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Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283

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Everything posted by Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283

  1. Howdy I have been doing this for close to 20 years now. When I first started I was using an 'original model' Vaquero chambered for 45 Colt. At the range I very carefully taped the barrel to protect it and filed the front sight down to raise the point of impact a bit. (Yes, filing the front sight down raises the point of impact.) That was 20 years ago, and I have bought quite a few single action revolvers since then and have not bothered to file down the front sights on any of them. I have never bothered to file the rear sights. This is not precision shooting, the targets are big and close. I have antique S&W single action revolvers and they all tend to shoot high because the front sights are so low. After the first round goes over the target I just remember to hold low. Yes, the proper sight picture is with the top of the front sight level with the top of the rear sight. Yes, be sure you are pulling the trigger with the pad of the finger, not the crease under the joint. Although placing the trigger in the crease feels more natural it tends to push the bullets to the left for a right handed shooter. When shooting Cowboy, I know I tend to push the shots to the left, so I aim at the right half of the target. Forget about the Ransom Rest. As stated, they are to remove all human influences from the shot. Standing on your two feet, whether holding the pistol with one hand or two, you will not get the same results as with a Ransom Rest.
  2. Howdy I can tell you that if I inhale some BP smoke from my pistols at a match I usually wind up coughing a bit, and I think I still have pretty good lungs. (knock on wood). Beyond that it does not bother me. Yup, I would be real careful with 'extra' oxygen near any flame. It does not burn itself but it sure makes fires more intense. Not quite. Yes, Black Powder fouling is corrosive, but nowhere near as much as many shooters think. Yes, the corrosive priming compound in old corrosive primers did make the corrosion from BP fouling worse, and we do not use corrosive primers any more. Yes, I often go a long time before cleaning a revolver fired with Black Powder, much longer than most recommend, with no ill effects. But the bottom line is Black Powder fouling all by itself is corrosive. Just not as bad as most seem to think.
  3. Let's be clear on our nomenclature HK. The New Model Number Three was a single action revolver. I know you have one, but that term denotes a single action revolver. Like the these: There is no such thing as a Model 3 DA. The correct term, according to SCSW is 44 Double Action. Like these, a target model at the top and a standard model at the bottom. Yes the blued one has been refinished as evidenced by the blued hammer and trigger. I seem to recall you were there when I bought it. Yes, that term can be somewhat confusing because they were chambered for more cartridges than 44s. The most common chambering was 44 Russian, which both of mine are. There were 53,590 of these made chambered for 44 Russian. According to SCSW about ten were chambered for 38 Colt. Theodore Roosevelt ordered a custom 44 DA before venturing to San Juan Hill in Cuba. It was highly engraved. There is a photo of it hanging in the Amoskeag Auction house in Manchester NH. I'm pretty sure it was chambered for the 38 Colt Government cartridge so Teddy could obtain ammunition. Also according to SCSW there were some chambered for 38-44 Gallery, but I suspect they are quite rare. I seem to recall you have one chambered for 44-40. This was the same basic revolver with a 1 9/16" long cylinder to accommodate the 44-40 cartridge. This model was known as the 44 Double Action Frontier. There were about 15,340 of these made. There was the 44 Double Action Wesson Favorite, also chambered for 44 Russian. This one had some grooves cut into the frame to lighten it, along with material removed from the inside of the frame. About 1,000 were made. Lastly there was the 38 Winchester Double Action. The same as the 44 Frontier model with the 1 9/16" cylinder but chambered for 38-40. Only 276 were manufactured. Quite rare.
