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Issues reloading 44-40


Sedalia Dave

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Well I ran out of the 44-40 ammo I bought of a retiring shooter and I have to get busy and load some.

 

Ran into an issue right off the bat. My seating die is causing the case mouth to shave lead as it seats the bullet.  Was loading .430 bullets as both my rifles slug at .429. I switch to some .427 bullets with the same results. Bullets are Hy-Tek coated.

 

Last time I loaded 44-40 was a couple years ago. I loaded about a 1000 rounds of uncoated cast lead ammo and didn't have any issues. 

 

Called Dillon and we went through all the usual things. (Ensure the seating die and seating plug are clean. Verified bullet diameter. Proper case mouth belling. I even tried a different seating stem.

Even though I had done them once I did each one in turn with the Dillon rep on the phone. 

 

He conferred with his supervisor and didn't come up with anything else that might be causing the problem.

 

What I do know is that a sized case can easily be inserted by hand into the seating die. However a case that has been properly belled lacks about 3/8" of fully inserting into the seating die by hand without considerable force. When using the press I can feel the case mouth drag on the die as it is inserted the last 3/8" or so.

 

Somewhere I have a set of 45 Colt dies and was going to try the seating die from that set but I put them somewhere I wouldn't lose them and don't remember where that place is. 

 

I load on a Dillon Square Deal-B. It's the only progressive press I have. I have a Lymag T-Mag turret press and the Lee APP press.  Going to dig out my Lee 44-40 dies and give them a try. But that is going to take a few days before I have the time to set everything up.  

 

In the mean time I thought I'd see if anyone here has an idea.

 

 

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I’m no expert, but it sounds like the inside of the seating die may not have been machined out enough to allow a belled case to go fully up inside without scraping and closing the bell so much that the bullet gets shaved. You should be able to tell by measuring the belled case, then running it up into the seating die and measuring again. If the second measurement is smaller, you found the issue. 
 

Try sizing and belling the casing, then use the Lee seating die and see what happens. 
 

Just my ramblings……..  I could be way off base. Doesn’t make sense that you used the same dies a year ago and now they are giving you fits……..

Sam Sackett 

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If you have used that seater die before, and now you can't use it, something has happened to it.   Rust?  Hardened bullet lube in the die?  Got a bore scope you could run into the die for a good visual check?  Perhaps the neck of a case broke off and is stuck in the seating die, from the last time you loaded on it. 

 

What did Dillon tell you the "proper" amount of belling of the case should be?  Just enough increased diameter that the base of the bullet will enter the case when seated by hand, but won't slide freely into the case neck? Or some other sort of "nonsense"?

 

Did you stick a .44 spl seater die in that loader instead of a .44 WCF?  :lol:

 

OK, here's my usual suspect - you need to get a set of Redding dies including the Redding Profile Crimp Die.  That ALWAYS solves a .44-40 loading problem    :lol::lol:  

 

good luck, GJ   

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Hoss, I wish I could help, but the only 44-40 loading I've ever done is on my 550C with a set of RCBS Cowboy dies.   And obviously using the Dillon thru powder drop to bell the cases... I am using a .429 bullet and make sure the bell is just outside the diameter of the bullet.  I also take a lot of care to ensure the bullet doesn't tlt in the case as it moves from the position 2 to position 3.  Garrison Joe's insights are quite valid.

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I am using RCBS cowboy dies...the neck expanding plug was .427 from RCBS...called them and got a plug for 44 spcl that was 430...no more problem

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Dave,

 

It seems to me that if you're using Dillon dies and the case mouth is belled correctly, there should be no issue with seating.   As you have covered the points that Joe brought up with the folks at Dillon, it appears to me that the belling is the issue.  Is it possible the die body is screwed down too far so that the case mouth is being forced up too far before the seater stem engages the top of the bullet?  In other words, is the seater stem not down far enough to prevent the case mouth for traveling too far up into the die body?

 

Tex

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Sounds like you have a seating/crimping die with the crimping die set too deep. bring the die up a couple turns and the seating stem down to the desired seating depth. I'm assuming you are crimping in a separate step.

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The Square Deal B uses proprietary Dillon dies. If you have never seen them they don't look anything like the standard 7/8" threaded dies other presses use.

 

 

Below is a picture of the dies. Starting top left and going clockwise. Resizing die ( all are carbide except 44-40) seating die, Crimp die, Depriming pin, Through powder funnel, Shell plate, Locator Pins, and two seating stems for different bullet profiles. 

 

image.png.9ba3bf09af95fdfa26e08a87cf4e4045.png

 

The depriming pin holder and the rest of the powder die are considered part of the tool head. As is the adjustment screw for the crimp die. The seating stems screw into the tool head and project down into the seating die.

