3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

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3T
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3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#1 Post by 3T » Fri May 12, 2017 8:57 pm

I just picked up a beautiful Colt 3rd gen. 44spcl and am curious about loads for this platform. My standard 44 spcl load is a 250 grn Keith style bullet over 13 grns of 2400. This is a pleasant load to shoot out of my Ruger 44mags so I never gave it much consideration about pressure level.

This load is the published load on the Alliant powder website so I am thinking that it is pretty middle of the road and safe for all guns.

I probably wont run many through this new revolver as it is in almost new condition. Manufactured in 1979. It came with box, box sleeve, hang tags, manual, oily plastic film sleeve etc, etc. and we are not sure if is was ever fired outside the original test firing. So I'm not concerned with prolonged wear from these rounds, just want to make sure all is safe. Any thoughts?
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#2 Post by Sixgun » Fri May 12, 2017 10:21 pm

5-6 grains of Bullseye or 231with a 250 Lyman....or any decent semi wadcutter....for play.

7.5 grains of Unique for midrange loads.

Anything desirable in higher velocity calls for the 44 mag.

In over 40 years of shooting Colts or S&W's in 44 Spl, I never liked 2400 with reduced loads. It was designed to be fired at higher pressures and for that matter, in any caliber. In cold weather with reduced loads of 2400 you will get wide variations in velocity.---6
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#3 Post by 3T » Fri May 12, 2017 11:30 pm

Thanks Jack,

I'll look around and see if I have some of those powders on hand. Mostly I just wanted to know if all Powder MFG published loads for the 44 spcl were safe to shoot in the 3rd Gen Colt SAA.

Here are a couple pics of the new gun just for fun. Not good quality, taken with my phone.

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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#4 Post by OldWin » Sat May 13, 2017 7:48 am

Like Jack said, I like Unique in .44 Special, but I'm a Unique fanboy. :D
Nice looking Colt, by the way. You have more willpower than I. I'd be shooting that thing silly!
Mine are 5.5, and neither are in .44. I'd sorely love to have a 4.75.
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#5 Post by Pitchy » Sat May 13, 2017 8:47 am

Identical to mine, same box and everything grats on getting it. 8)
I favor Unique in mine also. :)
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#6 Post by rjohns94 » Sat May 13, 2017 10:01 am

Congrats. I picked up one in 44 special but with 5.5 inch barrel. Same deal, like new. Mine is from 1980. Brought it home yesterday. Jack is spot on. I have used buffalo bore heavy loads, 250 grain Keith style semi wadcutter at 1000 fps, out of my other colts for hunting. Most of my shooting is mid range loads though, not a steady diet of heavies. Good luck.
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#7 Post by piller » Sat May 13, 2017 10:35 am

That is a very nice looking pistol. Hope it shoots as good as it looks.
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#8 Post by Ysabel Kid » Sat May 13, 2017 11:40 am

piller wrote:
Sat May 13, 2017 10:35 am
That is a very nice looking pistol. Hope it shoots as good as it looks.
+1 - drool alert material for sure! :mrgreen:
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#9 Post by Sixgun » Sat May 13, 2017 12:37 pm

While revisiting this post I would like to comment that it is not absolutely imperative that you use Unique. While I like it and have stayed with it for more years than I care to think, there are other powders that you may have that will be about as close in burning rate as Unique, such as AA #5, Clays, Herco etc. just look at a burn rate chart and if there is something close to Unique, look up the recommended charges and go from there.

I like a velocity range of 8-900 fps with single actions....pleasant to shoot. Like RJohns says, you can go higher for hunting with complete safety but for all around play, nothing beats the above stated velocity range.

Nice CC on your Colt. I see it's an early third gen. Don't leave all of those colors for someone else down the road, enjoy it. :D ----6
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#10 Post by 3T » Sat May 13, 2017 1:56 pm

Thanks for all the nice comments everyone, I don't plan on letting her be a safe queen. I did find a pound of Unique and some Clays down in the reload room so I've got some powders to experiment with. I went though some older issues of Handloader and came on the Brian Pearce article from August-September of 2005 which has quite a number of loads and some great information. My photos don't really do the colors justice, they are the best I've seen with several areas of red if viewed in person.

