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Reloading Keith Style .44 Hard Cast.

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Ordering some 260 gr Keith Style Flat Base from Rim Rock Bullets, and was wondering if anyone has loaded these bullets, or a similiar 260 gr bullet?
I’m loading for a Taurus M-44, and I’m not looking for max loads with H-110, but will be loading with CFE Pistol, and Unique. Don’t think the Taurus is equal in strength to a 29 Smith and certainly nothing like a Redhawk, but would like to work up some loads in the 1100-1150 fps range that won’t put any undue stress on the Taurus .44, so I’d be interested in anyones experience loading this bullet, or for a similiar Taurus .44 Mag. I’m really looking for a bigger hammer than 180’s in my Service Six without having to buy a new revolver!
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Ordering some 260 gr Keith Style Flat Base from Rim Rock Bullets, and was wondering if anyone has loaded these bullets, or a similiar 260 gr bullet?
I’m loading for a Taurus M-44, and I’m not looking for max loads with H-110, but will be loading with CFE Pistol, and Unique. Don’t think the Taurus is equal in strength to a 29 Smith and certainly nothing like a Redhawk, but would like to work up some loads in the 1100-1150 fps range that won’t put any undue stress on the Taurus .44, so I’d be interested in anyones experience loading this bullet, or for a similiar Taurus .44 Mag. I’m really looking for a bigger hammer than 180’s in my Service Six without having to buy a new revolver!
I generally despise anything manufactured by Taurus, but that’s one good looking 44!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I generally despise anything manufactured by Taurus, but that’s one good looking 44!
It’s a long story, but I’ve had two N frame .44’s in the past that went away to good homes. A friend brought this revolver over when he was considering buying it, and wanted me to check it out ( wanted to know if the side plate had ever been removed, and if it timed on all the cylinders, and if the trigger had been messed with ). After looking it over, there were no faults that I could find, and my friend bought it.
A few months later, and he came by needing to sell it, so I gave him cash for it, knowing that it timed good in both single and double action—it kind of became a “Truck Gun.” I’ve shot mostly .44 Specials through it, and a few magnums, but never played with any heavier weight than 240’s.
It’s a different frame than the Tracker, and locks more like a Smith than the Raging Bull, so I’m really curious about what others may have encountered when working up loads for this model?
 

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I used to load those 275 gr. Keith's with Unique powder for some mid-range loads, but back in my youth I was chasing magnum loads, so didn't load very long with Unique. They were plenty accurate, but not what I would consider "hunting" loads.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I used to load those 275 gr. Keith's with Unique powder for some mid-range loads, but back in my youth I was chasing magnum loads, so didn't load very long with Unique. They were plenty accurate, but not what I would consider "hunting" loads.
“Mid-range” is kind of what I’m looking for, and the weight and hardness should insure some penetration, but I don’t trust the Taurus with the Heavy “Hunting Loads” or “Bear Loads.” The manual states to not use 300gr or heavier loads like the Buffalo Bore.
Were the bullets you used with Unique cast, and did you run them with, or without, a gas-check? Did they lead the bore?
 

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After hunting with a 44 magnum for many years with near max loads, I have settled on a new strategy in my older age. In my S&W 629 Mountain Gun I have standardized on two loads that fill my needs in Texas, and occasional trips to Colorado to fly fish. I only load 250 hard cast Keith loads in either 44 Special of 44 Magnum. In Specials I load the infamous Skeeter load at 7.5gr of Unique, and in 44 Mag I jump it up to 10gr of Unique in 44 mag cases. If I can get just over 1000 fps out of a 4" barrel with 250gr of Hard Cast that should accomplish any goal I have in the field these days with a very controllable load.
 

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“Mid-range” is kind of what I’m looking for, and the weight and hardness should insure some penetration, but I don’t trust the Taurus with the Heavy “Hunting Loads” or “Bear Loads.” The manual states to not use 300gr or heavier loads like the Buffalo Bore.
Were the bullets you used with Unique cast, and did you run them with, or without, a gas-check? Did they lead the bore?
I have used them in the S&W 24-3, but they were too heavy to stabilize very well and had to go back to 240's. In the magnums, the 275 gr. were gas-checked and casted from my Lyman 429244 mold - never a hint of leading even at 1220 fps (bear load/hunting load). If the fit is proper, the plain base should be more than sufficient for your mid-range loads without issue as long as the fit is right AND they are not too hard (I estimate for mid-range that is above 14 Brinell hardness but the first key is FIT to your chambers and bore). The nice thing about LSWC in fairly blunt nose designs with long bearing surfaces is that once the bullet gets to the cylinder gap, the bore is already sealed by the front driving band, so you don't get gas blow-by which causes most of the leading problem in firearms.

BTW - I'm using Rim Rock 158 gr. LSWC's in my S&W model 66 and have no leading with a bevel base LSWC from them after 200 rounds in a range session.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have used them in the S&W 24-3, but they were too heavy to stabilize very well and had to go back to 240's. In the magnums, the 275 gr. were gas-checked and casted from my Lyman 429244 mold - never a hint of leading even at 1220 fps (bear load/hunting load). If the fit is proper, the plain base should be more than sufficient for your mid-range loads without issue as long as the fit is right AND they are not too hard (I estimate for mid-range that is above 14 Brinell hardness but the first key is FIT to your chambers and bore). The nice thing about LSWC in fairly blunt nose designs with long bearing surfaces is that once the bullet gets to the cylinder gap, the bore is already sealed by the front driving band, so you don't get gas blow-by which causes most of the leading problem in firearms.