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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Howdy Dave.

Are you sure this is the same through powder funnel that you used previously?  Is it the regular 44 wcf funnel or one for 44 mag?  Have you tried one for 44 mag?  

 

I have a square deal for 45 Colt and 44 Special, but also have 44 mag dies.  Last time I set it up for Specials, I accidentally had the 44 mag crimp die in it and even with it adjusted all the way down it wouldn't quite crimp the Specials enough.  I finally figured out the wrong die was in there.  I know your issue is different but sometimes you have to look closer at the hard-to-see markings on the parts to be sure the right ones are in there, especially if they both have a "44" in the marking.

Edited by Abilene, SASS # 27489
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Winchester cases?

Winchester cases are a bit more "elastic" than Star Line cases. This can cause the bellow to shrink back down too small for .429/.430 lead as the bullet seats bast the base or first driving band and down into the lube groove, hitting and skinning the next driving band or bullet shank. Sometimes just a shave, others it dug all the way into the foreword driving band.

 

119457189_1592825804231330_2821257153820136535_n.jpg.4c410704fab59a1d8783aa4cf517baec.jpg

119484190_1592779117569332_8933099032817916261_n.thumb.jpg.577e436d8bd822996adb274c830118b4.jpg

 

Edited by Savvy Jack
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Have you tried belling just a little more. I've had that happen with 38s on my SDB and just turned the belling/powder drop die another 1/8 to 1/4 turn down and no more issue.

FWIW Good Luck

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I have had a similar problem loading on a Dillon however, a 650 not a square deal.  I agree with Ranger Dan that was my problem seating the bullet too far into the die. Hope your problem is solved as easily. 

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You'll probably need to get a expander/powder funnel for the 44 magnum to load .429 bullets. It'll make life allot easier. Or flair the case more.

Maybe Dillon would just sell you the expander/funnel separately out of the kit. 

Edited by Ya Big Tree
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1 hour ago, Savvy Jack said:

Winchester cases?

Winchester cases are a bit more "elastic" than Star Line cases. This can cause the bellow to shrink back down too small for .429/.430 lead as the bullet seats bast the base or first driving band and down into the lube groove, hitting and skinning the next driving band or bullet shank. Sometimes just a shave, others it dug all the way into the foreword driving band.

 

119457189_1592825804231330_2821257153820136535_n.jpg.4c410704fab59a1d8783aa4cf517baec.jpg

119484190_1592779117569332_8933099032817916261_n.thumb.jpg.577e436d8bd822996adb274c830118b4.jpg

 

Why it's best to anneal 

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Sounds to me like you are not belling the case enough.  

 

I use Lee dies, but the procedure should be the same for RCBS or whatever.

Lube case.

Use 1st die to deprime and resize.

Clean case.

Use second die to expand case.  You should be able to see some belling, or its not enough.  If you are using Lee dies, you can pour the powder into the case through the die.  If you are using anyone else's, you need to remove the case to put the powder in it.

Use a .427" bullet.  Some folks use .428" bullets.  I've had good luck with both sizes, but find the .427" is usually easier to seat correctly.  

Use 3rd die to seat the bullet, but NOT to crimp it.
Crimp with a Lee Factory Crimp die.

Using this method, I have excellent results with .44-40 and .32-20.  Before I used this method, I had a lotta messed up cases.  Now, the only time I get a rumpled case is when I don't pay enough attention to line everything proper, or go too fast.  IE, human error on my part.

As far as using the smaller bullets in a .429" bore, it does not seem to be a problem.  I have several .44-40's from antique to modern Colts and S&W revolvers.  All of my .44-40 rifles are modern made replicas except for one vintage Colt Lightning.  I also have a couple of Sheriff's models with 3" barrels with dual .44-40 and .44 Special cylinders, so I know they have .429" bores.  I still get acceptable accuracy out of those guns in .44-40.

Take it all with a grain of salt. 

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619
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Everything I reload, cowboy or modern, I  bell the cases more then most people. I have had no negative issues that I've ever noticed after seating and crimping then case guaging my ammo. Plus very rare to have any bullet shaving.

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Aside from Sidalia Daves Dillon issues....

 

I used the Lyman "M" die to prevent shaving and seating issues common to the 44-40.

 

44-40 "M" die for .427 or smaller

44 Magnum "M" die for .428 and larger

 

B.jpg.a757e8ab84ab05f7a6fa9e7fea67c008.jpg

 

ed934edf-ff5d-4824-8c15-df8e662f94b9.__CR00970600_PT0_SX970_V1___.jpg.4d06e68e68128f6583abc3ad7fd2db51.jpg

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1 hour ago, Savvy Jack said:

I used the Lyman "M" die to prevent shaving and seating issues common to the 44-40.

