Ruger Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just recently acquired a flat top in 44 Special and am wondering what the consensus is on how hot a load is OK.
I have had a S&W 624 for some time. S&W slipped up and admitted the cylinder was the same as the 629 cylinder except for length. (Probably gave the legal department conniption fits.) I used Elmer's favorite with a 245 grain cast bullet. I stopped about 1 grain shy of his max and clocked it at 1200 fps out of a 6.5 inch barrel. Decided to go no hotter. I suspect the flat top would take the same load.

I have other 44 specials that won't take this sort of abuse, so there is the issue of keeping loads seperate. In the long run I may give up on the hot loads.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Look up Brian Pearce’s articles on reloading the 44 special. He has couple but he lists loads and ranks revolvers on a 3 tier scale. The NM Blackhawk is tier 3.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,913 Posts
Here is the .44 Special Article List that covers a lot of load data. Brian Pearce's article can be found there as well as Ross Seyfried's.

Why push your .44spl?
Because we can :) . That said, if I needed .44 Magnum load, I just grab a .44 Magnum. But you still have plenty of 'wiggle' room to slightly push the .44 Special in the flattop. Pretty obvious if you think about it. The .45 Colt flattop we know can be loaded to Tier 2 loads in the 23K range. So with smaller cylinder holes of the .44 Special, you should easily be able to push to this level and a little beyond. I believe one the articles mentioned 25K psi. Personally, I like the Skeeter load of 7.5gr Unique under 240gr SWC which is at SAAMI pressure or a tad above it. Where I live it do everything that I might need doing. No need to push the .44 Special here. Also I don't have pressure testing equipment ... and I doubt many reading this post does either! So stick with known loads that work and rely on those people that have been there and done that!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
305 Posts
I think the Ruger would definitely take the Hot Loads. That said, is it really necessary? A 240gr. Laser cast bullet over 7.0 grains of unique would probably make for a good, fairly mild everyday plinking load. 1 lb of powder would theoretically last for 1000 rnds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
I can see not pushing any gun with a questionable load, but if the particular gun is made to handle the higher pressure then is it really pushing it? Loads that are fine in a Ruger, Freedom Arms or BFR might not fair so well in a Bulldog or older manufactured revolver. Pushing a caliber is too broad of a stroke it might be closer to the truth to say don’t push a particular gun. If I have a gun that can handle 30k pressure with no harm and I run 22-25k is that really pushing it? If I try and use that pressure in a gun that can only handle about 20k am I pushing the caliber or the gun. Know what you have and don’t overload your gun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
A ruger 44 Special will eat hot loads and ask for dessert. +1 on Brian Pearce’s Article on 3 tiers of .44 SPL handloads. I recently loaded 500 rounds of hot loads: 200gr HCFN over 22gr H110 (identical to W296), Magnum primer, and heavy profile crimp, that clocks in at over 1200 fps. Got the load from Pearce’s tier 3 handloads. Good for hunting and self defense, and economical to plink with.
 

·
Retired Moderator & Gunsmith
Joined
·
17,807 Posts
My take .... which has been mentioned above and met with unfavorable comments .... If you plan to load hot before you buy a gun, start out with the "right" gun. In this case, a 44 Mag flattop would have been my choice. It is always much safer to download a more powerful cartridge than to hot load a less powerful cartridge, especially if you don't have a pressure testing lab in your basement. It doesn't make any difference if the gun in question will handle the higher pressures, it's more like selecting the right tool for the job.

