Plain base magnum pistol loads?

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  • Last Post 18 September 2016
tturner53 posted this 16 September 2016

I'm messing around with magnum loads for .357 revolvers and carbine. Also .44 Mag. and a little .45 Colt. The gas checks are taking some of the fun out of it. Got a good load? Best powder for such? I'm going to try some kind of wads, maybe wax.  This has also produced a spinoff project re. the .444 Marlin. Kind of a long .44 Mag. I'm looking at about full power type loads. Heavy stuff.

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billwnr posted this 16 September 2016

If you get a plain base .44 Mag load that shoots good and is over 1300 fps I'd like to hear how you achieved it. Oh, I mean one that doesn't lead and shoots fairly accurately. I had one that was accurate for about 20 shots and then leading raised it's ugly head and the groups opened up.

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Ed Harris posted this 16 September 2016

For carbine loads in .44-40, .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum use 1:30 tin-lead alloy and case full of 4198 or RL7 compressed about 1/8,” as if loading black powder, with standard weight bullet for the caliber. Velocity about 1450 in a rifle and 1200 from 7-1/2” revolver. Good accuracy and game performance. No leading issues with NRA formula Alox-beeswax. For long strings of fire a polyethylene or Walter's card wad under the bullet helps.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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onondaga posted this 17 September 2016

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/view_user.php?id=2514>tturner53

The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook 4th Edition has lots of loads for plain base cast bullets in all the calibers you mention. Lyman also makes specific alloy recommendations for each that corresponds to the load level.

Lyman recommends Linotype for all the .357 Mag plain base loads but the other calibers generally call for Lyman #2

No wads are recommended in any of those loads.

I think Lyman recommended loads are excellent and wouldn't hesitate to try any of them using the specific charges and alloys recommended. There is really a lot to select from too.

Gary

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RicinYakima posted this 17 September 2016

When I was young and had stronger hands, I shot 21.0 grains of 2400 under Lyman 429421, cast from wheel weights sized 0.432", lube was NRA. I just used the standard formula and sized according to Keith, push through the cylinder with a pencil. This was from a SBH before chronographs were common available to the shooter, 1975ish. What little flakes of lead were there pushed out with a wet patch of Hoppes' #9. FWIW, Ric

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mtngun posted this 18 September 2016

tturner53 wrote: I'm messing around with magnum loads for .357 revolvers and carbine. Also .44 Mag. and a little .45 Colt. The gas checks are taking some of the fun out of it. Got a good load? Best powder for such? I'm going to try some kind of wads, maybe wax.  This has also produced a spinoff project re. the .444 Marlin. Kind of a long .44 Mag. I'm looking at about full power type loads. Heavy stuff. Tturner53, it is going to depend tremendously on the gun.   Some guns are cast-friendly while others are not.

My Ruger Speed Six 357 shoots full house plain base loads (160 gr. @ 1300 fps from a 2 3/4” barrel) with good accuracy  and no appreciable leading.     But other magnum revolvers that I've messed with over the years were not very cooperative with plain base.    

I have driven 357 mag plain base up to 2000 fps in custom rifle barrels with 2 MOA accuracy, but leading was starting to rear its head.   A brief experiment with wax wads completely eliminated the leading, but accuracy suffered.   In any event there is not much room in a 357 case for wax wads with full house loads.  That project has been set aside for a while but when time allows I will try again with coated plain base bullets.     

My Marlin 357 has a not-so-perfect barrel even after fire lapping and does not care for traditional lubed plain base bullets, though it shoots satisfactorily with heavy GC bullets.    When time allows I plan to try coated plain base in the Marlin, I expect they will shoot fine in full power loads.

My go-to powder for full house revolver loads is WW296 / H110  or its surplus equivalent 297.     Hodgdon Lil Gun gives equal velocities in long barrels (never mind some published data claiming Lil Gun gives higher velocities, it doesn't) but seems to burn a wee bit hotter than WW296 / H110.    Lil Gun didn't burn well at all in a snub nose barrel, I couldn't get much velocity out of it no matter how much powder I crammed in.

Alliant has a new magnum revolver powder out but I haven't tried it yet.

Old school powders like 2400 or 4227 can be very accurate in “3/4” loads, 1100 - 1200 fps in wheelguns, but they cannot match the velocity of WW296 / H110 when loaded to the same pressure.   Since you specified “full power type loads,” that rules out 2400 and 4227 in the 357 & 44.

Max velocities at SAAMI pressure in 357 rifle with WW296, H110, or Lil Gun -- 160 gr. @ 1900 - 2000 fps -- 180 gr. @ 1800 fps -- 190 gr. @ 1725 fps

As mentioned previously,  I push a 160 gr. to 1300 fps in a snubby.   It barks ! :D 

The exact charge to achieve those velocities will depend on the bullet design and how deeply it protrudes into the case.   With so many different cast bullet designs out there, each having a different seating depth, you cannot take a max load for one particular 160 gr. cast bullet design and apply it to another 160 gr. cast bullet design.    A chronograph is the reloader's best friend.

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onondaga posted this 18 September 2016

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/view_user.php?id=2514>tturner53

The pistol calibers you list all have tumble lube design molds available from Lee. They are all plain based. Good casters can usually get any of these molds to cast large by controlling casting temp, cadence and alloy. I think they are the easiest good start for plain base pistol bullets. For maximum fill out with #2 alloy, 650-675 F. pot and dropping from mold 3 times a minute is usually all it takes for best fill-out and largest diameter from the mold.

Tumble lube some UN-Sized, If a dummy load will chamber, shoot them that way first to try them. Only size if necessary for chambering and it usually isn't. The inked dummy load will also tell you if your bullets fit or the pencil push method on bare bullets with a 1-2 pound push to get a bullet through a cylinder chamber tells the truth about fit too. Small bullets will just drop through or take less than a 1 pound pencil push.

My S&W 29 in 44 mag shot better with Lee tumble lubed #2 Alloy or Hardball Alloy  bullets Un-Sized than anything else. The scoped handgun with those bullets loaded for Deer shot 1.25” 50 yard rested groups all day.

Gary

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