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Thread: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

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    Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    I recently bought a used Super Blackhawk from a guy and last night he stopped by and gave me 3 boxes of his reloads. I'm the kind of person that doesn't fire others loads in any gun I own unless I know them to be a competent loader and he assured me he was. So I took the reloads. 3 boxes of 50, one box had 48 empties in it, the only rounds ever fired through that gun. These loads were Speer lead SWC, 240 gr. the charge was around 1 grain under max of H110. I've never loaded any lead bullets but have always heard that loaded to higher velocities, which I'm guessing means around ~1100 fps in .44 mag, isn't good at all on the barrel. Anyone know of anything I should look for? or just shoot the gun and see how it does? Also, let's say that the gun is fine, would you fire the stout loads with a lead bullet?
    Thanks.

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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    If they are cast lead bullets and not half jackets, you might want to invest in a Lewis Lead Remover. If he said he loaded them and had shot them, I might try them. I would at least examine the empties and see what kind of pressure signs I could see.

    I agree with your thoughts about shooting someone elses handloads. But if you trust him enough to buy the pistol from him...
    Be careful,
    Victor
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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    Shoot some and see if the forcing cone leads up. H110 is not my choice for lead
    but if they work they work.

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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    I'm not very experienced in reloading pistol cartridges, but I see no pressure signs or anything "uncommon" on the empty cases. Not sure what I was looking for but I looked in the barrel with a light and didn't seem like there was any excess fouling. I think I'll ditch the reloads, I'll throw them in with the ~800 rounds of .45 I have to get rid of. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I'll shoot it with some factory ammo I have here and see how it does. I honestly bought it just because the price was crazy low, but just by handling it, I think I'll like it better than my Redhawk.

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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    Originally Posted By: lineman711
    The charge was around 1 grain under max of H110.

    This really doesn't tell use what the charge is. I suggest that you pull a bullet and weigh the charge. I don't have my Speer manual handy and can't tell you what max is.

    If I'm correct, I believe that the Speer bullets are swaged, fairly soft. They're good for target/plinking, but aren't hunting bullets. H-110 is a for high-pressure loads only. My approach would be to acquire some moderate burn-rate powder (Unique, Universal, Power Pistol, etc.) and reload these bullets at 850 to 1000 fps, and use them that way. If you want high-pressure hunting loads, use H-110/W-296 (same stuff) behind hard-cast bullets at higher velocities.

    Those should be magnum primers in your reloads for the H-110; they should be fine to retain for moderate-pressure loads, although they're not required.
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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    Quote:

    If I'm correct, I believe that the Speer bullets are swaged, fairly soft

    You are correct, very soft.
    Quote:
    This really doesn't tell use what the charge is.


    Written on the box and verified by the seller.
    W-W unfired brass
    CCI #350
    23.5 gr H110
    240 gr Speer SWC
    COAL 1.595

    Not a bad deal for $225 I dont' think. Came with the ammo, nylon holster, and original grips.

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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    Hornady seven lists their 240 grn swaged. (#11118 swc-hp)
    10 powders, but no H110.
    Max loads are all 1000 FPS.

    Hope this helps.

    TC
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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    You stole that one! If I'm correct, that is the original Super Blackhawk. Does it have the transfer bar system? The trigger guard and flat-top design go way back. I'm thinking it also has a different grip frame. Others can tell you a lot more than I can.

    With that gun, I wouldn't shot anything but lead (barrel wear), and I wouldn't use it for stout loads. The early Rugers apparently copied SSA Colts and had cylinder bores larger than the barrel bores. If the bullet doesn't obturate sufficiently, gases will blow by the bullet and cause leading. This means that softer bullets work better. However, harder bullets, while they don't seal, are necessary to avoid gas-cutting at higher pressures, which in turn causes damage and leading. IOW, you could have problems shooting heavy loads.

    I get BNH 11 cast bullets from Mt. Baldy to use in my .44 Spl. These may work very well for you under 1000 fps. They're Keith design, and have square (non-beveled) bases.
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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    Originally Posted By: Winchester 69
    Does it have the transfer bar system?

    Yea, unfortunately it does. It's a New Model Super Blackhawk.

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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    Originally Posted By: lineman711
    It's a New Model Super Blackhawk.

    Told ya' other people know more than I do. [img]<>/eek.gif[/img]

    Unless it's really new, you may want to slug the barrel and cylinders to see if there is a disparity.
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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    You got a great deal! Check out John Taffins loads on his web site. You won't hurt the Ruger But the H110 drives the soft lead way to fast. Just be wary of shooting it alot with those loads without cleaning the bore. as the bore leads the pressure increases.
    Those loads should be perfectly safe for the Ruger, but your not gonna like cleaning it.
    Try some hard cast LBTs they wont lead up so bad and you can shoot them with really hot loads.

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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    If you're interested in lead bullets, Veral Smith has a book that will indoctrinate you to the science.

    www.lbtmoulds.com/books.shtml

    There's a trade-off between velocity and leading, and this man knows everything there is to know about it. Worthwhile.

