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Ammo and Reloading Factory Ammunition, Reloading, Components, Load Data and more.

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  #1  
Old 07-14-2016, 4:46 PM
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Default 44 mag with plated bullets - horrible from rifle

Late last year I picked up a S&W Model 29. And since I am a lover of lever guns I thought I just had to get a rifle in 44 mag to go with the S&W. I ended up buying a Henry Big Boy.

Since I reload and 44 mag ammo is not cheap, I bought dies and Xtreme 240gr plated bullets. I searched this forum and others for suitable loads for 44 mag and tried various powders that I had on hand. I settled on IMR 800x because I had good results from the S&W and I had plenty of 800x that I saw no other use for. I have tried 800x in 45 ACP but like Bullseye better. So I was looking to use up the 800x.

"Modern Reloading Second Edition" shows a range of 11.8 to 13.4 grains of 800x with a 240gr lead bullet. At 13.4gr velocity = 1,395, pressure = 35,640 PSI. Not seeing what barrel length was used for testing.

Lyman 49th Edition shows a range of 12.0 to 13.5 grains of 800x with a 240gr lead bullet. At 13.5gr velocity = 1,198, pressure = 38,600 CUP. Lyman says testing was a universal receiver with a 4" barrel.

My loads were aimed at 12.9gr (trying not to exceed 13). 800x is flaky and metering is not precise.

A lot of the pistol rounds I load use plated bullets so I know not to put too much of a crimp on them so you don't break the plating.

Like I mentioned, I had good results in my S&W (6" barrel) but was only shooting at 7 yards. When I shot these from the Henry at 100 yards accuracy was the worst I have ever seen from any gun. I had rounds impacting the berm as much as 3-4 feet left and right of the target and as much as 6-8 feet high. There was even one that impacted the ground about 8 feet short of the target. I only fired 10 rounds (tube capacity) and maybe 2 hit the paper. I know this is not an issue with the rifle because I fired about 30 rounds of Magtech 240 grain before my reloads and all hit my target. I fired another 10 rounds at 25 yards and still had some crazy dispersion but not nearly as bad as at 100 yards.

I was thinking the issue was partly due to the increase velocity out of a 20" barrel. But I have also reloaded .30 carbine with plated bullets and velocities are 1900-2000 fps and accuracy was good.

Thoughts? Maybe plating was cut combined with high pressure?
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Old 07-14-2016, 4:56 PM
Galt Galt is offline
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You're probably driving them way too fast. Plated bullets arent as good as jacketed for super high velocity.
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Old 07-14-2016, 5:57 PM
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Plated bullets are great for handguns and lower velocity rifle loads.

As you already have found out they do not do well if driven faster than 1200 fps.

You may want to try reducing your load until a good group is showing on the target.

FWIW in a .357 Marlin a 158 grain plated bullet and seven grains of Unique produced a large group at 25 yards.

When the load was reduced to six grains the grouping was less than half the size of the seven grain load.

My best guess is velocity went from 1400 fps to around 1200 fps within the working parameters of a plated bullet.

irh
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Old 07-14-2016, 7:05 PM
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You should try some PC pills now...
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Old 07-14-2016, 7:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stilly View Post
You should try some PC pills now...


I have seen your other posts about powder coated bullets. Have you tried 44mg PC from a rifle? What velocities can they handle?
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Old 07-14-2016, 7:19 PM
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This site shows the same 240 grain ammo from a 6" revolver at about 1256fps and over 1600 from a 20" Henry.
http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/44mag.html
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Old 07-14-2016, 8:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rdfact View Post
I have seen your other posts about powder coated bullets. Have you tried 44mg PC from a rifle? What velocities can they handle?

The closest I have is my RRH which has an 11" barrel. It seems to be fine, but I have not tried long distance.

With that said, since it seems to be a norm that PC pills can be pushed up to around 3300+ FPS, I would think they would hold together decently. In the event that I am wrong, I would think that a GC could solve the problem, and you can put a GC on top of the PC so it should be all good.

I have heard about groups opening up around 2400 FPS for PC pills, but I forgot if that was in general or just one particular .308 rifle.

When I go to a range with someone who has a 44 mag rifle, I will see if I can try some of my loads and maybe even recover them with my bullet trap.

What does a 44 mag carbine cost anyways? I might look for a Rossi M92 if need be.


One thing I can say for certain, While I have made a video of my Deagle in 44 mag shooting Enforcer behind Plated 240gr and turning it into a shotgun with the copper shrapnel stuck in the paper target, I have yet to see that with PC.
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Last edited by stilly; 07-14-2016 at 8:47 PM..
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Old 07-14-2016, 9:29 PM
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Try some factory loads. See if the same thing happens. Also try bullseye and aim for a 1000fps type load. Could be a chamber issue too. Or rate of twist. It'd be nice if revolver loads just work, but there's some tweaking involved with shooting handgun rounds in rifles. It probably would really like lead bullets. Try slugging the bore and see what you get.

Lots of things to check. Just sounds like a bad combination of powder and bullet. It happens.
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Old 07-14-2016, 9:44 PM
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What is the twist rate of the rifle? You will greatly increase the speed and pressure with a full length barrel since there is more distance for all of the powder to be burnt and fuller pressure to be built up.
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Old 07-14-2016, 9:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rm1911 View Post
Try some factory loads. See if the same thing happens. Also try bullseye and aim for a 1000fps type load. Could be a chamber issue too. Or rate of twist. It'd be nice if revolver loads just work, but there's some tweaking involved with shooting handgun rounds in rifles. It probably would really like lead bullets. Try slugging the bore and see what you get.

