How To Reload .44 Rem Mag
The .44 Remington Magnum was introduced in 1956. For years
Elmer Keith and others had been experimenting with heavy loads in the .44
Special case, and these experiments had gotten a lot of exposure in the
firearms press. Finally Remington teamed with Smith & Wesson to bring out a
lengthened and strengthened .44 Special case (much as the .357 Mag. is a
lengthened and strengthened .38 Spec. case) and a revolver to shoot the new
Handgun ballistics tables show bullet weights of 180, 210,
240, 275, and 300 grains for the .44 Magnum. The most popular and generally the
most useful remains the 240 grain jacketed bullet at about 1180 fps with 741
ft. lbs. of muzzle energy from a 4" revolver barrel. The figures from a
rifle barrel are 1760 fps and 1650 ft. lbs. The JHP bullet is preferred for
handgun hunting use, while the tougher JSP bullet is the best choice for the
higher velocities achieved by rifle barrels.
For the handloader there is a good selection of .429"
bullets, the bullet diameter actually used in the .44 Magnum cartridge. Common
jacketed bullet weights include 180, 200, 210, 225, 240, 250, 265, 275, and 300
For reduced recoil and flat trajectory in a revolver, I have
found the 200 grain bullet a good choice, and for all-around use it is hard to
beat the 240 grain bullet in revolver or rifle. Those who insist on using their
.44's on heavy game are partial to the 265-300 grain bullets. Lead bullets
should be kept well below 1000 fps to minimize barrel leading. Actually, in any
magnum handgun caliber, it is best to forgo lead bullets.
For practice shooting and varmint hunting I load a 200 grain
Speer JHP bullet in front of 11.0 grains of HS6 powder for a MV of about 1000
fps. This load uses Winchester WLP primers and is, in effect, a ".44
Special +P" load in Magnum brass. Recoil is moderate and the trajectory is
flat enough for most purposes.
According to the Handgun section of the Hodgdon Data
Manual, 26th Edition 13.0 grains of HS6 powder will give a 200 grain
JHP bullet a MV of 1197 fps, and 15.5 grains of HS6 will give a MV of 1516 fps.
23.0 grains of H110 powder can drive a 240 grain jacketed
bullet at a MV of 1411 fps, and a maximum load of 24.0 grains of H110 can drive
the same bullet at a MV of 1548 fps. These figures were achieved in a 7"
pressure test barrel. The MAP of the latter load is 39,300 cup. Large pistol
magnum primers were used for these loads.