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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning to try some COW (cream of wheat) in my 44 WCF rifle cartridges to keep the cast bullets from sinking into the cases when loaded into my lever action rifles magazines. I use a moderate load so I can also use them in my revolvers, but I plan to cut the load at least one grain (Unique) to allow for the increased pressure that the COW may cause. I have tried all sorts of methods to prevent this problem, but nothing has worked out. I would like to hear your comments and ideas about this. Thanks for the help....Catch
 

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W-w-w-w-ait (that's a stutter). You're going to do what to do what?

Okay, you said you are going to use Cream of Wheat as a filler to keep the bullet from sinking into the case. This isn't the solution if I am reading this problem correctly. You should have adequate bullet pull (tension) on a loaded cartridge to prevent the problem of the bullet being driven into the case. In other words, the tightness of the brass around a seated bullet should hold it in place.

.44-40 (or .44 WCF) can be a problematic cartridge to load. The brass case is very thin and it can be difficult to get adequate bullet pull. It's very important to have a sizer plug in your flaring (#2 die) die. Often when the (presumably) properly sized case is cycled through the flaring die, the sizing plug opens it up too large. This causes you to not get proper tension when the bullet is seated. RCBS (and some other brands) dies use a true sizing plug; Lee dies do not, they flare without providing exact case sizing and in this matter, that might be a good thing for you.

Another thing is, .44-40 should have a firm roll crimp on a seated bullet. If you are using lead bullets designed without a crimping groove, use a different design.

Another technique that I've seen people use to secure their bullets on this caliber is the use of a Lee "factory crimp die" which literally crushes the case into the bullet shank with a hefty crimp. I prefer to get the sizes of components and dies right and make it work properly. As I said, these cases are thin and fragile and the "factory crimp" is hard on brass. At a minimum, you will be trimming these more often from using such a crimp and I've seen where the "factory crimp collet edge actually cuts through the thin .44-40 case mouth.

Once in a while, you might encounter a sizing (#1) die in a set that won't size .44-40 down enough.

You didn't say what brand dies were being used. Here's an approach you might take. Send the die set back to the manufacturer, supply them with samples of the components you are using including a dummy (uncharged cartridge, no primer or powder but with bullet seated as you normally would attempt it), and a letter of explanation as to what the problem is. They can then look at this as a system and determine what the trouble is.

I wouldn't use a filler for the problem that you describe. That would be an unacceptable work-around. It might have it's own consequences. People have used fillers (like Cream of Wheat) before to enhance ingition of powders in large volume cases and even at that, problems come up. You did not say what your load of Unique was, but you said you would reduce it for the rifle load (with Cream of Wheat). Remember, with a rifle barrel, it has a longer in-bore distance to travel so you want to be careful in any load reduction so as not to stick a bullet in the rifle barrel. If you go for a true solution to the real problem, you won't have to do any of that anyway.

Let me know if I haven't interpreted your problem as you intended.
 

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What are you doing about crimping now? A bullet with a crimp groove sounds like the solution to me.

Taking all the empty space out of a case could raise pressure more than you expect. I would definitely be double checking the load with current COW users first? Some folks have unexpectedly ringed chambers using it.
 

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The first question is what kind of bullets are you using?

I had an Uberti Henry rifle in .44/40 for a few years and a Rossi lever action Model 92 in the same caliber. The .44/40 was the most godawful cartridge I ever loaded for. But it was fun to shoot and a learning experience. There were quite a few cases lost because they were so thin that they could be ruined in the sizing die if you were in a hurry. I solved that problem by slowing down.

I tried the classic Lyman .44/40 bullet (I forget the mould number..it was designed to use a crimp over the ogive of the bullet) plus the Remington 200 gr. .44/40 JSP and some various .429 Jacketed hollow points, and on ALL of them, even when using a Lee Factory Crimp Die, the bullets would pop into the case under pressure from the magazine spring.

I finally used a compressed load of FFFG blackpowder with the Lyman bullet and got good results; no more receding bullets and they shot well.

With smokeless loads using either the Lyman bullet or the jacketed bullets, I eventually used 8 grains of Unique with enough Super Grex polyethelene shotshell buffer atop the powder charge to fill the case to the base of the bullet (compressed very very slightly) and those loads also performed well. I fired about 1200 of those loads with no problems or pressure signs. I have not tried Cream of Wheat though. If you do use a filler, cutting the powder charge a grain as you suggest would be a fine idea and would give you a margin of safety.

At the time I was messing with the .44/40, there were no readily available cast bullets or moulds that had a deep, sharp cornered crimp groove properly positioned for the .44/40 used in a toggle link action. In the past few years, many such bullets have come out of the woodwork. I believe that if you use a recently designed bullet made for the .44/40 and use a Lee Factory Crimp Die, you will not need a filler and you should not have bullets popping into the cases.

I had many problems with the .44/40 in a Colt SAA revolver also. The chambers would not accept rounds loaded with bullets larger than .427. The rifles were perfectly happy with bullets all the way up to .430.

