Accurate 5744 Powder: Versatility in a Bottle

Accurate 5744 Powder: Versatility in a Bottle
The .30-06 Springfield can be loaded to perform like the .30-30 Winchester when powered with 5744—or even to subsonic velocities with heavy bullets.

Looking to extend your big-bore behemoth's usefulness in the field? Accurate 5744 Powder is your answer for taming these beasts.

What Accurate 5744 Offers:

  • A fast-burning, double-based, extruded powder.
  • Works in a wide spectrum of cartridges from .17 caliber all the way up to big-bore rifles.
  • Excellent choice for reduced-velocity big-bore loads.

To a shooter who’s unfamiliar with the recoil of a cartridge suitable for African dangerous-game animals, it can be nothing short of hellacious.

The versatility of the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum, .416 Rigby, .404 Jeffery and .458 Winchester Magnum has been long proven, but to many shooters, the full-house loads represent the fast track to a flinch. Yes, inevitably, the shooter will need to become proficient with the bullet weights and velocities for which these types of cartridges were designed.

Nevertheless, there are many instances for which a hunter would want to use their big-bore rifle on lighter game here in the lower 48 states. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking the .375 for whitetails, but you certainly don’t need 4,000 ft.-lbs. of energy to kill a deer.

Want to take the .404 Jeffery for feral hogs? Do you like to practice with the .470 NE without the punishment to your shoulder? Well, there’s a means of generating low-velocity ammunition without the dangers associated with the weird pressure spikes from under-pressure cartridges: Accurate 5744 powder.

Powder Locker Must-Have

This unique and highly useful powder serves many purposes (although it’s leaned on rather heavily for the reduced big-bore loads) and actually relieves a few headaches along the way. I think Accurate 5744 is a powder every reloader should have in their powder locker; it works in so many different cartridges, and you might find yourself reaching for it more often than you’d think.

Accurate 5744 is a perfect choice for larger, straight-walled pistol cartridges such as the .45 Colt.
Accurate 5744 is a perfect choice for larger, straight-walled pistol cartridges such as the .45 Colt.

In short, 5744 is a fast-burning, double-based, extruded powder that, when used in its normal capacity, is a perfect fuel for large-capacity handgun cases—from the .41 Remington Magnum to the .44 Remington Magnum, .45 Colt and .454 Casull, right up through the behemoth .500 Smith & Wesson. In the rifle cases, 5744 is well-suited to the .17 and .22 Hornet, .222 and .223 Remington, as well as the 7mm-08 Remington, .308 Winchester and the WSM family.

It will serve as a reduced-load powder choice in the aforementioned big-bore cartridges and is an optimum choice in those larger black-powder cartridges, such as the .45-70 Government and the .45-110 and .45-120. It also serves many of the lever-gun cartridges, such as the .30-30 Winchester, .35 Remington, .348 Winchester and .358 Winchester. This powder is one of the most useful, if not the most useful, powders to have in your arsenal.

The size of the extruded grains of Accurate 5744 are significantly larger than those of most other extruded powders, and that additional bulk takes up enough room in the big cases so that no filler is required. In spite of very low load densities, there’s no erratic ignition, and velocities stay rather consistent. And, when you tailor the load to your comfort level, even a beast such as the .416 Rigby can be tamed.

However, because it’s a powder that gives a standard performance level, I’ve had very good results in the .30-30 Winchester case in rifles old and new. My Winchester 94AE XTR, with its 20-inch barrel, likes a 150-grain Nosler Combined Technology round-nose bullet of more than 23.7 grains of 5744 for 2,175 fps. That rifle was never the most accurate, although through handloading, I’ve seen the best results it has had to offer; and the 5744 load ranks among the best of my “pet” loads.

All-Around Great Choice

For this deer season, my father lent me the rifle he shot his first deer with—a sweet, octagonal-barreled Model 1893 Marlin in .30-30 Winchester that was manufactured in 1902. I took it easy on the old girl in regard to pressure and velocity, and it showed a preference for 5744 as well, although the rifle liked the 170-grain slugs, especially the round-nose Nosler Partition. At 2,110 fps, this classic setup will take whitetail, black bear and more.

Accurate 5744 is a bulky powder, as is easily discernible when comparing its grain structure to other extruded powders such as Hodgdon’s Varget.
Accurate 5744 is a bulky powder, as is easily discernible when comparing its grain structure to other extruded powders such as Hodgdon’s Varget.

