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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Powder Room - CAS reloading (Moderator: Professor Marvel)  |  Topic: Starting my 44-40 reloading adventure but I have a question. 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Starting my 44-40 reloading adventure but I have a question.  (Read 5503 times)
M113A3
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« on: May 14, 2017, 07:37:52 pm »


Hi All,

Some time ago I wanted to start reloading which was put on hold until recently. I am just starting to go step by step through the process and wanted to check in with some of you old hands.

Cases areMagtech (once fired)
Dies are RCBS Cowboy Dies
Bullets are Badman 44-40 RNFP .428

Here are the steps so far for 5 test cases.
1) decap with Lee universal die
2) clean
3) size (they measure 1.293 except for one which is closer to 1.292)
4) expand

The photo shows how the bullet seats by hand with each one of the five fitting exactly the same way. In looking back at the LYMAN manual I am using which says trim to length 1.295. My question is that only information for their test cartridges or is my brass too short?

I know this likely sounds a bit silly to so of you but I am just taking small steps to learn the process and have fun while doing so.

BTW is this the correct for the bullet to seat that this depth to get it started correctly?

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August
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2017, 08:22:18 pm »

Absolutely not.  The ring near the front end of the bullet is the crimp groove.  You MUST put the case mouth into that groove with a solid roll crimp.  The bullet is designed to work in period correct firearms with it seated and crimped to that point.  

Most of the bullet will be down, inside the case when properly seated.  

If you don't seat to the designed crimp groove, the round will not work in your guns -- heck, you won't even be able to get it into your chambers.

All the Winchester Center Fire calibers (44'40, 38/40, and 32-20) must be loaded this way.

The case mouth will "taper" down into that groove and have a solid mating with the forward edge of the groove when properly seated and crimped.  It is called roll-crimp precisely because the case mouth is rolled into the groove on the bullet.  This crimp achieves a solid connection between the bullet and the case which will prevent movement when using the rounds in a firearm in the field.  It is the only thing holding the bullet in proper relationship to the case as neck tension is practically non-existent in this round.  If the bullet should move back, into the case inadvertently, it can jamb the gun and/or cause serious over-pressure issues with the round (i.e. kaboom).

p.s. no trimming of the cases is typically needed to achieve correct results.  The belling operation is very important for getting bullets properly seated in this caliber.  And, adjusting the seating/crimp die to make a good crimp without shaving lead off the bullet is tricky -- but possible.  Some guys separate seating and crimping in this caliber.  But, my experience is that its possible to do both operations at one station by making very precise adjustments to the seating/crimping die.



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Baltimore Ed
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2017, 08:30:49 pm »

Good start, don't worry about the case headstamp or case length. It's cas, targets are way big and way close. The small differences in the brass won't really matter, the overall loaded cartridge length is whats important. And that is dependent upon the particular rifle you're using. Some are case length sensitive and others not so much. Just be sure to get a good crimp into the crimp groove to keep the bullet from being pushed back into the case during recoil and your magazine tube is loaded with 10 rds. This event will wreck a stage if not the match. It won't hurt your rifle but is a pita to fix. Never happened to me but I've seen it happen to others. Good luck.
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Back Roads
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2017, 09:43:23 pm »

If your bullet starts the way the picture shows then your good to go. Go ahead and finish seating the bullet to the crimp groove. Make sure you drop the powder before seating. Keep the bullet straight. A 44-40 case mouth is pretty thin and will deform easily. Just make sure your case is seated in the shell holder completely and take your time and everything should go well.

Back Roads
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wildman1
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2017, 09:49:58 pm »

If you find your bullet goes a little crooked or shaves lead off one side you may want to bell the case mouth a little more so it seats a little easier.
wM1
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M113A3
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2017, 10:00:22 pm »

Thanks guys! Like I said small steps as I learn the process...

August - thanks for the cautionary note and pictures. The example I posted was just the test fit of the bullet in the case to get it started.

I have not put in a primer nor powder at this point. Those will me next steps...

Thanks all!
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PJ Hardtack
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2017, 11:51:55 am »

Most bullets have a slight bevel to the base. If you can just get the bottom of your bullet started in the case mouth, you have sufficient belling. More will just accellerate case wear. Your picture shows you have that.

You didn't mention your reloading press. Whether it's a progressive or single stage press, you are well advised to crimp as a separate step.
Some use a Lee "factory crimp" die as well, particularly for 44-40 revolvers, some of which have tight chambers. Rifles tend to eat anything.

I lube and size/deprime all my 44-40 brass before running it through my Dillon. Bit of a chore, but I get the ammo quality I want.
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Coffinmaker
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2017, 03:54:00 pm »

Wait a minute there PJ, ......
You Lube, Size, and De-Prime ....... BEFORE?? ...... running it through your Dillon???  I mean it's really none of my business, but ................ Isn't that what the first position on a Dillion is for??  Well, to resize and De-Prime.  Squirt the lube on prior of course.  Well, anyway, 44-40 or 38-40 or 32-20 can be a challenge to load.  After a little trial and error ..... easy peasy. 

