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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

Flex hone data:https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1007048369/
 

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OP, don't forget you have the option of the 44 Russian.
This is Starline #4400 brass at 0.960" trimmed length.

This is an even lighter load than 44 Special.
The smaller case volume allows for better filling for mouse fart loads.
A lot of cowboy shooters use the Russian 44.

This was a very accurate cartridge when first developed by Smith & Wesson in 1870.
COAL is 1.43", 27 grains H2O capacity, 14,500 PSI.

Lyman #50 and Speer printed guide have many loads for this.
You can find legit Lyman #50 for $12 in PDF if you don't want paper.
 

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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.
 

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If you favor jacketed bullets my SBH likes a 180 gr. JHP on top of 9.4 grs. of Unique. It runs about 1000 FPS from a 5 1/2 ? BBL. It's an accurate, easy controlling load fired one handed.
 

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For me: 12 grains HS-6, CCI 350 and 240 grain RNFP. It's a pleasant shooting load and very accurate for me.
 

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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.
 
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