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  • Question on loading 44 special and 44 mag

     james updated 1 year ago 2 Members · 5 Posts
  • james

    May 18, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    This is my second post regarding 44 mag loads so I apologize for spamming the sub with questions.

    I am just getting into reloading 44 mag and 44 special for my marlin 1894 and have a few questions.

    Currently, I only have 200 gr. .429 cast bullets. I just got ahold of some titegroup that I’m looking to make some loads with. Hodgdon has load data for titegroup in both 44 special and 44 mag for cast bullets. My questions are:

    1. Is there anything I should be worried about when using hodgdon’s pistol load data in my rifle?
    2. Why does hodgdon’s load data suggest almost double the powder for 200 gr. JHP than 200 gr. cast bullets? (5.0 gr. starting load for cast and 9.7 gr. starting load for JHP)
    3. Should I be using gas checks?
    4. Is there anything I should know when loading 44 special out of my rifle?
    5. Will cast bullets hurt my rifle over time?
    6. What is the best way to learn all of this stuff on my own? I am able to find load data online, but am unsure of how to find all of this information online. Does anyone have any good resources for 44 mag reloading?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • cheech-wizard

    May 18, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    If you are going to shoot cast bullets- you need at least a .432 bullet. The reason is SAMI bore spec on a rifle is .431, not .429 like the pistol spec. Yes… it’s .002 larger, look it up. I have an 1894 and it likes .434 gas checked bullets that I cast.

    Another boogey man about Marlin 1894’s- they have an extremely slow twist rate. I think it’s 1:37 or 1:38. You need a heavy bullet to stabilize that twist rate. Mine are 267 grain. Lots of guys like close to 300 grains for accuracy. Oddly enough, some report fair accuracy with Hornady XTP’s in .429 diameter, standard pistol bullets on both size and weight. YMMV.

    Marlin 1894s in 44 mag are a beast all to themselves when it comes to reloading. I know a couple guys that got rid of theirs because they couldn’t get them to shoot reloads with any accuracy. I’ve gotten mine to hold a 3” group at 100 yards through a ton of reading, testing and not giving up.

    Good luck. You might try the Marlin Owners Forum for resources. I was a regular there and learned a ton. I’d heard it had changed owners and went down the tubes, but haven’t checked myself to verify.

  • gundealsmademebuyit

    May 18, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    Hello again =). Glad you got some titegroup.

    I shoot cast 44mag hard cast with a lube groove (no gas check out of a Henry without issue). I’m out pushing super high velocity and I’ve had no leading.

    If you want to chase velocity on cast loads you will need to gas check and or powder coat them.

    If your buying pre-cast you shouldn’t need anything else.

    DM me any q’s I can help as needed.

  • Guardian2009

    May 18, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    If you want to load lead bullets with heavy/hot charges, you will need to use gas checks. Just google why use gas checks.

  • Loader452

    May 18, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    Does your Marlin have the microgroove type barrel? Some people felt that these had troubles with cast bullets.

    Are you an experienced reloader? Lyman makes great manuals. They offer a metallic manual as well as a cast bullet specific book with much more data on cartriges like 44mag and cast bullets.

    At least some manuals offer rifle and pistol data separately for things like 44 mag. I think Hogdon may on their online tool.

    I’m not familiar with TG (check that it’s not titeWAD, which is a different powder) for this use.

    *Different bullets (cast/jacketed/coated) create different amounts of friction, also there is a risk that a bullet that exits a short pistol barrel would stop before leaving a longer rifle barrel. A blockage is very dangerous so be alert to that possibility. 5gr seems like a very small charge. Go slow and check if in doubt. You might consider calling and asking Hogdon.*

    I typically compare data from several sources and make sure they are at least somewhat in agreement, and then start low.

    TG has a reputation for blowing up guns. I tend to believe that guys are double charging and not noticing as it is very dense and uses small charges.

    Some claim that powders that take up a small volume in the case can lead to a phenomenon where the burn of the propellent goes wacky and causes super high/irregular pressures. I believe this has been tried in a lab and not proven. I don’t think it could be DIS-proven.

    I pretty much always use powders that fill at least half the case. I believe Unique does or is close; I’m quite certain that 2400 and Trailboss do. You might be able to buy the last two. I would guess Unique is scarce right now.

    I never got my 1894 to shoot well enough that I felt good about hunting with it, which was the whole reason I bought it. From a rest, with a scope, many hundreds of cast and jacketed bullets from 200-300 grains never grouped well enough for 100yd hunting.

    It’s a shame. It is a cool rifle, it is fast, and light, and easy to load for compared to most “rifle” cartridges. Cheech posted about getting 3″ groups after a lot of work. I would happily settle for that.

    I’m hoping that Ruger honors the Remlin warranty. I would like to send mine back before investing more time and money into it.

    Also, you might try factory ammo as a baseline. I was too stubborn to. Now I’m not sure where I could buy it.

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