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"Big Boston"

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  1. I think OLG's advice on an upgrade on the LEE Load-All should be heeded. I've owned and used several of these, and still have one in 16 and one in 12. They will load ammo, but using one gets old pretty quickly. I still own a Mec 600Jr for 12 ga,, and I've owned one in 20 and one or two more in 12 that I've sold. I'd rate them as a good press, slower than a progressive, but good all the same. A while back I upgraded to a Sizemaster for 20 ga and 410. The Mec Sizemaster is a bit more versatile than a 600Jr, and IMHO worth the extra $. I also owned a progressive, a Mec as well, a Grabber. It will crank them out once you have a load worked out. I don't think a progressive is for a beginner, unless you have a mentor helping you set it up. Mec's are good value for the money. BB
  2. I recently bought a new Winchester 1873 (Miroku), for shooting cowboy. I liked that it is chambered for 357 Magnum, and proofed for 357 Magnum, because if I stop shooting cowboy, I can shoot 357 loads in it. I think that a steady diet of full power will shorten it's life a bit, but perhaps not as much as I think. It's physics, pressure is one number, but force is pressure multiplied by area. Same toggles and steel as in a 45 LC or 44-40. Both of those have more area for the force to act against. I'm no engineer, but a quick calculation has a 357 Mag @ 35,000 psi putting just less than twice the force against the bolt as a 45 LC @ 14,000psi. You'd have to load a 357 Mag up to 19,000 psi to equal the force against the bolt of a 45LC. Or, if you were to load a 45 LC up to 26,000 psi, it would be the same as a 357 Mag. So, I suppose in theory, (if my theory and math are correct), if you were to run a '73 45 LC at max and a '73 357 Mag at max, the 357 Mag would be worn out with half the # of rounds. I can live with that. I'm sure if my math is in error, an engineering type will chime in. BB
  3. I don't think there is a simple answer. It gets a bit obscure, and you need to test. Primers differ; different chemical composition, different amount of compound, and varying thickness and strength of cup. A little bit more internal volume can make a primer have inconsistent ignition. Loading density does come into play, as does the ratio of the cases internal cross sectional area to height. Going from a 38 Special to a 357 Magnum case, just a wee bit over 1/8" longer can mean needing a primer change. A magnum primer may have a longer burn, (same compound, just more of it) or a hotter burn, (different compound). Every brand is different. For some magnum primers, yes, just the cup is thicker. The CCI 450 SRM primer has the thickest cup of all small rifle primers, IIRC. I don't think cowboy loads need a very tough primer cup, but some combos need a more powerful one. Here's a little fact; the pressure contained in the primer pocket is oft times greater than the pressure inside the case itself. My background in reloading was mostly rifle, and I looked at primers to estimate relative pressure (and measure the expansion at the presume ring, PRE). Reading small pistol primers for pressure signs is witchcraft IMNSHO. To try and make sense of what I was seeing, I loaded pistol cases with just a primer, no powder, no bullet, and fired them. I was seeing pressure signs similar to cases that were loaded with powder and bullets. I concluded that pressure from the primer explosion (priming compound is an explosive) was being sufficiently restricted by the flash hole that the pressure against the primer was greater than the pressure created after the powder ignited. The flash hole acts as a restriction in both directions, and it also act as a venturi, increasing the velocity of the primer flash. About at this point I was developing a headache, but I was not deterred. I wanted to prove my theory. I did more testing with firing only primers, but I increased the diameter of the flash hole in incremental steps. And, when the flash hole gets large enough, the primer no longer backs out, and it doesn't flatten either. I was satisfied with my proof. I loaded up some ammunition with these cases, they shot just like regular ammo, just no pressure signs for low power loads. My next step involved crushing all the cases with modified flash holes. With no access to a ballistic laboratory, i really didn't have any business messing around with flash hole size. One observation: when I fired a case with only a primer, invariably the cylinder was locked after firing. The primer would be set back and rotating the cylinder was difficult. At a point where the flash hole was pretty big, no primer setback. My point, if I haven't lost you about a paragraph or 2 back, is that the primer explosion is pretty intense, and depending on how much powder, and the type of powder, and the position of the powder, ignition problems still may be present. I've mentioned this before, I test for this with a chronograph. I fire 5 shots with the powder against the primer for one string, and I fire the next string with the powder against the bullet. Ideally I want the average velocity of each string to be close to each other, and I'd like low Sd and Es for each string as well. If I don't get the results I want, I try a primer change, either brand, or switch to a magnum primer if I've been using a standard one. And sometimes, changing the primer will make a huge difference. In a previous post I said that Trail Boss was a fast burning powder. There are faster burning powders as pointed out by OLG. I've looked at a few burn rate charts, some show TB to be around the Red Dot area, others show it near 231. I split the burn rates of pistol powders into Fast, Medium , and Slow. The mediums are around or from Unique to HS-6, slow are powders like Blue Dot and 2400. Fast are from around BE up to about 231. If one were to split the all the powders in fast, medium and slow, fast would end at or near Blue Dot, medium would be from 2400 to IMR3031 and slow would be from Varget to Retumbo. And that would be meaningless rubbish. I should have been more specific, my bad. The burn rate of Trail Boss is close to that of Green Dot. Trail Boss is not like any other powder, IMO. When it burns it does so at relatively high(ish) pressures, for a very short duration. It is low energy, doesn't make much velocity for the pressure. It is really inefficient, not a powder you'd use if you were on a quest for maximum velocity. But for Cowboy ammo, perfect fit, low velocity with just enough pressure to seal the case in the chamber.
