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I had a $10 off coupon for Bass Pro for my birthday, it had to be on a purchase of over $40 so I went to take a look. I looked around for quite a few minutes, and for some reason I walked out of the store with a new set of Hornady Custom Grade dies in 44 special/magnum.

I'm in the middle of a 38 special fetish at the moment, surely to be followed by a 357 magnum run sometime after that. I guess after I finish that up, I'll shift gears to 44 special. I don't even have a 44 magnum, and the only 44 special gun I have is my 720 but I look forward to making some very pleasant range loads, and some powerful self defense loads as well.

The factory self defense ammo for 44 special back when I was buying it was, quite frankly, tepid at best. Corbon did it the best, but no matter which brand you buy now it's so expensive, it just made me punchy walking out of a store with a box of 50. It will be fun to nail down a load that I can come back to and use in a fashion where I wouldn't be bashful to use the gun for self defense.

Reloading is fun !
 

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As Resident Gun Shui Advisor, I think that this is a perfectly legitimate reason to acquire a Magnum.

To do any less would do irreparable harm to your shooting tao and gun collection chi.

May I suggest the Model 69 or maybe a Blackhawk?
 

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My wife doesn't know you guys but I can tell you that she hates you all. :p :D
I have that effect on wives.:D

Might have something to do with why I'm still single.
 

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To heck with the revolvers. If you're going to do it, do it right!

pix027798656.jpg
 

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I have that effect on wives.:D

Might have something to do with why I'm still single.
....or it might have to do with the fact that you are apparently trying to marry married women, you might want to try some single ones....just sayin'....
 

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Ummmm get a Magnum. You should never buy the non magnum option
if the caliber has a magnum option. You can always shoot the non magnum
option in the magnum. Why would you even consider the non magnum in
a caliber that offers the magnum upgrade. Why the heck do gun makers
even build a non magnum option for a caliber that also comes in magnum.
When given the choice of special or magnum you always choose magnum.
When somebody tells me they have a .44 special I always think yea you are
special too.

Anyway moral of the story is to get a Magnum. :eek: :p :D ;) :cool:
 

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To heck with the revolvers. If you're going to do it, do it right!

View attachment 425277
That is on my wish list, pretty sure I have posted that picture. I fondled one and really liked it. Local dealer quoted me a little more than I want to pay, thankfully the distributors did not have any in stock when he looked it up for me.
 

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For some reason I skipped over the .44 Spl/.44 Mag caliber. Enjoyed .357 Mag and skipped over .44 Mag with the .500 Mag. I may give .44 another look.
 

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Let's visit yesteryear, shall we? My SPEER #11 says that the pressure standard for .44 Special was 15,900 CUP. Turn a couple pages to the .44 Magnum data, and it says that Max Average Pressure, or MAP was 43,500 CUP, or nearly 3 times as high. You will find some data where the pressure standard is in PSI, these are 2 different pressure standards where today some companies will list MAP at 36,000 PSI.

Just as is the case for .38 Special and .357 Magnum, there's a major difference between the MAP for the "Special" cartridge vs. the Magnums. IMO, and as far as practicing what I preach, it's always best to get the Magnum Version of any revolver chambered for these cartridges. And I say that while believing that the .41 Magnum is the perfect magnum. It started life as a pure magnum where handloaders have been left to determine what's "Special" about it in a load that uses a shorter length as Starline makes for the job.

No .44 Magnum will kill any N. American Game animal any quicker than the .41 Magnum. Coming up, I watched the birth of the 10mm cartridge. I've corrected more than one gunshop commando trying to sell the 10mm as just as powerful as a .41 Magnum. And honestly, I might have taken some personal pleasre in doing so. The 10mm cartridge was originally given a pressure max of 37,500 PSI, while the .357 Magnum in it's original form was a 158 gr. Lead bullet above 1600 FPS.

The .44 Magnum handload data was mostly based on factory ammo, unless you have Elmer Keith data. But as some will argue, and I'm not saying that either side was wrong, the reality was, when I was choosing, 1250 FPS with a 240 gr. bullet was the standard factory ammo fair from a 4" test barrel. When the .41 Magnum came along in 1964, the spec was 1400 FPS for a 210 gr. Jacketed bullet from a 4" test barrel. If you have the Mr. Spock syndrome as far as Logic, do the math yourself. And then consider what most didn't, as far as sectional density, which is really best?

Today, we have rifle shooters and handloaders acting like the 6.5mm was invented all-of-a-sudden. The reality is that when you can start out with a lighter/smaller diameter bullet that expands to the same diameter as it's larger equivalent, the question left is penetration, and that comes by the inclusion of sectional density.

The biggest problem for the .357 Magnum is that no data is going to show its true velocity potential unless you're willing to trust data providers from the past. Pushed hard, a 158 gr. .357 Magnum bullet holds its own pretty well with a 210 gr. .410" or a 240 gr. .429".

Then the question comes back to the shooter. Which are you most likely to be most accurate with at 50 yards using an improvised rest like a tree limb? YaDaYaDaYada about bigger caliber or highest energy.;)
 

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41 magnum is my PET revolver caliber.
its the only handgun caliber that I have hunted with, both deer and Boar.
I doubt if much of anyone or anything can really tell much difference in a top hand loaded 41 VS a 44 mag myself.
I used the old Speer keith style half jacket HP for white tail, used a truncated non expanding projectile for Boar.
I owned a S & W 57, a DW 41HV and Ruger Blackhawk in the caliber at one time.
I did lean to the Ruger for use as it was shorter, lighter and very durable single action.
as pressure, most listings are moving to PSI as the equipment has become available and easier to use than the old Copper Units of Pressure instrumentation,
also listed pressures can change depending on where the measure is taken when the cartridge is fired.
 

