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"Big Boston"

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  1. Every powder is a rather unique chemical blend, and Trail Boss has: DiphenylamineDibutyl phthalate2-nitrodiphenylamine4-nitrodiphenylamine Of those 4 chemicals, the one on the radar is Dibutyl phthalate, David Suzuki lists it as one of the dirty dozen, and is seeking to ban it. That could be a reason that it may not be made again. I don't think for the most part we appreciate the complexities that go into making smokeless powders. And my pay grade isn't high enough to even pronounce some of those chemical names. BB
  2. I have a rifle and two handguns in 44-40, and every time you add another firearm in 44-40, the nuances surface. Usually the issue is with the shoulder not getting set back enough. I realize that is not your issue, but you mentioned not wanting to set the shoulder back and risk shortening the life of the case. The 44-40 headspaces on the rim, the case and shoulder has very thin brass, the 44-40 has a 4° shoulder angle, you can move it back a goodly amount and the brass is not compromised, IMO. Dillon shell plates do vary, but the "N" plate for the 44-40 is a bit thinner than 0.125", so IMO that is not an issue. I don't think that the chambers are the issue, they are probably in spec. Don't fix what ain't broke. Not all 44-40 dies are the same. I have Redding and LEE dies, both are slightly different. I had to grind a bit off the bottom my LEE die. I'd normally never do that to a die, but that is a standard rework for the 44-40. I experimented with loading 44-40 with a Lyman tong tool and 310 dies. The 310 dies just neck size. In order to prep the cases and have ammo that fir I had to size the body. I used a 30-06 size and ran the cases through it first. Tolerances being what they are, doing an extra step to prep the cases isn't unheard of, luckily most times it is a one time only deal. I did try some with a 7/8 die but had to pick from several, for me a 25-06 one worked well. The nice thing about going that route, is that the shoulder area is untouched. I've changed set-up for my 550 several times to get the ammo right for 44-40. I use a LEE FL die wth a bit trimmed off the bottom. I can then adjust up or down without having the die contact the plate. BTW, very few of my pistol die FL sizer dies ever touch the shell holder or plate. That's not how they work, IMO. Rifle yes, pistol, not necessarily. In the expanding/funnel position I changed to a "G" as I'm using 429/430 bullets, (all my firearms are clones). I seat with a LEE and crimp with a Redding. But, dies vary, I've seen posts that say that the LEE didn't size enough, others that it sized too much, and Redding has less variations but there can be differences. It pays to try another die, I chose to grind my LEE die as if I messed it up, all I'm out is the price of another LEE die, which is about half the cost of a Redding. As you can tell by the number of responses, you are not alone in this quest. Although a trophy, the 44-40 can be a high maintenance mistress. BB I do like to take fired cases from one and see if the chamber in the other to find out which is the smallest, and like you, a bit of Sharpie to see where.
  3. Just remembered this collection of old school 44 Special articles. http://www.goodrichfamilyassoc.org/44_Special_Articles/
  4. I load cowboy loads for the Three Amigos, 44-40, 45 Colt and 44 Mag. The issue with loading the 44 mag is that the starting loads are all fairly high velocity, for cowboy, and they are decent pressure. 45 Colt loads in the book start off mild, as does most 44-40 load data. Therefore my conjecture was, that a starting load in a 45 Colt, should be safe in a 44 Mag. I found that for any given pistol powder that i was using, if a 44-40 with a 200 gr bullet gave me good results with 5 grains, a bit less in the 44 Mag works the same and for the 45 it was back to 5 with a 250 grain. At these low powder charges, bullet weight just gets you a different velocity. I test with a chronograph and for the powder I was using (452AA) for the most part once you found a primer that would give you reliable ignition in one, that would be a good start in the others. Trail Boss was mentioned, so someone may have some, it gets real easy. I measure the powder chamber volume with the bullet seated and load near or at 70% density. For the 44 Mag that turned out to be 5 gr with a 200 gr bullet, and it was a match for my 44-40 load with the same bullet and 5.5 grains. I had all my loads just about transitioned to Trail Boss, and then it was gone. I'm sure many others are in the same boat. So, the