Important Procedures to Follow When Testing an Oldie

In a recent post we took a look at reloading an oldie .44 special and how it remains a first-rate cartridge. Now take a look at the testing procedures we followed and be sure to stay tuned for the results!

Testing an Oldie



Both Remington and Winchester cases were utilized in assembling the cartridges as identified in the accompanying table. All cases were trimmed to a uniform length of 1.150 inches and primed with Winchester large pistol primers. All charges were weighed to within 0.1 grain or less and 10 cartridges were prepared of each load. These were fired over a Competition Electronics ProChrono chronograph placed 8 feet from the muzzle at targets placed at 25 yards from the muzzle.


The average velocities indicated are instrumental values at a distance of 8 feet from the muzzle rather than true muzzle velocities. In each case, two 5-shot groups were obtained for each load, but the smaller of the groups obtained is listed in the table. For testing, I chose 180 grain bullets from Remington and Sierra, 200 grain bullets from Hornady and Nosler, the 210 grain Winchester Silvertip, and a 240 grain hard cast bullet.


.44 Magnum

The .44 Special (left) and .44 Magnum (right) cases are dimensionally identical except for length. Therefore, .44 Special cartridges can be used in a .44 Magnum, but not vice versa.


Firing was conducted with the Smith & Wesson Model 624 with a 6.5 inch barrel. In order to determine accuracy more appropriately than would be possible with open sights, a Weaver 4x Classic handgun scope was attached using a B Square mount. My Model 624 is old enough that the frame is not drilled and tapped for attaching a scope mount, so the B Square mount that was employed attaches to the rear sight hole and has the clamps that attach to the barrel. The results obtained from the tests are summarized in the accompanying table.


Bullet choices in .44 caliber are numerous. Those used in the tests are (left to right) 180 grain Remington, 180 grain Sierra, 200 grain Hornady, 200 grain Nosler, 210 grain Winchester Silvertip, and 240 grain hard cast.


Stay tuned to discover the results of testing!


Story & Photos by James E. House

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