of Unique
under a Keith 250, about 1050 fps chronoed in a 4" bbl. I'll have to try some of the other medium loads,
too, just not the hotter ones in this gun.

I think that this old girl could do about anything you needed to do with that 7.5 Unique load, from elk
on down with a 250 Keith. But with the very old Sanbar stag grips that are on it, that is about as hot as
I find it comfortable to shoot, plus in deference to the old girls near century of survival, no need to beat her to death.

Bill
 
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KeithB

Resident Half Fast Machinist
The last time I loaded up some .44 Specials I used the 240ish gr Lee RN. Got a six cavity mold that just rains bullets when up to temp. Haven't worked up a great load yet but it feels real retro to duplicate the basic factory load. I like SwCs and WFN but RNs are sooooo classic. And they literally fall into the cylinder with no ledge to hang up.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
Yeah, the RN really do load nicely. Just slick right in there. Not the best for meat work,
but do fine in targets unless you are looking for scoring rings in competition.

Bill
 

Rick

Moderator
Staff member
Gonna have to stop with the 44 Sp threads, I get a severe pang of guilt every time one comes up.

I sold my 624 to Brad a couple of years ago. :sigh:
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
They are still out there, Rick. :) All it takes is money. So far, I have three.

But I can stop at any time.:rolleyes:

Bill
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
Or do like I did and build your own. Mine is on a Colt New Service frame with rechambered 38 special cylinder and Green Mountain five inch barrel. Sold all my S&W's and Rugers because this shoot better than any of the others. Not the prettiest but a shooter. Have to dig it out of the safe and take pictures.
 
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462

California's Central Coast Amid The Insanity
Bill,
Within the last year, a new-in-the-box 3" Model 24 sold for $1800 locally.

Granted, not all Lew Horton .44 Specials command that high of a price, but they are no longer the $300 I paid for my new-in-the-box 6 1/2" 624, back in December of '97, neither.
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
Gonna have to stop with the 44 Sp threads, I get a severe pang of guilt every time one comes up.

I sold my 624 to Brad a couple of years ago. :sigh:
For the right money you can have it back and I can retire.....