Thought I'd share the introduction to the 44 associates load data booklet. This was given to me by John Taffin about 15 years ago or so. Sorry about the poor image quality, but it's how I got it. If you don't know who the 44 Associates were there is some info in John's "Book of the 44"
Post by williamiorg on Feb 10, 2012 23:00:43 GMT -5
Thanks for the help! I fixed those and the B in Sharpe and the capital p.s.i.
Well, I couldn’t wait! I had to have this in a readable format. There are some brackets [ ] with numbers for words I could not figure out. As you read if you see a miss spelled word or something wrong let me know and I will fix it. This should copy and paste into word. The admonishment about high pressure loads holds true today. The loading practices and cautions are well written and good today. Thank you for posting this.
Because the .44 S&W Special cartridge, properly loaded, is the most powerful cartridge that can be fired in our present handguns, since it has no superior in inherent accuracy among the center-fire cartridges, and because it is commercially undernourished for want of attention since its birth in 1907, it has become in the course of the last dozen years “Handgun Cartridge #1” for those who like to load their own and want the utmost in a handgun.
During that time the number and variety of loads for the caliber has multiplied amazingly. It has been adapted to every purpose, from indoor gallery shooting to subduing any game which can be stopped by a handgun, with bullets ranging in weight from 120 to 260 grains, and powder charges varying from 2.0 grains Bullseye to 24.5 grains #2400.
The maximum power of the .44 Special is possible because it has the thickest chamber walls of any large caliber, permitting correspondingly higher pressures. It has 45% greater sectional area than the .357 Magnum, allowing a bullet of equal weight to be driven to the same or higher velocities with considerably lower pressures. The evidence also indicates that pressures with heavy loads in the .44 Special are more uniform, with a lower peak in relation to their average value. Presumably this is because the larger case allows a more favorable density of loading, but in any event the result is further increased velocity for a comparable recorded pressure.
Its shock or killing power according to the Hatcher or Baden-Powell formulas, which have been thoroughly field tested, is 70% greater than that of the Magnum, at pressures of 25,000 (? unclear in original) as compared with 45,000 p.s.i. A 173-grain bullet in the .44 Special has been reliably chronographed at 1630 f.s., with pressures within the safety limits of modern guns. Even by the theoretical measure of muzzle energy this load shows 1020 foot-pounds against 800 for the Magnum, which is admittedly the most powerful handgun cartridge ever turned out by the factories.
While the primary development has been for power, careful experimenters working for accuracy have produced loads which compare favorably with the best center-fire handgun cartridges, and further work in progress along these lines is expected to show even more significant results.
This unusual combination of power, accuracy and flexibility is entitled to formal recognition, and it also seems that the individual experimenter would be aided by a knowledge of what others have done and are doing in the field. Beyond these factual considerations, the .44 Special is a mans cartridge, a distinction shared by all the big bores, and to the end that affectionate regard for it may come to be more widely shared, this tabulation of loads is dedicated.
It is in more than the usual sense a cooperative effort, a pooling of information for the benefit of all, as may be noted from the Source column in the tables. It is sincerely hoped that every reader will consider this a standing invitation to add his own measure of cooperation, by reporting results or suggesting improvements in the tabulation.
Handloading instructions in general are beyond the scope of this booklet; the field has been thoroughly and competently covered by these standard texts on the subject:
The A.B.C. of Reloading, F.C. Ness (National Rifle Assn.) Belding and Mull Handbook: Handloading Ammunition Ideal Handbook: Reloading Ammunition (Lyman Gunsight Corp.) Sixguns Cartridges and Loads, Elmer Keith Handloader’s Manual, Maj. Earl Naramore Complete Guide To Handloading, Capt. Philip B. Sharpe
There are a few precautions, however, which cannot safely be overlooked and they are included in the following check list:
1) Bullet temper should be between 1-10 and 1-20, to avoid possible upsettage between chamber and barrel and still leave the bullet soft enough to swage to bore diameter comfortably.
2) Bullets should be sized not more than .002” over groove diameter of gun, and should push easily by hand but not drop through cylinder throats.
3) Cases should be carefully inspected inside and out for cracks or signs of weakness before resizing. The case is the weakest link in the reloading chain and must be treated accordingly.
