Author Topic: Cowboy vs Regular Dies  (Read 3242 times)

Offline MikeM.

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Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« on: October 28, 2018, 09:23:12 am »
I am in the market for a set of RCBS 44-40 dies. I am going to be loading mostly "cowboy" type loads for my Uberti replica guns. I see that they have a set of cowboy dies available but at a more expensive price. Are there any advantages in using these over their standard models??

Online Isom

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2018, 10:57:44 am »
Mike,
I don't know about the Cowboy dies, but I've been using the RCBS regular 44-40 dies for over 20 yrs , B/P and smokeless, with bullets from .427-429 and haven't had any problems. Always with lead bullets. A lot of guys swear by them, I've never used them. I shoot replica and originals, rifles and pistols.  Just saying.
Isom

Offline MikeM.

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2018, 11:48:50 am »
That is kinda what I figured . I think I will go with the regular dies and save  $20-$30 .....

Offline Crow Choker

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2018, 02:07:03 pm »
From what I've read and been told about RCBS's Cowboy Dies, is that their dimensions are a bit different than regular RCBS dies of the same caliber. I bought a set of 44 Spec RCBS CB dies when I bought my Uberti 44 Spec Open Top. Prior to getting, I called RCBS and the rep' told me it's mostly in the expanding die so as the lead bullet doesn't shave lead. Don't know why that should be much of a problem as you can adjust any brass expanding die's stem up and down to get any size flare for your bullet. Also the CB dies are plated sort of a dull gold finish with a darker colored locking ring, has nothing to do with quality of ammo produced, just a selling point IMO, but they do look nice. RCBS says that only lead bullets should be loaded with their CB dies, but I loaded jacketed Speer HP's in 44 Spec with no problems. I've loaded both 44 Special and 44 Colt with my die for my OT and Richards II, also 44 Spec for a Ruger Super Blackhawk. When trying to load the longer case 44 Mag for the Ruger, I couldn't get enough seating and crimping length out of the CB die so I had to buy a sperate 44 Mag seating die. Of course that wouldn't make any difference for your 44-40 loading. See there is a $17.00 difference in price between regular carbide and CB RCBS dies at Midway. IMO yer basicly payin for the gold plating with the CB dies, they can't do anything more than the regular sets. I bought my CB die around ten years ago on sale at Midsouth, was only a few dollars more at the time than a regular carbide set. I've loaded up many rounds of 45 Colt rounds on a  carbide set of RCBS 45 Colt dies, both smokeless and black, round nose, conical, and SWC bullets. Neither of my 45 Colt revolvers has complained I didn't use Cowboy Dies.
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Offline MikeM.

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2018, 05:22:11 pm »
Great!! Thanks!!! I was going to ask if 44 Colt could be loaded with 44 Special dies!!! I have a Cimarron/Uberti Conversion myself
« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 05:56:49 pm by MikeM. »

Offline Abilene

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2018, 06:21:47 pm »
Great!! Thanks!!! I was going to ask if 44 Colt could be loaded with 44 Special dies!!! I have a Cimarron/Uberti Conversion myself

You will need a different shell holder since the 44 Colt has a smaller rim.

Offline ira scott

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2018, 08:46:54 pm »
LEE makes good dies for the .44-40. It is the only source for the collet neck crimping die.

The Lee collet neck crimping die is almost a must have item for 38 and 44 WCF, unless all your cases are the same length.
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Offline MikeM.

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2018, 09:35:24 pm »
Those are even cheaper than the regular RCBS ones !! Does this collet neck crimping die come
With the set or does it have to be bought separately ???

Offline pony express

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2018, 09:49:07 pm »
Some die sets include them, some don't. Read the item descriptions carefully, they will tell you what you're getting.

Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2018, 09:51:42 pm »
I REALLY like the Cowboy dies for the WCF calibers, 44-40, 32-20, etc. I'm not sure what the differences are but I have no problems when using them, other dies sometimes do weird things and the Lee dies make them not even look like a 44-40.