  4. Howdy First of all, let's get the question about number sizes settled. What we are talking about here is a Top Break revolver. According to the Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson, which is the most recognized authority on these matters, the numbers 1, 1 1/2, and 2 refer to Tip Ups, not Top Breaks. This is a S&W No. 2 (old Army). It is a Tip Up revolver, meaning the latch at the bottom of the barrel was lifted to free the barrel to rotate up for loading and unloading. Like this. When the barrel was rotated up, the cylinder was removed. Empty cases were ejected by pressing them out with the rod mounted under the barrel, fresh rounds were inserted, the cylinder was put back in, and the barrel rotated down again and latched in place. The Tip Ups preceded the Top Breaks by about 20 years, the first Top Break did not appear until 1869. The Tip Ups were all Rmfire, the No. 2 (Old Army) was the largest and the cylinder held six 32 Rimfire rounds. This model was manufactured from 1861 until 1874. This particular one shipped in 1870. OK, back to the question at hand. The revolver in question is a 38 Double Action. Absolutely no question. Sorry, HK, it is not a #3. This revolver is often misidentified because the shape is so similar to the large frame 44 Double Action. The key to identifying this revolver is the shape and position of the cylinder flutes. This revolver was only chambered for the 38 S&W (not 38 Special) round, and they were all five shooters. Notice how the flute at the top is partially hidden by the top strap and the next flute is almost in the center of the cylinder. The next flute is completely hidden under the frame. Just like the OP's photo. This one is a 38 Double Action 4th Model. It shipped in 1898. Notice the hammer and trigger of this revolver are case hardened. S&W NEVER blued or nickel plated triggers or hammers. The trigger and hammer in the OP's photo are blued, clearly identifying it as a refinished gun. A sloppy job at that judging from the wallowed out hole for the barrel pivot. The 38 Double Action was a five shooter. Here is a photo to compare the size of the #3 44 Double Action and a 38 Double Action. Yes they look very similar until you can compare them for size. The big revolver at the top of the photo is a 44 Double Action, built on the #3 size frame. The same size as the American, Russian, Schofield, and New Model Number Three. Notice how both the cylinder flutes at the top and bottom of the cylinder are partially hidden by the top strap and frame. This is because they were six shooters. Also note the different configurations of the triggers. I love the very funky configuration of the trigger on a 44 Double Acton. The smaller revolver is a nickel plated 38 Double Action 3rd Model. Notice the 44 ALWAYS had vertical grooves on the cylinder, the first two models of the 38 Double Action had similar vertical grooves on the cylinder, but the 3rd, 4th, and 5th models did not have the vertical grooves. The vertical grooves on the cylinder were there for clearance of the bump on the front of the trigger. The bump served to lock the cylinder in position when the hammer was down. When the hammer was cocked a conventional cylinder stop rose up out of the frame. With the 38 Double Action 3rd Model, the lockwork was changed and the vertical grooves on the cylinder went away. However the lockwork on the 44 Double Acton remained the same all through production and the vertical grooves on the cylinder remained through out production. So no vertical grooves, definitely not a 44 Double Action. Yes vertical grooves, could be a 44 or a 1st or 2nd Model 38. Check the size of the gun, the number of chambers, and the position of the flutes when the gun is at rest to be sure. Just to confuse things more, here is the same 38 Double Action with a 32 Double Action. Again, you pretty much need to be comparing them side by side. Notice how much shorter the cylinder is on the 32 because it was chambered for the diminutive 32 S&W round. Not the 32 S&W Long, it had not been invented yet. Yes, the 38 Double Action was absolutely a double action/single action revolver. Yes, the hammer should stay back and the trigger should pop into place to keep it cocked. If it will not stay at full cock, something inside is broken or worn. In this view of the lockwork of the 38 Double Action, the lower sear is resting in the 'half cock' notch. The full cock notch is further up near the pivot for the main spring stirrup. One of these two parts is broken in the gun the OP looked at. The claw like thing in front of the hammer is the double action sear, the gun can function in double action while the single action stuff is broken because the double action sear works independently of the single action stuff. What is it worth? I paid $200 for that nickel plated 38 Double Action a bunch of years ago. I paid $450 for the blued one. It is in almost perfect condition except for some freckling of the blue on the cylinder. $500 for a broken refinished revolver? He is dreaming. Parts are almost impossible to find, and I only know one Smith who would have attempted welding up broken parts and reshaping them and he is retired. I would not pay more than $75 for that revolver and I would take it apart for parts.
  5. Howdy As has been stated several times already, standard 7/8-14 thread dies fit into the Hornady Lock and Load collets. This is a set of RCBS 45 Colt dies mounted in Hornady Lock and Load collets. Here they are in my Hornady Lock and Load AP progressive press. if you look in the background you can see the box of RCBS 45 Colt dies. No, that is not the standard powder measure that comes with the Hornady press, it is a Lyman Black Powder measure that I use for most of my CAS cartridges.
