Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

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Kaumheimer
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Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Kaumheimer »

Aloha Everyone,

My apologies if this subject has been covered 100 times. I'm going to acquire a Henry Big Boy Side Gate chambered in .44 Magnum.
The goal is to shoot at steel plates and make them dance.

Was wondering what kinds of cast bullets it likes to eat. Have had trouble in the past with lever guns being finicky.

I've read that they don't like SWCs or the Keith Bullet.

Any suggestions would be welcomed.
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fordwannabe
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by fordwannabe »

I have had several levers in 44 mag (no Henrys though) and all have run round nose flat points well.
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Griff
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Griff »

In my Rossis (2 .357s and 1 45 Colt) and in my toggle link rifles (2 1873 and 1 1860), I've found a Round Flat Nose (RFN) works best. Keiths and most semi-wadcutters have too wide of a meplat and cause the straight walled case to hang up during transition between angled on the carrier and horizontal into the chamber. The Marlins & Winchester lever guns, (1892 & 1894) were originally chambered in bottle-neck cases with round flat nose bullets. This aids that transition and makes for smooth feeding. I've also successfully used a truncated cone (TC) nose shape as long as the meplat is no more than approximately a ¼".

Image
The 2 in the center are the best of the lot! Keep in mind, these are .452s for the 45 Colt. The Keith on the left will either catch on the lip of the chamber or jam up against the top of the chamber before it can finish coming horizontal to slide into the chamber. The WFN from LBT on the right will work in a toggle link, but not in either the Rossi or Marlin. If I seat it back in the case further, it will however.

YMMV.
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Kaumheimer »

Thanks guys! Appreciate the advice. Photo is very helpful.
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by piller »

My .480 Ruger caliber levergun likes anything up to 410 grain that is not a wide flat nose. Like everyone else noted in their leverguns, the transition from angled to horizontal is where issues can happen. Round nose flat point feed great in every levergun I have ever seen. So what if I have only seen it in about a dozen different rifles. Very limited experience can still be used as long as it is understood that it is limited.
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Kaumheimer »

Thanks Piller...

Another quick question. I've read that the Lee Crimp die is recommended. Is that an issue at all? Do the standard crimp dies do a good enough job? Anything else to recommend when loading for this beast?
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Blaine »

Kaumheimer wrote:
Tue May 25, 2021 12:30 pm
Thanks Piller...

Another quick question. I've read that the Lee Crimp die is recommended. Is that an issue at all? Do the standard crimp dies do a good enough job? Anything else to recommend when loading for this beast?
mahalo
If you can, try some .430s and then some .431s and see which ones work mo betta.....I've never NOT used a Lee Factory Crimp.
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by 765x53 »

In my limited experience with my "Big Boy" carbine, it has no problem feeding SWC 's. Accuracy wise, it does seem to prefer gas checks.
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fordwannabe
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by fordwannabe »

I am a LFC fan and when starting to reload for a new caliber, I just figure in the cost of a LFC for that caliber. I loaded THOUSANDS of rounds without one....don’t plan on loading many more without.
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Ray
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Ray »

This is the factory crimp die that they're referring to.....of late they have been sold-out so buy one quick.

https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/pr ... uctId/8268

For handgun cartridges, Lee also makes an excrescence that they call "factory crimp" but it is good for nothing. Make sure it is the "collet" type.

From Lee.....

Collet Style Crimp Die: Incorporates a collet to apply a rifle type crimp to the case. Makes these very difficult to crimp cartridges a delight to reload. Bullets do not need a crimp groove, as the collet is so powerful it will form one. NOTE: This die is not carbide.
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by M. M. Wright »

I like the Lee Factory Crimp die because it virtually eliminates the possibility of having a bullet set back inside the case thus raising pressure to who knows what. I consider that a problem with tubular magazines but you can eliminate that by just using black powder. I do both.
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by AJMD429 »

.

I really like the Lee 'Factory Crimp' dies - but note their 'pistol' dies are different than their 'rifle' dies - HOWEVER you can order 'rifle' TYPE dies for the 'pistol' cartridges...

Here's a thread showing the difference - https://www.levergunscommunity.org/view ... =1&t=36654

To me the 'rifle' type are the better option. I've had them made for 357 Mag,, 44 Mag, and 45 Colt, and I have them in 32-20, but I believe they already consider the 32-20 a 'rifle' cartridge. Got that type die when I got dies for the 218 Bee too, although I've not yet reloaded for that round.
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Kaumheimer »

Fordwannabe, Ray, AJMD429 and MM..everyone!

I appreciate your input on the Crimping. This is very helpful.

I'm a part time "gun writer" which doesn't necessarily mean I know anything! I mostly write a business column for our local newspaper. So I do know how to write.

I've loaded a lot of handgun rounds but almost none for a rifle other than a Winchester 92 chambered in .357. I'm hoping to do an article on the Henry for a local publication here in Hawaii.
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Rusty »

Contact Veral at LBT molds. He will custom make you a mould for your rifle.
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by fordwannabe »

Good luck with your article.
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Grizz
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Grizz »

two of my 48/70 leverguns don't like round flatnose ammo, and prefer to feed truncated cone style. our marlin 44 Mag only ever shot white box 240Gr and never hiccuped with that, and always put the bullets where the front sight was.
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

Oregon Trail makes a 240 gr RNFP that seems to feed in anything. I order them sized to .431 and they seem to work well in any .44 Special or Magnum load I try.
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Griff »

Between you, me and the fence post... the Lee Factory Crimp die is a totally useless piece of kit. If you properly set your dies, have consistent length brass and seat the bullet so the roll crimp is right in the crimp groove, you'll never set back a bullet into the case. At least in the 99.9999999% of the cases I've loaded without a FCD. I bought one for my .30-30s just to test out whether it makes a difference in accuracy... nada, zip, zilch, no difference at all. 46 years reloading without a FCD, 20 rounds with... same result, acceptable accuracy and no bullets set back in the case.

I will, however, in deference to my friends here, allow that a FCD will put a crimp on a bullet that has no crimp groove. That could be marginally better than a standard roll crimp die. However, I've loaded like 500 Sierra 125 grain HPs in my .30-30s that were were mis-manufactured without a crimp groove, and none of them set back in the case either, I just put a bit heavier roll crimp into the copper jacket.
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Grizz
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Re: Cast Bullets for a 44 Big Boy

Post by Grizz »

Grizz wrote:
Wed Jun 02, 2021 7:58 am
two of my 45/70 leverguns don't like round flatnose ammo, and prefer to feed truncated cone style. our marlin 44 Mag only ever shot white box 240Gr and never hiccuped with that, and always put the bullets where the front sight was.
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