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KinleyWater
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Posted: September 01 2017 at 6:07pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Okay folks,

First time trying to reload some 44 Spl and ran into a snag. The brass is a mix of once fired (by me) Starline and Hornady (nickle). The issue is that when I try and resize and deprime, the depriming pin pushed up through the collet without pushing out the primer. This happens every time I try it. I've tried over-tightening the collet, different pieces of brass - nothing seems to change. Any ideas?

Here are the details:
Dies - LEE 44 Spl, 44 Mag
Press - LEE hand press
Brass - Starline and Hornady (nickle plate)

Oh, almost forgot: It works just fine when I set it up for 44 Mag.

On the bright side, I used the depriming pin to manually pound out primers on a few and did manage to build up the following load:

Brass: Starline
Pill: Hornady 240 grain LSWC-HP
Powder:Unique 7.0 grains
Primer: CCI 300

Some day, I might even get the chance to try it.

Edited by KinleyWater on September 01 2017 at 6:07pm


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joed
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Posted: September 01 2017 at 8:32pm | IP Logged Quote joed

You stumped me. Now I'm dying to see what everyone else has to
say.   I'm wondering of the primer holes are off center.

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richhodg66
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Posted: September 02 2017 at 6:12am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Off center primer holes do happen sometimes. The way the Lee deprimer systems work because they have that unbreakable depriming pin, I have sometimes had them push up like you describe and had to reinstall the stem and tighten it more. Can't recall it ever happening with a straight walled pistol die set though.

For whatever reason, your special cases are giving more resistance to pushing the primers out than your magnum cases. Are the primer pockets on this particular set of brass tighter than usual? Not being a military round, I can't see them having crimped in primers.



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Paul B.
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Posted: September 02 2017 at 12:51pm | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

Probably one of the reasons I don't use Lee dies for the most part'

Seriously though, I have the Lee carbide sizing die for .38Spl./.357
Mag. and .44 Spl./Mag. My older RCBS sets didn't have carbide dies
and the LGS had the Lee's on sale. I haven't had any problem with the
pin pushing in the more than ten years with the dies so have no clue on
jow to address your problem.

I do have a helpful hint though if you haven't already done this. Set up
all the dies in the set to do the .44 Spl. Buy a set of spacer rings from
RCBS and when you load .44 magnums, use the decap/sizer without
the spacer (works for me) and use the spacers for the neck sizing and
seating dies. That way you don't have to keep messing around with
adjusting for one of the other. Nice little time saver. Not sure but RCBS
may include them with their dies sets these days. If not, they're not all
that expensive.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: September 02 2017 at 2:35pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Tried to post earlier but my geek-phone was up to the usual, mess with Wade and drive him nuts!

A friendly suggestion; Do not use precision machined dies as a primer punch. Smacking the pin assembly to knock ot primers can and will bend or break it.

I do not believe that dozens of 44Spl would have offset flash holes. Not two brands. Not logical. What is logical, based upon the vague data given, is a misaligned decapping pin, or the shell holder is not centered. Either could be an issue.

You stated that the 44mag were fine, and that you agjusted from that to work the 44Spl. Did you alter the sizing die? As Paul said, don't. No need to. The spacer he spoke of is a very useful tool. I have one and it's handier than pockets on a shirt!

So, check the pin assembly alignment. Then insure that the shell holder is seated and centered properly. Though you stated you loaded a few specials, it is possible to do so if the shell holder is slightly less than centered, but enough to halt decapping operations due to the tighter control of the die.

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richhodg66
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Posted: September 02 2017 at 3:12pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I personally have come to prefer Lee dies for straight walled pistol cartridges, though I dislike the bottle neck ones.

Why is adjustment between Special and Magnum an issue with your re-sizer/decapper die? Adjust it down til it makes firm contact with the shell holder for either one.

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RT58
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Posted: September 02 2017 at 6:23pm | IP Logged Quote RT58

That is a tough one. Were the primers hard to punch out when you used the pin alone?

I don't see the die as a problem since it worked just fine on the .44 mags. If the flash holes were too small, on both brands, you would have had to force them off the pin when you did finally get some deprimed.

The Shell holder being off center, as Wade stated, could be a culprit. Or maybe the hand press was tilted far enough to through the brass out of alignment. Did you try the specials again after you deprimed the mags?
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KinleyWater
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Posted: September 02 2017 at 6:46pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

All: Thanks for the input.

It seems that the consensus is most likely the shell holder being misaligned. I can't discount the pin being misaligned, but as it rides in the collet, there is nothing I can do about that short of trying to put in a shim. As it's a hand press, it is also entirely possible the press was tilted too far, I suppose.

If I recall, the instructions call for backing the die out a turn and a half or two when using it for magnums. But, I don't have the directions in front of me.

Wade: Normally, I wouldn't use the pin in that manner, but curiosity had me wondering exactly what was going on. That, and I figured if I jacked up the pin, I could replace it for not much.

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Ham Gunner
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Posted: September 03 2017 at 9:55am | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

Well, you certainly are not a rookie at reloading, but I will just run down how I set up my dies and perhaps there is something that you are not looking at that might account for the problem, but I certainly can not see why the magnum cases deprime and the Specials do not as the heads and primer holes and pockets should be identical.

Starting with an unsecured shell holder so that center can be achieved, the sizing/depriming die should be screwed in until it kisses the shell holder at the top of the ram movement and then back off the ram and screw the die in just a tad more which will cause the ram to slightly "cam over" under pressure of the handle at top of the stroke. You should feel and hear a slight pressure click or pop at that point as the press ram "cams over". This die should now be locked down at that point no matter what type of case you are sizing/depriming and further adjustment is not called for.

