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John Kloehr

Ammo Sanity Check Please

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Posted (edited)

Getting these revolvers in .44 Special (Gold going out on the morning stage):

 

20200425_225225.jpg

 

Learned that I can reload the cases with Holy Black.

 

Learned .44 Russian will make cleaning these guns easier with Holy Black (better cylinder seal).

 

Bought some of this ammo in smokeless as a source for reloadable brass.

 

IMG_0201.jpg

 

I'm an engineer, and I am missing one piece in the chain... Is this ammo (.44 Russian smokeless) safe in this revolver?

 

Logic says yes as the Russian is just a shorter-case Special. But... I have no velocity info on the box to figure out power factor. This stuff was the cheapest available but something about the artwork suggests this is some hot ammo. . Logic versus experience; What say you all?

Edited by John Kloehr

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Posted (edited)

Your first and best source of information is the manufacturer's users manual.  Taylor's is very reputable and you can contact them too.

 

image.png.ee4572e67d7743408cbfa12f50daf82c.png

Edited by Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971
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Yes. 

 

Ultramax is the brand name.

 

44 Russian and 44 Special are both relatively low pressure rounds.

 

If you have not reloaded before, it would be a good idea to buy a good reloading manual.

 

BP reloading is really quite simple as well, but a little research never hurts.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971 said:

Your first and best source of information is the manufacturer's users manual.  

 

image.png.ee4572e67d7743408cbfa12f50daf82c.png

The thing I found in the manual when I read it is:

"Make certain you have the exact caliber cartridges matching the exact caliber of your revolver. "

 

Which is not what shooters are doing with these guns. As far as using "ONLY COMMERCIALLY loaded cartridges," well, I am going to break that rule in the hopefully near future. But I am still learning and would much rather ask dumb questions than damage an expensive firearm or hurt myself. I plan to ask lots and lots of dumb questions, hopefully at least enough of them.

Edited by John Kloehr
another typo

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8 minutes ago, Marauder SASS #13056 said:

Yes. 

 

Ultramax is the brand name.

 

44 Russian and 44 Special are both relatively low pressure rounds.

 

If you have not reloaded before, it would be a good idea to buy a good reloading manual.

 

BP reloading is really quite simple as well, but a little research never hurts.

I tend to do too much research, and I will find a local mentor I trust to guide me in reloading. Still trying to find velocity on these rounds. Something about the box and artwork suggests they are hot even though there is no +P notation anywhere I can find.

 

And I'll probably buy several reloading manuals.

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Most users manuals warn against handloaded ammo.  If you've seen revolvers with cylinders blown in half and the top strap bent in a gun store display cabinet you can see the reason for the warning.  Most of us will only shoot ammo that we reload ourselves.  BTW, I have seen a revolver destroyed at a CAS match and have clearly heard rounds double charged.

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14 minutes ago, Rafe Conager SASS #56958 said:

Yes it will work 

Rafe 

Just to be clear...

 

I am taking your response as the .44 Russian cartridge will fit and fire in a revolver built for .44 Special as long as there is no overpressure?

 

Or is your opinion this specific ammo will be fine in that specific firearm?

 

I'm being very cautious.

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A great idea to find an experienced mentor!

 

There should be several good choices in your state.

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I sincerely believe that no 44 Russian ammo is considered "hot"... too many relatively weak actioned pistols were chambered for it.  Ammo manufacturers are very cautious with ammo fitting still active antique firearms.

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2 minutes ago, Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971 said:

Most users manuals warn against handloaded ammo.  If you've seen revolvers with cylinders blown in half and the top strap bent in a gun store display cabinet you can see the reason for the warning.  Most of us will only shoot ammo that we reload ourselves.  BTW, I have seen a revolver destroyed at a CAS match and have clearly heard rounds double charged.

I have read the stories too.

 

Everything from double charge to (gasp) modern powder measured in black powder quantities. And sending another round down the pipe after a squib (heat of competition combined with no powder in the cartridge).

 

And I will be reloading smokeless too. I am going to have to develop procedures to assure safe processes on my bench.

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Ultra max ammo has  a velocity of around  850 fps. Well under max for this type of pistol. When I shoot  factory ammo it is usually ultramax. As long as it chambers, which you should have no issue it is well within SAAMI specs.

