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Msgtarmor

New to 44-40 reloading and confused

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I apologize in advance for what is probably a worn out topic!

I've been reloading for over 20 years but only standard pistol calibers and a few rifle calibers.   After several years thinking about 44-40 caliber firearms, I finally bought a new Winchester '73 short rifle and a used 3rd gen colt SAA with a 5 1/2" bbl.  

I've been reading ALOT about reloading for them.  I have questions about which smokeless powders and crimping dies to use.  I bought some new  Starline brass, 44-40 RCBS Cowboy dies, a Lee Factory crimp die and a box of 500, 200 gr, .428 moly coated LRNFP from Badman Bullets in Lebanon Oregon. I believe with a BNH of 15.

First is powder; it seems Trail boss and Unique are the most popular and are published in my Lyman 49th.  But I also read where folks were using H4198 and N32C Tin Star with good results and claims of filling the case near or at capacity. And both producing similar pressure and velocity as the original black powder load does.  That sounds good also, but I can find no published data on either one of those.

Second is the crimp die.; I've read that the LFCD will ruin the cases. Is this particular to 44-40? Better to get a Redding Profile Die?  I've been using LFCD for several years for 44 mag (revolver and Rossi 92 carbine), 45acp, 357, etc...  The only problems I've encountered with cracked cases are after many reloads. 

I am not a member of any CASS related clubs yet, but it has been in my mind lately.  I've been shooting lever actions rifles and Single action revolvers for over 40 years.  First tho,  I have to iron out the loading issues and practice, so I dont embarrass myself when I do give it a try!

Thanks!

 

jim

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I've been using the Redding Profile Crimp die for my .44-40's for a year now with great results.  Once set, I always get positive results using a Lee Classic single stage.

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Posted (edited)

Welcome to the fire.  With respect to the RCBS dies, the seater/crimp die should be sufficient to seat and crimp the bullet to the case.  That's all I have used for many years and the crimp is sufficient.  As far as powder is concerned it would be best to use those, such as Trail Boss, Titegroup and Unique, that have published loads.  I have not seen published loads for H4198.  Vihtavouri does not list a load for 44-40, however, if you contact their US distributor, they may be able to get you some info.

Capstone Precision Group

24732 Randall Road
Sedalia, MO 65301 USA

 

Tex

 

 

Edited by Tex Jones, SASS 2263

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Posted (edited)

 

Thanks for the replies!!

Another question! With the LFCD OAL case length isn't critical.  Is this also true with the Redding die?

Thanks!

 

jim

Edited by Msgtarmor

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I have loaded 32/20, 38/40 & 44/40 over the years. I no longer have a 44/40 but in the 38/40 & 44/40 I have always used Redding dies with good luck. I am not sure if they are “profile” or not but the ones I got 22 years ago I got on the advice of a local professional manufacturer who was a member of my club. He said that they did not push the shoulder back like some other dies. I have been loading the 38/40 for my rifle for 22 years and I sill have some of my original brass. The cases have not split but the length of the insertion and crimping of the bullet is important or the neck may crumple. If the neck is dinged or flattened some from some one stepping on it I get the largest drill bit that will fit into it and bend it back into shape and or gently tap on it with a nylon hammer with the bit in it to reform. 

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I don't know where you heard that Lee FCD dies will ruin brass.  In the "dash calibers" (44-40, 32-20 etc) the LFCD is a collet type die and does not resize the brass like the straight wall case dies do.  I have used the Lee FCD on my 44-40 and 32-20 for over 15 years with no problems.

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11 minutes ago, Msgtarmor said:

 

Thanks for the replies!!

Another question! With the LFCD OAL case length isn't critical.  Is this also true with the Redding die?

Thanks!

 

jim

The only time that I have had trouble getting a good crimp with my Redding dies was if the case was trimmed too short.

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Those RCBS Cowboy dies are designed for lead bullets and will put an excellent crimp on your cases if adjusted properly. No need for any other crimp die.

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Do not seat and crimp in one stage. You'll buckle the cases.

Also-WW 231 powder works very well in .44 WCF.

OLG

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I will say that in my years of reloading I do prefer to crimp in a separate step.  But that's mostly because I'm too lazy to measure all that pistol brass (usually over 500 rds when I start reloading) for OAL.  I do measure my non pistol caliber rifle brass tho.   I may try the RPD just because I never have before.  My loads will not be for CASS shooting for now. I'm not going to 'hot-rod', just seeing what is accurate and speed check with my chrono. 

Something else I read mentioned not full case sizing the brass.  That is just for case longevity I assume?   

Maybe I'm overthinking all this??  

Thanks!!

 

jim

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Msgtarmor said:

I apologize in advance for what is probably a worn out topic!

I've been reloading for over 20 years but only standard pistol calibers and a few rifle calibers.   After several years thinking about 44-40 caliber firearms, I finally bought a new Winchester '73 short rifle and a used 3rd gen colt SAA with a 5 1/2" bbl.  

