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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I need help loading the .454 Casull, its my first straight-walled pistol case. Can I use Lee carbide dies marked .45LC/.454 or will it have adverse effects on my loads? How do I set up dies to crimp and how do I set them for the amount of crimp? Should I be using cast or jacketed bullets for the big Iowa whitetails that are my target? I also need some good plinking loads to practice with, if anyone has some, please pass them on. I have lots of expereience loading bottleneck cartridges, but I have moved to Iowa where I can only use straight-walled pistol cases or shotgun, and I've chosen an Encore with a 12" barrel in .454. I have experience with an XP-100 on gophers and deer out to 300 yds., so I know I can hit my goal of a whitetail at 125yds. with the proper load. Any mount and scope recommendations would be welcome, I'm looking at Burris or Leupold. Any other general information about the .454 would be welcome, I know it's a powerhouse and I probably don't need all of its potential power, but it's nice to know it's there. I have a set of custom Denzel Robert grips on the way to help tame the recoil. Any other help is welcome.
Thanks!
Selmer
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Selmer,

I'm not sure I can communicate a written response nearly as well as a verbal response for several of your questions, I've forward an email to you suggesting we communicate via phone. Since I'm also in Ioway, cost should be low.

Dan
 

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I am unfamliar withe the Lee dies but am very skeptical about using the same dies for the 454 and 45ln because:
1) The 454 is 0.1" longer and 0.002" narrower than the 45.

2) The 454 needs a tighter crimp than the 45 due to recoil (in a revolver) and the nature of the powders used. I have had the best results with the tightest crimp possible without distorting the case wall.

The load I am using is 30.0gr of Winchester 296 behind a Magnus 300gr cast, moly coated bullet. According to the manual, this should yield about 1500fps with a 7.5" barrel.

I plan to hunt with the Magnus bullet but haven't yet.

The only light load I've tried was 11gr of Bullseye with the same 300gr bullet. It was very inaccurate.
 

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You can use the same dies for 45 colt and 454. Just back them out for the longer length. Lee crimp factory crimp die works very well. I don't think you really want to use a non jacketed bullet. The 454 will lead up badly without a jacket. Loads and recoil are up to you, more is more.
 

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selmer
see the thread by taz. I had terrible luck with the lee 45/454 dies and I use Lee Dies for most everthing I load. They do not size the case tight enough for the recoil generated by the 454 in a revolver. Since you are using a Thompson Center closed breech single shot you could probably get by with Lee dies. The other consideration would be proper ignition of the large powder charges used by the 454. 30+ grain charges of 296/h110 can be hard to ignite in cold weather. Mag primers and a proper sized case and good crimp will go a long way in getting a good consistant load. My favorite for Kansas whitetails is 30g H110 CCI sm rifle Mag primer and 300g Hornady XTP It runs 1650 out of my 7 1/2 FA revolver. you should see closer to 1700 from your TC.Accuracy is excellent getting 3 in groups at 100 yds using a 2x Leupold. Since moving to Idaho where things are a little larger I have gone to heavy cast bullets in the 350-360g range over 24.5 g of H110 for 1450 fps from my revolver. Accuracy again is excellent. Any good loading manual will give you various loads for the 454. Loader responded to a thread over in handgun cartriges "recoil in the 454" with some reduced loads using the Hodgen shotgun powder Longshot, My freedom arms charts have reduced loads for both Unique and w231 as well as midrange loads using HS-6. If you want, E-mail me with your address and I'll E-mail them to you. Lastly as a matter of point I get more copper fouling from the barrel of my revolver from shooting jacketed bullets (very little) than I do leading from shooting good cast, well lubed, gas checked bullets like Beartooth or Cast Performance. I would recommend you spend a little more and buy a set of RCBS dies to reload your 454 with, and I think you will be happier for it.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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JD, do you still have the Lee .45/.454 dies? I am curious what dimensions that they have for the sizer ring and the expander button.
 

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I would buy one box of factory rounds for comparison.run a few rounds through the dies until you have a few good rounds and shoot them.check the condition of the fired cases,and check your accuracy.worst case senario,buy a new set of dies.
 

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I was warned also of the double caliber type dies from lee the phrase buy cheap get crappy results comes to mind. I settled on Hornady 4-die set that has a seperate crimp die because it is very important to get that good heavy crimp done in a seperate and different phase from the bullet seating and I tell you right now my loads not only slide into the chambers easily but extract with ease from the gun(RB454) and I have no complaints I would also recommend these dies. Now when you order these dies from cabelas or a magazine they call them 3-die sets but due to the need for the heavy crimp Hornady started putting that extra 4th die in the set at a minimal charge and it only crimps and it is a taper crimp with a modified roll . They are slick and the sizer die does a complete sizing. It is just as good as a set of RCBS for a little less money. Stay away from the Lee dies.
 

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Where ya at 454-Hunter? I too am from West by God Virginia. HA Im in Morgantown. I too am a 454 shooter
 

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Willie...

I just started loading both of these calibers for a friend using the Lee Carbide dies. I've experienced no problems and he hasn't mentioned any from the shooting end. I'm also using the Carbide dies to load the 25 Auto, 30 Carbine, 44 Rem Mag, and 45 ACP. I wouldn't use anything else. Here are some comments from the Lee Precision FAQ's:

Interchangeable dies
Frequently, dies from one caliber may be used to load other calibers. Due to the locations of crimping shoulders, the operation may only work for dies of the shorter caliber to the longer. You may notice a label depicting the shorter die in your set for the longer version of the cartridge, we do this to reduce costs.