I thought there would be more commotion when I put the new Colt in the safe with a dozen or so Rugers but they seem to be getting on just fine. :lol:
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#11 Post by Old Savage » Sat May 13, 2017 5:59 pm

In my Model 24 S&W I loaded 2400 in one gr. increments from 11.0 grs. to 17.0 grs.. On a hunch I also loaded some at 12.5 grs.. That load proved to be the most accurate of the 6,000 rds. I put through it.

13.0 grs would be fine I would opine. I shot this group offhand at 25 yds.
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#12 Post by Sixgun » Sat May 13, 2017 6:57 pm

3T wrote:
Sat May 13, 2017 1:56 pm

I thought there would be more commotion when I put the new Colt in the safe with a dozen or so Rugers but they seem to be getting on just fine. :lol:
That comment hit a nerve with me. One night at 3 am about 10 years ago I heard all kinds of commotion down in the gunroom. I went down there and was there ever a free for all. Colts were beating up S&W's. S&W's were calling the Rugers "babies". I calmed them down promising to take them to the club and went back to bed.

An hour later....boom..boom....boom......a first gen Colt shot a third gen Colt New Frontier.......just for having adjustable sights!!!!

A 10" flattop 44 cal Ruger shot a 357 flattop 4 and 5/8"'s for "having a small barrel"!!!

As I was closing the door, I noticed a Smith 44 Spl. lurking in the corner making eyes at a Colt 1911. I had to spray it with rem oil
to "calm him down" as I noticed the trigger was sticking out erect. It did not work too good as when I got up in the morning, there, laying on my gunbench was a little "Smolt" in .22 short. :D -----6
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#13 Post by 3T » Sat May 13, 2017 9:05 pm

now that's funny....
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#14 Post by Sixgun » Sat May 13, 2017 10:44 pm

Well 3t...it was funny .....until....the BAR found out about it......Three 20 rd mags at 450 rpm silenced em all.....and I was able to finally get some sleep. :D -----6
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#15 Post by Lefty Dude » Sun May 14, 2017 12:15 am

And now it needs a 44WCF cylinder. I have a Pair of Custom Shop 4 3/4" 44WCF's with the factory fitted second cylinders in 44 Spec.

I shoot Black Powder in the 44WCF,cylinders and Smokeless in the 44 special cylinder.

I also use Unique powder for the 44 Special. However the piece really comes alive in the 44WCF, with a full case of 3F Goex.

Nice looking piece !
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#16 Post by Sixgun » Sun May 14, 2017 1:39 am

I'm with Lefty Dude....extra 44 wcf cylinders really compliment 44 Spl guns. I have 2 Colt New Frontiers and a 1931 Colt Shooting Master fitted with 44 wcf cylinders. You can (at least you used to be able to) get Colt cylinders from Brownells. Mine came from the factory many years ago.----6


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On another note I've been trying to get this Ruger 38-40 cylinder to fit in this Civil War era S&W .22 short. Seems awfully tight. Maybe with a little Italian ingenuity I'll get it to work.---6

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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#17 Post by Larkbill » Sun May 14, 2017 8:29 am

There is just something about the way those short barreled hoglegs sit in your hand. I still would rather shoot my 4 5/8" Blackhawk .45 than most anything else I own.
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#18 Post by OldWin » Sun May 14, 2017 9:04 am

Larkbill wrote:
Sun May 14, 2017 8:29 am
There is just something about the way those short barreled hoglegs sit in your hand. I still would rather shoot my 4 5/8" Blackhawk .45 than most anything else I own.
I agree. I had a 4 5/8 BH .45. It was the only BH I used or actually carried. Like a moron, I sold it, and I don't really use my other Rivers.