I've been reading ALOT about reloading for them.  I have questions about which smokeless powders and crimping dies to use.  I bought some new  Starline brass, 44-40 RCBS Cowboy dies, a Lee Factory crimp die and a box of 500, 200 gr, .428 moly coated LRNFP from Badman Bullets in Lebanon Oregon. I believe with a BNH of 15.

First is powder; it seems Trail boss and Unique are the most popular and are published in my Lyman 49th.  But I also read where folks were using H4198 and N32C Tin Star with good results and claims of filling the case near or at capacity. And both producing similar pressure and velocity as the original black powder load does.  That sounds good also, but I can find no published data on either one of those.

Second is the crimp die.; I've read that the LFCD will ruin the cases. Is this particular to 44-40? Better to get a Redding Profile Die?  I've been using LFCD for several years for 44 mag (revolver and Rossi 92 carbine), 45acp, 357, etc...  The only problems I've encountered with cracked cases are after many reloads. 

I am not a member of any CASS related clubs yet, but it has been in my mind lately.  I've been shooting lever actions rifles and Single action revolvers for over 40 years.  First tho,  I have to iron out the loading issues and practice, so I dont embarrass myself when I do give it a try!

Thanks!

 

jim

Jim,

Glad to see some more 44-40 shooters!!!



Trail Boss and Unique are certainly the most popular among CAS shooters it seems. If you are seeking near case capacity loads, Reloder 7 is best and load data has been on the Lee 44-40 die pamphlets. I have all kinds of information using Reloder 7. One can even get 10% to 20% more powder with a 240gr bullet and remain below SAAMI 11,000psi @ 1,200fps

At or near case capacity loads,


26gr of IMR-4198 with a 200gr Oregon Trail Laser Cast resized to .429 gave me 15,145psi @ 1,512fps

26gr of H4198 with a 200gr Oregon Trail Laser Cast resized to .429 gave me 11,707psi @ 1,380fps

27.5gr of Reloder 7 with a 200gr Oregon Trail Laser Cast resized to .429 gave me 13,602psi @ 1,658fps

23.5gr of Reloder 7 with a 240gr ACME Hi-Tek coated resized to .429 gave me 9,761psi @ 1,284fps

25gr of Reloder 7 with a 200gr Oregon Trail Laser Cast resized to .429 gave me 9,575psi @ 1,348fps

Buffalo Bore Factory 200gr 44-40 is my control at 11,300psi @ 1,383fps

 

Handcast 427098 Bullets

40gr/w of Swiss FFG in original semi-balloonhead pre-1880's unheadstamped cases gave me 14,285psi @ 1,373fps

40gr/w of Goex FFFG in original semi-balloonhead pre-1880's unheadstamped cases gave me 12,648psi @ 1,356fps

40gr/w of Goex FFFG in original semi-balloonhead 1880's mixed headstamped cases gave me 12,755psi @ 1,276fps

40gr/w of Goex FFFG in modern Starline cases gave me 8,953psi @ 1,226fps

 

Powder compression varried between .18"-.21" pending cases and H2O volume

 

SAMMI MAX is 11,000psi

 

These loads are too hot for CAS, of course, but should answer your question

The Lee Factory Crimp Die should not "ruin" a 44-40 case BUT it will leave an ever lasting mark on them. I don't use them any more if I don't have to. The 44-40 Redding Profile Crimp die only works with bullets with the original "rounded" bullet "profile" and may not work with various bullets with a forward driving band like the 200gr Magma "Cowboy". The RCBS roll crimp works perfect for the Magma bullet.

 

Driftwood Johnson has a great posting somewhere about the crimps. Seating and Crimping in one shot works IF you take the time to adjust the die using the longest case. If your case lengths very, you could crush the longer cases if the die is set to the shorter ones. Out of some 4,000 loads, which is not many when CAS shooting, I have buckled only two due to a miscalculation. Also, trying to shove a .430 bullet into a fully resized case meant for a .425 bullet can also cause problems.

Hope this helps>

44 Winchester Center Fire Cartridge Web Site

 

 

Edited by Savvy Jack

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I don't see if or where you mentioned the press you're using.   I've found I had to shorten dies when using them on Dillon press to make up for thicker shell holder.  

 

Also, I had to basically start over when loading for a pair of Taylor's Smoke Wagons in 44WCF.  The chambers and throats were tighter than another pair of Taylor's Smoke Wagons in 44WCF and much smaller than Marlin 1894s.  We are using 427 diameter bullets and sizing so they work in the tightest gun. 

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3 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Do not seat and crimp in one stage. You'll buckle the cases.

Also-WW 231 powder works very well in .44 WCF.

OLG

I've loadied 44-40's for about 15 years using the RCBS COWBOY dies (which seat and crimp with the same stroke) on a single stage RCBS Rockcrusher  press. NEVER had a problem crushing cases. Of course you've got to use the proper expander and properly adjust the dies. Do that and seating/crimping in one operation is not a problem.

