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  #1  
Old 02-22-2012, 10:49 PM
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Default Accurate Arms #9 with .44 Special

Does anyone here use AA9 with their .44 Special?

If anyone has any pet loads for this combo please let me know.

I have a 3" barrel Smith 624.

Thanks!
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:13 AM
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One of the best clues in determine if a powder will be any good with a particular cartridge is to check published load data, esp from the powder manufacturer as they have the most vested interest in getting customers to use their product.

There is NO data showing a .44 spl load using AA#9 in the current accurate publications of load data for their powders.

Slow pistol powders are for high pressure large capacity magnum pistol cartridges and small case rifle cartridges. AA( is too slow to be useful in the low pressure .44 spl cartridge. The slowest burn rate powders you find are AA7, Blue Dot and similar. With exceptionally heavy bullets you find a couple loads using 2400. If you can find AA9 data for the .44 spl from a reliable source then go ahead and try it. Let us know how it works though it isn't the best powder for low pressure.

For the .44 spl use fast powder like AA2, Bullseye, Red Dot, W231/HP38 for target loads. For defensive and game loads use powders no slower than Blue Dot, AA7. Medium burn rate powders are better suited like Unique, AA5, Universal, etc.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:32 AM
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There are many handgun/shotgun powders that are better for low pressure cartridges like .38 Spl and .44 Spl, than AA9. Almost any of them as a matter of fact. Pick just about any propellent in the Unique/HS-5/Universal/WSF burning range or faster and they will all work well and efficiently. If you use a slow powder like AA9 you will need much more to get the same performance as any listed above will give.

In other words, SteveC is right on with his answer and rational.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:03 AM
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Having had a cylinder tie up with a heavy crimp and AA9 loads from their manual #1 I would use another powder.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:49 AM
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The reason I ask is because I've read about the old Keith load that used 17.5 of 2400 with a 250 grain bullet.

2400 and AA9 are pretty close in speed. I use it in place of 2400 in .41 and .44 mag.


Thanks for the responses.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtgianni View Post
Having had a cylinder tie up with a heavy crimp and AA9 loads from their manual #1 I would use another powder.


May I have more details? Charge weight? How the malfunction occurred?
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregG View Post
The reason I ask is because I've read about the old Keith load that used 17.5 of 2400 with a 250 grain bullet.

2400 and AA9 are pretty close in speed. I use it in place of 2400 in .41 and .44 mag.


Thanks for the responses.
Remember that Keith was developing the 44 Mag so he would have needed to use a slow powder. Not the case in normal 44 Spec loads.

rat
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:56 AM
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I've read in several places that Keith's 17.5/2400 in solid head brass measured 24,000. Definitely over SAAMI but well underneath magnum pressure.

I was hoping AA9 would work in its place. In my .41 and .44 magnums it burns cleaner and has less flash than 2400. I can't stand all the unburned powder granules when shooting 2400.

ETA: For a standard pressrue load I would probably use SR4756. I like it a lot better than Unique.

Last edited by GregG; 02-23-2012 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:33 AM
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If I were using a Accurate Arms powder in the .44 Special it would be AA#5, not AA#9. Like said above, AA#9 is better suited for the .44 Magnum.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:04 AM
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I was loading 10.7gr of AA#7 with Nosler 200gr Jhp with good results in a S&W 696. The next batch of #7 with the same load left partially burned that tied up the action.
I would think a 624 could take more pressure than a 696, and if AA#9 would work it would take a over pressure loading.
I've tried HS-6 and Blue Dot but my best results for my 696 have been with W-231, AA#5 and Unique.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:07 AM
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In Handloader #260, Brian Pearce mentions a load using AA#9 and a 255gr Lyman 429244 for just a little over 1200fps and just under a 1" group. Max charge was 16.5gr.

This was in one of the new mid-frame sized Ruger Blackhawks chambered in 44SP and was rated at 25Kpsi. I really like my pair of those 44SP Blackhawks!

A slightly lesser charge was discussed in Handloader #236 as a Category 3 level load at 25Kpsi, deemed suitable in modern N-frame 44 Specials like the 624. The question is whether you want to use them and need that power. The guns are capable of handling it. It is at the very upper end of the power and performance envelope for the 44 Special. AA#7 is a better powder for mid-level loads, and AA#5 for standard level pressures.

