Uberti Cattleman - tight cylinder prob

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  • Last Post 02 March 2024
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SkinnerD posted this 23 February 2024

A mate and I sitting together at an auction last year spotted a matched pair of Uberti Cattlemen pistols in 44-40 on a table. We both shoot the calibre in rifles and reload for those, Rossi Puma 92s. Long story short, we bought one each at a good price. The handles had been badly customized but the pistols clearly had had little use. Estate auction. His he can reload for and chamber exactly as he does for his rifle, just a different charge, same bullet. With mine the same round will not seat fully in the chamber but binds down by the case mouth. Cylinder won't turn past halfway where the "boltface" if that makes sense, begins, a sharp little outset that continues up to the firing pin area. The rim jams there.

We both had Lee dies. Brand new Starline brass seats properly. Anything crimped with a Lee FCD will not chamber in mine but will in his. The three little ridges the Lee collets produce are enough to prevent full seating. Out with the FCD! I was loading in my Lee 5 hole turret. He was loading in his Dillon 550B. So I bought a new set of Hornady Cowboy dies and set them up in in my 550B. After crushing a couple of cases on the crimp stage I finally got to where 8 out of 10 rounds will chamber- just!

I've carefully trimmed to length and while I was using a little drill mounted Lee gauge and cutter, I moved to taking the trouble of setting up on my Lyman Universal. Made no difference. Also tried seating bullets a tad deeper..again no difference. I'm using a copper washed 200 grn RN from frontier, pretty much identical to a Berrys. Unlike the cast available to me they are very uniform factory sized.

My thought is the cylinder chambers needs polishing and or reaming. Comments, suggestions sought. Biggest difficulty will be finding someone competent to do the job properly.

Cheers.

John - New Zealand

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Ed Harris posted this 26 February 2024

FedEx is ridiculous. I have sent small items likewise or mold blocks by US Postal Service, Priority Mail, Small Flat Rate Box. Have not shipped to NZ, but to the UK or EU a 1 kg box goes by airmail for about $30 with $100 insurance and parcel tracking. Fill out the small form Customs Declaration with item description and value. Routine and easy. A Medium FRB up to 5 kg ships to EU for $75 with $500 imsurance.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Ed Harris posted this 24 February 2024

Not sure if available in Oz, but I replaced all my Lee Factory Crimp dies with the Redding Profile Crimp, which full length sizes the entire round down to the shell holder. This enables you to decap, prime and flare cases without resizing, using a compressed charge of black powder or RL7 to provide base support to the bullet and use the Redding die to profile and crimp the rounds.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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hporter posted this 23 February 2024

Do you have a set of pin gauges to check your throat dimension?  Or I suppose a sized bullet to check the resistance of going through the throat?


I have 2 Uberti's in 44-40 and a Colt New Service in 44-40 that I can use .430 bullets in.  But I bought a 44-40 cylinder for my 44 Special New Vaquero and it would do the same thing you are describing until I figured out the bullets were sized too large to fit through the ball seat.  Sized .429 and using a Redding Profile Crimp die solved the issues for me.

Ed Harris also designed a cast bullet on the Accurate Mold site that is full diameter outside the case, but smaller inside the case.  I bought the mold and it also solved the issue with my cylinder.

I bought this one when he first announced it on a cast bullet website:

 

But looking it up this morning for this post, I note that he has a second version designed with a bigger lube groove for Black Powder now:

Regards,

Harold

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Ed Harris posted this 24 February 2024

Case length is also critical in the Italian clones. Older US cases may be as long as 1.305" and may impinge against the mouth of the chamber. New Starline brass is 1.285" and I use the Lee Quik-Trim to trim all cases to uniform length.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Aaron posted this 23 February 2024

Had the same issue with the 38-40. It’s the Lee die not setting the shoulder back far enough for the revolver. Took the sizing die to a machinist who took .032” off the face to allow for deeper (closer) seating in the press and farther shoulder setback. Chambering problem solved.

Regarding the base of the cartridge rubbing the "lip" on the recoil shield, one can also stone the lip on the recoil shield to smooth that out, or polish the lip out with a Dremel and polishing wheel.

If you are not seating bullets and crimping in separate steps with the seat/crimp die, I strongly suggest that you do. With the thin metal at the case mouth of both the 44-40 and the 38-40 family, this will save a lot of brass. The embedded roll crimp in the seat/crimp die, works better with these cartridges than the FC die from Lee. As you noticed, it leaves a pinch in the brass in 4 locations.

That second bullet that Harold shows above, from Accurate Molds (43-200QL), is wonderful.

With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.

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9.3X62AL posted this 24 February 2024

Starline brass in 44/40 WCF resolved most of my issues in this caliber.  SAECO #446 gets along well sized at .429" in my Uberti Cattleman and my 1897-made Win 1873 carbine. I light roll crimp via the RCBS dies does the job.

I load the 25/20, the 32/20, and the 44/40.  All of these calibers have poetic placement of their shoulders in the rifle and revolver chambers.  These placements can vary MARKEDLY.  Make certain that your sizing die resets the shoulder properly if you swap rounds between several arms of the same caliber.  Ask me how i know this.       