  6. Howdy I have been shooting 44-40 in my rifles since I started this game about 20 years ago. After the first year or so I switched over completely to Black Powder. Incidentally, I always shoot 45 Colt in my revolvers. Well, almost always unless I bring a pair of Antique Smith and Wessons chambered for 44 Russian, or my Merwin Hulbert chambered for 44-40. How do I make sure I don't load a 45 Colt into my 44-40 Henry? This is how. Looks like I need to renew the letters on my loading block. You can't see it so well, but my 44-40 rounds have a black stripe across the primer. But if you start talking to me at the loading table I might try to stuff a 45 into my Henry. To tell you the truth I can't remember the last time a 45 Colt case split on me, but it must have happened sometime. Probably back in my Smokeless days. My 44-40 brass will occasionally develop small splits at the neck. As long as the split is not more than 1/16" long I will go right ahead and reload it. Longer than 1/16" and I file it in the circular file. I have never had a 44-40 case split other than these short little neck splits. 44-40 brass is considerably thinner at the neck than 45 Colt. Usually about .007 thick vs about .012 thick. The thinness is probably why they may tend to split. But as I say, it is not really a big deal, it does not happen very often. Yes, 44-40 brass is more delicate than 45 Colt brass, and a boot stepping on one is more likely to crush it than a 45 Colt. This is a photo of my set up for loading a bunch of 44-40 on my Hornady AP Progressive press. The dummy 50BMG round is my crushed case reconditioner. If a case mouth is a bit out of round, I will insert the nose of the dummy 50BMG round into the case mouth and mash it around a bit to get the case mouth round again. It does not have to be perfect, the plug in the expander die will make it round enough to accept a bullet. However if the case neck has been crushed enough that it has a visible crease, I will throw it away. In this photo I am loading brand-spanky new brass from Starline, so there are not any crushed cases. The dummy 50BMG round always comes out when I am loading 44-40. Incidentally, I have only been buying my brass from Starline the last few years. I used to buy Winchester, but supply was spotty, and I would often find a couple of crushed cases in the bag. A couple of times there was even a couple of 44 Mag cases in a bag of 44-40. I don't buy Winchester brass anymore, Starline has always had it in stock when I ordered. I order it direct, I don't order from a distributor. If you are loading 44-40 with Black Powder and firing them in a rifle, it does not really matter how firm the crimp is. The case will be filled with Black Powder that has been compressed about 1/16" - 1/8" when the bullet was seated. (Never leave airspace in a Black Powder cartridge.) With a rifle, the real concern is not so much bullets jumping forward from recoil, it is the bullets telescoping back into the case from the action of the magazine spring slamming all the cartridges back as each round is stripped out of the magazine by the carrier. So basically there is a Black Powder 'plug' in the case that will prevent bullets from telescoping back into the case when they are slammed backwards by the magazine follower. Recoil with a reasonably heavy rifle is minimal, not enough to cause bullets to jump forward. I have a bunch of dummy 44-40 rounds without powder or primer, just a bullet. I use them every once in a while to run through a rifle while checking the action. In that case, without a plug of BP in the case, the bullets do tend to telescope backwards into the case mouth as the follower slams them all backwards after they have been run through the rifle a few times. I never had this problem when shooting Smokeless 44-40 out of a rifle years ago, probably because I only ran them through the action once. We all say, 44-40 is a terrific cartridge for Black Powder. That thin brass at the neck tends to expand and fill the chamber under the relatively low pressure of BP, preventing almost any soot from blowing by into the action. I actually don't own any 45 Colt rifles, but I have seen plenty of gas shooting straight up out of the receivers of 45 Colt rifles, because they were not sealing the chamber so good. The downside of 44-40 is it can be a bit 'fussy' to load, because of the thin brass at the neck. Not difficult, but you have to set your dies pretty perfectly, or you may wind up crushing some necks. In that case, 44-40 is not as forgiving to load as 45 Colt is with it's thicker and more robust brass at the case mouth. You don't want to put too much bell at the mouth of the case with 44-40. Too much bell and you will work harden the brass and that can lead to splits at the case mouth. I put just enough bell on my 44-40 brass mouths that I can barely feel it with my fingers. Just enough that no lead is shaved as the bullet slides in. The case on the left actually has a bit more bell than I usually apply. I learned a trick a long time ago for loading 44-40. I leave a teeny bit of space between the top of the crimp and the underside of the crimp groove in the bullet. Just a few thousandths. What this does is prevent the case mouth from bumping into the lead as it rises in the press and 'swallows' the bullet. If the thin brass at the case neck bumps into the underside of the crimp groove, the .007 thick brass is not rigid enough to bite into the lead. It has to go somewhere, and it will often crumple down below the bullet. Like this. Exaggerated a little bit for effect, but as the brass mashed into the underside of the crimp groove it was not sturdy enough to dig into the lead, and it had to go somewhere, so it crumpled under the bullet. Easy enough to set up your dies for this, select a couple of pieces that are the longest, by a couple of thousandths, and set your dies with them. Any shorter brass will automatically have a slightly wider gap. No, I do not trim my brass, it does not grow at the pressures we shoot at. So my brass may vary ever so slightly in overall length. That's about all I can think of right now.
  7. Like I said, my smith trimmed the spring a bit AND trimmed the follower a bit to get 10 357 Mag rounds into the magazine. He did not trim the spring so much that the last round would not feed.
