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Thread: 44-40 reloading problem

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    44-40 reloading problem

    Have recently begun reloading for my Mod92 44-40 using Starline brass & .430" cast 200gn projectiles. I'm using RCBS dies and find that during re-sizing the odd case comes out with a vertical crease starting at the mouth.

    Any idea as to what is the problem & what I need to do to stop this from happening?

    Appreciate the help folks.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Hopefully your dies are not out of tolerance, unlikely. You could be using too much lube. Using a .430 bullet, you may want to check the diameter of your expander ball in the resizing die. If that is too small, seating the bullet may become a problem also.

  3. #3
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    curator's Avatar
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    New Starline .44-40 brass should probably have the case mouth annealed before loading. This may help or cure this problem. Most likely the RCBS sizing die is sizing your cases a bit more than needed. .44-40 guns can have a bore diameter as small as .425 or a large as .432 (rifles mostly) and still be "in spec." Reloading die manufacturers make dies for "one size fits all" coverage. The .44-40 case is quite thin compared to more modern cartridges and is easily damaged in reloading. If there is the slightest dent in the case mouth that can start a crease in the neck. Annealing and care in handling will help reduce case loss. Lever action rifles top eject cases with some force to land several feet away from the shooter. Often these cases have the case mouth get knocked a bit out of round. On my .44-40 and .32-20 fires brass, I inspect and straighten the dinged case mouths using the lee "universal expander" to return them to proper roundness (not actually expand them) before resizing them. This has helped reduce my case loss in reloading these difficult cartridges to almost nothing.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    I'd go with to much lube. 4440 brass is very thin necked and even sometimes will buckle if you're not careful.

  5. #5
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    missionary5155's Avatar
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    Good morning
    Try seating a piece of brass in the chamber without resizing it. If that unsized brass enters with no issue try a cast in the case neck. Hopefully there is a little resistance. May have to bell the case a hair with a tapered tool. Try that in the chamber.
    You may not need to resize with that re-sizer. Some older dies seem to re-size to a .325 and less case neck.
    We shot 44 WCF for years with nothing more than "squeezing" the neck a little in a home made neck sizer. Knock out fired primers with a "shaped" #16 nail. Used smokeless loads at 1200 fps. A case near full of 3F is very much deadly.
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  6. #6
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    2ndAmendmentNut's Avatar
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    44-40 reloading problem

    Creases during sizing are usually caused by excessive lubricant. I use Starline brass as well and have never needed to anneal the cases. I load .429 boolits in my 44WCFs. Only thing I did differently is I use an expander plug from a 44sp/mag die set.

    Who made your model 92?

    Are the sizing problems with brand new brass or cases that have been fired in your gun?


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    Last edited by 2ndAmendmentNut; 07-20-2017 at 08:37 AM.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Another thing to check is to be sure the bleed hole is clear, so that excess lubricant is able to get out. If the hole is plugged with debris this can cause the same problem.

    .44-40 cases don't require much effort to size. Make sure they are clean, wiping off any range grit, and then just lightly lubricate them with plain mineral oil. You don't need heavy wax or grease. Wipe off cases with a baby diaper after sizing to remove any remaining oil and you are good to go.
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  8. #8
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    I know this may be silly of me to ask, is this brand new starline brass??

    The reason I ask is that I had and still have for the most part a HUGE amount of new 44/40 starline brass.
    And about 6 or 7 out of 1000 would have a folded crease at the top near or at the mouth.
    I contacted starline about this and said that was normal in the processing for you to have several like that and they had included extras to cover this occurrence.

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    Curator said it -- the least dent in the neck can start a crease. Run the expander button through the case necks to get them all good and round before sizing and I'll bet you eliminate the creases. This is one of the interesting little challenges that show up when loading thin cases such as 44/40 and 38/40 (and 32/20, 25/20 on occasion).

  10. #10
    Boolit Master dikman's Avatar
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    I tried loading .44-40 brass in a progressive press (Loadmaster) and crunched quite a few cases, they are so thin that any deformities or misalignment with the boolit causes issues. I now use a turret press and check each case before loading. Yep, they get dinged from landing on concrete when ejected so like curator I take out the dings manually first.

    I've reduced my case losses to virtually zero by using the turret press.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master OlDeuce's Avatar
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    After sizing of my 44-40 By hand I open the mouth with a hand wedge ! makes it way easy to start the boolet ! Once I learned this little trick I've not lost one case !!!! My 44-40 gets shot in a Old Uberti 1 0f a 1,000 Iron frame Henry 1860

    Ol Deuce
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  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks for the reply gents.
    Right I guess more background wouldn't hurt eh.
    The brass I mention that has been creasing vertically from the mouth down, is brand new, unfired Starline as well as once fired Starline brass. I also get the same from once fired WW Super brass.
    I've tried resizing the brass with no lube, Dillon spray lube, Lyman One Shot spray lube and the residual of some Simplex resizing lube, only to get creases in each instance.
    So I'm led to thinking that it may be as mentioned, a problem with the dies over sizing.

    So I'll try the "no sizing" & see if that makes a difference.

    Oh, by the by, the rifle used is an 1892 Winnie Model92 that was made in 1897.
    Cheers

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks for the reply gents.
    Right I guess more background wouldn't hurt eh.
    The brass I mention that has been creasing vertically from the mouth down, is brand new, unfired Starline as well as once fired Starline brass. I also get the same from once fired WW Super brass.
    I've tried resizing the brass with no lube, Dillon spray lube, Lyman One Shot spray lube and the residual of some Simplex resizing lube, only to get creases in each instance.
    So I'm led to thinking that it may be as mentioned, a problem with the dies over sizing.

    So I'll try the "no sizing" & see if that makes a difference.

    Oh, by the by, the rifle used is an 1892 Winnie Model92 that was made in 1897.
    Cheers

  14. #14
    Boolit Master buckshotshoey's Avatar
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    Use a sharpie and put a mark on the die, and one on the case. Line the marks up and run several cases through. This will tell you if it is happening on the same spot of die every time. Using this information, put another mark on the die in line with the defect, disassemble, and inspect for deformation or a lube build up. And as mentioned, check the vent hole. A plugged vent will cause lots of trouble.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master OlDeuce's Avatar
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    Gunnie..............try just neck sizing only !!! that just might do the trick!

    Ol Deuce
    Do the Best with What you have !

  16. #16
    Boolit Master dikman's Avatar
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    Hey gunnie, mine's also a '92 made in 1897 (carbine)! Great rifle, shoots well, and at the last cowboy shoot we had the guys commented on how fast it is. These .44-40 cartridges can be a bit of a pain to reload - but I really like the calibre, just feels "right".

  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    G'day dikman,

    I agree re these little Winchesters, great handling rifles. I actually have three in the safe -two in 44-40 & a 32-20. The older 44 is in top nick whereas the younger one (made in 1902) is rather rough. It actually needs a refurb and new bbl if I can track down a decent second hand tube at the gunshows that is.
    The 32-20 has a slightly heavy profile Sportco barrel. I replaced the badly cracked original wood with a set of camphor laurel that a friend made up during trials of his new profiler. Unfortunately the stocks aren't a good fit, but will suffice until I can get a new set.

    I'm thinking of adding a 25-20 Model92 to the safe also.

    Once I get this issue with the 44 cases sorted out, the missus & I will be able to enjoy the rifles more.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check