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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started working up a load in my new (to me) .444 SS at the range recently. Ambient temp was 67 deg F, and I was using new Remington brass (uniformly trimmed), CCI Large Rifle primers, 265 gr Hornady FP, Reloader 7 powder, cartridges crimped with a Lee FC die. I worked up to 47.0 grains of Re-7, which is max in a couple of manuals I have (though I do not have the Hornady manual). According to my manuals, I should be getting 2215fps from a 24 inch test barrel. Since mine is 22 inches, I figure I'm losing 10 fps per inch, so I should be getting approximately 2195 fps. I'm only getting 2058 fps (avg), 2026 (low), 2094 (high) from my gun, but accuracy was excellent, averaging 1.04" at 100 yards for three, 3-shot groups. My question is whether I should increase my powder charge to 47.5 and 48.0 grains in an effort to duplicate what the manuals say I "should" be getting, velocity wise, or am I courting disaster doing so? I was hoping to use Re-7 as it is my standard powder in my 45-70 too, but I can switch if necessary to get the velocity where it should be while maintaining safe pressures. Also, what is the max RE-7 charge weight for the 265 grain Hornady FP in their manual? Thanks.

Russell420
 

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I think you've hit a sweet spot. Max ain't always the best performer. I'd test it more and tweek it if need be. One inch from a .430" bullet is good. I have shot similar groups with my 71 444T with factory loads.

Papalote
 

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The general rule is 40fps per inch.
Also the fastest round, may not be the most accurate
I slowed my 45-70 down, and the groups are great.
 

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Are you getting signs of high pressure? Primer flow? Brass swelling and extraction difficult?

Remember the measured velocity of a bullet is not so much a function of the amount of a powder in the fired case as it is the pressure generated by the rapid expansion of gases in the case. With a tighter crimp you will slow down the bullet separation from the case- increasing pressure- and the steepness of the pressure curve. You could get the velocities you expect with a tighter crimp. You might also get more pressure than you want- so be careful. You might have to back down and work back up if you make your crimp significantly tighter.

As you sit now you are not very far off from the expected results and the accuracy is quite good. As some have suggested you might be in a sweet spot. I don't think most critters can tell the difference in velocity when they're hit- but they can tell the difference when they aren't hit.

In my rifle I got better velocity and pressure results with H4198. Accuracy was good with both RE-7 and the 4198.

My $.02.

M
 

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IMHO
#1 Goal in Handloading is getting the very best accuracy!
#2 Goal is getting the highest velocity with the very best accuracy!
#3 Goal having the best ammo made for your individual Firearm, period!
 

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.............I would add: What are you going to shoot and at what maximum distance are you going to shoot it? Your load average is developing around 2500 ft lbs at the muzzle, and although energy doesnt "kill", you can compare the energy of your load to other calibers of the same energy/bullet weight, etc. That will give you a general idea of how your load will perform. In my 16.5" 444 all I use is a 300 at 1850 for a bit over 2200 ft lbs. For deer hunting at the distances I would shoot with this rifle (well under 100 yards), this load is MORE than sufficient to do the deed.... the load is a one holer at 100 yards (not needed, but nice to have), and a real cream puff to shoot. If your load will do the job for your situation, and is accurate, you cannot ask for any more than that.
 

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Russell420, Hornadys Handbook of Reloading Cartridges Vol.1 shows the following for a 265 gr fp.
RE7- Start load: 34.9gr. @1700fps, 37.3gr. @1800 fps, 39.7gr. @ 1900 fps, 42.0gr. @ 2000 fps, 44.4gr. @ 2100 fps and Max Load 46.8gr. @ 2200 fps
 

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I have a 444S 1972 since new and I always loaded by Hodgdon's book. The load I settled on was the H 4891 [47.0 gr.] 265 gr. FN vel. 2273 fps.and I use whatever brand primer I get my hands on. I also use the Speer 270 gr.FN, H 4891 [46.5 gr.] Vel.2261 fps. Both loads in my rifle give good accuracy with the same point of aim. I have never looked for another load in years. IT aint broke why fix it. I do like all my cases trimmed to the same length and a good tight crimp.

I don't have a chronograph and I don't care, as others already mention with these loads my rifle is accurate has no pressure indication works well in the action and is dependable. I guess one might say, It' the sweet spot for this rifle.

Looking at the HDY. manual the RL-7 [46.8gr.] and H4198 [45.4 gr.] is listed at the same velocity 2000fps. This is the max charge in this book.

I don't know what manual you are using but if you decide to increase from your now charge be careful. Better yet leave well enough alone and be safe.

TO NY
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies. I believe I will try H4198 and see what velocity and accuracy I get. I believe my crimp is already fairly strong, as the die has been adjusted to the point that the crimping collet is closed when the cartridge is being crimped. From what I've read, 10 fps is a more accurate loss per inch of barrel length for large caliber rifles in the 2000-2500 fps range than the 40 fps rule, which seems to hold true for smaller caliber rifles with more velocity. I'm trying to maximize the 444's potential with the 265 grain bullet, which will be the only bullet I use in this rifle. I want the flattest trajectory with good accuracy out of the 265 grain bullet that I can get, as the rifle will be used for deer and elk at 200 yards or less.

