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"Big Boston"

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. I had not considered using the 38 Long Colt in a rifle, but the posts mentioning it got me to thinking and doing a bit of research. It does look like this is a thing in the Marlin. The lifter needs a bit of modifying, and complete instructions are readily found online. I just searched Widder(ized) That got me here https://marauder.homestead.com/Rifles.html Now it looks like an 1894 Marlin is back on the bucket list. IMR Red or Red Dot were on the radar for my next try. I'll hold off further experimenting until my Starline brass arrives. Red Dot worked well in my 44-40 rifles, however, some of my testing in 357 was a bit discouraging. I have a Winchester 1873 ordered, and have a few ideas on ammo for it.
  6. As alluded to, light loads of TB tend to be "erratic". Seat of the pants testing followed by some chrono work is the way I do it. Sometimes' something simple as a primer change can make a big difference. A great way to fine tune a load. To my way of thinking, the components pretty much cost the same, why not use the best combination you can. Same amount of labor, same cost, why not test. When I've chrono'd Trail Boss loads I've found that the max loads are more consistent than the starting load. Because the powder does not fill the case, there is a void. When the primer explodes, the turbulence sends the rather large flakes flying with bit of distance between each flake. The primer ignites most of the flakes, the rest are ignited by adjustment flakes. Not all primers are created equal, some do a better job of igniting the flying flakes. A chrono will tell you which primers are doing a better job. http://www.gmdr.com/lever/lowveldata.htm is a good read on cowboy loads for rifles.
  7. The bullet I loaded is not the same as the one used by Hodgdon. My OAL is 1.225" and not the 1.400" listed in the Hodgdon data. Pressure is low, however the cases are not overly smoked, not shiney, but not black. Another indicator, the less than subtle variations when changing primers tells me that the charge is a bit low for the volume and that ignition is nearing erratic. I plan on completing some more tests at a later date. I'd like to load to just shy of 1000 fps with some other powders, for S&G mostly. Hodgdon doesn't list pressure. My bullet has a seating depth of 0.32" (0.52 long). I measures the usable volume, and it is app. 0.78 cc. (12 gr avg of water). It's my experience that velocities of a shorter case in a 357 Mag chamber are a bit lower than those listed in a shorter chamber. My chrono is generous as well, IMHO. BTW, the 357 Long, @ an OAL of 1.225" won't cycle in a stock '66. Too short.
  8. In the beginning of the year I shortened some 38 Special brass and performed some load testing. It was a proof of concept, or rather to prove the concept to my satisfaction. Initially I wasn't too impressed, but the arthritis in my hands doesn't seem to be improving with age, so I want to load some lower power factor loads for my 357 Magnum hip guns. 38 Long Colt, with heeled bullets is another animal altogether, so to avoid any confusion I call my loads 357 Long Colt. I have a supply of 125 grain bullets that don't seem to work well in 357 Mag brass, so those are the ones I chose for testing. To my way of thinking, Trail Boss should be a good powder to use, high pressure with low velocity and a better loading density than most other pistol powders. To that end I began testing with a load of 2.15 grains of Trail Boss. And to begin with I picked my mildest primer, a S&B, (Sellier & Bellot) SP. It is the mildest, least brisance primer in my collection and it has a soft cup. The chrono results were not great, greatest area of concern was with powder forward, Es and Sd were high and the first shot was really low in velocity. Velocity Av 559/593 Es 90/48 Sd 38/18.5 Shots 5>/5< I test my loads for Velocity, Extreme Spread and Standard deviation. My procedure is shooting 2 five shot strings over the screens. The first 5 shots are powder forward, in other words the gun is pointed down first, slowly raised so as to keep the powder against the bullet, and fire. Repeat for the next 4 shots. I then shoot another 5 shot string but this time start with the gun pointed up, slowly lower so as to keep the powder against the primer and fire. Repeat for the next 4 shots. This usually means that more powder is required, but the velocity just under 600 fps was intriguing. So for the interst of keeping the velocities low, I started testing the same load with a different primer. My second test was with a CCI 500, it has somewhat more brisance than the S&B, and perhaps this is what was needed, instead of an increase in powder. Velocity Av 587/607 Es 79/28 Sd 32/11.1 Shots 5>/5< Results were encouraging, velocities increased slightly but more significantly the Es and Sd were better than with the S&B, both powder forward and rearward. Sd for powder rearward was approaching single digit. For the next test, I substituted a Fed 100M, it is a high(ish) brisance primer with a soft cup that shows pressure fairly well. In the past I've found it works well with powder forward, but sometimes at the expense of Sd for powder rearward. My test results were good, so good that I forgo testing with the Winchester SP that was next on my list. Velocity Av 607/623.5 Es 9.7/ 14.19 Sd 4.6/5.1 Shots 5>/5< Testing on paper confirmed it as being good ammunition. Power factor is just under 80 and it shoots well in my pair and the spare. Crud build-up is not bad, after 30 rounds I was able to slip a cylinder full of 357 Mag into it with no issues. I do not like the crud ring, but the 80 PF makes it easier to live with. The picture is of my 357 Long Colt ammo, and some 357 Mag ammo for size comparison, along with my 125 grain bullet. The bullet is commercial cast, coated with Hi-Tech.