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Savvy Jack, I believe it was your information that I read on a google search somewhere else.  Have you tried using H4198 in a '73 rifle or SAA?

The 44 cartridge link was pretty interesting reading!  Now I'll hafta dig thru my old rimfire stash and see if anything matches what was shown!

Callaway, my press is a Hornady LockNLoad progressive. Love it!! I have their adapters for every die I own so there is very little adjustment when I start reloading a new caliber. 

I also have an RCBS single stage but it collects dust till I decide to do Hi-Power rifle loads.

Thanks for the information!!

 

jim

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I use Red Dot in 44-40.

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14 minutes ago, Yul Lose said:

I use Red Dot in 44-40.

I use Promo in my 44-40 (Red Dots dirty little sister).

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Msgtarmor said:

Savvy Jack, I believe it was your information that I read on a google search somewhere else.  Have you tried using H4198 in a '73 rifle or SAA?

The 44 cartridge link was pretty interesting reading!  Now I'll hafta dig thru my old rimfire stash and see if anything matches what was shown!

Callaway, my press is a Hornady LockNLoad progressive. Love it!! I have their adapters for every die I own so there is very little adjustment when I start reloading a new caliber. 

I also have an RCBS single stage but it collects dust till I decide to do Hi-Power rifle loads.

Thanks for the information!!

 

jim

Could very well have been.  Yes, as long as the chamber pressures are where I want them, I will use it in both revolvers and rifles of all makes.  Accuracy is fine pending loads but your mileage may very!!!

Aside from CAS, the 44-40 is a bit more multifaceted than people think once they have learned the history of it. The 44-40 cartridge is just not popular enough for powder companies to spend all that money to test their powders and publish loads for it. 

For CAS, I use 6.4gr of Trail Boss. My results are"

 

6.4gr gives me 900fps @ 7,224psi and I have consistant hits at 265 Yards with it. Ignore the bad spelling and fast forward to the 4:22 mark.....in an Ubert Winchester 73'

VIDEO 256 Yards, Winchester 73', 6.4gr Trail Boss and a Mav Dutch Big Lube bullet

 

Don't fall for that case-load formula seen on the net! Use the published load since it is readily available.

A caseload of Trail Boss with a 200gr Magma bullet sitting firmly on top of the powder gave me 9.4gr @ 1,250fps with chamber pressures at 15,182psi..........approx  17,945 CUP. According to my black powder test, thats not bad but its higher than I care to use in Revolvers and the 73'

Here are some of my loads......I think the LFCD Damages the case but does not ruin it.

 

 

Crimps.jpg

Img_1730.jpg

 

The LFCD nearly permanently marks "Damages"  the case just like the cannelure does.

Edited by Savvy Jack

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Thanks, Savvy Jack! More good info there!  I will probably first start with Unique since I have plenty on hand.  Not sure I'll try the H4198 or N32C tho.  I'm gonna get into my Lyman manual and check out the Reloader 7 and Trail Boss for future loads.  I have not fired either of my 2 new guns yet, but I wanted to have some 'home rolled' ones to light up after I try a few HSM Cowboy loads I bought!

I bought a couple boxes of 'factory reloads' from a guy at a gun show 2 weekends ago.  I pulled one apart and it has 5.8 gns of an extreemly small ball powder. Never seen anything like it. It fills about 1/3 of the case. He said it duplicates the old black powder loads for velocity and pressure.  Not sure I'm gonna use it unless I wind up with a '92 44-40.  So if nothing else I have 100 .427 red poly coated bullets and new Starline cases!

Thanks for all the replies!

 

jim

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Do not seat and crimp in one stage. You'll buckle the cases.

 

 

Not True!

 

If you are careful you can seat and crimp in one stage with 44-40. I did it for years. You just have to be very precise how you set your dies.

 

OK, I started loading 44-40 when I first go into SASS close to twenty years ago. It was the second cartridge I learned to load (all self taught) after 45 Colt.

 

I used to load with Unique in those days, 7.5 grains under a 200 grain hard cast bullet. Not a mouse fart, but not a max load either. Unique is my go to Smokeless powder specifically because it takes up a good amount of room in the case. I am always leery of powders like Bullseye, where you just put a few flakes of powder in the case. With Unique it is not impossible to double charge a case, but if you are paying attention you should notice it. In the days before Trailboss was invented, Unique was a good way to make sure you didn't double charge a case. Again, not impossible, 15 grains of unique would probably fit into a 44-40 case (I ain't tried and I ain't gonna) But if you are paying attention you should notice a double charge.

 

Yes, even with a progressive press like your Hornady (I use one too) you should be eyeballing every case before you seat a bullet to make sure you have powder in there and that you did not double charge a case.

