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Discussion Starter #1
This is kind of a review of my new (to me) M44C that I acquired last Friday. Went to a gun show Saturday to get some ammo and hit the range later that afternoon where I fired the Kansas Concealed Carry qualification course with it using PMC 180 grain JHP ammo The course consists of 25 rounds in 5 strings. String 1: 5 rounds at 3 yards one handed. String 2 and 3: 10 rounds at 7 yards freestyle and finally strings 4 and 5: 10 rounds at 10 yards freestyle. To qualify you must get 18 of the 25 rounds inside the silhouette of an FBI "Q" or TQ-15 target. Any time I get a new gun that I'm even remotely considering carrying I run it through the course. I'm an instructor, so I need to make sure I can prove my qual with any gun I own just to keep my students happy. The recoil with the 4" is typically quite sharp, but with the ported barrel, the muzzle flip and torque is kept to a minimum. That helps getting back on target after each shot much more quickly. At my age, 25 full house rounds in less than 10 minutes was about all I really wanted to shoot in one session.

As expensive as commercial .44 mag ammo is, I wanted some cheaper plinking rounds for it. Remembering my fun with IMR Trail Boss powder for light, cast lead bullet loads in my high powered rifles, I thought I'd give it a try in the .44. Lee's latest reloading manual actually has Trail Boss loads for the 200 grain cast lead bullets I bought at the gun show so rather than use the formula from Hodgdon's book to make up my own, I used theirs. They claim a starting load of 6.1 grains of TB and a MAX of 7.7 so I loaded up 50 rounds with 6.5 grains of Trail Boss this morning and took 'em to the range.

Tried a few at various ranges from 7 out to 20 yards, all with good results. When I had 15 rounds left, I ran the target out to 10 yards and fired those last 15 at the head of the silhouette. 10 rounds single action and 5 double action as fast as I could pull the trigger. According to the book, with the load I used the muzzle velocity should be somewhere around 900 feet per second which would even be useful as an easily controlled defense round. Recoil was very mild, about like that of a .45ACP out of a 5" 1911 and the ported barrel on the M44C almost completely negated the muzzle flip.

The picture of the silhouette head contains some .22 holes, a couple of 9mm holes I put there testing a range gun that had just been repaired and the rest are from the M44. As you can see, even with light Trail Boss loads, you can get some pretty good accuracy. I could probably get some tighter groups if I took my time, but the range was very busy and I didn't want to hold things up.

TrackerTBTarget.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Set up my Lee Turret Press and auto powder measure to drop 7.0 grains of Trail Boss (the largest charge I could get with the slide all the way open). Made up 100 rounds with 200 grain hard cast lead bullets, 7.0 grains of TB an Tula primers in a mixed bag of brass.

Took 'em to the range today and after shooting the "January Shootout" match, I put up another target and cranked a few downrange. Had several 5 shot groups @ 20 yards that printed under 2" and one that had 3 of the 5 in just over an inch with 2 flyers that opened the overall group out to just over 1.75 inches. Felt recoil was on the high end of mild. A bit more than I expected and about that of a .357 Magnum rather than that of a .45 ACP like I got out of 6.5 grains of TB and the same bullet.

I have a couple hundred 240 grain Hornady XTP bullets on order that should be here tomorrow and I'm going to try the exact same TB load with them to see how much difference it makes with jacketed bullets and another 40 grains of weight. Since the XTP bullets by Hornady are designed to give excellent expansion even at slower velocities, they should work well even with Trail Boss powder out of the .44 magnum and be a lot more controllable in a high stress situation than a full house magnum load.
 
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