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RT58
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Posted: March 24 2017 at 5:21pm | IP Logged Quote RT58

Kinley, anytime you shoot a new firearm you should at least wipe any oil or grease out of the barrel and chambers. This can cause elevated pressures.

From the pictures the brass doesn't appear to be damaged in any way. BTW, OOOO steel wool is very fine and doesn't hurt the brass, even with moderate use. You do not want to use heavier steel wool or more aggressive polishing material because it can remove too much brass and cause weak spots. OOOO steel wool can also be used to remove light rust from blued firearms, apply a little oil first.
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joed
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Posted: March 25 2017 at 2:35pm | IP Logged Quote joed

Corn cob media is not really a good cleaner, I use it with Nu Finish to
shine the brass.    i use walnut with a couple tablespoons of mineral
spirits to clean brass.   If you put to much in just let it sit a while, it
will evaporate.     

What is the gun?   

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KinleyWater
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Posted: March 25 2017 at 4:23pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

RT, Thanks for all the input. I will stop by a hardware store and pick up some steel wool.

joed, I hadn't considered mineral spirits, I'll look into that when I get my steel wool.

To answer your question, it is a Smith & Wesson M69.

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joed
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Posted: March 25 2017 at 8:05pm | IP Logged Quote joed

About 15 years ago one of the old timers at a local range told me
about mineral spirits.   Took me a while to figure out the right
amount but it will clean your brass in about 2 hours.   

If you add to much and it cakes just let it sit for awhile and it will
evaporate.

I wondered what gun you used but I doubt it's the gun being a model
69.   

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RT58
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Posted: March 27 2017 at 7:11am | IP Logged Quote RT58

KinleyWater, You're welcome. I don't keep up with modern production guns and had to look the S&W model 69 up. Let us know how well you like it.
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KinleyWater
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Posted: March 27 2017 at 10:50am | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

RT58 wrote:
KinleyWater, You're welcome. I don't keep up with modern production guns and had to look the S&W model 69 up. Let us know how well you like it.


Ah-ha! THAT, I can help with. Bear in mind with all this that my only other experience with a .44 Magnum was a single range session with a S&W M29, 4 inch. That particular day the owner of the firearm was shooting Remington 180 grain soft points. This was perhaps 10 or 11 years ago, but I remember it was very loud, had lots of muzzle flash, and was quite uncomfortable to shoot. In fact, it nearly put me off the .44 Mag as being just too much for me. Long story short, I pretty much fell in love with the M69 the first time I picked one up at a LGS and decided to give the .44 another go.

So, that said, here is what I like and don't like about it. The best overall characteristic is that it seems to be the perfect size, for me anyway. You can look up the exact specs, but I believe ti to be 37 ounces empty. That, combined with the 4.25 inch barrel means that it balances and points very naturally for me. Being a mid-sized frame, the grip fills my hand without over-stuffing it. In all, that makes it very easy to carry on the hip. On occasion, I have carried it as my CCW under a light jacket in an OWB hip holster. I found it not uncomfortable and it felt (emphasize felt) more comfortable and even a bit lighter than my S&W M&P 9.

The lower weight did not seem to be a detriment in the recoil department. I attribute this to the way the grip fits my hand. I found it downright fun to shoot the above mentioned WWB 240 grain SP, and the Remington 240 HTP SP. I put about 200 rounds through it of 240 grain plated from a company called LAX Ammunition - largely because they shipped free for my first order and they use Starline brass. I was not overly impressed with the performance of the ammunition, that is another story. I also put a handful of Buffalo Bore 240 grain +P Deer Grenade rounds through it. While not "fun" to shoot, they were quite manageable.

I don't know how to quantify accuracy. I only have the ability to shoot offhand, with one exception, so for me the comparison is single action to double action with single being the obviously better. I have shot it freehand in both single and double action at a human silhouette target at 50 yards. I hit the target, but not with what I would consider hunting groups. Frankly, this was a product of the finger on the trigger, rather than the gun. To emphasize that point, the one time I shot it with a rest, it was using my brother's range bag at an outdoor 100 yard rifle range. I was able to put 4 of 5 rounds (5 chamber cylinder) on an 8 inch shoot-n-see dot at 100 yards. I promptly quit. In other words, the gun is up to the task if I am.

