Thursday, March 08, 2012


Not the thing you want to say, when it comes to handloading.

I loaded 100 .44 magnum rounds for a hunting trip last fall. I didn't get a deer with the old .44, in fact, the only deer I got last year was a doe with the bow. I have shot all but about 15 of those rounds, plinking at various things.

I came across the other box of bullets that I bought at the same time. That is when I discovered the error. They were 200 grain bullets, not 240's like I thought. I used the data for 240's.

Generally, when you handload, you are supposed to start 10% below the maximum charge weight and work your way up. Not with Hodgdon 110, also known as Winchester 296. This powder is only supposed to be reduced 3%. The reason is, that this particular powder has issues, in that once the bullet starts moving, pressure drops, and that causes the burning to slow, which could cause the bullet to stop, thereby acting like an obstruction. That is one theory anyway, as they have not been unable to reproduce it in the lab, although there have been enough problems (detonations) to produce the warning. I figure by using the wrong data I reduced them 13%. And then fired most of them.

Of course, this is much better than using 200 grain data to load 240 grain bullets. That would have been readily apparent. Then again, the Super Redhawk is about the strongest revolver made, handling cartridges up to 50,000 CUP, so it might have been OK.

Now since I have not killed myself with the first 85 rounds, I am debating if I should just fire off the remaining ones, or try to pull the bullets.

Updated to add the relevant warning from Hodgdon:

For those loads listed where a starting load is not shown, start 10% below the suggested maximum load and then approach maximums carefully, watching for any sign of pressure (difficult extraction, cratered and flattened or blown primers, and unusual recoil). H110 and Winchester 296 loads should not be reduced more than 3%.

Reduce H110 and Winchester 296 loads 3% and work up from there. H110 and Winchester 296 if reduced too much will cause inconsistent ignition. In some cases it will lodge a bullet in the barrel, causing a hazardous situation (Barrel Obstruction). This may cause severe personal injury or death to users or bystanders. DO NOT REDUCE H110 LOADS BY MORE THAN 3%.


Anonymous said...

They will be fine, shoot them.

Res Ipsa

Anonymous said...

I agree. Heavier bullets need the lighter powder. Don't do this in reverse. But your 200 gr bullets are allowed now powder than you used.

Anonymous said...

I think what they are getting at is that its not a good idea to go less than 3% of the min load, not that you can't go less than 3% of the max load.

85 rounds have done just fine so I'm guessing the next 15 will be OK too. If you have a squib shot, stop shooting and clear it. Otherwise enjoy.

Res Ipsa

Giraffe said...

No, you are not supposed to reduce more than 3% of the max load.

I will be looking for a different powder when I get my stock used up. I have problems loading it because it is so fine grained. It should meter well, but it leaks around the drums on the 2 powder measures I have.

I will shoot them up.