simple answer is 5 gr. work up or down for about 750 fps over the chronograph with a 200 in the 44s or 250 in the 45. If 452AA works so should BE, or any suitable powder up to the burn rate of 231. Unique starts to work at about 7.5 gr. below that ignition is an issue. The only issue I have is 5 gr of 452 or anything other than TB, is just a wee bit of powder way down in the case. I visually check every round. BB I've attached the 44 Mag pages from Lyman manual #44 from 1967. It shows the Bullseye data for the 44 Mag. 1967 was during that era when Bullseye was the go to powder for light pistol loads. I'm of the opinion that if I have Bullseye data, I know where to start with most of the other pistol powders. 44 Rem Mag data from Lyman 44.pdf
  5. I'm not sure I have to much to add to that, so true. With the supply issue of Trail Boss, i think a lot of us were forced to use something else. However, I did learn a lot when working out loads with TB. I believe that not to many cowboy loads are above the book starting loads, I know most of mine are below the starting loads. In the 45 Colt, I load 255 gr bullets. it is easier to find a load with the heavier bullets, IMHO. I test with a chronograph and I'm mostly looking for reliable ignition, which results in no position sensitivity and low Es/Sd. If velocities for powder forward and powder against the primer are equal, that is good. And if the Es/Sd numbers for powder forward and against the primer are good, I'm pretty much assured that ignition is reliable and consistent. I prefer the powders that are not dense, IOW a big VMD on the Lee chart. I've done some work with Red Dot, basically a fluffy version of Bullseye. But whatever you choose, you will have to test over a chronograph. For each load there seems to be a sweet spot for a certain charge. For Red Dot and the 44 and 45s, it will be in the 4.5 to 5.5 grain range. But, be prepared to try different primers to get the powder position under control and to get good Es/Sd. That's what I did and I've got decent loads in a bunch of calibers and I'm using old 452AA. BB
  6. I used a bit in 20 ga and it worked well. It probably was like Unique in a way. It wasn't that available even when it was a main powder, at least I wasn't able to find it locally. Of the four; 452AA, 473AA, 540AA and 571AA only 452AA and 540AA seemed to come into Manitoba in any quantity and regularity. At the time 630 and 231 were the powders WW was marketing for pistols. I've been using 452AA for a few years, since Trail Boss ran out and I have noticed a bit of an oddity that I attribute to the aging of the powder. Like wine, I'm of the opinion that as it ages there may be subtle changes. I had a good load that the Es/Sd went south on and I tried a different primer and the numbers came back. In our game we seldom or ever load a max load, so that probably isn't a factor, but it's something that you should keep in the back of your mind. Interestingly, I switched to Winchester primers to get my Es/Sd numbers back. I found it rather odd as I've always thought of smokeless powder as being very stable and consistent. But 30 years is a probably longer than the engineered life expectancy. Not that I think the powder is going bad, I think it's just losing some of the nitroglycerine content as I had to increase the charge slightly as well. I find setting up the chronograph and testing loads to be a bit tedious, but am beginning to look at it as a necessity of sorts.
  7. That is a seperate problem. Basically excess endshake also increases the headspace. I had no issues with light strikes, just didn't like the rattle.
  8. Mine wasn't Taylor tuned, but same. Back to the topic. I just bought 500 new Star Line 44-40 a few months back, I felt to bring out the tools and measure. I did 5, close enough for cowboy work IMHO.. 0.1238" 0.1236" 0.1231" 0.1235" 0.1239" After a couple of loadings, I'd suspect that to be less by a bit as the headstamp gets flattened out. Just one off topic remark, The reason that the 44 Rem Mag has a rifle and a revolver standard is because Marlin, in their infinite stupidity were the first to want to make a 44 Mag rifle and with their microgroove rifling and wanting to keep pressures low, or other issues, decided to bastardize their rifle to have a larger bore with groove diameter larger than the pistol 44 groove with a slow as heck twist. They paid for the standard, and the rest of the American manufacturers had to use it as a standard, Anyone using the CIP standard just made the rifle with the same barrel specs as a revolver. In addition the Italians used the 44 Mag revolver barrel in their 44-40 rifles, and I like them just fine.
