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Old December 4, 2009, 12:38 PM   #1
rodwhaincamo
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Getting started...

I will be recieving a reloading setup soon. I'll be loading for the 44 Mag. I want to start with a load that produces roughly 500 ft/lbs with minimal flash from a ported 4" barrel. I found that I flinch often with standard mag loads. I plan to use 200 grn Hornady XTP's. I know nothing about cases, primers, or powders. I have an assortment of brands of cases to start with (R-P, Horn, and Win). Which cases tend to last longer? Suggestions on what to begin looking for? Anything to stay away from? Is Midway a good economical place to order from? Does shooting hard cast bullets foul the barrel horribly? I've looked for FMJ bullets and only found 1 in 240 grns. Anyone know of heavier ones more suited to large hogs? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Thanks,
Bob
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Old December 4, 2009, 12:42 PM   #2
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Queue

Queue Buy a book comments on 3.

People will not give you load data as it is largely felt you should have this data in the book you have where you read the details of reloading safely. Probably true.

Midway really is a great place to buy everything. I love it and the people on this board have resoundingly approved of them.

Good luck on the rest. Probably should get the book. Cases not so much a deal, other than knowing the sizing limitations and inspection for later reloads. But really the rest is not something to do with slop factor or tolerance until you have a lot more experience than I do.
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Old December 4, 2009, 12:52 PM   #3
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Will definately get a book or 2 or 3. Not looking for load data. Just an idea of components. Especially with low flash powders.
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Old December 4, 2009, 12:58 PM   #4
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My understanding is that R-P cases tend to have thinner walls. I don't care much about case capacity as I won't be loading any mega thundering loads. I want to do this as inexpensively as possible, but believe you generally get what you pay for.
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Old December 4, 2009, 02:54 PM   #5
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G'deal

Cool.

Wish I could help more about your specific caliber.
All I can tell you is information I've been gathering while reloading rifle in preperation for reloading my .40.

My understanding is that brass for pistols lasts a long time as you won't have to do much to any trimming and full resizing. I have a Glock .40 though and that changes things so I had to obtain a new fully supported barrel. I say that just to show there are exceptions and .44 is a lot of boom, maybe could be.

Primer's, I haven't heard a lot about big quality differences. For the most part they're hard to obtain right now, (hard as in takes work, not impossible), so if it's the right size magnum primer, you should be good. I'm going to go out on a solid limb and guess .44 is a large primer, magnum requires magnum.

Lead will leave deposits in your barrell. I believe that cleaning and solvent can keep those problems to a minimum. This is another area where there is supposedly rumored problems with Glock .40, so wouldn't do it myself just to keep on the safe side.

I don't think reloading's cheap. As is always said you won't save money but you'll shoot more. And if you don't I'd wonder why you'd want to spend the time, setting up, learning, and all that work.

.44, booms. Nice, I'd go for it.
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Old December 4, 2009, 03:07 PM   #6
rodwhaincamo
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I had been paying nearly $40/50 for WWB and UMC (44 Mag) about a year ago. From what I gather I can cut my cost to about a third of that. I'm getting into handloading so that I'm no longer suffering from the lack of ammo, to develop loads to my needs, as well as to cut the cost so that I can afford to shoot more. But even if I didn't save a penny it'd be worth it to me. Not to mention that it'll give me a new hobby. I've become a stay at home dad since I lost my job when my daughter was born several months ago. So I have too much time on my hands.
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Old December 4, 2009, 04:02 PM   #7
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I've been loading .44 Mag for many years now and it's much cheaper than buying factory rounds. A plus is that you can get much more accurate loads. The .44 Mag lends itself to a plethora of different loads from plinkers to those that kill on one end and maim on the other. I'm a little partial to hot loads and some of my cases are years old, so they last quite a while. It's hard to say which brand lasts longest.

I cast my own lead bullets out of wheel weight. This helps lower the reloading cost also. I also shoot them with maximum powder charges and have never had a leading problem. However pushing lead bullets to the max doesn't make for the most accurate loads. For hunting I use 240 grain JHP.

I've done business with Midway USA for years and have always been very satisfied.

When you get your reloading manuals read the front part, not just the reloading tables, you'll be surprised what you will learn.

Like any other new hobby reloading will cost you a few bucks to get started. Buy good quality equipment and it will last for years. The single stage rifle press I use is over 50 years old, pistol press and powder measure are about 40, all still in good shape.

