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Old February 17, 2013, 06:14 PM   #1
Moloch
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Rossi .44 Lever - Handloading help!

Hi!

I need some help with reloading for the Rossi Lever Action 24'' chambered in .44mag. Actually, my buddy needs the help as it is his gun.

So he bought a new Rossi Lever in .44, we loaded some ammo and brought her to the range next day. Accuracy was absolutely terrible.

The loads we shot:
Bullet: Speer .429 240 grain and Hornady XTP 240 grain, .430
19, 20 and 21.5 grains of Alliant 2400
Taper crimp
Brass: Starline, new
Primer Federal large pistol
Lee dies

At the range we tried to sight her in at 50yds and with all reloads we got groups the size of a basketball.
No pressure signs on the brass and primer, 21.5 kicked quite a little bit and there was no difference in accuracy (or the lack thereof) between the .429 and the .430. and the different charges. No keyholing though.
I know that rifles can be picky sometimes, but thats just crazy.

We're both very experienced shooters and we are also experienced in handloading, we weighed each charge on a mechanical lee scale, the extreme inaccuracy simply boggles our minds.

The funny thing is we tried some factory ammo and got excellent results with Remington white box 240 grain 44mag. Thumb-sized groups at 50yds, thats as good as it gets with a rifle like that I guess.
Unfortunately he did not keep any rounds so we could not pull the bullets to measure their the diameter. The factory stuff was very hot, too.

Any suggestions?
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Old February 17, 2013, 06:17 PM   #2
GeauxTide
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Not enough bullet pull

No taper crimp. FULL, HARD, ROLL CRIMP. The case mouth should fill the cannelure.
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Old February 17, 2013, 06:25 PM   #3
Moloch
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Why?
We have not experienced an bullets moving forwards (from recoil and chambering) and the bullets used had grooved crimp grooves. Rock solid.
Also, with the taper crimp feeding was smoother than with the roll crimp factory stuff.
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Old February 17, 2013, 09:50 PM   #4
maggys drawers
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I can't speak for a Rossi, but the Marlin .44 mag 1894 barrel slugs at .431- I thought this was a little strange. I looked up SAAMI specs on .44 mag, and the spec for a rifle is NOT the same as a pistol. Pistol spec is .429, rifle is .431

My 1894 will shoot a .430 diameter XTP fairly well, but will not shoot a .429 cast pistol bullet worth sour owl squat...but shoots much better with a .433 cast. Went from pie pan size groups to a 3" group @ 100 yards with cast..I figure 60 year old eyes, iron sights and a heavy bullet isn't going to get much better groups than that. I also started out with 2400, but switched to IMR 4227. The closer to max load I got with 4227, the better the groups.

I'd slug the barrel and see what size you get, then go from there. If they are rattling down the barrel due to a bore/bullet size issue, you need a better fit.
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Old February 17, 2013, 10:12 PM   #5
eldermike
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My best results from many years shooting 44 mag in IMHSA was with WW 296. It was almost universal with steel shooters, we all shot the same powder. The 44 mag and 296 work.
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Old February 18, 2013, 09:43 AM   #6
reloader28
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I agree with Maggys Drawers. Slug the bore.
Mine slugs at .432. I dont shoot jacketed bullets, but it maybe that the bore is too big.
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Old February 18, 2013, 12:40 PM   #7
AlaskaMike
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Any time you have an example where it's working well (the factory loads that give good accuracy), you need to figure out what's different from that which isn't working well (your test handloads).

I think the first thing you should do is pull down a couple of those factory loads and measure the bullet diameter. As others have mentioned, the Rossi barrels are frequently reported to be a little on the large size.

Mike
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Old February 18, 2013, 01:00 PM   #8
wrm
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+1 slug the bore. My Winchester '94 slugs .432. Got a special oversize mould for it, it was a group buy -- i.e. not an uncommon thing.
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Old February 18, 2013, 01:20 PM   #9
temmi
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No Help from me

My 45 Colt is really good at 50yrds with Ruger (+P) loads.