  9. It probably should be mentioned that LEE makes two distinctly different styles of FCDs. Straight walled calibers have a cartridge max carbide sizing ring at the mouth of the die and use a sliding ring that applies the crimp. The ring lacks any bullet seating properties, therefore is sized for an optimum, or decently good applied crimp. The other type is a collet style crimper. The collet style is used for bottlenecked cartridges like the 44-40 and 38-40, (and this style is used for the rifle cartridges like 30-06 as well.) Fortunately i own more than one set of dies for 44-40, iIuse one brand for seating the bullet and another brand for crimping. From what I've seen in pictures posted online, the FCD for 44-40 is a bit rough on the case mouth. It does seem that every time I add another 44-40 to the herd, i end up tweaking the die set-up to accommodate yet another anomaly on my favorite cowboy cartridge. BB
  10. I did not know that. Then again, I've never made, fired or even seen a blank. BB
  11. Whoa, did this go off the rails rather quickly. As GJ said, the 600 has a sizing ring, it is of fixed diameter, ring, much like the carbide ring in a pistol FL die. Back in the day when the metallic base on shotgun shells was made of brass. Most hulls today have a steel base and sizing is not as smooth, still works, but it's one size and the down stroke take a bit more effort and is not as smooth as it used to be. MEC addressed this issue by selling a collet type stand alone sizer, that eventually got incorporated into the sizemaster press. ( I hope I got that right, all I know is that at the time our local stores did not sell a sizemaster press.) I prefer the sizemaster collet sizer, like GJ said, it is adjustable, but what really sold me was how it smoothed out the stoke. It also has a nice clack sound as it releases. I think it also helps maintain the grip the base metal has on the shell. In a tight chambered shotgun, perhaps not a factor, but if you shotgun chambers are a bit biggish at the back, the base metal gets a bit expanded every time it's fired. I have a sizemaster press or dies for 12, 20 and 410, but if I'm just loading my old AA hulls, I'll just use my 600, it's like an old friend. And if I'm just experimenting, I have a couple of the old LEE Loaders in 10, 12, 16 and 20. No 410, but that one is on the bucket list. BB
  12. I'd endorse that as well. The Sizemaster is a bit harder to set up. but the way it sizes the brass base is nice. At some point you may want to consider a progressive, for production, but they have the disadvantage in that changing loads is not that easy. I've had a few LEE LoadAlls, they are cheap to buy and they feel cheap when you use them, I don't like them. I've still got the first MEC I bought, a 600 Jr, and I still use it when I reload. For CAS, I just buy my ammo, that may change with the prices going up. I did own a used Grabber, IMO it's not a press to learn on. I swept up a lot of spilled shot and powder before getting it to work. When it was flying, it would make a lot of shells in a hurry. BB
  13. I've chased my share of anomalies with lighter than book loads. I find it odd that the primer would not re-seat. I've always found that if there was enough pressure to get the bullet out of the barrel, the primers would re-seat. However, in order to be able to evaluate my under the starting loads, I needed to run them over a chronograph. IMHO it is the only way to know if the ignition is consistent and if you are getting the velocities you want. I'll share a bit of my theory on the primer backing out phenomenon I did some testing a few years back and posted my observations here, but that post will be way down the list and hard to search for. Basically I was looking into the issue with a squib load, one with no powder in the case. Invariably the primer would back out and lock up the cylinder. So, I primed a case and fired it in my revolver, no bullet, no powder, and the primer backed out and locked up the cylinder. I concluded that the flash hole was small enough to contain sufficient pressure to push the primer back against the frame. I increased the flash hole diameter in small increments, and my assumption was correct. At a certain size the primer would not back out. This proved to me that when fired, at the instant the primer explodes, it backs out, then the pressure in the case(chamber) when the powder ignites, would push the case back, seating the primer. For your scenario, I'm thinking that because the bullet left the barrel, there should have been sufficient pressure to re-seat the primer. But something was preventing the case from moving back. The hint being that there was no soot on the walls of the case. At this point my brain is just making smoke, somethings just aren't making sense. I'd try and duplicate your load, but the lightest bullet I have is a 230, or possible a 200, I think I have a 200 mold. However it may be prudent to abandon that load, I'm assuming that you have other options. BB
  14. I've seen data, but only in some old manuals. To confirm I did find old data for 1 oz loads. Nothing for 1 1/8 in WW hulls. BE is a high nitroglycerine content powder, and gets a bit funky under certain conditions. I don't see any reason why I wouldn't follow the advice of not to use it. I've probably got a 2 more years supply of challenger low recoil, then I'll be looking for ammo, or load data. I'd consider the trade for Red Dot, lots of shotgun data for that powder.
