Thursday, April 21, 2016

Loaded Up Some More Smokeless .44-40s

Well, not really "smokeless," since I used Alliant Unique, and anyone who's ever loaded cast bullets on top of it knows that's it's relatively dirty for a smokeless powder. Between the powder and bullet lube there's a fair amount of smoke. Anyway, tonight I loaded up the 45 remaining 200 grain .428" projectiles on top of ~8.5 grains of Unique.

Last night I'd setup my Lee Perfect Powder Measure by mounting it to a piece of scrap 1x4. I was going to load up some rounds after that, but my brother came over and we wound up in my living room with some sour mash. And of course, alcohol and reloading is a bad combination, so I didn't load any rounds until tonight.

After setting the measure I weighed every 10th charge or so. I need to work on my technique but I figure the loads are consistent enough for plinking. Using the Lee powder measure is a lot faster than an undersized dipper or RCBS Little Dandy rotor and then bringing the charge up to weight with a powder trickler.

Once I finished loading those rounds I primed another 50 cases using the Winchester Model 1882 tool. I've come to really like the Winchester tool for priming because it gives a great feel for how the primer is being seated. The only downside to it for this is that it's slow, compared with using a Lee hand primer.

I also received a few things today: 10 pounds of 20:1 alloy and 2 pounds of tin wire cut into chunks, from Rotometals, and a Lee .429 sizing kit. Before I cast up my next batch of .44 WCF bullets I'm going to add some tin to my soft lead, to get it to fill out the mold better and shrink less after casting. After I go through the soft lead I'll try the 20:1 alloy.

Tomorrow I'm expecting another package from, with 500 of the same 200 grain bullets I'd ordered before, but this time sized to .430. If they'll chamber in my Cimarron 1873 rifle, great, otherwise, I'll size them down to .429. These will be reserved for smokeless loads.

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