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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up a 4440 years ago and am only just getting around to reloading some test loads.

5.2gr bullseye, 200gr xtp, federal brass
Ive got the 4 die setup and can get everything done fine until it comes to seating the bullet, the expander doesnt go deep enough to allow the bullet to seat fully before crushing the cases. The expander goes all the way in to the stop but only expands for 1/8 inch, ive taken the die apart to check for issues and found nothing.
This is my first time reloading for this cartridge but ive been reloading for over 20years.

What am i missing? I had 36 1x brass and am now down to 20 trying things on my own. I cant afford factory stuff at $2+/round
 

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Not sure what the issue is, I have never reloaded 44-40.
I do know that the brass is easy to crush because it is relatively thin.
Did you measure your bullets to confirm they measure .427.
44 special or 44 rem. mag bullets measure .430
44 XTP bullet sounds like a 44 rem mag bullet to me.
A soft cast 44 that measures .430 bullet could likely work.
Hopefully someone like bullet caster that knows more than me will chime in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Projectiles .429
The case expander should open the neck to .430
4440 rifles can be anywhere from .427-.432
Ill be making a cast of the chamber and bore this afternoon to confirm numbers

Ive been told the lee expander dies run more to the .427 than larger but they can be swapped easily if i can get the part out of the states
Ill keep ya posted
 

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Tim . just wondering what the fourth die is for as most sets come with 3 dies . a deprime/resize ,an expander and a bullet seating die .
 

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Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner, the guys are correct, its a crimp die
That is what I was trying to confirm in a round about way lol . and that you didn't have a 2nd expander die . from your description it sounds as though the expander stem is not long enough to bell the case to your required seating depth .
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That is what I was trying to confirm in a round about way lol . and that you didn't have a 2nd expander die . from your description it sounds as though the expander stem is not long enough to bell the case to your required seating depth .
You are correct, im only getting half the expanded depth i require
I may try the .44 expander and see how that goes
 

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There could be several reason for the crushed case mouths. Are those Federal cases? I have never seen Federal 44-40 cases

Winchester is the thinnest followed by Starline then Remington being the thickest. I stay away from CBC and Hornady 44-40 brass mainly because of rim diameter issues with case holders. Winchester is the easiest to crush and Remington can sometimes not want to chamber due to the extra diameter from the larger diameter bullets and thicker brass neck. Starline is the best all-around cases and extremely dependable.

Typically one of the main reasons for case crushes is trying to seat a large diameter bullet in a case neck resized for .427 bullets. Even though the mouth bellow allows the bullet to start, pushing it down into a tight neck can cause several issues.

Any chance you have a photo of the particular crushed case?

I guess I can't load photos yet so several crushed examples can be seen here: maybe this can give some ideas.
 

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There is a lot of talk since covid also now that the factory brass we are getting is not made to be reloaded any more by some suppliers Not saying this applies here but something to watch for in the future I know if I was looking for brass today it would be lapua only since that always proved to be one of the top ones for reloading

Not my words

Is US factory ammo intentionally made with one-use brass?
There are some who think that “brass is brass”. In fact, not so. Brass is an alloy of Copper and Zinc (plus potentially a small amount of other stuff). Copper is really soft, but has some great properties for ammo cartridges – including its ability to respond to forces and pressures by stretching and springing back. Adding zinc to the mix makes the resultant alloy stronger and the strongest brass will have more than 39% Zinc. However, adding more than 30% Zinc can make it harder to form the cases – requiring extra heat and forces – adding to manufacturing costs. Balancing out these considerations, cartridge brass is supposed to be 70% Copper and 30% Zinc (see Wikipedia CLICK ON LINK).

As noted, while it is possible to make cartridge case with more than 30% Zinc – you may need better forming equipment and you’ll incur more production costs (even though the cost of the material itself – Zinc – is actually cheaper than Copper).

Various CGN posts have established that not all factory ammo brass is created equal. People report that some newer brass, used in commercial US ammo, is almost useless for reloading; inasmuch as many people have said that their once fired cases seem to suffer head separations after a few reloadings. Lots of folks get sucked into the belief that this situation is because there is something wrong with their gun – and its “bad headspacing” – but knowledgeable shooters are increasingly recognizing that is probably just a cover story for the fact that the brass in their factory ammo isn’t made to last for much more than the original firing.

