Getting into pistol catridges

Nimrod84

Handloader
Feb 20, 2017
376
2
Howdy,

I'm finally getting into reloading pistol cartridges this winter. I'm planning on starting with a moderate 44 mag load to begin with - groundhog / low recoil child load for use in a 20" suppressed single shot rifle.

I'm looking to start loading on my RCBS Rock-Chucker, but I've had a Dillon 550b for over 15 years and have slowly been acquiring supplies (powder dispenser, tool-heads, dies, bullets, etc.) as I've found deals. I'm planning on moving from the 44 mag to 40 S&W on the Dillon - possibly with some early load development on the Rock-Chucker.

I'm very limited on powder and primers as I didn't want to stockpile them and risk a mix-up while reloading rifles. Likewise I don't have on press priming for the Dillon.

Current setup and load with the Rock-Chucker is looking like:
Wet tumbling with pins
Lee Carbide 3 die set along with universal decapper
Sierra 210 grain Sports Master or 200 grain Hunters Supply Hardcast (rated to 1600 fps without gas check)
Fiocchi brass, but have Remington and HSM as well
WLP primers - hand seating
13-14.5 grains of HS-6 for the jacketed 210 grain

Any advice on this setup and or load?

Is 8-9 grains of HS-6 more reasonable to use with the 200 grain cast bullet or should I aim for a higher charge weight?

Any reason to skip cutting my teeth on the RCBS and jump to the Dillon?

Thank you.
 

Nimrod84

Handloader
Feb 20, 2017
376
2
HS-6 is what I have available - was in store and as a mid range powder will "work" for some loads in 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP and 44 special / mag. At least my Hornady and Hodgdon resources list a fairly large number of HS-6 loads for those cartridges. Speer might as well - I don't have the book in front of me...

Seems to burn pretty clean at the higher pressures. I believe it should meter pretty accurately out of my RCBS Measurer. The Dillon powder dispenser might need to be modded due to ball powder liking to escape those contraptions. Chuck Hawks seems to like HS-6 as well in the 44 special / mag - https://www.chuckhawks.com/hs6_44mag_reloads.htm.

I had tried to purchase Accurate 2400 then CFE pistol and H110 among a couple of others - but HS-6 was available and I think "versatile" enough to cut my teeth with.
 

26NosFan

Handloader
Apr 3, 2015
410
2
It was available to me as well and I have tried in 9mm, 45 ACP and 38 Special. meters well and pretty clean
 

Nimrod84

Handloader
Feb 20, 2017
376
2
Thank you for the confirmation!

Normally I would be working with a good friend of mine, but he's been dealing with a number of major health issues the last couple of years and with Covid... I'll just write that I've not been able to shoot with him this year and I've had very limited interactions with him via email and phone conversations.
 

26NosFan

Handloader
Apr 3, 2015
410
2
As a note I found that it favors the higher charge weights vs lower ones. at lower charges i had to use mag primers for consistent ignition
 

Nimrod84

Handloader
Feb 20, 2017
376
2
I appreciate the info and will keep an eye out for it.

Do you recall what cartridges that occurred with? I'm thinking case capacity would certainly come into play with that dynamic.

I haven't picked up on any small pistol primers yet, due to the insanity of the market. If you were experiencing issues in 38 spl but not the 9mm than I don't think I'll need to be supper picky about primers...

I sprung a few extra $$ for the WLP as they are reportedly hotter / higher brisance than most standard large primers like Federal 150's or CCI 300's but not necessarily as aggressive as a true magnum primer.
 

358 WCF

Beginner
Jan 31, 2020
146
7
Howdy Nimrod, Have you considered using 44 Special with cast 200s for the mild recoil loads rather than downloading 44 Mag? Graf's has some Special brass in stock as I type. I dunno much about HS-6, but good old Unique (c.8 to 8.5gr) works well in Special with the 200s... if you can find some. Milder primers may be better for light loads of the quick burners, but use what you can get these days. Wondering, will lead particles foul the can?

I believe H110 may be discontinued, replaced by Hodgdon with W296 (the same powder) to ease inventory control. It's a bit finicky about reduced loads, but no better powder for full house 44 Mag loads IMO. The WLPs & jacketed 210s might be better used here.
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
22,146
1,847
I would take a look at H110 for the 44 Rem Mag. Great speed and accuracy with 200, 240 and 250 gr bullets.
You will want to use a good roll crimp. My go to bullet is a Nosler 240 gr JHP and has accounted for several WT deer. Target below is 50 yards.


JD338
 

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Nimrod84

Handloader
Feb 20, 2017
376
2
Thanks 358 WCF.

Lead isn't an issue in the can - comes apart for easy cleaning and baffles are 17-4 steel. Have shot 20 or so rounds of cast 44 special / mag through it without issue along with very dirty 22LR. The 44 specials actually sound quieter suppressed than suppressed supersonic 22LR going off. Which is a big part of why I'm getting into this round first - quiet "adult" ammo and gun for younger shooters.

No issue with special brass and your idea is very good. I'll likely be re-loading my limited supply of special brass with the 200 grain cast bullets. I have been looking at re-running once fired factory brass; but I might have to added some factory fresh brass to a likely Grafs order as don't have a lot of special brass to play with. Hence the use of the mag brass for both bullets.

H110 being discontinued is news to me - it is still available on Midway's site but only in 8lbs jugs. Consolidating would make a lot of sense, especially after the acquisition of Accurate. With already taut supply chains and Hodgdon having a lot of new to them products in circulation - having customers that demand H110 rather than W296 just stresses the situation even more.

Thanks JD338.

H110 was on my list - really like the increased case fill / reduced double charge potential.

Roll crimp rather than Taper crimp - got it. Nice group as well!
 

358 WCF

Beginner
Jan 31, 2020
146
7
Hi Nimrod,

Good deal about cleaning the can, man. Straight wall pistol brass loaded normally should last a long time until the necks split. I have some 44 Special brass that's been loaded 17 or 18 times... trimmed once. Likely you'll need to bell the case mouths a wee bit more for the cast bullets so as not to shave lead when seating. Jacketed bullets are more forgiving. Not sure how long that brass will be in stock. It was under 5 boxes when I looked earlier. People are still panic buying everything.

To kill any rumors, I'm not absolutely sure about 110 being discontinued... I believe it may be... but H414 (W760) has already been cut & it seems logical to phase out other redundancies once existing stock of powder & labels, etc. is gone. Maybe I should have worded it differently. I think Western/Accurate has it's own distribution set up, so it might have been a turn-key buy with no disruption. We'll see.
 

Nimrod84

Handloader
Feb 20, 2017
376
2
Thanks 358 WCF.

The Western / Accurate buy should be pretty turn-key, but anything can cause disruptions these days. Different company policies on Covid among needing to update safety and hazard documents with the shipping companies, etc. could be fairly significant.

The Hornady 44 special at Grafs is a bit more than what I want to pay for it. Thank you for pointing it out - if it was Starline or Fiocchi I would have grabbed it.

I'll probably get going on the RCBS press this December or early January once firearm deer season ends. I'm hoping to get onto the Dillon about a month or two later. I'm sure I'll have specific questions at that point, but for now I'm feeling pretty decent on the general plan of attack and components / dies acquired.
 
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