Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283

  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 last won the day on October 18 2017

Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

695 Excellent


About Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283

  • Rank
    When he talks, people listen.

Previous Fields

  • SASS Number or "Guest"
  • SASS Affiliated Club
    Anyplace that is foolish enough to let me shoot.

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
  • ICQ

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Land of the Pilgrims
  • Interests
    CAS, Black Powder, SW DA Revolvers, Trap, Woodworking, Model Trains, History, Reloading.
  1. Black Powder is an explosive. Look it up at the ATF. It is a low grade explosive, unlike TNT or other high powered explosives, but it is still an explosive. Period. Modern Smokeless powders are not explosives according to the ATF, they are Progressively Burning Propellants. That is why the storage regulations are different for Black Powder than for Smokeless Powders.
  2. All commercial Black Powder makers do that. It is called Corning. It was discovered a long time ago that if the three ingredients of Black Powder were mixed dry, they would tend to separate if loaded into kegs and bounced over old rutted roads on the way to a battle. If the three ingredients had started to separate, the repeatability of the powder could not be depended on. So probably about 200 years ago powder makers started mixing the ingredients with water stirring them together to make a paste. Once the paste dried it was formed into cakes. The cakes would then be broken up into chunks and the chunks were processed in a rolling mill to break them down into grains of the desired size. Corning mixes the ingredients in a mechanical mixture that will not be broken down further and can then be transported without worry about the three ingredients separating. It is in the corning mills that disasters usually happen. Modern powder makers use automatic equipment to perform this. If foreign material gets into the rolling mill it can cause friction which can then ignite the powder. I'm pretty sure that is what happened the last time Goex had an explosion. Since the equipment is automatic, there was nobody in the building when the powder ignited. Only partially related, the United States Cartridge Company used to have a storage facility in Lowell Mass, near where I live. One day it blew up, leveling an entire neighborhood. Another source to find out if making powder in your state is legal is your local fire department. They often have regulations about powder storage. I'm sure they would not look kindly on somebody making his own powder, particularly in a residential neighborhood.
  3. Howdy According to the ATF it is legal to make Black Powder. https://www.atf.gov/explosives/qa/black-powder-subject-regulation-under-federal-explosives-laws I cannot tell you about your own state, you will have to do the research on that. However, I cannot stress too strongly how much I suggest you, or your son do not try to make it on your own. Throughout history, Powder Mills have blown up. Not too long ago Goex, the only company still making Black Powder in the US had an explosion. These are the professionals, and they have explosions periodically. How is an amateur going to avoid the mistakes that the professionals make? Typically, during the corning process, foreign matter gets into the mix, causing enough friction to cause an explosion. Tell your son to look up 'corning'. My dad worked for Hercules Powder Company during World War Two making explosives in Lawrence Kansas. One day one of the buildings blew up and everyone in it was killed. Typically a powder mill is built far away from anything, and a berm is built around it to direct any explosive force upwards, away from any surrounding buildings. In my Dad's case the buildings had a blow away wall pointing out into the empty prairie. Are you going to build a berm around your house? If you have an explosion and blow up your property, your homeowner's insurance certainly will not cover the loss. God forbid somebody dies. Tell your son if he wants to be historically accurate that during the Civil War Winchester employed women to stuff powder into cartridges and seat bullets. I'm going to look it up, but I think they had an explosion at one point too. Tell him to just buy his Black Powder like the rest of us do.