The proper setting for the depriming pin should allow the pin to stick out below the bottom of the sizing/depriming die just a small amount. Just enough for the primer to be completely punched out each time. A firm lock down of the priming pin at it's proper length should center the pin in the die, unless the pin or it's rod are bent of course.

A check on whether the rod or pin are slightly off center can be done by simply watching the location of the pin as the rod is screwed in or out of the die or collet. I suppose the rod and the shell holder should be adjusted for center by placing the loose shell holder perfectly centered on the ram and raising the ram on an empty case and placing the pin in the flash hole of an empty case prior to locking both the shell holder and the pin down so that center is determined.

The expanding and seating dies are the ones that will have to be screwed in or out according to the length of the case being worked. A set of washers that fit around the dies is placed between the die lock down collar and the press to allow the expanding and seating dies to be seated out at their proper amount for the magnum cases if the dies were set up for the .44 Special case without the washers.

The .44 S&W Special case is .125 shorter than the magnum case, but the Lee sizing/depriming die (as well as almost all other brands of dies) are designed to work for both cartridges fully screwed into the press to the point of firmly contacting the shell holder at full stroke of the ram.

As others have mentioned above, some die sets come with the spacing washers for use for both case lengths. If your set does not have the washers, they can be ordered or you can simply acquire the proper diameter washers that have the proper .125 thickness so that you will not have to constantly loosen the adjustment collar to adjust the dies each time you change from .44 Special to .44 Mag. or vice versa.



Edited by Ham Gunner on September 03 2017 at 10:42am


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KinleyWater
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Posted: September 03 2017 at 5:07pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Ham,

Thanks for the reply. I will go over my setup step by step the next time I work up the courage to try the specials.

The only thing I can think of that the different types of shells have in common are: a) being fired by the same gun and b) being tumbled together.

Of the two, the magnums were tumbled on a different day.

I am curious if there is something about the tumbling, or the brass polish compound which is in some way responsible. I think I'll also try soaking a few shells in solvent and then air drying to see if that changes anything.

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Posted: September 03 2017 at 5:27pm | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

You have encountered a problem I have never had with any 44 Spl shells.

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mikld
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Posted: September 04 2017 at 9:24am | IP Logged Quote mikld

Your Lee die is working like it's supposed to. No broken or bent
pins. But maintenance on any tool is necessary. Take the stem
out of the die and clean it good with brake clean ( or solvent,
lacquer thinner, acetone, etc.) to remove all oil/grease. Squirt
the collet with brake clean and reassemble, and yep the collet
should be tight. I do it all the time...

Edited by mikld on September 04 2017 at 9:43am


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RT58
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Posted: September 04 2017 at 3:40pm | IP Logged Quote RT58

KinleyWater wrote:
...I am curious if there is something about the tumbling, or the brass polish compound which is in some way responsible...


Maybe. Do you check your flash holes for tumbling media before you run them in the sizer/deprimer?
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Posted: September 05 2017 at 4:00am | IP Logged Quote noylj

Get a Lee Universal Decappping Die and use it before cleaning the cases.
Tumble in 20/40 media and there will be no media in primer pocket or flash
holes.

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John P.
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Posted: September 05 2017 at 9:11am | IP Logged Quote John P.

Have you tried the dies in another press? I am wondering if the Lee
hand press is causing an alignment issue with the shell holder and die.
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KinleyWater
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Posted: September 05 2017 at 1:52pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Okay, sorry about the delay in replies.

I only have one press set-up right now, so that might be it. This evening, I think I will soak some of the brass in solvent - no decision on what kind, yet.

I'll also take the opportunity to disassemble and clean the die.

It's a shotgun approach, but if it works - good.

Thanks, everyone for the ideas and comments.

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mikld
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Posted: September 06 2017 at 11:58am | IP Logged Quote mikld

Just think about how a decapping pin works in a sizing die.
The stem w/pin is pushed into the flash hole and pushed the
old primer out.That's all. If for some reason there is
resistance, with the Lee die, the pin will slide out to relieve
pressure on the pin and prevent bending breaking. Your stem
is doing what it's supposed to, but too easily. A different
press prolly won't make any difference (except leverage) and
solvent may just be a kind of "lube".

I have reloaded many (thousands) of .44 magnums with my
hand loader and while it's not really easy sizing the brass,
I've not had any problems. If you want to lube the cases prior
to sizing, that will make the process easier, but will have little
effect on the decapping. Look in your cases and see it
there's anything there that shouldn't be.

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KinleyWater
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Posted: September 06 2017 at 1:10pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Mikld -

The solvent idea was on the off chance that something in the tumbling process was creating a seal on the primer. I know, it's a long shot, but I thought it might be work a try.

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KinleyWater
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Posted: September 06 2017 at 4:14pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

All - Thanks for the help. I pulled out the pin, cleaned everything well, dried it and put everything back together. I made sure everything was extra tight and tried out a few cases. Everything functioned as designed, so I charged ahead. 122 cases later, I figured; why not go all the way? Spent the next little while reloading them.

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Ham Gunner
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Posted: September 08 2017 at 10:04am | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

Glad the problem was solved. I really thought that it had to do with the pin set up somehow, but most of my die sets have screw in depriming rods so they can not move. I think I have a Hornady set that has the collet type depriming rod holder, but so far it has not offered to slip. I guess I will have to keep this incident in mind if it ever gives me a problem so I will already have the fix in mind.

Edited by Ham Gunner on September 08 2017 at 10:10am


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