Russell420
 

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I think you will find that H4198 is a great powder for the 444 and bullets under 320gr or so. You will have no problem getting around 2250-2275fps using 47grs. You will have to see if that is accurate for your gun.
 

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I have always use 25fps to 35fps loss/gain per inch of barrel. Do yourself a favor and spend the $10.00 and get a Lee Factory Crimp Die (LFCD) for the 444, I have a LFCD for every thing I load for, and If Lee does not make a LFCD for a caliber I'm loading for, I special order one, and if they will not make a special order, then I do all I can to modify one that is close, It's that important to me! IMHO the LFCD is the best thing that has happened to Handloaders in a long, long time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Starrbow said:
I have always use 25fps to 35fps loss/gain per inch of barrel. Do yourself a favor and spend the $10.00 and get a Lee Factory Crimp Die (LFCD) for the 444, I have a LFCD for every thing I load for, and If Lee does not make a LFCD for a caliber I'm loading for, I special order one, and if they will not make a special order, then I do all I can to modify one that is close, It's that important to me! IMHO the LFCD is the best thing that has happened to Handloaders in a long, long time!
Per my original post, I already have and use one in my 444.
 

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308/338 said:
I have a 444S 1972 since new and I always loaded by Hodgdon's book. The load I settled on was the H 4891 [47.0 gr.] 265 gr. FN vel. 2273 fps.and I use whatever brand primer I get my hands on. I also use the Speer 270 gr.FN, H 4891 [46.5 gr.] Vel.2261 fps. Both loads in my rifle give good accuracy with the same point of aim. I have never looked for another load in years. IT aint broke why fix it. I do like all my cases trimmed to the same length and a good tight crimp.

I don't have a chronograph and I don't care, as others already mention with these loads my rifle is accurate has no pressure indication works well in the action and is dependable. I guess one might say, It' the sweet spot for this rifle.

Looking at the HDY. manual the RL-7 [46.8gr.] and H4198 [45.4 gr.] is listed at the same velocity 2000fps. This is the max charge in this book.

I don't know what manual you are using but if you decide to increase from your now charge be careful. Better yet leave well enough alone and be safe.

TO NY
Tony, you are using the EXACT same loads as I am with the 265 gr & 270 gr bullets. I can tell you if you are shooting them in a 22" barrel, you are getting less velocity than claimed by Hodgdon. I get right around 2200 fps. And both bullets print to the same POI. They are good shooting loads that have put the smack-down on 2 deer in 2 years for me. I have no reason to change as well.
 

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Russell420 said:
... My question is whether I should increase my powder charge to 47.5 and 48.0 grains in an effort to duplicate what the manuals say I "should" be getting, velocity wise, or am I courting disaster doing so...
Like others have mentioned. Accuracy is more important than the extra 150 fps or so that you are looking for from RE-7. I also agree that with the H'dy 265 gr JFP, H-4198 is tough to beat. My pet load with the H'dy 265 gr JFP is 45.7 gr of H-4198 and produces 2,275 fps with great accuracy. The RE-7 seemed to work a tad better with heavier bullets in my rifle.

Also, FWIW, I noticed a reduction of ~35 to 40 fps per inch of reduced barrel length with RE-7, as opposed to a reduction of ~22 to ~25 fps per inch of reduced barrel length with H-4198. I did my load testing, evaluation, and chrono documentation with my rifle (a .444XLR) with the 24" Factory barrel and the same barrel after I had it trimmed back to 20" so things should be pretty close for an apples to apples comparison.
 

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I have been reloading with H4198 at 46gs with the Hornady 265 and 270 Speer. I get the same point of aim with both. I usually get a clover leaf group at 100 yards. Love my 444. Best hog gun I own.
 

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JTN-10 thanks you!

I just finally found some of the Speer 270's and I was wondering if I would find much difference from the Hornadys. I will work up the load same as I did with the Hornady.

Thanks.

M
 

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It's been my experience with several cartridges and bullets in the past that most manuals are a little optimistic in their published velocities. It could be because of the barrels, etc. they use, but for the most part their velocities are higher than my testing with same components. Also, how far are the chronograph screens set from your muzzle when testing, and are you correcting for this distance. It would probably surprise most people how much velocity is lost in 10 to 15 feet. Sounds like to me you're getting good velocity and accuracy, and are well on your way.
Good Luck,
Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update: H4198 turned out to be the best powder in my rifle. With the max load in the manuals, I was getting 2233 fps (avg), and all three shot groups have been under an inch at 100 yards. This will be the load I use in this 444 until I start casting. Also, since someone had suggested increasing the crimp with Reloader 7 in order to raise the pressure and possibly improve velocities, I tried that, but velocities remained low with no increase. Thanks for the help!

Russell420
 

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1 MOA groups is fantastic to me. I wouldn't mess with your formula.

I'm new to reloading and there's only one rule I have memorized: never exceed maximum load recommendations.

The difference in velocity might be due to the barrel having more or less friction, bullet fit, twist rate (?), etc., and I would look at that as an estimate not a hard number. The maximum chamber pressure developed, though, happens after the bullet has moved maybe one inch, so there's no real direct correlation to speak of between muzzle velocity and maximum pressure.

Your rifle just likes to take things slow and easy.... 8)
 
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