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July Smith

44-40 on a progressive press?

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Trying not to buy any guns this year and instead invest in a progressive reloading set up.  I've been tempted by a Dillon XL650 for a long time now, but am disappointed that Dillon does not offer 44-40 dies.  I understand 44-40 is a little pickier, but can it be loaded on a progressive press?  Which brand of dies do you all recommend for use on a Dillon?  Or is there a better progressive option out there for loading the 44-40?

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Im loading 44 40 on a 650.  I believe Im using Redding dies.  I'll look when I get home to be sure.  No problems loading 44 40 once everything is set.

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I load em' on my Hornady LNL all the time. Using both smokeless and BP; I have a switch measures depending on which I'm loading. Get yourself some RCBS Cowboy Does and load away.

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I just loaded 600 up on my Dillon 550. I used RCBS dies and a Lee Factory Crimp die. zero problems Took a little over 2 hours.

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RCBS Cowboy dies will do the job but I do the crimping with a Lee Factory Crimp die because I like the crimp that it does. I load on a Dillon 650.

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RCBS cowboy dies with a separate crimp die.      GW

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Dillon doesn't make very many dies period... So don't be too disappointed.

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July,

RCBS cowboy dies are the best I've found for loading lead or coated lead bullets.  Side note, I went with a 44 Special belling insert because of loading .430 180 gr bullets.  I do everything on a Dillion 550.  Hope that helps.

Regards

TR

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I load 44-40 on my Dillon 650 using RCBS dies & a Lee FCD.  I also use the Mr. Bullet feeder in .45 cal. for a .427 bullet along with a Dillon case feeder and they both work fine.  I use powder coated bullets from Missouri Bullet.

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I loaded .44-40 black for 8 years using a 550B with Lee dies. Loaded smokeless .44-40 for 2 years same dies, same press. I'm now loading .38's with a mixture of Lee and Dillon dies on the 550B.

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The nice thing about the 650 are the powder check along with the case feeder...

 

Just saying...

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Dillon 550B and Redding dies

Bugler

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As other do, I use RCBS dies on the 650 to make 44-40.  Just in case you don't know, case lube is needed.  You will crunch up a few cases in the process before you get the "feel" of it.  Don't get discouraged, just part of the learning curve.  Having a 650 is both a curse and a blessing.  There's a LOT going on all at once to keep track of and it's got a LOT of parts, a whole learning curve all it's own.  You Tube videos (and some very kind pards) have helped me out on many occasions.  Dillon will also help if you call, I've done that, too.  Once you get it figured out and dialed in, you can make a lot of ammo in a lot less time and you will stop cursing.  Let the blessings begin:  More time to shoot :D

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Best advice regardless of what equipment is used is to make absolutely sure the casings are going straight into the die.....slow down until you develop a feel for things.

As already mentioned be sure to lube.....many of us use Hornady One Shot Spray Lube.

 

Bugler

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Howdy

 

I load 44-40, as well as a bunch of other calibers, on a Hornady Lock & Load AP.

 

I use a Lyman BP powder measure with this press when loading 44-40 and others with Black Powder. I don't have the linkage for the press hooked up to the BP powder measure, so I have to remember to trip the rotor on the powder measure for every round.

 

Hornady%20LampL%20BP%20Setup_zpsssgqze3f

 

 

 

 

Here is a batch of 44-40 being loaded. These are shiny, brand spanky new Starline cases. After being fired they will never be this shiny again.

 

Notice the 50 caliber BMG dummy round in the background. An excellent tool for smoothing out case necks that are slightly out of round before they go onto the press.

 

Loading%2044-40%20Shiny%20New%20Cases_zp

 

 

 

 

I have always used a standard RCBS die set to load 44-40. Other brands are good too, but that is what I have always used.
 

 

As my good friend Lou Graham says, you need to get a feel for loading 44-40. The necks are fragile because the brass is so thin at the neck. Easy to crumple if the brass hits the bottom of the sizing die. You need to go slow, so if you feel the bump, you can stop the stroke without damaging the case. 45 Colt and most other cases are more robust and will take more abuse.

