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Old August 10, 2000, 08:31 AM   #1
freedomlover
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After talking about it for years, I've finally decided to get into reloading. My only experience in this area consists of one quick reloading session with an RCBS single-stage press, during which time I ed out 50 .44 Mag. rounds. I'm going with a Lee single-stage press and am wondering how many of the "extras" not included in their starter kit are absolutely necessary. Specifically, do I really need a set of dial calipers or can that wait until later? I'll only be reloading .44 Mag. for now, maybe other calibers later. I've got 250 pieces of once-fired .44 brass and was thinking I could get by reloading it once without dial calipers or a case trimmer. Am I right? Of course, I eventually will buy all the "extras," but as I'm just starting out and don't have a fortune to spend, I'm taking a minimalist approach for now. Thanks for the help--you fellas here in the Reloading forum might be seeing a lot of other dumb questions from me in the future...

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Old August 10, 2000, 08:54 AM   #2
Hutch
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You're right. You don't have to have the calipers or case trimmers yet. Most .44 bullets (all I've seen, actually) will have a crimping canellure (sp?) (jacketed) or crimping groove (cast). This will basically set your length overall (LOA). In revolvers, it's likely that you will have a case fail due to a split lengthwise before the case stretches to the point of having a head seperate. Don't sweat it.
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Old August 10, 2000, 09:26 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, Hutch. I'll be using cast bullets, by the way. One more question about my brass: some of it (Federal) seems quite a bit thicker and is not bulged at the base. The thin brass (PMC) is uniformly bulged at the base, just enough to be noticeable. Does that mean it's not suitable for reloading? I was hoping to reload it at least once. Thanks again for the help.

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Old August 10, 2000, 12:51 PM   #4
Paul B.
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Freedom Lover. Don't sweat the bulge. Your sizing die will get rid of that. The brass is OK for reloading. I don't know if anyone mentioned this to you, but get the carbide resizing die. It will pay for itself in the time saved by not having to wipe off caselube.
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Old August 10, 2000, 02:09 PM   #5
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Thanks, Paul--yes, I'm getting the carbide dies, I've already been warned about the regular steel dies. And my reloads will be very mild, so I'm hoping that makes my brass last longer. Along those lines, I was also wondering if it's a good idea to load .44 Mag brass to .44 Spec. pressure levels. Would the extra case length of the Magnum prevent a small powder charge from packing the case uniformly? Haven't seen any mention of this in the Speer reloading manual. At any rate, as soon as the brown truck pulls up to my door with my shipment from Midway, I'll be in business. I appreciate the info!

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Old August 10, 2000, 05:14 PM   #6
johnwill
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I see nothing wrong with loading .44Sp loads in your .44Mag brass. I do the same thing with .357, and it works just fine. A good reason to do this is because you won't have the build-up from the shorter .44Sp case in the cylinders. If you shoot a lot of .44Sp (or .38Sp in a .357), you can build up a ring of "crud" in the cylinders that takes a lot of scrubbing to remove, and the longer rounds won't chamber properly without totally cleaning it out.
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Old August 11, 2000, 08:25 AM   #7
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I concur w/ John. Just make sure you use the well-documented, fast burning powders for reduced loads (Unique, Bullseye, 231, etc.) They ignite easily, regardless of how well distributed in the case they are at "the moment of truth". Do NOT used undocumented reduced loads of slow burning powders (H110, 296, 2400). That is asking for trouble.
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Old August 11, 2000, 10:38 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. I was planning on using Unique at first, but if another brand of powder is better for some reason I'd want to know. Thanks for the warning about slow-burning powder; I'll stay away from them. If (when) I have some more questions I'll be back. I appreciate the help!