Rafe

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3 minutes ago, Rafe Conager SASS #56958 said:

Ultra max ammo has  a velocity of around  850 fps. Well under max for this type of pistol. When I shoot  factory ammo it is usually ultramax. As long as it chambers, which you should have no issue it is well within SAAMI specs.

Rafe

I will try to find a source for the velocity. My google foo failed me earlier today. I'll try again tomorrow. But your number sounds reasonable.

 

Got lots of 44 Special manufacturers with bullet weights and velocities, many hotter than an 850 velocity with this 200 grain bullet.

 

As to SAAMI specs, the 2015 standard lists specs for .44 Special but not for .44 Russian. That also raised questions for me.

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4 hours ago, John Kloehr said:

Getting these revolvers in .44 Special (Gold going out on the morning stage):

 

20200425_225225.jpg

 

Learned that I can reload the cases with Holy Black.

 

Learned .44 Russian will make cleaning these guns easier with Holy Black (better cylinder seal).

 

Bought some of this ammo in smokeless as a source for reloadable brass.

 

IMG_0201.jpg

 

I'm an engineer, and I am missing one piece in the chain... Is this ammo (.44 Russian smokeless) safe in this revolver?

 

Logic says yes as the Russian is just a shorter-case Special. But... I have no velocity info on the box to figure out power factor. This stuff was the cheapest available but something about the artwork suggests this is some hot ammo. . Logic versus experience; What say you all?

This may help

 

https://www.curtrich.com/bpsubsdummies.html

 

I've also gotten some good information about guns on this page,

 

https://marauder.homestead.com/irons.html

 

Randy

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It's the pressure not the velocity that blows stuff up. 

 

Factory Ammo is typically not going to be loaded over SAAMI specs.  44 Russian max pressure 14500 psi,  44 special max pressure 15500 psi.  

   
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Any 44 Russian commercial ammo you can find will be perfectly safe in any modern handgun in 44 mag, 44 Spcl.  It will chamber and safely fire in any 44 Spcl or 44 Mag rifle but will not feed in any of them without modification.  It can be hard to find commercial 44 Russian.  Black Hills is always available but very pricey.

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Posted (edited)

For used empty cases for reloading, one starting place would be the SASS Wire Classifieds Forum.  The link is here in the Forums listing.  Your Topic will be “Want To Buy........”.

Your caliber may be tougher to find used empties for.

You could also go to the Starline Brass website and buy new...300 or 500 pieces of new Starline brass.  

— An earlier Topic here suggests “cleaning” new brass in your vibratory media cleaner prior to reloading to prevent new brass from sticking or hanging up in your reloader, so consider that idea.

 

Cat Brules

Edited by Cat Brules
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7 hours ago, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

This may help

 

https://www.curtrich.com/bpsubsdummies.html

 

I've also gotten some good information about guns on this page,

 

https://marauder.homestead.com/irons.html

 

Randy

Lots of information there.

 

One thing I did learn and I'll include here... I've been saying "Holy Black" not understanding the substitutes are not referred to with the same term. My direction is towards the substitutes, so I will switch to saying Black Powder rather than Holy Black in the future (unless there is a more correct term). Not sure all make the distinction at a purist level, just want to be clear when asking future questions.

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7 hours ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

Any 44 Russian commercial ammo you can find will be perfectly safe in any modern handgun in 44 mag, 44 Spcl.  It will chamber and safely fire in any 44 Spcl or 44 Mag rifle but will not feed in any of them without modification.  It can be hard to find commercial 44 Russian.  Black Hills is always available but very pricey.

The rounds I found (smokeless, lrnfp) were 50 cents each delivered. That is somewhat pricey and they were the least expensive. $1.60 + shipping was the top end price. I suspect CoViD has something to do with these prices at the moment.

 

But compared to trying to find affordable 9mm right now in stock, it was surprisingly available. I've seen 9mm plinking ammo going for a buck a round. :o

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7 hours ago, Cholla Bob said:

It's the pressure not the velocity that blows stuff up. 

 

Factory Ammo is typically not going to be loaded over SAAMI specs.  44 Russian max pressure 14500 psi,  44 special max pressure 15500 psi.  

   

Absolutely true. Knowing I have 200gr bullets, knowing velocity yields power factor (momentum, p = mv) and kinetic energy ( KE = (mv^2)/2 ).