  8. Howdy As originally conceived around 1873, 45 Colt brass was designed to hold around 40 grains of Black Powder. Experts (including me) differ on exactly how much it would hold but it was around 40 grains of Black Powder. Pound for pound, Black Powder is far less energetic than most modern Smokeless powders. So in order to achieve the classic velocity of 800 fps out of a revolver barrel with Smokeless Powder, and also so as not to blow up the gun, a much smaller volume of Smokeless powder was needed. This meant that there was a large amount of air space in the cartridge when loaded with just about any Smokeless powder. With such a large cartridge case, and a lot of air space, ignition could be inconsistent, and so could pressure. Particularly in this game where many shooters are trying to duplicate 38 Special ballistics with the 45 Colt cartridge. It just does not respond very well to light loads. That is why Unique has always been my first choice with Smokeless powders for all 'pistol length' cartridges. A respectable charge of Unique will leave less air space in the cartridge than many other powders, particularly Bullseye. Look in any standard loading manual and you will see that the number of grains of Bullseye will always be less than the number of grains of Unique, for the same bullet. Some look at that from an economic standpoint and figure they will get more loads from a pound of Bullseye than they will from a pound of Unique. I look at it from the opposite perspective. My standard charge of Unique will just about fill the case a bit more than halfway. If I was to not be paying attention and accidentally double charge a case with Unique, it would probably over flow, which I would hopefully be wide awake enough to notice. Not sure what would happen with a double charge of Bullseye, whether it would overflow or not, but it sure would not be a healthy load. Regarding Unique being 'dirty', I always ask, 'Who Cares?' What is the obsession with 'clean burning' powders? Are we shooting sensitive semi-autos that might bind up from a little bit of soot? Those who think Unique is dirty ought to try Black Powder some time if they want to see a 'dirty' powder. Yes, back when I was regularly shooting Smokeless and my cases came out a little bit sooty, I never had a revolver or a lever rifle bind up or fail to function because of a little bit of soot on the brass. For what it's worth, my standard Smokeless 45 Colt load was 7.5 grains of Unique under a 250 grain bullet. You always knew if you hit the target, and recoil in a revolver was smart, but certainly nothing compared to the recoil from Magnum loads. Regarding Trail Boss, it was invented specifically because of the issue of large capacity in cartridge cases such as 45 colt. With the tendency of many CAS shooters to load down the large cartridge cases, Trail Boss was created specifically to take up more volume in the big old cases such as 45 Colt. This is a photo of a small pile of Trail Boss on the left and a small pile of Unique on the right. No they are not the same amount, the purpose of the photo is to show the large, 'fluffy' dounut shape of Trail Boss grains compared to the size of the grains of Unique. That's why Trailboss takes up so much more space in a case, because the grains are fluffier. Why is Trailboss more expensive than Unique? For one thing you only get 9 ounces in a bottle. That is how much will fit in a bottle that will hold a pound of most other powders. Even though the bottles are a different shape, Unique is always sold by the pound as are most powders made by Alliant. Here is an interesting photo I just found on my hard drive. Apparently I took this photo in 2008. Two pieces of 44 Special brass. The one on the left has Trail Boss inside, the one on the right has Clays inside. No idea now what the actual charges were, but I would have put the correct charges for one of my 44 Special loads in each case. See how much more space the Trail Boss takes up than the Clays? That is why Trail Boss was invented. By the way, many uninformed shooters think Trail Boss is a Black Powder substitute because of the name. It is not. Absolutely no idea. No idea where that idea came from.
  9. Howdy I don't know about current production, but I can tell you when I bought my Marlin CS, with its 18.5" barrel, it would hold 10 rounds of 38 Special in the magazine, but only 9 rounds of 357 Magnum. However it was very simple for a local smith to cut down the magazine follower a little bit so it would hold 10 rounds of 357 Mag in the magazine. While he was at it he clipped the magazine spring a little bit too. I doubt if current production is much different. That is my Marlin CS at the bottom of this photo, an antique Model 1894 is at the top of the photo.
  10. Howdy Somebody 'antiqued' the 4 3/4" SAA at the bottom of these two photos before I bought it. It was made in 1968. All the blue had been removed. Just a trace of case colors left on the frame on one side, no colors left on the other side. If you look real close you can see where a smidge of metal was added to the top of the front sight. After about 20 years of shooting nothing but Black Powder through it the barrel and ejector rod housing are starting to take on a pleasing bit of patina. This was my first Colt SAA, and because somebody had 'antiqued' it I got it for a terrific price, $680. It is my favorite revolver in the whole world. The 7 1/2" SAA at the top of the photo left the factory in 1973. I actually lettered this one. It left the factory with a 12" barrel, but within a year it had been returned to the factory and the 7 1/2" barrel installed. When it came back from the factory it came with an extra 'long flute' cylinder that I never use.
