.44 Special Hand Loads 21,000 psi or lower

HAWKEYESATX

Handloader
Aug 15, 2016
1,789
30
Hello all!
I have recently picked up a big bore double action revolver. It's a S&W Hand Ejector 2nd Model in .44 Special.
It's a shooter grade, because someone had a knowledgeable gun Smith way back when shorten the barrel from 6.5 inches to 5 inches, and the revolver has been reblued, and summarily had nickel plating put on. The great thing about it is, although it has cosmetic issues, it has been shot, yes, but not abused. She locks up tightly, and still is in time. Not bad for being a girl that is almost 100 years old. The serial number indicates she was made sometime in late '25 to early '26.
I have been reading some things that John Taffin has written about the post WW I S&W revolvers, and he said that the post war revolvers can be loaded to 21k psi, due to the 2nd Model being used in the Great War, and being chambered for the .45 ACP loads of that day.
Now, my question is, does anyone on here have any decent loads that fill that bill of 21k psi or lower?
The powder stash I have is as follows: Unique, 2400, CFE Pistol, Titegroup, AA-7, and IMR 4227.
I believe the optimal bullet weight for the old .44 Special is 200 hrs, if I'm not mistaken.
The bullets I have currently for it are as follows: 180 gr XTP's, 240 gr LSWC HP's, and 200 gr XTP's.
I hope to hear from a lot of people about their favorite loads, and velocities that they have achieved.

Thank you all in advance!

Hawk
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PJGunner

Handloader
Dec 11, 2010
1,689
82
My pet load for the .44 Spl. is 7.5 gr. of Unique and Elmer Keith's bullet, the Lyman #428421.. That's Skeeter Skelton's pet load as well.
The latest Lyman manual shows 6.9 gr. of Unique with #429421 as max at 767 FPS with 13,300 C.U.P. The also show with the Lyman # 429244, 255 gr. bullet using 6.6 gr. Unique for 747 FPS at 13,600 C.U.P.
I've run that 7.5 gr. load in an S&W 624 .44 Spl. and it seems to be a decent load with velocity somewhere around 900 to 950 FPS depending on the individual firearm. FWIW, I also believe that 7.5 gr. Unique load is a favorite of John Taffin as well.
Note that the load is only 0.6 gr. higher than the max load with #429241 and 0.9 gr. over the top load for #429244. I use 7.5 gr. of Unique with both those bullets as I have the molds to make both of them. I do not shoot jacketed bullets in my handguns as a rule. The only exceptions are for ammo in my self defense handguns and I just may go to my home cast bullets in those as well.
Paul B.
 

HAWKEYESATX

Handloader
Aug 15, 2016
1,789
30
PJGunner":2gqhd707 said:
My pet load for the .44 Spl. is 7.5 gr. of Unique and Elmer Keith's bullet, the Lyman #428421.. That's Skeeter Skelton's pet load as well.
The latest Lyman manual shows 6.9 gr. of Unique with #429421 as max at 767 FPS with 13,300 C.U.P. The also show with the Lyman # 429244, 255 gr. bullet using 6.6 gr. Unique for 747 FPS at 13,600 C.U.P.
I've run that 7.5 gr. load in an S&W 624 .44 Spl. and it seems to be a decent load with velocity somewhere around 900 to 950 FPS depending on the individual firearm. FWIW, I also believe that 7.5 gr. Unique load is a favorite of John Taffin as well.
Note that the load is only 0.6 gr. higher than the max load with #429241 and 0.9 gr. over the top load for #429244. I use 7.5 gr. of Unique with both those bullets as I have the molds to make both of them. I do not shoot jacketed bullets in my handguns as a rule. The only exceptions are for ammo in my self defense handguns and I just may go to my home cast bullets in those as well.
Paul B.
Thank you PJGunner!
Yes, Taffin likes the 7.5 grs of Unique with the 250 gr Keth bullet.
I think that would work well with my 240 gr LSWC-HP's as well.
I've been thinking about just running lead through mine too.

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