For straight wall cases I most always run with Lee Carbide dies but I won't use anything but RCBS Cowboy dies for 44-40 or 32-20.
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Offline Trailrider

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2018, 09:52:13 pm »
Mike,
I don't know about the Cowboy dies, but I've been using the RCBS regular 44-40 dies for over 20 yrs , B/P and smokeless, with bullets from .427-429 and haven't had any problems. Always with lead bullets. A lot of guys swear by them, I've never used them. I shoot replica and originals, rifles and pistols.  Just saying.
Isom
I have never used the RCBS Cowboy dies, either. Their regular .44-40 dies have served me well for nearly a half-century.  The only variation I have done is to order a .44 Magnum expander plug, which fits into the expander die body. I also bought two extra locking rings so that I can lock the adjustment of the plug stem for the standard plug, for .427-.428" bullets, and the Maggie expander for used with .429-.430" bullets.  Like Isom, I stick with lead bullets for my .44-40 guns.
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Offline MikeM.

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2018, 06:24:23 am »
So, do all 44-40 dies come with an expanding plug to fit .427/.428 bullets?? I read that most modern 44-40s are more like .429

Offline Sir Charles deMouton-Black

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2018, 07:22:29 am »
I load with the LEE dies, but swapped out the expander plug from my .44 Mag LEE dies. As I size all my .44 cast bullets to .428 I use it a bit differently (Just because I am different)

I use the .429 expander as an "M" die to expand the mouth of the case just a smidge so I can start to bullet by hand. I never crush a case that way, but as I don't need 1,000 bullets each week being slower is no problem.
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Offline Roscoe

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2018, 08:35:26 am »
I am in the market for a set of RCBS 44-40 dies. I am going to be loading mostly "cowboy" type loads for my Uberti replica guns. I see that they have a set of cowboy dies available but at a more expensive price. Are there any advantages in using these over their standard models??
I use the RCBS Cowboy dies but purchased the .430 expander plug for the bullets that fit my gun. Note that the dies are not carbide, since the cartridge is slightly necked, so plan on lubing everything. With new brass and the larger expander I do best by not sizing and by spraying One Shot in the case mouths and letting it dry. Otherwise cases can gall on the expander.

Offline Crow Choker

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2018, 06:40:49 pm »
Note that the dies are not carbide, since the cartridge is slightly necked, so plan on lubing everything.


Well, never thought of that aspect of the 44-40 that cases of this style can't use a carbide die. Never crossed my mind, I've never paid much attention to reloading procedures for them. Have always read where necks can be buckled easy and such, I don't reload for 44-40 or any other pistol calibers of this style, but makes sense. No different than bottle neck rifle calibers not being able to use a carbide die to resize. Wish you could use a sizer for bottleneck brass that doesn't require lubing cases prior to resizing, PIA to have to clean off lube IMO. I know, could use spray, I'm old school when it comes to resizing. Figure half the spray your using when spraying a loading block of cases ends up elsewhere (waste) and I believe someone does offer a lubeless die, but I'm not going to rush out and replace all of my bottleneck rifle dies. Took me along time to go from cassettes to CD's and from VHS to DVD's. What does that tell ya.

Edit: RCBS does offer a sizer die with some sort of lube chamber-have never heard/read how well they work, only offer three of the eight calibers I reload. Guess I'll leave em be and get along as I've always done, lube pad and cleaning rag.

You will need a different shell holder since the 44 Colt has a smaller rim.

MikeM: You mentioned reloading 44 Colt with 44 Special dies (can reload 44 Russian too if you desire) and as Ablene pointed out you need a different shell holder. Very true, can't recall the size diameter difference offhand, but the 44 Colt is slightly smaller. I've found that a Lee size 2 or RCBS size 3 works very well. There was once a report that shell holders for 41 Magnum (#30) works "Wrong"-I bought one and its to tight, at least the RCBS offering was. The Lee #2 or RCBS #3 both have a tight, non-wobble fit. Can't say what numbers of other manufacturers will do, a cross reference chart will tell. Although I haven't used it for 44 Colt, I just checked a #1 Redding with a 44 Colt case and its a good fit also. (Cross reference's with RCBS #3).


