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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • reloading manual
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
  • bullet reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hodgdon load data

.44 Magnum SSP (using Sierra bullets)

Author: Brian Pearce / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: May 24 2016

The first production Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum revolver was completed December 29, 1955 and shipped to R.H. Coleman of Remington Arms Company.  The two companies worked together over the previous two years to develop the new gun and cartridge, but it was Elmer Keith who convinced the two companies to develop the new cartridge.  The .44 Remington Magnum is a versatile handgun cartridge that can serve capably for defense, silhouette competition, big game hunting, etc.  Handloaders are able to further increase that versatility.

Although the .44 Remington Magnum is primarily a sixgun cartridge, it has gained considerable popularity in other firearms such as rifles featuring semi-auto, lever-action, bolt-action, falling-block and break-open actions.  It has also gained popularity in single-shot pistols such as the ThompsonCenter Contender used to develop the accompanying load data.  With barrels that are typically 10 to 15 inches long, along with the omission of the barrel/cylinder gap found on revolvers, single-shot pistols offer ballistic advantages.

A heavy roll crimp is suggested when handloading for revolvers to keep bullets from jumping crimp and tying up cylinder rotation, and, it is likewise recommended to help slow-burning magnum powders achieve proper ignition.  For this reason, when handloading for single-shot pistols, bullets should still receive a crimp, which helps reduce extreme velocity spreads and increases accuracy with most powders.

When crimping jacketed bullets with a square bottom cannelure, it is suggested to seat them so that the case mouth is almost level with the top of the cannelure (usually within .005 to .010 inch), and then apply the crimp, which usually produces better results if performed as a separate step.

Due to the nose length and cannelure placement of the Sierra 300-grain JSP bullet, it was seated with an overall cartridge length of 1.735 inches which exceeds industry maximum cartridge length (1.610 inches).  This is not a problem when fired in popular single-shot pistols, but such loads may not function if used in other firearms designed for cartridges that are within industry overall lengths.