It also shines in the Winchester Short Magnums, and while the .300 WSM is probably the one of the bunch that will remain with us (just my prediction), Accurate 5744 is also well-suited to the .270 WSM and 7mm WSM. I’ve often found the WSM series to be among the finicky cartridges, but I’ve added Accurate 5744 to the short list of powders (Reloder 17 heads that list) I reach for when loading the WSMs. It works equally well for full-house loads and reduced loads in the .300 WSM, so a reloader can work from .308 Winchester velocities right up though the magnum velocities.

Accurate 5744 is also a great choice for straight-walled cartridges such as the .444 Marlin, .458 Winchester Magnum, .450 BushMaster and the .45-70 Government, especially with lead bullets. It seems to be ideal in those cases, although when the capacity increases to the size of the .458 Lott, you’ll need another choice.

In the larger handgun cases, 5744 works as a standard-performance in some and a reduced-load powder in others. In the .45 Colt—one of my particular favorites—25.0 grains of 5744 will drive the 255-grain lead bullet (made so famous in the classic load for the Colt Single Action Army revolvers) in my Ruger Blackhawk to a muzzle velocity of 1,300 fps.
This is a higher-pressure load, reserved for strong actions such as the Blackhawk; however, 18.0 grains will give pressures suitable for all .45 Colt guns at a muzzle velocity of right around 950 fps. In the .454 Casull, it’s a reduced-load powder; yet, in the .44 Remington Magnum, it gives full-power velocities.

Big-Bore Power Without The Recoil

However, it’s in the reduced-velocity big-bore loads where 5744 really shines. I have used it in the .404 Jeffery, .416 Rigby and .375 H&H with great effect. With just 46.0 grains of 5744 and a 400-grain Hornady round-nose, I got 1,725 fps and a reduction in felt recoil of 25 to 30 percent. It’s still plenty of gun for lighter game—think .45-70 with a better sectional density—but it’s much easier on the shoulder and a great way to train with your buffalo/elephant rifle.

Load Up On Reloading Info:

As if the .375 H&H Magnum weren’t one of the most versatile cartridges ever made, the use of 5744 makes it even more so. No time at the range can adequately reproduce a real-life hunting scenario, and using 40 grains of Accurate 5744 and a 220- or 235-grain bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2,250 fps brings the big gun down into the realm of the obscure .375 Winchester cartridge. Light bullet, low recoil, yet perfect for deer and hogs—what more could you want? Spending time with your chosen rifle is priceless, and when the time comes to take it on safari or north to Alaska, you’ll be happy it feels so familiar.

Even the .30-06 Springfield and other popular medium calibers can benefit from Accurate 5744, because the velocity can be brought down into the .30-30 Winchester range for a younger shooter or even a new shooter. Want a kid to grow into a big-game rifle without needing to buy several different calibers? Think about the combination of the Savage AccuFit stock (or any other system via which the length of pull can be changed to accommodate a growing hunter) and ammunition ranging from .30-30 power levels right up to full-throttle ’06 stuff. That rifle will stay with him or her for life.

On the Burn Rate Chart, 5744 definitely comes in on the faster end of the spectrum (a bit slower than Hodgdon’s H110 and a bit faster than IMR4198), but because of the way it performs in so many different scenarios, 5744 warrants a place on your reloading bench—even if it’s for no other reason than to offer the reduced loads to new shooters.
Pick up a pound and see how nice it is to practice with a big-bore … without the recoil.

The article originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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  1. I completely agree with you on 5744 powder’s versatility. It is great for making reduced loads for many calibers and I wish I had known about it back when I had a .375 H&H. Today I like it so much that I invested in a 8 pound container. My personal favorite is the .375 Ruger case with 40 grains 5744 over a standard primer and topped with a Speer 235 grain Hot Core bullet. Velocity is above 2000 FPS which is enough speed for decent expansion, it’s accurate, and very easy on the shoulder. The Speed Hot Core bullet shoots well from 1800 up to much higher velocities in my loading manual, but I have not tested any higher velocities yet. I plan to try some one of these days when I have time. Maybe I will find another sweet combination This loading is fine for deer, black bear, and hogs. I also tested some 200 grain flat nose reduced loads. However I did not get the the same level of performance.


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