.44 Special

44 Special has over recent years had a bit of a resurgence. This is mostly due to the growing popularity of Cowboy Action shooting, and since the unjust gun ban, many more Ex-pistol shooters now own under levers, where they did not before.
As the sport continues to grow it has become apparent to most, that to shoot mostly at 25 metres at paper, skittles, steel plates and the like, 44 Magnum is not really needed. Shooting comfort also plays a part. This is mostly evident for those who don't re-load, and buy factory ammo. Shooting .44 Magnum factory, can be quite uncomfortable, as it is mostly offered in only FMJ in the UK.I like .44 Magnum, and if hand loaded with lead, (see load data .44 Magnum) makes a fine accurate round, for the sort of shooting that me and the girls and boys do down the club.

I received good feedback on the data for the .44 Magnum using the Lee 1000 press with auto disc. As many seem to use this press, I though I would load the test ammo in the same way, rather than measuring out on the digital scales.

I used the trusted Rossi for this test, and though chambered to take .44 Magnum, it handled the .44 Special with no problem of leading at the forcing cone to speak of.



 Components Tested 

Brass: MagTech

Bullet: MagTech LFN 240 GR

Powders: Red Dot Trail Boss Unique AA


I use this brass because it is good quality, value for money and easy to get.


Same for the bullets really, but also these bullets have a special coating to them that acts as a lube. I have been reliability assured that though it looks like "Molly" it isn't.


All worked well, and gave light recoil. The Unique was the fastest of the group, posting an average ft/sec of 760. Trail Boss was the slowest, posting 675 ft/sec.

Out of the four tested, they were all very good apart from Unique. I found it inconsistent, and very dirty, and have only found it any good in my shot shell reloads; unless someone can recommend differently.

Red Dot and Trail Boss had the edge over AA No.2, though No.2 does metre beautifully in digital throwers, like the Lyman 1200.

A word of warning, the load data between starting load and maximum load is very narrow for these powders, with Red Dot being listed as low as half a grain. Extra care is needed so not to exceed this. Though the Lee auto disc was used, it consistently threw accurately, but the Lee "guide to use" must be complied with.

The two powders were about the same posting very similar results, with acceptable groups even though the day of the test saw strong winds, and sporadic horizontal rain. Trail Boss would be my choice only because it is easier to see in the case, and very bulky, therefore difficult to double load. So on added safety alone, it would be my first choice.


Could not see any difference between the two primers.


I have converted over from .44 Magnum to .44 Special for most of my CA shooting and not just because of its' performance. As the component parts become more expensive with the economy going down the pan, any savings even if just a few grains of powder for each round can still add up to quite a few more rounds, out of a 1lb of powder. (or, I could just be tight)


4.1 grains of Trail Boss, 240 grain MagTech LFN, MagTech Brass & MagTech / S&B Primers.

Shot at 25 metres, rested on sand bag, open sights, shot for group.


5 shots at 25m, one "flyer" that I am happy to blame on the gusty conditions...



All load data here is published as recipes that have worked for me or other shooters. It is not meant to replace any data by powder manufacturers. If in doubt consult your load manuals. The individual assumes the risk fully for their safe loading practices.