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Old 09-17-2009, 10:16 AM
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Default .44 Special, cast bullets and 231

Does anybody have a good load for the .44 Special using the 240 gr. hard cast SWC and 231? They will be shot out of a 629-2 Mountain Lion and I'd like to get 900 to 1000 FPS. I think I should be able to safely exceed 900 FPS using 231 and a 4" barrel. In my experience 231 can be very clean burning in the heavier loads but I have not yet loaded the shorter Special case. I have used 8.0 grs. in the Magnum case and find recoil very manageable in the Mountain Gun. I'd like something similar using Special brass but my manuals don't have any "warm" loads with this powder.

Also, how does 700X compare? I think I could get higher velocity with 231 but I'm not sure.

Dave Sinko
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:32 AM
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You might want to post your question over on the cast bullet forum, castboolits.com the guys over there should be able to answer your question.
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Sinko View Post
Does anybody have a good load for the .44 Special using the 240 gr. hard cast SWC and 231? They will be shot out of a 629-2 Mountain Lion and I'd like to get 900 to 1000 FPS. I think I should be able to safely exceed 900 FPS using 231 and a 4" barrel. In my experience 231 can be very clean burning in the heavier loads but I have not yet loaded the shorter Special case. I have used 8.0 grs. in the Magnum case and find recoil very manageable in the Mountain Gun. I'd like something similar using Special brass but my manuals don't have any "warm" loads with this powder.

Also, how does 700X compare? I think I could get higher velocity with 231 but I'm not sure.

Dave Sinko
The 14th Edition W-W reloading manual lists the following data for 44 Special with 246 gr. lead bullet:
5.4 gr. W-231 = 796 fps = 12,500 cup
Hope that helps. I only use mild loads with either Trail Boss or American Select at ca 600 fps.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:56 PM
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Hodgdon shows a max load for the 240 LSWC in 44 special using HP38/W231:
Max: 5.2 grains, 858 fps at 13,200 CUP OAL 1.450"

Speer 14 shows as max for 240/44 special with W231:
Max: 5.7 grains, 796 fps from a 3" revolver with pressure less than SAMMI max of 15,000 psi, OAL 1.475.

Hornady Handbook, Sixth Edition shows the 240 and 231:
5.8 grains, 750 fps in 3" revolver barrel.

IF the loads will only be used in a Magnum revolver, one could safely work up from there, but W231/HP38 wouldn't be my first choice. A medium powder like Unique, Power Pistol, Universal, or HS6 would get the velocity you're looking for with less pressure. The old standby Skeeter Skelton was 7.5 grains of Unique under a 250 grain SWC for 900-950 fps and approx 20,000 psi....+p but controllable in an N frame Smith.

Some good reading here: .44 SPECIAL HANDLOADS: Too Good To Be Forgotten | Guns Magazine | Find Articles at BNET
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:21 PM
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I use Hp38/W231 for 44 spl loads using 240gr hard cast lead. Using published data.
I would consider HP38 a "medium" powder and is just a tad faster than Unique, Universal
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:37 PM
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I've been using 6.3 grs. of 231 between 850-900 fps. Shoots very good and is one of my most accurate loads with the 240 SWC. Also have had good results with AA#5 and AA#7 at around 900 fps. Tafin suggests 11 grs of AA#7 and this too is very accurate. Not for snubies or weak older guns. I've had the best results at 850-900 fps with the 240 SWC as far as accuracy goes. I'm talking one hole groups at 25 yards.
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Old 09-19-2009, 07:39 AM
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I used to load 6.0 grains of 231 behind a 240G SWC lead bullet. I have never checked the speed but it was super accurate out of a SAA.
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Old 09-19-2009, 09:59 AM
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David,

8.0 of 231 in a Magnum case is Clint Smith's everyday .44 Magnum load and gives 975-1000 fps in a 4" with a 250 grain cast bullet. I've never gone above 6.0 grains in the Special case and like HoosierMike said, it's a good load. You're looking for a full power load in a Special case, so I'd recommend the Skeeter load (7.5 Unique) or one that's looking even better these days that Brian Pearce recommends, which is 8.0 grains of Power Pistol. It gives a little more velocity than the Skeeter load at standard pressures. I would be a little cautious of trying to get 231/HP38 to give the velocities you're seeking in the short case, because I think pressures would be much higher than you want.

Last edited by Wayne Dobbs; 09-19-2009 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 09-19-2009, 03:18 PM
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I'd recommend the 7.5 grain Unique load mentioned previously. It works.
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44 magnum, 629, mountain gun, saa, skeeter, skelton, universal

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