 

OK, here is the thing about 44-40. 44-40, and it's cousin 38-40 have very thin brass at the neck. They usually run around .007 thick at the case mouth, vs about .012 thick for 45 Colt. So if you are not extra careful setting up your dies with 45 Colt, and you seat the bullet a little bit too deep, the thicker brass will bulldoze its way right into the lead at the top of the crimp groove and form a nice crimp. Try the same thing with the thinner brass of 44-40 and what is likely to happen is as the case rises in the die to 'swallow' the bullet, if the bullet is seated too deep, the case mouth will butt against the underside of the top of the crimp groove. Like I said, with the more robust 45 Colt  case, no problem, the brass digs into the bullet. But the thinner 44-40 brass will butt up against the underside of the top of the crimp groove as the case is still rising for the last few thousandths. Something has to give, and what usually happens is the brass crumples just below the bullet.

 

Like this: Exaggerated a bit for photo purposes.

 

badcrumple-1.jpg

 

 

 

 

The solution to this is simple.  Set your seating crimp die so that when the case rises to the fullest extent in the die, there is still a hair of space between the case mouth and the underside of the top of the crimp groove.

 

Like this: Again, exagertted slightly for photo purposes. All you need is a hair's width of space, just a few thousandths. This way, when the case has risen all the way and 'swallowed' the bullet, the case mouth will not meet an obstruction and will be able to fold over nicely into the crimp groove. Did it this way for years. With a standard RCBS die set, not the fancy Cowboy dies.

 

4440crimpwitharrow.jpg

 

 

 

 

Practically speaking, when you are setting up your dies, set aside a few bullets and cases to get your crimp set just right.  First of all, you don't have to bother trimming your cases. I keep meaning to through that useless case trimmer away, I have never used it. Get out your calipers and measure a few cases and select those that are the longest. With brand new Starline brass they will probably be pretty similar, but go through the exercise anyway. Select a few pieces of brass that are the longest to set up your dies. That way, any shorter pieces of brass will automatically have the gap built into the crimp, just a few thousandths more.

 

Lee Factory Crimp Die.

 

First time I ever heard of it ruining cases, I have been using one for years.

 

Disclaimer:  The reason I use the Lee FCD these days with my 44-40 and 38-40 ammo is because the huge lube groove of the Big Lube bullets I use with my Black Powder rounds will sometimes allow a little bit of soft BP lube to smoosh into the crimp groove. A standard crimp die will not drive it all out, sometimes causing problems with the crimp. The concentric squeeze action of the Lee FCD is strong enough to squeeze any stray bullet lube out of the crimp.

 

Here are a couple of 44-40 rounds with the crimp formed by the Lee FCD. Notice the die does not form a nice, round roll crimp. It squeezes the brass in and smooshes it into the crimp groove.

 

44-40%20starline%20brass%20Lee%20FCD_zps

 

 

 

 

The downside of this is that with the very thin brass at the case mouth, my 44-40 crimps are not real strong. I keep a few dummy rounds made up with no primer and powder for running through my rifles. I find that the slamming of the follower by the magazine spring every time a round is stripped out of the magazine tends to telescope the bullets down into the cases. I can only run my dummies through my rifles a few times before the bullet starts to telescope in too much. Not a problem with my Black Powder loads because the case full of powder forms a solid plug that prevents the bullet from telescoping in. Not a problem in a revolver either, because if anything a weak crimp would tend to allow bullets to jump forward in recoil, not backwards.

 

If I was going to be loading much 44-40 or 38-40 with Unique anymore, I might try the Redding crimp die. But I have no such plans at this point.

 

By the way, that thin brass at the neck is why 44-40 and 38-40 are the darlings of us BP shooters. The thin brass expands so well to seal the chamber that almost no soot sneaks back past the case to foul the action. You cannot say the same about 45 Colt.

 

Bullet diameter: In the old days, the standard groove diameter for 44-40 was .427. Today, most firearms manufacturers are using the same .429 barrels that they use for 44 Mag/44 Special. I have a bunch of 44-40 rifles, antique and modern, and the barrel groove diameters vary, both .427 and .429. Years ago I used to use .427 bullets in all my 44-40 loads. For the last ten years I have been using my Uberti Henry which has a groove diameter of .429. So I have compromised on .428 bullets these days so I do not have to keep separate ammo for different guns. .428 seems to work fine in my .427 and .429 barrels. The soft lead I use bumps up to fill up the .429 grooves.

 

One other thing.

 

I learned a long time ago to go slow when loading 44-40. I have been using a Hornady Lock and Load for years. With the more robust case of the 45 Colt, if a shell is not perfectly centered in the shell holder as it rises into the sizing/decap die, and it bumps into the bottom of the die, no problem. The shell will shrug off the insult and be fine. Do the same with a 44-40 or 38-40, allow the case mouth to bump into the bottom of the die, and you will probably crumple it and ruin it. So the answer is, go a little bit slower with 44-40. Take your time. Don't try to produce 1000 rounds per hour. If you go a little bit slower, you will feel it when (not if) a case bumps into the bottom of the sizing/decap die. Then you can let off the pressure on the handle and back off before the case is ruined.