Don't get too hung up on theory. Load, shoot and enjoy. That will keep it interesting.
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Old December 4, 2009, 08:53 PM   #8
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I would recommend Lyman 49th Reloading manual. Its cheap in paper back. As to cast bullets. If you are new to Reloading. I would shy away from them for awhile. I cast my own bullets But I also slug the barrels for proper fit. There are a lot of plated bullets on the market today. Cabelas has the Berry plated bullets on sale now. They cost about what you will pay for generic cast bullets. Mid-way has gotten a ton of money from me, they are a good out fit. However I also order from Mid-south shooters. They are cheaper on a lot of items.
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Old December 4, 2009, 09:22 PM   #9
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First thing is make absolutely sure of everything you're doing. No need to have a handgrenade in your hands and you don't get a second chance. Like someone said above there's a plethora of things you can do with a .44. In my opinion it's an outstanding round, maybe the best all around cartridge for handguns. It is to me.

You can load it very light, moderately or heavily. Personally I shoot moderate loads the majority of the time. It's easier to shoot more and it's less money. Getting good with any gun takes practice, practice and more practice, especially a handgun. There is a huge variation of different bullets available.

You will need to vary loads for accuracy and pressure signs if you are loading heavy loads. Some guns like some bullets, powder charges etc and some don't. If your first ammo isn't as accurate as you want then adjust the load. Odds are you will find a very accurate load. Just read because there is plenty to learn. To make sure you're not flinching load the cylinder with 5 rounds and spin it. Watch yourself when you drop the hammer on an empty chamber. It takes your nervous system some getting used to so you can shoot without flinching. We're all different. I've been shooting quite a few moderate loads lately but I'm sure I'd start flinching with full power loads at least a bit after I started shooting some. You have to learn to relax but it's also your nervous system. A ten year old girl could have less issues than a 300 pound football player so don't feel bad.
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Old December 5, 2009, 01:11 PM   #10
rodwhaincamo
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Can anybody help with short barrel (4" ported), low flash powders to push 180-200 grn bullets to produce 400-550 ft/lbs in a 44 Mag case?
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Old December 5, 2009, 02:03 PM   #11
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550 ft-lbs with a 180 grain bullet requires a velocity of only 1173 fps. That is not very powerfulf for a .44 Magnum, so you can probably achieve it with some of the faster pistol powders. The faster powders tend to give lower muzzle flash, but that isn't a guarantee that comes from the burning rate. Some fast powders can still make a lot more muzzle flash than others of about the same burning rate. So, you still need some advice on which give the lowest flash.

I can't compute muzzle velocity very accurataly with QuickLOAD, because it doesn't include the effect of the gap between the cylinder and barrel, which bleeds pressure and reduces velocity. And, even revolvers with the same barrel lengths differ enough to give velocity differences of well over 100 fps. So, you will need to use a chronograph to be sure of what muzzle velocity/energy you are really getting in YOUR gun.

QuickLOAD calcuates the following powders produce 1200 fps with a Hornady 180 grain XTP-HP bullet from a 5.7" long barrel (4" of barrel plus 1.7" of cylinder). They are sorted by % powder burned before the bullet exits the muzzle, and for the 100% burned powders, they are sorted by pressure.

