Preferred dies for .44-40
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Thread: Preferred dies for .44-40

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    Preferred dies for .44-40

    It's time to invest in a set of new dies for Gen 3 Colt Single Actions in .44-40. There's a bit of a selection available. Does anybody have a preference as to which brand and type to use, and why?

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    Many years ago I had Redding .44-40 dies that worked great, I don't recall every having an issue with them. I took a break from loading the .44-40 for about 15 years and ended up selling the dies. When I started loading for it again this year I started out with Hornady dies and had nothing but issues with the seating die. I switched to Lee dies and have had zero problem since. Your mileage may vary.

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    RCBS cowboy dies. The expander is designed for lead bullets. Take care, Duane
    bighipiron likes this.
    I don't know much but at least I know that much.

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  5. #4
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    I use Lee dies including their Factory Crimp Die, no problems.
    Last edited by ArkieVol; 08-04-2019 at 09:11 PM.

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    The 44-40 is a difficult cartridge to re-load. The neck is thin and will buckle in the die. Over the years the cartridge dimension has changed. There are two diameter bullets, the original .427 and now some barrels are .429. I have 4 sets of dies and some re-loads will fit one gun and not the other. You have to know the barrel diameter and the chamber throat diameter. It is a crap shoot if the dies you get will work. Some dies make a real bottle neck while others just sort of taper the case. I have found the older guns, Colt SAA, require the bottleneck while the newer guns will take the less bottle neck and more taper. In any event you may have to try several set before you get a re-load that fits and is accurate.

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    Forum member Kid Sopris (a hard core .44/40 fan) suggested Redding Dies. I followed his advice and they have worked out great. I also use the Lee Factory Crimp Die.
    Last edited by Colt75; 08-04-2019 at 12:07 PM.

  8. #7
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    I've had no issues loading with a set of standard RCBS dies.

    Best regards,
    My opinion is free, and worth every penny of it.

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    RCBS Cowboy dies work the best for me.

    One note... If you're loading on a Dillon, it's almost certain you'll want to cut as much as 1/16" off the bottom of the sizing die to get the case deep enough to push back the shoulder - no mater what brand of die (except maybe a Dillon die.

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    Thanks all for the advice. I had bought a set of used RCBS dies and had loaded a couple hundred rounds in them without a problem. All my reloads fit and worked very well, and were pleasingly accurate. It was time to load some more, and for some reason they started leaving an excessive ring right where the crimp was and they would no longer chamber in either of my Gen 3 Colts. I experimented with the seating depth, and the amount of crimp. For a moment, I was successful in getting the problem adjusted out. Fortunately, I have a new Winchester manufacture Winchester M1873 that the rounds had no problem going into and were also very accurate, so no wasted rounds to disassemble. Today, I went out to reload another 100, and once again, the crimp ring issue reappeared. I guess this was why the original owner got rid of them, although it makes no sense to me how they could change in between loadings. After searching other sites, seeing your comments here, I will try the Cowboy dies next, and see if they solve the issue. I really like the .44-40, however, I almost feel guilty shooting them instead of my .45's.

  11. #10
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    One thing I try to do is to adjust the seat/crimp die down on a loaded round that is right - if I have one. This gives me a better chance to getting off to a good start.


 
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