 

One more thing. You have to lube your cases because there are no carbide dies for 44-40.

 

I use Hornady One Shot case lube. I get a little bit anal about setting up to reload. I put all my cases in wooden loading blocks I made up years ago. Case up so I can eyeball them and make sure no 45 Colts slipped in while I wasn't looking. Then I lightly spray the cases with Hornady One shot. Not too much, a little dab will do you. If you spray too much, the liquid will cause dents on your brass. I'm really lazy, I usually only load 200 rounds at a time, I get bored easily. Anyway, I lube the cases before popping in the dies and the shell plate. By the time that is done, the cases are dry and ready to load. This is actually a batch of 45 Colt, but you get the idea. And that is my Lyman Black Powder measure, but again, you get the idea.

 

HornadyLLandLymanBPmeasure02.jpg

 

Edited by Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Beartrap SASS#57175 said:

I've loadied 44-40's for about 15 years using the RCBS COWBOY dies (which seat and crimp with the same stroke) on a single stage RCBS Rockcrusher  press. NEVER had a problem crushing cases. Of course you've got to use the proper expander and properly adjust the dies. Do that and seating/crimping in one operation is not a problem.

 

It can be an issue on a some progressive presses.

This is my first hand experiences I speak of in help'n folks set up their Dillon's etc.

Also-What's the point of combining the operation when you are loading on a progressive?:huh:

YMMV,

OLG

Edited by The Original Lumpy Gritz

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Savvy Jack said:

Don't fall for that case-load formula seen on the net! Use the published load since it is readily available.

 

You mean the data published by IMR/Hodgdon? I tend to trust the manufacturers data.

 

Original Formula

https://imrpowder.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/trail-boss-reduced-loads-r_p.pdf

 

From the website today

https://www.hodgdon.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/trail-boss-reduced-loads-2018.pdf

 

They also have one for 4895

https://www.hodgdon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/h4895-reduced-rifle-loads.pdf

 

WARNING: This works only where H4895 is listed. DO NOT use in a cartridge where H4895 is not shown.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Sedalia Dave

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

You mean the data published by IMR/Hodgdon? I tend to trust the manufacturers data.

 

 

What this means is that 15,000psi would be perfectly safe for the Winchester 73's and Revolvers but.............
Like I said, my BP loads in original pre-1880's unheadstamped semi-balloonhead cases produce a consistent 14,000psi with Swiss FFG while the same load in modern Starline Brass only produces 8,953psi. Goex FFFG is 10,000psi-12,000psi pending which semi-balloonhead brass is used and only 8,305psi in modern Starline Brass.

Early Dupont #2 smokeless must have produced much higher pressures and is probably why Winchester warned it not for use in pistols but was spacifically for use in the 73' and 92'. Dupont #2 was replaced by Sharpshooter and was a direct "BULK" replacement powder for BP and produced less pressures than BP. This would have been back down to the 11,000psi range. Eventually replaced by SR80, another bulk replacement powder. By the time these powders were discontinued, Winchester was using pistol powders thus the reduction in velocity to maintain the "below" 11,000psi max. It all adds up!

I am trying really hard not to get off topic but in order for some things to make sense, one needs to know the full historical timeline of the cartridge and components.....of which I am still a student!!!

 

With the results from all of the testing I have done, I conclude the following;
 

I do not have nor have I been able to find original pressure testing data. All I know is what the SAAMI standards are, nor do I know how they cam up with the current standards.  Below is a possible timeline of pressures. I will correct these as I acquire the information.

 

Black Powder

  • 1873 - 1880, Unknown

Sometime after 1880, company's began producing solid head cases, and before about 1884, when companies began headstamping their centerfire rifle and pistol cartridges

  • 1880-1884, 14,000psi...approx 16,550CUP, Solid Semi-Balloonhead Unheadstamped Brass

  • 1884-1900's, 12,650psi...approx 14,952CUP, WRA, Western and REM-UMC Solid Semi-Ballonhead Headstamped Brass

  • 2019, 10,953psi...approx 12,946CUP, Modern Starline Brass

Smokeless Powder

  • 1894-1897, Unknown but higher than 14,000psi due to the pressure spike of Dupont's #2 early non-deterrent smokeless powder

  • 1897-WWII, Unknown but lower than early black powder loads due to deterrent coated new "Sharpshooter" powder

  • 1926 - SAAMI established and the 44-40 was set to 13,000CUP MAP

  • 1903-1946, 22,000CUP...approx 18,000psi, Winchester's Factory High Velocity Loads...probably with SR80 powder by 1913

  • 1926-present, normal loads 13,000cup

  • 2015 SAAMI Dated, 13,000cup/11,000psi

  • Buffalo Bore Factory 44-40 "Heavy", 11,300psi...approx 13,356CUP...set as my "control"

  • Winchester Super-X, 6,650psi...approx 7,860cup

 

Thus, I am lead to believe that early 44–40 black powder cartridges produced around 14,000psi while early non-deterrent Dupont #2 smokeless powder produced even higher pressures which is probably why they should not be used in early black powder frame revolvers. I am lead to believe that when Winchester switched to Sharpshooter powder....a direct bulk replacement, the pressures dropped to the 11,000psi mark and is what set the standards of today. My testings have been consistent but I can not dig out actual historical pressures and I doubt I ever will.

