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Old November 16, 2007, 10:00 PM   #1
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First loads...

So I put in for a loading press for Christmas and if Santa fails me, I’ll buy one myself.

Meanwhile, I’ve gotten pretty antsy and want to get going. Decided I would start with 44 SPCL. I tumbled some cases, bought a universal de-capping die and realized I couldn’t realistically go much farther. Went out and bought some Red Dot (at the time, it was the only powder they had that I remembered seeing a 44 SPCL recipe for), 180gr Hornady Cowboy bullets, Federal LP primers (only LP they had), RCBS carbide 3-die set, a shell holder and an RCBS hand primer. Last night I primed 50 cases. Then I ordered from Midway, a Lee Hand Press Kit, cheapo scale, 44 loading book, another shell holder, Magtech 240gr LFP and some Hornady 180 XTP. This stuff is scheduled to arrive on the 21st.

I’ll be loading for my old Charter Bulldog and want to keep it mild.

Now, I have a couple of questions for you folks.

• I found a recipe from Alliant that uses Red Dot with a 240 SWC and a WLP primer.
  • Can I use the Magtech 240gr LFP bullets and Federal primers with this recipe?
  • Use the recipe’s OACL?
• Same site found 180gr JHC and a WLP primer.
  • Can I substitute with the Hornady XTPs and the Federal primers?
  • Can I use their minimum OACL?
  • Could I substitute the Hornady 180gr Cowboy bullets here?
  • Case length?
• Same site found 246gr LRN with WLP primer.
  • Substitute the Magtech 240gr LFP and Federal LP primers?
  • Case length?
• I thought I’ve read that some people don’t bother with the sizing die, or just run it about halfway down the case.
  • Do I really need to use the sizing die?
  • Full length?

I realize now, that by the number of times I typed “substitute” above, I'll probably get "corrected" here, but given what I have, can I produce a safe load? If not, what can I do to rectify the problem quickly?

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Old November 17, 2007, 12:52 PM   #2
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I've never actually tried to take a straight-walled pistol round, simply decap it and re-prime it without resizing. If you chamber it in the same revolver, it likely ought to go ahead and chamber. It will be interesting to see how well it responds to belling the case mouth and seating a bullet and crimping.

This may work, but you have quite obviously skipped a typically large step in the process. If it were me, I wouldn't have primed them without resizing them. At this stage, I'd carefully run them all through the resizing die and re-prime them.
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Old November 17, 2007, 01:48 PM   #3
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Welcome to your new hobby!

First of all, from your questions it sounds as if you do not own a reloading manual. If this is true, go buy a reloading manual and read the introductory sections regarding reloading. I would recommend either a Lyman or a Hornady manual. This will answer almost all of these questions.

The Lee hand press, while not ideal, will work fine. Just realize that it has its limitations.

Yes, you really need to resize your brass in order for the case to hold onto the bullet. If you do not full-length resize, it will be hard to chamber the brass in one or more cylinders of your revolver.

The cowboy bullets are swaged lead bullets. You don't use jacketed loading data for lead bullets. You use lead bullet loading data for the same weight bullet.

XTP bullets are jacketed bullets. Use jacketed bullet loading information for loading jacketed bullets of the same weight.

Red Dot is a fast pistol powder, but looking through my manuals I cannot find load data for Red Dot for the 44 Special. My favorite is Unique, but you may find data for Red Dot somewhere.
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Old November 17, 2007, 01:55 PM   #4
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link to alliantpowder, red dot for 44 special
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Old November 17, 2007, 03:53 PM   #5
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OK… getting ahead of myself here. So, to move forward and given that I probably don’t want to de-cap live primers, I’ll remove the de-capping pin from the sizing die and size the cases. Lesson learned – Thank you.

I went back and checked my Midway order. Somehow I was under the impression that the Lee Handloading manual came with the Hand Press Kit. Guess not. I’ll order that today. I did see Alliant’s Red Dot 44 Special load data, but guessing Unique is more commonly used, I called another gun shop and they have it, so I’ll go get some of that also.

I’ll not load anything until I get proper data and materials, so probably be another week or so.

I do understand that the hand press is pretty limited in it’s capabilities, but thought it might get me started while I wait for Santa and I don’t think it will hurt to have it laying around, even when I get a bench mounted press. I told my son I wanted a press and he’s asked me which one, so I need to make a choice here soon. Given my propensity to gather all the stuff I need to delve into a hobby, then get sidetracked with something else, I kinda like the idea of the Lee Classic Turret, because I could probably load a lot of 9mm in a hurry. On the other hand, maybe the RCBS Rock Chucker would work pretty well for me also.

Decisions, decisions!
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Old November 17, 2007, 07:38 PM   #6
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So where will I find load data for the various bullets I have or have on order? Alliant lists a couple of loads with the powder I have, but they don’t seem to match (at least exactly) the bullets I have.

Will I find this in the Lee manual I have on order?

I would think the bullet manufacturer would post some loads for their bullets, but didn’t see any on Hornady or MagTech.

How about a service like LoadData?

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Old November 17, 2007, 08:50 PM   #7
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I kinda like the idea of the Lee Classic Turret, because I could probably load a lot of 9mm in a hurry. On the other hand, maybe the RCBS Rock Chucker would work pretty well for me also.
Both are great presses. You will be able to get into the Lee for quite a bit less money. The RC will make ammo 50 to 75 rounds per hour. The Lee CT will make close to 200 per hour. Both will make very good ammo. I load 9mm, 38/357 and 223 on my classic turret. Loading five hours a week I can have close to 1,000 rounds of pistol ammo. The rifle takes a little longer because of the case prep. For me the single stage press would have been to slow for my needs. The CT is also cheap to add new calibers to when you decide to start loading something else. As mentioned earlier always use lead data for lead bullets and jacketed data for jacketed bullets. As far as the brand of bullet say 9mm 124 grain, I use the data for 124 grain no matter who makes the bullet. Start at the low end and work up. Never start loading at or near max.
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