I do fully agree with, recommend, confirm, suggest, and put fourth "crimp as a separate step."  It may be found the RCBS Cowboy "seat it, crimp it, spit it out, die will crush a bunch of 44-40 cases.  Personally, I like "Redding Profile Crimp" dies.  Doesn't mean they are the Be All, End All, worlds best, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (famous movie line), just that I like em.  Lee "Factory Crimp" is pretty good too (I have heard) although I have never own'd one.

Take your time.  Don't use CCI primers for anything and if your not sure ....... ask.

Coffinmaker
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Baltimore Ed
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2017, 04:04:05 pm »

Coffinmaker, What's wrong with CCI primers? They're the only ones that I ever use. Except when I couldn't find them and have had to use Winchesters. And my other question as I also have recently started loading 44-40 for my 73 musket is why aren't there carbide dies for 44-40?
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Coffinmaker
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2017, 04:22:52 pm »

Ah, happy that you should ask Padawan..........

First.  I happen to be opinionated (no, really, it's true) and spent many lustrum building competition guns just for CAS activity.  Many of my victims er .. Customers, request the lightest possible function in a never ending quest for ......... SPEED.  It was found, CCI, having the hardest cup material were the hardest primers to ignite with the the feather light springs usually requested.  Federals were the easiest.
Therefore, guns were built to be "Federal Primer" specific.  Now, before we start throwing cream pies, that's actually pretty STUPID.  But, what Lola wants, Lola gets ('nother famous line from something). SO:

If your running anything other than OEM Main Springs, don't run CCI primers.  Well, lightly massaged Main Springs would be OK too.

Next up for bids .........

44-40 is a tapered case.  It's smaller at the mouth than the base.  Or target at the base than the mouth, depending on whether your looking up .... or down.  The KEY is ...... tapered.  Tungsten Carbide dies only have a small "ring" of actual TC at the base of the die.  That small ring only works on STRAIGHT wall cases.  Nobody makes an entire Die out of TC and I'm not sure it would work if they did and I know we couldn't afford a solid TC die.  Burma Shave.

Coffinmaker

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Baltimore Ed
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2017, 05:20:14 pm »

Thanks for 'splaning about the carbide die. They are a definite labor saver, shame they won't work on bottleneck cartridges. As to the primers I'm not a gamer so I didn't know that gamer primer stuff. I will admit that I have cut a coil or two from a mainspring but in my defense I am and have always shot duelist. And finally and most important, how do you know my wife Lola, sir! I've been married to her for almost 40 years and shes never mentioned dating any carpenters/ undertakers who construct coffins. Do we need to meet at high noon in CAS City's Main St so that I can defend her honor? Name your weapon and second.
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Baltimore Ed
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2017, 05:39:49 pm »

Here's Lola and my grandson Ethan in their fancy duds at the Wyoming State shoot about 10 yrs ago. My apologies to the op for getting off subject here. And you are certainly right 'whatever Lola wants, Lola gets' . It's from the film 'Damn Yankees'.


* image.jpeg (200.44 KB, 768x1024 - viewed 43 times.)
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M113A3
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2017, 11:20:30 pm »

Thanks for all the replies even those off topic as they add a bit of flavor  Grin

PJ I am using a Rock Chucker and I do have a Lee factory die to do the crimp as a separate step. When I first started researching reloading the 44WCF\44-40 the rational made sense to me.

As for the primers and the reason why not to use them I would agree. I learned that from a guy not all that long ago at Clarks Custom Guns. Federal seem to be the better choice for a race gun.

I will keep you all posted on my progress... I hope to have time this weekend to take a few more step down the reloading road.

Cheers!
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Jake C
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2017, 10:43:55 am »

So dumb question here, but say one is using the RCBS cowboy dies for .44-40. How would one go about seating the bullet but not crimping it? If I recall, the cowboy dies do both in the same step. I'm assuming one would have to adjust the die a bit, get it to seat but no more?

Not an issue for me yet, since I don't have a .44-40, but one day I will, so I figure it doesn't hurt to ask.
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Coal Creek Griff
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2017, 11:04:42 am »

That is a simple die adjustment. The die body is simply not screwed down far enough to crimp, but the seating stem is adjusted to properly seat the bullet.

CC Griff
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Trailrider
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2017, 11:10:30 am »

Just MHO, but I have been loading .44-40 for at least 20 years, using an RCBS Model B, Junior press that is about 55 years old.  I use regular RCBS dies, which sizes the case down enough for .427" bullets behind where the base of the bullet comes. However, since I use .430" bullets, I have substituted the expander plug from .44 Magnum dies (the plug body has the same threads as the main die body, and I use double locking rings to maintain the adjustment in case I want to go back to the original expander plug for smaller bullets). I seat and crimp in one step using the RCBS die adjusted to put a visible roll crimp of the case mouth into the crimp groove in the bullet, but not so much crimp to collapse the thin Winchester brass case.  I use Winchester Large Pistol Primers exclusively.

It takes a little patience to get your dies adjusted properly, but once done loading .44-40 is pretty easy.
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M113A3
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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2017, 07:47:16 pm »

Ok I ran into my first issue and need some advice. I decided to check to see if the case with a chamber checker from EGW and discovered that the last 20% stops. I wanted to check before I started to prime the cases.