  4. Trail Boss is fast burning, but it is a bit funky to ignite with any consistency. My theory is that the flakes, or small Cheerios as my friend likes to call them, fly around like crazy when the primer goes off, and if they block some of the flame, it blocks the rest from igniting. I test with a chrono, 5 shots with the powder against the primer and 5 shots with the powder against the bullet. Anything under about 70% loading density and just about any primer will fail to give you consistent velocities. I wouldn't abandon TB, not until you do some testing. In 38 Spl, a F100 or a Win SPM seem to be best, in a 44 Spl and 44 Mag, the Rem 2 1/2 seems to be the charm. Primers and loading density are influencing factors. In 38 LC, 38 Spl, 357 Mag, 44 Spl and 44 Mag, the starting load was not good. At or near max seemed to be the charm. 5.5 is the starting load for the 45 Colt and a 200 gr bullet, 6.5 is max. As was stated above, going to a smaller case is not a bad way to go. I went from 357 > 38 LC and 44 Mag to 44 Spl. To my way of thinking, 45 should work the same. In 45 S&W and a 200, 5 gr is max. Just my $0.02 - BB
  5. I came across an interesting article, concerning the use of fibre wads in England. Here is the paragraph I found interesting. "However, unless you have been off the planet in recent years, it’s likely you have heard about the environmental disaster unfolding due to the use of single-use plastics, their devastating effect on the world’s oceans and the subsequent drive to minimise the amount of plastic entering our surroundings. Consequently, the shooting industry has been looking at whether plastic wads are a potential red flag for our industry that could encourage legislators to curtail their use. Many insiders feel that voluntary self-regulation is the preferred course over a ban imposed by government, so questions are being asked regarding a phasing out of plastic in favour of more environmentally friendly alternatives." Link to article: https://www.sportingshooter.co.uk/features/clay-shooting/plastic-vs-fibre-the-great-debate-1-5976018 BB
  6. For my 38 Special load, with a 147 grain coated bullet and fast(ish) powder (AA452) it chronos just under 950 fps out of my Cimarron Yellow Boy with an 18" barrel. The same load in my Ruger Blackhawk (357 Mag chambers) with a 6 1/2" barrel it's at 770 fps.
  7. One rather unique feature to the LEE Factory Crimp die, that doesn't seem to get mentioned, is that it will also resize an oversize situation. IOW, it has a carbide ring in the base, just like a FL sizing die, except it is at cartridge maximum, or about 0.379". It seems to take care of any minor issues, like a slight bulge in the crimp or an oversize bullet. I have a turret press, therefore each reloading step is separate. I can "feel" this carbide ring bump or drag on the occasional shell. So: even though my ammo may not be perfect, it will chamber in my firearms. Saami: Ammo max = 0.379", chamber min = 0.3809". For 38 LC: I neck size in a 9mm Luger die and let the LEE FCD size the body when I crimp. In LEE jargon, "A carbide sizer inside the Carbide Factory Crimp die post-sizes the cartridge while it is crimped so every round will positively chamber freely with factory like dependability"
  8. Yep, but if you buy some 38 Long Colt brass and load them up, you'll use less powder and real cowboys sure as Hades did shoot 38 Colt. In the end it comes down to what you want to shoot. I like my Rugers in 357, one New Vaquero and a New Model Blackhawk because real cowboys seldom had matching guns. And for a rifle, I have a '66 in 38 SPL only and a '73 in 38/357. I have 1 load for the rifles, and am still fiddling with pistol ammo. I love the 44-40 and sometimes regret not getting a '73 in that caliber.