Code:
Powder	                 % fill	grains	Vel.  % burn	P-max	P-muzzle
						
Hodgdon Clays	           64.4	 8.5	1200	100	30397	3840
Vihtavuori N310	           52.6	 8.4	1200	100	28994	3887
Norma R1	           66.6	 9.3	1200	100	27481	4046
Alliant RED DOT            62.3	 8.5	1200	100	24997	4217
Hodgdon TiteGroup	   41.7	 9.4	1200	100	24850	4168
AA Solo 1000	           59.5	 9.1	1200	100	24245	4229
Vihtavuori N320	           56.5	 9.1	1200	100	23457	4275
Alliant GREEN DOT	   59.4	 9.1	1200	100	23294	4392
Accurate Nitro 100	   58.4	 8.4	1200	100	23246	4362
Hodgdon HP38	           46.9	 9.8	1200	100	22248	4467
Winchester 231	           47.7	 9.9	1200	100	21907	4528
Ramshot Zip	           42.6	 9.9	1200	100	21907	4528
AA Solo 1250	           59.6	 9.8	1200	100	21430	4576
Hodgdon Universal	   54.5	 9.6	1200	100	20972	4787
Vihtavuori N330	           54.8	 9.8	1200	100	20693	4678
Vihtavuori N340	           57.2	10.5	1200	 99.9	19901	5094
Alliant BULLSEYE	   49.5	 9	1200	 99.9	19372	5213
Alliant UNIQUE	           56.9	10.1	1200	 99.7	19171	5404
Accurate No.2	           43.8	10.1	1200	 99.2	20086	5147
Silhouette	           47.1	11.3	1200	 98.9	19267	5372
Winchester WAP	           47.2	11.3	1200	 98.8	19244	5387
Alliant HERCO	           64	11.1	1200	 98.2	18750	5692
Vihtavuori N350	           59.8	12	1200	 96	18553	5653
Winchester 540	           43.4	12.3	1200	 95.7	18934	5620
Vihtavuori 3N37	           57.4	12.2	1200	 95.6	18490	5743
Ramshot True Blue	   44.1	12.4	1200	 95.6	18928	5625
Hodgdon HS-6	           47	12.8	1200	 93.7	18760	5736
POWER PISTOL	           54.9	12	1200	 86.7	17663	6192
Accurate No.5	           42.7	13.3	1200	 85.4	18178	6061
Vihtavuori N105	           71	15.3	1200	 83	16029	6616
Vihtavuori 3N38	           67	15.1	1200	 81.3	17901	6198
Norma R123	           68.3	18.8	1200	 78	14631	7720
Accurate No.7	           54.3	16.1	1200	 76.4	17462	6448
Alliant BLUE DOT	   70.4	15.8	1200	 75.8	17853	6357
Accurate No.9	           61.1	18.1	1200	 70.2	17823	6369
Ramshot Enforcer	   70.8	19.9	1200	 66.3	16842	6713
Alliant 2400	           69.7	18.2	1200	 66.2	17490	6566
Vihtavuori N110	           88.3	20.6	1200	 64	16530	6731
Accurate 4100	           74.3	21.1	1200	 62.6	17562	6476
Hodgdon Lil'Gun	           80.8	23.1	1200	 60.2	16085	7100
Hodgdon H110	           80.5	23.8	1200	 57.5	16752	6866
The powders that burn 100% will probably give lower muzzle flash than those that do not. You can see that there is a considerable variation in max pressures for the powders that burn 100%. To keep the powder from burning dirty, pressures somewhat above 20,000 psi will probably be best. But, I hear that Vihtavuori powders are really clean.

Can others help with the muzzle flash information, please?

SL1

Last edited by SL1; December 5, 2009 at 02:28 PM.
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Old December 5, 2009, 02:19 PM   #12
rodwhaincamo
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SL1,
Great table! I really appreciate that. I didn't realize this wasn't just a simple matter. I figured X powder produced X result in any barrel of similar length. I suppose that is why I haven't had much of a direct response. Hmmm... So it seems it's a matter of lots of trial n error. I read somewhere that the powder you suggested is extremely hard to find. Thanks a bunch for your time on the table!
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Old December 5, 2009, 02:48 PM   #13
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You could try a forum or a Google search

but the first few threads that I came-up with when I tried it were from guys like yourself asking for LOW muzzle flash and they just got answers from folks who wanted to talk about (and post pictures of) LARGE muzzle flashes. There may be some useful threads out there already, but it will take some effort to sort through the search results.

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Old December 5, 2009, 03:05 PM   #14
rodwhaincamo
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I've looked and looked and came up with nearly zilch. Thanks again for the chart. Gives me an idea. Put it on the desk top
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Old December 5, 2009, 08:07 PM   #15
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I suggest that you repost your question with a title like "What is a good low-muzzle flash powder?" We don't all read all of these threads, and "Getting Started" is a title that a lot of people probably skipped because we kinda get burned-out retyping the same info for beginners.

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Old December 5, 2009, 09:30 PM   #16
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Welcome to your new obsession

rodwhaincamo,

Welcome to reloading.

Unlike what SL1 suggested, I never get tired of answering newcomers' questions for two reasons.

2) I like to see more and more people in the shooting sports. Tends to protect the Second Amendment from attack from anti-gun people.

1) I don't have to retype most of the stuff. A couple of years ago I composed a list of "10 Advices for the new handloader". I keep refining it little by little. See my next post.