  11. Howdy Uberti 'iron frame' Henry, 44-40 caliber. It has been my usual main match rifle for about 10 years now. Making smoke. Making more smoke. I replaced the stock rear sight with this one from Track of the Wolf. Stick Loading ammo on my Hornady Lock and Load. Starline brass, Federal Large Pistol primers, 2.2CC (about 33.3 grains) Schuetzen FFg, Big Lube Mav-Dutchman 200 grain bullets sized to .428. Yup, the brass is stained. Shiny brass does not shoot any better, it is just easier to find in the grass.
  12. Howdy I too use fibre wads from Circle Fly. I prefer to use the Remington STS hulls because the plastic is the most slippery and they eject the best from my SXS. I occasionally use Remington AA hulls, but I prefer the Remington STS. Winchester 209 primer 4.3 CC (the largest dipper in the Lee dipper set) approx 65 grains of Schuetzen FFg. 1/8" over powder card 1/2" cushion wad 1 1/8 ounces of #8 shot .030 over shot card No lube is necessary. Lube is for bullets so the rifling does not fill up with fouling, ruining accuracy. The card wads scrape out most of the fouling left behind by the previous shot, and there is no rifling to fill up with fouling. I load them on my MEC Jr. The size of the shot really does not matter, I have #8 because that is what I used to use when I loaded for Trap. The reason for the over shot card is that this load does not quite fill up the hull and the crimp would be a tiny bit concave, leaving a small hole in the center that a couple of pieces of shot can escape through. The over shot card levels the crimp and seals the hole. I could increase the powder charge a bit, but then I would run the risk of blowing a hole in the pattern. This winds up being about a 2 1/2 dram load. Plenty of punch yet the recoil is not too bad in my 24" barreled Stevens hammer gun.
  13. Howdy For what it's worth, I have been shooting 44-40 in my rifles and 45 Colt in my pistols for close to twenty years. The reason is I started with an original antique Winchester Model 1892 and it was chambered for 44-40. Rifles were never chambered for 45 Colt until about the 1980s. Another topic for another discussion. Excellent point. In fact, attend a few matches just to see what they are all about. Preferably, attend a few matches before you buy any more guns.
  14. Howdy I load 45 Schofield with a set of Hornady dies that say 45 Long Colt on the label. Yeah, we know there is no such thing as 45 Long Colt, but that is what the box says. I load 45 Colt with an old RCBS die set. I did not have to alter the Hornady set to load 45 Schofield with it, I was able to screw them into my press far enough to crimp on my Hornady Lock and Load AP. I do keep the '45 Colt' and '45 Schofield' sets set up so I don't have to change the settings on either. I always load the same bullets, so I don't have to change anything. I use a shell plate specific to 45 Schofield on my press when loading that cartridge. I load 44 Russian with an RCBS 44 Mag/44 Special die set. I did have to grind the dickens out of the bottom of the crimp die in that set in order to be able to crimp the brass. The 44 Sp/44 Mag die set is set for 44 Specials. I do not load 44 Mag.
  15. Howdy Sorry, I have never loaded 44 Russian with Smokeless powder. Only Black Powder. I use Starline brass, Mav-Dutchman 200 grain Big Lube bullets sized to .428, about 19.5 grains of Schuetzen FFg, and a Federal Large Pistol Primer. This is the load I use in my almost matched pair of S&W New Model Number Three revolvers.
  16. "Blackpowder category contestants are expected to understand they will contend with smoke obscured targets." Howdy that is the first sentence in the description of the Black Powder categories. I wrote that back about 10 years ago or so when the idea of the Black Powder standard was first being proposed. That is not the exact wording I originally wrote, the wording has changed some over the years. But the TGs thought enough of my sentence to include it in the Black Powder Standard. When I wrote that I was thinking of what President Kennedy said in his 1962 speech about the space race. "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.' (yes, I remember President Kennedy giving that speech and I was very impressed with it) That is part of what we must put up with when we choose to use Black Powder (or a sub) as our propellant. Anybody can shoot Smokeless. It takes more determination to shoot Black Powder, because of smoke obscured targets, and also because it is generally more complicated loading Black Powder into our cartridges than Smokeless. The stages all face east at one of the clubs I shoot at. On a sunny, windless day the BP shooter's targets are always obscured in the haze. My usual technique is to plant one foot, then hop around on the other foot ducking and weaving trying to get a clear picture of the targets. The other thing to bear in mind is, if you choose to shoot Black Powder, sometimes you just have to slow down so the smoke will settle a bit. No two ways around it, if you choose to shoot the smokey stuff, you will probably have to slow down from how fast you shoot a Smokeless stage. We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
  17. Howdy Again Shooting with cartridges loaded with real Black Powder will do the same thing. I don't know why, but there is never any carbon deposited on the cylinder faces of a revolver that has been fired with Black Powder. No leading either. I suspect it may have to do with the higher temperature BP burns at, but I have no proof of that. Except for the fact that there is never any leading or carbon rings on my revolvers shot with Black Powder cartridges.
