.44 Mag: Does it require trimming?


September 25, 2012, 09:05 PM
For all my rifle calibers, I trim consistently after each firing to ensure uniformity. I don't trim for my 9mm or my .44 magnum. Since I've been shooting my .44 alot lately, I've been wondering if I should trim.

Any thoughts? Shooting it out of a Taurus Tracker Revolver.

My usual load consists of 240 grain cast bullet, Unique Powder, and CCI Large Pistol Primer. Velocities are kept around 800-900 fps (according to my load manuals).

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September 25, 2012, 09:11 PM
I never trim handgun calibers, revolver or semi-auto.

Hondo 60
September 25, 2012, 09:40 PM
Require? no, I don't trim mine.

But I'm not trying to get 1" groups at 50 yds either.
If I were going for what I consider extreme accuracy? Then I might trim 'em.

September 25, 2012, 09:56 PM
My understanding is that what mainly stretches is the bottleneck. Not much change in straight wall cartridges. Besides, with revolver cartridges, it wouldn't make significant differences anyway.

Now maybe if you are shooting the bottleneck .357Sig in a pistol, that might be a different situation. But straighwall expecially revolver? No


September 25, 2012, 10:25 PM
Now maybe if you are shooting the bottleneck .357Sig in a pistol, that might be a different situation.

I form, load and shoot 38/45 Clerke (necked down 45 ACP) and do not trim it after the first trim during forming. Very much like straight walled handgun cases in that respect.

357 Sig is a bit higher intensity than 38/45 Clerke so maybe, but I just just started lading for 357 Sig so we will see. I am not expecting to trim though.

30 Carbine, a straight walled case albeit tapered, is another story. I have to trim about a third to a half oif the cases after each resizing.

September 25, 2012, 10:33 PM
If you need a consistent heavy crimp the brass will need to be the same length.

September 25, 2012, 10:37 PM
I never trim handgun calibers, revolver or semi-auto.
Me, neither.

Steel Horse Rider
September 25, 2012, 11:12 PM
You should measure the cases to determine if they need to be trimmed. In my experience straight wall cases rarely stretch when fired, but if you are crimping and want even pressure throughout all of the rounds you will need to be sure the cases are all the same length as stated by jibjab above.

September 26, 2012, 12:08 AM
A lot of the answer to your question is dependent upon the load being used, and the uniformity of the crimp needed or desired. Since you aren't loading anything that produces magnum pressures or recoil such as that produced by magnum loads, your probably fine not trimming them.

As for my loading style, I use H110 and jacketed bullets, so keeping my brass all the same lenghts is essential to ensuring that I don't end up with bullets jumping out of the mouths before they make it to battery position. But there is more to be said about trimming than just ensuring a solid and consistent crimp. That being said, to not trim can cause pressure issues, even with lower pressure target loads. If the brass does go beyond beyond SAAMI maximum, it can cause pinching to occure. I haven't personally ever heard of anyone encountering this issue with a revolver, but I trim based on book procedure and SAAMI recomendation regarding the possibility of pinching or case length causing a pressure spike issue. But as already indicated by most, trimming is rarely done on handgun cartridges by most reloaders, and without incident.

The 9mm and other simular small dimensional cartridges that have high operating pressures are sensitive to small variations in powder charge, seating depth, and of course brass length. So seating depth alone already becomes a pressure management consideration. Then add to that a full tilt charge of Longshot, jacketed bullets, and you may very well encounter pressures that exceed or spike beyond safe levels?

It everyones own decision to approach reloading with what ever degree of consideration to qualiity and safety as they so desire. As for me, I will continue to maintain all my brass, regardless of what it is, to within SAAMI specification. Over 30 yrs. of an eventless history may have nothing to do with trimming, but then again, I am happy to not have a reason to prove other wise.


September 26, 2012, 12:42 AM
I trim a hair off new ones just because I have found that the lip is not a uniform height on many of them, I get a much better crimp afterwards. Once done never trim again, I'll fire them tell they split, usually 14 or 15 reloads in my case.