Sharpshooter lists 19gr for High Velocity Loads and SR80 lists 18gr for a High Velocity load of 1,625fps...which should be the 22,000cup load...not for the Winchester 73'.....unlike Dupont #2....but also listed not for revolvers....which the date would include modern as well as black powder frames..

 

 

Maybe Hodgdon will reply to my email ;-)

Edited by Savvy Jack

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Savvy Jack and Driftwood, thanks for the indepth information!!  I'm glad I posted my questions and concerns here and even happier with the replies!  I should mention I also shoot traditional muzzle loaders and have a good supply of Swiss and Goex FF and FFF powder. So a few loads in the 'Holy Black' will be in order sometime later.  

Driftwood, did your press come with that wire case ejector of did you add that on?  Mine doesn't have one.  Instead, it has a little bump under the shell plate that nudges the loaded cartridge out, which sometimes binds and causes a stoppage till I wiggle the case out.

I don't go for speed when I reload because I tend look into each case as it moves into the bullet seater position. On mine, its where your's has the empty port.  And I've added mini LED strip light under the turrent so I can see better. Also after tumbling the cases in walnut media, I size/deprime, then bell, then hand prime each case so I can do a good inspection of each one before I stuff it. When I'm actually loading, I set mine up with the first port empty, the second port with a case mouth sizer (yes I do it twice), 3rd port has the powder dispenser, 4th bullet seater, and the LFCD last. I measure powder and bullet OAL on each load for the first dozen or so depending on how much tweeking I need to do.  Then after 6 or so not needing adjusting, I'll stop and check every 20-30 rds and re-measure.  This is probably more information than anybody wanted, but it's what has worked for me since I moved up from a single stage press to this progressive.

Thanks again to everyone!!  Tons of good information I'll have to re-reread so it sticks!!

 

jim

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Posted (edited)

Howdy Again

 

The wire ejector was standard when I bought my Hornady Lock and Load AP. I actually have two of them, one I keep set up for Large Pistol Primers, the other I keep set up for Small Pistol Primers. Sorry, I can't remember exactly when I bought them, it was quite a while ago. I probably had the first one (the one I keep set up for large primers) a couple of years before I bought the second one.

 

Here is a shot of loading up a batch of 44-40. Note how nice and shiny the brand new cases are, they will never be this shiny again. Note the dummy 50BMG round in the background. An excellent tool for re-rounding the occasional 44-40 case mouth that has gotten a little deformed and out of round. Notice the ejector wire has been flipped up out of the way. I flip it out of the way because my Lee FCD protrudes too far down and will jam on the ejector wire if it is in place. I do use the ejector wire for most other rounds, but completed rounds sometimes need to be 'helped' past it too. Notice the empty brass ready to go in the wooden loading blocks. Notice too I have laid out 50 Big Lube bullets, ready to be loaded. I like to do everything in groups of 50, that way I can account for all my bullets. You never know when you will absent mindedly try to stuff an extra bullet down inside a case. Don't ask.

 

If you want to load up some 44-40 with BP, you are going to need a bullet specifically designed for BP. Yeah, I know all the arguments, but I settled on the Big Lube Mav-Dutchman  bullet lubed with SPG a long time ago. That is the bullets you see here.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Here is a closeup of a bunch of 45 Colt being loaded. The ejector wire is in its normal position, ready to eject the completed round the next time I pull the handle. You can see the BP powder charge peeking out of the charged case in the foreground. When loading 45 Colt I don't use a separate crimp die, I crimp and seat the bullet in one stroke with a standard RCBS carbide three die set. Hmmm, I must have been loading a mixed batch of cases that day, some have cannelures, some do not. The R&D conversion cylinder in the background is my 45 Colt cartridge gauge. Its chambers are tighter than the chambers of any of my other 45 Colt revolvers. After I am done reloading, I drop all the completed rounds into the chambers of that cylinder. Any that don't drop in nicely get run through the crimp die one more time to tighten the crimp. Since the chambers in this cylinder are more precise than any of my other revolvers, that guarantees that the rounds will chamber in my Colts, or clones.