  18. Howdy If I know a shooter is very fast, I will stand down and not spot for him. I just can't keep up with some of these guys. I always try to stand where I can see the targets clearly. Sometimes difficult with my fellow Black Powder shooters. And if I don't see it miss, or am not sure, I will stand my ground and call it a hit. A lot of guys say I am too lenient and give credit where it is not deserved, but if my poor old eyes are not sure it was a hit, I will call it a hit.
  19. I have started moving my photos from the Unreliable Photbucket to Image Shack. This is the first time I have heard they cannot be seen.
  20. Thanks for the warning. I was aware of that. Now reread were I said I fired 10 rounds in maybe 15 or 20 seconds. Everybody in these parts knows how slow I shoot. I seldom break one minute for an average stage. Just don't care about shooting fast. That was not exactly the first thing I thought of HK.
  21. Howdy I really should know better than to walk into a Cabelas. A couple of weeks ago I went to the local Cabelas to get some winter socks. Really. Then I made the mistake of wandering into the Gun Library. Lots of stuff that did not interest me. Then I saw an old Marlin lever rifle. It was marked as a 38-40 Model 1894, but a quick glance told me it was not a Model 1894. The lever on a Model 1894 is pretty distinctive, and this was definitely not a Model 1894. I was not sure exactly which model it was, but I did not have my copy of Brophy's book on Marlins handy. So I asked to see the rifle. While I was examining it I saw they had a copy of Brophy's book. Turns out it was a model 1889. This was the first Marlin to feature side ejection, just like every Marlin lever gun has ever since. In fact, this was a big selling point with Marlin, because all the Winchesters always ejected through the top. A quick search of Marlin Serial numbers revealed this one had been made in 1891. Yes, it is chambered for 38-40. This puppy seemed to have a problem with the trigger. Side note: according to Cabelas' new policy, I was not allowed to take the trigger lock off. How am I supposed to determine if the trigger is OK I asked? I could work the lever, but with a trigger lock on it I could not pull the trigger to let the hammer down. We finally compromised by the sales guy removing the trigger lock and placing the muzzle into a bullet trap. He insisted he had to keep one hand on the barrel to make sure it stayed in the bullet trap. I could then pull the trigger (letting the hammer down gently of course) to my hearts content. That is Cabelas' policy, I don't want to get into a big discussion about it here. Problems with the gun: the stock had been broken in two at some point, and glued back together. Not a bad job, but it was obvious where the break had been. And the lever latch, which is unique to this model was missing. So we did a lot of horse trading where I pointed out the deficiencies, and I walked home with the rifle. Another side note: the sales guy was actually very helpful. He was clearly knowledgeable about a lot of guns, just not Marlins. And so I could legally take it home he put a lever lock on it, gave me the key, and then wrapped it up really well with bubble wrap and pulled out a rifle length box from under a table to box it up for me. I really cannot complain about the service, just not crazy about Cabelas' policy on trigger locks. Two rifles in this photo. A Marlin Model 1894 made in 1895, at the top, the Model 1889 at the bottom. Notice the different configuration of the lever in the area of the trigger. That was the dead giveaway that told me it was not a model 1894. If you look carefully you can probably see the repaired break in the stock near the rear of the wrist. The first step was to see if everything worked. I stuffed some dummy 38-40 cartridges in the magazine and worked the action. Everything worked fine. The lever was very stiff to work because this model pushes the hammer way past full cock as the bolt moves back. But everything worked fine. Next step was to pop some primers. I primed a few pieces of 38-40 brass, and they all fired fine. No live ammo yet. The next strep was for me to tear it completely apart. Three purposes to this exercise. One is to be able to see all the parts and how badly worn they might be. Second was to clean all the parts. Third was to prepare the rifle for my Black Powder cartridges. In this photo I have not removed the cartridge carrier, the screw seemed really stuck. Later I was able to free the screw so I could remove the carrier for a thorough cleaning. It turns out there was hardly any wear on the parts at all. Lots of 120 year old carbon and gunk, but hardly any wear. Peering down the bore the rifling looked really good. Old, and a fair amount of pitting, but the rifling was strong and I suspected this old girl would make a good shooter. Once all the parts were clean I gave everything, including the inside of the frame, a good coating of Balistol. This is my standard treatment of any gun I am going to shoot with Black Powder. The top of the receiver and the caliber marking. The rear sight. An interesting folding leaf marked '50'. Not really sure what the 50 stands for, yards or feet, but there it is. The front sight features an ivoroid bead. The metal has been chewed away a bit on one side. Maybe this happened when the stock broke. Here is the old rifle all together again. Notice the lever is not snug against the lower frame. The missing