Lost Sheep
September 26, 2012, 12:52 AM
If you need a consistent heavy crimp the brass will need to be the same length.
Measure your brass. (You do have a caliper set, right?) If all are within .001' or .002" I would not bother. However, uniformity is the virtue of handloaders.

If you don't have calipers handy, I suggest you load a few and have a really hard look at the crimp. If the crimp looks very uniform, round to round, your cartridge lengths are very likely all the same. Go forth and shoot.

But get some calipers.

Once all your brass is trimmed (or verified) to be the same length, they will probably stay uniform for many reloads.

Good luck and thanks for asking our advice.

Lost Sheep

September 26, 2012, 01:50 AM
No, but trimming will give you a consistent length for roll crimping and MY .44s need a good roll crimp.
Bottleneck case NEED trimming because they almost always grow.
Straightwall cases seldom need trimming because they tend to shorten with additional shooting.

September 26, 2012, 09:59 AM
In order to stretch a straight walled pistol case you'd need very high pressure with a tight crimp. If you are loading with a tight crimp, you need uniform case length. I don't load that hot of loads, so I don't trim, but if I was pushing the edge of pressures, I'd probably have to.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
September 26, 2012, 10:59 AM
It is my opinion that all cases be trimmed, and I follow that 'rule' when I reload any caliber, pistol or rifle loads!

I would rather take the little time it requires to check each case length and trim accordingly than to have to deal with maximum length being met or exceeded when I am a few steps PAST the trimming stage during my reloading of a batch of WHATEVER.

I throw each case into my caliper. If the case is in the middle of Min & Max, or longer than the specified mid-length, they go into one bin, if the case is shorter than the middle 'mark' spec, it gets thrown into another bin. Once I have the longer cases culled-out, I throw them all through my Forster case trimmer, trimming them to minimum length. Of course, the cases not needing trimming I don't put through the trimmer.

After over 30 years of reloading, I find THAT to be the fastest way to sort and trim as necessary!

September 26, 2012, 11:26 AM
I find that most new or once fired 38spl, 357mag, 44spl and 44mag cases can have case length variations up to .010" with many case mouths out of square.

I recently processed some once fired 357 mag brass R-P, Win, FC and CCI the lengths varied from 1.288" to 1.279" after sizing, I trimmed the brass to 1.280".
Once trimmed the brass will maintain this length through many reloadings.

I find that my 45acp brass (various head stamps) is all around .892"-.895" I do not bother to trim it.

September 26, 2012, 11:36 AM
I purchased Lee trim index pins for all the hand gun calibers I shoot and after 5 years in the game, have yet to use any of them.

Getting a consistant crimp on .357 mag. has been a bit of an issue.... but if I sort my brass by manufacturer, and adjust the crimp die for each brand, the problem has always been taken care of.

September 26, 2012, 11:36 AM
Thanks for all the advice. I have the Calipers to trim, just was waiting for some free time to measure 300 pieces of brass. I haven't bought the collet yet for my Forster trimmer, but think I will now just to be on the safe side. Might pick up a Collet for the 9mm also...

September 26, 2012, 11:46 AM
Of tens of thousands of pistol rounds I have never had to trim until I bought 454 brass. It was very irregular and wouldn't allow consistant crimping. I have reloaded that lot a few times and have since had no problems so my answer would be, measure new brass and trim if needed but that is probably the extent of it.

September 26, 2012, 12:01 PM
Looks like some do and some don't. Most have given a reason to go with it. I started loading in 1958 and have never trimmed handgun brass. So it is up to you. Getting a uniform crimp is one reason I can think of to trim. Aduusting headspace on autoloaders is another. 44 mag? I just recently got a 44 mag. Sure liking it. Not trimming brass for it. I have loaded plenty of 44 spl and never felt the need to trim any of it. Have fun.

September 26, 2012, 07:25 PM
Yes, you should trim it. You'll only have to do it once and it makes uniform crimping very easy.