Even though some dies are interchangable, in many cases, different shell holders are necessary. You can see a complete list of shell holders under "Case Preparation" then "Shellholders and calibers"

45 Colt - 454 Casull *
45 ACP - 45 Auto Rim
44 Special - 44 Magnum
38 Special - 357 Magnum
30-30 Wincheser - 30 Remington
357 Magnum - 357 Maximum
38 Super - 9 mm Largo
44 Russian - 44 Special
40 Smith & Wesson - 10 mm - 41 Action Express
32 Smith & Wesson - 32 S&W Long - 32 H&R Magnum **

*The 45 Colt expander die will also work for the 454 Casull, by backing the die out approximately two turns to compensate for the difference in case length.

Carbide die set
Carbide handgun die sets contain the carbide sizer (requires no case lubrication), the powder through expanding die, the seater / crimping die, a powder dipper and load data. This seater crimper die applies a modified taper crimp and eventually a roll crimp negating the need for a separate taper crimp die. $30.98

Carbide Factory Crimp explanation
While the bullet seating die that comes with the die set will apply a crimp to the case, there are some great advantages to using the Factory crimp die. One is that cases are post-sized by the carbide sizing ring in the base of the die. This is like the sizing ring in a resizing die, except that it is ground to maximum allowable outside diameter for the case involved. So if there is a buckle in the case from excessive crimp or a bulge from a slightly oversize bullet, the complete cartridge is resized as it is withdrawn from the die; You can be certain that it will chamber, because it has been resized after the bullet was seated and crimped. There is no provision for seating the bullet with the Factory Crimp Die.

The type of crimp on the die depends upon the type of cartridge. With cases that headspace on the case mouth such as the 45ACP, the die essentially reduces the outer diameter of the case mouth into the bullet. On other cases, a roll crimp is applied.

The degree of crimp is adjusted by how far down the knob on the top of the die is turned in. The proper setting for this die is with the adjustment knob turned all the way up, turn the die into the press until it touches the shell plate or shell holder which should be in the raised position. Then, raise an empty case into the die and begin to turn the knob inward until you feel it stop on the top of the case. Another 1/2 turn will apply a good crimp and you can adjust from there to suit your specific need.

Die Adjustments
Handgun Carbide Factory crimp die adjustment

With an empty case in the shell holder or shell plate, turn the die with it's finger adjustment all the way out into the press until the bottom of the die touches the shell holder or shell plate. Turn the finger adjustment knob down until you feel it stop which means that the crimp sleeve has en gauged the top of the case. Remove the case and turn the adjustment knob in an additional 1/2 turn which is adequate for most loading. Turn the adjustment knob in or out to suit.
 

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Good job Ranchdog, you took the words out of my mouth;) I also have used multi cart dies, no problems to speak of, but my 454 Casull is a RCBS carbide set and only for 454casull, I use a lee factory crimp for the final process, seat & crimp are done separate. Use Hornady 300gr XTP/Speer GDHP using 30gr Win296, Rem 6 1/2 primers, around 1570 FPS. .I'm capable of good groups using this load,using my SRH 454 Casull 7 1/2, good to go. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.
 

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Broncobill86, I am from the weston area . I say area because I am an policeman and try not to devulge my exact location for my families sake . I have been at this job for 8 years and have developed a few enemies over the years and my family comes first. I Have lived in West By God Virginia all my life and I got into large caliber handgun hunting after a rather laborious trip in the otter creek carring a large belted magnum rifle which killed my shoulders.Well enough about that I have since then killed five bucks with large bore handguns.44mag .I love the versatility of the 454 cartridge it will shoot light and then very heavy and inbetween depending on your preference. I however only started loading for my 454 a couple months ago but I loaded 44 mag for years. I hope to take a bear this year. well e-mail me if you want I do have a few loads I can share I must admit it was info derived from people on frums like this I have only been loading the casull for two months found it more difficult than 44mag.
 

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As far as Lee products go I wouldn't buy another product from them even if it were 3 times cheaper......Because cheaper is sometimes less expensive also.....
I have reloaded all my life, never have shot a animal with a factory bullet. I reload the 243, 6.5X55, 257 Roberts, 257 AI, 25-06, 308, 270, 280, 30-06, 338-06 AI, 41 mag, 45ACP, 45 Colt, 9MM, 454 Casull, 30-30, 475 Linebaugh, 500 Linebaugh Max. and the 7.65 Arg.. I use dies from Lyman, Redding, RCBS, Hornady, and Lee :mad:

The last one if the one that I bought my first Lee die set for, the 7.65 Arg.. It was a nice little Rifle for my Daughter. It was late in the summer and the dies showed up and they wouldn't load a cartridge that didn't have excessive run out. You could look down into the sizer die and see that the hole was off center. Lee gave me nothing but troubles from their customer service. I finally had to send the die to them then they sent me my set back with a new sizer die. It is still not even half as good as any other die brand. My Daughter had to hunt with factory Norma ammunition. .

When I had a bad expander die once in my 475 Linebaugh RCBS dies I called them and they sent me a new expander die in its own box within a week, free.
I bought a used set of 338 Win Mag dies from a Pawn shop. When I looked at them I saw that the expander stem was bent. I e-mailed Redding to "buy" a new expander stem I even explained that the die was used. They e-mailed me back and said one was on the way, free. I later called them to buy a package of de-capping pins they sent me 5 with a new catalog free....
Lee wouldn't even re-emberse shipping for a poorly machined "precision" tool....So I don't follow their directions to much when it comes to suggestions. Both RCBS and Hornady have seperate dies for the 454, I choose to believe their findings....
 
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