There are stories from other non CGN posts where people claim that they have written to Remington, Winchester etc. about this and have been specifically told, by such OEMs, that their factory ammo cases aren’t intended to be reloaded. This is starting to make sense. Its looking likely that US ammo manufacturers are using sub-grade brass – with WAY less than 30% Zinc for making ammo where strength is less important. For example, an ammo maker with a worn-out, or less powerful case forming machine might choose to deploy this to make cases for 303 British ammo and compensate for the limitations of that machinery by feeding it with sub grade brass containing say, only 20% Zinc (or less!).

Is this the problem with the particular type of once fired cases that are giving you grief? To find your answer you could go to Oak Island and get them to test the metallurgy of your cartridge cases, using their XRF (“X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer”) machine. If Marty and Rick say “no”, you could send your cases to another lab. You might find the results are interesting, as shown, for example, in this article (CLICK ON THIS LINK ).

If neither of these options works for you, you could get an idea of how much Zinc is in the alloy mix for your brass by just looking at it. If the stuff is a really pretty, honey gold colour – with a lot of red shades – sorry, but your brass is probably LOW-grade stuff – with too much Copper and not enough Zinc. If your cases have more of a gray color, it is going to have more Zinc content. Otherwise, if you remember any of your high school science classes – and remember what “density” is – and if you know how to measure density – you can figure-out the quality of your brass, using a container of water to measure the volume of the material that makes-up the case and a scale to figure-out the weight of that displaced water.

Hint: if the specific gravity of the brass in the cases you are using is less than 8.392, your brass is at least standard cartridge quality. If it is more than that – sorry, but your brass is soft JUNK – that was probably never intended to last more than one firing.
 

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No, t
There is a lot of talk since covid also now that the factory brass we are getting is not made to be reloaded any more by some suppliers Not saying this applies here but something to watch for in the future I know if I was looking for brass today it would be lapua only since that always proved to be one of the top ones for reloading

Not my words

Is US factory ammo intentionally made with one-use brass?
Total BS.
Winchester has not offered reloading components for a few years now. I picked up an old stock bag of .4255" JSP bullets and a few bags of 50 new brass but do not know an exact date of manufacture. Winchester has never offered their lead cowboy bullets for reloading components. The reason is more than likely because of no crimp groove and the cannelure used on the cases below the base of the bullets...both lead and JSP. Handloaders have no way to "officially" add this cannelure back to the case after resizing, although it can be done with a small modified pipe cutter...I have no use for it myself.

I can explain the further but it would take up three or four pages.

Winchester has never changed the design of the swaged lead bullets or the "Soft Point" JSP bullets isince their inception, 1874 and 1895 respectfully. The swaged lead bullets never had a crimp groove and the crimp method for the JSP changed a few times over the years before settling on a "U" shaped crimp for the JSP shallow crimp groove...in conjunction with the case neck cannelure for smokeless loads, both original JSP and modern lead cowboy loads. If not properly crimped, the bullets can telescope down into the case from the spring tension when used in the magtube of a rifle. It is probably safe to say Winchester wants no liability "threats" from the ignorant handloader's Libtard lawyers with other than their own factory ammunition.

Remington stopped making brass for the 44-40 not so long ago either. I have not seen any JSP bullets for reloading in many years but have seen bagged brass indicating not so long ago case components.

Starline currently manufactures 44-40 brass but it may be a while before they actually manufacture another batch. The last batch was about October 2022. The next batch could be this summer.

One US manufacture has ventured out and loaded full velocity loads using starline brass and a "Magma" type lead bullet with a crimp groove. The case neck is resized small enough to when the .429" is seated, it creates a "wasp waist" just below the base of the bullet, helping to keep the bullet from telescoping back down into the case neck. I also use this method when using the smaller JSP dimeter bullets but not the .428" lead bullets I cast myself.

My handloading (case resizing and crimping) techniques are based on the bullet's Profile which can be seen here
 

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Like what are you talking about no one is talking bullets this guy was talking about brass quality over the past few years and no where did I say it impacted 44-40 and if you think factory brass has not changed over the years in quality you have not bought much over the years The last winchester I bought was pure crap and 20% slit and has to be tossed Carry on and where do you get they stopped making brass?? This is canada dude and one yank to another and glad to see you went back and corrected that :)

 
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