Edit: Forgot to add, reference using a Lee#2 or RCBS #3 shell holders for 44 Colt in the RCBS Rockchucker press I use, I use a #9 Lee Auto Primer shell holder for the priming operation. A Lee #2 is too tight (if not using a Lee Auto Primer its of no significance). Why this is, don't ask me--I only know what I've found that works as very few reload manuals, reloading manufacturer product info instruction pamphlets, or website sites provides info what to use when reloading 44 Colt.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 12:39:10 pm by Crow Choker »
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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2018, 09:04:36 am »

TA DA ...  ;D

At this point I should add my first disclaimer.  This missive will provide no meaningful information to the OP.  I don't use RCBS Cowboy dies and haven't felt the need.  No ... Wait .... I do have an RCBS Cowboy die stuck in one of my .45 die sets.  it's the "seat/crimp" die.  I don't actually use it.  Loading on a Dillon 650 (actually two 650s) I have never felt the need for anything other than Dillon dies with just one CAVEAT:  I do use a Redding Profile crimp for 45 Auto Rim to load Cowboy 45 Special.

Since this missive contains no addition information for the OP, it may also be ignored by everyone else.  I will take no offense should others choose to ignore this missive.  It is, after all, Halloween.  A time for free spirits (Rum??)  and artful costuming.  But a loading die is a loading die and you just can't dress one up to look like something else.  Oh well.

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Offline Crow Choker

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2018, 12:40:41 pm »

Thanks for the post Coffinmaker. I've always wondered what yer loading setup was. Have laid in bed at nights just wondering. :o Have thought of PM'in ya to find out, but thought you'd say it was none of my business and didn't want to get my feelin's hurt. >:( Now the world knows and I thank ya kindly. ;D
Have a good Spook Night!!! ;D ;D   "This post also has nothing to do with the OP's original question" :-[


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Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2018, 08:25:15 am »
So, do all 44-40 dies come with an expanding plug to fit .427/.428 bullets?? I read that most modern 44-40s are more like .429

I load everything from .427 to .430 with them with no problems.
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Offline Roscoe

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2018, 09:11:04 am »
I load everything from .427 to .430 with them with no problems.
That is nice for you, but cases will buckle when seating, if the case mouth is too small. Bullet and then expander size is important, when the gun's throat size is larger than .428. Lubing the inside of the case mouth with One Shot also helps prevent buckling. Those who actually have experience with loading 44-40 understand that the cases are thin and relatively fragile, and that cases cost enough to warrant being careful.

Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2018, 08:15:32 pm »
That is nice for you, but cases will buckle when seating, if the case mouth is too small. Bullet and then expander size is important, when the gun's throat size is larger than .428. Lubing the inside of the case mouth with One Shot also helps prevent buckling. Those who actually have experience with loading 44-40 understand that the cases are thin and relatively fragile, and that cases cost enough to warrant being careful.

Are you saying I don't have experience loading 44-40 considering I load thousands of them every year?

The brass cases my wife is currently shooting are on their 9th loading, yes I keep my brass in lots and keep track of how many times they've been loaded.

Most of mine are loaded on a dillon but I've also got an extra set of 44-40 RCBS Cowboy dies when I want to load hunting rounds or some long range black powder on a single stage. I don't use any special expander die just the one that comes with the set and I always load .429 or .430 with those and never recall buckling a case with those dies. The trick is to seat and then crimp on a separate operation, I believe that is when people have problems with buckling the cases and the ONLY time I ever remember buckling a 44-40 case back when I first started loading them and learned real quick it needed to be done in a separate operation.
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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2018, 08:05:57 am »

Well ...... HI CLIFF   ;D

I do have an additional.  Nothing to do with RCBS Cowboy Dies though.  Just loading and reloading 44-40 and 38-40.  Lever Lustrum ago when I actually shot Dash Calibers, I found for MY own experience, using the combo dies, that seat and crimp in one pass of the ram were a quick path to disaster.  Buckled and crushed bunches of cases.  Switched to separate Seating and Crimping dies and those problems went away.