  15. My first reloading outfit was a LEE loader, when you seat primers with a hammer they are not usually high. I upgraded to a Rock Chucker and soon realized I needed something other than the on press priming. For the next 30 or so years I primed with a RCBS (Lachmiller) Bench primer. I did have some primer seating issue but a Lyman primer pocket uniformer fixed that issue. Eventually I needed to upgrade to progressive. The Dillon 550 priming system is pretty good IMHO, good feel and it does a good job of seating primers. High primers doesn't seem to be an issue for me. I don't own a hand primer, if you don't count the Lyman 310 tools I own, and don't use. Revolvers, as a rule have a fairly generous headspace, how high do the primers have to be seated before there is an issue? I put my ammo in boxes, all the primers are staring me in the face, a fail safe of sorts. One note: The Dillon 550 priming system works good, but it is a bit convoluted to set up and needs to be checked, occasionally. BB
  16. A '66, because it is brass, runs a bit smoother out of the box. Brass against steel is like running on a bronze sleeve. An ejected case will dent it if it lands back on the action. It's a bit more work to take apart, together is a lot more. I had to put a pad on mine to raise the comb. Without it you need a face like a jackass to get any cheek weld. I like mine but all the rest of my rifles are '73s. My '66 runs nice, but I removed a lot of brass before it would feed and unction smoothly. You may find that a pistol grip stock will fit better than straight. I shoot LH now, the pistol grip of the 73 feels better. Because of the difference in stock angles, the straight '66 work well LH. BTW, a SRC is a no go LH, that stupid ring gets in the way. I'm not fast, or young, to me it's about smooth, feels good when the rhythm is right. Have fun. What caliber do you want to go with?
  17. Ga Dr Oz 10 8 Blank 1 thin card wad over powder; nothing else 10 4 1 Light 10 4 1 1/4 Normal 10 4 1/2 1 1/2 Heavy From my files, don't recall the source. Here's what is on the goex site. https://goexpowder.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/breechloading-sg-shells.pdf BB
  18. I have a 500-196, has to be over 10, maybe 20 years old, I've never had an issue. If you forget to turn it off the battery dies, some of my cheap ones have auto off. BB
  19. As above, used 38 Special brass is easy to find and cheap, used 357 not so much. If you are buying new Starline brass, the cost is about the same. I've used 38 Special, 38 Long Colt, 357 magnum and in the end, in my pistols, 357 gets the nod. I use a wadcutter at about 750 fps, it shoots to the sights and shoots clean. At cowboy distances it is accurate. I hate cleaning the crud ring. I have a 38 Special rifle, a 66 Cimarron, and I have a 38 special Mason-Richards on the way. That may change what I shoot in the 357s. Rifles don't tend to crud up like revolvers., that 22 Short, Long, Long Rifle thing I suppose. Depending on the bullet, sometimes a more ideal OAL can be had with 38 Spl brass. Lots of the seasoned shooters are sitting on several 5 gal pails of 38 Spl brass, so that is what they shoot. Most they got for free. I like to shoot nickel plated in my rifles, less get lost and they run cleaner IMHO. They are even cheaper than the brass ones because most reloaders don't like them. BB
  20. My journey into the world of 44 WCF (44-40) is in all likelihood very similar to most reloaders, but I did run into a few nuances along the way. I began with a Winchester '94 Commemorative in 44-40. My brass was from the ammo I'd bought and fired, and some was new Starline brass. I used LEE dies in a turret press and didn't have any issues, it appeared to be a fairly straight forward caliber to load for. Other than having to deal with the odd damaged neck, pretty routine. Since then I've acquired and sold a few 44-40 firearms and upgraded to a Dillon 550 press. The stable now has a '73 Win Uberti, a Smokewagon and a Vaquero. So, three firearms with a few different chamber dimensions. Not that the chambers vary much, but there are differences. I also added a Redding die set to the tool list. IMO Redding reloading tools are top drawer, pretty nicely built precision tools. LEE dies are made properly, but are not precision tools. One of the first issues was, when converting from my turret to the progressive, that in one of my firearms, I had difficulties chambering the ammunition. The why was that the shoulder on some of the brass was a bit further forward than others, due to