.44 WCF and split case mouths

Welcome to the Leverguns.Com Forum. This is a high-class place so act respectable. We discuss most anything here ... politely.

Moderators: Hobie, AmBraCol

Forum rules
Welcome to the Leverguns.Com General Discussions Forum. This is a high-class place so act respectable. We discuss most anything here other than politics... politely.

Please post political post in the new Politics forum.
Post Reply
Message
Author
Carlsen Highway
Levergunner 2.0
Posts: 285
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 8:23 am
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

.44 WCF and split case mouths

#1 Post by Carlsen Highway » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:15 am

Guys, I have been continually getting split case mouths in my .44-40 brass. I mean, its a chronic situation.
I now have to buy a whole new bag of brass, bit I find myself reluctant to do it, because I know I will go through the whole lot of them in a couple of months probably. I cant afford to pay for the brass at this rate.

I read about some people getting 20+ reloads with their .44-40 brass and I just wish I could do that. My brass does not last long. They are lucky if they last three or four times and then they develop splits.

What am I doing wrong?

Brass is Starline, although I have the same problem with Win and RP as well. My bores are .430 and I am loading cast bullets the same size. I am using Lee dies. I do not resize my black powder cases, I just expand the necks/mouth using the expander die for a .44 Magnum. I crimp lightly with a Lee FCD.
For smokeless I do resize the cases and expand them with the same .44 mag expander die. These get a heavy crimp with the lee crimp die.

My black powder cases last a bit longer than the smokeless, maybe one reload more only though.

I might be wrong but I seem to remember that I didnt really start getting split case mouths until I started using a .44 magnum expander die. I used to expand with the normal .44/40 Lee die, but bullets were seating crooked, and I was getting bulges and bad runout, no matter how I tried, I couldnt get a bullet seated straight. I then went to the .44 magnum expander and this problem went away.

Someone suggested it could be the Lee factory crimp die, I dont know how likely that would be. I dont need the LFCD for blackpowder, I could go back to roll crimping. But I need it for smokeless to get a good burn with H4198, otherwise I get a lot of unburnt powder.
A person who carries a cat home by the tail, will receive information that will always be useful to them.
Mark Twain

Pisgah
Senior Levergunner
Posts: 1276
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:01 pm
Location: SC

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#2 Post by Pisgah » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:51 am

Sounds like you may be over-expanding the case mouths, resulting in overworking the brass. The die should be adjusted to flare the neck only enough to barely accept the base of the bullet before seating and crimping. This requires care in making sure the bullet is seated straight, but to bell it more for ease of seating gets pretty expensive pretty quickly in terms of ruined brass.

Carlsen Highway
Levergunner 2.0
Posts: 285
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 8:23 am
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#3 Post by Carlsen Highway » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:02 am

Thinking of that myself I have adjusted the expanding die so it is expanding the case mouth only barely wide enough to accept the base of the bullet - I can't do it any less and still barely start a bullet.
A person who carries a cat home by the tail, will receive information that will always be useful to them.
Mark Twain

User avatar
Shasta
Senior Levergunner
Posts: 1335
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:50 pm
Location: Shasta County in far Northern California

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#4 Post by Shasta » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:36 am

I would suggest annealing your cases. It works very well for me and I get much longer case life. There are several ways it can be accomplished without spending much money. I shoot a lot so went ahead and spent over $500 on a Bench-Source annealer. I am very happy with it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaXzARG5Qz0


Shasta
California Rifle & Pistol Association LIFE Member
National Rifle Association BENEFACTOR LIFE Member


http://www.hcrpclub.org/schedule.html

avatar pic is Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake, & Mt. Shasta

User avatar
GunnyMack
Senior Levergunner
Posts: 1271
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:57 am
Location: Not where I want to be!

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#5 Post by GunnyMack » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:25 am

My thoughts as well Shasta!

I would get new cases, sacrifice 10, 5 to use crimp die 5 for roll crimp and then reload those until failure after annealing the necks. You might find the crimp die might be the culprit.
Don't get me wrong I love the crimp die but mostly for high pressure rifle. Roll crimp my pistol cases...

