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Old 08-12-2011, 02:54 PM
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Default short barrel .44 mag

Recently picked up a 3" 629. I have a fair amount of ammo ,but would like to find a load for the 3" barrel. Could anyone recomend a powder? Bullet will be a 255 plain base, hard cast.
Looking for a full power load.
Thanks!
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:15 PM
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Contrary to popular opinion, the powders that yield the highest velocities in long barrels are the same powders that yield the highest velocities in short barrels. In the case of the 44 Mag that is going to be the usual list of suspects: H110, 296, 2400, N110, No. 9, Enforcer, etc.

Now, loads with these slow powders are NOT going to be very pleasent to shoot from a short barrel due to the excessive blast and flash. I would suggest that more pleasent loads at nearly full pressure levels will be much more fun to shoot and hit what you're aiming at with. They also will give you more than enough power for anything you may tackle with your 44 unless we are talking about Brown bears. They are more useful from a practical standpoint.

With your 255 gr. plain-base hard cast bullet, I would suggest you look to nearly full power loads using powders like Power Pistol, Herco, No. 5, HS-6, 800-X, or Longshot. Higher end loads with these powders (using published data) should get you 1100-1200 fps. That is more that enough. Remember, Elmer Keith did it all with a 250 cast bullet at 1150-1200 in his heavy 44 Special loads.

Good Luck and Be Safe,
Mark in GA
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:36 PM
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Everyone ought to shoot some full throttle 44Mag loads from a short barrel once in their life! After you get that out of your system, you will most likely go to some loads with Unique or another powder in that burn rate area.

Personally, I like that bullet over either a full house load of AA#9 or 2400. Data for both of those powders are available on-line so finding it won't be hard.

Have fun, be safe.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:46 PM
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I've been shooting 2 loads through my 3" 44 mag for the last 20+ years and I'll share them with you here.

Both are in a magnum case.

First load uses a Lyman 429244 265g GCSWC, but you can substitute any 250g cast bullet here.

22g W296/H110 and a WLP. This is a 1200fps round.

7g W231/HP38 and a WLP. This is somewhere close to 850fps.

Here's the revolver I shoot them in. BTW, it no longer wears these grips which are round to square conversions. I have RB Hogue wood on it now.

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Old 08-12-2011, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbbatok View Post
Recently picked up a 3" 629. I have a fair amount of ammo ,but would like to find a load for the 3" barrel. Could anyone recomend a powder? Bullet will be a 255 plain base, hard cast.
Looking for a full power load.
Thanks!
Out of a 3" they are all full power Any of the manuals published loads are plenty, depends on what powders you have.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by smith crazy View Post
Everyone ought to shoot some full throttle 44Mag loads from a short barrel once in their life! After you get that out of your system, you will most likely go to some loads with Unique or another powder in that burn rate area.
A man after my own heart!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:47 PM
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Powder charge is inversely proportional to age and barrel length.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:48 PM
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As noted, slow pwoders give the highest vel regardless of bbl length. BUT, some will work a bit better than others in 3"-4" guns. FOr heavyier bullets, 2400 burns a bit better than H110. Even running Unique or WSF at the top end gets you pretty close to 2400 or H110 w/ less blast, maybe 50fps short. My 3" lives on Unqiue & 2400 w/ 240-270gr lead bullets @ 950-1100fps.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:29 AM
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8 grs. Unique with a 250-ish grain SWC has always been a pleasant, effective all-purpose load for me. I shoot a lot of these in my 4" 29-2. Go to 8.5 grs. for a bit more zip if you like. I like AA-9 for full power loads these days, of course old standby 2400 is as good as it ever was, and I still use it, too. I have no direct experience with a 3" .44 mag but lots with 4" S&Ws and 4 5/8" Rugers.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:30 AM
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Powder charge is inversely proportional to age and barrel length.
See, now there's a smart fella.

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Old 08-13-2011, 12:52 AM
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So true... which is why I shoot a lot more of the 8 grs. Unique load than the 17 grs. AA-9. And the .38s I used to sneer at are now my favorite shooters.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:54 AM
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I have throttled back my loads for my 3" model 29 to 7gr of Universal or 6gr of Bullseye. Very pleasurable and very accurate.
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:27 PM
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While I don't have a 3" barreled 44Mag, I've found that Blue Dot is an excellent powder for a 4" 629 Mountain Gun. Like another poster said, you will still get more velocity with a slower powder like H-110, but the blast and flash is ridiculous for a small gain in velocity. A 250gr. Keith clocks around 1175 fps out of my MG when fueled by Blue Dot. I consider this a mid-power 44Mag loading, but it is very accurate in my gun.
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6GUNSONLY View Post
8 grs. Unique with a 250-ish grain SWC has always been a pleasant, effective all-purpose load for me. I shoot a lot of these in my 4" 29-2. Go to 8.5 grs. for a bit more zip if you like. I like AA-9 for full power loads these days, of course old standby 2400 is as good as it ever was, and I still use it, too. I have no direct experience with a 3" .44 mag but lots with 4" S&Ws and 4 5/8" Rugers.
6GUNSONLY, Yes Sir that is a great load for a 4" 29. I'm using a hard-cast 240 grain LSWC and 9 grains of unique. Easy on me and the gun. I have no experience with 3" barrels.Here's a picture of my 31 year old beater.
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:10 PM
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JB, are you seeing a trend here?

This is universal sage advice you're getting. These guys are all experienced in both loading and shooting. I've been reading some of them for up to 10 years on the web, and their answers mirror my experiences of the last 30 years.

My hot load is with AA#9, but I've been toying with 2400 & 4227 lately (going back to my roots, I suppose, as my mentor taught me with those). Lots of blast and flash, but that fun will wear off sooner or later. I still load 'em, but only for carrying in the woods and ocassional sight verification.

My main load in 44 Mag cases is 7.5grs of 231 (HP38 is same powder and load is interchangeable) with a 265gr SWC, giving me about 875fps out of 5"-6.5" barrels. It's VERY pleasant to shoot, accurate, and powerful enough to take up to deer-size, close-range targets of opportunity.
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Old 08-13-2011, 03:10 PM
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8.0g of Green Dot behind a 429421 cast boolit @.431 gives 975fps outta my 4" 629-4 Mtn Gun. Pleasant to shoot and very accurate.
8.0g of Green Dot is roughly equivalent to 9.0g of Unique in my .44 revolvers. Using Green Dot enables me to get more "bangs for the buck" without sacrificing accuracy,leading and recoil.
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:43 AM
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First of all , thanks to everyone who replyed!! Much better responce than I expected!
I suppose my first post could have been a little more clear. I have no problem with reduced loads , I have 2 that get most of the time in my Rugers, but when afield ,I carry full house stuff. The new Smith will be the same once I become more familiar with it.
Fired a few cylenders full today (1200 in a 4 5/8" )and was pleasently suprised with how well the ports keep the muzzel down. Not sure how fast in the 3" barrel , I'll get the crono out next week.
Special thanks to the Unique folks, I use that in several other rounds but never thought to try it in the .44. If it works well it will simplify my powder needs.
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45acp, 629, bullseye, hogue, model 29, mountain gun, universal

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