 

BP%20Loading%20on%20Hornady%20LampL_zpsa

 

 

 

 

Here is a batch of 45 Colt being loaded into brand-shiny new Starline cases. You can see one station is empty. That's because I am not using a crimp die. That leaves a good place to peer down and make sure there is powder in each case. Hmmm, looks like I didn't engage the ejector wire that day. There is a bottle of Schuetzen FFg in the background purely for photographic purposes. I wouldn't have that there while I was loading. I use Schuetzen FFg exclusively these days, it uses a better grade of charcoal and burns a little bit cleaner than Goex.

 

shiny%20cases%2045%20colt_zpsacqcxo9q.jp

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a batch of 44 Russian being loaded. Obviously these cases have been used a few times. I don't care if my cases are shiny, shiny cartridges don't shoot any better than stained ones. Once I have rinsed and dried my cases I tumble them with Lizzard Litter from the local big box pet store. It is the same as walnut media, but much cheaper. After they have been rinsed, dried, and tumbled, that is how they look. Did I mention that stained ammo does not shoot any worse than shiny ammo? You can see I use a standard 44 Special shell plate for my 44 Russian ammo.  Hmmmm, looks like I forgot to lower the ejector wire again. I think I have gotten into the habit of just flipping the completed rounds into the red plastic box with my thumb, I don't seem to rely on the kick out wire much these days. Those are the same .428 Mav-Dutcham bullets I use in my 44-40 rounds. I shoot these 44 Russians out of a couple of antique S&W Top Breaks.

 

44%20Russian%20Loads_zpstyy1n1zy.jpg

 

 

 

 

If you are doing all that stuff off the press, you are doing a lot of extra work that really is not necessary. I never decap or prime off my progressive presses. Never. That is what a progressive press is designed for. Even with dirty BP brass, they get decapped and primed right on the press. The time for inspection is before the cases hit the loading blocks. It is a good thing that you are weighing a few loads, I do that too while loading Smokeless.

 

To tell you the truth though, almost all my loading these days is with Black Powder so I don't bother weighing any of my charges. For all my BP loading on my Hornady press I use a Lyman Black Powder measure. It is not hooked up to the press linkage so I have to remember to flip the charging handle for each round.

 

Hornady%20LampL%20BP%20Setup_zpsssgqze3f

 

 

 

 

 

I buy old Lyman powder measures whenever I find them cheap and use the powder measuring rotors for my standard BP charges. that way I can pop in the correct measuring rotor while the case lube is drying and I am setting up the press. I run a few rounds through the press one at a time to make sure the powder level looks correct and the crimp is correct and the OAL is correct. I will usually VERY CAREFULLY run the first 5 rounds or so through my Henry to make sure it cycles them. Then I am off to the races.

 

Lyman%20Powder%20Rotors_zpsn86qdwb0.jpg

 

 

 

 

PS: I do need to install some sort of light on the press so I can peer down into the charged cases.

Edited by Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283
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I use Trailboss for .44-40 and .32-20.   For the larger round I use a 200 grain RNFP bullet of .428" diameter with 5.5 grains of powder.

 

I use this load in an Uberti Henry, an Uberti 66, and AWA Lightning, a pair of Colt Sheriff's models that are dual cylindered with .44 Special, a 3rd Gen Colt, and an Uberti SAA.   It has served me well in all of them.   I just got a .44-40 cylinder to try in my Colt Buntline .44 Special.

 

I use Lee dies, and after fighting with it for a long time and buckling far too many cases when trying to seat and crimp at the same time, I now only seat with the seating/crimp die and crimp with a Lee Factory Crimp Die.   Since I started doing that, I've never had any more problems with this caliber, or it's smaller sibling.   One thing I like about the Lee dies is the powder through the expander feature.   I use a Lyman turret press.

 

Take from this what you will.

 

Good luck.

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So how much crimp are you putting on with the LFCD and using smokeless powder? I had figured to start with 3/4 turn past shell plate. I generally use 1 turn on my 'bear' loads for 44 mag and 357 with either 2400 or H110 powders.  

 

jim

 

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And I'm assuming, anything in my Lyman book that is published for handgun loads should be good for my '73 Winchester also?!  Reason I ask is there are several powders and loads listed for a 200 gr bullet for handgun, but very few for rifle and Trail Boss ain't one of em...

Thanks!!

 

jim

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Msgtarmor said:

And I'm assuming, anything in my Lyman book that is published for handgun loads should be good for my '73 Winchester also?!  Reason I ask is there are several powders and loads listed for a 200 gr bullet for handgun, but very few for rifle and Trail Boss ain't one of em...

Thanks!!

 

jim

Yes!!

 

Trail Boss loads can be found on their website
http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data/pistol

 

No rifle data though but 6.5 is fine

Edited by Savvy Jack

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Any load that you use in your revolvers will work just fine in your rifles.   You don't need to create "more powerful" loadings for use in the rifle.   As far as how much crimp to use in the FCD goes, well, for me, I just set it to a minimum setting and crimped.   I felt there was not enough, so I tightened it a little, checked again, and kept doing that until I felt it had enough crimp.  For reference, I compared it visually to a round of factory ammo.   When it looked the same, I felt I'd found the perfect amount of crimp.