But

I use jacketed bullets

Snake
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Old February 18, 2013, 01:30 PM   #10
mikld
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My .44 Puma's bore is slightly oversize (.432"+) so I shoot my cast lead RNFP sized to .432".433". Slug your bore so you'll know exactly what you're working with. Jacketed bullets may shoot ok sized close or slightly under groove diameter, but I would guess not often.

A hefty crimp is ususlly needed for some powders that need a little more "resistance" or "time" to burn consistantly, not necessarily to keep the bullets in place during recoil. I use 2400 and Bluredot under 240 gr. gas checked RNFP bullets with a firm roll crimp on them. My charges are mid range as per my reolading manuals and I get very little unburned powder residue. Save the taper crimp for non cannalure/crimp groove bullets (plated) and semi-autos that headspace on the case mouth.
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Old February 18, 2013, 06:19 PM   #11
Moloch
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Quote:
I thought this was a little strange. I looked up SAAMI specs on .44 mag, and the spec for a rifle is NOT the same as a pistol. Pistol spec is .429, rifle is .431
Why is that? Why are all the new lever evolution bullets .429 and .430 then? I thought they're made for lever guns? Odd.

He hasn't slugged the bore yet, but he said that he gets .431 with his caliper. Looks like at least the .429's are undersized, but shouldn't a strong load bump up the .430's to .431?

Quote:
I think the first thing you should do is pull down a couple of those factory loads and measure the bullet diameter. As others have mentioned, the Rossi barrels are frequently reported to be a little on the large size.
Maybe a very kind member here has a few of those Winchester White Box 240's and can measure the bullet diameter? That would be most helpful.

Seems like getting a custom mold is the only option, which is pretty bad as the owner of the gun wanted to shoot jacketed bullets through his gun. (he doesn't want to deal with the lead fouling at bullet speeds in excess of 1500)

Oh, I almost forgot to thank you guys for all the extremely helpful replies. Thanks! I love this place.
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Old February 18, 2013, 07:22 PM   #12
fishbones182
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Most guys i know that shoot a lever 44 mag use cast bullets. You should slug your bore and find out the diameter you need. I have seen jacketed bullets that were sized at 430 instead of the the 429. You may not get lead fouling but you'll still have copper fouling in your barrel. Just because you shoot lead doesn't mean you'll have leading in your barrel at any speed. This all relates to bullet to barrel size, bullet hardness, lube used on the bullet, type of powder used in the load it self. Myself im shooting a win 94 loaded with unique or 2400 at 1200 plus fps with minimal to no leading at all at least no more fouling that would occur with jacketed bullets. For me personally 1200 fps with a 240g bullet will take any animal with ease. A lot of times for punching paper i just use the same bullet with the unique at slower speeds paper isn't hard to kill. Good luck finding the issue with your reloads.
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Old February 18, 2013, 08:12 PM   #13
m&p45acp10+1
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Not crimping in a tube fed lever action is not a good idea in the first place. Also a hard roll crimp is strongly advised for .44 Magnum. Your seating die roll crimp, you may have to sacrifice a case or two to get it properly adjusted.
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Old February 18, 2013, 11:17 PM   #14
maggys drawers
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Quote:
Why is that? Why are all the new lever evolution bullets .429 and .430 then? I thought they're made for lever guns? Odd.
Good question. I don't have an answer. Perhaps not all .44 rifles are a .431 bore. If they were the same as a pistol bore, it would sure solve some problems.

Like I said before, my rifle will shoot a .430 XTP fairly well, even though it is .0015 smaller than my bore. Maybe there is that much difference in how a jacketed bullet obturates compared to a cast. I shoot very few jacketed loads since I found a cast bullet my rifle likes. Casting my own makes it a super cheap rifle to shoot and I rarely have a bullet shortage.
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Old February 19, 2013, 01:26 AM   #15
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I agree that casting is the best way to go.
If theres a worry of leading, shoot a gas checked bullet and make sure its .001 or .002 bigger than the bore dia.

I shoot 245gr SWC with soft 50/50 alloy (pure lead/WW) with a gas check at 1660fps all day long with no leading at all. Very accurate too.

There is a couple places that sell lead bullets on line that would fit the bill, but I dont know the names off the top of my head.
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