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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have some questions about ammunition. My understanding is that grain refers to the weight of the bullet and not powder grain count, correct? Does a lighter grain mean higher velocity and lower pressure? Would a higher grain mean the bullet is a "hot" load with lower velocity and higher pressure? I typically just buy whatever is on sale and shoot it but I don't want to put hot loads through my .44 regularly. The thing is that I'm not sure what constitutes a hot load.

I bought a box of CCI Blazers at 240 grain (.44 mag). Is this considered a hot load, standard load, or light load? Thanks for any insight.
 

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The Grain marked on the box is the bullet weight, the only loading I've seen that had powder grain marking were reloads where they also identified the powder.
there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to a "hot" or "mild" load based on bullet weight. The best means is to find the velocity for the load you're looking at and compare to other brands and lines within the same brand. The faster the velocity for a given bullet weight the "hotter" the load, generally. There is overlap too, lighter bullets at high velocity can cause more recoil than heavy bullets at a lower speed. Pressure is dependent on the type of bullet used, amount and type of powder, primer type and manufacturer, and amount of crimp used to hold the bullet in place. I wouldn't worry about pressure too much in a .44 mag as most loads are fairly close pressure wise in order to work most efficiently. Variances in one or more can change pressures varying amounts upward or down. Lead bullets are generally lower in pressure than jacketed bullets of similar weight as the lead has less friction against the barrel and are often slower to reduce leading of the barrel. Lighter bullets often have a bit less recoil due to weight which is easier on the gun. if they are of much higher than "normal" velocity that may not be true.
I guess the best advice I can give is to shoot the gun with varying loads. Th eone that seems to recoil the least is the one I would go with. Over all., I don't think most "plinking" priced ammo is going to be overly harsh on your gun, after all it is the most common model out there and manufacturers will cater to those owners over owners of other guns. to be overly safe, shoot .44 Specials out of your gun. These are the .44 caliber version the .357 mag/.38 spl combination and are loaded for Cowboy Action shooting type velocities and pressures.
 

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Fuelburns2 said:
I bought a box of CCI Blazers at 240 grain (.44 mag). Is this considered a hot load, standard load, or light load? Thanks for any insight.
the Blazers are aluminum case, I hate those! They expand a lot and make for very hard extraction. Other than that blazers are a bit on the "light" side (recoil/power) because it is economy ammo. (edit: I wont get blazers in a magnum loading, but blazers in a low power load like .44spl or .38spl dont have the extraction problems)

Yes, as stated, the grain listing on the box is only the weight of the bullet. And again as uglydog has stated, try using .44spl in your magnum when you are just "plinken" and save the magnum loads for special ocations or hunting or whatever. I like American Eagle ammo for quality economy ammo (I know thats an oxymoron), they use brass cases and jacketed soft point bullets. the ,357mags seem to be about standard, not really "hot" but not light either. Or you could try the Winchester white box stuff, 50 or 100 round box of FMJ's, thats the stuff I get for my auto's and sometimes for the magnum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I bought the CCI solely because of price. I don't like Wolf (steel case) ammo for the same reason but I figured I'd try this stuff and see how it extracts. American Eagle is good ammo but most stores near me don't carry it. The Win white box is expensive but clean burning and performs well.

I hadn't really thought about .44 special before it was suggested but it does sound like a good way to go for me to get more shooting out of my money. I'll have to price it next time I'm out.
 

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I wont use Wolf pistol ammo but I havent had a single problem with Wolf rifle ammo, I use it all the time. The pistol ammo I have had lots of problems with. Hell, if you shoot a lot have you thought about reloading?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Asylum Keeper said:
Hell, if you shoot a lot have you thought about reloading?
Not since a friend blew up his shotgun :? I also determined that I really don't have a good place to set up a reloader or the time to get into it right now.
 

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I have been reloading 32mag, 32long, 38 special, and .357 for over a year now. I do have a dedicated work bench for reloading and cleaning guns, which makes it nice. I do have to put all the reloading stuff away to really clean the long guns though. You don't want oil on components for relading!

Reloading revolver rounds is straightforward, and the easieat way to get started, IMHO. First keeping brass if very easy. Matter of fact I'd keep your brass now and either resell it to someone who reloads, or tuck it away for future use.

If you are detail oreinted, than reloading is the way to go. I only have a single stage press right now, but that lets me take 50-100 rnds to one stage at a time as I can get to it. If you choose your powder right for the cartridge getting a double charge is very obvious. More danger in skipping a charge and getting a bullet lodged in the barrel.
 

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Justin_Thompson said:
I'm confused. If you buy ammo that's marked 135 grain, doesn't that mean it has 135 grains of powder in it?
Yikes !!!! Unless it's a .50 BMG, there's no way to fit that much powder in a case. Take a look through reloading data, and you'll get an idea of powder charge weights.

Basically, powder is power, and for standard loads, (not counting reduced loads) you'll see that there are variations depending on the type of powder and bullet weight. Heavier bullets will generate higher pressures, and thus require slower powders, and sometimes slightly smaller powder charges, but basically, more powder = more power.