  4. Using a separate crimp die does not help if the shell is sitting loosely enough in the shell holder that it smacks into the bottom of the sizing /decap die on the way up. This of course depends on how loosely the brass sits in the shell holder or shell plate on a progressive. With my Hornady Lock & Load the brass sits loose enough that sometimes there is a tad of misalignment and the case mouth strikes the body of the die on the way up. That is why I always caution to go slowly, so I can feel the case contact the die without mashing it. I have lost count of how many Starline 44-40 cases I have loaded, probably a couple of thousand at this point. That case fresh out of the bag with the crumpled mouth was the first one I have encountered mashed like that right out of the bag Probably one out of a couple of thousand. ************************* Regarding bullet diameter, I have slugged all my 44-40 rifles. Some are .429, some are .427. Interestingly enough, an original WInchester Model 1892 Saddle Ring Carbine has a groove diameter of .429, while most of my other original WInchesters and Marlins have .427 groove diameters. My Uberti Henry, which has been my Main Match Rifle for close to 10 years not has a .429 groove diameter. Anyway, so that I don't have to load two separate bullet diameters for all those rifles. I have compromised on .428 as my go to 44-40 bullet diameter. Yes, it is .001 undersized of the Henry groove diameter, but it seems to work fine. Perhaps the soft lead bullets are bumping up in the bore, perhaps not. Whatever the situation, .428 in my Henry's .429 grooves works fine. I am still using the standard RCBS die set I started with close to 20 years ago. No fancy cowboy dies, they did not exist then. And yes, 44-40 is the only cartridge I crimp separately. This is because of the way my standard seating/crimp die cannot squeeze any excess BP lube out of the crimp groove. The Lee Factory Crimp Die squeezes a little bit harder, driving the unwanted lube our of the crimp groove. With all other cartridges, I still stubbornly seat and crimp in one step.
  5. Howdy You are looking in vain. There are no American manufacturers of the 1858 Remington. Yes, some Italian parts do tend to be softer than American parts, but you are going to have to replace any worn parts with Italian parts. Check VTI gunparts. http://www.vtigunparts.com/store/
  6. Howdy From time to time some of you have probably heard me say that 44-40 is not difficult to reload, it is just fussy. The thin brass at the neck makes it more vulnerable to the brass crumpling under the bullet if your dies are not set just right. My advice is always to make sure you have your dies set perfectly, and go slow so you can feel if a case slams into the underside of the sizing die, a sure recipe for crumpled brass. I also advise to set the crimp just a hair below the upper edge of the crimp groove, so the crimp does not bump into the bullet and form a crumple below the bullet. Here is an example of a neck crumpled below the bullet because the dies were not set as I described above. But every once in a while in a while I screw one up pretty badly. I was loading a batch of 44-40 last week and I didn't plop the bullet down just right on the case mouth. Yeah, I should have stopped when I felt more resistance than usual, but I didn't. My bad. But I cannot take responsibility for this one. I was finishing off a bag of Starline 44-40, and this one was near the bottom of the bag. No, I am not going to complain to Starline, I have loaded bazillions of their 44-40s and this is the first one I have found that they screwed up.
  7. Howdy I don't own any rifles chambered for 45 Colt. Most of my CAS rifles are 44-40, with the exception of a couple of original 38-40 Winchesters. Yes, 44-40 is cleaner to shoot than 45 Colt. As Roy said, the thinness of the brass at the case mouth makes it expand better at the low pressures we shoot at, so it will seal the chamber of a rifle better. This means in a rifle there will be almost no blow by so the mechanism will stay cleaner. Not so much with a revolver since a rifle is a closed system, but the revolver barrel/cylinder gap will allow fouling to get all over the place even with 44-40 or 38-40. I will add that I only shoot Black Powder in CAS, so keeping the mechanism clean during a shoot is a major factor for me. However, I will disagree with Roy about the 44-40 not being hard to reload. I always say it is fussier to reload than a cartridge such as 45 Colt or 38 Special. This is because of the thin brass at the case mouth. It is easy to crumple the neck of a 44-40 if your dies are not adjusted properly, or if you run your reloader too fast, particularly with a progressive press. I loaded a batch of 44-40 last night, and even though I have been loading the round for a zillion years, I managed to mangle one. But if you go slow and don't rush, AND IF YOU HAVE YOUR DIES ADJUSTED CORRECTLY, 44-40 is not difficult to reload. But it is fussy.
  8. Same thing happened to me a whole bunch of years ago. One of the local clubs was too crowded for guncarts so all the long guns were staged in racks. Somebody grabbed my shotgun. It's been so long that I don't remember if he shot the stage with it or if I retrieved it before he had a chance to.
