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Old 08-01-2020, 10:46 AM
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Default Starline .44-40 brass

I have a NM3 Frontier that I reload for. I recently bought some extra brass from Starline and what I received was not what I expected. All the brass I used before had a definite step close to the end. The Starline brass seems to taper along the whole shell to get to the correct size at the end. It fits in the gun OK. Is this brass OK? Is it safe to shoot?

Thanks,
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:59 AM
greenmachine greenmachine is offline
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My Winchester .44-40 brass has the pronounced step but my Starline brass does not. I use both.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:26 AM
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I used Starline 44-40 in a S&W 544 and a '90s Marlin 1894S with no problems of any kinds. It's tougher than the very fragile Winchester cases - be gentle!
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Old 08-01-2020, 04:27 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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You will find that the shoulder in different reloading dies is a different locations! The key is DO NOT OVERWORK THE NECKS! They are usually .009-.011" of thickness, and more modern cases are closer to .015-.017"

I found seating the bullet to depth and then a separate crimping step crushes the fewest cases. That goes for all the thin neck wall cases.

Ivan
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:04 AM
twodog max twodog max is offline
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I started loading 44-40 about a year ago. Mostly Winchester brass. I have been reloading 50 years but loading the 44-40 has been a somewhat new experience. I too have found Winchester brass very thin necks but with care loads easily. The things I have found to be careful of are not putting enough flare on the neck before bullet seating and getting in a hurry while seating bullets and not taking time to set the bullet in the neck straight before seating. I also got a Redding profile crimp die for that step. IMO a great die to get.
Yes I have seen 44-40 brass that seems to have no definite shoulder. Winchester has the shoulder but some don't. All seem to work if you take your time. I am having a lot of fun with this cartridge.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:32 AM
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Original .44-40 brass was straight-tapered going back to the 1870s, the same for .32-20. However the chambers in all firearms chambered for these cartridges I have ever seen did have a small shoulder. I have been loading the .44-40 since ca. 1962 and have several die sets. The first die set I bought I ever bought, Lyman in 1962, has no shoulder in the sizing die. There is nothing to be concerned about with brass, shoulder or no shoulder makes no difference!
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
Original .44-40 brass was straight-tapered going back to the 1870s . . .
Not quite true for all brands back in the day. The 1881 U.S. Cartridge Catalog shows a bottleneck No. 44, which was the 44 Winchester.

Starline works fine in my Lee Carbide dies and after resizing, has the standard bottleneck shape. For me, the biggest issue is running all brass through the case trimmer, so all are exactly the same length. That way mixed cases will load the same way. Just the slightest over-length case will crush. As for chambering, most all rifles have generous chambers, but many revolvers were set up with more accurate chambers and the step on the cartridge, or lack thereof, could cause a sticking point.

Years ago, I loaded for my 44 DA Frontier and the step in the reloading die was higher on the case than the chamber in my gun and had some difficulty loading the revolver. I cannot remember what make the dies were, but when I switched to Lee the problem went away. These are fussy cartridges to reload, but with care and proper prepping of the cases (plus a few extra cases on hand) you can get a very nice looking box of 44-40.
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