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If in doubt...load up 10 "dummy" rounds with no primers and no powder. Apply the crimp you think is good. Load and unload them several times in the rifle and see if the bullet telescopes back into the case. If it does, not enough crimp ;-). 

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2 minutes ago, Savvy Jack said:

If in doubt...load up 10 "dummy" rounds with no primers and no powder. Apply the crimp you think is good. Load and unload them several times in the rifle and see if the bullet telescopes back into the case. If it does, not enough crimp ;-). 

 

Or load one empty with no primer and hit it with a hammer.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Msgtarmor said:

So how much crimp are you putting on with the LFCD and using smokeless powder? I had figured to start with 3/4 turn past shell plate. I generally use 1 turn on my 'bear' loads for 44 mag and 357 with either 2400 or H110 powders.  

 

jim

 

I've no idea. I just kept turning the die until I got the crimp I wanted. (.44-40) I doubt it's as much as 3/4-1 turn past the shell plate. Any more than that is unnecessary as it will over stress the brass at the case mouth or worse, buckle the case. I've never had bullets telescope into the case except dummy rounds after repeated cycling. Live rounds only need to last long enough for one trip thru the magazine.

 

Edited by Abilene Slim SASS 81783

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Msgtarmor said:

So how much crimp are you putting on with the LFCD and using smokeless powder?

 

I don't. I only use the Lee Factory Crimp Die with my Black Powder loads. As I said, I don't get any telescoping in the rifle magazine because there is a solid 'plug' of Black Powder keeping the bullets from moving backwards.

 

Back when I was shooting Smokeless in my Model 1892 I was crimping and seating my bullets in one step with my standard RCBS 3 die set.

 

I don't recall having any telescoping problems.

 

These two photos are of my 44-40 loads back when I was loading them with Unique.

 

4440bellandcrimp-1.jpg

 

 

 

 

Notice this is a standard hard cast .427 200 grain bullet. Note how much the crimp rolls into the crimp groove. With that teeny bit of extra space above the case mouth.

 

4440crimp-1.jpg

 

 

 

 

This is a close up of my current crimps using the Mav-Dutchman 200 grain Big Lube bullet and the Lee Factory Crimp die. Notice how the die does not roll the crimp into the crimp groove, it 'smooshes' the brass into the groove, taking on the shape of the groove. Not as secure in my mind as a standard roll crimp. But it does not matter with my Black Powder loads.

 

44-40%20Crimp%20Starline%20Brass%20Lee%2

 

 

 

 

I have no idea how many turns I put on the die, I did it years ago. I have not messed with it since.

 

Savvy Jack gave you the best advice. Use the empirical method. Make up a bunch of dummies and run them through your rifle. When they stop telescoping, you have gotten the crimp right. This will require some experimentation on your part to get the crimp good enough.

 

Frankly, If I was you and was going to be loading 44-40 with Smokeless I would forget about extra crimp dies. I would go back to my roots and use my standard seating crimp die to seat and crimp in one step, making a nice, strong roll crimp. It is not all that hard to do if you follow the advice I gave you earlier. If you set your dies up correctly, you will not crumple cases.

 

 

One other thing. Do not put too much bell on your cases. In that photo up above that is actually too much bell. The more bell you put on the brass the more you cold work the brass at the case mouth. That is inviting split brass at the case mouth. I only put enough bell on my brass so the bullet will slide in without shaving any brass. With my terrible eyesight the bell is almost invisible, but I can feel it with my fingers.

 

And I'm gonna let you in on another dirty little secret. I never get splits at the case mouth with sturdy brass like 45 Colt. I do get them with the thinner brass of 44-40. I usually don't detect a split at the case mouth until I am about to put the brass onto the shell plate of the press. Here is the dirty little secret: If there is a teeny split at the case mouth less than 1/16" long I go right ahead and load it. If the split is more than 1/16" long I discard that piece of brass. As I said before, with my BP loads this is not a problem because the plug of BP is preventing the bullet from sliding back. I probably would not be so cavalier if I was loading Smokeless and needed the crimp to be extra strong.

Edited by Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283
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This is alot of information to absorb!  But it's why I asked in the first place so again, Thank you all very much for answering all my questions!!  I will make the 10 or so dummies and try that for the crimp tension adjustment.  I definitely dont want to over stress the case mouth prematurely!

Which brings up another question.. (Sorry for dragging this out)  I've read quite abit about the advantages of annealing brass. But it's about 50-50 on those that say it isn't necessary and those that say it is..  I've never done it on anything I've loaded and most of my brass has been loaded 10 times or more.  It is rare to find a split brass and when I do it's usually 357 nickel cases. 

Any thoughts on that?

 

jim

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