Mountain Molds
New Load for an Old 44: Part I

For the past 15 years , my 4" S&W 44 has been stoked with 280 grain LFNs (which actually weight 287 grains).   While it's very accurate and effective on game, the 280 grain bullet kicks too much for the Smith, being known to unlock the cylinder or for the bullets to jump out of the crimp.   It would be nice to have a lighter bullet, maybe 250 grains, that is just as accurate and just as effective on game.   And of course it should be cast of my favorite alloy, straight wheelweights.

A couple of prototype 250 grain bullets were loaded, along with a customer's Keith bullet.   This particular gun has never shot plain base Keith bullets well, but I included it just for comparison purposes.  All loads used 20 grains 2400, a CCI #300 primer, heat treated wheelweights, and NRA lube (except the Keith used Felix lube), since this was a comparison of bullets, not loads.   The test consisted of at least three five-shot groups at fifty yards, and the data includes flyers that were probably the fault of the shooter, not the load.

Load Average 5 shot group @ 50 yds Smallest Group Largest Group
gas checked 250 gr. Ogival Flat Point, 75% metplat, 0.365" nose length 4.69" 3.55" 6.30"
gas checked 250 gr. Bore Riding Flat Point, 75% metplat, 0.400" nose length 3.86" 2.30" 6.70"
plain base 250 gr. Keith with Felix lube 6.22" 5.25" 7.50"

The bore-riding flat point  has a 0.418" band in between the front band and the ogive.   It was inspired by one of my customers who pointed out that the SSK bullets designed by J.D. Jones employ a bore riding band.   The one large group was due to a single called flyer, so if you throw out the flyer, we're talking about a 3" average, which is as well as I can do with this short barreled gun.

The Keith bullet  was not happy in my gun.   This came as no surprise, since this gun has never shot plain based Keith bullets well.  Normally this gun leads severely with plain base bullets, but this Keith left only a few light streaks of lead, none of that welded-on stuff that can be difficult to remove.

Future tests   I'm happy with the bore-riding bullet, so I'll load up some more of the same, plus a few with Felix lube, plus a few with 296 powder.