{Please note that this was using a gas checked cast bullet and may not be suitable for a jacketed bullet where pressures could be higher. I recommend obtaining and reading those Handloader issues if you are interested in using such loads.}
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Last edited by VAdoublegunner; 02-23-2012 at 04:10 AM. Reason: added note re: cast vs. jacketed bullets
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:27 PM
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This is from Hornady,
pistol: Charter Arms
barrel: 3"
case: Winchester
primer: WLP
case trim length: 1.150"
Bullet: #44200 240gr HP/XTP and #4425 240gr JTC-SIL Diameter .430"
COL: 1.500"
Max Load: 11.7gr AA#9

Bullet: #4430 240gr LSWC and #4431 240gr LSWC/HP Dia. .430"
COL: 1.500"
Max Load: 12.4gr AA#9

Hornady's .44 jacketed are .430" which may help, I have not tried these loads.

Last edited by jibjab; 02-24-2012 at 06:18 PM. Reason: included bullet weights
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  #13  
Old 02-23-2012, 02:55 PM
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I use AAC-7 for my .44 Special loads. Its a fairly hot load (I don't have the numbers in front of me because I'm writing from work).
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VAdoublegunner View Post
In Handloader #260, Brian Pearce mentions a load using AA#9 and a 255gr Lyman 429244 for just a little over 1200fps and just under a 1" group. Max charge was 16.5gr.

This was in one of the new mid-frame sized Ruger Blackhawks chambered in 44SP and was rated at 25Kpsi. I really like my pair of those 44SP Blackhawks!

A slightly lesser charge was discussed in Handloader #236 as a Category 3 level load at 25Kpsi, deemed suitable in modern N-frame 44 Specials like the 624.
This is kind of what I was looking for. Guess I need to get those copies of Handloader.

This is for having in the gun walking out to the deer blind. I'd probably fire two cylinder fulls of it to see where it shoots and to get a feel for it.

Thanks!
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:59 PM
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"I'd probably fire two cylinder fulls of it to see where it shoots and to get a feel for it."

The loads that are in my gun are the loads I practice with, that way I'm less likely to forget where they shoot.
A hit is better than two misses.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jibjab View Post


The loads that are in my gun are the loads I practice with, that way I'm less likely to forget where they shoot.
A hit is better than two misses.
True...true.

I'm going to have a test session at the range one day soon and try about 4 different loads. I'll update the thread with the accuracy results.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:35 PM
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"I'll update the thread with the accuracy results."

I look forward to it.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:41 PM
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Look here and click on the link in post #32 44 Associates' .44 Special Data?

There is lots of useful data contained within these articles. Take a look at the articles written by Brian Pearce there is data using AA#9. He also explains the three pressure categories with the M24 being able to accept level III loads (25,000PSI)

Last edited by 336A; 02-23-2012 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jibjab View Post
This is from Hornady,
pistol: Charter Arms
barrel: 3"
case: Winchester
primer: WLP
case trim length: 1.150"
Bullet: #44200 HP/XTP and #4425 JTC-SIL Diameter .430"
COL: 1.500"
Max Load: 11.7gr AA#9

Bullet: #4430 LSWC and #4431 LSWC/HP Dia. .430"
COL: 1.500"
Max Load: 12.4gr AA#9

Hornady's .44 jacketed are .430" which may help, I have not tried these loads.
I've shot a good many loads of 12 grs. of #9 behind a 250 gr cast plain base bullet. I liked the way they shot and they didn't lead up or cause sticky extraction. All went through my N-frame spl's. and Ruger flattop .44 spl's.. Can't remember where i got this recipe........use at your own risk.
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:10 PM
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For .44spl. I think no.9 is too slow. Number 7 is a good powder to experiment with. I got my .41mag recipe from Brian Pearces' writings, It's been too long ago to remember, sold the gun years ago. I load a .44mag round for a Marlin lever that is mild in a rifle and accurate. It's 15gr. under a 265gr. bullet, rifle only!!! That's my disclaimer. I haven't tried 7 in a special, I like Unique.

Best, Rick
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:16 PM
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I agree with above posts that AA9 is not a suitable powder for .44 Spl. although great in my .44 Mag.
My most accurate .44 Spl loads are with AA5...8.5gr. and 215gr lead SWC.
Terry
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregG View Post
May I have more details? Charge weight? How the malfunction occurred?
AA loadbook #1. 44 special 250 swc 10.4 gr start load 11.4. gr max.
I loaded 11 gr under a Ly429421 and tied the cylinder up with unburned powder at shot # 5. I was using a standard primer which I still use with #9 loads. I do not recall the crimp but it should have been heavy enough to allow a complete burn. Accurate Arms says to not use previous data with it's current powders. This load is for information regarding this question only.
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Last edited by mtgianni; 03-15-2012 at 08:25 PM. Reason: corrected bullet #
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:12 AM
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Thanks. I'll keep an eye out while working with this powder.

