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"Big Boston"

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  1. I have a '66 and a '73, 38 Spl and 357 Mag. Most of what I've experienced has been covered in the above posts, may take a bit to sort out the wheat from the chaff. I started with the '66, and it did take a bit of learning. As stated above, the shape and position of the metal is important to feeding. One big difference between the '66 and the '73 is the loading ladle. The feeding in the '66 can be fine tuned with some adjustment to the tab on the ladle, or put another way, if the tab gets bent or mutilated, it can effect feeding. I have the trapper version of the '66, with a 16" barrel. In order to have the magazine capable of holding 10 rounds instead of the rated 9 calls for a bit of fiddling with OAL. I settled on 1.50" as the best compromise. I can run shorter, but as stated above, it does require a bit more effort to push the stack of cartridges back into the tube. I snipped a few coils off the spring to help with that. In your case you are past all those issues before you get the "hitch". You have pushed the stack and you have a cartridge sitting in the carrier ready to be pushed home. The 38 Spl/357 Mag is somewhat handicapped because it is small. IOW, you are pushing a cartridge into a smaller hole (chamber). Your cartridge is smaller but bullet shape and how streamlined the cartridge is becomes a bit more of a factor. Certainly a 44-40 is more forgiving in this area. What I did was use a TC (Truncated Cone) bullet very similar in shape to a typical 9mm 147 gr bullet. I set the OAL to 1.5" and crimp solidly into the body of the bullet. "They" say this will negatively affect accuracy, but I've not noticed that, even out to 250 yards. My chamber on my '66 is loose, I would say near or at max, it feeds smoother than my '73 with it's tighter chamber. My '66 will tolerate a SWC bullet better than my '73 will. I did assume that the carrier has been timed in your '73, this does come into play, as the carrier guides the cartridge into the chamber. The rifle design seems to be better suited to rimless cartridges, just saying. You may want to try moving the carrier up or down a bit to see if that is contributing to your "hitch". A quick check on timing is to see if the bottom of the carrier is flush with the action when the lever is closed/bolt is in battery. This will vary, but most seem to be nearly flush. If you install a short stroke kit, you get to fine tune the timing. BTW, I found that process to be rather tedious. In closing I'll post a picture of my ammo. I use it in my '66 and '73. It also works well in my hipguns, but I use a WC in those, as that load shoots to the sights in my guns. BB
  2. I was shooting a '94 Winchester, and used 200 gr lead. 9.5 gr of Unique is a good consistent load. Under that it gets a bit more position sensitive than I like. At, or a bit below 7.5 accuracy goes for a poop. At 6.6 if you don't raise the muzzle and settle the powder against the primer, it's not accurate. I suppose, if one was so inclined, a bit of dacron would work. I'm not a fan of filler loads. I settled on Red Dot, about 5.5 gr gives good accuracy. Blast plate, not in my vocabulary, I'll have to search that up. BB
  3. I'm puzzled: I do have to ask, what die are you using? I used a Lyman T-Mag press and LEE dies for 44-40. IIRC I also had a set of Redding. I lightly lubed my cases and after a few hundred, the die was seasoned and I didn't lube any more, unless it "felt" a bit off, and I'd lube about 5 and then back to treating it like a carbide die. I found 44-40 an easy caliber to load for, once the process was sorted. Ken Waters had issues with the 44-40, his dies were sizing the brass too small in the neck and shoulders, he bought a new die and things were golden. Caveat: 44-40 brass is thin, every so often alignment would be off a bit and the case would be crushed.
  4. I'm not in charge of the targets, but the surfaces are as rough as a cheese grater. I thought it was just cratering, but built up lead would be a better guess. i suppose after a while the surface gets coated and the new pellets cannot splatter because of the cushioning effect of the build-up, or ??? BB
  5. I don't particularly like it when the targets shoot back, and I don't think anyone else does either. Other discussions on this topic have focused on the target, and the theory of steel targets, I'd like to ask about shot size, does it make a difference. IOW: Does larger shot tend to ricochet more or less than smaller shot. Does hard lead shot ricochet more or less than soft low antimony shot? The rules are: #4 lead birdshot or smaller, so the choice is fairly broad. #4, #5, #6, #7 1/2, #8 or #9 are readily available choices. BB
  6. Perhaps a bit redundant, but I'd like to add my vote for a Miroku/Winchester. I started with a Uberti (Cimarron) '66, and did install a short (not super short) kit and aluminum carrier to get it to run to the point that it "felt" good to me. As a back-up I bought a Miroku/Winchester '73 and other than removing the covers, checking the workings and adding a bit of lube, I run it as it came, save the odd adjustment to the hammer spring. I prefer the feel of it to the '66, and it is my go to now. The '66 is in 38 Special and the '73 is in 357. I run the same 38 ammo in either. I did not have a lever rifle for Wild Bunch, and to that end I bought a Uberti in 45 Colt. This last Sunday I used it for CAS, my first match with it, and it works well. It was used, but is basically stock. Of these 2 '73's, I'd give a slight nod to the Miroku. If your end game was to have it slicked and mod'd to the nines, way more kits and such available for the Uberti. I'm still at the leading edge of the