  9. I've chased after a few different brands of small pistol primers, my latest off brand was Sellier & Bellot, (S&B), but I've not yet come across any Fiocchi. I can't comment on them, but it isn't hard to perform some rudimentary tests on primers. You will need a chronograph. I assume you already have a load that works for you. It will be your standard. I test my loads for Velocity, Extreme Spread and Standard deviation. My procedure is shooting 2 five shot strings over the screens. The first 5 shots are powder forward, in other words the gun is pointed down first, slowly raised so as to keep the powder against the bullet, and fire. Repeat for the next 4 shots. I then shoot another 5 shot string but this time start with the gun pointed up, slowly lower so as to keep the powder against the primer and fire. Repeat for the next 4 shots. Load your load with the new primer and test. A quick comparison to your standard will give you most of your answers, That and looking at the primer. Primer characteristics vary by brand: Brisance: Some are a higher brisance than others. As a general rule, higher brisance primers will show a higher velocity. Primers with lower brisance will show a lower velocity. Cup strength: Some primer cups are thicker than others, a bit tricky to measure, but I prefer to classify them as hard or soft. With identical hammer strikes, a softer primer will be dented more than a harder primer. Primer pressure: IOW how much pressure the primer will produce, on it's own, without any powder or bullet. Here's where it gets a bit convoluted, but a primer is throttled or restricted by the flash hole. With most primers, a typical flash hole of 0.080" with restrict the primer explosion enough to somewhat flatten the primer. This makes it hard to read pressures from the primer like you can with rifles. IMO a typical primer will produce more pressure within the confines of the pocket than the powder charge will. This is my theory, based on my observations, I do not have the instrument nor is my pay grade high enough to prove this. I did test various primers, shooting them in my pistol without any powder or bullet. BTW, not something I'd recommend you doing, as your cylinder will be locked up. Without the accompanied bullet and powder pressure, the primer will not be pushed back in. I increased the flash hole until the cylinder did not lock up, to determine at what point the flash hole was not creating a restriction great enough to push the primer out and lock the cylinder. At around 0.100" the restriction allowed some primers to stay flush. The only conclusion I came to was that a normal flash hole significantly traps the primer explosion, and that not all primers are the same power or make the same pressure. I was going to further test velocities on bullets fired with only primers, no powder, but again pay grade limitations forced me to abandon that test. There is not one best primer, and a small change in your load may mean that another primer will work better than the one that works just perfect with the original load. Some primers will ignite powder forward better than others, some will not ignite powder against the primer very well. After lots of testing, there is some predictability, but not enough that I could give any recommendations. For example; I load the exact same bullet in 38 Special and 357 Magnum. I use the same powder, just increasing the weight slightly in the 357. OAL in the 38 Spl is 1.5" and the OAL in the 357 is 1.6". The CCI 500 SP primer works best in the Spl, and a Winchester SP works best in the 357. This anomaly or sensitivity to primer brand, is very noticeable on low power, low velocity cowboy loads. As pressures and velocities increase, primers become less of a factor. It's low loading density, low velocity loads that are the most sensitive to primer selection. Of course, if you subscribe to the 3 grains of any fast powder behind any bullet with any primer as long as it goes bang it's good ammunition, and you've actually read to the end of my post, I apologize for wasting your time.
