Reloader Or Handloader?

Yes, there is definitely a difference. A reloader re-does the same thing over and over again while a handloader is an experimenter who is always looking for that one perfect load. However, the joy is in the search not the finding, as we’ll never know when we are there anyhow — we just keep trying to get closer and closer. When it comes to the .44 Magnum and the above four bullets I do a lot of handloading with two powders, Unique and Universal. I also experiment with different sizing diameters from 0.429" to 0.432" as this is the normal range of chamber throat dimensions found on S&W and Ruger sixguns.

By just using one powder charge this gives me 32 possible combinations even without changing my alloy. The “standard” powder charge I have settled on is 9.0 grains of either Universal or Unique. This load is right at 975-1,025 fps depending on sixgun and barrel length.

With the advantage of slightly more weight in .44 Magnum sixguns to hold down felt recoil, I also have a second-level standard load with these two powders. By going up one grain to 10.0 grains, muzzle velocity is increased by approximately 100 fps. This same powder charge is used with my favorite heavy bullet for the .44 Magnum, the NEI #429.290 which is Keith-style, gas-checked bullet weighing just under 300 grains. Muzzle velocity, again depending on the particular sixgun and barrel length is either slightly above or slightly below 1,100 fps. This same powder charge, 10.0 grains of Unique or Universal, is also my most-used Everyday Workin’ Load using 240-grain jacketed bullets from Hornaday, Sierra or Speer. These clock out right at 1,100 fps.