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"Big Boston"

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  1. I'm rather hesitant, if not afraid to reply. The vagueness of the post, and lack of specifics reminds me of a couple of experiences I've had. First story, a CAS shooter was asking for some reloading advice. Seems that his seating die on his progressive press had become gummed up and he had to remove it and clean out the build-up of bullet lube. His concern was that how could he be sure he re-installed it correctly. Second story, I was asking about a reloading press that was for sale. The seller said that when he bought the press the store set it up for him. They told him what bullet to use, and what powder it was set up for. My point being, not all people that load their own ammunition are reloaders. They know how to operate their reloading press, and have made hundreds if not thousands of rounds of their own ammunition. IMO they skipped the basics, and started making ammunition. In all likelihood they may not even own a reloading manual. Giving reloading advice to anyone assumes that the person getting the advice, hints or direction, has a working knowledge of the basics of reloading. I'm not feeling this here. My fear is that, similar to my 2 stories, the actual reloading knowledge is limited. Back when I started reloading, I had some issues, problems and was lamenting that the reloading manual I had was out to lunch. An old timer, a very experienced reloader put his arm on my shoulder and quietly said, Big Boston, my friend, the problem is not the data. With all due respect, Big Boston.
  2. I have fooled with 44-40 for CAS. My firearm was a Commemorative '94 Winchester. A 200 gr RNFP LEE is what I used, and Unique (Universal). Around 9.5 gr gives the best accuracy, but it is not a Cowboy load. I dented and bent the targets at my first meet. It is a legal rifle load, about 1200 fps, but a bit much for the game. When the charge was lowered accuracy went down the toilet, and real small charges had erratic ignition. Perhaps a different primer may have helped. I turned to Red Dot, and used Alliant data, 5.9 gr max. I settled on 5.5 gr, and a CCI 300 primer. I didn't delve that deeply into this project, but I did try some other powders as well. (Trail Boss, Titegroup, and 231) They didn't work well for me. > The challenge is that the 44-40 is a rather large capacity case, and 200 gr is light bullet, and you are trying to load at low velocity. Best success comes with a fairly flaky low density high nitro glycerin content powder that the flame can propagate through consistently. If you are loading for a revolver, I'd suggest soft swaged bullets. BTW the Unique load comes from Waters book, 10 gr, "best load for strong revolvers". (Bullet 427098) The LEE bullet is similar, for smokeless, and it has a crimping groove. > All my rifles were large groove, > 429. Some 44-40's are smaller 426 > 427 from what I've read. In which case I'd try 427666. I have that mold as well, it casts too small for good accuracy in a rifle with 429 grooves. Shallow rifling doesn't help either. Shallow grooves and slow twist are a Black Powder thing, IMNSHO. Winchester Cowboy Action Lead Flat Nose ammunition works well. It uses a 225 gr soft lead bullet, and app 4.5 gr of powder. Advertised 750 fps.
  3. I'm not a big fan of thread locker on firearms, it brings with it some issues. That being said, blue gets the nod for the ejector screw. Use sparingly, clean out any oil before applying. Oil seems to degrade Blue, Red is impervious to pretty much anything. Before attempting the removal of any screw that has been treated with thread locker, apply heat. I use a heat gun, heat the metal until it is too hot to hold ( the book says 484 °F ) and the thread locker will soften. Red requires a bit more heat, 550 °F. On average heat guns are app 900 °F max. I don't think I get the parts that hot, all that is needed is to make the locker soft, not melt, IMHO. I once bought a pair of Vaqueros, used, and none of the screws would budge. They all required heat and it was a bit of a chore to remove all the thread locker. The ejector screw hole was full of thread locker, so much that it hindered tightening the screw. I thought I'd removed it all but had to go back in with a needle after another reheat. Blind holes are probably the worst for cleaning up. BTW, there are several flavors of Blue, I prefer the thicker one. There is also a thick green one, RC 680, a little dab of that will work as well, again, don't fill the hole, just put a bit on the screw thread, after cleaning. Anyways, that's what works for me. And, as mentioned, a routine check to see if the screws are snug.
  4. I've had similar results with Trail Boss in other calibers. Sometimes, near the starting load, it doesn't seem to be consistent. I deduced it wasn't igniting reliably. I also had some improvement with a change in primer. Trail Boss has it's applications, but it's not magic, and I found that it wasn't ideal when trying to shoot light for caliber bullets at the lower velocities.