lever latch would snug up the lever. This model had a lever safety device much like the Winchester Model 1873. A spring loaded piece projected down through the lower frame. You can see it in this photo. While in this position it blocked the trigger from being pulled. When the lever was snugged up, it retracted the trigger block, allowing the rifle to be fired. If I can find a lever latch for this model, that will keep the lever snugged up when the lever is closed. Until then I have to remember to snug up the lever myself for every shot. This photo is just for fun. The rifle with some of my 38-40 rounds. I took the old Marlin to the range on Saturday. It was a really warm day here. The left target and middle target were both fired from a rest at normal SASS distances, about 25 feet. Considering my very bad eyesight which cannot focus very well on rifle sights I was pretty pleased. The first target I was aiming at the center of the bullseye. When I looked closely at the front sight I realized it was leaning slightly to one side. Probably happened when the rifle was mistreated. I drifted the rear sigh to the right a bit and was able to get the windage pretty good. I was aiming at six O'clock this time. Not concerned about it shooting low, CAS targets are nice and big and I can compensate. I was pleased with the group with my old eyes and iron sights. The last target was ten rounds standing at the same distance. 'Rapid Fire' if you can read the target. Not really CAS rapid fire, which would dump 10 shots in less than 5 seconds. Just rapid fire for me with an old rifle. Maybe 15 or 20 seconds. Quite pleased with the old Marlin. I may buy a new stock for it to replace the broken one, or I may just leave well enough alone. And I will be keeping an eye out for a lever latch.
  22. Howdy I never try to remove the carbon rings blasted onto the front of the cylinder of a revolver. They are there on a blued cylinder, but more noticeable on a stainless cylinder. I stopped trying to clean them off long ago. No matter what you do, they will just return the next time you shoot the revolver. I always say that once you have enough revolvers you will stop worrying about the carbon rings on the face of the cylinder.
  23. Howdy The initials for the Colt Single Action Army are SAA, not SSA. A common mistake. Yes, you can probably buy 2 replica SAAs for the price of one Schofield,, or any of the other #3 Top Breaks. The grip shape of most of the #3 Top Breaks was very different than the grip shape of a SAA. I find that in one handed shooting I have to reach a bit further with my thumb to cock the hammer of a #3 Top Break than I do with a SAA. I have merged a photo of a Colt SAA and a S&W Schofield in this photo to show how much farther of a reach it is to cock the Schofield one handed. The internal mechanism of the S&W #3 Top Breaks was very different than the mechanism of a Colt. The bolt in a Colt frees the cylinder to rotate when the hammer is pulled back, the trigger has nothing to do with it. So if the trigger finger is contacting the trigger of a Colt, the gun can be cocked and fired with no problem. With the S&W Top Breaks, the bolt withdrawl was controlled by the trigger. If the trigger is prevented from popping forward when the revolver is cocked, the hammer cannot be cocked. Even slight finger pressure on the trigger will cause this to happen. This can be tricky sometimes, particularly if one is trying to shoot a #3 fast. There were five separate models of Top Break revolvers that S&W built on the large #3 frame. The American Model, the Russian Model, the Schofield, the New Model Number Three, and the 44 Double Acton. Although they were all similar in size, there were significant differences between them. I will only be mentioning the three variations of the S&W #3 Top Breaks that are commercially available as replicas, the Russian Model, the Schofield, and the New Model Number Three. The Russian Model was the second style of large frame Top Break revolver that S&W made, after the American Model. Easily recognized by the large hump on the back of the grip and by the spur on the trigger guard. S&W made over 150,000 of these, mostly for contracts with foreign governments, most of them went to Russia. Some did wind up on the American market. Most were chambered for the 44 Russian cartridge. This is a 2nd Model Russian, it left the factory in 1875. Uberti makes a replica of the 3rd Model Russian, the main difference is there is a large knurled thumbwheel on top of the top strap for easy removal of the cylinder. The Uberti replica is chambered for 45 Colt and 44 Russian. I do not recommend this revolver as a shooter, the large hump on the rear of the grip makes it awkward to shoot. I find that to reach the hammer spur with my thumb I have to regrip and put the palm of my hand against that sharp hump. Then I have to regrip again to get my hand below the hump. If I don't and fire the revolver with the hump in contact with my palm, it hurts, even with a relatively mild recoiling cartridge such as the 44 Russian. This is a 1st Model Schofield. Distinctive by the gently sweeping grip shape, but more specifically for the serpentine shaped barrel latch. This is the only #3 Top Break that had the barrel latch mounted to the frame, all the others had the latch mounted to the top strap. There were only a little more than 9,000 Schofields manufactured between 1875 and 1878. The Army bought most of them, but eventually surplussed