learning curve on the toggle link lever guns, but I've realized that there are lots of little tweaks that can make it run better. Unfortunately lot of them involve removing metal that cannot easily be put back on if things go south. '73's come in different flavors, and calibers. My preferences or features I prefer are the crescent shaped butt as it stays put on my shoulder better, no more than a 20" barrel, and for my rear sight I like the original Winchester Carbine ladder sight with a V notch. Caveat: If your caliber choice is 44-40 or 45 Colt instead of 38/357, I'd suggest an Uberti. Uberti's are made to CIP bore/groove/twist specs, and the Miroku's are made to something like SAAMI or the Japanese equivalent. For 38/357, all the spec's are the same (basically), and the bore/groove/twist is pretty much as it should be, no matter who makes it. In 45 Colt this gets a bit convoluted, and I prefer the CIP specs, Cimarron lists these as .442/450/1:16". (bore/groove/twist). Miroku specs are a bit hard to nail down, they have 45 Colt numbers like 1:26" and 1:18 3/4" depending on the model ???? BTW, Winchester did not return my customer service request. In 44-40 they are at 1:36, which IMHO is a bit slower than desired for slow lead. I've owned a 44-40 Rossi and have a 44 Mag Rossi both had a 1:20 twist and it was a breeze to load for either. My slower twist 44's, not so much. Rossi rifle have other issues, I'd avoid them. By far the worst in the big bores are the Marlin 1894's, oversized bores, shallow "Ballard looking" grooves, and a twist rate better suited to muzzle loaders shooting round balls. I will not own another Marlin 1894 in 44 mag, one was enough. BB
  7. Remington 2 1/2 LP primers have worked well for me. My chrono numbers seem to indicate they give consistent and reliable ignition. My testing has taught me that there is no magic primer that works with every combo, not in the real world. Caveat: If you size the flash hole to match the primer, then the magic happens. I've experimented with this, and it works, but it also opens up an avenue to another bunch of unknowns, and I leave the flash holes alone, except for uniforming and deburring, sometimes. If primers go green, expect some flash hole changes. I've oft times been intrigued with the workings of Berdan primers, and with those 2 small holes, well it's a puzzler. Once overheard a conversation about using a square flash hole, to counteract the venturi spin effect. I just finished my beer and left. I knew they were taking it too far, a triangular flash hole is the ideal shape, just too hard to manufacture and the sharp corners create a stress riser. I knew I was right, just not in a fighting mood that night. They (2 1/2 LP) are fairly versatile, work well in a number of calibers. I load 45 Auto, 45 LC, 44 Mag/Spl., and 44-40. Especially friendly with Trail Boss.
  8. The SBH hammer can be installed without any modifications, it will function as it's supposed to, but it does not "fit". The SBH hammer will not fill the gap between the ears. The New Vaquero hammer is bigger than the BH and SBH hammer in that dimension. A New Vaquero hammer, either one, cannot be installed in a BH or SBH without some grinding in that area. It may be semantics, but that gap is not a "fit". I installed a New Vaquero hammer into my BH, it took some "fitting" before installation was possible. From left to right; NV hammer, BH hammer, SBH hammer. FWIW: the Bisley hammer is even larger in that area. I've attempted to keep the L to R consistent, Ruger BH hammer, Ruger New Vaquero Hammer, Ruger Super Blackhawk hammer, New Vaquero SASS (Montado) hammer. In the rounded area the New Vaquero is app. 0.040" larger in radius than the BH and SBH hammers. BB
  9. My bad, worried about lighting and balancing the shells on something, and I put them in backwards. Refreshing to see that my posts are read. Here is the way the cartridges actually sit in the gun when the lever is at the bottom of the stroke. It sorta illustrates why a large flat meplat is something you want. BB
  10. There's factories that make ammo! I like to test fire my guns the day before a match. I had a FTF and didn't want to spend a whole lot of time on troubleshooting. I just put in heavier springs that evening and and went to the shoot the next day. The previous owner was a believer in lots of grease, I think I saw a bit of something?? stuck under the transfer bar. I had noticed that some of the primers from the previous meet had very light strikes. I did not have any FTF during that match. All my brass goes into 1 bucket, so I didn't know which firearm was the culprit. I was just happy to have found the problem gun before it caused me grief in competition. BTW, not all my loads use the same primer, but the load I was using for the hipguns has F100 primers. If it wont light off a F100, not much use testing with a factory round. When I removed the springs, one spring was shorter than the other, may be defective, collapsed. I have no way of knowing whether it is stock or aftermarket or the rated #'s. The other gun gave me grief at the previous match, jammed up after the first shot and that was it. I just put it on the table and continued. The RO brought it to the unloading table and put it down, it was free. I think this pair had a few COVID gremlins, so I'll be soaking them in chloroquine overnight. BB