I must confess, I no longer shoot, load nor reload Dash Calibers.  I do however, use a pile of 44-40 cases in my 45 Colt chambered guns.  Seat 452 bullets innem to eliminate Blow-By.  So, again, this missive actually contains no additional goodies for the OP, thus I won't feel bad if the OP skips these little tie bits.  Anyone else trying to mitigate blow-by in the 45 is welcome to read my little tidbit.  Oh, I do however, recommend running your 44-40 cases through your 45 Colt dies BEFORE trying to seat a 452 projectile.   :o

Offline Roscoe

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2018, 08:07:56 am »
Are you saying I don't have experience loading 44-40 considering I load thousands of them every year?

The brass cases my wife is currently shooting are on their 9th loading, yes I keep my brass in lots and keep track of how many times they've been loaded.

Most of mine are loaded on a dillon but I've also got an extra set of 44-40 RCBS Cowboy dies when I want to load hunting rounds or some long range black powder on a single stage. I don't use any special expander die just the one that comes with the set and I always load .429 or .430 with those and never recall buckling a case with those dies. The trick is to seat and then crimp on a separate operation, I believe that is when people have problems with buckling the cases and the ONLY time I ever remember buckling a 44-40 case back when I first started loading them and learned real quick it needed to be done in a separate operation.
What is the diameter of each expander, Dillon and RCBS Cowboy? I know the Cowboy can use either the 44-40 or 44 Special/Magnum plug, depending on the bullet.

Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2018, 08:49:59 am »
What is the diameter of each expander, Dillon and RCBS Cowboy? I know the Cowboy can use either the 44-40 or 44 Special/Magnum plug, depending on the bullet.

I use the expander plug for the 44mag on the dillon but I don't know on the RCBS Cowboy dies, I just use the expander plug that came with them and can't tell the difference. I may have to adjust the bell a bit by running it up and down but I regularly load .429 and .430 bullets and even some .427 for a couple original Winchesters that like those.

In other words the dillon is set up for running CAS rounds in Uberti rifles but I use the Cowboy dies on single stage to load specific ammo for several various guns and/or applications and they work for any of the bullet sizes. 44-40 brass is so thin the larger bullet will expand it slightly. You run into trouble crimping them not seating the bullet.
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Offline Roscoe

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2018, 07:53:34 pm »
I use the expander plug for the 44mag on the dillon but I don't know on the RCBS Cowboy dies, I just use the expander plug that came with them and can't tell the difference. I may have to adjust the bell a bit by running it up and down but I regularly load .429 and .430 bullets and even some .427 for a couple original Winchesters that like those.

In other words the dillon is set up for running CAS rounds in Uberti rifles but I use the Cowboy dies on single stage to load specific ammo for several various guns and/or applications and they work for any of the bullet sizes. 44-40 brass is so thin the larger bullet will expand it slightly. You run into trouble crimping them not seating the bullet.
You return to the issue of expander size. You have your experience, but I had cases collapsing when trying to stuff a .430 bullet into a case expanded with a .427-8 plug. The .430 plug from the 44 Special/Magnum die set solved the problem.

Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Cowboy vs Regular Dies
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2018, 11:04:49 pm »
You return to the issue of expander size. You have your experience, but I had cases collapsing when trying to stuff a .430 bullet into a case expanded with a .427-8 plug. The .430 plug from the 44 Special/Magnum die set solved the problem.

I have not had that issue using whatever plug comes with the Cowboy dies, as I said I do use the 44 mag one in the dillon powder die because I had the choice but never bothered changing the RCBS because it works fine anyway.
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