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SkinnerD posted this 25 February 2024

Not sure about Oz but here in NZ a few are available in the mainstream rifle calibres but not much in Pistol. Importing from the US is particularly difficult these days and when an outfit will ship, for a small item like a single die or even a die set the shipping can cost more than the item! I got caught badly last year. Bought an item on ebay that they would accept an international Visa for payment but would only ship to a US address. A $US 65 purchase. Sent it to a friend. The friend, inexperienced in these matters, took it to his local FEDEX who took $USD210 off him. That was their smallest shipping packet size. That is $340NZD on any given day!! When you could find the item here it ran around the $100-120NZD. I didn't think to ask him to get a price and let me know first, just to get the best available. Apparently that was it. Live and learn. All international shipping is through the roof. Might over time work to restore local industry. We used to have our own munitions factory, CAC, brand ammo, rifle, Pistol and shotgun. Also lead shot production. These days it's guys in their basements doing clever one off stuff on which they can't get their time paid for. One day maybe....

Thanks for the advice anyway..I'll keep my eye out. If I get to the US next couple of years I'll be sure to fill my bags lol.

John - New Zealand

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SkinnerD posted this 24 February 2024

You blokes are amazing..thks. I'll have another go at it..yes I do crimp and seat separately. First with the FCD, then with Hornady's separate crimp die in their 3 die cowboy set. Cheers

John - New Zealand

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RicinYakima posted this 24 February 2024

Throw the Lee FCD in the Coral Sea and be done with it. Makes more problems than it ever solved, other than making Dick Lee money. 

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SkinnerD posted this 24 February 2024

Sorry, works extremely well for hunting loads, Smokeless, in rifle. The FCD has its uses.

John - New Zealand

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SkinnerD posted this 24 February 2024

Yup, thks, one of the first things I attended to. Used Dial Calipers and my Lyman Universal Case Trimmer.

John - New Zealand

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RicinYakima posted this 24 February 2024

That is the issue! Works for rifle chambers, but not for revolvers. 

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SkinnerD posted this 24 February 2024

I have a heap of rifles :-)

John - New Zealand

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SkinnerD posted this 02 March 2024

Back to the topic. Having been distracted by researching, and purchasing a new toy in 38-55, a Uberti 30" Sporter, I'm back on the 44-40 prob while I await the rifles arrival.

I spent some time painstakingly measuring two cases with my Hornady Dial Calipers, possibly not the finest instrument to be had but adequate for me. I have two sample cases I'm working with and a Wilson case gauge alongside my Uberti cylinder. One case is once fired Starline brass I resized with Lee Die. Shot in my Rossi Puma 92 rifle. It gauges and chambers perfectly in the Uberti. When gauged in the Wilson it falls right in with the case head top neatly in line with the top edge of the groove in the Wilson gauge head, or fractionally below. The case mouth is exactly on the bottom edge at the other end of the gauge. This case drops nicely into the Uberti and the cylinder goes around sweetly.

The second case I bought used and primed fired in an unknown firearm, likely a replica Pistol for CASS but maybe a rifle. I decapped it and resized it in my Lee die. It stuck in the Wilson with the thickness of the rim proud of the Wilson head slot. I adjusted the Lee die progressively down on the shellnholder until no more effect was achieved. This resulted in the case moving further in to the Wilson gauge but still maybe 2 -3 thou higher than the other case. It would in the end go around in the Uberti cylinder if I forced it (minimally) past the breech face. Subsequent lowering of the sizing die made no further diff.

I conclude that the Lee die-shell holder combination simply cannot size close enough to the rim, and steps per advice above are required to adjust the length of brass that enters the Lee size die.

For the life of me, using my maybe not adequate Dial Calipers, I cannot find a significant difference in dimension of the two cases - mouth, shoulder, web or rim. But the difference is there somewhere..Humbled!

Now the interesting bit, I went ahead and purchased a new set of Hornady 44-40 Cowboy dies and set them up in my Dillon 550B. Resizing the "bad" case on this setup gives a perfect result. Next step is to swap the Hornady size die on the Dillon for the Lee.

More to come...

Update.

So, I swapped the Lee Die into the Dillon 550B and the Hornady die into the Lee 4-Hole Classic Turret. Same shell holder used in the Turret press. Lo, perfect resizing with tge Hornady again, and not so with the Lee mounted in the 550B.

So the Lee Die is the problem not the Lee Shell holder. Die mod to come.

Update, Update So having succeeded in obtaining perfectly sized brass, the next step was perfect loaded rounds. Alas. Sticking a projectile in the case stuffed everything. I painstakingly followed Hornady's endless instructions for setting up their complicated bullet seating and crimp die. I only managed to slightly collapse one case with too much crimp, which resized out. However, with a bullet now seated, the smallest dia 200gn 44-40 I have, a FMJ, the completed round now jams 3/4 of the way into tge Wilson gauge, ditto the Uberti cylinder. What to do?

Scratching my head I realized I still had the Lee size die setup in my Lee 4-Hole Classic Turret. On a whim I removed the decapping pin and ran the completed round fully in. Presto, a perfect fit now in gauge and cylinder!

So my Dillon now has the 4th Station holding the Lee size die sans decapping rod. 10 rounds completed- perfect result. Go figure.

Why I can't achieve this without the final resize I don't know. But it works.

John - New Zealand

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