I always use a magnum primer with slow ball powders. Just an old habit.
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtgianni View Post
AA loadbook #1. 44 special 250 swc 10.4 gr start load 11.4. gr max.
That certainly looks way too light for using AA#9 to me, especially based on my experience with Pearce's loads. I don't doubt that failure to achieve proper burn characteristics and pressure was the likely result. Even with a magnum primer and crusher crimp it may have issues. This must have been holding to a 14Kpsi level load. I don't know of any AA#9 loads at that pressure level; most load data shows it more suited to pressures above that. E.g., it is a great heavy bullet 10mm and Blackhawk level 45 Colt powder!

edit/ Just checked the new Accurate manual and they do list loads in 45 Colt as low as 17.5Kpsi. Interesting. I usually like it to be above 20K at least before I consider using it.
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:59 AM
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What do you folks find with 44 special 200g RFN for such as ICORE & steel challenge in a 24-1 Thunder Ranch with the Hodgdon recipe using Clays 3.5-4.5???
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:13 PM
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If you do achieve some decent and safe loads with AA9 in your .44 Special, please let us know. The 624 is a good platform, tho barrel length is, I suppose, better at 4" and up.

Safe loading to you,

Dyson
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:30 PM
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The 11.5gr loads keep things under 12,500 psi, which is SAAMI max. The 16.5gr load listed in Handloader doubles the pressures, but they are not excessive for a modern 44 Spl. I wouldn't bother with any slow powder at the low pressure limits of SAAMI, but especially not a ball powder... Now at the 25k level, it is interesting... Just don't use it in old guns.
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m657 View Post
What do you folks find with 44 special 200g RFN for such as ICORE & steel challenge in a 24-1 Thunder Ranch with the Hodgdon recipe using Clays 3.5-4.5???
For a light load that's safe in any 44 Spl, and low recoil, I use 5.0grs W231 with a 210gr RNFP. Clays should work too, though I have no direct experience.
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:35 PM
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UNIQUE_UNIQUE & UNIQUE!
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:20 AM
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Here's a link to an article that's worth reading:

A Special 44

I can't comment on AA9. However, I've used 5.0 grs Bullseye, 7.5 grs Unique and 15 grs of 2400 consistently in my N frame Smiths and Colt Single Action revolvers. This was behind 240/250 gr cast and 240 gr jacketed bullets.

With a 3" barrel you might want to stick to the first 2 lighter loads. Further, the Unique and 2400 loads are hotter than recommend in the Speer reloading manuals.

From what I've read, this is to protect older, more fragile revolvers. I would also be hesitant to use the hotter loads in small frame, lightweight revolvers.
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Old 03-14-2012, 04:25 AM
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I have been big fan and users of the .44 Special for at least forty years and presently have three revolvers chambered in this caliber.

One of my revolvers is the 624 the same as you own, over the years I have used this caliber as my carry firearm a great deal and it is a substantial self defense caliber when loaded correctly.

I have several suggestions regarding defense loads for the .44, for the past ten years or so I have been using Vihtavuori
N340 & N350 with great success. The advantages to these powders is they measure great, burn very clean and have proven to be extremely accurate in all of my revolvers.

I have done a great deal of testing with the Hornady 180 gr. and 200 gr. bullets and they are very impressive in all of our testing. Depending on barrel length it is very easy to obtain velocities between 900 fps to over 1100 fps with completely acceptable pressures using both N340 & N350.

Recently, a friend of mine with extensive reloading experience was sharing with me his recent testing with Ramshot (Trueblue) in his .44 Special, he convinced me to buy a pound and give it a trial, at this point I have loaded up 100 rounds but have not had a chance to test it as yet. The reason he decided to test this powder was it is considerably less expensive than the VV powders in his neck of the woods and he believes it has many of the same advantages as N350.
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Old 03-14-2012, 04:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock77 View Post

I have several suggestions regarding defense loads for the .44, for the past ten years or so I have been using Vihtavuori
N340 & N350 with great success. The advantages to these powders is they measure great, burn very clean and have proven to be extremely accurate in all of my revolvers.

I have done a great deal of testing with the Hornady 180 gr. and 200 gr. bullets and they are very impressive in all of our testing. Depending on barrel length it is very easy to obtain velocities between 900 fps to over 1100 fps with completely acceptable pressures using both N340 & N350.