 

I see power factor as a rough proxy for cylinder pressure though speed of powder burn can affect it to a degree; a faster powder will build more cylinder pressure for a given propellent quantity and bullet mass.

 

I believe the above numbers, and the same posted by others. Still will dig to find primary sources for them later today. So far, everything is making sense.

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Just a post to log I did confirm the velocity of the rounds:

 

Ballistics Information:

  • Muzzle Velocity: 850 fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 321 ft lbs

Ultramax 44 Russian UCB44R1 200 Grain Round Nose Flat Point 50 rounds

 

And taking all the .44 Special data from:

 

http://www.ballistics101.com/44_special.php

 

And averaging muzzle energy for all listed .44 Special rounds I found:

  • Average Muzzle Velocity: 1030
  • Average Muzzle Energy: 434

Repeating this math just for the ones with 200 grain bullets:

  • Average Muzzle Velocity: 914
  • Average Muzzle Energy: 389

So the Ultramax .44 Russian rounds are below average compared to .44 Special. Still want to find SAAMI specs but the above data and all of your input strongly suggests I am not going to blow up the guns.

 

But SAAMI will have to wait, the day is calling me.

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2 hours ago, John Kloehr said:

Lots of information there.

 

One thing I did learn and I'll include here... I've been saying "Holy Black" not understanding the substitutes are not referred to with the same term. My direction is towards the substitutes, so I will switch to saying Black Powder rather than Holy Black in the future (unless there is a more correct term). Not sure all make the distinction at a purist level, just want to be clear when asking future questions.

There are more shooters who use subs than genuine black powder.  I use both.  I find APP is the sub most commonly used.  One can buy a single jar in many local gun stores and load the same bullets used with smokeless powder.  Real black powder is far less available and is bought online in larger lots.  Bullets need special lube to keep fouling soft.  I am moving towards all genuine black powder myself because I am now equipped to cast and lube my own black powder bullets.  You will have plenty of company shooting the subs.

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Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

And averaging muzzle energy for all listed .44 Special rounds I found:

  • Average Muzzle Velocity: 1030
  • Average Muzzle Energy: 434

 

Plz be advised, 1000 fps is the highest velocity allowed in handgun ammo in SASS. Most shooters load at least 25% lower.  :-)

Edited by Yusta B.
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3 hours ago, John Kloehr said:

Still want to find SAAMI specs

 

 

Right here, on-line and fairly easy to search:

https://saami.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ANSI-SAAMI-Z299.3-CFP-and-R-Approved-2015-12-14-Posting-Copy.pdf

 

.44 Special pressure limits are on page 14

Seems like they have dropped mention of .44 Russian from the latest specs.  But your GUNS are made to handle .44 Special.  They will VERY SAFELY handle any .44 Russian that is commercially loaded in the US, pretty much an ironclad guarantee.

 

Good luck, GJ

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4 hours ago, Yusta B. said:

 

Plz be advised, 1000 fps is the highest velocity allowed in handgun ammo in SASS. Most shooters load at least 25% lower.  :-)

I had a mental note to check the rules on power factor, I'll also note the max velocity limit.

 

Good catch since I calculated the average velocity so about half of the commercially available .44 Special ammo is over the limit. Though it might be one or two hot loads with light bullets pulling the average up... I'll look at that again later out of curiosity.

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44 special is one of the rounds that has NOT been hotrodded in factory rounds.  So any factory round should be safe to shoot.  Just don’t try any Ruger only loads or skeeter loads as they will be too hot.  
 

personally I like to load full length rounds if possible.  Ie use a 44 spl, but load it light.  I have been using a 180 tc bullet from Penn bullets.  I have down loaded it to below start loads and can still make the required velocity and pf.   I have also loaded the same bullet with Black MZ (rebranded APP) with a 1/4” felt .410 spacer to help slow it down.   

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Posted (edited)

Caution is a good thing , but cronic over-thinking just muddies up the water.

Loading with BP and subs is simple , fill the case leaving just enough room to seat the bullet. With BP you will want a bit of compression , about 1/16" to 1/8" will work.

With the subs just touch the powder , no compression. The kicker is with BP you need bullets that carry a goodly amount of BP-compatible lube. With the subs it will not matter , APP will work O.K. with no lube at all.

