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Reloading The .44 Special



Left to right:-- 250 gr. SWC, 240 gr. HP, .44 with 225 gr. SWC-JHP, .44 with 250 gr. JHP
250 gr. SWC+GC, 265 gr. JFP, 240 gr. JSP

(WC= WadCutter, SWC= Semi-WadCutter, FP=Flat Point, HP= Hollow Point, RN= Round Nose), SP=Soft Point, (JHP= Jacketed Hollow Point and if GC indicated, means Gas Check at bottom of lead bullet)

Loads for .44 Special:

(Note: These are near maximum loads, you should use 10% less to start.)
(See note on Powders below or read all about various Powders.)
Bullet sizes vary from .429" for jacketed to .432" for some lead in diameter. Due to different barrel lengths, type of bullet, seating depth, primer type and other factors, you may not get near the FPS charted. It is just a guide and the reason you should start under these charges and work up.

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160-165 grain Lead RNFP  Cowboy loads
    Universal  5.5 gr.   851 FPS minimum
    Universal  6.3 gr.   1042 FPS MAXIMUM
    HP38       4.9 gr.   893  minimum
    HP38       6.0 gr.   1040 Maximum
    Titegroup  4.5 gr.   865  minimum
    Titegroup  5.8 gr.   1035 Maximum
    Clays      3.6 gr.   836  minimum
    Clays      4.6 gr.   1009 Maximum
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165 grain Lead RNFP
    Trail Boss 4.8 gr.   865 FPS minimum
    Trail Boss 7.0 gr.   1005 FPS MAXIMUM
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180 grain JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point)
    Bullseye   6.5 gr.     910 FPS
    Unique     9.0 gr.     985
    2400      16.0 gr.     950
    HP38       6.6 gr.     941
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185 grain Lead RNFP   Cowboy
    Trail Boss 4.5 gr.   791 FPS minimum
    Trail Boss 6.6 gr.   944 FPS MAXIMUM
    Universal  5.4 gr.   823 FPS minimum
    Universal  6.4 gr.   1031 FPS MAXIMUM
    HP38       4.4 gr.   810  minimum
    HP38       5.6 gr.   953 Maximum
    Titegroup  4.0 gr.   819  minimum
    Titegroup  5.5 gr.   1025 Maximum
    Clays      3.5 gr.   810  minimum
    Clays      4.5 gr.   930 Maximum
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190 grain Lead WC (cowboy loads)
    AA N100    3.7 gr.     823 fps
    AA No. 2   4.0 gr.     836
    AA No. 5   6.7 gr.     871
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200 grain Lead SWC or RNFP
    Trail Boss 4.3 gr.   757 FPS minimum
    Trail Boss 6.3 gr.   885 FPS MAXIMUM
    Universal  5.5 gr.     802 fps (Cowboy mild)
    Universal  6.5 gr.     960  Cowboy max
    HP-38      4.5 gr.     743  cowboy mild
    HP-38      5.6 gr.     918  cowboy max
    Titegroup  3.8 gr.     746  Start
    Titegroup  5.4 gr.     973  maximum
    Clays      3.5 gr.     748  cowboy mild
    clays      4.5 gr.     891  cowboy max
    AA N100    4.1 gr.     867 fps
    AA No. 2   5.2 gr.     905
    AA No. 5   7.4 gr.     959
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210 grain JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point)
    Bullseye   5.5 gr.   ----- FPS
    Unique     7.5 gr.   -----
    2400      13.0 gr.   -----
    HP38       6.2 gr.     909
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225 grain JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point)
    Bullseye   4.8 gr.   ----- FPS
    Unique     6.2 gr.   -----
    2400      12.0 gr.   -----
    HP38       5.5 gr.     827
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240 grain Lead RNFP Cowboy load
    Trail Boss 4.0 gr.   673 FPS minimum
    Trail Boss 5.2 gr.   763 FPS MAXIMUM
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240-250 grain Lead SWC or RN + Gas Check (GC)
    Bullseye   4.2 gr.     664fps (mild load)
    Bullseye   4.5 gr.     765 FPS
    Unique     6.0 gr.     800
    2400      11.3 gr.     805
    Universal  4.9 gr.     721  cowboy mild
    Universal  5.6 gr.     873  cowboy max
    Universal  6.5 gr.     920  MAXIMUM Hot
    Clays      3.2 gr.     669  cowboy mild
    clays      4.0 gr.     771  cowboy max
    HP38       4.2 gr.     717 (mild load)
    HP38       4.9 gr.     775
    HP38       5.2 gr.     858  cowboy max
    Titegroup  3.2 gr.     669  Start cowboy
    Titegroup  4.0 gr.     771  maximum cowboy
    No. 2      4.7 gr.     819
    No. 5      6.8 gr.     860
    231        5.4 gr.     795
    AA N100    4.0 gr.     700 (mild)
    AA N100    4.4 gr.     800 MAX
    AA No. 2   4.5 gr.     711 (mild)
    AA No. 2   5.0 gr.     808 MAX
    AA No. 5   6.3 gr.     760 (mild)
    AA No. 5   7.0 gr.     864 MAX
    AA No. 7   8.1 gr.     779 (mild)
    AA No. 7   9.0 gr.     885 MAX
    AA No. 9  10.4 gr.     832 (mild)
    AA No. 9  11.5 gr.     946 MAX
    AA 5744   12.5 gr.     737 MAX
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240-250 grain JHP
    HP38       4.9 gr.     775 FPS
    No. 2      4.5 gr.     604
    No. 5      6.5 gr.     730
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Discussion: I no longer use the same bullets and cases for the special loads as I do the Magnum, since all my rifles and pistols use the magnum round. Normally, you use the 44. special cases in guns chambered for the .44 special cartridge.