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This is from my Lyman 46th in a discussion of the two pressure standards mostly used in the US. The Copper Crusher method is most concerned with the Max Pressure of a load while the PSI system where a piezoelectric transducer is used can trace the entire time vs pressure spectrum. That does not mean that it records the Max Pressure anymore accurately. In fact, two of the largest data providers, Lyman and Hodgdon, still measure in CUP quite frequently.

If I were choosing for SAAMI, the best test method, I'd opt for the European CIP/PSI system that differs from SAAMI in that the peizoelectric transducer enters the cartridge via a drilled hole for it. This removes the brass case crusing the quartz crystal use by SAAMI and measures pressure where actual combustion occurs. The Europeans use another system where the values are in BARs where one Bar is equal to atmospheric pressure at sea level. The resulting values in BARs are much lower numerically. I believe Shooters World/Lovex gives data rated in BARs. It's a system I'm familiar with from the calculation of Hydraulics. Unfortunately, I've seen the BAR values lowered in European data to better comply with SAAMI. As an example, the 9 x 19mm had a Max pressure rating of 2600 BARs, since reduced to 2350 BARs.

Understanding the pressure characteristics of powder for one particular caliber is the best way, IMO, to select a powder for the application. Handgun Powder is evolving, particularly in the last few years with powders like Sport Pistol, BE86, W244 and the new Accurate 11FS. The importance of 11FS is that it is a similar propellant to H110/W296 but has a flash suppressant. I have not had the opportunity to try it yet, but for those looking to make full-tilt magnum loads, but without all the blast/flash, that's what 11FS was created for.;)
 
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This is from my Lyman 46th in a discussion of the two pressure standards mostly used in the US. The Copper Crusher method is most concerned with the Max Pressure of a load while the PSI system where a piezoelectric transducer is used can trace the entire time vs pressure spectrum. That does not mean that it records the Max Pressure anymore accurately. In fact, two of the largest data providers, Lyman and Hodgdon, still measure in CUP quite frequently.

If I were choosing for SAAMI, the best test method, I'd opt for the European CIP/PSI system that differs from SAAMI in that the peizoelectric transducer enters the cartridge via a drilled hole for it. This removes the brass case crusing the quartz crystal use by SAAMI and measures pressure where actual combustion occurs. The Europeans use another system where the values are in BARs where one Bar is equal to atmospheric pressure at sea level. The resulting values in BARs are much lower numerically. I believe Shooters World/Lovex gives data rated in BARs. It's a system I'm familiar with from the calculation of Hydraulics. Unfortunately, I've seen the BAR values lowered in European data to better comply with SAAMI. As an example, the 9 x 19mm had a Max pressure rating of 2600 BARs, since reduced to 2350 BARs.

Understanding the pressure characteristics of powder for one particular caliber is the best way, IMO, to select a powder for the application. Handgun Powder is evolving, particularly in the last few years with powders like Sport Pistol, BE86, W244 and the new Accurate 11FS. The importance of 11FS is that it is a similar propellant to H110/W296 but has a flash suppressant. I have not had the opportunity to try it yet, but for those looking to make full-tilt magnum loads, but without all the blast/flash, that's what 11FS was created for.;)
Is 11FS less touchy than H110/WW296? Old H110 was very good in a variety of loads. I even used it in my .44/40 Winchester '73 replica behind a 180 gr Sierra Game Master. I wouldn't do the same with modern H110; pressure spikes across a very short powder charge range. Does 11FS have a narrow charge range from starting to max loads?
 
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Is 11FS less touchy than H110/WW296? Old H110 was very good in a variety of loads. I even used it in my .44/40 Winchester '73 replica behind a 180 gr Sierra Game Master. I wouldn't do the same with modern H110; pressure spikes across a very short powder charge range. Does 11FS have a narrow charge range from starting to max loads?
I have not, as yet, had the opportunity to try any of these new powders. In the Western lexicon, the great powders for true magnum performance have been #9, 4100, Enforcer, and more recently, 11FS.'

For the past number of years, I've followed my own approach, which is to vary the burn rate of the powder to match the barrel loss. The shorter the barrel, the more you need a powder slightly faster to remain equal. Then compare the uniformity of such powders, as well as the accuracy and pressure vs accuracy. Again, another way that True Blue has really served me well.;)
 
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Also, guys, 11FS and 300MP should be pretty similar powders, and they come from St Marks as does W296/H110. I've been pretty happy with the powder development of the past few years. And if Flake powders are your thing, the recent ones from IMR look pretty good.;)
 
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starting load
200 gr. BARNES XPB 7.2 gr/Ramshot Silhouette 863 fps.
max load
200 gr. BARNES XPB 8.0 gr/Ramshot Silhouette 959 fps
max pressure 14,990
OAL 1.610


from Western Powder's Reloading Guide, 2016
 
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starting load
200 gr. BARNES XPB 7.2 gr/Ramshot Silhouette 863 fps.
max load
200 gr. BARNES XPB 8.0 gr/Ramshot Silhouette 959 fps
max pressure 14,990
OAL 1.610


from Western Powder's Reloading Guide, 2016

Probably as good a .44 Special Defense handload as there is.;)
 
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