    He also sells sells molds. The previous post mentions his bullets. Lead Bullet Technology.
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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    Sounds like those loads might be pretty old...in that case, pull one of the rounds...it might be a Speer half jacket with all of the front lead exposed...that was not a bad bullet for it's time.

    If it's just a swaged bullet with no jacket, those loads will lead up the barrel pretty quickly...in that case just pull them all or set them aside.

    H-110 is the go-to powder for heavy loads in the 44, but that doesn't mean full power level loads are always necessary. Heavy bullets give better performance. A 300 gr cast bullet with a big flat nose hits hard and can do everything a pistol needs to do even at low to moderate velocity...that's what I use when I can scrounge lead.

    It's also typical for older Rugers to have cylinder throats smaller than the bore...that doesn't help accuracy any, especially with cast bullets, but that is easily fixed and will turn a Ruger that is shooting shotgun sized groups into a target level accuracy shooter.

    TC
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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    Two things.

    First, the poster above mentioned that the loads should be in the safe range for the Blackhawk. Combine this with the evidence that the firearm has successfully digested 48 of the loads in its past.

    Back when I was a handgun shooter, I fired a helluvalotta lead semi-wadcutters through my 1911. Now admittedly; the 1911 and the .44Mag are two very different cartridges, but I simply cleaned and shot, and things went fairly merrily along.

    I had two strategies that I think may have helped.

    First, I would finish each range session by firing ten copper jacketed (not plated) rounds. Then I would make sure that the bore got liberally slathered with Shooters' Choice Lead Solvent cleaner, and soaked overnight. Next day, a tight patch would literally push out shavings and chunks of lead from the bore.

    Maybe, probably, some lead would remain in the bore, but what remained never seemed to so any harm to either the equipment or the accuracy.

    I've heard all sort of admonitions about never do this, never do that, always, etc., etc.

    ...And maybe I'm just the idiot sitting one the crate of dynamite, beggin' passers-by for a light; but so far...

    Greg
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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    I would shoot them.


    I know this doesnt relate to your post but I'll just share...

    I use to run H110 @ 27.5 grains w/ a Hornady XTP 200 grain, aside from the heavy recoil and muzzle flash it would really put White Tail deer down in a hurry. I ran that out of Desert Eagle with a 10" barrel in the mid 1800 fps, vitals turned to jello on impact and bullet recovery was almost always possible and generally just under the off side hide.
    Good transactions (bought and sold) with the following Good Guys:

    http://forum.snipershide.com/firearm...tml#post818781

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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    Been loading the .44 mag for over 40years and I'll tell you this. For top end loads H-110 is the best powder you can use and it meters GREAT from every P/M I have ever used.
    For reduced "plinking" type loads use Unique(6.5-8 grns)and a heavy crimp. The Lee FCD is a GREAT choice for this BTW.
    OH- the loads you have, just pull one and see what the bullet is and confirm the load weight, then shoot the rest.
    Respectfully,
    LG
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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    Thanks for the replies. I'll have to stock up on some H-110 and get me a Lee Crimp die. I've got plenty of Unique around, for you guys that load that for plinking rounds, what kind of accuracy can I expect, in general?

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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    I like to keep lead bullets @ the 1000fps range on soft lead to prevent leading. If you want to push lead faster make sure you use gas checked hard cast bullets. Chech out http://www.laser-cast.com/. They make hard cast lead that you can push faster than soft lead. They also have a preminum line that includes gas checked bullets.
    Also check out lead head bullets http://www.proshootpro.com/. These guys are my favorite. Hard lead bullets with gas checks. I shoot the 395g .452 in my 460 @ 1600fps and they hold together quite well.

    As far as reloading the .44mag. I use h110 only for the heavy hotter stuff. H110 really kickes ass on the 454 and 460 with the heavier stuff. Look at Unique and 2400 as well. I like 12g Unique for a nice shooter/heavy plinker and 19-21g of 2400 for for something with more uoomph. The Blackhawk you have is built like a tank so have fun stuffing that thing up.

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    Re: Question about .44 mag and lead bullets

    Working backwards, no one can honestly say with your accuacy might be. Anything between 1.5" and 10" at 50 yards is possible.

    I shoot hard-cast Lyman 250 SWC-GC bullets sized to .429" with NRA-Alox lube at 1,300 fps. It gives excellant accuracy and light leading in my in my S&W 29/6". It's a max load for my Smith but your SBH is stronger.

    The major factors in obtaining good accuracy at higher handgun velocities is the (1) hardness of the alloy, (2) proper sizeing of the bullet and (3) using a good lube.

    Gas checks can help but they aren't a major concern, I've done about as well with non-checked bullets.

    I often got 6 in 4" or a bit less for 100 yd. bench groups, with factory irons, before my old eyes clouded up. (Often out shot .30-30s with scopes!)
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