  5. It's been a cold long winter, I find myself browsing forums, and reading posts that catch my eye. Recently, on this forum, a post caught my attention. The subject was about the opening up or modifying a 44-40 chamber to accommodate 44 Special cowboy ammunition. My first thoughts were, in no particular order: > is it even a thing, not something I'd think of. > can that be done? > I like 44-40, why not just shoot 44-40 ammo > would that be safe? > how would you even do that? The author of the post had some experience with a rifle he had owned, that came to him so modified, or something along those lines. It's good to expand the mind, discuss ideas, get opinions on things. It brings new ideas and opinions to the table. It does require an open mind, you need to be respectful and open to criticism. In the racing circle we called it bench racing, sitting around, sipping beverages, talking racing and sharing ideas and opinions. Fun in a way, perhaps not too productive , but fun. This is something like that, only not in person, just over the internet. There were no written rules or protocols to bench racing, but in the spirit of respectfulness, I never once heard anyone say, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard". OK to think it, I suppose, but I'd never say it. After all, I sure didn't want them to stop sharing their beverages with me. Back to the topic at hand: I had to know, in theory, could a 44-40 chamber be modified to shoot 44 Special ammunition. My mind does a pretty poor job of multi tasking, so I first wanted this question answered. First things first. Obviously the next question would be can you safely fire a 44 Special shell in a chamber so modified. I got out the Saami drawings, and grabbed a 44-40, and a 44 Special shell. A 44 Special shell is bigger in diameter than a 44-40 shell in the neck area. Within normal tolerances, a 44 Special shell will not fit in a 44-40 chamber. Theoretically, you'd need to remove about 0.010 from the neck area of the chamber. To my way of thinking, you'd want to control the length of this, because you sure wouldn't want someone slipping a 44 Mag shell into the gun. I also re-read the Shapnel rechamber article for insight. That question had been answered to my satisfaction, it can be done. So before actually doing this, I'd like to know if it's safe, or prudent to shoot 44 Special ammunition in a modified 44-40 chamber. Mike Venturino/Shrapnel had fired 44-40 ammo in such a chamber, not unsafe, but in his own words, "When Shrapnel fired .44-40 rounds in his rechambered cylinder, the cases blew out to straight cylinders with a small constricted area right at the chamber mouth." For me, that would be a deal breaker, after all I kinda like the 44-40. But the answer still begs to be answered. After all, it's common practice to fire factory ammo in "improved" chambers. Out the SAAMI drawing come, again. The neck, or at least a bit more than 1/8" of the 44 Special case would be fully supported. After that the brass would tend to "tee-pee" towards the web of the case. According to my calculations, and thinking, the case would expand to a maximum of about 0.020" larger than normal. Unfortunately I don't have any reference to know what is the limit here, what is acceptable expansion. People have shot some pretty funky combinations of ammo/chamber (303 Savage in 303 British rifles for example) without any adverse consequences. Glock bulge is a real thing, no chamber support at all for a small area. Another thing to consider is that, most 44 Special brass is relatively thick in the web, and the pressures are below normal 9mm Luger pressures. For me, the question on whether it is safe and/or prudent to fire 44 Special ammunition in a modified 44-40 chamber isn't definitively answered. It would be safer than some of the funky stuff that happens, but resizing the brass afterwards may lead to premature failure, incipient or complete head separation in reloaded ammunition. Logistically, it would segregate brass, or make it "one and done" brass. At which point buying factory 44-40 ammunition would seem to be a preferred alternative. Like Mr Rogers said; "It's OK to say NO to the voices in our heads". I believe the originator decided to take the plunge, buy ammo, and add yet another caliber to his repertoire. Hr forego the expense and trouble of modifying his gun. No harm, No foul. Seeking the experience and intelligent opinions of other to facilitate decision making. That's a good thing, right. For me, this is the place in time that the train goes off the rails. General wisdom says that it would be illegal to use a gun so modified, for Cowboy Action, because the ammunition wouldn't be precise enough to satisfy the rules. I was at closure, and then not. First of all, at first glance, I really didn't understand the rule. Specifically, not rule itself, but the application of the rule. It didn't seem that this rule was intended for this situation, if indeed it even were a situation. So, I suppose, for me, a better look at the rule was in order. The rule in question: REVOLVER AND RIFLE AMMUNITION - ..... - All center-fire or rim-fire ammunition must be designed to package the bullet, gunpowder, and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of the firearm. The primer must be of the type that uses only a small charge of impact sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim. - ...... The second sentence is pretty clear. No funky primers, no pinfire ammunition, no placing the primer somewhere in the middle of the powder chamber or someplace else. I imagine there may be an alternate or competitively speaking better method of igniting the powder, but "they" want us all to use conventional primers, I get that. I have no intentions of engineering some funky ammo, in other words, this rule won't affect what I'm doing in any way. The first sentence is a bit more puzzling to me. Again to my way of thinking, conventional wisdom, would seem to say that it would address the situation where someone was trying to use come cobbled together, obviously ill fitting and weird combination of two or three cases crimped or soldered together to somewhat fit in their gun. Nothing I do would ever be affected by this. Unfortunately my curiosity has been aroused, I'd like to know if, and the details of the situation, where this rule was applied in competition, at a meet. I pretty sure this rule addressed some real issue or concern, I guess I'd like know a bit more, to satisfy my curiosity. Like I've stated before, nothing I do now, or intend on doing in the future, would in any way change if this rule didn't exist, so I do have to ask myself why I'm even posting this. I suppose it's just been a long cold winter, and I need to get a life, find something to do, and get off the computer. Big Boston
  6. Multi caliber chambers are an interesting topic, and somewhat controversial as well, judging from the number of negative replies. This project does remind me of a Mike Venturino article, the one about Shapnel and his 44 Special SAA that he rechambered to 44-40. It's a good read, describes the chamber differences. The full article is in Handloader # 260, June 2009. https://www.riflemagazine.com/magazine/PDF/hl260partial1.pdf Strictly theoretical, if this were my project, this is how I'd go about it. A 44 mag and a 44-40 case are nearly the same length, and a 44 Special is shorter than either. Therefore I'd approach it from that perspective. I checked some of my 44 Mag ammo, it measures 0.453" at the neck. My 44-40 ammo is 0.443". A 44-40 SAAMI chamber, at max, will only be 0.4456". In other words a 44 Mag, or 44 Spl will not fit. (Probably a good thing IMHO). So to fit, the neck area of the 44-40 chamber will need to be enlarged by app 0.010" to about 0.455". Doing this is a bit above my pay grade, but I assume it can be done. I wouldn't use a 44 Spl or 44 mag reamer though. I'd want to keep this dimension very close to my ammo size. This short neck area of the new chamber, will only supply about a bit over an 1/8" of support for the 44 Spl case. At the back of the case there will be almost 0.020" clearance. I might want to control the length of this expanded portion to prevent chambering a 44 Mag, but that's just me. Unfortunately, this expanded neck portion of the chamber will allow 44-40 cases to expand about 0.010" more than before. Contact a few gunsmiths, they may be willing to do this for you. My personal though is that I wouldn't do it if I had a nice 1860 Henry (Uberti). A '60 Henry isn't a '92, feeding can sometimes be an issue, OAL of the ammo comes into play. I have a '66 in 38 Spl, and feeding can be fiddly. At one time I considered having the chamber lengthened to 357 length to facilitate sharing ammo, but decided against it. Even though I could, I felt I shouldn't. Big Boston
  7. My reply is so similar, I felt the need to quote. I already owned a SxS, but for my first match I used a 30" 1897 that my cousin gave me. It was getting pretty worn, wouldn't always fire, but it got me started. SxS shotguns seem a bit awkward to me, so I stayed with the 97's. I now have 2 decent shooters, a "D" and a chinese copy. I already owned several Cowboy style hipguns, and at first used a 2nd Gen Colt New Frontier and a Ruger Blackhawk both in 357. I've stayed with 357, usually shoot Blackhawks. I had to borrow a Cowboy rifle, a Commemorative Winchester '94 in 44-40. I now shoot a '66 Yellow Boy in 38 Spl. I've had several backups, Marlin '94, Rossi '92 (several) and if a nice '73 comes my way, it will be my shooter. As with any hobby, the probability of using your original setup for the long haul is not the norm. How many golfers are still using the clubs they started with? There is an old racers adage for equipment: "You need a pair and a spare" or as GW so aptly put it, "backups for the backups". Cowboy shooting puts a strain on equipment, at our shoots seeing a gun fail/jam/quit is not that unusual, had a few myself. The first one will rattle you, take deep breaths and move on. Big Boston
  8. The other day I was reading Handloader 313 and it had an article on Alliant Sport Pistol. Interestingly it had this to say about it. "A medium dark gray in color, the powder has a bulk density of .680 g/cc, giving it a case-filling attribute when used in small-capacity pistol cartridges." I'm more accustomed to looking at LEE's VMD chart to see comparisons in density. To convert g/cc (grams per cc) to VMD the formula would be 1cc/(gramsx15.4324) or for Sport Pistol it would be 0.095292. 1 gram is 15.4324 grains. A quick look at the LEE chart and it is about the same density as SR4759, fairly bulky IMO. I thought I'd share, thanks.