Hi,

this is quite interesting. I use exclusively VV powders (I'm located in Germany, and VV is more easily available than US made powders). I did a .44 spl load with a 200 grs SWC lead bullet (BHN about 16-17) and 8.5 grs of VV 340, OAL of 1,47". This load is on the lower side of the official VV loading manual, but checked by Quickload, it should produce more than 25% overpressure (18300 psi) and deliver nearly 980 fps. Interestingly, the cases do not show any sign of overpressure, the primers only show the indention of the striker pin, and the cases are partly sooted. Still the load feels good to shoot in a Model 696 and is very accurate.

regards
Ulrich
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:45 AM
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I use 16.0 grains of AA#9 under a 240-250 grain lead bullet with great success in my mid-frame Ruger 44 Special Blackhawk. This load approximates the old Keith load using 2400. I came about this load from the Brian Pearce Handloader article. He listed a max of 16.5, which I worked up to, but I had good accuracy at 16 grains so I went back and settled on that charge.

It is a stout load in a smaller framed gun. Personally, I would not shoot it in a 624. At least not frequently.

AA9 is a great powder for the 44 Special, if you want to explore the true potential of the cartridge.
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Old 03-17-2012, 03:09 AM
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The M-624 Smith & Wesson is based on the N-frame and is considered the strongest of the S&W revolvers excluding the X-frame chambered for the .500 S&W cartridge.

Any load remotely appropriate for the .44 Special is certainly safe in the N-frame S&W revolvers, through the years I have shot many rounds in the 1100 fps range with absolutely no issues in my M-624.

One has to remember that this is the same frame that the .44 Magnum is chambered in and has twice and more of the operating PSI of the .44 Special.
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Old 03-17-2012, 03:40 AM
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" One has to remember that this is the same frame that the .44 Magnum is chambered in and has twice and more of the operating PSI of the .44 Special. "

And then there is that heat treating thing.
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Old 03-17-2012, 04:45 AM
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I have never read anything documented from Smith & Wesson regarding N-frames having specific heat treatments for different calibers.

There is no doubt that cylinders receive heat treatment and I believe that is across the board.

The determining factor in strength has a great deal more to do with the thickness of the cylinder walls than any other factor. I am the owner of a Ruger Redhawk in .357 that was made for a very short time in the eighties, I have never seen a cylinder with more metal thickness than this revolver displaysí and I have still never exceeded top posted loads for this caliber.

I have complete faith that Smith & Wesson designs their N-frames to comfortable exceed any SAAMI standards developed for the respective calibers.
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock77 View Post
The M-624 Smith & Wesson is based on the N-frame and is considered the strongest of the S&W revolvers excluding the X-frame chambered for the .500 S&W cartridge.

Any load remotely appropriate for the .44 Special is certainly safe in the N-frame S&W revolvers, through the years I have shot many rounds in the 1100 fps range with absolutely no issues in my M-624.

One has to remember that this is the same frame that the .44 Magnum is chambered in and has twice and more of the operating PSI of the .44 Special.
Correct, my mistake. I was thinking of the 696, the one based on the L frame.
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:28 AM
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I've been loading small batches of different loads to try.

So far I have:

250 gr. LWC - 15 grs. AA#9

250 gr. LWC - 16 grs. AA#9

250 gr. LWC - 9 grs. SR4756

250 gr. LWC - 7.5 Unique

200 gr. Gold Dot - 9 grs. SR4756

I won't get to shoot for accuracy this weekend due to work, but hopefully next weekend.
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:05 AM
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I did get a chance to sneak out to the range today and shoot this nice 624 3 incher.

I added one load to the list above. 10 grs. of HS-6 with the 250 gr. LWC. The LWC I used is from Matt's Bullets, and is almost a full wadcutter. It's smaller ahead of the first drive band, but not small enough to be a bore rider.

I went to retrieve my targets from the trunk of my car but I must have left them inside the store when I went back in to buy another pound of powder. So all of the group sizes I state need to be salted to taste. They're just a guess. I'm a machinist for a living so my guesses won't be off by mile. I'll post pics from the next trip.

The first group I shot was the 250 LWC / Unique load. I wanted to try it first, before any leading occurred, because I thought it would have the best potential. It shot about a 5" group at 25 yards. It looks like this combination of bullet and powder does not go together well. I'll try Unique with a different bullet later. I have some 250 gr. Keiths coming.

The second group I fired was the 9 grs. of SR-4756 with the 250 LWC. It did better. About 3".

The 3rd group was the 10 grs. of HS-6 / 250 LWC load. It was great. Right at 2". It's my carry load for now.

The 4th load was the 16 grs. of AA9 / 250 LWC load. Very warm load. Quite a handful in this 3 incher. Group was about 3". This would be a good load for walking out to the deer stand.

I checked the bore after shooting the lead loads, and got no appreciable leading from any of these loads. The top of one land had just a little bit on it. Nothing major.