  11. In my Ruger Blackhawks I usually just install the Wolff kit with a 19# hammer spring and 40 oz trigger spring and call it a day. I've become accustomed to this combination. Not super light but smooth and all brands of primers go bang. I own a pair of SASS New Vaqueros, which I purchased used, and I was going to install the same kit. I don't know what springs are in them now, but I'm getting light strikes and missfires on one, so I'll be changing springs. In the mean time I just slipped in a set of stock Blackhawk springs, no more light strikes but perhaps a bit stiff. I also own a New Vaquero that has the lock, and it uses a different length spring. First question: Of the 3 spring options for the locking model, 14#, 15# and 16# which is closest match to the operation of the 19# in the New Vaqueros without the lock? Second question: What spring combination is stock in the SASS New Vaqueros, is it the same as the stock BH? Any suggestions, what spring combinations are working for you in either model. BB
  12. If I were to answer the original question, "My manuals say 1.59". Has anyone found a more optimum length for CAS (I'm loading for new vaqueros & uberti 1873)." My answer would be, no, 1.59" is about as optimum as you can get, in theory. As stated above by a d texaz; "As explained to me, the closer you get to the SAMMI OAL of the 44-40 cartridge the better the rifle works!" And for 44-40, the SAAMI length is from 1.540" to 1.590". And for 44-40, with it's limited bullet option, crimping in the groove will usually yield a OAL within SAAMI specs. The carrier on a '73 is 1.60" long, and any ammunition longer than that will not run. This is the carrier of my '66, the '73 is the same. The round cutout at the back of the carrier is what pushes the next cartridge back into the magazine. As the cartridge OAL gets shorter than 1.6" the more the remaining 9 cartridges in the magazine tube have to be pushed back. At around 1.4" OAL the works stop working, the carrier can't push the remaining cartridges back. There is not enough ramp available to push. With 38 Spl and 357 rifles you have the added issue with the rather large diameter magazine tube and cartridges get a bit cocked and crooked. My cartridges are loaded to 1.5" OAL, and as you can see the push back is minimal. If you load to 1.6" the clearance is not enough for the odd cocked round, and the carrier will probably jam. I think it's best if the cartridge has a bit of wiggle room, and can flop around a bit. I shoot a 1966 Cimarron Trapper Carbine, and in the short 16" magazine, the maximum I can load cartridges to is 1.5" and still get 10 in the magazine. That gives me about 0.100" of pushback and the rifle will probably run faster than I'm capable of. I see no advantage to loading cartridges as short as possible, and pushing 9 cartridges back 0.200" for the first lever, pushing 8 back on the second and so on. You end up pushing a total of 45 cartridges 9 inches in total, if my math is correct. Shorten them by 0.100" and you push them half as far, only 4.5". Very important to feeding is making sure your crimp passes the fingernail test, IOW the edge of the shell cannot stick past the edge of the bullet, to ensure optimum feeding. As you can see my bullets do not have a crimp groove, I use a LEE Carbide Factory Crimp die to force the brass into the bullet, without any bulging. In a revolver, OAL will not be a factor, if it will work in your '73, it will work in your revolver, as stated already.
  13. I wish they would bring that out again, perfect for 38 LC. BB
  14. I have a Cimarron '66 in 38 Special. My cases come out expanded a fair amount. I am a bit puzzled at your brass not expanding. Mine come out 0.381". The chamber is big, about 0.384". I had a bit of an issue getting a load that would not leak soot, without getting too much velocity. Not all brass is the same, but as a rule it takes about a 10,000 psi load to expand the brass to seal. It doesn't help that most of us are working the lever before the bullet leaves the barrel. The 44-40 was designed for rifle, it has very thin brass neck and sealing is not an issue even at lowish velocities. I just bought another 73, this one in 45LC (and yes that is exactly what is stamped on the barrel), and I'm looking forward to developing a load for it. It will be my Wild Bunch rifle, if I ever finish getting kit for that game. Trail Boss works at a relatively high pressure to give you a relatively slow velocity. This can work for you in certain instances. My load is with a 146 gr bullet and the velocity is app 950 fps. I'm using up a stash of 452AA, so my exact data isn't too useful to anyone else. Truthfully I used up all my 452AA and had to buy another keg, which just got delivered this week. Still had 9.5#'s in it, should last me a long time as I only use it in my rifle load now. I run my bore snake through it after every match, clean enough for the cowboys I shoot with. BB
  15. So true, soon after buying a basket case 97 and one that would not take down I realized what was going on. 


    "................ I can't tell you how many 1897's I've seen for sale at Gun shows with the mag tube in upside down. I've been allowed to fix a lot of them for the owners, in just 10 minutes with my Swiss Army Knife and they've been very thankful. Some just don't care and say NO, it'll sell anyway.


    You can't believe how much easier it is to take down and put together a proper '97 with everything right. No forcing of parts and it works so much better. I was wondering if your Mag tube was in correctly, or upside down. The little piece of Metal with the 2 small screws holding it on the tube in front of the wood should always be under the barrel, not on the bottom when assembled. The later ones had a pushed up bump instead of the screwed one on the tube...again under the barrel, not on the bottom. That way the interrupted threads can line up with the ones in the receiver correctly. Just sayin'"


    I couldn't have said it any better. That and putting the ring in backwards. Also found one where the nimrod filled off most of the nub on the ring, so it would work, yikes.


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