Marlin Firearms Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While I'm not new to reloading ammo, I am somewhat new to reloading 44 Mag. Here's my problem.

I'm reloading 240 grain flat point copper plated projectiles for use in my 1894 Marlin lever action. When I use IMR 4227, data from several sources says use 22 grains. With this load I get very tight 3 shot groups of about 1 inch at 25 yards. When I use Winchester 231, data from several of these same sources says use 11 grains (1/2 as much). With this load I get 3 shot groups of about 10 inches (not a typo) and sometimes off the paper. Evidence on the paper even suggests the bullets may be "tumbling".

I expect replies will suggest other powders but I want to try to stay with what I have. I already have a third powder of IMR 3031 and used exclusively to reload .308 Win rounds. Ideally I would like to find a good load for the Win 231 which is my primary powder and used in my 9mm reloading. If no better suggestions I'll just give up on the 231 and use the 4227.

Thanks to any and all who can help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,138 Posts
You might get a larger response posting this in the 1894 or reloading section. However I am not a fan of W231 in Handgun Ammo, especially magnum cartridges. I suggest H110 or 296 for magnum loads of for target loads try IMR PB, Clays something along those lines.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
12,326 Posts
11 grains of 231 is way over the top. You're trying to use a very fast pistol powder in a rifle.
#1 - a recommended load would be 9.5 to 10 gn of 231. Best you can hope for is about 1400 fps.
#2 - since the case is mostly empty you'll get a lot of variance from powder positioning.
I use HP-38 which is very similar to 231 for my 9mm and finally gave it up as a last resort in the 44 mag. Get some Unique if you want a moderate load that remains accurate.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dek16001

·
Registered
Joined
·
691 Posts
11 grains of WW231 sounds to me like a hotter load than 22 grains of 4227. You might try cutting that load back to 8 or 9 grains, see what it does, and work up from there if you need to. But...you've already got a good load with 4227. You'll probably be hard-pressed to beat that with WW231.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,169 Posts
Here is the load data for a 240 gr cast bullet in the .44 Mag from Hodgdon's web-site. Grain for grain, HP-38 and W-231 is the same powder.

HP-38/W-231 is a fast powder for the .44 Mag case size, and is better suited for shooting lower intensity loads. If you were so inclined, give a 240 gr cast bullet, sized appropriately for your 1894 (which is probably going to be in the 0.432" dia. neighborhood), loaded over a modest charge of HP-38/W-231, and you will likely find a good, accurate, but mild load. Save the IMR-4227 for your jacketed bullet, full-snort loads...

240 GR. LSWC CAST
Hodgdon
HP-38
.430"
1.620"
5.5
907
12,000 CUP
11.0
1437
38,100 CUP


As can be seen from the above data, a minimum charge of 5.5 gr of HP-38/W-231 under a 240 gr cast will produce 907 fps. A maximum listed load of 11.0 gr of HP-38/W-231 will produce 1,437 fps. Compared to your 22.0 gr of IMR-4227, which is probably running that jacketed bullet in the 1,625 fps neighborhood, and is shown as a minimum recommended charge (compared to a maximum of 24.0 gr of IMR-4227...

240 GR. NOS JHP
IMR
IMR 4227
.429"
1.600"
22.0
1624
28,400 CUP
24.0
1778
36,100 CUP


Nothing wrong with running HP-38/W-231 in the .44 Mag, provided you do the load work to find a sweet spot for your rifle and bullet combination... If you are determined to load W-231, I reckon you'll find better accuracy at a mid-level load - - say in the 7.2 to 8.0 grain charge weight. That is where those faster powders seem to work well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
953 Posts
I've had great luck with 231 for a long time. I use it in everything from 380 on up to 45 colt. It's not the best powder for all loads, especially hot loads. You just need to work with it some more to find what your gun likes.

Key
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,226 Posts
The copper plated bullets from Berry's and Rainier are made for moderate velocity loads,and says so on their websites. They recommend using cast bullet data. Read their "Reloading Suggestions". I shoot 240 gr Rainier FPs with 9 gr Unique or 8.3 gr 231 and get excellent accuracy. I used the Unique load to fill my Spring Turkey tag in April,and it's very deadly with minimum meat damage. Unique is now unobtainable due to the shortages here,so I've been using the 231 load,and it too is easy shooting and extremely accurate in my 1894.
I use 23.0 gr of IMR4227 with jacketed 240 gr slugs by Nosler,but the Hornady XTPs can only take 22.0 gr,and then show pressure signs. The plated bullets are relatively soft and will deform at higher pressures,and accuracy will go away,as your 10 inch groups show.
Drop your powder charge on the 231 load,and give us the range report. Thanks.