 

It is also important to set your dies just right. If the dies are not set right, you can wind up with crumpled cases like this:

 

badcrumple-1.jpg

 

 

 

 

Here is a trick I learned a long time ago when loading 44-40. When setting up your dies, go through your brass and find a few that are the longest cases. Use those as your set up cases. Set the crimp and case depth so that there is a hair of space above the crimp and below the underside of the crimp groove. That way, when the cases ride up around the bullet the case mouth will not bump into the underside of the crimp groove and crumple the neck. The case mouth will never quite touch the underside of the crimp groove. More robust cases such as 45 Colt have no problem with this, they will dig into the lead without crumpling. Not so with the more fragile neck at the mouth of 44-40 or 38-40.

 

4440crimpwitharrow.jpg

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Have loaded 38-40 on a Dillon 550 using Lee dies, including the crimp die. Gearing up soon to load 44-40 using Lee dies also.

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I have been loading 44-40 on a Dillon 450 with RCBS dies and Lee factory crimp die......Take your time as others have said I have the proof of that in a bucket under my bench. I like the Dillon case lube.

 

 

Sgt Hochbauer

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16 hours ago, Hillbilly Drifter said:

I just loaded 600 up on my Dillon 550. I used RCBS dies and a Lee Factory Crimp die. zero problems Took a little over 2 hours.

So I think there are a lot of misconceptions when someone asks a question like "Can something be loaded progressively?". Far too many people think that loading on a progressive press is going to be at 1000 rounds an hour for every caliber. That's just not the case. The length of the brass will to some point, dictate the speed of production. First off, nobody cares about 9mm production speed or quantity. The brass is cheap and the die setup is really elementary. 

 

Start listening when folks are talking about longer cases like .38 Special or .357. Listen carefully when some speaks of bottlenecks or really long and expensive brass. 

The quoted post gives me a lot of confidence in the poster's expertise and experience. 300 per hour is a very sustainable rate. I'll bet this fella doesn't crunch many cases and doesn't stress to achieve this rate of production. Progressive reloaders should aspire to this happy medium. 

 

Can .44-40 be loaded as fast as 9mm or .45ACP? No, but it can be progressively reloaded at a pace that is appreciably faster than single stage. 

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One thing I've discovered using a 650 to load 38WCF and 44WCF is the case head thickness varies widely, even with the same manufacturer.  I get crushed cases at the sizing station when the case doesn't slide all the way into the shell plate.  Of late I pay particular attention to the cases as they enter and have a file close by to dress the head thickness down to where it fits the shell plate.  The other option is to separate the thick head cases to run through the Lee Turret Press but that is a PITA because they get mixed up while shooting.  

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While I don't load 44-40 on a XL650, I load 38/357 & 45C.  I have found to reduce the occurrence of the sizing/decapping die crushing the case mouth, the bench that the press is mounted on has to be rock solid. I.E. anchored to a wall so, there is no shaking of the case as it is feed into the die.  I also installed the Uniqutek toolhead clamping kit on all toolheads to minimize any variation in die alignment.

P.S. you will find that wo/the case feeder option that you will have frequent pauses to refill the case feed tube.

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20 hours ago, July Smith said:

Try not to buy any guns this year and instead invest in a progressive reloading set up.  I've been tempted by a Dillon XL650 for a long time now, but am disappointed that Dillon does not offer 44-40 dies.  I understand 44-40 is a little pickier, but can it be loaded on a progressive press?  Which brand of dies do you all recommend for use on a Dillon?  Or is there a better progressive option out there for loading the 44-40?

 

Do you already reload?  If not why do you want to start with a 650?  Don't get me wrong, I've got a 650 and love it but I'm glad I didn't start out on one.  As it was said before it's a complicated machine and you don't want to be overwhelmed during the learning curve.  If you've got someone who's willing to teach you that's great and hopefully you've been watching and learning already.  If you haven't been reloading already you may want to look into a 550, a solid machine and a progressive but it's a manual advance so it'll give you a chance to check everything as you go.  Now don't think the 550 is slow, it can be slower than a 650 but as others have said they produce a respectable amount per hour, and you can always add a case feeder later on.   Best of luck and let us know what happens.