500 Ft Lbs puts it right in 44 Special +p territory. So, make sure you stay away from the "true" magnum (that is, slow burning) powders. Slow burning powders in light loads sometimes produce dangerous pressure spikes. The phenomenon is not well understood (yet), but the loading manuals tell you not to reduce powder charges below certain levels. Treat those minimum limits just as you treat the maximum limits. That is, if a manual says 20.4 grains minimum and 22.6 grains maximum for a powder, stay between those loads. If you find you want less velocity than 20.4 grains gives you, don't use 20.1 grains. Switch to another powder for which your manual has data.

Case life. Heavy crimping will "work" the brass and make it hard and brittle. Then it cracks. You can toss it or trim it back to 44 Special length (not recommended because, though you can use 44 special load data because of the reduced volume of the case in its shorter length, it will now chamber in a 44 Special gun, generating confusion over the Magnum headstamp, if not dangerous shooting conditions.) Insufficient crimping, however, will let recoil pull bullets from their cases. If they pull out far enough, the nose(s) will protrude from the front of the cylinder and potentially prevent rotation of the cylinder, or even unloading the gun. This happened to Craig Medred in Alaska with his 454 Casull at a most embarrassing time (he had just plugged a Brown Bear and was feeling the need for a followup shot).

Nickled cases tend to have a shorter life than brass all the way through. But they clean up a little easier.

Lead fouling: When I first started shooting and loading, I bought lead bullets from a local gun store and was inexperienced enough to neglect to find out how made them (local caster, probably, as they just came in plastic bags and the price was good). They only leaded my barrel when I pushed them to over a certain velocity. I did not have a chronometer, so I don't know what it was. After I was transferred, I ran some name brand lead bullets down my barrel at the same velocities and I got REALLY BAD leading.

Lapping your barrel to remove any roughness should reduce the tendency to lead.

Gas checked lead bullets tend to lead less than bullets with bare lead bottoms.

Leading should only be a concern for your practice ammo. When confronting a hog (with or without tusks) bullet placement and performance inside the pig should be the ONLY thing on your mind.

Check this one out: (I was not there, this is just a guy I found on the 'net)
http://forums.accuratereloading.com/...43&m=236106768
or if the link does not work, paste this into your browser
forums.accuratereloading.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&f=2911043&m=236106768

Good Luck and good shooting.

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Last edited by Lost Sheep; December 5, 2009 at 10:11 PM.
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Old December 5, 2009, 09:49 PM   #17
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10 Advices for the new handloader

Ten Advices for the Novice Handloader.

So much is a matter of personal taste. All advice carries this caveat, "your mileage may vary".

I put together an arbitrary list that I think is illuminating. I call them my Ten Advices.

When I bought my first gun (.357 Magnum Dan Wesson revolver), I bought, at the same time, a reloading setup because I knew I could not afford to shoot if I did not reload my own ammo. It cost me about 1/4 of factory ammo per round and paid for itself pretty quickly. I did not use a loading bench at all. I just mounted the press on a 2 x 6 plank long enough to wedge into the drawer of an end table. Good leverage meant the table did not lift or rock. I still use the same plank (34 years later), but now it is mounted in a Black & Decker folding workbench. A loading bench "bolted to the center of the earth" as some loaders recommend would be more stable, but I do not feel deprived without it.

Advice #1 I found "The ABC's of Reloading" by Bill Chevalier (describes the process in layman's terms) to be a very good reference. Short on data, yes, but I found it full of knowledge and understanding of the process. Check out offerings in your local library. Dated, perhaps, but you can taste-test their writing style. Richard Lee's book "Modern Reloading" has a lot of food for thought, and does discuss the reasoning behind his opinions (unlike many manuals, and postings). Whether right or wrong, the issues merit thought, which that book initiates. It is not a simple book, though and you will find it provocative reading for many years.

Read as many manuals as you can, for the discussion of the how-to steps. As far as load data in older manuals is concerned don't be concerned with it. Use newer manuals' data or from the powder manufacturers' web sites. But pay attention to what the ammunition was test-fired from. (regular firearm vs a sealed-breech pressure test barrel, for example)

The reason you want multiple manuals is that you want to read differing authors/editors writing styles and find ones that "speak" to you. You also get better coverage of the subject; one author or editor may cover parts of the subject more thoroughly than the others.

Only after you know the steps can you look at the contents of a reloading kit and know what parts you will use, what parts you will find useless and what parts the kits lack.

The public library should have manuals you can read, then decide which ones you want to buy.