The fifth load was 9 grs. of SR-4756 and the 200 gr. Gold Dot that Speer makes just for the .44 Special. Easy load to shoot and accurate also. About 3".

The last group was a cylinder full of Silvertips. Very easy load to shoot. About 3 inches also.

I'm not going to shoot any more of the 16 grs. AA9 / 250 LWC load in practice. I know where it shoots, about 2 inches below the HS6 load. The empty cases were not sticky coming out, but the gun felt like a .44 Magnum when shooting them.

For now HS6 is my go-to powder for this gun. I bought another pound of it to assemble more loads to try. Maybe I can tweak things down a little tighter.

Last edited by GregG; 03-19-2012 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:00 PM
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Interesting you mention that HS6 load. My buddy was trying out some HS6 loads this weekend in his flat top Blackhawk Bisley model, and he had exceptional accuracy using a 250 Keith over 9.3 grains of HS6. Lit by a magnum primer, I believe. I shot that load a few times myself, and it was in fact like a laser out of that Blackhawk.

I'm surprised the 7.5 grains of Unique load did not do well. I'll be interested to see your results with the 250 Keith. That combination has shot well out of most guns I've dropped it into.

That 16 gr AA9 load is brisk, ain't it? I loaded some of those in the cylinder of my model 29 with some real 44 mag loads using 20 grains of AA9 under a 250 gr. Keith, and I could not really tell a difference in recoil between the two. That was a 6" gun, I'd imagine a little more muzzle flip out of the three incher.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:16 PM
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The 16-AA9 is pretty damn stout. I would use it only on an *as needed* basis.

I used CCI300 (standard) primers on my HS-6 load. I sure like that load in this gun.

Yeah I was surprised the Uniue load didn't do better. I must have done something wrong, don't know what though. I'll try the Keith bullet with it and see how it goes.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:17 PM
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My old Rossi 44 Magnum rifle got 21.3 gr with a 250 GC swc. The redhawk magnum gets 19.2 gr. I guess that 16 gr in a 44 special would be rather stout.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:13 PM
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I've shot a lot of cast 250's pushed by 12 grs#9 in my Smiths and Rugers.......A good accurate load.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock77 View Post
I have never read anything documented from Smith & Wesson regarding N-frames having specific heat treatments for different calibers.

There is no doubt that cylinders receive heat treatment and I believe that is across the board.

The determining factor in strength has a great deal more to do with the thickness of the cylinder walls than any other factor. I am the owner of a Ruger Redhawk in .357 that was made for a very short time in the eighties, I have never seen a cylinder with more metal thickness than this revolver displaysí and I have still never exceeded top posted loads for this caliber.

I have complete faith that Smith & Wesson designs their N-frames to comfortable exceed any SAAMI standards developed for the respective calibers.
I agree completely. I was a machinist for about 25 years and it just makes no sense that they would heat treat 44 spl frames differently than
the .44 mag frames. Mistakes do happen when raw material is pulled and sent to the machines. Pulling the wrong heat lot is one that could be totally eliminated by heat treating them identically. Also lets them make whatever caliber they need if they have a "surprise" order for one caliber or the other come in. Ditto for the cylinders.
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:48 AM
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Here's a pic of the revolver.

I took the combat grips off and stored them. They seem to be worth some money and I don't want to scratch them. These are from gungripsupply.com. I like them.

I also took the stock flash chromed trigger and hammer out (theyr'e stored with the original grips) and installed a .500" target hammer and .500" trigger.



Last edited by GregG; 03-21-2012 at 01:50 AM.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:00 AM
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"I have never read anything documented from Smith & Wesson regarding N-frames having specific heat treatments for different calibers. "

So why did S&W start heat treating cylinders?
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:23 AM
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I have read on several occasions that Smith & Wesson may have started heat treatment on some of their firearms as early as the 1920 era, as I am under no circumstance a historian of Smith & Wesson there may well be some on this site that could confirm the facts of that issue.

The reason for heat treatment of Stainless steel metals is as follows:

Stainless steels are often heat treated; the nature of this treatment depends on the type of stainless steel and the reason for the treatment. These treatments, which include annealing, hardening and stress relieving, restore desirable properties such as corrosion resistance and ductility to metal altered by prior fabrication operations or produce hard structures able to withstand high stresses or abrasion in service.
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:51 AM
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In post # 7 in the link I cited, it suggested that a different heat treatment was given to 44 mag vs the 44spl. If I had a S&W chambered in 44spl I would certainly want to know whats all about it.
My vice-principal in jr high warned me about ***-u-me-ing things.
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