Lots of things to check. Just sounds like a bad combination of powder and bullet. It happens.


I did try factory loads - shot some Magtech as mentioned in OP. No issues with those.
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Old 07-14-2016, 9:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jericho89 View Post
What is the twist rate of the rifle? You will greatly increase the speed and pressure with a full length barrel since there is more distance for all of the powder to be burnt and fuller pressure to be built up.

20" octagonal with 1:38rh rate of twist.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:03 PM
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I think that the twist rate and the weight of the bullet have a lot to do with the stability issues you are having. I would say that the magtech bullets are stabilizing a little better with the metal coating, but the plating is causing you issues. I know a few people that shoot 185-225 bullets in a twist rate that slow and when they get to the 240 range you have to be perfect with your load to make them fly straight.

If you have access to some lighter bullets you may want to give them a try, but you my just have to slow down the bullet and see if that helps. I would build a ladder load of 5 rounds each powder weight from the min to max, a few tenths of a grain difference in each load to see what works best. It sucks to have different loads for pistol and rifle, but I think you will need to load to the rifle and see how accurate it is in the pistol.

Last edited by jericho89; 07-14-2016 at 11:09 PM..
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Old 07-15-2016, 12:42 AM
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A few years ago, I had the exact same experience with my Marlin 44 & Xtreme plated bullets. This rifle shoots into 1/2" at 50 yards & I've also competed in silhouette matches at 200 meters with "Berry's plated bullets & 9 gr. Win231.

I saw some Xtreme bullets on sale, so I bought 500 of them & used the same load. AT 25 yards, they shot into 11 inches. At 50 yds, they were 3-4 feet off. I contacted Xtreme & they asked me to send them some paper targets. I sent them some targets shot with both Berry's and their bullets. They send me a refund.

Stick with Berry's plated & contact RCBS - they will send you an inexpensive taper crimp die for 44 Mag that won't damage the plating & keep velocities under 1200 fps for plated bullets.
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Old 07-15-2016, 12:45 AM
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OP,
Don't change a thing, except this time use a quality cast bullet or a real jacketed bullet.
Plated bullets are no bueno for pistols too. Ninety-nine% of pistol shooters can't tell the difference due to their marksmanship level.
You don't see very many pistol shooters who are capable of hitting a 8''pie plates at 50 yards using plated bullets. Or not for very long or until their sponsorship changes.
It is sad in way; the people who make plated bullets almost always make good cast bullets. I suppose these manufactures produce what sells the best for their customers and that makes all concerned happy.
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Old 07-15-2016, 1:55 AM
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It is weird what you say. I was going to come to the defense of Xtreme plated pills but I realized that I only shot Xtreme or powerbond out of .44 mag. I have not shot them out of any other calibers yet, except 9mm and those have been okay, but I have actually used my own pills and they have been PCed.

Heh. My 9mm, .45, and now .44 are like lazers...
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Last edited by stilly; 07-15-2016 at 1:57 AM..
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Old 07-15-2016, 8:52 AM
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I agree with hambam, skip the plated for revolver use.

HC lead or good jacketed.
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Old 07-15-2016, 9:55 AM
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I had the same experience with .357 Mag Lead Cast reloads.

14.5 grains of H110 with a 158 grain bullet gives good accuracy with my 357 Mag - 4" GP100 but when shot in my Henry Big Boy Steel 357 Mag at 50 yards I have a 12" spread (1700 fps).

I tried IMR 4227 and did some load testing and found good results with the Big Boy when velocity was down in the 1500 fps range.

Next test I'll see how the IMR 4227 rounds work in the GP100 revolver.
Hopefully it does so I will only have one 357 mag load to deal with.
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Old 07-15-2016, 11:30 AM
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I've been told the Marlin 44 doesn't like non-jacketed bullets as well. Twist rate and microgroove.

My 45 Colt Marlin has a much faster twist rate and is Ballard rifling. Works fine so far.
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Old 07-15-2016, 1:04 PM
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Welp, it looks like I will need to slow down my FPS to use these plated bullets in the rifle. I really don't want to have to keep separate rifle and pistol loads.

I thought I had bought a box of 250 but it's a 500 count.
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Old 07-15-2016, 4:30 PM
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Default Have you checked the diameter of the bore of the lever gun?

Was watching Hickok45 discuss an issue with his cast hand loads key holing at 20 yards out of his lever gun. He figured it out - his rifle did better with a .431 diameter bullet v the .429 he'd been loading for handguns for years. Once he figured that - it out seemed to fix his problem.
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Old 07-16-2016, 9:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chevy95 View Post
Was watching Hickok45 discuss an issue with his cast hand loads key holing at 20 yards out of his lever gun. He figured it out - his rifle did better with a .431 diameter bullet v the .429 he'd been loading for handguns for years. Once he figured that - it out seemed to fix his problem.
And you can only get that by casting most likely.

So cast and PC...
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Old 07-16-2016, 12:13 PM
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Oregon Trail makes excellent hard cast bullets, I shoot them in my .32 spl and .30-30 with no leading at all, and their .44 bullets are .431, 180 to 300 gr.

http://oregontrailbullet.com/shop/
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Old 07-18-2016, 8:09 PM
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I have good luck with the Keith style hard cast 240 gr out of both my 1894 and my model 29
11 gr of unique makes very nice cost effective load.
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