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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 Remington Magnum Rifle (using Sierra bullets)

Author: Brian Pearce / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: Apr 22 2020

The first production Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum revolver was completed December 29, 1995, and shipped to R.H. Coleman of Remington Arms Company. The two companies worked together over the previous two years to develop the new revolver and cartridge, but it was Elmer Keith, gun writer, big-game guide, sixgunner and experimenter who convinced the two companies to work together on the cartridge. The .44 Remington Magnum is a most versatile handgun cartridge that can serve capably for self-defense, silhouette competition, big-game hunting, etc., with creative handloaders further increasing that versatility. In the past 62 years, it has become highly popular.

 The cartridge is also a popular chambering in rifles that were first produced in the 1960s by Ruger. Marlin and Winchester; today several additional companies offer these guns. They have been available in auto-loaders, single shots and bolt actions, but the lever action is easily the most popular. From a carbine or rifle barrel (typically between 16 and 24 inches) velocity is usually increased by 400 to 600 fps when compared to the same loads fired in a revolver. These lightweight rifles and carbines are popular with hunters as fast handling woods and brush guns. While paper ballistics can be misleading as to actual terminal performance, the .44 Magnum is very effective on game when used within respective limits.

A heavy roll crimp is suggested to prevent bullets from jumping crimp in revolvers, and it also serves to prevent them from being deep seated in a tubular magazine when subjected to inertia and recoil. It is also recommended to help slow-burning magnum powders achieve proper ignition.

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), 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 300-grain Sierra JSP bullet, it was seated with and overall cartridge length of 1.735 inches, which exceeds industry maximum cartridge length established at 1.610 inches. This is not a problem when fired in most revolvers and single-shot rifles, but such loads will not function in select repeating rifles, including auto-loaders, pump actions, bolt actions and several lever actions.

When handloading lightweight bullets, such as the 180- and 210-grain Sierra JHC, medium burn rate pistol/revolver powders often produced the best accuracy and lowest extreme spreads. Examples include Accurate No. 5, No. 7 and Vihtavuori N-350. Traditional powders for 240- through 300-grain bullets include Hodgdon H-110 and Winchester 296 (which are the same powder), Accurate No. 9 and Alliant 2400.

Although Federal 155 Large Pistol Magnum primers were used to test and develop the accompanying data, standard non-magnum primers, such as Federal 150, CC1 300, can be substituted with all data, with the exception of loads that utilize Hodgdon H-110 and Winchester 296 powders. These spherical (Ball) powders can be difficult to ignite and should be used with a magnum primer to prevent erratic ignitions and pressures.