4) Primer pockets should be cleaned and inspected for cracked webs or abnormal flash holes, and flash holes must not be reamed or otherwise enlarged.
5) Primers should be of same make as cases for any magnum or maximum load. Flash hole size and strength of priming mixture are carefully matched to each other by the manufacturer, and putting together a large flash hole and strong priming compound may be dangerous.
6) Use pistol primers only, rifle primers must never be substituted, as their hotter flash is likely to raise pressures several thousand pounds without a corresponding increase in velocity.
7) Mercuric primers should not be used, or if absolutely necessary, cases fired with should afterward be used only for light loads.
8) When a primer seats very easily in the case it indicates an enlarged primer pocket, and the case should be either discarded or used only for light loads.
9) Primers must be seated flush or slightly below head of case: a protruding primer may explode when the chamber is not in line with the barrel, or may prevent the cylinder revolving at a critical moment.
10) Check weight of your bullet of this same no. against that in the tables, and if more than a few grains heavier reduce the powder charge to begin with by at least a grain.
11) Another bullet of the same weight may usually be substituted for one in the tables, since weight and air space are more important factors in determining pressure than is bearing surface. In substitutions, powder charges should begin at a grain less than those shown.
12) Seating depth as shown in the tables should be generally observed, and must be for maximum loads. If base wads are used to overcome leading, allowance must be made for their thickness, by decreasing either seating depth or powder charge.
13) Any charges showing pressures over 15,000 p.s.i. should be carefully weighed on scales sensitive to 1/10th grain or less, and charges for any load over 10,000 lbs. should be carefully measured and double checked periodically by the same type of scale.
14) Setup adequate safeguards against the possibility of a double powder charge even one them, no matter how carefully weighed or measured, is likely to make scrap metal out of fine gun.
15) Establish stringent agreement of specifications, standard methods of operation and standard results, based on all these points and on your own acquired knowledge then INSPECT CAREFULLY FOR ANY AND EVERY VARIATION FROM STANDARD AT EVERY STEP IN THE LOADING PROCESS.
High Pressures and Duplex Loads
Pressures have been indicated in the tables wherever known, and either measured or based on reliable estimates. As an additional safeguard, if not definitely known but believed to be between 15,000 and 20,000 p.s.i. they have been designated as “High”, and if believed to be above the 20,000 lb. absolute maximum which has been adopted for the .44 Special by a number of experienced handgun reloaders, they have been marked “Extreme”.
As a matter of fact, there is little to gain and much to lose by shooting loads which go appreciably over the arbitrary 15,000 p.s.i. pressure limit set by the powder companies in days gone by. A hollow-point slug will open reliably on beast or man at a velocity of 1000 feet per second, which speed can be attained at pressures well under 20,000 lbs., and only for hunting or defense purposes is it even necessary to approach the 15,000 mark.
The higher the pressure the greater the strain on the gun, and the only reason for exceeding necessary limits for each type of load is an insatiable curiosity as to what will happen. The least that can happen is a fine gun worn out sooner than it should be, the most is a blown-up weapon and possible serious injury to someone, in the case of handguns more often than not an innocent bystander.
The moral is, don’t overload – but if you insist on it, take new unprimed cases, prime them with non-mercuric, non-corrosive primers, proof fire them with full charge (15,000 p.s.i.) loads, inspect each case carefully for signs of weakness, including expansion of primer pockets, then use only for overloads.
And always bear in might that because of the inescapable variations possible even with the greatest care, any of these heavy loads should be worked up to gradually, beginning with a powder charge you know is light for the purpose. The minute you see any of the danger signs: swelled heads, evidenced by the slightest difficulty in extraction, gas leakage around primers, or pierced or blown primers, stop right there, tear down the rest of that lot of cartridges, and move backward again in one quick jump to the point where the signs disappear entirely.
As for duplex loads, their use is not recommended. By this means a powder difficult to burn in the length of a revolver barrel may be fully consumed, and in comparatively light loads the practice may be justified, but the reaction is variable and unpredictable, and the only ballistic tests on record show pressures with heavy duplex loads some 5,000 lbs. higher than those of straight charges giving the same velocities.