So did I not set up the resizing die correctly  Huh
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mehavey
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2017, 12:23:13 am »

SIZING:
Screw the die down to firmly contact the shellholder.*  Lock it.  You will be good-to-go w/ a full-length resize.

SEATING:


1.  A case just flared enough that about a dime's worth of straight shank will start is perfect.  Your pic is good-to-go.

2.  You can (and I do) seat/crimp in one step.  A cast bullet's crimp groove (as in the one shown) is designed for that.
     - For the first bullet, seat the bullet to cover about 90% of the groove without any crimp.
     - Unscrew the seating stem 2-3 full turns, and then screw the die body down to where you get a decent crimp. Lock the die.
     - With the cartridge still fully rammed up into the seater/crimp die, screw the seating stem down to make firm (not gorilla)
       contact with the bullet.  Lock the stem.

3.  You may now seat/crimp all remaining bullets in one step w/o any fear of collapsing the case.



* (The 44-40 case is not stiff enough to spring the press.  Firm shellholder contact is all that's needed.)
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M113A3
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2017, 10:44:07 pm »

Thanks mehavey for the tip. I rechecked the sizing die and it only needed a slight adjustment so that all the cases drop in perfectly into the chamber checker.

BUT... it turns out my issue is with the expanding die.  I took the first resized case and checked to see if the bullet would seat and found I needed to use the expander. Once done I rechecked the case in the chamber checker and was back to where I started. 

So the expanding die needs adjustment. The problem is I am not exactly sure what since I followed the instructions exactly i.e. the die touches the shell holder at the top of the stroke. It belled the case mouth perfectly yet some how is causing the problem

Thoughts anyone Huh
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Baltimore Ed
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2017, 11:23:35 pm »

The case probably won't go into your gauge expanded but once you've seated and crimped the bullet should go in your gauge again. Maybe your expander die is set too low and is deforming the brass. There is no set depth on the expander die body as you simply screw your expander plug in enough to slightly bell the mouth of the case. Sounds like the die maybe is set too deep. Only the sizer die and crimping/seater die have to be at the exact correct depth to do the jobs they do. The crimp/seat die is sometimes difficult to get right as the bullet gets pushed down while the case is raised and at the top of the rams stroke the case is at the step of the die that crimps the brass and the bullet is pushed deep enough for the case crimp to go into the bullets crimp groove. Hope this helps.
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PJ Hardtack
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« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2017, 10:05:12 am »

Old habit. I used to fastidiously wipe off the spray on lube before proceeding to avoid primer contamination. I've since cut the lube with alcohol so it dries PDQ. I could start off with the first position on the Dillon.


Wait a minute there PJ, ......
You Lube, Size, and De-Prime ....... BEFORE?? ...... running it through your Dillon???  I mean it's really none of my business, but ................ Isn't that what the first position on a Dillion is for??  Well, to resize and De-Prime.  Squirt the lube on prior of course.  Well, anyway, 44-40 or 38-40 or 32-20 can be a challenge to load.  After a little trial and error ..... easy peasy. 

Coffinmaker
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« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2017, 05:12:23 pm »

Well Heck PJ.

I admit I'm lazy.  I don't like extra steps.  At'z why a run two progressive presses.  One for small primers and one for biggies.  Just move my stool.  I digress.  Only a little.  Extra steps.  Nada.  None.  Zero.  Piffit.  I dump all my cases inna box wid a lid (shoe box), squirt the lube lightly, close the lid and shake ..... dump inna collimator (case feeder) and go.  After the turret fills, every cycle of the handle pops out a loaded round.  Once properly adjusted, even 44-40.

Coffinmaker
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M113A3
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« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2017, 10:45:09 pm »

Thanks Baltimore Ed.

One more question I ordered the wrong primers Fed #155 vs. 150 which is what the manual says... since there are no returns should I just order the correct ones or is it safe to use them?

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Baltimore Ed
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« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2017, 11:31:06 pm »

Federal 155 primers are magnum primers. The only time I've used magnums was during the primer shortage when they were all I could find. I had to tweek my recipes until they were gone and then I went back to my usual. The 150s are standard. Find some standard primers until you get more comfortable reloading. You don't need extra variables in whatever load you are working up. I've been using CCI or Winchester large pistol primers in my .44-40 with no issues. When you start attending shoots you should be able to sell or swap the mags for standards with no problems.
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mehavey
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« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2017, 11:39:30 pm »

You're not going to run into pressure problems using mag primers
if you're loading anywhere near standard 44-40 loadouts.  Use`em.

BTW: What powder/load are you contemplating ?
         (200gr bullet/8.0gr UNIQUE is a standard)

BTW#2:  I note Badaman advertises "hard-cast", but doesn't specify
             just "what" hardness that is.  FWIW, soft is good is
             future buys.  (Remember http://i67.tinypic.com/ny8qva.jpg.
             That 30-1 alloy is not much harder than pure lead.)
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Powder Room - CAS reloading (Moderator: Professor Marvel)  |  Topic: Starting my 44-40 reloading adventure but I have a question. « previous next »
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