them out because of ammunition supply issues. Of course some showed up in the Old West, but not in numbers anywhere near the numbers for the Colt. This model is much more pleasant to shoot than the Russian Model, but I do have to regrip slightly to reach the hammer spur with my thumb. The originals were all chambered for the 45 Schofield cartridge, a bit shorter than the 45 Colt cartridge, with a bit less powder in them. Uberti makes replicas of the Schofield chambered for 45 Colt, 44-40 and 38 Special. A view of the Schofield with the cylinder open. It actually opens further than this, this photo shows what the latch looks like from the rear. The deep groove in the latch is the rear sight. An interesting aside about the Schofield model. Roy Jinks, the official S&W historian has been quoted as saying that when the Clint Eastwood move The Unforgiven came out, with one of the characters shooting a Schofield, he got as lot of inquiries about Schofield revolvers. There were only about 9,000 made. It turned out a lot of people who thought they had Schofields, did not. All Schofields are #3 revolvers. All #3 revolvers are not Schofields. In my opinion, the best of the S&W #3 Top Break revolvers was the New Model Number Three. Cataloged from 1878 until 1908, but all frames were made before 1899, so they are all classified as antiques by the BATF. I will have to look it up, but I seem to recall the NM#3 was chambered for 13 different cartridges, but 44 Russian was the most common. This one left the factory in 1896 and it was part of a large shipment to Japan. It is chambered for the 44 Russian cartridge. Notice the gentle hump at the rear of the grip, not much different than the shape of most modern K frame S&W Double Action revolvers. I do have to regrip slightly with this revolver to cock the hammer, but it is easy to get my hand back under the hump before I pull the trigger. The target versions of this revolver, with a windage adjustable rear sight and a taller front sight were the premier target revolvers of their day. Uberti makes (or did make) a replica of the New Model Number Three called the Laramie. Made by Uberti but marketed by Beretta. Not sure if they are still in production or not. The Laramie had a windage adjustable rear sight, but a front sight like on a standard model. The Laramie was available chambered for 45 Colt and 38 Special. Very pleasant to shoot, a pity they did not make more. Of course all the S&W #3 top Break revolvers broke open for emptying and reloading and the spent cartridges were automatically ejected, usually. Not really much of a concern in CAS, I cannot remember the last time I had to do a reload on the clock. Shooting a nickel plated New Model Number Three with Black Powder. Yes, the originals handled Black Powder soot just fine, not so much with the modern replicas. Like I said, if I am shooting a NM#3 in a match, I usually have to remind myself at least once to keep my trigger finger off the trigger when cocking the hammer. It will usually let me know if I don't
  24. Howdy The idea is, if it is acceptable as a Main Match pistol, it is not acceptable as a Pocket Pistol. And Vice Versa. As far as I know, there are no modern made revolvers that would be acceptable as a Pocket Pistol. You will have to buy an antique. Like this Top Break Smith and Wesson 32 Safety Hammerless AKA a Lemonsqueezer. Or this 38 Safety Hammerless. Note, these revolvers were not chambered for 38 Special, they were chambered for 38 S&W, an older round that is not interchangeable with 38 Special. These revolvers came with hammers too, like this 38 Double Action. There were single action Top Break revolvers too, but nobody who wants to win will probably shoot one of them. This is a S&W 32 Single Action. There were other brands too. This Iver Johnson 38 Safety Hammerless only cost me about $100, but that was a long time ago.
  25. Really? $250 a box? Tell me where you saw some idiot paying that much for a box of Navy Arms 41 Rimfire so I can cash in. Not how much were they asking, how much was actually paid for it. OK, yes, most of the old Rimfire cartridges were loaded with Black Powder. Not all though, notice the box of Peters 32 Rimfire Longs on the left was loaded with Improved Semi-Smokeless powder. Some more boxes of antique Rimfire ammo. OK, let's be practical for a moment. I have been shooting Black Powder ammunition for a long time, but it is not for everyone. Most shooters want store bought Smokeless ammo. Specialty Rimfire ammo loaded with Black Powder? You are going to pay a lot more than $40-$50 a box. Buffalo Arms sells ammunition loaded with Black Powder. $40 or $50 a box for common stuff like 45 Colt or 44-40. Less common? 44 American, $90.59 for 50. No, they do not carry any of the old rimfire ammo loaded with Black Powder, but you can bet if they did, it would cost a lot more than $40 or $50 a box. The law of Supply and Demand. Would the old Rimfire cartridges have to be loaded with Black Powder? Of course not. the original 22 Rimfires were loaded with Black Powder, but they have been loaded with Smokeless since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Frankly though, it is the law of Supply and Demand. Do you really think a company is going to load up obsolete Rimfire ammo, loaded with either Smokeless or BP, for a reasonable price? If so, I own a bridge over the Hudson River in NYC you might be interested in purchasing.
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