  10. My experience says that sealing under low pressure is an slight issue. 44 Mag cases are designed with much higher than cowboy pressures in mind. I would have thought that a 45 LC wouldn't have an issue sealing, as their design pressure is at cowboy pressure. I've owned a couple of 44-40 rifles, sealing not an issue even at low pressure, 5.5 gr of Red Dot low. To run clean(ish), and accurate, it is hard to beat Trail Boss, behind a Speer 240 gr swaged SWC in the 44 Spl/Mag. It has a slightly concave base that helps seal. TB is a bit odd, higher pressure with low velocity. The max load from the Hodgdon site is hard to beat. Es and Sd are good. Hodgdon recommends the Rem 2 1/2 primer, good choice IMO. A '92 has some ammo preferences, it is designed around a 1.6" OAL cartridge. A bit shorter is OK, a bit longer is a jam. I switch between Spl and Mag cases depending on the bullet. A Keith 429421, or a 429360 works best in a Spl case. Something like a 427666 is good in a mag case. The '92 was mainly a 44-40 rifle, 44-40 ammo is 1.59" long, and with it's thin neck, it seals like it was designed to. A Marlin 1894 with it's oversized bore, shallow grooves and 1:38 twist is a bag of snakes, I owned 1, never again. They advertise deep cut Ballard, IMO it is not. Again, my opinion, but the SAAAMI spec for the 44 Mag Rifle is out to lunch. 431/424 and 1:38, no sir I don't like it. I have a Rossi '92, tighter bore/groove, faster twist, what a joy. The rest of the world has one spec, 44 Mag, for rifle and pistol. Only SAMMI has a rifle and a pistol spec. that are different. If you shop for a Rossi, just remember some are good, some not so much.
  11. As has been stated, no coating. Just this morning I spent about an hour polishing my '66, Cimarron. Mine tarnishes very evenly, color is very consistent, main receiver and side plate appear to be the same metal. I shoot "B", "B" cowboys had shiny guns. I read or was told, a good rub with vinegar will do an instant patina. I have not tried it. I do notice that the top of my receiver gets rather pitted from my ejected brass dropping on it. It is getting a bit used looking, in all likelihood the last time I polish it.
  12. My experience would mirror that. Occasionally, sometimes, the operation can be combined with satisfactory results, but more often separating the steps, does a better job. IIRC, I used a Redding die to seat and crimp, in one operation, for this ammo. The "fragile", (actually thin and soft brass in the neck), crimps rather easily. I don't own a 44-40 at the present time, but I didn't mind shooting or loading the caliber. I found that the LEE 200 gr bullet sized 429 to be a good fit for all my 44-40 rifles. I never owned a 44-40 hipgun, unfortunately, but a nice hipgun in 44-40 is on the bucket list. I've kept all my ammo, brass, dies and such, for the day I find a nice "44". My Lyman 427666 mold did cast a nice bullet, but being undersize for my rifles, it did not shoot as good. Now, to stay on topic, I like and use the LEE FCD in a fair number of calibers, but never got around to buying one for the 44-40. I don't usually fix stuff that ain't broke. BB
  13. That's That's quite a compliment, thanks. I never considered that my ammo was even approaching "tight tolerance match" quality. I was anticipating that some of the forum members would be posting chronograph data from their working loads, for comparison. What is the performance standard for cowboy ammunition? When is a load considered bad? How close do powder forward/rearward velocities have to be to be considered good? Is a 50 fps spread OK? Would 100 fps still be good enough? I did chronograph a factory load, forward/ rearward velocity varied 40 fps and standard deviation was 15 fps. I'd like to think that my ammunition would be at least as good as the factory stuff. BB
  14. On the day I did the Trail Boss testing I believe the ambient was between 23 and 28 º C. The weather and test procedure were such that sun/shade was not a factor. I'm not overly scientific, however, I do try and limit the variables. Conditions were relatively stable and the test session lasted app 3 hours. 452AA was known to increase in pressure when cold, I think TB is fairly stable. BB
  15. I did try WST, I liked the clean burning, but wasn't able to overcome the powder position sensitivity. Velocity Av 756 /820 Es 37/55 Sd 13.8/23 Shots 5>/5< This is a test in the 357. The same charge by weight and the same primer as my 452AA load. Velocity Av 783.4/787 Es 25.2/22.3 Sd 9.9/9.5 Shots 5/5 That is my 38 Spl load with 452AA. Velocity Av 835/838 Es 25.2/71 Sd 10.5/36 Shots 5/5 This is my 357 Mag load with 452AA powder and with a CCI 500 primer. Velocity Av 844.7/835 Es 21.5/25.1 Sd 8.8/10.5 Shots 5/5 And this is the same 357 Mag load but with a WSP. As far as putting that much work into a Cowboy load, I do question my motives at times. Shooting a 18" square target at spitting distance doesn't require very precise ammunition. However, it is somewhat satisfying when my ammo does shoot with a single digit Sd. I don't take it to the extremes though, I don't often clean primer pockets and I just drop my charges straight out of my Accumeasure into the case, I do not weigh each charge, not even for testing. I'm no Ken Waters. On the other hand, I do prime each case on my RCBS Lachmiller bench priming tool. BB
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