Brought to you by TapaTalk.

September 26, 2012, 07:31 PM

No, you don't need to trim.

And, with relativley light loads like you're using, you don't need to crimp either. Unless you're getting bullet jump which you haven't mentioned so I assume that's not a problem for you. Keep it simple.

September 26, 2012, 09:22 PM
Trimming 9mm brass is one of the craziest things I ever heard of.

September 26, 2012, 09:32 PM
.44 magnum:
Yes, you should trim it. You'll only have to do it once and it makes uniform crimping very easy.
I agree.

Never trimmed one.

September 26, 2012, 10:52 PM
. but if I sort my brass by manufacturer, and adjust the crimp die for each brand,
I to sort my revolver brass by manufacturer and most of it has been reloaded the same number of times.
I recently processed some once fired 357 mag brass R-P, Win, FC and CCI the lengths varied from 1.288" to 1.279" after sizing, I trimmed the brass to 1.280".
The variations I stated are commonly found within the same head stamp.

September 26, 2012, 11:04 PM
I trim 44 mag brass that I have found or scavenged to length before using.

Most of the 44 mag brass I have is starline, and all but a few of the 500 pieces I bought with my revolver were perfect, and did not need to be trimmed.

After about 6 months of use, I checked all of the brass.

The only brass that had budged was that which had been used as stated above- high pressure loads, with good crimps on jacketed bullets.

So- what does that tell me about your question ?

If you are only using the load you mentioned, I would have serious doubts that the pressures you are generating would cause your brass to change dimension in any significant amount. Any amount of dimensional change using this load, would cause changes that would be insignificant at standard target distances.

I too, frequently use a 240g cast bullet, and unique powder. I believe that if all of your brass began at the same length, further preparation or modification of that brass would not be required other than cleaning during its lifespan using this load.

September 27, 2012, 01:45 AM
like a number of people have said, check the case length with a dial caliper.

if the lengths vary more than, say, .005", trim the long ones so the batch is under the five thousandths (both the 9mm and 44mag).

if you don't trim, the longer 44mag cases will be belled more and crimped more. shortens case life.

the longer 9mm cases will have a smaller headspace and can affect accuracy (if that is a concern). the longer cases will still have the over-belling and over-crimping problem.

fwiw, i keep all my revolver cases trimmed to the same (reasonable) length. not so much the semi-auto cases.


September 27, 2012, 02:41 AM
Friendly, Don't Fire!:
Trimming straightwall cases for semi-auto handguns (.380, 9x19, .38 Super, .40, 10mm, .45Auto, etc), you are already starting with cases that have excessive head space as they are ALL too short.
All you achieve by trimming them is making all your cases have even more excess head space.
In 9x19, best accuracy I have found comes from those very few cases that are 0.750-0.754", if you can find any that are 0.753-0.754" after sizing.
In .45 with cast/swaged SWC lead bullets, I establish head space with the bullet shoulder.
Consistency can be simply consistently bad.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
September 27, 2012, 05:26 AM
Consistency can be simply consistently bad.The corollary is also true:
"Consistency can be simply consistently GOOD."

I have had cases with small splits at the case mouth, I trim them and the splits are gone.
If I were not set up to trim those, what am I going to do, trash those with tiny mouth splits?

September 27, 2012, 07:51 AM
I've never trimmed auto pistol brass because it all is supposed to headspace on the case mouth and most rounds are too short from the start. Most auto pistols actually headspace on the extractor and trimming only makes that worse.

I trim all my magnum revolver brass...once. I trim it to the same length when I acquire it so that the crimps are all applied uniformly. Even factory new brass varies quite a bit in length and it's hard to get a good strong roll crimp if the case mouths don't consistently line up with the crimp groove.

I don't trim 38 specials because I don't actually apply a roll crimp of any appreciable tension, just enough to turn the flare back in.

September 27, 2012, 02:27 PM
I only trim my auto brass. Well I do trim my revelers after about 10 time loading! They do not stretch much.

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