BTW - I'm using Rim Rock 158 gr. LSWC's in my S&W model 66 and have no leading with a bevel base LSWC from them after 200 rounds in a range session.
Thank you very much—I feel like I’m on the right track with this. The data I’ve looked at with Unique goes from 10 gr to 11.2 for right at 1200 fps. I’ve had Grizzly’s come through my yard here in Eastern Interior Alaska, but have had some of my closest calls with Cow Moose, so I want more penetration than anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
After hunting with a 44 magnum for many years with near max loads, I have settled on a new strategy in my older age. In my S&W 629 Mountain Gun I have standardized on two loads that fill my needs in Texas, and occasional trips to Colorado to fly fish. I only load 250 hard cast Keith loads in either 44 Special of 44 Magnum. In Specials I load the infamous Skeeter load at 7.5gr of Unique, and in 44 Mag I jump it up to 10gr of Unique in 44 mag cases. If I can get just over 1000 fps out of a 4" barrel with 250gr of Hard Cast that should accomplish any goal I have in the field these days with a very controllable load.
What you’re describing is about exactly what I’m trying to achieve with the Taurus—thank you very much; I feel like I’m on track with this project!
 

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Thank you very much—I feel like I’m on the right track with this. The data I’ve looked at with Unique goes from 10 gr to 11.2 for right at 1200 fps. I’ve had Grizzly’s come through my yard here in Eastern Interior Alaska, but have had some of my closest calls with Cow Moose, so I want more penetration than anything else.
They will penetrate well methinks. I spent a year in Alaska, and it is a beautiful place - albeit unforgiving of mistakes.
 
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I too like hard cast ‘Keith’ swc bullets.

My Lyman 429421 mold drops 240gr linotype slugs.
I load those over a dollop of 2400 in both special and magnum brass.

If I were to load a 265 grain hard cast plain base swc…
I think I’d start in the 15-16 grain range for 2400 or
maybe 8 grains Unique. But, would really prefer the 2400 powder.

I have found that hard casts swc bullets to preform extremely well.

Just my .02

///
 

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Have a gun guy friend who went to S&W several years back for a writer's seminar, or some such deal. He took along his original 4" Model 29 that had digested thousands of magnum rounds thru his youthful years. He took the gun to the service dept. and asked them if they could go over the gun while he was there. The tech took the gun and disappeared for a bit. When he returned he looked at my bud and said, "Elmer Keith loads, huh?" Mid range loads are the way to go if you want your gun (and wrists and elbows) to last.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I too like hard cast ‘Keith’ swc bullets.

My Lyman 429421 mold drops 240gr linotype slugs.
I load those over a dollop of 2400 in both special and magnum brass.

If I were to load a 265 grain hard cast plain base swc…
I think I’d start in the 15-16 grain range for 2400 or
maybe 8 grains Unique. But, would really prefer the 2400 powder.

I have found that hard casts swc bullets to preform extremely well.

Just my .02

///
Thank you Keith44Special. I might try that route, and never thought of reducing 2400. I’ve got a bunch of H-110 and it can’t be reduced and wasn’t trying for a 1300-1400 fps load. Around 1100 is what I’m shooting for, and would be completely happy with an accurate load at that velocity. I’ll keep my eye out for some 2400 and give it a try.
 

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That’s about what I’m trying to achieve without stressing anything. I’m going to have to look for some 2400, I guess!
If you can't find any 2400 that's OK. According to the Lyman 50th Addition you can run a Keith 429421 245gr bullet over Unique up to 13gr at 1147fps out of a 4" barrel. If 10grs is not enough you can inch your way up towards 13gr, and stop at your comfort level. I'm not a Unique salesman, I have just discovered it is a more comfortable powder with plenty of power for my needs these days. I hunted with 2400 and H110/W296 in my earlier days and they are all great powders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If you can't find any 2400 that's OK. According to the Lyman 50th Addition you can run a Keith 429421 245gr bullet over Unique up to 13gr at 1147fps out of a 4" barrel. If 10grs is not enough you can inch your way up towards 13gr, and stop at your comfort level. I'm not a Unique salesman, I have just discovered it is a more comfortable powder with plenty of power for my needs these days. I hunted with 2400 and H110/W296 in my earlier days and they are all great powders.
I’m going to start with 10gr and work up. Didn’t consider that with 2400 I could cut back and work up. My target velocity is 1100 fps + or -, and I’ve got CFE Pistol and Unique available.
Thanks for the reply!
 

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That’s about what I’m trying to achieve without stressing anything. I’m going to have to look for some 2400, I guess!
I’m just trying to work with what I’ve got available, at the time I couldn’t find any Unique, still trying to find some Bluedot for 10 mm loads but it seems to be rarer than hens teeth. Another .44 Mag load I’m loading for two legged varmits is 8 gr. Red Dot and a Speer 4427 200 gr Gold Dot 44 Spl bullet. Chronos around 975 fps.
 
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