I used to load down the .44 mag cases to .44 special velocities. Since I have experimented with case position sensitive powder and found great differences, I now want bulkier powder that will better fill the case. To use a yet larger case, like the .44 mag with only a .44 special load in it, would make the matter much worse. Therefore, I no longer use the .44 mag cases when loading down to .44 special velocities. NOTE: Velocities are lower in the larger cases so speeds and pressures are different. DO NOT use Magnum loads in .44 Specal Cases. NEVER! Not even in a .44 Magnum pistol. Because of the smaller case, pressures will be exceeded.

Unique is about the best all around powder, but if you want a slower burning powder, I suggest 2400. Accurate's powders come in a number of speeds and there are loads from the fast No. 2 to the slow No.9. The manuals don't show every type of powder for every bullet weight for the .44 special. That is why you don't see FPS by every load. Hodgon only shows HP38 for the .44 special loads. I don't know why. If you have a lightweight .44 or older gun, always start with 10% less than amounts listed above, and work up to the full maximum loads.

Below, are two loaded rounds. For lead bullets near 900 FPS, I recommend a GC (Gas Check), the little copper bottom on the lead bullet as below (5th item from left). For any loads over 900 FPS, I suggest using a jacketed bullet. However, .44 Special loads are so mild, you can really use whatever you want to. For the mild .44 special loads, I recommend all lead bullets and loads that produce 700-850 FPS speeds. It's best to shoot all lead bullets outside to avoid lead fumes.


Left to right:-- 250 gr. SWC, 240 gr. HP, .44 with 225 gr. SWC-JHP, .44 with 250 gr. JHP
250 gr. SWC+GC, 265 gr. JFP, 240 gr. JSP


*
Bullseye, Unique and 2400 are products of Alliant (formerly Hercules) Powders.
Clays, Universal, HP38, HS6 and H4895 are products of Hodgdon Powders.
IMR 3031 and IMR 4895 are products of IMR (formerly DuPont) Powder Company.
No. 2, No. 5, #2230, and #2460 are products of Accurate Arms Company
WMR, WSF, WST, WSL, 760, 748, 231 and 540 are products of Winchester, Components Div.

References: Accurate Arms Co. 1996 Reloading booklet - - Alliant Powder Co. Reloaders' Guide (1995) - - Hodgdon's Basic Reloaders Manual (1996) - - Speer Reloading Manual, #12 - - Winchester Reloading Components Manual, 14th edition - - Lyman Piston & Revolver Reloading Handbook, 2nd edition. - - VihtaVuori Oy Company, reloading booklet (1995) - - Numerous magazine articles on reloading special calibers and personal loads where noted.

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This page created 2/1/96 by M.D. Smith and last modified on March 9, 2006 ©