 

The M die is always a great way to handle cast bullet belling problems, because it is very adjustable and it gets the main part of the neck internal diameter sized right for a cast bullet.  Use one in all my 6.5mm, .30 cal,  8mm and .45 cal rifle cast bullet loading.

 

But I get good results with an RCBS .429" expander button in RCBS die set that I run in a turret press.  No Dillon hi-speed loading with .44-40 - just NOT worth all the case damage from bulges.

 

good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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Here are some pictures that will clarify the problem. 
 

Neck diameter of a sized Starline case
 

IMG_2031.thumb.jpeg.5d65f876f7ef630f3524fc544a3fcf4e.jpeg
 

Diameter after belling the case. 
 

IMG_2032.thumb.jpeg.4a783a103500a206c306d7f9f95dd7d2.jpeg

 

Diameter of the bullet. 
 

IMG_2033.thumb.jpeg.83b993819b7a1ac643a6c76e41ef8bf2.jpeg


 

How bullet sits in the case after belling the case. 
 

IMG_2036.thumb.jpeg.427b135781a90237c936b5699dca066d.jpeg

 

Lead shaved after seating the bullet. 
 

IMG_2034.thumb.jpeg.97ff81d65f3b4356e920c590ea5a0ef8.jpeg

 

Lead sliver

 

IMG_2035.thumb.jpeg.aead04d0c8e92ca82291014b428945fb.jpeg

 

I measured the inside of the seating die. And it measured.450”. The thickness of the case mouth is .0115”. So .427 + .0115 + .0115 = .450”. This is the same diameter as the seating die so to me, the is of the seating die is too small. 
 

ran a belled case into the die by hand and this is where it stops because the die is hitting the case mouth. 
 

IMG_2037.thumb.jpeg.2cff586114f312c1e5d77439c43cdeb5.jpeg

 

 Case mouth diameter after running belled case fully into the seating die. 

 

IMG_2040.thumb.jpeg.57503562501537ff59ffafdaa2d5c1ad.jpeg


 

Called Dillon and explained what I found. The want me to send them the die, bullet, sized case, belled case and a case with a seated bullet. 

 

will be sending everything to them Monday. 


 

I’ll update when they get back to me. 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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Those pictures are very similar to when a seating die is turning the crimp into the bullet BEFORE the seater depth has been fully reached.  As in, bullet continues to be shoved in the case AFTER the crimp has come down to bullet diameter.    Thus, the mouth shaves lead from that point on. 

 

First, you are belling a little too much.   Because there is a gap in picture between the bullet base and, and the brass at the mouth.   You could close that up a hair and eliminate your first reported problem that the case will not by hand enter the seating die fully.

 

Second, it seems the crimp ring in the die is turning in the mouth BEFORE your bullet has reached desired depth of seating.   Can you back off the body of the die so that NO crimp is applied, seat a bullet to right spot, then back off the STEM and run the BODY of the die of the die down to make the crimp you want, then run the STEM back down to touch the nose of bullet with that cartridge in the die, so you get the seating stem real close to the proper seating depth again.

 

Are you SURE you don't have a bunch of dried lube stuck in the die below the original crimp ring?   Cleaned the die body with solvent and a brush yet? 

 

This is a combined seat/crimp die, right?   Difficulties like this is why loading .44-40 is normally done with a seater die, then a crimp die.

 

good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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Another thing - what is the expander button diameter below where the expansion bell on the button is (before the taper out to larger diameter) ? 

 

If you are using a lead bullet of .429" diameter, and you only open the lower part of the neck up to about 0.427 (a diameter common with some .44-40 expander buttons), then you have a lot of neck tension as you seat the bullet, and that may be squishing some of the bands on the bullet upward and out at the case mouth.

 

good luck, GJ

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On an SDB the crimp is a separate die, the 4th station if you will. Maybe overbelled and the seating die is sort of crimping it down before the bullet is actually seated as the case is being forced into the die. As said above, try backing off the bell a tad.

Edited by Eyesa Horg
Otto
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One thing I noticed is that the seating die doesn’t move when the tool head is installed. All my other seating die the part the straightens and guides the bullet have some movement. 
 

 Going to wait and see what Dillon comes back with. 

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4 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

One thing I noticed is that the seating die doesn’t move when the tool head is installed. All my other seating die the part the straightens and guides the bullet have some movement. 
 

 Going to wait and see what Dillon comes back with. 

Seat and crimp in 2 separate operations. 

Try it! ;)

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1 minute ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Seat and crimp in 2 separate operations. 

Try it! ;)

As mentioned above (several times), the SDB has seat and crimp as 2 separate operations.

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