Skip to main content

.44 S&W Special Load Data: Favorite Handloads

Looking for .44 Special load data? Start with the 12 proven handloads to get you headed in the right direction.

.44 S&W Special Load Data: Favorite Handloads

The .44 Special was introduced in about 1907 and is an extremely accurate cartridge. However, as factory loaded with a 246-grain lead roundnose bullet at approximately 750 fps muzzle velocity, the .44 Spl. does not engender a reputation as a "hot" cartridge.

That changed when Elmer Keith and the other .44 Associates of the 1920s and 1930s began handloading it to its maximum potential; then, the .44 Spl. could legitimately claim top gun performance. Even the potent .357 Magnum delivers less muzzle energy than a 240/250-grain cast SWC on top of a case full of 2400 or 4227.

Of course, the situation changed when S&W introduced the .44 Magnum 50+ years ago. Since then, even the .44 Magnum's performance has been eclipsed by several bigger bore and more powerful handgun cartridges. But there are limits to the bigger-is-better scenario, based upon your tolerance to recoil.

My experience shooting those behemoths suggests they exceed my limit.


The handloads listed on this page encompass a suitable range of performance from plinking to personal protection.


Lane's Favorite .44 Special Handloads

BulletPowder (Type/ Grs.)Velocity (fps)
Hornady 180-gr. JHP-XTPPower Pistol/ 8.81015
Clements 200-gr. Cast SWCUnique/ 8.01086
Clements 200-gr. Cast SWCUnivesal/ 8.11135
Lyman No. 429421 240-gr. Cast FPAA Plus/ 5.1805
Magnus 240-gr. Cast SWC2400/ 15.31028
Magnus 240-gr. Cast SWCAA Plus/ 5.1815
Magnus 240-gr. Cast SWCTitegroup/ 4.8815
Magnus 240-gr. Cast SWCTrail Boss/ 5.5776
Magnus 240-gr. Cast SWCW231/ 5.8843
Keith-style 250-gr. Cast SWC2400/ 15.81096
Keith-style 250-gr. Cast SWCIMR-4227/ 16.5947
Keith-style 250-gr. Cast SWCUnique/ 7.7941

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Joseph Von Benedikt is with Rafe Nielsen of Browning to take a look at a new X-Bolt series rifle. Lighter and tougher and more precise than ever, it's the perfect back country hunting rifle.
Guns

Browning X-Bolt Mountain Pro

Taurus has redesigned this sporting pistol for performance. Joseph Von Benedikt is with Jorge Spat to learn all about it.
Guns

Taurus TX 22 Competition

This isn't your grandpa's muzzleloading system. Federal has created a safer, easier and more reliable way to shoot a muzzleloader.
Gear

Federal FireStick Precharged Loads

Joseph VonBenedikt is with Joel Hodgdon to talk about the improved accuracy and long-range potential of the already reliable Core-Lokt ammo line.
Gear

Remington Core-Lokt Tipped

Walther's new Performance Duty Pistol is ready for both concealed carry and conventional service situations. Available in different sizes and red dot ready, it'll fit your needs, whatever they are.
Guns

Walther PDP

Joseph Von Benedikt visits with Aaron Oelger from Hodgdon about the unprecedented demand on the shooting supply industry.
Learn

Hodgdon Shooting Powder

Before there were scopes or red dots there were iron sights. But do you know how to properly use them? We show you how.
Learn

How to Aim with Iron Sights

Shooting Times Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Shooting Times App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Shooting Times stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Shooting Times subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now