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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone here use Herco in .44 Special or .44 Special +P loadings?

I picked up an 8 pounder for use in .357, .44 Mag, and .45 LC were it will see most use for me. Being slightly slower than Unique, it seems it should also work in .44 Special with heavy cast or jacketed bullets, but I can't find reliable data. Looking for someone to point me in the right direction.
 

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What exactly is a +P 44 spl load and who sets the standard for that? Since that is not a SAAMI recognized +P round.

Personally, I have a real problem with ammo companies calling ammo +P loads, when there is no real spec for it. What it amounts to, is they load it as they see fit. If they are HOT, or overpressure, call it that...........but NOT +P, because that ammo has real numbers to adhere to.

Now, as to some actual loads with HERCO.............I have used 11.0grs with a 215gr LSWC..............have also used 9.5grs with a 240 LSWC. These are both pretty sporty rounds, over 1100 fps, so NOT telling you to load that or start there. Just giving info
 

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I haven't ever got my hands on Herco for testing. So no data here. Yet... I suspect it should work well in .44 Special.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What exactly is a +P 44 spl load and who sets the standard for that? Since that is not a SAAMI recognized +P round.

Personally, I have a real problem with ammo companies calling ammo +P loads, when there is no real spec for it. What it amounts to, is they load it as they see fit. If they are HOT, or overpressure, call it that...........but NOT +P, because that ammo has real numbers to adhere to.

Now, as to some actual loads with HERCO.............I have used 11.0grs with a 215gr LSWC..............have also used 9.5grs with a 240 LSWC. These are both pretty sporty rounds, over 1100 fps, so NOT telling you to load that or start there. Just giving info
I fully understand there is no definition for +P. All my .44 Specials are fired through a Redhawk and several 44 Mag carbines. No worries of hot specials stressing the firearms they are used in, but truthfully I rarely load specials beyond published data anyways.
As stated, I picked up Herco to use in my magnum loads and 45 Colt. Just curious if anyone knew of published 44 Special loads. I KNOW Lyman and Speer used to publish 44 Special data back in the '70 using Herco powder, but currently they no longer publish this data in recent loading manuals. I don't have any of these older manuals to reference. Also, Alliant has decided to no longer publish handgun loads for Herco since they now have so many other capable powders in their line. Herco has been relegated to a shotgun only powder as far as they're concerned.
MSP3903, thanks for some home grown data. Not sure I'll use it, but it's a reference none the less.
 

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Alliant used to publish .44SPCL data with Herco back before the Alliant/Speer merger...Now they only supply data for Speer bullets, and limited powder choices, with the emphasis being on newer powders...

Below is a link to the 2005 Aliiant manual...Data you seek is on page 44:

http://www.castpics.net/LoadData/Freebies/RM/Alliant/Alliant_2005.pdf

Other manuals back to Hercules days here:

Alliant Manuals

As with all older data, use at your own risk; start low and work up...

Alliant has published this warning about Blue Dot in certain caliber/bullet combinations since that manual was published:

"Blue Dot® should NOT be used in the 357 Magnum load using the 125 grain projectile (Blue Dot® recipes with heavier bullet weights as specified in Alliant Powders Reloading Guide are acceptable for use).

Blue Dot® should NOT be used in the 41 Magnum cartridge (all bullet weights)."



Alliant Powder - Safety Notice
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you Salmoneye. The 1992 Hercules data proved very helpful. I jotted down the data for future reference.
 

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My loads are not really "homegrown" as I have manuals dating back to the 50s. The ones I listed ARE in manuals, just old ones
 

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Anyone here use Herco in .44 Special or .44 Special +P loadings? .
I've had Herco on hand for about 40 years. It's versatile, and suitable for a broad range of shotgun and handgun loads. I used lots of it before Blue Dot became available, in the .38/.357/.44's.

But there isn't the range and/or volume of data you find for Unique. Older data may not be suitable for newer lots, as it has changed a bit, (maybe quite a bit), since the 1970's. I have always purchased it in 4lb canisters, and even canister to canister some lots needed tweaking.

That said, an experienced handloader can use Unique data as a guideline. And before the internet experts with 10 years experience jump in, you can't damage a gun with Unique data, except at the low end, (by sticking a jacketed bullet in the bore). I have never seen a manual or reference where Unique exceeded the charge level of Herco, bullet for bullet. Working up is always assumed in any handloading effort.

With respect to "suitable for the .44 Special" ? Without a doubt, and especially with a cast bullet, or even a swaged lead bullet. I would not use it for low end loads, as it's pretty gritty at starting levels, and there's also the bullet in the bore risk.

8lbs goes a long ways even in a .44.
 

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Powders do NOT change recipes over the years. It if was HERCO then, it's HERCO now, no matter who makes it. That recipe and characteristics is what's on file with SAAMI, so the newer powder MUST meet the same specs. The only thing that may be diff, is how clean it burns, but rates and composition are the same
 

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I emailed Alliant a while back for data with Herco in the 44 Special using 240-250gr cast bullets in my Flattop. They suggested 7.5gr Herco and a firm crimp.

I loaded some up with 7.5gr and capped with a CCI-300. They were very, very accurate. Out of my 5-1/2" barrel velocity was about 935fps with low ES, if I remember correctly.

In this loading Herco was no more dirty than the old Unique was before they improved it. Sooty or not, Herco shot great.

7.5gr of Herco is also a very good "medium" load in 357magnum with a 158gr jacketed bullets. This load does about 1035fps out of my 3" SP101 with either a Hornady or Sierra 158gr bullet.
 

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Powders do NOT change recipes over the years. It if was HERCO then, it's HERCO now, no matter who makes it.
Even Alliant acknowledges that, and has made the same statement for decades.

I have used most of their products for the last 50+ years I've been filling my own cases. They change every time they move production. And if they move production again, their propellants will likely reflect that.

If you load everything at the middle of the range, you wouldn't see any changes. If you have top end loads, especially with Herco, or the faster powders, you'd know.
 

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I load everything hot and have also been loading for nearly 40 years.........I have seen a few batches of powder as well.
 

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My 7.5" Bisley loves Herco in 44 mag cases at 1170-1200 fps from a 240gr hardcast. Accurate as the day is long and comfortable to shoot. Shoots pretty clean to me. That 7.5 grains sounds about right for special cases.
Id start there and chronograph and work your way up looking for pressure signs if so desired. But if you get about 900-1000 fps from that load I think you will be pleased and amazed at how versatile that load can be
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
All these suggestions are helpful gents. I've collected info from some local reloading buddies as well on potential 44 Special loads with Herco. One guy even uncoved old Speer #9 and Lyman 45th manuals that were very useful. It will be a while before I get around to working on this as I have several other loading projects ahead of it.
 

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I've used up nearly 8 lbs of Herco in the last year or so in .44 Spl and Magnum, .357, and .41 Magnum. In .44 Spl, behind 240 SWC's it's been very accurate with loads from 7.5 to 8.5 grains. Pressures seem mild in my Flat Tops. Rod
 
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