There are instructional videos now that did not exist in the '70s when I started.

Load mid-range or slightly light at first so overpressures are not concerns. Just concentrate on getting the loading steps right and being VERY VERY consistent (charge weight, crimp strength, seating depth, primer seating force, all that)

You will probably spill powder or drop a primer eventually, so consider what you have for floor covering when you pick your reloading room. (Note: my worktable is portable, a folding workbench with two presses mounted on a board that I simply clamp into place. One press has a large primer feed, the other a small primer feed.)


Advice #2 Almost every manufacturer of loading equipment makes good stuff; if they didn't, they would lose reputation fast and disappear from the marketplace. Better equipment costs more generally. Cast aluminum is lighter and less expensive. Cast iron lasts practically forever. Lee makes good equipment, but is generally considered the "economy" equipment maker, though some of their stuff is considered preferable to more expensive makes. Just think about what you buy.

Almost every manufacturer makes a kit that contains everything you need to do reloading (except dies and the consumables). A decent way to get started without too much prior experience. Eventually most reloaders wind up replacing most of the components of the kit as their personal taste develops, but you will have gotten started, at least..

Advice #3 Learn on a single stage press or a turret press. Do not learn on a progressive press. Too many things happening at the same time are hard to keep track of.

Advice #4 Tungsten Carbide dies for your straight-walled cartridge cases. They do not require lubrication which will save you time. Carbide expander button for your bottlenecked cases. Keeps lube out of the inside of the cases.

Advice #5 Find a mentor. There is no substitute for someone watching you load a few cartridges and critiquing your technigue BEFORE you develop bad habits or make a dangerous mistake. (A mistake that might not have consequences right away, but maybe only after you have escaped trouble a hundred times until one day you get bit, for instance having case lube on your fingers when you handle primers 99 times, no problem because primers are coated with a sealant, but the hundredth primer may not be perfectly sealed and now winds up "dead")

I started loading with the guy who sold me my press watching over my shoulder as I loaded my first 6 rounds to make sure I did not blow myself up, load a powderless cartridge or set off a primer in the press. There is nothing like a tutor, or better yet, a mentor. A longer mentoring period might have changed my reloading style, but I learned a lot in those first 6 rounds, as he explained each step. Then I educated myself after that.

After you have been mentored, mentor someone else. Not necessarily in loading or the shooting sports, but in SOMETHING in which you are enthusiastic and qualified. Just give back to the community.

Advice #6 Wear eye protection, especially when seating primers

Advice #7 Don't pinch your fingers in your press.

Advice #8 Read previous threads on reloading, here are a couple I recommend.
http://forums.accuratereloading.com/eve
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/view...fbd5ae1f754eec
The second one is a thread started by a new recruit to reloading which the moderators thought highly enough of to make it "sticky" so it stays on the top of the list of threads.

Advice #9 When you buy the very best, it hurts only once, in the wallet. When you buy cheap (too cheap) it hurts every time you use the gear. The trick is to buy good enough (on the scale between high quality and low price) to keep you happy without overpaying.

Advice #10 Verify for yourself everything you learn. Believe only half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for everything you find on the internet (with the possible exception of the actual web sites of the bullet and powder manufacturers). This advice applies to my message as much as anything else and especially to personal load recipes. Hare-brained reloaders might have dangerous habits and even an honest typographical error could be deadly. I heard about a powder manufacturer's web site that dropped a decimal point once. It was fixed REAL FAST, but mistakes happen. I work in accounting and frequently hit "7" instead of "4" because the are close to each other on the keypad.

Good luck.

Lost Sheep
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Old December 5, 2009, 11:51 PM   #18
rodwhaincamo
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LS,
Thanks for the info! I must say I like your style (give back). Unfortunately I'm finding myself a bit cynical these days. Seems most everyone is super selfish and seeing so many will do whatever to get what they want at anyone else's expense. I have Lee's 50th ann. kit coming. I definately wanted a single stage press due to the ease of mistakes with the more advanced types. And for the cost as well. I have plenty of time anyway. Since it can be very dangerous I figure the slower the better. The only loading manual I have decided on at present is Hornady's since I like the cost of their bullets. I've been learning a bit here and there reading what others have to say to novices such as myself. You have given much more advice than most. I greatly appreciate your time. Unfortunately I don't know of anyone else in my state that reloads. So finding a mentor would prove fairly difficult. Again, thanks for your input.
Bob
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