Ed & BP, danged if y'all ain't got a rite fine discussion goin', boys!
As to the little Ruger carbine, I've never owned one, but back when I was still back in my last two years of college, some time 'tween '72 and '74, a buddy had one, and was too broke to shoot the dang thing, so I'd cast and load for my .44, and let him shoot them in his lil' Ruger. Never had a problem. I've shot the Saeco Keith style bullet, #441 I think it is, and it's different from the original Lyman Keith bullet in that it has a shorter nose and longer bearing surface. I've cast a BUNCH of bullets with that mould through the years, but $30 for the mold AND handles was a princely sum back then, and I had to do without some good stuff to manage to pay for it. Ain't never been sorry, though. It may not QUITE be a "real" Keith bullet, but it's always done fine for me in everything I've shot it in. One of my best shootin' buddies and I both had .44 Ruger SuperB's, and he had the Lyman Keith mould, and I had that Saeco. For once in life, everything worked out, and my gun shot slightly better with the Saeco bullet, and his shot best with the Lyman. It's usually the other way around of course. That dang Murphy and his Laws must'a been nappin' then?
I had a .35 Whelen Ackley built for a planned trip with some relatives that used to go every year. They're all older than I am, and one by one, they crapped out for various reasons. The most exciting part of the planning stages, though, before it all went awry, was when they told me about the wallows and watering holes where a good man might get a shot as close as 10-50 yds., and lots of potential inside 100. I was still shooting a fair bit back then, and an elk at 100 would have been no problem. After building that Whelen, I was all hot to trot to leave it aside in favor of the Super Blackhawk .44, and there's not a doubt in my mind it would have done the job with that Saeco Keith bullet ...... or probably any other decent cast bullet, for that matter.
I've loaded a sorta' strange load for a very long time now, and it's one determined by a very "practical" reason: my old Ohaus powder measure's small cavity, when backed all the way back to full capacity, throws 20.7 gr. of 2400. It's still just a mite compressed with that long bearing surfaced bullet, and probably shoots just as fast as a larger charge with the longer seated Lyman bullet. All I can say for sure is that I've loaded from 18-24 gr. of 2400 under that old Saeco bullet, and can't tell much difference in the accuracy or performance in the field with any of the charges, except that it shoots a hair better with 20 or more gr. of 2400. I guess it takes a certain amount of pressure level to get that much maligned 2400 to burn more cleanly?
I've used 296 powder in the Super B, too, but like Davy, gave it up for my old standby 2400. Can't see a reason in the world to change, either, to this day. Probably get a mite more velocity from the newer "faster" version of 2400, and maybe it burns just a mite cleaner, in comparison, but none of those differences are significant. All those boys complaining about 2400 being "dirty" probably just aren't loading enough of it. I've also usually gotten better accuracy with std. primers instead of magnums, too. Maybe my guns were different, but that's what I got, and I used to do little else but cast and shoot my .44 and .45 auto for a good many years. My wife says it kept me out'a trouble.
A good .44, a good Keith style cast bullet, and some 2400, and you're steppin' in about as high a field of cotton as a man has a right to expect to ever step in. I've probably tried a dozen or more powders in the .44, but nothing to beat that combo. Keith DID know a thing or two about a gun! One day, I'd really like to find an old, original Keith mould with the longer front driving band and the square grooves ......... just 'cause every time I'd fire one of those slugs, I'd think of ol' Elmer. The man was a True Original
and his work will last forever in handgunnery ........ as long as folks want something that WORKS instead of the newest, shiniest bauble the Marketing boys WANT them to want!
I guess my best shot with that old Super B and the Keith bullet was beheading a dove at 69 long steps on an old logging road on a hunting club. Uhhhhh ..... now that I think about it, shootin' "migratory fowl" with a handgun is illegal, ain't it???? Must'a been a Whoopin' Crane, then ...... or a Spotted Owl????
I disremember right now ...........
Davy, your stories took me back a ways when just about all I did was shoot ....... and fish some in the spring, summer and fall. Good thing was, at the River, I could combine the two. During a good, hot, dog-day summer trip to the river, I'd take that .44 and we'd take turns shooting gar and mudfish that made the mistake of silhouetting themselves against a white sand bank. Those .44's will PENETRATE water to a depth NO jacketed bullet will, and I've shot a gar or two at darn near 4' deep. It was luck when I hit one that deep, of course, but the fact that the bullet could transverse, say, 3.5 ft. of water and STILL kill a gar was kinda' amazing to me. Great "river gun" in summer.
Ahhhhhhh! The simple pleasures of a good, well stoked .44!
Thanks guys for a little trip back to a very nice place!