Carlsen Highway
Levergunner 2.0
Posts: 285
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 8:23 am
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#6 Post by Carlsen Highway » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:49 pm

I forgot to mention that I had tried annealing the cases, I have done it using a candle. It seemed to improve things for about one more reload maybe two. I will do as you suggest and test two sets of new cases with roll crimp versus FCD and see what happens.
A person who carries a cat home by the tail, will receive information that will always be useful to them.
Mark Twain

User avatar
GunnyMack
Senior Levergunner
Posts: 1271
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:57 am
Location: Not where I want to be!

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#7 Post by GunnyMack » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:18 pm

Maybe even try to find a taper crimp... I think you are working the case mouth too much...

Carlsen Highway
Levergunner 2.0
Posts: 285
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 8:23 am
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#8 Post by Carlsen Highway » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:28 pm

Yeah, I must be. Does anyone else expand cases with a .44 magnum expander die?
A person who carries a cat home by the tail, will receive information that will always be useful to them.
Mark Twain

User avatar
Sixgun
Posting leader...
Posts: 10263
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:17 pm
Location: S.E. Pa. Where Trump is supported and no foreign guns are allowed...except Israeli Model A Uzi's

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#9 Post by Sixgun » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:42 pm

The less you work the brass the longer it will last. I never have a problem with 44-40 brass and I load for about 8 different guns of varying vintages from 1881-2000 or so from Marlins, Winchesters, Colts, long guns and revolvers. Pisgah is absolutely correct on the belling but there is also another issue. 44-40 sizing dies will size a case down more than a 44 mag/Spl die. If you use a larger 44 magnum expander, you will be working the brass several thousandths more than if you use a 44-40 expander which is usually .003 slimmer.

By loading .430 bullets in a case that has been expanded by a 44-40 expander, the finished round looks a little goofy but they shoot just as good. I'm thinking your FLS is cut on the minimum and is squeezing the brass down a lot more than it needs to be. If you can, get another sizer. I load all of my 44-40's with .430-.431 bullets except an old Marlin that has a .425 groove diameter and for that one I size .427

You can also anneal just the case mouth by hitting it with a torch ....no need to go the benchrest method.....just flame the mouth for a couple of seconds then tip them over in the water or you can just leave them in the water. -----6
Move Over All You Puppy AR-15's...The Big Dog Is Coming Through!!
OOW BAR 30-06
Image
Be Careful Of The Ones Who Hide Behind The Veil Of Religion.....
Most Are Hypocrites And Are Behind The Heater Sinners

Carlsen Highway
Levergunner 2.0
Posts: 285
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 8:23 am
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#10 Post by Carlsen Highway » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:07 pm

Okay you have given me an idea - I never actually tried the 44wcf expander die with unsized cases.

If I dont resize them at all - which I dont need to with blackpowder; fired cases chamber fine in my '73 - and only bell the mouths just enough with the .44wcf die to start a bullet, I bet they would seat straight. And then if I lightly crimp with a roll crimp, because all I am doing is hold the bullet in place, then I reckon I couldn't be working the brass less than this?
A person who carries a cat home by the tail, will receive information that will always be useful to them.
Mark Twain

User avatar
earlmck
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 2517
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:10 am
Location: pert-neer middle of Oregon

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#11 Post by earlmck » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:32 pm

I also use the 44 mag expander with the 44/40, because my 44/40 gets loaded with .431 bullets, the same as I believe you are doing and I get a goodly number of reloads (enough that I don't feel the need to keep track of # of loads). I don't think you are doing anything that should give you those neck splits that quickly -- I think you just got unlucky with that batch of brass.

My bet is that new brass will behave much better and life will be good.
The greatest patriot...
is he who heals the most gullies.
Patrick Henry

User avatar
Ben_Rumson
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 2550
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:51 pm

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#12 Post by Ben_Rumson » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:56 pm

My trick for annealing is to use my lead pot . Fill it to within a half inch of the top, put a case in some slip jaw pliers in the place meant for grasping something round and dunk it for a second or two. Lead wont stick because of the powder soot. I just drop the cases on rags and let them air cool,then run them thru the tumbler. Works for me! YMMV
"IT IS MY OPINION, AND I AM CORRECT SO DON'T ARGUE, THE 99 SAVAGE IS THE FINEST RIFLE EVER MADE IN AMERICA."
WIL TERRY

Carlsen Highway
Levergunner 2.0
Posts: 285
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 8:23 am
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#13 Post by Carlsen Highway » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:55 am

Earl, I hope so.