  9. OK, I'm here now HK. First a disclaimer. I do not own any Uberti Top Breaks, mine are all originals. Here is my pair of New Model Number Threes. The blued one shipped to Japan in 1896, the nickel plated one shipped in 1882 and was factory refinished in 1965. Both are chambered for 44 Russian. First off, Mike's video is very instructive. Notice he had to regrip for every shot. This is because the hammer configuration of all S&W No. 3 Top Breaks is very different than a Colt. If you're shooting one handed, you have to reach further with your thumb to get a grip on the hammer spur than with a Colt. I find this to be true of all the large Number Three Top Breaks. I always shoot a Colt with my pinky curled under the grip. I have fairly large hands and I can reach the hammer to cock it this way. It's a different story with a Schofield. Notice I cannot quite reach the hammer spur with my pinky under the grip. In order to reach the hammer spur of the Schofield I have to choke up and get my entire hand onto the grip. I noticed Mike was keeping his entire hand on the grip, he did not curl his pinky under the grip. Even so, he was regripping for every shot. In my very humble opinion, the Russian model is the worst of the big Number Three Top Breaks to shoot. The Russians specified that big pointy hump on the grip because they did not want the gun to roll in the hand in recoil. It does this very well, the gun does not rotate at all in recoil. However I cannot reach the hammer spur with my hand below the hump. I have to regrip, placing the palm of my hand directly onto the pointy hump, in order to cock the hammer. Then I have to remember to shift my grip back again under the hump. If I forget and fire the revolver with my hand in contact with the pointy hump, it hurts! Even with a relatively mild cartridge such as the 44 Russian. I can imagine how much it would hurt with a modern replica chambered for 45 Colt. Of all the single action Number Three Top Breaks, (there were actually four, I am not including the American Model, yet) I think the New Model Number Three is the most pleasant to shoot. No, with my pinky under the grip hold I cannot quite reach the hammer. But the much smaller hump of the New Model Number Three allows the grip to rotate slightly in my hand so I can reach the hammer as the pistol rotates in my hand during recoil. Then I regrip, just as Mike was doing, for the shot. Note: Even though I am demonstrating with originals, if you have hands the same size as me, it will be the same with a replica. Next, Mike mentions the Uberti replica shoots really high. They all do! The originals did too! Notice how low the front sights are on these originals. Russian, 2nd Model. Schofield, 1st model. New Model Number Three Notice how much taller the front sight is on a Colt or Clone. When you aim, you are actually depressing the barrel a bit to get the sight on target. As the gun begins to recoil before the bullet exits the barrel, the bore lifts up a bit, putting the shot where you aimed. Not so with a S&W Top Break. If I don't remember to hold low on the target, I sometimes shoot right over the top. That's why Mike had to hold low, the front sights on the replicas are just as low as on the originals. OK, let's talk about Black Powder for a moment. If you want to shoot Smokeless in a modern replica of a S&W Top Break you will be fine. Did you notice Mike started fussing with the gun towards the end? He was shooting Black Powder, and the Uberti Replica Top Breaks generally do not shoot Black Powder very well. It is because Uberti lengthened the cylinders of their Top Breaks, to accommodate cartridges such as 44-40 an 45 Colt, but did not lengthen the frame an equal amount. Instead they cut down the length of the bushing at the front of the cylinder, which does not do as good a job at shielding the cylinder arbor from BP fouling blasted out of the barrel cylinder gap. So ALL the Uberti Top Breaks tend to bind up relatively quickly when fired with Black Powder. I shoot nothing but Black Powder in my Top Breaks, and I can shoot them all day because S&W knew how to build a revolver that would function well with Black Powder. Regarding what caliber, the great majority of New Model Number Threes were chambered for 44 Russian. Also, a whole bunch of other cartridges, as Mike mentioned. The Frontier Models, were chambered for 44-40 and a very few were chambered for 38-40. But Smith and Wesson did the right thing. The standard cylinder length for Top Breaks, beginning with the American Model, was 1 7/16". This worked fine with the 44 American Model, the Russian Models, and the Schofield. The great majority of New Model Number Threes also had 1 7/16" long cylinders. But to accommodate the longer 44-40 and 38-40 rounds, the cylinders were made 1 9/16" long. And here is where Uberti missed the boat. S&W lengthened the frames on these revolvers by 1/8" to accommodate the longer cylinders without compromising the bushing at the front of the cylinder. Anyway, I have blabbed on long enough, my comments are about shooting the originals, but I think you will find they pertain to the modern replicas too.
