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Thread: getting set up to reload 44 special

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    getting set up to reload 44 special

    Will a lee 4 die set cover everything I need to do
    https://leeprecision.com/4-die-set-44spl-carb.html

    And is starline good brass in this calibre?

    I'll be loading cast and JHP.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    Yes. Yes. Jhp's are a waste of money


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  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    Lee will do what you need.
    Starline is good brass,if a bit hard. Every one waxes poetic on it. It tends to be cheapest.
    I think you would be better served by buying RCBS Cowboy dies.
    They are specifically made for loading lead bullets. So they will load Jacketed w/o a problem. And they come with the spacer ring to go from .44Spl to .44Mag with no adjustment.
    And they are just better quality. I've been using the same set for 45yrs.
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  4. #4
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    Yes to all questions. That is one of the easiest to load next to 38 special in my opinion. Good luck.
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  5. #5
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    I have loaded hundreds, maybe thousands of 44 Spl using that die set, and a fair few 44 mags with it also. Starline brass is as good as you can buy these days. Red Dot and Unique are my go to powders in the 44 Spl., but there are passionate supporters of Bullseye, WW-231/HP 38, Power Pistol and a fair few others I gloss over. This is my current favorite.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I find the larger caliber Starline brass often chatters in the dies during the first loading unless it’s tumbled first. I think they use a coating to keep the brass shiny and that doesn’t play well with the dies. I’ve tried lube and that didn’t help, but a short trip through the tumbler cures it. After that, the subsequent reloading run slick.
    "Time and money don't do you a bit of good until you spend them." - My Dad

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks fellas. One of the aims is to work up some +P loads as well, not elmer kieth level, more 45 colt level. Just noticed the other thread running on this too.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    The best die set would be to buy the 3 die set, and buy the custom collet (not carbide) crimp die. Unfortunately, Lee has currently shut down the custom dies due to the government shut downs effecting business. This option will be back in the future. Many here hate them, but the carbide crimp die does work too.

    Starline brass is fair brass, but it is not the best. It is some of the longest lasting, but not the most consistent. The top of the line would be likely Hornady or Remington, which are thinner, and more consistent.

    Don't waste your time with a jacketed hollow point. While some work, 44 special in particular is notorious for poor performance with them. This is one cartridge where a cast bullet, solid or hollow point, will excel.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post
    I have loaded hundreds, maybe thousands of 44 Spl using that die set, and a fair few 44 mags with it also. Starline brass is as good as you can buy these days. Red Dot and Unique are my go to powders in the 44 Spl., but there are passionate supporters of Bullseye, WW-231/HP 38, Power Pistol and a fair few others I gloss over. This is my current favorite.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Ditto to everything he said .

  10. #10
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    I think your Lee dies will work just fine. Are there other 44spec dies that are better???? Well there are other dies that will work better if you are going to be loading cast, and if you haven't already purchased your Lee dies, and you can afford to spend more money on the dies than yes, get the very best dies that facilitate your efforts and that you can afford, remember if you take care of them they will last longer than you will likely be above ground. As to Starline brass, I use it, I also use Winchester and Remington and Federal. I think in most cases any of the above mentioned brass is just fine for 44 special loads. Just be sure that whatever brass you use, clean it well, and be sure to keep the primer pockets nice and clean too. Invest in a good tumbler for your brass. A bit of a day with my 44 special loading.









    Remember take your time, have fun and stay safe.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I have the habit of buying the Lee 4 die set to start with one reason is I like the pro auto disk measure on the LCT if I find I need a special die for some reason then I pick it up I also like the seating and crimp adjustments on the Lee dies. My 44 carbide crimp die does not size the bullets I use (a fired case will push into it with hand pressure)
    So the carbide ring does not do anything for my loads but the 4 die set is cheaper than a 3 die set and separate crimp die.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    Yes, Lee dies will work, I've been using them for probably 10 years now and there's no telling how many thousands of shells I've loaded and fired since I shoot ,ore .44 Special than anything.

    I've also mainly used Starline brass, probably 500 in all. It seems to be good brass although I lose quite a few to split mouths.

    I'll second the notion that the .44 Special is an extremely easy cartridge for which to load. Like the .38 Special, it's just hard to find a load that won't shoot. I personally stick with bullets in the 245 - 260 gr. range. I've hunted with the cartridge quite a bit using both SWC's and SWCHP's.

    As far as powder goes, Bullseye, Red Dot and IMR Target are fantastic for loading factory duplication loads, and I'd hate to have to pick just one.



    For hunting loads, I don't see much need in loads over 1000-1050 fps, so I stick with three powders; Unique, Power Pistol and Herco. Any of the three are great and again, I'd hate to have to choose one.







    Hope some of this helps!

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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Great posts thanks. Can I ask what case life is likely to be like with regular and +P loads in this calibre? Even hunting loads I am guessing are not going to be very high pressures as far as brass goes.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    My 44 Spl Winchester 1892 has many Starline cases that are on their 8th reload with medium loads
    .

    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks Bad *** Wallace, and bad *** name btw as well

    Is that a 44 rem lever, how do you find the 44 specials generally cycle through them?

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I have a lee 4 die set for .44 SPL, I had to remove the carbide ring from the FCD so it did not swagge my cast bullets. I don't load a lot of .44 SPL but if I did I would get better dies.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickbr View Post
    Great posts thanks. Can I ask what case life is likely to be like with regular and +P loads in this calibre? Even hunting loads I am guessing are not going to be very high pressures as far as brass goes.
    It has nothing to do with the loads. It's from overworking the brass, or maybe because the brass is a bit hard.

    35W
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  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Buy them on E-Bey. You will save money.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Buy them on E-Bay. You will save money. I think you can find them new in the $40 range.

  20. #20
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    Sweet six guns there 35Whelen. Just got to love a beautiful six gun.

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