chamber variations. The shoulder was not being set back enough in the FL die to make ammo that would fit in all chambers. This wasn't an issue when I loaded with the turret. The reason being that in the turret, I was setting the FL die a bit past contact, and the shoulder was being positioned back far enough that there were no issues. However, that is not how I set them in a progressive. I set the FL die so it just touches the shell plate or a wee bit of clearance. To my way of thinking so as not to damage the shell plate. https://sites.google.com/view/44winchester/chasing-the-44-40/ballistics-handloading/handloading/die-sets/redding-profile-crimp-die The 44-40 has a shoulder, but it does not headspace on it. Similar to the 303 Br if one of those is in you repertoire. The LEE and Redding dies only set the shoulder back a few thou, and one of my chambers is cut to near minimum and things get a little close. Handgun ammo works best a little bit on the loose side. One of the dies, I forget which, was a bit better, but I wanted to set the shoulder back more than minimally. Online info called for grinding 0.050" off the bottom of the FL die. This is fairly radical, in the real world a lot less removal of metal is required. I did the rework to the LEE FL die, cheaper and easier to replace than the Redding was my rational. I removed the recommended 050. FL dies are hardened, just the surface, and 050 will go through that. After shortening the die, you'll want to bell the opening, and because some of the metal is no longer hard, restoring the bell is a bit of a task. I don't have a lathe, I accomplished the task with a drill press and Dremel tool. I then measured the shoulder position on a bunch of my brass and adjusted the die so that there was sufficient shoulder setback. I could get scientific and refer to the SAAMI drawings, but in reality, you just want enough shoulder setback so that the ammo easily chambers in all your chambers. Don't forget to check the setting of the decapping rod/pin of the FL die when you are done. That takes care of the FL station. On to sizing the inside of the case mouth and belling the brass. Just because it is a possibility, the FL die may not size the neck of the brass enough if you need 427 dia bullets to fit your gun. I'll assume that your firearms are all Italian or Japanese and are 429 groove. Dillon supplies a #4 funnel with the 550 conversion kit, it is for 427 bullets and would just slip into the neck of my resized brass. I recently purchased a "G" (44 Mag/Spl) funnel, but I've yet to reload with it. My thinking is that it will work a bit better than the #4. I size all my bullets at 430, at or a bit larger than the groove dia of my barrels. It works, so I'm not going to overthink that detail. The 44-40 is like the 38-55 in that respect, there is only so big a bullet that will work before the neck of the ammo will not fit into the chamber. Just one of those nuance things I suppose. That brings us to the bullet seating station. Here I use my LEE bullet seating die, set so that it does not crimp. The LEE seating stem does not accommodate flat point bullets all that well, so I reworked it, just flat, it works for me. On the 550 the last station, the fourth, crimps. All my bullets have a crimp groove, and I only bell my cases minimally, so I just use the Redding seat and crimp die. I do not remove the seating stem, I set it for the same seating depth as the LEE. I've had issues with the LEE seating stem screw backing out, the Redding is my fail safe. I check the LEE setting every so often. For cowboy work, I don't think the LEE FCD is required, nor do I think it is what is what you'd want. The regular Redding die does a decent enough job. I've never had any issues with it or the regular LEE crimper. Both crimp nicely. If my explanation isn't techy enough, this https://sites.google.com/view/44winchester/chasing-the-44-40/ballistics-handloading web site has a poop ton of information. BB
  21. Back in the day, for a skeet load I used Green Dot for a while, but 20 ga prefers powder a bit slower burning. I ended up using 473 and 4756. Unique and the 20 gauge belong together. It is also one of those powders that will tolerate a bit less powder than the recipe calls for. That is where I'd go. Light loads are usually 3/4 oz. Are you after a light load or are you wanting a standard 1200 fps load. Be prepared to make some wad swaps, or add the odd card filler to get decent crimps. I used a LEE Loader, Mec 600 Jr and then a Mec Sizemaster. For S&G I also have a LEE Loader in 20 ga. But to the point, Lyman #5 has 4 loads with WSF and they are all in the 1135 to 1190 fps depending on the wad. and amount of powder. The publication is current, and the material copyrighted. But I'd use a PC 20 Yellow wad, 15 grains of WSF and a Win 209 primer in your hull if I were you. See Down Range Manufacturing for the wads. BB