Some typical numbers are:

.380 auto - 3 to 3.5 grains

.38 Spl - 6 to 9 grains

.357 Mag - 15 - 20 grains

.44 Mag - 17 - 24 grains

.475 Linebaugh - 25 - 33 grains

By the way, you probably won't save any money by reloading..... but you will shoot a whole lot more. For a reasonably intelligent person, it's not at all difficult.

The other thing that bears mentioning in amongst all this talk of bullet weights is the change in POI with changing bullet weights. Heavier bullets will hit higher than lighter ones in a handgun, sometimes a very significant difference. If you're shooting different bullet weights, you'll want to check it out.
 

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Justin, re-read the first reply to the original question, I think that answers the question directly.

Although Pressure is not listed on Ammo packaging, here are some common sense guide lines. Ammo marked "range" or "target" use tend to be milder on pressure. If marked "defense" or "hunting" youd be safe to say this is a highr pressure round, and very close to the pressure maximum for that cartridge. As UglyDog stated above, any magnum loads have a variation between manufacturers, but you can go to their websites and compare velocities for similar projectiles and get an idea of how they compare.
 

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FB2 , maybe some others here more experienced in this detail than I am could verify this next part for me since I'm not positive.

Several years back a friend and I were shooting his Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 Rem. mag. (among others that day) anyway, we opened a new box of cartridges and within 3 shots the extractor rod separated itself from the rest of the gun. We got it put back together thinking it must have been an anomaly . Anyway after 3-4 more shots, the rod flew off again. No appearant difference in the ammo, 240 gr. hollowpoints same brand as before. Then he noticed a difference in the ID numbers. We couldn't find this specific string in handgun loads but we did find it in Rifle loads. So, we're of the mindset that rifle loadings of handgun catridges shouldn't be used in revolvers as they are hotter.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is know the companies ID number for the loading you want as well as the "easy" part 240 Gr. 210 gr. etc).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
MarlandS you bring up a great point that I hadn't even considered. I have heard somewhere else that rifle ammo in pistol calibers has a much more powerful load. I'm also unsure if that is correct but I've heard it enough times to pay attention next time I buy ammo.
 

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In most applications the larger the grain of bullet = less powder in the case. For example, 9mm loaded with a 100 gr. FMJ bullet requires 4.5 gr. of Unique powder. Load the same 9mm with a 130 gr. FMJ bullet and you would use 3.5 gr. of Unique powder. While loading for pistol and rifle cartridges I have never saw this pattern not hold true but there may be a round out there that I am not aware of.
 

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plowboy1989 - That's true, as long as you stick with the same powder. Generally, though, if you switch to a heavier bullet, you'll also switch to a slower powder; then it no longer holds true.
 

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wwb, you are right. Personally I try to use powders that are verstitile enough to go up and down the charts. I don't know what ammo companies do though.
 

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One thing that wasn't mentioned on this thread is manufacturers also have +P and P+P loads which mean they are hot, or very hot loads. The velocity and kick will increase significantly with these loads, but theoretically so will long range accuracy.
I don't know if they use +P and P+P with magnums, but I know they do with 9's, .40s, and .45s.
For example, you have a 230gr. .45 with standard load. The velocity will be around 850FPS. But if you load up with +P 230gr. .45s you'll likely get around 1000FPS (depending on your barrel length, these numbers may change). With 180gr. .40s you could have a standard load with 1000FPS (below the speed of sound) and a +P with 1200FPS (above the speed of sound). In general the faster than sound bullet can do more damage for their size if hitting soft (or fleshy) targets (just by the shear fact that the sound barrier has been broken by the bullet).
The higher velocity will also greatly increase the bullet’s penetrating ability. That is why (in general) 9mm bullets have the best penetration, because they are traveling at 1300FPS with standard loads (throw in a +P and you can get above 1500FPS).
 

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If you aren't really confident you know what you're buying - talk to your local gun shop. Hopefully they will have all the info you need - but if you're buying at one of the big box outlets ( in my opinion, most of those guys have no idea what they're talking about ).

Talk to some of the guys you know at the range or gun club - especially ones that reload. They will have a lot of balistics info for you on common calibers.

Most of the guys I know that buy ammo - stay with one type once they have figured out the velocity / recoil / accuracy / cleanliness etc in a particular load. Let's say you try some MagTech ammo and found it suitable - then they watch for it to go on sale / buy it by the case, etc. For those of us that reload - we look at the same factors - and develop our loads based on the same factors. Most of us stay with 1 or 2 powders, a variety of bullet styles and grains but usually from 1 manufacturer that we prefer ( myself - in 9mm, .40S&W, .45ACP, .357 mag, .38spl, .44 mag that I reload - I stay with Hodgon Titegroup powder, CCI primers, and Montana Gold bullets). I stick with complete metal jacket bullets - 124 grain bullet in 9mm / 158gr in .38 and .357mag / 230 in .45 ACP / 180 gr in .40S&W / and 240gr in .44 mag - and I load them towards the minimum limit - not the max limit. But I play around with the load until I get the accuracy at the range I want - and the feel I like.
 
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