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July,

started with 44-40 , RCBS dies and RCBS single stage press, smokeless. Shot more, went to RCBS Ammomaster, same dies. Shot some more. Got a  Dillon 650 with bells and whistles, same dies shot a little more. Total of about 8-9 yrs. Went to the Dark Side, went to 38-40, same 650, RCBS dies,  only addition was a deprime/resize die (RCBS), took the deprime punch out  .  That's another story. For the last 10-12 yrs. runs great. As stated above, there's a learning curve, don't try to be a speed demon, pay attention  and you'll be fine. I reload about 7 different calibers on mine. But I've still got the single stage and Ammomaster mounted to my bench for when I don't need the volume . I tried the RCBS Cowboy dies but couldn't tell the difference ,,, sold them. +1 on Dillon"s customer service.

Have fun,

Isom

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Been reloading 44WCF for a few years. currently I use RCBS Cowboy dies. I resize and deprime on a RCBS Rockchucker single stage then clean the brass. I load using a Dillon XL650 with no resizing die. I use only starline brass. Works great for me. As others have said, uniform brass is the key, don't mix different headstamp brass. Set up for one type of brass and load only that type, reset your dies if you change brass.

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Hornady L-N-L, smokeless and black powder using a RCBS lockout die for safety and a Redding Profile Crimp Die.

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I loaded 38-40 and 44-40 on a Dillon 1050 for years, probably the only "better" option.(primer seating on the down stroke to a positive stop)  Smokeless and BP.  A 650 should be just as capable!  Get a new production set of dies, I used RCBS, but any new production should work.  Some older die sets have odd size belling stems and the sizing dies may be a tad long, all things I learned from experience.  Newer dies tend to have this sorted out and will most likely come with the correct belling(expander) stems, often 2 of them these days, one for .430 bullets and one for .427.  Dillon makes shell plates for it.  I don't know that a 1000 an hour is possible with a 650, but it entirely is with a 1050.  A 650 with a case feeder and if you get one of their primer filling machines, you'll definitely be able to cut down your reloading time.  Pull the trigger!

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5 hours ago, Carolina Gunslinger said:

 First off, nobody cares about 9mm production speed or quantity. The brass is cheap and the die setup is really elementary.

 

You make a good point on the length of brass, then go on to make a sad comment about die setup?  All dies require the same amount of attention to detail in setup, which may, or may not be "elementary" depending on a pards experience.

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11 minutes ago, Fireball #7709 Life said:

 

You make a good point on the length of brass, then go on to make a sad comment about die setup?  All dies require the same amount of attention to detail in setup, which may, or may not be "elementary" depending on a pards experience.

A "sad comment" about die setup? It's a taper crimp. How hard is that to set up?You want a medal for getting 9mm working? Come on man be realistic. 

You can have a wide margin of crimps and still have decent functional ammunition. Pretty difficult to crinkle a case. The only time you really have to get super precise with 9mm crimp is using it in a revolver where you face bullet pulling. 

 

Bottlenecks and roll crimps require more attention to detail and are much less less forgiving. Equal credit not given to all calibers here...

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1,000s of BP 44-40 on a Dillon Square Deal.

 

Recently attached a 10 ga wire to a 10’ copper grounding rod to the Dillon so I could run the full progressive cycle, Instead of charging the primed brass on a Lyman 55.

 

Happy reloader now.

Just sayin’

Amarilo Rattler

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I'm not real happy with my current set of Lyman dies and am considering replacing them. Having a hard time getting consistent belling. What's the difference between RCBS standard dies and their cowboy dies except a $20 premium and the color? Is it marketing, or is there an objective difference?

 

 

 

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Get a set of Reddings and be done with it..............

 

Bugler

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