Newbie reloading question
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  1. #1
    Tenderfoot
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    Newbie reloading question

    Hi all.

    New to the forum, and I just test fired my first hand loads and wanted to get some opinions. I took my 444 to the range about a month ago and sighted it in at 110 yd with Hornady 265gr Superformance ammo. Since then, I put together a batch of ammo using Hornady 240gr XTP, the minimum starting charge of Hodgdon Benchmark, and CCI 200 primers. My hand loads grouped very tight, but 9" lower than the Superformance at 110 yd. These rounds were much softer to shoot than the Superformance rounds, and if I had to guess I would say the velocity is give or take 1800-1900 fps (based on Hodgdon load data and my barrel being 2" shorter than their test barrel). The rifle is a 1975 444s with a 22" barrel.

    Would the decreased muzzle velocity really account for such a drastic drop in the point of impact, or am I missing something here? My next step is to up the powder charge in .5gr increments and see what happens.

    -Matt
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    Marlin Marksman
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    G'day Matt. A lot of the time heavier bullets will impact higher. Recoil , barrel harmonics and a heap of other factors come into play. Find the bullet and load it likes best and run with it.
    ANZMO#141 TEAM 45/70#1439 TEAM444#680 TEAM1894#425 TEAM375#124 TEAM30/30#1308 TEAM450#206

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    The short answer is yes...
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    Bart

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  5. #4
    Wrangler
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    measure the offset distance between your rifle and scope centerlines. go to the Hornady website to get the bullet ballistic coefficients.
    plug them into the ballistics calculator to get the respective trajectories.
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    Team 444 Number 777

  6. #5
    Tinhorn
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    Also often the factory ammo is hopped up compared to what we load. Get a comfortable, accurate load and go with it..

    Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
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  7. #6
    Wrangler
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    millertime,
    Looks as though your velocity is a bit low. Even 44 magnum rifles will be in the vicinity of 1650-1700 fps out of a 20 inch barrel using the 240 XTPs.
    I don't have any experience with Benchmark but your idea of small incremental change is wise IMO. A chrony might help as well.
    I would really like to have a .444 since I load .44 Mag Jackies and Cast already. Looks like you are gonna have some fun. GOOD LUCK!
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  8. #7
    Gun Wizard
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    when I'm working up a new load I will load 3 to 5 shells with each powder charge starting with the lowest and adding 1/2 grain until getting to maximum published charge. keep shells organized and or write the charge on side of shell with sharpie then take them out to the range and see what's what. this is just how I do it, it might work for you too. i've learned over the years that it makes sense to write everything down cuz my memory aint so hot sometimes.

  9. #8
    Marlin Marksman
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    strongly suggest getting a chrony, especially for a looping bullet like a 444 Marlin.

    what I've experienced with small, incremental powder changes on heavy, slower bullets is you don't get a lot of change in MV. For example, with my 6.5x55 SE, a .3 gr powder increase might give me another 25 fps in MV. A .3 gr increase in powder charge for 405 gr (and heavier) bullets out of my 45-70 might give me an 8-10 fps improvement. And when any given load has a +/- on the MV of 15 fps, it become impossible to really know what your velocity is. The takeway is, for heavy slow bullets, I've learned to increase powder charge in 1.0 gr increments, and i've never gotten to max charge before I find an acceptable load.

    In case I've not conveyed that clearly, we'll look at some of my data

    Bullet: .459 cast lead, 405 gr Missouri Bullet Company Buffalo #1
    Powder: RL7
    Primer: WLR
    Rifle: 1895 GBL

    Powder charge | MV (5-shot avg) | Hi/Lo
    39 gr | 1550 | +/- 15 (so MV between 1535 and 1565)
    39.5 gr | 1565 | +/- 12 (so MV between 1553 and 1577)
    40 gr | 1585 | +/- 17 (so MV between 1568 and 1602)

    there's so much overlap, and a somewhat uneven distribution of MV, even within each 5-shot string, it's really difficult to tell what is what.

    keep in mind that for 444, like 45-70, while terrific accuracy is certainly possible, 1.5 - 2 MOA is absolutely acceptable. if you get 5 inside an inch at 50 yards, that's your load, even if it's a bit slower than you were hoping. blazing fast MV is not necessary for heavy bullets. and even if you could get a like group at 150 fps faster, the improvement to the ballistic arc is so small as to confer no advantage
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  10. #9
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    1800 - 1900 fps will kill anything on this side of the world.....load em up and sight it in ….you need a round that doesn't make you anticipate the recoil....proceed
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    ......just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.....

  11. 02-05-2020, 10:04 PM

    Tenderfoot

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  12. #10
    Tenderfoot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldtrigger View Post
    when I'm working up a new load I will load 3 to 5 shells with each powder charge starting with the lowest and adding 1/2 grain until getting to maximum published charge. keep shells organized and or write the charge on side of shell with sharpie then take them out to the range and see what's what. this is just how I do it, it might work for you too. i've learned over the years that it makes sense to write everything down cuz my memory aint so hot sometimes.

    That’s exactly what the RSO recommended as well. Since this was my first attempt at reloading, I just tried to put together a safe and consistent load while getting comfortable with the process. I kept notes at the reloading bench as well as the range. Looking forward to making batches with increasing amounts of powder and seeing the results!
    Boris and Maineiac like this.


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