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Old August 11, 2000, 02:25 PM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by freedomlover:
Thanks for the replies. I was planning on using Unique at first, but if another brand of powder is better for some reason I'd want to know. Thanks for the warning about slow-burning powder; I'll stay away from them. If (when) I have some more questions I'll be back. I appreciate the help!
I used to use lots of Bullseye and Unique.I quit them and went exclusivley to Accurate Arms #5 for 2 reasons. 1...it is much ,much cleaner burning. 2 ...it does not smoke near as much. In the end, the guns are much easier to clean. Muzzel flash is nonexistent.
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[/quote]

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Old August 11, 2000, 07:09 PM   #10
johnwill
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The only reason I don't use Unique is that it's pretty dirty, so I'd consider WW231. It's my favorite pistol powder nowadays.
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Old August 12, 2000, 04:17 PM   #11
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Unique is a great powder, with applications in almost every caliber, and from light to medium-warm pressures. There are probably more good old recipes for Unique than almost any other powder. That being said...

It IS old, it's kinda dirty, and may not meter QUITE as well as ball powders, altho' it meters well enough. If I were limited to only 1 powder to load all handgun cartridges, no doubt in my mind I'd pick Unique. I guess I'm an old f@rt at the age of 44.
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Old August 13, 2000, 04:27 PM   #12
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Xxero. I'm sorry, but I must strongly disagree with your comment on the fast burning powders. I have fire thousands of .44 Spl. equivilant loads in .44 Magnum cases. I have used Elmer Keith's .44 Mag. practice loads since 1956, when I got my first .44 Mag. S&W 29. This load used Bullseye, and was popular for many years. I don't post loads on the web, but you and Freedomlover can E-mail me for them. I also use Unique as a mid range load for much of my shooting. Loading the slow powders such as W-296 and H-110 is a recipe for disaster. I include Alliant #2400 in that group as well. When the makers of these powders state not to go below the minum charge in the manuals, I figure that they know their product better than anyone else.
As to light charges of powders such as Bullseye blowing up guns? I think that the person who loaded the charge, more than likely double charged the case, and either did not inspect the charges prior to seating the bullet, or missed it in his inspection. JMHO based on 45 plus years of reloading, both commercially and for personal use.
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Old August 14, 2000, 02:09 AM   #13
Bill Adair
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freedom,

I've used quite a bit of Unique over the years, and it's a very versatile powder.

Because of the large flake size, it is difficult to measure accurately, with a standard powder measure. I've found that very carefull and consistent motion of the handle, plus a double bump at the top to the stroke where the drum is filling, helps immensely. Try it while weighing each throw, to see what produces the most consistency for you.

Bill
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Old August 14, 2000, 02:14 AM   #14
Clark
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I was working up 45 Super loads with Unique and it was very dirty. I switched to AA#5. It worked just as well and was clean.

In other applications, Unique has been clean burning.
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Old August 14, 2000, 12:28 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the replies. I might not use Unigue after all since it's a "dirty" powder. I was planning on using H110 (which I was told is a clean- and slow-burning powder) for my Magnum loads and Unique or some other fast-burning powder for my lighter loads. I'm going to be using Magnum primers for all my loads unless somebody recommends otherwise. The "overflash" that xxero was talking about was one of the reasons I posted here to begin with, I had heard of problems with light loads in large-capacity cases and want to avoid an unpleasant scenario. I figured there would be plenty of knowledgeable help here, and you all proved me right. Watchman and Clark, thanks for the advice on AA#5. Might end up trying that instead of Unique. Paul B., I'll be e-mailing you for your advice on light loads. Thanks for all the help, gentlemen.

freedomlover

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Old August 14, 2000, 12:43 PM   #16
Hutch
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The thread that won't die...

Winchester makes a primer they describe as useful for "standard or magnum" loads. I like them, and I think they remove any doubt about applicablility for a particular powder and charge. Some powders are kinda in-between, speedwise, and this primer trumps all those "magnum or standard primer?" concerns.
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Old August 14, 2000, 12:45 PM   #17
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The thread that won't die...

Winchester makes a primer they describe as useful for "standard or magnum" loads. I like them, and I think they remove any doubt about applicablility for a particular powder and charge. Some powders are kinda in-between, speedwise, and this primer trumps all those "magnum or standard primer?" concerns.
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