44 Special and 44 Russian is all I shoot now , with BP and subs at least 95% of the time. Just this past weekend I used up all my smokeless loads ,60 rounds.

Welcome to the fun , and the ranks of 44 fans.  And congrats on scoring that nice set of sixguns.

Rex :D

Edited by Rex M Rugers #6621
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40 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

Good catch since I calculated the average velocity so about half of the commercially available .44 Special ammo is over the limit. Though it might be one or two hot loads with light bullets pulling the average up... I'll look at that again later out of curiosity.

Not knowing how much recoil you like, I'd recommend power factors around 120 when you start to reload, but that's just comfortable for me with big bore. Mid to a little lower power will make a good ring on the steel & not destroy targets.

 

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3 hours ago, Rex M Rugers #6621 said:

Caution is a good thing , but cronic over-thinking just muddies up the water.

Loading with BP and subs is simple , fill the case leaving just enough room to seat the bullet. With BP you will want a bit of compression , about 1/16" to 1/8" will work.

With the subs just touch the powder , no compression. The kicker is with BP you need bullets that carry a goodly amount of BP-compatible lube. With the subs it will not matter , APP will work O.K. with no lube at all.

44 Special and 44 Russian is all I shoot now , with BP and subs at least 95% of the time. Just this past weekend I used up all my smokeless loads ,60 rounds.

Welcome to the fun , and the ranks of 44 fans.  And congrats on scoring that nice set of sixguns.

Rex :D

I'm an excessive-detail extreme-competence type of person. I just am. If I wasn't, I would be happy just running .44 Special smokeless and not reloading.

 

This is the 4th firearms sport I'm entering, each has a different character. And see my next post.

 

And thanks for the congrats. I'm jazzed to be getting them. First, because seeing them made me remember inspecting one in the Taylor booth at the Atlanta NRA convention. And second, because I'm getting them from a respected participant retiring from the game. I'm only sorry he has to retire from the game. But it seems fitting for me to pick up those guns, strap them on, and let him know they will be enjoyed again.

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3 hours ago, Yusta B. said:

Not knowing how much recoil you like, I'd recommend power factors around 120 when you start to reload, but that's just comfortable for me with big bore. Mid to a little lower power will make a good ring on the steel & not destroy targets.

 

I'm going for speed, but in this sport those skinny rounds just don't feel right to me. And I want to make smoke (I'll be smokeless for a while).

 

When I reload, I'll be edging down against minimum power factor. Because fast is fun too, but those fat cartridges just feel so good to push into a gun..

 

How fast do I want to go? Well, not so fast that I can't stop myself if there is a squib; I will never have world-class speed due to my sense of safety. But I am going to sneak up towards the line a little at a time.

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I have a customer who loads 44 Russian with Holy Black. If you’d like to speak to him, please email me at bulletsbyscarlett@gmail.com and I will put you in touch!  He uses them in his rifle, as well as his pistols. 
 

Big hugs!!

Scarlett

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12 hours ago, John Kloehr said:

When I reload, I'll be edging down against minimum power factor. Because fast is fun too

 

Minimum power factor is fine if you have wrist issues.

It doesn't sound very logical at first but there's a certain amount of recoil needed to be fast. With a little search, you'll find several posts on the Wire about this topic, especially by Doc Shapiro (or referenced to him) who did a lot of reasarch in the past! 

 

Equanimous

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8 hours ago, Scarlett said:

I have a customer who loads 44 Russian with Holy Black. If you’d like to speak to him, please email me at bulletsbyscarlett@gmail.com and I will put you in touch!  He uses them in his rifle, as well as his pistols. 
 

Big hugs!!

Scarlett

Thank you for the offer, several members here have referenced you and I have bookmarked your website.

 

I'm not ready to reload yet, but will contact you when I get to that stage of my development.

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37 minutes ago, Equanimous Phil said:

 

Minimum power factor is fine if you have wrist issues.

It doesn't sound very logical at first but there's a certain amount of recoil needed to be fast. With a little search, you'll find several posts on the Wire about this topic, especially by Doc Shapiro (or referenced to him) who did a lot of reasarch in the past! 

 

Equanimous

Added to my list to of things to look in to.

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