The .44/40 can be conquered, but there can be a bit of a learning curve involved before you emerge victorious from the struggle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What a wonderful response! I am so pleased with the many things you have given me to think about. I have been reloading the 44WCF for probably 50 years off and on. I have several rifles and two handguns that use it. I have tried most of the solutions mentioned and the best results that I had came from the use of a tapered crimp die that added another step but did improve the results. There always seemed to be that one or two in the magazine that would sink and foul up the elevator of my 1866 repro, and use of different bullets seemed to be a choice of shooting what was less likely to "sink" or what happened to shoot well. My basic response thus far was to load a small amount of jacketed bullets which I keep in the magazines and hardly ever sink if crimped with the tapered crimp die. I did use black powder and even tried duplex loads to fill the cases some years ago, however, I got tired of me and the rifle taking a shower together to both get clean, and the smell made the cat throw up. Perhaps if I wasn't so cheap, I would buy some new cases, and that would probably help. Many thanks for all the great ideas. Its wonderful that we have such a great fraternity and if all Americans would help each other as you all seem to we would have such a better country. I suppose in the end experimentation is the secret, so long as it is carefully and thoughtfully done. Thanks again, and I will give it some more careful thought. You are great people.........Catch
PS Today is my birthday and I start my 75th year. Hope to keep loading and banging away for some time yet.
 

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Many happy returns of the day!

It occurred to me later that with thin brass, how many reloads you have through it can make a big difference. In .45 ACP, for example, Remington makes cases with thin mouths, and I found they would work harden so quickly that after a couple of reloadings the sizer was no longer able to reduce them enough to hold a bullet. It isn't often you hear of anyone neck annealing cases as short as yours because of the danger of the heat spreading to the head area and softening it, but if you use the old pan of shallow water method to protect the heads, you may be able to do it? It would be worth a try on a dozen cases or so, I expect. Search for threads on case neck annealing for more information on the process and how to avoiding over heating.

Good luck with it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dear Ironhead, If you have used RX7 in the 44WCF, what amount did you use for a 200 grain cast bullet? Thanks...........
 

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Catch,
PLEASE....do not use filler with Unique in the .44 W.C.F. ESPECIALLY IF IT IS IN THE '73 WINCHESTER! Pressures will rise rapidly...possibly more than the action can take!

crimp-
Sounds like you are using the 427098 which does not have a crimp groove. Two suggestions:
1.) Lee Factory Crimp Die - will form a crimp groove where there is no groove (see pic below).
2.) Remove about .10" from the bottom of the sizing die. That will make the neck long enough to support the base of the bullet.

RL7-
I have used RL7 with very good results with the 427098. 25 grs. is a capacity / bullet supporting load and does 1,300 f.p.s. with the 427098 with good accuracy.



John
 

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Catch: Reloder 7 can be used like black powder in the 44 WCF, according to the net. There was a published load of 23.5 gr with a 240 gr bullet that gave 1170 fps from a 20 in barrel. My 1873 is in the shop so I havent been able to try Reloader 7 yet. The only problem I see is cost. With a 200 gr bullet the charge will be more than 23.5 that the 240 gr uses. It would solve the bullet sinking problem. There are a number of good bullet designs available with a tapered crimp groove. There should be no case showing above the groove when crimped. What rifle and revolver are you using? John Kort: Thanks for the info on the Reloader 7 load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What a great idea John!

I had settled from my research on a trial amount of 22 grs. of RX7 with a 200 grain Lee bullet. Trimming the bottom of the die to give the cartridge a longer neck may be the problem solver. The Lee die is also a good idea as I believe that it crimps like a collet. Thanks for the help and I will forget the COW and concentrate on the crimp........
 

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Catch,
PLEASE....do not use filler with Unique in the .44 W.C.F. ESPECIALLY IF IT IS IN THE '73 WINCHESTER! Pressures will rise rapidly...possibly more than the action can take!

crimp-
Sounds like you are using the 427098 which does not have a crimp groove. Two suggestions:
1.) Lee Factory Crimp Die - will form a crimp groove where there is no groove (see pic below).
2.) Remove about .10" from the bottom of the sizing die. That will make the neck long enough to support the base of the bullet.

RL7-
I have used RL7 with very good results with the 427098. 25 grs. is a capacity / bullet supporting load and does 1,300 f.p.s. with the 427098 with good accuracy.



John
Every time I find something I like, it has your name attached to it!!! So how exactly do you get the groove in the 098 using the Lee FCD?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Maybe a solution

A lot of good ideas. I have ordered a lee crimp die to try out. I did, however, maybe stumble on a solution when faced with another problem.
My son's top break Smith & Wesson would not accept any of my reloads in 44 WCF. They would enter the chambers and stop with about 3/8ths of an inch still sticking out. I can't explain this but after alot of messing around, measuring etc. I tried taking the loaded rounds and running them into an old Lyman sizing die. A miracle! They chamber beautifully well in his S&W and they don't sink in the magazine tube! I have two sets of dies, one old Lyman, and a new RCBS set trying to solve my problems. I am using a Lee 200 gr mold, and a old Lyman 240 gr with Gas Check. I am guessing that the old sizing die helped to crimp the bullet and size the loaded round to the tighter chamber of the handgun. Will see what happens with the Lee crimp die, but an RCBS tapered crimp die didn't help either problem. I may try taking the .010 off the sizing die too. Thanks again............Catch
 

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Check the net for loads using Reloader 7 in the 44/40.....
44WCF 240grain soft cast ( 20+1 alloy ) and Re7 gives fantastic accuracy out to 250 yards in my Uberti 1873 and it is a published safe, case filling load too!
 
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