  9. Winchester 452AA powder was discontinued a while back. For some time after that Hodgdon sold a similar powder, Trap 100. They are the same color, and for the most part, handloaders have been using the load data interchangeably. The only difference I've noticed is that 452AA is slightly more uniform in kernel size and the density is slightly different. I use a Lyman Accumeasure and the difference was a tenth or two of a grain for a give rotor. I've burnt through a few pounds of each, using up or selling off the better part of an eight pound box of Trap 100, and when that was gone I started using up a few cans of 452AA. I've got less than a pound left now, and the chances of finding any more are pretty slim here in Manitoba. For the last couple of days I've been familiarizing myself with the nuances of loading some cowboy loads in 38 Long Colt brass. For base line testing I loaded a few shells with Bullseye and 150 gr bullets. This established a safe PRE. I did the same with a Universal load and a 358156, to get a max load. Somewhere along the way the light bulb went on. I looked back at all the 452AA loads I've tested over the years, and compared the charge/velocity with data for Bullseye. For what it's worth, there wasn't much difference. Case expansion is similar as well. Even at the starting loads, both will expand the cases the same. It burns a bit cleaner IMO. So, if you ever come across a stash of 452AA and are wondering what you can use it for, I'd say anywhere you can use Bullseye, 452AA should work. Just a FYI post, I don't have any unanswered questions, thanks for reading my post. Big Boston.
  10. I have dabbled in the 44-40 rifle. I used LEE mold 429-200-RF, cast with a lead alloy that is @ app 15 BHN. I also used a 427666, but the undersized bullets were not accurate in my rifles. I had a '94 Winchester commemorative, a "92 from the 20's, and a Rossi with a 24" octagon barrel. With Unique, 9.5 gr is a charm, accurate and very consistent. (it is close to max, max, or over max depending on whose rifle data you look at) It is still legal for CAS, but not by much. Unfortunately it is a bit too powerful for the targets at our club. It is in all likelihood not a '73 load either. Attempts to run less powder were met with inaccuracy and erratic ignition. I think I was able to run Unique down to about 7.5 grains before accuracy went completely south. A much better load was with 5.5 grains of Red Dot. It is a recommended powder from Alliant. It worked well in a 1:38 shallow rifled worn out vintage '92, in the 1:20 new barrel of the Rossi and in the '94 Winchester. I don't have any 44-40 firearms at this time, but if another one were to come my way, I'd test it with the Red Dot load. Interestingly, the Winchester 44-40 225 gr factory load is pretty decent. When you work with loads in the 5 gr range, you may have to fool with different primers to get consistent ignition. I used a CCI 300 in the 44-40, and in my 44 Rem Mag a Rem 2 1/2 gave good results. Also, testing for powder position issues is a good idea. For me, Titegroup showed some promise, my notes indicated it was worth testing further, but I liked my Red Dot load, so I never did any further testing.
  11. I was focusing on the 9mm cylinder, looking at possibilities, and considering options. So, you were correct, I just didn't want to, at the time. I've put the 9mm project on hold, I'm looking into the 38 Long Colt option. Preliminary tests are promising.
