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Discussion Starter #1
Well I finally got my calipers tonight and started measuring my brass. I have 3 boxes of once fired Magtech brass that I was going to use for my first loads but after measuring the brass I'm not sure if it is safe. The brass measured between 1.265" and 1.270" and all of my load manuals say the brass should be 1.275". Is it safe to load this brass to 44 Mag specs as long as I keep the COL between 1.600" and 1.610"? Or should I keep the COL to 44 Mag specs and load it with 44 Special load data? I'm new to all of this so I'm pretty clueless. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Ken
 

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that brass is a little short depending on the gun you are going to use it in. In a single shot ,you won't have any trouble. I would check those calipers to be certain your readings are correct.
 

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The brass measured between 1.265" and 1.270" and all of my load manuals say the brass should be 1.275".
Check a few manuals and you'll find that there are numbers given for maximum case lengths and trim lengths. Generally, there will be a 0.010 inch difference between maximum length and trim length (only 100th of an inch). The differences in case lengths you mention are trivial; I would have no worries.
 

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you can shoot 44 specials in a mag so why worry about a batch of brass thats a lttle short. Just keep in mind that it might bump the pressure of your loads up a tad and back off from top of the line loads and work up. Dont worry about the overal lenght either just crimp in the crimp grove.
 

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I've never bothered to trim my 44 magnum cases. In the case of 44 magnum, I just keep reloading it until it starts to crack at the case mouth.

Consistent case length will give you more consistent crimps. My brass has always been Winchester and they are close enough in length so that I don't worry about the small differences of a few thousandths inches.
 

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The little difference in case OAL length is nothing to worry about. If they were mine I would trim them all to the same length. That way I know I will get a consistent crimp. I may be a little fussier than some, I also deflash the primer holes and uniform the primer pockets before I load them up the first time. I always figure, it can not hurt and may do some good. ;D
 

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Are you measuring it after you full length resize it?

My once fired brass measures short but measures correctly after full length resizing.......
 

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Questor said:
Consistent case length will give you more consistent crimps.
Exactly!

Anyway, what's five thou in a long, voluminous case like the .44 Mag? You can get that much variation in the COL just by changing the level of crimp.

EDIT: Note that my argument excludes at-the-limit loads with (near-)compressed charges, or over-pressure loads.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
okay, I have more questions. I have some wincester brass that is the right length and I've loaded some 240gr. XTPs' up; now I want to load some of my Oregon Trail bullets. Most of the loads in the manuals I have say the max COL is 1.610" but the Lyman manual lists the COL for 240gr. cast bullets as 1.645" and the Speer manual has them all the way up to 1.7something". I made up a dummy round at 1.665" and it chambered just fine in my Handi-Rifle, but the bullets were a little to close to the end of my cylinder in my S&W. My question is; Does max COL have more to do with chambering and functioning in the gun or does it play a big part in pressure? I'm anxious to load up some cast bullets, especially for my Handi, but I don't wanna blow myself up just yet. I appreciate any advice you guys can give me. Sorry for all the questions, I'm sure I'll have a lot more so sorry in advance for all of those too. :)

Thanks,
Ken
 

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The number one concern with OAL is - will it chamber. This has to be watched in a revolver, if the OAL is too great then it will stick out the chamber mouth and hang the cylinder. Number two - OAL will effect the pressure generated by the powder charge you have. increase the OAL and you decrease pressure with the same powder charge. Case capacity effects chamber pressure. If you have known loading data, that calls for a OAL length of 1.665" with a certain bullet and you increase it to 1.700" then pressure will decrease - slightly. It does not give you a free ticket to dump in 2 more grains of powder. It is an unknown; You must work up slowly and deliberately. I generally do not increase the powder charge if I increase the OAL because I want to work with a lower pressure level. I will only increase the powder charge if I have accuracy trouble or I want to squeeze as much velocity out as I can. the second scenario is not generally me, I go to a bigger cartridge if I want more velocity. The little difference you get is not much to worry about. I am not talking about decreasing pressure by half or any thing like that. BTW in revolver cartridges, I do not increase OAL unless I have to. To me you increase OAL to get closer to the lands to increase accuracy. In revolver cartridges, it is a moot point, because you are not going to reach the lands, no matter what you do. If you would load excursively for the Handi rifle, you might see slight difference in accuracy, but unless you are close to the rifling to start with, I doubt if you will see much difference in accuracy by increasing OAL slightly.
 

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if your shooting your ammo in revolvers you need to crimp at the crimp grove and not worry about overal lenght unless it is to long. For a revolver to shoot well it needs a good consistant crimp and it also needs the crimp to prevent bullets from jumping forward in the case and tieing up your gun. If you stick to the listing for the bullet weight your using and use a reputable loading manual you should run into probems from varying bullets as far as pressure goes. Most manuals are slightly conservitive anyway. If your pushing your gun to the ragged edge (which if your asking these questions you sure shouldnt be) then bullet seating dept is going to get critical for pressure. As to trimming handgun brass. Ive got no doubt that it may help to do it to get consistant crimps but i just shoot to much to bother with it. I buy a new batch of say 500 rounds of brass and use them for my heavy loads when theyve been fired 3 times they go in a bucket of mixed brass and thats what i use till they crack for lighter loads. Ive ton lots of testing using mixed brass for accuacy and in my opinion theres a more important thing going on then overal lenght. Difffernt cases use thicker or thinner brass and probably diffent alloys of brass. Some brass after just a few loadings will jump crimp no matter how heavy of a crimp you put on the case if your using heavy loads. the brass just gets worked more and doesnt give the case the grip on the bullet it needs. the crimp is only a smalll part of whats holding that bullet back to prevent jump and to allow for good powder burn. Another thing i will do in really heavy kicking guns like the 500 linebaugh is for expanding and flaring use a smaller die like say a 475 die that doesnt do anything but put a small enough flare in the case mouth to allow bullet seating. this will give you more grip on your bullet. You can do the same thing by sanding down your expander ball slightly. Ive got a rcbs power trimmer with all the collets sitting in a closet that i dont think ive used in 5 years. About the only trimming i do is when i make 41 specials out of 41 mags.
 

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I did not mention crimps. I get ahead of my self and forget the obvious - As Lloyd has pointed out they are important. Very important in a revolver, lever action, any thing that is multiple shot, but important to any cartridge that is straight walled until you get into the long cartridges that take a slower burning powder. Even the auto's that head space on the case mouth, use a tapered crimp. I have crimped into a grease groove to increase OAL. You just have to be cognizant of the fact that you have grease out side of the case and handle accordingly. If the bullet is soft (swagged lead for example), you can crimp any where along it's length, but crimping is necessary.
 

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Ken

You have an Apples to Oranges thing going on here , if you want to shoot the same load in both guns , make them fit your S&W and it will work in your Handi , will it be the best load in the rifle , maybe not but it will work .

As the others have said you only have so much room to work with in a wheelgun and that is it , were as the Handi will have some extra throat to work with and allow for a longer COL . Another thing that you may find is that the bore of the H&R may be larger than the S&W requiring you to use a larger Dia. bullet for it to shoot well .

What i'm trying to say is make them fit the S&W and you will be able to shoot the Handi also but not the other way around . ;)

stimpy
 
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