Hey Six,
Looks like some light stoning will get that cylinder in there. Maybe some bore lapping too.
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#19 Post by OldWin » Sun May 14, 2017 10:13 am

OldWin wrote:
Sun May 14, 2017 9:04 am
Larkbill wrote:
Sun May 14, 2017 8:29 am
There is just something about the way those short barreled hoglegs sit in your hand. I still would rather shoot my 4 5/8" Blackhawk .45 than most anything else I own.
I agree. I had a 4 5/8 BH .45. It was the only BH I used or actually carried. Like a moron, I sold it, and I don't really use my other Rugers


Hey Six,
Looks like some light stoning will get that cylinder in there. Maybe some bore lapping too.
Sorry for the double. Tried to fix a stupid spell check error and made a bigger mess.
I'll go away now. :oops:
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#20 Post by Catshooter » Sun May 14, 2017 12:44 pm

Very nice sixgun man! How I would love to have one. Who am I kidding? More like 15 or 20.

Well, it don't hardly happen at all, but here's an occasion that I would disagree with Six. I've used 2400 in all sorts of loads. From full tilt boogie to quite mild. Used it in small rounds (45 Auto Rim) to .45-70. Hot and cold. I have found that much like Unique it is a very versatile powder and very forgiving with a gentle pressure curve.

There's one guy who I respect on CastBoolits who has used it in the .32 ACP.

I do agree that 800 to 900 fps is a very nice range. I wouldn't be too surprised if that 13 grain load would turn in about that.

Six,

Sorry to hear of the brawl in your safe. How did your plastic pistol fare? They must have ganged up on him badly! :)


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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#21 Post by Sixgun » Sun May 14, 2017 4:03 pm

Cat,
It was terrible and I really don't want to talk about it. I have scratches and missing blue to deal with. A S&W 9mm M&P (plastic gun) that sits on my bench because the others won't allow him to join the club somehow snuck in the safe last night and shot the old model Rugers with a bullet loaded up with blue remover. An 86 Winchester in 45-90 had enough of the shenanigans and blasted a BP load at the retreating 9mm. The resulting fumes killed off a long dormant #2 Ithaca double gun.

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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#22 Post by Lefty Dude » Sun May 14, 2017 4:46 pm

The short barrels are my favorite also. My Ruger Blued Single-Six is a Shorty, 4 5/8". I love the piece.
I have a Cimarron 45 SAA 5 1/2" that is a fine shooting piece, but not the balance of my short Colts.
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#23 Post by Hank Dodge » Sun May 14, 2017 11:19 pm

Yep....Good advice all around. I shoot a 240 grn lead RNFP over 6.0 Unique as a general plinking / SASS load that duplicates the .45 Colt fairly closely. For carry, I bump it up a notch to Skeeter's favorite load of a 250 grn Keith slug over 7.5 Unique. The .44 special has become my favorite revolver cartridge.
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#24 Post by JerryB » Mon May 15, 2017 9:50 pm

I have ben shooting the .44 special since the early 1980's. Right now my main carry piece is a Taurus 431 3inch .44special. When my grandson Scrateshooter bought it for me a few years ago I thought it was the perfect carry gun, I still think it is. Marty Robbins liked the "short barreled .44" and so do I !!!!! Unique is all the powder I need for my .44 loads.
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Re: 3rd gen Colt 44spcl loads

#25 Post by rabbit hunter » Wed May 17, 2017 8:28 pm

Just thought I'd put my 2 cents worth in here. I wouldn't pound my gun and my wrist too much with 7.5 grains of Unique. My plinking, practice,sissy load is 4.8 grs of Unique. I was more or less forced into that load for practice by my S&W Nightguard which is so light that it has REAL kick. So I just use it in my M-24 and my Ruger too. 7.5 grs is okay in a Ruger. I wouldn't put that thru the Colt . If you're looking for max velocity, 2400 will do that better than Unique, but don't go over the max recommended loads.

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