One other thought. You mentioned that you made a mess with 44 special loads, I assume you mean the carbon ring at eh front of the cylinder? I actually like the flex hones to polish my cylinders ever so often, but you can do the same with a piece of T shirt on a cleaning jag in an electric drill and just use a little rubbing or polishing compound. Bring them to shine and done. I do that to every revolver once in a while, the brass just falls out. FYI
Light .44 mags are very popular at my gun club. Several people use 6 grains of TiteGroup with 200 grain coated flat nose Missouri bullet in their S&W 629s. I use it in my 7.5" SRH and it's quite accurate and mild.
For reduced loads and 44 Magnum, and I don't have any "Specials" handy ... I usually use Trailboss or 5744. Either of those powders will make a "fun time" of shooting even the heaviest 44 Magnum bullets. Even at "Max" published data ... either are very easy on recoil.