Strength of Guns
No load giving pressures over 10,000 lbs. should be fired in Colt Single Action cylinders numbered under 160,000, as those were built for black powder charges, and were simply not intended to withstand the pressures of modern smokeless powder loads.
Guns assembled from old parts on which the serial nos. do not match should have chamber and bore dimensions carefully checked against each other and against standard dimensions before being considered safe to shoot.
Revolvers manufactured before 1920 could well be restricted to a diet of not over 15,000 lbs. on the grounds that technological advances in steel due to WW I give additional margin of strength to guns made since that date. For practical purposes serial no. 16,600 can be considered the dividing line for Smith and Wesson guns, and 340,000 for Colt Single Actions. All later guns of these two manufacturers should be safe with loads up to 20,000 lbs. pressure, including the S. & W. Military and 1926 models, and the Colt single action, New Service and Shooting Master. It cannot be repeated too often, however, that one small variation somewhere in the loading process can jump pressures faster than it is pleasant to think about.
Assoc. - Reliable data from 44 Associates files Auth - Competent ballistic authorities who prefer anonymity B & M - B & M Handbook, Belding and Mull, Philipsburg, PA. Boser - Gordon C. Boser, Springville, N. Y. Chapman - George V. Chapman, Harrington Park, N. J. Farr - Eric M. Farr, Packenack Lake, N. J. Ideal - Ideal handbook, Lyman Gunsight Corp., Middlefield, Conn. Keith - Elmer Keith, North Fork, Idaho Landon - J. W. Landon, Pittsburg, P. A. Mosgrove - R. C. Mosgrove, Carrollton, Ky. Ness - F. C. Ness, National Rifle Association Newton - Lawrence I. Newton, Auburn, Mass. Sharpe - Capt. Philip B. Sharpe, Baltimore, Md. Smith - J. A. Smith, Palos Verde Estates, Ca. Spence - George C. Spence, Steele, Mo. Thompson - Ray C. Thompson, Grand Marais, Minn. White - Norman P. White, Hornell, N. Y. Yancey - O. L. Yancey Monett, Mo.
This compilation could not have been made without the ready cooperation of the several score big bore shooters who call themselves informally ”44 Associates”. To each of them personally the editor acknowledges his debt and tenders sincere thanks, and especially is he grateful to those whose major contributions are evidenced by individual listing in the source identification table above.
No record of the .44 Special would be complete without specific mention of Elmer Keith, who pioneered its recent development, and of Gordon C. Boser, J. W. Landon and Ray C. Thompson, who have done a tremendous amount of experimental work to carry the development forward. Special thanks are also due Belding & Mull, Funk & Wagnalls, Lyman Gunsight Corp., F. C. Ness and Capt. Philip B. Sharpe for permission to include copyrighted material, and to Eric M. Farr for council and advice throughout the preparation of the manuscript.
Having no control over the actual loading process, neither the editor nor any contributor can of course assume any responsibility whatever for results obtained through the use of the tabulation, although no effort has been spared to make it as accurate and reliable a guide as possible. There is no substitute for intelligent care in hand loading.
Good shooting, Friends! Lawrence L. Newton Auburn, Massachusetts July, 1945
You can always tell when a man has lost his soul to flying. The poor [fool] is hopelessly committed to stopping whatever he is doing long enough to look up and make sure the aircraft purring overhead continues on course and does not suddenly fall out of the sky. It is also his bound duty to watch every aircraft within view take off and land.
Post by williamiorg on Feb 12, 2012 9:26:46 GMT -5
Mike 454 gets the beer for posting the newsletter. Software took care of the conversion to txt and then I copied to word. The quality of the copies caused many readings and corrections. I collect books and paper but have never been able to come up with one of these. Ed Yard sold a similar sheet with 357 data for .75¢. What ae the odds I’ll ever see one of them? The internet is “just like living in the future.”
Also here is a page of data to give you a sense of what the rest of the booklet is like. I believe this data was with balloon head brass. Without a doubt consult a reloading manual before reloading the 44 special. *don't use this data*
Last Edit: Feb 12, 2012 11:59:34 GMT -5 by mike454