Lastly, I bought some .44 S&W Specials for my much better half as she does not enjoy shooting the magnums. I have read that the Special is an inherently accurate round. I don't know if that is true, but I do know that out of this revolver, it was nothing short of a revelation to shoot. Accuracy was amazing at all ranges and recoil was so mild, I found it superior to .45 ACP or even 9mm. I know a lot of that has to do with the platform, but if any of you have not tried the .44 Special, I wholeheartedly encourage it. .44 Special loads that my wife and I have fired include a 240 Keith style with VV powder (range reload - I don;t know the exact powder or the load), 240 grain plated - from the LAX manufacturer mentioned above, and Hornady 165 grain Critical Defense. All were nothing short of a joy to shoot.

Okay, that's the good; here is what I do not like about it. The sights. Yes, I have shot out to 100 yards with them, however, the rear sight has a white outline which is not centered around the aperture. So, on longer shots, if I use the white line, my shots go wide. I may paint it out. The front ramp has an orange insert which goes part of the way up the front and is uneven at the bottom. So, if I line up the orange part with the white line, my shots go high and off center. For closer shots, I did not find the range insert to be a hindrance.

The barrel is not solid, it is a barrel pressed inside a sleeve. I do not know how this will affect barrel strength, maybe not at all, but I still have that question.

The crane locks by use of a ball and detent mechanism. The ball fits off center into a triangular notch and the mechanical pressure from the inclined plane creates a locking force (hooray for elementary physics). However, when I first purchased this, I found the ball was missing. Kudos to the store for taking action and giving me another out of inventory. However, I have worked in a production machining environment and those kinds of "escapes" are a no-no. That is an assembly QC issue for Smith.

Some people complain about the Smith safety lock. I don't really care as long as it doesn't break and lock up my gun. If it does, I will report. Some people don't like the aesthetics of the black trigger, sights, and hammer on the satin stainless frame and barrel. Again, I don't care as long as it doesn't interrupt the function.

Conclusions: I first purchased this after a run-in with a couple of bears during a camping trip. There was not real issue of danger, but I wanted something other than a 9mm for on the trail and/ or camping. Not just for bears, of course, but something that would be comfortable, versatile, and powerful (in case it was for bears). Knowing no better, I think this revolver fits the bill for all of the above categories. I also intend to do a round of handgun hunting for whitetail this fall.

Hope that answers any questions.

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dahlin
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Posted: March 27 2017 at 12:20pm | IP Logged Quote dahlin

I would like to encourage you to try hand loading it will save you a lot of money and you cane tailor a load that will fit what ever kind of shooting your doing. And its a great pass time on a rainy day Randy
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KinleyWater
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Posted: March 27 2017 at 12:39pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Thanks, Randy. That's actually what started this whole thread to begin with. I wanted to be sure some of the brass I had was fit to reload.

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Ham Gunner
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Posted: March 27 2017 at 3:04pm | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

Just a small amount of over crimping and over expanding is no doubt a lot harder on the .44 mag. brass than a whole lot of shooting. If one only sizes and crimps the minimum required, the brass lasts a long time.

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RT58
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Posted: March 28 2017 at 6:07am | IP Logged Quote RT58

KinleyWater, Thanks for the report. That was some good shooting at 100 yds. The .44 spl. does have great potential for accuracy and is also a good self-defense round with a good bullet.

S&W did have some issues with their two piece barrels when they first came out, mostly with over-tightening them. I don't keep up with them anymore but they should have that problem solved by now. A good smaller framed, large bore handgun is good to have around, happy shooting.
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KinleyWater
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Posted: March 28 2017 at 2:12pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Ham, Hi, thanks for the advise. I noticed the Buffalo Bore had a very heavy crimp, which is understandable, but the brass is much thinner at the case mouth. I suppose if it were to crack there, I could cut it back to special length. Anyway, I will remember your advise, thanks.

Do you suppose that annealing would be worth doing to extend case life?

RT, I consider it more a combination of luck, the sun shining, the stars aligning, rubbing a rabbits foot, and kissing a horseshoe I did get some REAL dirty looks from the rifle shooters though .

I would find absolutely nothing wrong with the Special for SD work. I had the Hornady 165's in when I carried it, but I think any basic lead HP would be just fine.

