Favorite Loads Hot off the Press .44 S&W Special

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.


table#specialTable {padding: none;background: black; font-family: Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif;text-align: left;font-size: 11px;}table#specialTable tr {color: red; background:blue;}#specialTable td {margin: 2px; padding: 2px; background: #cccccc; color:black;border-right: 1px solid black; border-bottom: 1px solid black;}#specialTable td.noright {margin: 2px; padding: 2px; background: #adadad;color: black;border-right: none;border-left: none; border-bottom: 1px solidblack;}#specialTable td.noleft {margin: 2px; padding: 2px; background: #adadad;color: black;border-right: 1px solid black;border-left: none; border-bottom:1px solid black;}#specialTable td.noborder {margin: 2px; padding: 2px; background: #669966;color: black ;border-right: none; border-bottom: 1px solid black;}#specialTable th {margin: 2px; padding: 2px; background: #ffffff; color:black;font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;text-align:left;font-size: 9px;}#specialTable tr.offcolor td { background: #ffffff;}#specialTable tr.footer {}#specialTable td.footer {}#specialTable h3 { margin: 0; padding:0;font-size: 15px; border-bottom: 2pxsolid #669966;}.bottom { 2px solid black;}

Lanes Favorite .44 Special Handloads

BulletPowder (Type/ Grs.)Velocity (fps)
Hornady 180-gr. JHP-XTP Power Pistol/ 8.8 1015
Clements 200-gr. Cast SWC Unique/ 8.0 1086
Clements 200-gr. Cast SWC Univesal/ 8.1 1135
Lyman No. 429421 240-gr. Cast FP AA Plus/ 5.1 805
Magnus 240-gr. Cast SWC 2400/ 15.3 1028
Magnus 240-gr. Cast SWC AA Plus/ 5.1 815
Magnus 240-gr. Cast SWC Titegroup/ 4.8 815
Magnus 240-gr. Cast SWC Trail Boss/ 5.5 776
Magnus 240-gr. Cast SWC W231/ 5.8 843
Keith-style 250-gr. Cast SWC2400/ 15.8 1096
Keith-style 250-gr. Cast SWC IMR-4227/ 16.5 947
Keith-style 250-gr. Cast SWCUnique/ 7.7 941


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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

We're taking a look at what the Army's Elite Units are using for service rifles and what the future of SOCOM sniping looks like.

All About .300 Blackout

All About .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is here to stay, and we take some time to look at new technology surrounding this cartridge. Next, we pit subsonic rivals against each other before stretching the legs of this CQB round out to 600 yards from a short 9-inch barrel.

Pinging Steel At Over A Mile Away

Pinging Steel At Over A Mile Away

Big bore semiauto or a lever gun? We look at the futuristic .450 Bushmaster and how it compares to the tried and true .45-70. ISS Prop House gives us the rundown on the guns used in Enemy at the Gate. We ping steel with a .300 WinMag at over a mile.

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

David Fortier talks with Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills Ammunition about the evolution of the .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match bullet.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Winchester .350 Legend is a no-nonsense whitetail thumper tailored for rifle hunters in the Heartland. Ammo

Winchester .350 Legend Rifles and Ammo Available Right Now

Payton Miller - August 21, 2020

The Winchester .350 Legend is a no-nonsense whitetail thumper tailored for rifle hunters in...

Cutting-edge projectiles provide unprecedented performance in the venerable old workhorse, the .30-06. Ammo

Get the Most Out of the .30-06

Joseph von Benedikt - April 01, 2019

Cutting-edge projectiles provide unprecedented performance in the venerable old workhorse, the...

The new Bushnell FORGE riflescope is “the only choice for long-range hunting enthusiasts.” Optics

Review: Bushnell FORGE 4.5-27X 50mm

Sam Wolfenberger - May 01, 2019

The new Bushnell FORGE riflescope is “the only choice for long-range hunting enthusiasts.”

The Husqvarna AB. Mauser Series 1100 Deluxe features a European walnut stock, a non-military action, and a two-position  wing-type safety. Rifles

Husqvarna AB. Mauser Series 1100 Deluxe Rifle Review

Joseph von Benedikt - August 19, 2020

The Husqvarna AB. Mauser Series 1100 Deluxe features a European walnut stock, a non-military...

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

Starting in the late 1950s, the .338-bore size gained considerable traction — thanks to the .338 Winchester Magnum. Why? Because hunters are often after game bigger and tougher than whitetails. Here's a list of the .338-caliber greats in chronological order in which they were introduced. Ammo

11 Great .338 Caliber Rifle Cartridges

Payton Miller

Starting in the late 1950s, the .338-bore size gained considerable traction — thanks to the...

The Winchester .350 Legend is a no-nonsense whitetail thumper tailored for rifle hunters in the Heartland. Ammo

Winchester .350 Legend Rifles and Ammo Available Right Now

Payton Miller - August 21, 2020

The Winchester .350 Legend is a no-nonsense whitetail thumper tailored for rifle hunters in...

HSM Ammunition has just released another new 6.5 Creedmoor loading. It's called “Low Recoil,” and the company says it produces from 47 percent to 53 percent less felt recoil. Ammo

HSM Low Recoil 6.5 Creedmoor Ammunition

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 27, 2020

HSM Ammunition has just released another new 6.5 Creedmoor loading. It's called “Low Recoil,”...

Magnum shotshells give shooters more of what they don't need, including more recoil, more muzzle blast, and long shot strings. Ammo

Magnum Shotshells - Do We Really Need Them?

Terry Wieland

Magnum shotshells give shooters more of what they don't need, including more recoil, more...

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

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