  10. Howdy In the 19th Century, with Winchesters, the designation of rifle or carbine was not determined by barrel length. Rifles had a crescent shaped butt plate and the magazine was slung under the barrel by a hanger dovetailed into the barrel. Carbines had a more gentle butt plate shape, and the magazine was held by a couple of barrel bands. Rifle barrels could be very short. Also, Carbine barrels had much more taper to them than rifle barrels. Both of these are chambered for 44-40. Look how much thicker the barrel wall of the rifle at the left is than the carbine at the right. Much more taper to the carbine barrel. Looking through my copy of Marlin Firearms by William Brophy, Marlin seemed to go by the same standards. At least they did a long time ago. The Model 1894 Rifle at the top of this photo left the factory in 1895. Although the photo is not focused all that well, the magazine is supported by a dovetailed hanger, and the butt plate is crescent shaped. Below it is a little 1894CS Carbine. Note the barrel bands and the flat butt stock shape. No idea when it was made, I suspect sometime in the 1980s. Nothing on the barrel markings of the carbine to say whether or not it is a carbine, but the barrel bands tell me it is. No idea how Marlin is marking their barrels today.
  11. Howdy So exactly what are we talking about? A couple of answers seem to be talking about the new hammers with retractable firing pins. Is this what we are talking about? I had an Uberti with one of these gizmos in it when I first started CAS a bazillion years ago. Didn't keep the pistol for very long, but that had nothing to do with this style of safety.
  12. First off, you should be asking permission to post photos. That is my photo of my 2nd Model Russian, and it is not in public domain. Secondly, the Schofield is a #3, not a #2, and they did not have a trigger guard spur. The New Model Number Three was sometimes equipped with a trigger guard spur, similar to the Russian model, but not the Schofield. Other than the two examples I gave, trigger guard spurs were not commonly seen on 19th Century revolvers. The odd shaped trigger guard on the Le Mat you have pictured is not really a spur, it is just the shape of the trigger guard. Perfectly legal if you want to shoot a Le Mat because it was standard equipment. Modifications not specifically allowed in the Firearms Covenants are prohibited. Period. The idea is, customization needs to be limited. Regarding triggers and trigger guards, this is what the handbook says about triggers and trigger guards. Anything else is prohibited. Triggers may be profiled Trigger position may be adjusted. Trigger stops may be added.- Shotgun trigger guards may be wrapped with leather or other natural material. Bending the trigger guard on side by sides so triggers are more exposed is not allowed. Trigger shoes are not allowed Lastly, let me tell you that the trigger guard spur on a S&W Russian revolver does not make the gun any easier to shoot. Hooking a finger on the spur makes it more difficult to shoot, not easier. Trust me on this.
  13. CRS set in early with me. I typed up a check list a bazillion years ago. A copy resides in the ammo box of my guncart. Every time I get ready for a match, the list comes out. I don't have check boxes, I just go down the list as I get everything ready. The list is pretty old, and some of the items are no longer needed, but I keep the list anyway. I can still mentally eliminate the stuff I don't need. Works for me.
  14. Howdy HK I first heard about CAS from a friend at work back about the year 2000. I had an old 16 gauge Stevens Model 311 that I had bought about 1970 or so, and my friend told me that would be a legal shotgun. I had a 44-40 antique Marlin Model 1894 that had left the factory in 1895. I had probably bought it around 1975. I had my old Ruger Blackhawk 45 Colt/ 45ACP convertible that I had also bought in 1975. But I think by that time I had bought an 'original model' Vaquero chambered for 45 Colt. In those days, the club I went to only used one pistol, so I think I showed up the first day with the Vaquero, the old Marlin and the old Stevens. Wouldn't you know it but the first time I levered the old Marlin I had a mechanical failure. So I shot the match with a borrowed modern Marlin. Yes, I got the old Marlin fixed soon after, and that first Cowboy match started my long descent into collecting all sorts of firearms.
  15. I seem to recall it took about ten minutes with a safe edge file. Regarding Schofield brass, I am not aware of anybody other than Starline making it today. As I said before, the rim on Schofield brass is nominally .520 in diameter. I just grabbed a handful and they are all running between .5185 and .5200 in diameter. None are over .520.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.