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joed
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Posted: March 28 2017 at 3:03pm | IP Logged Quote joed

I have been hearing the barrel setup is very strong, myself I can't
say. You're in for a real treat reloading this one.   I got a late start in
life but have been loading .44 mag and Spl for 18 years.

Myself I'm not all that fond of the heavy loads as for my shooting I
don't need them.    My favorite powder for the mag is 2400, I use
that in the Spl too and .357.

For my use I like 15.0 gr of 2400 in .44 Spl and 17.0 in .44 Mag
shooting a 240 gr LSWC.

Don't invest in anything to anneal yet, I've never needed it.   When it
comes to crimping I bought a Lee factory crimp die.   It does a better
job of crimping then trying to use the seating die to also crimp.   

Good advice on crimping is just enough to do the job or you'll crack
the brass early.   I test my crimps by trying to push the bullet into the
case.   As long as it doesn't move it's good.

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KinleyWater
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Posted: March 28 2017 at 3:08pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

joed, I'll keep that in mind. I have no need for barn-burners that I know of. I don't have 2400, but I do have Blue Dot which should work for both Magnums and Specials in the .44.

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Real Gun
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Posted: April 27 2017 at 4:56am | IP Logged Quote Real Gun

The pictures suggest that the cartridges are smaller in diameter than the other brands that look okay fired. These are probably okay, but the brass will be worked more when resized and expanded again.

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KinleyWater
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Posted: April 27 2017 at 5:49am | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Welcome aboard Real Gun! It's always nice to see a new avatar on the boards. Thanks for the input.

As you look around, feel free to ask advice or offer some. I have found the people here to be very generous with their experiences and always ready to receive constructive input.

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Paul B.
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Posted: April 27 2017 at 12:05pm | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

OK, here's my recommendation for loads.

.44 Spl. Skeeter Skelton's pet load, 7.5 gr. Unique and the Lyman
#429241 bullet. (Elmer Keith's bullet.) Much better than factory level
loads.
Factory level, try 5.4 gr. W231, Lyman #429241 bullet.

.44 mag. Full power, 20.0 gr. A2400/ Lyman 429241 bullet.
Skeeter Skelton duplication for .44 Mag. brass, about 8.5 to 9.5 gr.
Unique. Maybe even 10.0 gr. Charges are my estimate for what should
work. I shoot .44 Spl. strictly in .44 Spl. guns.

Frankly speaking,Skeeter's load in the .44 Spl. or a duplicate velocity
in the .44 Mag would probably serve for 90 percent of your shooting
needs. Just might even be mild enough for your wife to tolerate. If not,
that W231 load will be perfect for her.
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KinleyWater
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Posted: April 27 2017 at 1:45pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Hey Paul,thanks for the ideas. I jut picked up a one pound bottle of Unique at my LGS for $29.95 ($31.54 with tax). I don't have any Lyman bullets - or moulds for that matter, but I do have 500 Hornady LSWC-HP, which I think would be a fine substitution.

Though downright blasphemy, I was considering making the load and even 7 grains of Unique so that my math would be easier by the pound. Ultimately, my goal is for her to have a big bore round which she can both shoot comfortably and use in the field.I don;t know if it's possible, but if so, then I want it.

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Posted: April 27 2017 at 8:00pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I use that exact same load with a 240gr Berry's plated flat point in a mag case. My EAA Bounty Hunter SAA is a wonderfully accurate pistol but has a nasty habit of smacking my middle finger's behind the knuckle with stout loads with the trigger guard. However, the 7gr Unique load is über accurate, comfortable shooting, and doesn't smack my knuckle. And yet has quite enough punch to be reckoned with being 900fps. That's nothing to sneeze at with a big soft lead SWCHP.

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Posted: April 27 2017 at 8:29pm | IP Logged Quote M700

Old Ranger. You're spot on.

When we look at a "weak" .44 magnum load we might yawn...

Until we realize it's roughly the same as a highly rated .45 ACP load...

Worth a thought.

Guy
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Posted: April 28 2017 at 4:09am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Nothing wrong with loading down a big bore. Like Guy said, even when it's loaded down, a .44 mag or .45 Colt is still a formidable thing.

I shot the Elmer load a bit with the RCBS Kieth bullet and 20 grains of 2400 a few years ago, accurate but unpleasant and also unnecessarily powerful for nearly everything I'd likely use a pistol for.

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