Reloading expert & author, Bob Shell, give us some history, product review and loads for the Accurate 5744 Powder.
Editors Note : Caution, ammunition reloading can be very dangerous, read our “Reloading Disclaimer“ .
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Accurate Arms introduced 5744 some years ago advertising it as a good powder for reduced loads in large rifle cases.
It also is used in large magnum pistol ammo with heavy bullets.
I can tell you from experience that Accurate 5744 Powder works well in large capacity rifle cases such as the 45-120. I have used it in such cases as the 11 mm French Gras and the 11×60 Mauser with good results. It does well in the 12.17×44 giving good accuracy and consistency. I have also used it in the 454 Casull with top loads showing its flexibility.
For info on their powder lines you can go to www.westernpowders.com for info. They carry Norma powder and other products as well.
When Keith Anderson who works in the lab at Accurate Arms told me that they were coming out with an improved version, he got my attention. The original is so good I was curious as to how it could be made better. Anyway, he sent me some to see for myself. With that thought in mind I decided to try reduced loads in such cartridges as the 30-06 and 30-40. One challenge I wanted to try was to get a 220 grain Sierra BT HP out at around 1050 FPS in other words a subsonic load that is both consistent and accurate. It, like the older 5744 and meters well in my powder measure which is a plus.
With the old guns such as the 11×60 Mauser rifle, it is important to keep the pressures low in order to be safe with them. The 5744 is safe enough for this purpose. While old guns are well made weapons for their day they are not designed for today’s modern high pressure loads. Most of the bolt action rifles have only one locking lug which is generally the bolt handle. I have found that 5744 powder works well in those guns with light loads. Velocities approximate the original loads which is what I desire with these antiques. The 45-120 shoots a 520-grain slug at 1600 FPS which will take down any animal you are likely to encounter. A friend of mine used it to shoot a 1 ton buffalo and one shot did it very effectively. In spite of the airspace the load was consistent using 45 grains. I have tried in in the 38-55 and 45-70 with good results in both. There are a handful of powders that are very flexible for many uses and the Accurate 5744 Powder is definitely one of them.
The 30-06 is the most flexible rifle round and I have developed many light and cast bullet loads. This is just a sample of the loads that can be used with 5744 powder.
|13 grains||220 grain Sierra||946||Consistent|
|14 grains||220 grain Sierra||1033||Nice|
|15 grains||220 grain Sierra||1137||Consistent|
|17 grains||220 grain Sierra||1229||Consistent|
One thing I found that even with 13 grains velocities are consistent in the 30-06 case even though there is a lot of airspace. That is one reason why I like 5744 so much. If you want a subsonic load in the 30-06 this might be the powder to use. A 220 grain bullet at 1000 FPS will be deadly at longer ranges up to a couple hundred yards with the only drawback would be drop. With the high sectional density of a 220 grain it would penetrate even at low velocities. You could use a 250 grain if desired. I have found that accuracy is good at those speeds.
Caliber: 30-40 Krag
The 30-40 Krag Rifle was the US military rifle from 1893 to 1903 when the 30-03 replaced it. The Krag action only has one locking lug so warm loads should be avoided. The Krag responds well to reduced loads and with the flexibility of 5744 it is a natural in this gun.
|15 grains||165 grain cast||1467||ok|
Caliber: 7.62×54 Russian
The 7.62 X 54 Russian has been around since 1891 and still sees some limited service making it the longest serving military rifle. Like most military rifles from that period it responds to reduced loads well and is flexible to the handloader.
|20 grains||150 grain Hornady||1614||Nice|
Caliber: 35 Remington
Another old timer cartridge is the 35 Remington. It has been around for over 100 years and is still being manufactured to an extent. Due to its ability to utilize 38 caliber handgun bullets flexibility is one of its virtues. There are many reduced load possibilities with Accurate 5744 Powder and other powders.
|15 grains||210 grain cast||1259||OK|
Caliber: 327 Federal Mag
In the 327 Federal mag 5744 Powder really shines with the heavy bullets. It does ok with 100 grain but 125 and 150 grainers really bring out the best using this powder. They are heavier then normal bullets but I wanted to try them for possible silhouette loads.
|12 grains||125 grain soft point||1126||OK|
|12.5 grains||125 grain soft point||1235||Nice|
|11 grains||125 grain cast||1134||OK|
|12.5 grains||125 grain cast||1265||Consistent|
|10 grains||150 grain cast||1061||OK|
I am working with an SKS rifle and wanted a subsonic load with a 180 and 220 grain bullets. The object was to have it launched between 1050 and 1100 FPS. The Accurate 5744 was a success as it gave the desired results with consistent velocities.
Note the difference with just 1 grain of powder difference. Working with this powder I am amazed at it versatility.