Rob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
259 Posts
W231 is my primary pistol powder, and I load everything from 380 through 44 Magnum with it regularly. It is also a very universal pistol powder, because it works well in, and there's load data for most of the pistol calibers.

Everything is not all roses and sunshine, however. There are a couple things about w231 to keep in mind. Most of the optimum performance loads for w231 come in limited-capacity cases. It was originally for, and works fantastic in, 45acp. 380, 9mm, 32s, etc. all are excellent uses for w231 where it produces maximum performance. The other big thing to remember about w231 is that it doesn't like high pressure. 9mm is the hottest round it really gives good (top end) performance in, and that's a 35,000psi cartridge or there-abouts, maximum. When you get to cartridges which operate in the high 30-thousands or higher, like 10mm, 357 Mag, or 44 Mag., w231 is not going to perform well. It doesn't like that pressure-range. Loads can safely be loaded there, but they are not "happy" loads. As you noticed, accuracy is substandard, but you may also notice an acrid smell, excessive or sharp recoil (compared to the lack-luster performance you're getting), and a sharp pressure wave hitting your sinuses and ears (which can induce flinch, but at least makes firing the loads un-enjoyable).

All is not lost for using w231 in these rounds though. Simply restrict them to lower-pressure "Light" or "Mid-range" loads.

I load 240-270gr bullets with 7.5grs of w231 in 44 Magnum. This load I've chronoed at 775-950fps in 4" to 7.5" barrels, so it's no slouch, but it's very easy-shooting too.

Use your 4227 for high-performance, and stick with w231 for "easy-shooting" loads in the magnums.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
805 Posts
You are definitely pushing the plated bullet to hard. Back it down with the W231 and you will likely find success. Something in the 6-7 grain range should bring your accuracy back and then you can work up from there. I have never had any success with plated bullets beyond about 8 grains of W231 and have found my best accuracy at 7.5 grains.

Keith
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Many thanks to all who replied to my initial post. Finally got time to go to the range today. Tried four different win 231 loads pushing the 240 grain flat point copper plated bullet. Loads included 8.7 gns. 8.5 gns., 8.3 gns. and 7.3 gns. All were a major improvement over the 11.0 gns. I was trying. At 25 yards with a 1.5x scope and rested worst case, barring shooter screw ups,5 shot groups were all under 1.5 inches. The two best for me and my scope as set were 8.3 and 7.5 with the latter being the best. I will likely do more testing with the two best and at longer ranges. Again thanks to all who helped me work this out!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,391 Posts
I do some loading for 44 mag too, and have come to rest on two loads....a light and a heavy. Similar to what you have going, my heavy load (19.5 gr A2400) produces nice tight groups but is not an especially economic load. The light load (7.0 gr Trail Boss) needs a little tinkering. These faster shotgun type powders seem to be a bit "needy" in the load development phase, but once they're dialed in, they really shoot!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
259 Posts
Many thanks to all who replied to my initial post. Finally got time to go to the range today. Tried four different win 231 loads pushing the 240 grain flat point copper plated bullet. Loads included 8.7 gns. 8.5 gns., 8.3 gns. and 7.3 gns. All were a major improvement over the 11.0 gns. I was trying. At 25 yards with a 1.5x scope and rested worst case, barring shooter screw ups,5 shot groups were all under 1.5 inches. The two best for me and my scope as set were 8.3 and 7.5 with the latter being the best. I will likely do more testing with the two best and at longer ranges. Again thanks to all who helped me work this out!
Sounds like the sweet-spot works for you too. :)

You may want to try dropping the 8.3gr load down to 8.0grs. I tried 8.2grs in my testing, and found it just a touch too close to the unhappy pressure level. 8.0grs will give you a boost of performance over the 7.5gr load, but stay just under the "good" pressure ceiling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Be aware of light loads of 231 in a rifle! You can stick a bullet in the barrel. If this has already been said !!! it bears repeating. Like all have said 231 isn't the right powder in a rifle. Works for light loads in handguns
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
259 Posts
Be aware of light loads of 231 in a rifle! You can stick a bullet in the barrel. If this has already been said !!! it bears repeating. Like all have said 231 isn't the right powder in a rifle. Works for light loads in handguns
Good point, JCC! I have loaded down to as light as 5.6grs in the 44 Mag case and shot them in my Micro-groove, 20" bbl., 1894, but that's only with lead bullets which are soft and lubed, giving a lower coefficient of friction. I'd not go below 7.0-7.5grs with any form of jacketed bullet (to include plated).
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top