Thursday, January 21, 2010

Skeeter's Load

This morning, I followed Junior's advice and started looking for a .44 load that would run 950-1000 fps. Google is a wonderful tool and it took me to a website called Dark Canyon. The webmaster there has reprinted some old articles from way back and one of his sub-pages is on Skeeter Skelton.

I grew up reading Skelton and I've always liked his style. So, I started looking through his notes and found out that he likes the .44 Special at about 1000 fps. There is one load there that calls for Unique powder. I keep Unique on my bench. I think it's a wonderful powder for a lot of applications.

As a matter of fact, back years ago I bought several pounds of Unique from someone who was selling-out of the business. It's still in the old carboard container with the pull-up top. It's marked $16.00, but I got it cheaper than that. I've had that Unique a long time. I'm working on the last pound, so I'll have to buy some more soon.

Two of Skeeter's .44 Specials on the left, along with two of yesterday's .44 Magnums on the right, with the obligatory .22 Long Rifle for scale.

I normally don't take reloading information off the web, because it's hard to know your source. Reloading is potentially hazardous, especially if you're listening to every knucklehead with a keyboard. I like getting my recipes from multiple sources, cross checking data to make sure that what I'm doing is safe.

Skeeter tells us in a Shooting Times article dated February 1969:
Because the 429421 plain base has never given me any leading problems in my .44 guns, I choose it over the 429244 and save the trouble and expense incurred by the gascheck. Since the introduction of the .44 Magnum, I have quit using heavy handloads in the .44 Special, and now put together a mild, but hotter-than-factory combination of the Keith bullet, sized .429”, over 7.5 gr. of Unique. Velocity runs around 940 fps, a definite improvement over the cream puff factory round. I use only solid head .44 Special cases, since the old balloon head versions are wont to stretch erratically, making trimming a requisite before a bullet with a crimping groove may be effectively used.
And that's good enough for me.

My Unique was probably boxed up within a few years of that article. We'll see on Saturday how Skeeter's load works. I'm betting it'll do just fine.


be603 said...

About like my favorite 45 Colt load. 9.0 gr Unique under a 255 gr SWC.

Still easy shooting and it'll git 'er done with some authority if needed for a social situation.

J said...

I bet you'll like Skeeter's ~940 fps load. Keep away from magnumitis and you'll realize one day that you've put 100,000 rounds through the SBH and it's still going, going, going....

Triva: Skeeter had an English degree. Reckon anyone ever made fun of his pansyazz education? Dang shame he died so young. *Shooting Times* is doing their best to make son Bart fill his ol' man's shoes, but the kid just doesn't have a talent for turning a phrase.

The ol' General and I are headed for the 45-70 woods this morning. He and his obsolete Model 94 Win 30-30 done layed two in the dirt.

Old Grafton said...

Skeeter was the biggest reason I kept my subscription to Shooting Times for years; an issue without some hare-brained adventure involving Jug Johnson dragging Skeeter into a jam was almost a disappointment. I still have the campfire casting/reloading kit Skelton advocated having around "just in case" and just a couple of years ago showed my 37 year old son what simple fun it still is.....