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Practically Shooting

.44 Cast Bullet Variety


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While sorting some recently cast bullets, I realized there were examples of most of my .44 bullet styles. I looked around a little, found the rest, and put them all together for a family portrait.

This is one reason I've come to like the Ruger 77/44 carbine. It will shoot each of these at least passably. They run from 113 to a little over 320 grains. That's a broad range of bullets, just in cast form alone. The three to the left can be stacked two to a case.

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It does. I haven't worked with it a lot because I haven't really seen the need. My four current .44s are two .44 Spl revolvers, the .44 Mag Ruger 77/44 carbine, and the silly .44 Mag Rossi Ranch Hand. It makes little sense in the Specials, and probably even less in the Ranch Hand that's just a fun gun. The 77/44 is the only thing I've shot it in.

That 320 grain claim is a little low. That mould was made by NEI for SSK (J. D. Jones) who designed an entire family of TC bullets like that one in several calibers and weights. They were spec'd for 320 grains using Linotype alloy, which runs lighter than the wheelweights I use. It actually casts more like 330-335 from WWs. I hate calling it a 335, because it sounds like I'm making it up!

I have little use for it, but couldn't pass it up when I saw it for sale. I don't think they are still made, so I thought I should grab it.

I did wonder about two things:

1)If I could get it going fast enough to cross over into low end .45-70 territory. I've not done much, but got to within 200 fps of the mild factory 300 grain factory 45-70 loads, so with it's added weight, I guess it probably could be claimed to match those.

2) If it would make a hard-hitting but quiet low velocity load. I haven't even started that yet. The bullet to it's left works well there. It is 277 grains and easier to cast, so I have had little incentive to try it.

It has a really shallow crimp groove, and I don't think it would work in a

Magnum revolver without pulling free of the crimp. Not without going to mild loads, which defeats it's purpose. I am almost positive it was designed for the Contender.

I'm always hearing that the Ruger 77/44's magazine is too short. It is if using heavy (long) SWC bullets, but I can load this bullet and it will load and feed it just fine.

The two bullets in that group that are the most fun are the second from the left and fourth from the left. They are the Lyman 429105, and Lee 429-208WC. That 429105 weighs 133 grains and shoots well with mild loads in .44 Spl and the carbine. It's hard to keep velocities down with it, but I shoot some in my .44 Spl that run around 700 fps.

I've stacked two in a case before and they did surprisingly well.

The big wadcutter is like a flying trash can. I shoot it right at 1,000 fps in a Ruger .44 SPL, and it's accurate and fun. It makes a nice "slap" when it hits the clay backstop.

My plan with the WC was to load some light loads at around 650 fps for my kids to shoot. The recoil and noise would be like a .22, but the big sharp cornered bullet would cut a big, confidence building hole in the target. Every time I load some, I shoot 'em up myself.

This is why I cast. Not to save money, but to get goofy bullet designs you don't see everyday.

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And here are some 9mm/.38 size ones. I know there are at least three missing from the picture. One is a 70 grain .360 round ball (Rapine mould) and the other is almost identical to another one pictured, so I didn't bother digging them out. There is also a 9mm gas checked SWC of about 125 grains that missed the pic.

These run from 112 grains to 195.

Comments on individual designs:

-There is a wadcutter just past halfway with a little button nose on it; believe it or not, it was designed for the 9mm.

-There is a 9mm SWC between the two WCs. It weighs 140 grains. I thought it would shoot terrible, because it has a short bearing surface and that long nose putting all the weight out front. But no, it is probably the best shooting 9mm bullet I have. You never know.

-The next to last one is a gas checked 180 WFN (Wide Flat Nose) that actually weighs a little over 185. That is a great shooting bullet in revolvers and my .357 Win 92.

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