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I am new to this forum, but not the shooting sports. I was wondering about something when I was recently reloading some of the older cartridges. I know cowboys on the trail and buffalo hunters had to frequently reload their rounds in the field in calibers like .44-40, .45 Long Colt and .45-70. I don't think resizing dies were available until late in the 19th century. Could these rounds be reloaded without that process? How did they do it? Also speaking of dies I prefer to use the old Lee Classic Loader and I am trying to find one in the .44-40 caliber if anyone has one to dispose of for a fair price. Thanks
 
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There were ideal handloading tools in the early 1800's. The berdan primed case showed up about 1866, then later the improved boxer primer (Current primer used in reloading) in 1869 in the USA.

 

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WOW. Does anyone have some of these old reloading dies? That would be interesting to watch the process of how they did it back in those days.
 

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Lyman 310 Tong Tool. They are still being made (Lyman bought Ideal, many many years back, and still makes lots of their stuff). You can get one new, from Lyman, and you can find used ones on ebay all the time.
 

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Sure. I have quite a few sets -- not as old as the set shown in cpttango's post though.
The newer ones, from about 1950, are aluminum handles --
They only neck size the case though --
I actually started reloading in about 1957 with a set for 25/20, a pacific scale, funnel, an ink pad for lube, and a rag dampened with lighter fluid to wipe off the finished cartridge.
 

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My gosh I haven't reloaded a 45-70 for about 50 years. A friend and I ordered mail order Springfield rolling blocks, barreled actions, i think they were made for the Egyptions, they cost 9 something and shipping The cosmoline was so dried up that it took us a whole day to clean them up. We built stocks and a for-end out of some maple boards we had. I can't remember the load we used but is was something like 24 grains of 2400 behind one of our cast bullets, he has the bullet mould but I believe it was 385 grains. I can't ever remember length sizing the brass. I believe that the preasures were so low that the brass never streched enough to worry about. We worked at a salmon hatchery and shot lots of sea gulls, verious ducks and blue herons, We had a state issued single barreled Winchester shotgun but the old rolling block was much more fun to use. We could shoot anything that even looked like it might like to have a meal of one of our charges back then. We learned not to shoot herons in the fish ponds however, Because they nearly lost all of their feathers when the big lead bullet hit them. And the feathers plugged up the screens. At my age it is fun just to remember that stuff.
 
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