Saturday, February 13, 2010

.44 Saturday

This morning, my elder son and I went out to Momma's place to burn some brush piles. I figured with snow on the ground, if we could get the brush piles to ignite, we'd have an easy time controlling the fire.

As is our wont, we also took a couple of pistols. The Ruger Super Blackhawk and a Smith Model 28. Of course, I forgot the .357 ammo at home, so we were left with shooting the Blackhawk. That's not an unfortunate choice. There is a lot to like in the .44 magnum and the Ruger Super Blackhawk is a premier platform for that cartridge.

Some sample targets. First, six rounds with what I call "Skeeter's Load". That's a .44 Special loading with 7.5 grains of Unique under a 240 grain lead bullet. The charge pushes that big ole bullet at about 970 fps. It's enough of a load to know that you've got a serious handgun in your mitts, but not so heavy that it's punishing. It's an accurate load and adequate of about 99% of the handgunning that anyone does. The target below was shot at 15 yards, Weaver stance, off my hind legs. That's a 2" target dot.

Next we move to the magnum cartridge. This load is not a max load, but it's heavy enough that you know you're shooting a magnum. It's got that same 240 grain lead bullet, but it's pushed by 19.0 grains of Alliant 2400 and gives that bullet an average 1345 fps. Recoil is stout without being severe. We were shooting at the same 2" target dot at 15 yards, Weaver stance, off our feet.

This is the second range session I've given this revolver and I've not even adjusted the sights. I haven't decided yet which load I'm going to adjust the sights to, but that will be easily adjusted with a screwdriver when I have the opportunity to get to a proper bench.

Still, I was able to shoot with my son this morning, and that makes the day worthwhile. The brush pile? Couldn't get it to light off. The wood was soaked.


J said...

I shoot that same 245 gr bullet in my SBH. Using ~17 grs surplus WC820 pushes it 1163 fps av. That's a mite too fast/too much recoil for shooting the average beer can. I'd like to get it ~ 900 fps but not with WC820 because at lower pressures it gives squib loads. When the 100 rounds I have loaded get shot I'm going to Unique. I'll save my ~25 lbs of WC820 for mild to mad 357 loads.

be603 said...

Growing up in Western Washington (the wet side) we would throw a square of visqueen (does anyone call it that anymore) on a pile of brush and stumps. An old tire on top would hold it in place.

Then come wet burn weather we'd have a dry spot in the pile under the plastic to light off -- using the tire full of diesel of course. /heh

Rivrdog said...

Being from Western Oregon, we have the same problems with wet burn piles, but being a District Patrol Officer gives one access to Red Kindling ("roadkill") traffic flares, which, when ignited with a little BBQ fluid, will get ANY wet pile of brush going.

I've also used an Air Lance, a piece of iron pipe long enough to penetrate to the center of the fire, and attach a leaf blower to it to give forced draft.

BTW, that hotter load you shot is nowhere near max for 2400, which is about 3 grains or so hotter...

I'm going to load some of that up for the rifle, topped by an XTP 240-gr HP.

JPG said...

Those are two good loads you've been trying out.
A respectful suggestion: Before you mess with the sight adjustment, try your medium mag load from supported sitting position, at 50, 75, and 100 yards. You're more apt to see a coyote-of-opportunity at those ranges than at 15-to-25, and the higher velocity flattens out the trajectory wonderfully. If this works out for you, your same sight setting will serve for the heavy Special load close up as well. Another example of trhe versatility of the big .44.