Even the 8 grain load worked though the ES was high as a result of a load that is too light. This test reveals that this powder can function at loads much lower than normal. I have observed this behavior with other guns and it is amazing on how low a charge you can use and still get a bullet to exit the muzzle. Of course the real light loads produce high standard deviations and incomplete ignition but that is normal.
|19 grains||Hornady HP||1925||Nice|
|15 grains||125 grain cast||1469||OK|
|18 grains||125 grain cast||1822||Very Consistent|
|11 grains||180 grain Speer RN||1076||Consistent|
|12 grains||180 grain Speer RN||1201||Nice|
|8 grains||220 grain cast||791||Light|
|11 grains||220 grain cast||1094||OK|
|12 grains||220 grain cast||1212||Very Nice|
Caliber: 9.3×57 Straight
9.3 X 57 Straight a drilling that was fairly popular in Europe at one time. It is a short version of the 9.3 X 74. The case is very long and thin having the same diameter as a 30-30 case. Cases and ammo are available on a spotty basis from Sellier & Belliot. The 9.3 X 74 case can be trimmed for the 9.3 X 57.
|20 grains||193 DKT Jacketed||1443||Mild|
The 38-55 is a straight case from the black powder era. It was a favored target round and used for some hunting. In a modern gun ammo can be made powerful enough for deer and black bear hunting. There are a few bullets available and Starline produces the brass.
|24 grains||220 grain Hornady||1827||Nice|
Caliber: 10.4 Swiss
The 10.4 Swiss originally was brought out as a rimfire rifle for the Swiss military. It was one of the earlier bolt action rifles and being a rimfire made it somewhat odd as most military rounds were centerfire. Later a centerfire was brought out and there is a conversion set up for the rimfire which is easy to do. Cases are made from 348 brass and the bullet is a heeled bullet which are available but would take some looking. Bob Hayley 940-888-3352 produces both the brass and bullets.
|21 grains||325 grain||1148 (Short Barrel)||Consistent|
|21 grains||325 grain||1192 (Long Barrel)||Consistent|
|22 grains||310 grain||1261 (different gun)||Nice|
Caliber: 45 Martini Henry / 45-70
The 45 caliber Martini Henry is an odd round closely resembling the 45-70 therefore many cast bullets can be used to an advantage.
|25 grains||300 grain HB Cast||1094||Mild|
Caliber: 11×60 Mauser
The 11×60 Mauser was brought out in 1871 by Germany and was their service rifle until 1888 when the 8×57 Commission rifle replaced it. It was the first of many Mauser designs and is a black powder design though smokeless loads can be used if you are cautious. This load is close to the military round and is safe in a gun that is in good shape.
Load Bullet Velocity Comment
30 grains 370 grain cast 1415 Accurate
Caliber: 11mm French Gras
The 11 mm French Gras closely resembles the Mauser round though they are not interchangeable. Like the Mauser it was originally a black powder round but cautious users can load smokeless propellants. This load is close to the military round and it like the Mauser can be used on large game.
|33 grains||370 grain cast||1446||Accurate|
Caliber: 11mm Short
This 11 mm short on a straight pull model 95 action may be one of a kind. It was originally an 8 X 56 R but someone re-barreled it with an 11 mm barrel. The case is a trimmed 8 X 56 and the bullets were 45 caliber swaged to .446 and they shot fine. It is a low powered round good for target or small game. If something different appeals to you then this is your gun.
|20 grains||230 grain cast||1214||OK|
|25 grains||230 grain cast||1455||Nice Load|
Caliber: 43 Spanish
A rolling block in 43 Spanish is a very desirable rifle. The action is strong enough to use smokeless loads though caution should be used. The bullet diameter is .439 but you can swage down larger bullets such as the .446 if the .439’s are not available. These loads are very similar to the military ballistics.
|30 grains||370 grain cast||1511||Accurate|
|29 grains||385 grain cast||1460||Nice|
One of my older rifles is a rolling block in 12.17×44. It was available in rimfire as well as the centerfire version. The rimfire was adopted by the military. My rifle looks rough and has been in a fire but in spite of that and some pitting in the rifling it still is accurate. The cases have to be made from 348 rounds and the bullet diameter is .502 so some cast bullets for the 500 S & W can work. The round resembles a 50-70 but is slightly smaller. I found that bullets in the 300 to 350 grain range work the best. With Accurate 5744 Powder, accuracy is outstanding and at 50 yards, they can be put into the same hole with some enlargement.
|25 grains||300 grain cast||1140||Light|
|30 grains||300 grain cast||1351||Nice|
The 25-grain load shot fairly well but left some unburned powder behind indicating a light load. The 30 grain burned cleaner. As a note, I tried 325-grain Berry bullet with a different powder and it did ok.
It is amazing how versatile Accurate 5744 Powder is.
It seems to work well with high intensity rounds such as the 327 Federal and 454 Casull or an old 43 Spanish. I can’t imagine not having some 5744 Powder on the reloading shelf. I wanted to show the versatility of the powder that is why I listed a lot of calibers rather than a few with a lot of loads for each. I have other rounds with this powder but to save space left them out. I have others such as the 12.17 X 44 where this powder is my favorite.
Accurate 5744 Powder is available for sale online including from the fine folks at Brownells.
Western Powders 2016 Ammunition Loading Guide (reloading can be dangerous : Reloading Disclaimer )
About Bob Shell:
A Custom Reloader of Obsolete and Antique Ammo, Bob Shell, writes about the subject of Guns, Ammo, Shooting and Related Subjects. Visit: www.bobshellsblog.blogspot.com.