Reloder 7 was 17$ when I started loading for the mighty 444. I’m not much help on hardness as everything I’ve shot out of 444’s has been wqww’s.
Dies and brass have arrived. Thanks to the generosity of a good member here, I have some boolits to try. Unfortunately, it seems like with every set of Lee dies I buy for a straight wall caliber, the crimp shoulder is tight and is only JUST big enough for a .429 j-word to pass thru and contact the seating stem. I had to send my 38/55 seater off last year to get opened up for a .377 boolit because it had the same issue, so it's nothing new to me. Seems I'll have to get this one opened up for a .432 boolit. Once I try these boolits and get an idea of what the rifle likes, I'll order a mold.
You can check if you are having this issue by a quick visual inspection of the loaded rounds. You should see a slight bulge in the case where the bullet is seated inside the case, if the bulge is visible on one side of the case and not the other side then you likely have excessive runout and you will not get the best groups with those loads. The bulge should be uniform all the way around the case. I have shrunk groups by more than two inches by eliminating the runout on the loaded rounds, so it is worth looking into.
Team 444 #792
Team .45/70 #2002
I've had the same issue with several lee die sets. If you send them a bullet they'll make a custom seating stem for you at a reasonable cost.
Lots of good info in this thread. I noticed no one mentioned LBT molds by Veral. I dont have one so just wondering ? I have two JM 444s. Bullets from the Lee mold will work in one but not the other. Getting ready to purchase another mold. I was sold on one from Veral until I read this...maybe I will try one of the NOE molds.
Well I have reached out to Tom. This rifle has a VERY short throat. I have two types of bullets sent to me by a very good member here, one an Accurate design, and the other the Ranch Dog 300. Both have to be seated just past the crimp groove in order for them to work, which isn't too big of a deal with a factory crimp die. I'm going to see if Tom knows of a design in his catalog that fits my requirements that might work, or else I may be forced to cut down my brass .020. I'd hate to sacrifice case capacity, but .020 really isn't going to change much.
According to Tom the solution is simple. Pick any boolit I want, and order it with a front band diameter of .420, with a body band diameter of whatever I require. I'm going to start with a 43-300FG, as the nose profile is similar to the Hornady XTP. Meplat is not as wide as I'd like, but it will still kill a deer, pig, elk, or whatever I fling one at. I have some of the 43-265F that are PB's that I'm going to try as well, and just seat past the crimp groove and crimp with an LFCD. I like the design of this bullet, and will likely order a mold in that design as well, but with a GC shank.
I shot the rifle today 8 times with the Accurate 265's. It shot EXCEPTIONALLY well with that boolit, but with the .500 skinner guide sight, and the boolits only moving about 1540, I was 8" low. I have the same front sight on my guide gun and had the same issue. I took it down from .5 to .400 and I will report back. I reckon with that minor change, my 300gr. boolits moving 1900fps will come up just fine.
It's somewhere close to bullseye on paper at 100 yards with an Accurate 265 and Ranch Dog 300, so it's time to get onto load development with my custom bullet for the rifle. These are not going to be fun to shoot if I can get the velocity I'm looking for.