A 44 Special cartridge develops one of the lowest SAAMI pressure limits (15,500 psi), second only to a 45 Colt (14,000 psi). A 44 Mag is rated at 36,000 psi, more than double that of a 44 Special. Even a 38 Special is rated higher than a 44 Special at 17k psi (18.5k psi for 38+P). Give it some thought and don't try to make a bass boat into a cruise ship.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
305 Posts
A ruger 44 Special will eat hot loads and ask for dessert. +1 on Brian Pearce’s Article on 3 tiers of .44 SPL handloads. I recently loaded 500 rounds of hot loads: 200gr HCFN over 22gr H110 (identical to W296), Magnum primer, and heavy profile crimp, that clocks in at over 1200 fps. Got the load from Pearce’s tier 3 handloads. Good for hunting and self defense, and economical to plink with.
I don't know if I would choose the word "economical " to describe your load, but it is HOT!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,913 Posts
To go along with what Iowegan says.... Elmer Keith did a lot of .44 Special testing for 'hotter' loads. BUT when the .44 Mag came along, the .44 Specials were put aside and .44 Magnums were purchased. Skeeter did too, but went back to the .44 Special for his line of work. Right gun for the right job. If you 'need' (use that word loosely) more power than .44 Special, get a .44 Magnum. Not enough, buy a .454. Still not enough? Move up the .475 Linebaugh, or .500 ..... The formula is simple.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Redhawk Guy

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I’m a little surprised at some of the reactions here. Hot rodding the 45 Colt in the Blackhawk is so popular that loading manuals have “Ruger Only” loads listed. I would have thought the Ruger forum would be the center of the universe for hot loads in Blackhawks.
I have 44 Magnum revolvers to hand if I want to shoot 44 Magnums.
Half the fun in shooting is seeing what you can do. That’s why I have a Blackhawk chambered in 357-44 B&D. (Can’t buy ‘em at Walmart.)
My S&W 624 is rated for 36,000 even though SAAMI puts the 44 Special at 15,500. So, is a 30,000 load unreasonable?
Winchester loads the 30 Luger so wimpy it barely cycles the action. You need to load it a bit hotter just to get it to work right. (But that’s fodder for another thread.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,913 Posts
Hot rodding the 45 Colt in the Blackhawk is so popular that loading manuals have “Ruger Only” loads listed
You basically answered your own question :) . Ie. The ROLs are in the reloading manual! Not because they were 'popular' either! Remember that to get in the manuals, there was lab testing done to back it up. Otherwise there would be a liability problem. See Linebaugh's dissolving the myth article for a reference. There is no 'mystery' there. On the other hand, I don't believe I have one manual with Tier 2 and 3 loads for the .44 Special. You have to go to magazine articles and book references to find extended data on the .44 Special. See the difference?

That said, I am comfortable with tier 2 loads in my .44 Special flattops if I needed them. But as I've said, I am more than satisfied with the Skeeter load for my general .44 Special shooting. Have .44 Mags for any need beyond that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FireEscape

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Elmer Kieth's load of 17.5 grains of 2400 with a standard pistol primer in a solid head case behind a 250 grain bullet was lab tested at 25,000 psi.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
When chamber explodes back off half a grain
Priceless.
In the '80's, we used to push handloads in .44 and .45 LC. We did it safely by talking to industry people that developed such loads in the appropriate revolvers. Having been there and done that, I prefer sticking to mid range loads in large calibers in my older age. I don't hunt with a handgun anymore, so my needs have shifted to comfort.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
Elmer Kieth's load of 17.5 grains of 2400 with a standard pistol primer in a solid head case behind a 250 grain bullet was lab tested at 25,000 psi.
Lab tested 60 years ago with a powder made by a defunct company in “psi”? Are you sure that isn’t cup? Was it a 246-grain RN bullet or a 255-grain SWC? It matters. https://www.handloadermagazine.com/44-s-w-special-p

Is the FlatTop as strong as a “regular” Blackhawk? Has this been confirmed by “industry people”? Like Rays44 above, I hunted (deer) with my .45 LC Blackhawk using pretty much standard pressure loads as I had other handguns which were better past 50 yards. The .44 Special‘s SAAMI pressure is most likely well below what his BH can safely handle. What the OP really wants to do with his revolver is what matters here…how “hot” is hot? As a single data point, a 255-grain cast FN at ~1000 fps will kill a deer just fine…



.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top