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

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


Recommended for You

Optics

Review: Crimson Trace CTL-3420 4-20X 50mm

Joel J. Hutchcroft - April 29, 2019

Crimson Trace enters the riflescope business with the Crimson Trace CTL-3420 4-20X 50mm.

How-To

Accuracy: It's All Relative

Terry Wieland - May 09, 2019

Like situational ethics, standards of accuracy vary according to circumstances.

Industry

FNH USA Announces 5th Annual FNH USA Midwest 3-Gun Championships

Shooting Times Staff - September 23, 2010

The FNH USA Midwest 3-Gun Championships kicks off at 8 am on Friday, May 21.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

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

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.

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

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...

Ammo

Five Great .270 Cartridges

Layne Simpson - May 28, 2019

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more...

Ammo

Danger Tamed: Hornady DGX Bonded Hunting Ammo

Joseph von Benedikt - May 23, 2019

A half-century in the making, the new DGX Bonded is Hornady's best-ever dangerous-game bullet.

See More Stories

More Ammo

Ammo

Five Great .270 Cartridges

Layne Simpson - May 28, 2019

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more...

Ammo

A Magnum Only by Heritage

Terry Wieland - June 07, 2019

A close look at this fun little round reveals that some “magnum” cartridges aren't really...

Ammo

The .32 H&R Magnum

Allan Jones - March 15, 2019

The littlest Magnum is a dandy field cartridge with excellent long-range capabilities.

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

×