  9. I'd want to chrono that load. I settled on 2.6 grains of Trail Boss for around 700 fps. I was at 2.5 with Red Dot (old stuff) I didn't do any primer swapping on 2.5 gr, but I did up the charge to 2.9 gr to see if I could get better Es/Sd. The Es/Sd showed some improvement, but the 40 fps difference between powder forward and powder back convinced me to abandon it. And 750 fps is too fast, already a 38 Spl load, IMHO. Here is my goto at this time: Nothing to brag about, but it is relatively stable and repeatable, and not terrible. Interestingly enough it is not real fussy on the primer. IMO the Fed 100 was the best, by a small margin. That's what it looks like. I've gone through around 200 of these, no issues.
  10. As promised or indicated in my reply, today I installed or more correctly, fitted a New Vaquero hammer into my Ruger Blackhawk. This one is a 6 1/2" Blackhawk convertible in 357/9mm (200th Liberty) and it is my main match left hipgun. I had previously upgraded it with a Wolff spring kit and installed a Super Blackhawk hammer. Nothing special, just a BH with a SBH hammer. This is the same hipgun with a New Vaquero hammer fitted. Notice, I did say fitted. The New Vaquero hammer is a bit larger in the base, and if you install it as it comes, it will jamb up your revolver, it will not work, you may not be able to tighten all the screws. Except for the spur, the original Vaquero hammer, the New Blackhawk hammer and the Super Blackhawk hammer are the same. The New Vaquero hammer is slightly different. These are from left to right, a New Vaquero hammer, an original Vaquero or New Blackhawk hammer, and a Super Blackhawk hammer. The New Vaquero hammer is a fair bit bigger in the base. Another view, and left to right, a New Vaquero hammer, a Super Blackhawk hammer and an original vaquero hammer. Close-up, side view. As you can imagine, I had to do a bit of grinding and filing to make it fit into my New Model Blackhawk. I don't know how a machinist would jig it up to re-profile it, but it has be be better than grinding and filing. I do have to figure out a way to grind on metal, I have the off part mastered, but just have a hard time stopping soon enough. Now for the business end, where the thumb goes. And from left to right, a Super Blackhawk hammer, an original Vaquero hammer and a New Vaquero hammer Original Vaquero hammer in front of a New Vaquero hammer.. A Super Blackhawk hammer in front of the New Vaquero hammer. I'm anxious to see how BH 200 runs at the next meet. TTFN
  11. Before the grenades get tossed my way, a bit of a disclaimer. I'm a fan of the SBH hammer. I've converted 2 of my original Vaqueros in 44 Mag over to them, a definite improvement over the as issued. I've also converted 2 of my BH's in 357 over to them as well. When I got my New Vaquero, instead of ordering a new SBH hammer for it right away, I decided to use it as is. Well not quite as is, I did put in a lighter trigger spring right off the hop. Then, during stages, I noticed if I had a hammer slip, it was with the SBH hammer, and usually the NV was good. The SBH hammer was better than the as issued, but I really couldn't find anything objectionable about the NV hammer. So I didn't change it. Fast forward one season, I now shoot duelist, and again, the NV hammer runs nicer. Let's remember one other factor, the NV also has the smaller frame for the grips. So, I put the original hard rubber grip panels back on my BH's, and again, runs better. I wasn't about to buy new frames, narrower panels was an easy option. The BH hammer and the original Vaquero hammer are the same, but it is not the same contour as the standard, non SASS, hammer. The NV hammer is shorter, has a recess in the hammer face so it clears the firing pin when the transfer is not in fire mode, and the spur is lower and extends back. The only hammer I don't have in my collection is a SASS Montado-style hammer, so, I'll not comment on it. When Ruger revised the Vaquero, it changed a few features, the ones that most shooters were asking for, the old Blackhawk frame size and a Colt like hammer profile. If anything, I may install the NV hammers on my BH's, as the narrower hammer seems to run better, shooting duelist. YMMV: My well aged arthritic hands are more of an issue that my guns. And my shooting skills are in all likelihood more of an issue than the style or shape of the hammer. But for me, I find the standard NV hammer to be pretty good, it was a bit different from what I was used to, so a bit of practice was in order. Changing hammers is not a substitute for learning how to shoot. I learnt that one the hard way. Bottom line, the NV hammer gets my vote, it works for me. If your thumb lands on it, it tends not to slip. Because it is narrower, I find that I can feel it a bit more than a wider hammer. This shows the revised profile of the NV hammer, as compared to the original Vaquero or Blackhawk hammer behind it. This shows the SBH hammer with the original Vaquero or Blackhawk hammer behind it.