  12. Thanks again. As the 9mm Luger does not look like a revolver round, I did want to confirm the legality of using the case. After all you don't usually find 38 S&W cases lying on the ground at the range. I've researched this pretty extensively, and I'm nearly ready to order some 38 S&W brass. When I rechecked the rules, I couldn't see any rule preventing me from using the 9mm Luger case. It would need a lead bullet and it would be better if it were sized around 358. Here's where the wicket gets a bit sticky. Because the 9mm Luger headspaces on the case mouth, and it is a revolver, the empty and full cases get slammed into the end of the chamber, and this area gets a bit tight. The chamber mouth gets peened and the throat gets pinched a bit. Not a problem with a jacketed bullet, but definitely an issue with an oversized lead bullet. Therefore I'd prefer a case that headspaces on the rim. My search for rimmed 9mm Luger did not bear fruit. I bought my Ruger BH a couple of years ago, it's been around, it's a 200 th Anniversary convertible model. It had been shot mostly with 9mm Luger. I tested the revolver with 9mm Luger factory ammo, it shot well. I handloaded up some cast bullet ammo, no sir, that was not a charm. A 356 lead cast bullet down a 358 bore leaves a bit of lead. For this to work, the cast bullet has to be closer to groove diameter. I believe the 45 Auto Rim/ACP moon clip is fairly well known. The revolver was designed to utilize moon clips, for extraction. It could be fired without the moon clips, but extraction was an issue. When they designed a rimmed 45 ACP case, the rim ended up being a bit thicker than the norm, because the cylinder was designed with moon clips being used, and the moon clip design used a slightly larger than usual gap. The Ruger convertible cylinder was never designed to use moon clips, not from concept, not ever. Extraction is with the ejector rod. However, Ruger did not design a new cylinder for the 9mm Luger. They just chambered and throated the regular cylinder to accommodate the 9mm Luger. And the regular cylinder is not machined for a recessed rim. The 9mm Luger round sticks out of the Ruger cylinder by about the thickness of a normal rim. So, to prove the concept I decided to do some testing. Before doing any actual shooting I did a bit more research. I checked all the SAAMI specs for 9mm Luger, 357 Mag, 38 Spl, 38 S&W and any other cartridge that I could envision working. The 38 S&W case is very similar to a 38 Spl, except the walls are thicker. Starline is probably the best known source of 38 S&W cases, so I checked with their tech department and they gave me the dimensions. I also explained what I was trying to do. And as I posted above, the idea was not new, and it was being done in DA 9mm Luger revolvers. Somewhere during this: I did shorten some 38 Spl cases to 9mm Luger length and test fire them. This confirmed that the case should have thicker walls. A 38 Spl case so modified does have a visible Glock bulge, full circumference. Not a silly bulge, but enough of a bulge to indicate to me that shortening 38 Spl brass was not a viable option. I know it can be done, it is possible, it is safe, it has been done already. I just have to decide whether I will do it, or not. The details of how I plan on doing it if I decide to proceed is as follows; > buy new 38 S&W brass > FL size in a 9mm Luger FL die, using the appropriate shellholder > trim to length, 0.751" or slightly shorter to ensure headspacing is on the rim, not on the case mouth > expand the case neck to accommodate a 357/358 cast bullet. > use a 38 S&W starting load > seat and crimp the bullet. (I will probably use a roll crimp) Of course, do not do any of the above, it is all theory and conjecture.
  13. Thanks all. Especially for the 38 Short Colt tip. I was lead to believe using 38 S&W in the 9mm cylinder was possible. This from tech help @ Starline brass. "I can’t see any reason it won’t work. I have talked to a few people who have been using the 38 sw in DA 9mm revolvers with success"
  14. I have a Ruger Blackhawk in 357 and it has an extra 9mm Luger cylinder. Is it legal to shoot 9mm Luger ammo in competition. My thinking was that it would be easier to load a light bullet in the smaller capacity cases. If not legal I was planning on using 38 S&W cases, sized and trimmed to 9mm specs.
  15. I have lived in a rural area for many years, and over the years have shot a bunch of different DIY targets. My latest were cut from a bunch of 3/8 Hardox 400 cutoffs. These seem to work real well. Steel targets work best when they can deflect the bullets, stopping the bullet dead on requires a very strong steel, anything under 400 will crater with a direct blow. There is only so much force a steel plate can absorb before it yields. Any steel that is cratered should not be shot. Pieces of bullet will fly straight back at you. Several hits in your torso or head will convince you. Also, any projection will deflect bullet fragments, I prefer welding a hanger to the back of a target, safer than thru the plate mounting. Disadvantage to welding: has to go back to the shop for repair. Targets should hang at app 15 degrees, top edge forward, so as to deflect down. Swinging targets work better than ridged mounting. The gravel truck box and loader bucket repair shops use AR 400, ore truck box repair requires lots of AR plate. I was able to scrounge some AR, mostly used. I paid the shop to cut the scraps into squares or circles. It is better to have a larger target farther away than a smaller one close. Remember, safety first. Bullets should go down range only, steel can change that dynamic.
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