Ben - that is a good idea! I might try that out too
A person who carries a cat home by the tail, will receive information that will always be useful to them.
Mark Twain

M. M. Wright
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 2813
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:57 pm
Location: Vinita, I.T.

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#14 Post by M. M. Wright » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:58 pm

I too use the 44 Mag expander on my 44-40s as I load bullets sized .429. I even use them in my Colt SAAs but I have to use Starline or Winchester brass. Anything else, (Remington) is too thick and won't chamber in the Colts. Works just fine in the Uberti 73s though. I almost never have a split case and I full length size them all and my brass has been loaded a bunch and never annealed. I use the Lee FCD on them all too.
M. M. Wright, Sheriff, Green county Arkansas (1860)
Currently living my eternal life.
NRA Life
SASS
ITSASS

veeman
Levergunner 2.0
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:12 pm

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#15 Post by veeman » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:56 am

My expander plug is .429, I use .428 sized bullets, never have any trouble. I've been using the same old Lyman dies for nearly 25 years.

Merle
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 541
Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:40 pm

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#16 Post by Merle » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:05 am

Carlsen Highway wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:15 am
Guys, I have been continually getting split case mouths in my .44-40 brass. I mean, its a chronic situation.
I now have to buy a whole new bag of brass, bit I find myself reluctant to do it, because I know I will go through the whole lot of them in a couple of months probably. I cant afford to pay for the brass at this rate.

I read about some people getting 20+ reloads with their .44-40 brass and I just wish I could do that. My brass does not last long. They are lucky if they last three or four times and then they develop splits.

What am I doing wrong?

Brass is Starline, although I have the same problem with Win and RP as well. My bores are .430 and I am loading cast bullets the same size. I am using Lee dies. I do not resize my black powder cases, I just expand the necks/mouth using the expander die for a .44 Magnum. I crimp lightly with a Lee FCD.
For smokeless I do resize the cases and expand them with the same .44 mag expander die. These get a heavy crimp with the lee crimp die.

My black powder cases last a bit longer than the smokeless, maybe one reload more only though.

I might be wrong but I seem to remember that I didnt really start getting split case mouths until I started using a .44 magnum expander die. I used to expand with the normal .44/40 Lee die, but bullets were seating crooked, and I was getting bulges and bad runout, no matter how I tried, I couldnt get a bullet seated straight. I then went to the .44 magnum expander and this problem went away.

Someone suggested it could be the Lee factory crimp die, I dont know how likely that would be. I dont need the LFCD for blackpowder, I could go back to roll crimping. But I need it for smokeless to get a good burn with H4198, otherwise I get a lot of unburnt powder.

probably that 44 mag expander is a couple of thousands bigger than what the 44 WCF needs.
that plus (usually) thinner case mouths is bound to be a problem sooner or later - sounds like sooner in your case.
Merle from PA

elmo123
Levergunner 2.0
Posts: 161
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:45 pm

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#17 Post by elmo123 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:49 pm

I had the same problem with the 45 Colt years ago when I fired them in my S&W model 25-5 that had an oversize cylinder. The casing were expanding too much when I fired them and after resizing them a couple times they would split. I eventually replaced the cylinder which solved the problem. It sounds like you are expanding them too much. I would try one of the tapered mouth expanders made for loading cast bullets in rifle cases. I made one for my 30 caliber rifles and it made seating the bullets much easier without shaving lead.

Stevie
Levergunner
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:47 pm

Re: .44 WCF and split case mouths

#18 Post by Stevie » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:31 am

I've been using Star Line and old Remington Peters brass. The Remington brass was all given to me and has been reloaded before...these are the ones I'm losing because of splits at/near the shoulder. Have not had a neck mouth split yet.

I've reloaded some of both brands brass as much as five times. I did ruin a few Star Lines trying to get a good crimp with my Lee dies and jacketed bullets. I imagine I will be losing some more brass from neck splits because I've ramped-up .44-40 production.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BlaineG, ollogger and 35 guests