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Reloading 44mag

3590 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Will-j
I am trying to use RCBS 44mag dies; but the resizing die is almost impossible to work. I lube my cases and have clean the die but it is so tight I can barely articulate the press. 44 mag cases are suppose to have an external diameter of .456; the die resizes down to .449 which is .007 smaller than the cases are supposed to be. Has anyone had this problem or heard of it before and if so what was done to correct the situation.
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I use a three die set of RCBS with a carbide sizer die. My cases come out about the same diameter as yours are and I've been shooting them that way for many years. I don't know why you are having so much trouble articulating the press handle. Is the bottom of the die correctly adjusted to the shell holder? They can require a good deal of effort to cycle. Maybe you should consider getting a carbide die for your sizer die and not have to lube the cases at all. It's a lot faster and eliminates one potential problem right out of the gate. I will emphasize that the handle can be somewhat difficult to cycle depending on how strong/weak you are. It's hard to say it's difficult but it does require some effort to squeeze that brass back to the correct size. We're talking about pounds here, not ounces. Revisit the die set up and see if it's correct. If it's still a problem, send me a PM and I'll contact you and walk you through the set up procedure if you're new at it. I've been at it a while......well over forty-five years reloading.

Almost forgot.....Welcome to the board.
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I've been reloading .44 Magnum for quite a few years and it has always been harder to size than my other straight walled cases (proportionally). I have Lee and Lyman carbide sizing dies and it just seems to be the nature of the beast. Mebbe my 5, .44s have large cylinders/chambers? Dunno, but my brass has lasts many, many reloadings. My turret press has plenty of leverage, but my C-H "C" style single stage press can get tiresome sizing .44s because of less built-in leverage. Plus what's hard for me, may be a piece of cake for you, hard to tell...

Sometimes I'll use my Lanoline/Alcohol case lube to ease the process. ;)
While i dont use alot of hornady stuff i did just buy a set of hornady dies for my 44 and they work great.
What lube are you using?
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I also have RCBS carbide dies, the shells size fairly easily, with a little wipe of ISDW they run thru the die slicker than snake snot!
Cuddy; I've been loading for my two Ruger .44 Mags (Redhawk, and SBH) and an in-law's two Rugers (77-44 & an older .44 carbine) all-in-all, for over 30 yrs. Have run into the same problem as you have...more or less.

Try this: Take a virgin case, lube it and run it through the die as usual, to see if the hard sizing persists. If it doesn't, and it's easier with the new unfired case, then it's not the dies. I use [BAG BALM] for lubing all my cases--rifle and pistol-- whether I use carbide dies or reg. steel. Just a smidgen on the fingertip/thumb will lube 6-10 cases, and with a LEE C-Press, finger pressure is all I need; In fact- I have cut the handle/rod in half--[on an RCBS Partner Press] I use to resize all handgun and .223's so easy, as the long throw was a hassle for me sometimes. Found a small golf ball-sized knob...drilled a hole to fit the unthreaded end and epoxied it on. However, I digress.

I keep my brass separated per the gun in which it's fired, and with the six-gun brass, I just resize the case far enough down the body to grab the heaviest bullet for that caliber, plus 1/8"+/-, and lock it down. It's full-length sizing for the semi(s), though.

Now...Before all you nay-sayers out there start trampling me....It has worked for me and for whomever else I loaded (until I stopped loading for others) with no problems....Period. Just keep the brass segregated per gun and you'll have no problems. The case CAN NOT get any larger than the chamber in which it's been fired, but if you'd feel better FL sizing after a few loadings...then go ahead. And don't you all laugh at the BAG BALM either; I've loaded over 6500 rds. from one 10oz. can, and you won't get any tarnishing/corrosion after storing for a long time as is possible with some water-based lubes...I know from experience.

Cuddy, I'm just offering something to consider. It won't hurt to give it some thought.... and IF it doesn't work for you, then at least you'll have a good salve for your rough hands. [That's how I got the notion to use the B B in the first place It's almost pure lanolin based. Good for leather too.

Hope you get everything straightened out.

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Thanks to all who replied, I am going to go through the setup process again and change my lube. My dies are not carbide; if all else fails i will replace the die. After reading everything I think it might be the lube because of the scrapping sound the press makes when I articulate the handle. I tried the partial resize but I keep bending the primer remover pin. Any suggesting here. I did buy a d-capping die but that of course prolongs the process. The frustration comes from the fact that I reload 9mm, 380, 38, 357, and 30.06 and never have an issue. With that being said, thanks again and stay safe.
I am trying to use RCBS 44mag dies; but the resizing die is almost impossible to work.
It appears you have a non-carbide die I the loop.

FWIW, I came home with a set without a carbide sizer about 40 years ago, and resizing brass fired in my SBH was an athletic event to say the least. Large chamber dimensions, loads were even hotter at that time, and I practically needed to clear the floor pumping the handle.

Still the case.

I use a carbide die to get over size brass under control, and the old sizing die to bring it to a point where I can drop the round in any of my .44's.
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Good grief get a carbide die. Having used the old steel dies only a time or two (for a wildcat cartridge), I can say you'll be amazed at the difference.

Life's to short to not use carbide resizing dies, when you can get them ;)
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All of this reminds me that I have an old steel die for 38/357 that I have never used. When I look at it, I try to remind myself to try it on a few. I seem to always forget when I have cases to do.

Note to self: Try the steel die.

Note to self: Don't forget to lube cases when you try the steel die.

I'm about as cheap as a guy can get, but I'll be one of the first to tell you that a carbide die where available is money WELL spent!
If you need lube get Imperial sizing wax/lube. The sprays on just don't cut it.

Just bought a 77/44 and RCBS dies and they do take a little effort but not as much as 30-06 I don't believe.
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Note to self: Try the steel die.

Note to self: Don't forget to lube cases when you try the steel die.
Not to worry, you will remember the lube real fast if it comes to that :)

Actually the steel dies have an advantage over the carbide dies I have, they will size a case farther down the base. I have also removed a bit of the shell holder to increase the amount of sizing I can achieve.
Sounds like a waste of time, but I have multiple .357's and .44's, and my carbide dies will not size everything to work in multiple firearms. My BH/SBH are the worst offenders. Even with mid level loads, my DA revolvers from Smith and Ruger, and both carbines have much tighter chambers than the BH's, and will NOT feed brass from them without extra work.

Oh, and don't size nickel cases in the steel die. The nickel seems to stick to the steel and build up very quickly, leaving deep scratches.
I've used Lyman carbide for almost 30 years. Carbide definately require less force. I will say .44 mag was a bit of a chore on old RCBS Partner Press. Doing rifle rounds were like using exercise equipment. You didn't mention what press you are using but you will get a lot more leverage on the big ones. I eventually upgraded to a Hornady 007 which of Rock Chucker equiv. catagory, and I've been content ever since.
TIM: I use a Partner Press to size my pistol brass , and .223s too. I have cut the handle in half...[literally], drilled another small ball for a tip and use BAG BALM for lube. With steel dies, [to me], it feels as easy as sizing with carbide or tungsten(not mine) dies, and when sizing .44 Mag cases in carbide dies w/the BB, you can work the handle with your finger tips. I've not found anything as slick as BAG BALM.

And the brass will not tarnish/corrode sometimes when stored for a long time as has happened when I used RCBS's water based lube. Even after thoroughly cleaning the brass after loading.

Just a thought.

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