44 magnum 3 die set or 4?

birddog 68

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I started a thread a few months ago about trying my hand at reloading for my Marlin 44 magnum rifle. I have never loaded for pistol but have quite a few years under my belt loading for various rifles. I received excellent feedback on components needed and have collected most of them.
I was looking at die’s last weekend and noticed that they have 3 and 4 die sets. Please give me your recommendations, and why you use the 4th crimp die separately instead of just doing it while seating the bullet.
I am not doing any high volume reloading if this matters.
Thanks, Birddog 68
 

RegionRat

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This is a matter of taste when your loading process will allow it.

Some machines don't have enough stations to accommodate a separate crimp, some do.

Allowing for the seating to be uncoupled from the crimp is an improvement if there are adjustments to be made.

The magnum revolver rounds are often sensitive to case length and crimp variations when pushing for accuracy. It is often worth the effort to experiment with the roll and taper crimp, so keeping the crimp independent of the seating makes things easier. YMMV
 

rooster721

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Only time I find the separate crimp dies handy myself is when you're going back n forth between cast & jacketed bullets, or while doing lots of development and load work up with different bullets. Each differently designed bullet requires a different degree of crimp most often in a different location, so the separate die makes it easier to adjust vs readjusting an all in one seater-crimper die everytime you change a bullet. A cast generally calls for a very heavy crimp, and a jacketed bullet like an xtp or a-frame requires a very light crimp ... changing the lockring on a single seater-crimper die to change crimp severity between bullet types means the seat stem and crimp location changes a small degree too, and throws out OAL settings each time you move it. It becomes a pain in the *** to set & reset all the time.

I personally keep a seater-crimper set for my most used cast load, applying a heavy crimp, and have an adjustable seater-only die I use for various random bullets in conjunction with the crimp only die. That extra step system makes the setting and resetting of dies & lockrings less necessary for a guy's favourite loads and the loads you just play or experiment with ... you never lose a good setting that way

Hopefully makes sense
 
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Varmint Hunter

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I've been loading 44mag ammo for decades. I'm still using my original carbide 3 die set. Assuming that your brass has a relatively consistent length, you should be fine with a 3 die set. If you later feel a need for a separate crimp die, there are a few different types that you can select from.
 

Lefty7mmstw

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I use a 3 die set but NEVER seat and crimp in the same pass. I use a bushing to back off the crimp, seat, then back up the seater and crimp. There is a high likelihood of damaging the bullet while crimping as the crimp will start to dig in before the bullet has finished seating. The problem is worse for cast, but I won't 1 pass jacketed either.
 

IllinoisBurt

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Either 3 or 4 die sets work fine for pistol cartridges. Only caveat is to make sure you stick with carbide -- there are older steel dies floating around.

Lee pistol die sets are nice in that it includes a powder through flaring die which is very convenient for turret and single stage presses. Their pistol Factory Crimp Die is basically a bulge-buster with a sizing ring which may be useful in some instances but should not be used with cast bullets as it will usually swage them down resulting in headaches with poor accuracy and leading (no issues with plated or jacketed).

Regardless whether you are using cast, plated, coated, or jacketed bullets the 44 needs a solid roll crimp for consistent ignition and to prevent bullet movement. It's not fun to tie up a revolver with the 5th and 6th rounds backing out of the case like the best kinetic pullers. Makes little to no difference if you run it while seating or as a separate step. Just depending on your press setup and personal preference.
 

Fiftydriver

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I started a thread a few months ago about trying my hand at reloading for my Marlin 44 magnum rifle. I have never loaded for pistol but have quite a few years under my belt loading for various rifles. I received excellent feedback on components needed and have collected most of them.
I was looking at die’s last weekend and noticed that they have 3 and 4 die sets. Please give me your recommendations, and why you use the 4th crimp die separately instead of just doing it while seating the bullet.
I am not doing any high volume reloading if this matters.
Thanks, Birddog 68
Most of the time 3 die sets are just fine. Full length sizing die, i would recommend a carbide sizing die so no lube is needed. Then expander die to bell case mouth slightly. A combo seater roll crimp die works great. Set it up to seat bullets in one operation and then crimp in a separate operation. Do not recommend seating and crimping in same operation.
 

ARlife4me

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I like the flexibility of 4 dies, but have converted from 3 die I used for 30 years. I still use the seat/crimp die, but just adjust the die so it'll only seat.
 

birddog 68

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Thanks for all the replies. I love how everyone has a slightly different way to do the same job but with the same end results.
Sounds like I definitely need the carbide dies.
 

chav0_12

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I use the RCBS 3-Die set on my Dillon 550, only using two dies, then I added the Lee Factory Crimp Die since I couldn’t get enough crimp for my gun. It’s a S&W 329PD shooting 255gr HC, I noticed that bullets would jump crimp when just using the RCBS seat/crimp die, I just couldn’t get it set low enough while still being able to properly seat a bullet. It was either crimp separately which would’ve likely been on the RockChucker or get a dedicated crimp die. For some of my other pistol stuff I just bought an extra seat die and used one as a seat and one as a crimp. The cheapest way I could solve my problem was with the Lee FCD, and it works perfectly.
 

Ol' Red

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I used to seat and crimp in one step. That was back in the eighties. found that separating the steps made for a better crimp for me. A few years back I started purchasing Lee factory crimp dies for crimping pistol and revolver rounds. I wish I had started using the LFC dies earlier.
 

chav0_12

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I used to seat and crimp in one step. That was back in the eighties. found that separating the steps made for a better crimp for me. A few years back I started purchasing Lee factory crimp dies for crimping pistol and revolver rounds. I wish I had started using the LFC dies earlier.
Same, after I bought that one for my 44, I started to buy more of them.

Oh, I could add, I do have the Lee Collet Crimp Die, doesn’t work on the Dillon. I could get rid of it if anyone needed it. @birddog 68
 

iShoot17

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My go to for straight-wall cartridges is to get a 3-die set (RCBS or Redding) then get a profile crimp die from Redding.

They may be a bit more money, but I have been very impressed with the profile crimp dies from Redding.
 

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