5 posts
Joined February 2015

Bullets Tumbling...

Hi There.

My first post here so I apologise if it's in the wrong place....

I'm reloading .44 using a RL550b, Dillon size and power dies and a Lee seating and crimp die. I'm using Vihtavuori N320 powder, 240gr Lead SWC with 1.) 8.1gr powder and 2.) 6.0gr powder.

The pistol is a long barrelled Taurus .44 (Mod 66 ? - I'm in the UK so it's just referred to as a Taurus .44 LBR)

When using factory ammunition it shoots fine - what I expect from the gun and me.

When I use home loads the bullets tumble, going through the target sideways.. from 15 yrds out to 25. Distance doesn't seem to matter. Both 6gr and 8gr do the same.

The gun has been thoroughly cleaned and checked... no bulges etc. and the cylinder bores are as they should be. The fact it shoots fine with factory would suggest it's not the gun.

So.... I've tried:-

Changing the load - no difference.
Changing the crimp - no difference.
Checked the powder - good for purpose.

I could load using jacketed heads to try. I could change the bullet weight. I could change the powder...... heeeelp

But I'm at a loss as to where to look or what the problem might be.

So, over to the experts who can point me in the right direction and forgive my ignorance and stupidity if that's what it is... (after running away and hiding)

I look forwards to your suggestions and ideas....

2,984 posts
Joined July 2007

RE: Bullets Tumbling...

Excessive crimp or bullets undersized to the bore are the most common causes for bullets to tumble. Are you seeing a lot of leading in the barrel? Using extremely soft lead bullets pushed too fast can cause the bullet to push through the rifling, and not spin. Jacketing bullets are more likely to shoot well despite any of the above, because the copper alloy jacket is stiffer, so it grips the rifling better.
It could be a groove-to-groove dimension problem, or a bullet diameter problem. Try reducing the crimp so you only remove the flaring. If you are using a Lee Factory Crimp, remove it and use the roll crimp built into the Lee seat die to remove the flaring and test a few.
3 posts
Joined February 2015

RE: Bullets Tumbling...

Hey SkyDyno, I had a similar issue and it tool me a while to pin point too, in my case 45 Colt with the same Vita 320 powder.

In my case, the powder charge was just a little too much, with a combo of soft lead projectile, the bullet would simply not stabilize and instead the lead would melt off and void the rifling twist effect.

First I would check is:

Dirty, dirty barrel, which would indicate the projectile just stabilized in it's leady juice instead of spinning on the grooves.

Compare the bullet diameter with some FMJs, in my case, the lead ones were a few hundreds smaller. What I did is heat em up face upward just a little.

desperation, go super low on powder, like, throwing rocks low; just enough to exit the barrel.
5 posts
Joined February 2015

RE: Bullets Tumbling...

Alex... That's one of the routes I took and downloaded to 6gr. Less recoil (obviously) but still tumbling.

I've now pushed a head down the barrel manually to get a sizing at the forcing cone. As far as I can tell the bullet measures .429/.430 - as it should be.

I've ordered some different heads and will try those.

If they remain the same I'll start with changing the crimp as suggested above.

I'm open to further suggestions..??

Once I've done those....... I'll be back..... :-)
1 post
Joined September 2017

RE: Bullets Tumbling...

Hi, I'm also in the UK and I own three Taurus LB revolvers. A .357, a .44 and a .45acp. The .357 does have a slight tumbling problem with lead bullets. The .45acp has no problem at all with lead bullets but the .44 is a shocker. I fired 18 .44 specials today and 6 tumbled the other 12 shot perfectly and grouped in the centre of the target at 25mt. Factory ammo or jacketed shoot fine. Several people I know have the same problem with the .44 Taurus.

I never had these problems when I owned Rugers and Smiths. In my opinion it's a combination of the Taurus rifling and GM lead bullets. The GM lead bullets in .44 are well cast but the lead is very hard, possibly too hard to grip the rifling and I have measured them and find quite a few under .429. In my experience .430 are better for the Taurus.

Unfortunately, you have very little choice now to buy lead bullets in the UK not like the old days when you had the excellent KT, Silvalube, Howitzer and many others to choose from.

Cast your own might be an answer but it's more to do and all I want to do is shoot.