  22. And then there is that 8 yard thing, that would negate any difference I suppose. And to top it off, how many cowboy SxS shotguns are just cut down hunting shotguns. Regulation of those is probably not that great, but at 8 yards it doesn't matter. Thanks for the stimulating sass wire discussion, TTFN. BB
  23. Theoretically speaking, it seems logical that there would be some affect. After all, the centers of the bores at the muzzle are about an inch apart. That makes the center of each bore about half an inch offset, left and right at the muzzle, a bit more at the breech. Then you have to consider whether there is any cast off built into the stock. IMHO it would be more important to have the first barrel on the side that you would load a single. Perhaps not enough of a difference to be felt, but I'm thinking if you tried both ways, one would be faster. A slow motion camera should show what happens. BB Addendum: I did a quick search on the subject, and it appears as if my theory is correct: "due to the configuration of the side-by-side’s barrels, the recoil comes back in a dogleg fashion – backwards and slightly to the side, following the line of the stock which, typically, would have more cast in it than in the over-under." and in SxS double rifles: "Where the side by side doubles are different, and the bigger the caliber, the more pronounced the difference, is that neither barrel is in the same vertical axis as the stock grip and stock. The left barrel is left of the stock, and the right barrel is right of the stock. What this means is that the left barrel pulls the rifle left under recoil, and the right barrel pulls the rifle right under recoil. This is the "yaw." The two shots diverge under recoil. Always. How much to the left and to the right? It depends how long the bullets take to go through the barrels (bearing surfaces, velocity, barrels length, etc.), hence how long the recoil lasts, and how much recoil and yaw there is (caliber, bullet weight, velocity, powder charge, etc.)."
  24. Interesting question, and I'll do a bit of research on that the next snow storm day. But, to my way of thinking, being right handed, you will in all likelihood load with your left hand. If you need a single reload, it makes logical sense that you want the left barrel to be the barrel that has the first pull of the trigger. In addition, the left barrel will have the least effect on rotating your body on recoil for the first shot. IIRC, most single trigger SxS shotguns have a safety that controls the first trigger. This lets you choose, so lets say in the field that most of the birds flush L-R, you'd want your right barrel to shoot first to keep your swing fluid for the second shot. So if your target in cowboy are always shot L-R, you may want the the firing sequence to be R-L. BB
  25. 700X was marketed as a alternate to BE, and if that is the arena that you want to say, that would be my first choice. Titewad is used by many competitors in other disciplines, worth looking at IMO.. But it does come down to what you can find, doesn't it. I bought an 8# keg of 452AA and just like Franks Red Hot, I'm using that S**T in everything. Surprisingly, with a bit of primer selection and charge, it works surprisingly well. I'd first try and source some powders with a desirable burning rate and a decent VMD. Personally I wouldn't pick anything denser than BE, so as to have a fighting chance on position sensitivity. A decent VMD isn't a guarantee, but it is a good barometer, IMHO. BB VMD/Powder Manufacturer .2172 IMR TRAIL BOSS Hodgdon .1489 ALNT E3 Alliant .1462 CLAYS Hodgdon .1446 IMR GREEN Hodgdon .1423 IMR RED Hodgdon .1413 RED DOT Alliant .1349 A NITRO100 Western .1343 IMR 700X Hodgdon .1341 AMER-SELECT Alliant .1331 SOLO 1000 Western .1300 TITEWAD Hodgdon .1296 WIN AA PLUS Hodgdon .1278 R COMPETITION Western .1266 WIN AA LITE Hodgdon .1266 INTERNATIONAL Hodgdon .1262 GREEN DOT Alliant .1205 wSUPER-TAR Hodgdon .1205 IMR PB Hodgdon .1196 IMR TARGET Hodgdon .1122 HERCO Alliant .1122 WW452/Trap 100 Winchester .1100 SR4756 Hodgdon .1099 UNIVERSAL Hodgdon .1099 SOLO 1500 Western .1092 UNIQUE Alliant .1071 IMR 800X Hodgdon .1064 BULLSEYE Alliant
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