  12. Not that I'm against the concept, but so far my hipgun ammo and rifle ammo is different. Mostly because my '66 has a much larger chamber than any of my hipguns and I prefer to use a different FL sizer for it. I've tested WC bullets in my hipguns, but never even tried to load any in my rifle, way too short. Hard to beat a RNFP for ease of slipping them into the cylinder. BB
  13. In a 38Spl '66, a bullet like a Lyman 358477 will feed OK. However I think this thread is about the 45's. For my 38's I use a bullet without a crimp grove. It's lead, you can just crimp where you want. I check with my finger nail, if I can feel the case rim, I crimp some more. I'm on a budget (sort of) and use a LEE factory crimp die. I like that I can just give it a tweak if I think the crimp isn't good enough. This is the bullet I use: And the crimp. I don't want my ammo to have anything to catch on when they are getting pushed into the chamber. It stands to reason that a larger caliber would be more particular. I don't think that the 200gr lyman 452460 will work, too much of a step, IMHO. Way more step than the 357 bullet I was using. I abandoned it only because I wanted a longer OAL. Is the 453-238 a HP bullet? the only picture I could find was for a 452-238, and it's a HP. Could someone post a picture of which bullets work well in the larger bore toggle link levers.. BB
  14. Precisely what I was thinking when I started down this rabbit hole, except the other way around. A standard bullet in a 38 LC case should be able to duplicate a 38 Spl wadcutter. I'm satisfied that it does. Half empty vs half full I suppose. Only now I can tell my purest friend to go stuff it when he comments that my cartridges weren't even around during cowboy times. 38 LC was there, and did it. After 7 firings the brass is pretty grungy, but the primer pockets are still nice. The brass was not wiped or cleaned at any point, nor were the primer pockets touched. Time to clean the cases and gun. I have a good starting load.
  15. Topic got a bit off the rails, but that's good too. Seems like about 15 gr of BP is just what the 38 Long Colt was loaded with "back in the day". My Starline 38 Long Colt brass arrived today, so I felt compelled to load some up. But first I did a bit more research and discovered some interesting data, thanks to Castboolits and an older Hercules pamphlet. Cartridge Bullet Min. OAL in Bullseye Red Dot Green Dot Unique Herco Wt gr. / Type c.w. gr Vel. Fps c.u.p. c.w. gr Vel. Fps c.u.p. c.w. gr Vel. Fps c.u.p. c.w. gr Vel. Fps c.u.p. c.w. gr Vel. Fps c.u.p. 38 Long Colt 150 / L 1.31 2.8 785 10,100 3 795 10,450 3.3 820 10,290 4 830 10,200 4 820 10,380 What I found interesting is the pressure; 10,000 CUP is pretty much the max. across the board. To that end I decided to do a bit of testing with Trail Boss. I went as high as 2.8 gr and that was just about the limit for the Fed 100 primer. Es/Sd started to climb. Velocity Av 726/736 Es 46.5/19.3 Sd 17.3/8.25 Shots 5>/5< Previous tests have indicated a WSP (Winchester Small Pistol) primer is better at powder forward than a Fed 100. So I sub'd in a WSP Velocity Av 737/724 Es 25.2/18.5 Sd 10.24/7.42 Shots 5>/5< Interesting results. In this combo, 2.8 gr of Trail Boss is the limit for either the Fed 100 of the WSP. If I were to continue to increase the charge, perhaps a magnum primer would be in order. Given that I'm not on a velocity quest, and 3.2 gr is at or near compressed, I went no further. As stated before, I use an old Lyman Accumeasure. The next lower step is 2.6 gr of Trail Boss, (rotor 5L). It worked well, low Es/Sd for both powder forward and rearward. Velocity Av 714/714.6 Es 38/15.4 Sd 13.3/6.7 Shots 5>/5< Perhaps a WSP may work better, but at that point I'd be splitting hairs or Hares for you hunters. When I bought these 125 grain bullets 2 years ago my goal was to drive them @ around 700 fps, for a P.F. < 90. I was unable to find a load that would do that in 357 brass. However I wasn't into matching primers to the load at that time. I may revisit that quest. However it's hard to argue with how clean this combination burns, and the primer pockets are clean. 5 loads on 10 new bras and they are a bit tarnished, not filthy, and the cylinder and bore are decent. A bit of fine tuning to the load and I think I'll be good to go. I think one has to expect a bit of velocity loss, firing a 38 LC in a 357 Mag, but I'm not far off the mark. I'm using 2.6 gr for 715 fps and Hodgdon data lists 2.4 for 705 fps. I don't think their max is much more than 10,000 CUP, below 38 Spl and a lot less than my Ruger hip guns can handle. BTW, my '73 arrived today, happy birthday to me, LOL. BB Hercules_1987.pdf
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