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"Big Boston"

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Everything posted by "Big Boston"

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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 SAMMIoal 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.
  4. I wish they would bring that out again, perfect for 38 LC. BB
  5. I strive for smooth first. No jerky motion, no panic movement, no spastic antics. It's all about muscle memory and what the memorized sight picture is in your brain. I also try and breath as well. If you hold your breath you'd better shoot fast, if you don't want to pass out. I'll never be fast, but if I stay smooth I can stay in the game as I get old(er) and more arthritic. But then, I shoot so I can have brass to reload. And I shoot Cowboy for the socializing. My par would be about 45 seconds.
  6. 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
  7. I bought this exact model a year ago and I've used it as my main gun. It runs fine. Negative: Minor thing but the front sight is too high. To shoot cowboy loads the elevator in the rear needs to be at the top. The machining on the lifter is a bit rough. Not as nice as my Cimarron '66. It works OK, just looks a bit rough. I don't like the rear sight, much prefer the looks and sight picture of the old style Winchester with the ladder. Positive: The toggle linkage is designed to give you a fairly short stroke right out of the box. I have a PGW Short Kit in my '66 and the Miroku is about the same as it. Feeds like a dream, no mods or polishing required, good right out of the box. No "varnish" on the wood, I apply and rub in a little tung oil every so often as the wood is dry. Bottom line, I like it. Top - 1873 Miroku in 357 Middle - Rossi 92 in 44 mag Bottom - Cimarron 1866 in 38 Special
  8. Of the primers I've used, I've also found that they have the thinnest cup. Also as stated the anvil is up there. The Cheddite shotgun primer is also a bit larger in diameter, hard to seat in new hulls, great for older hulls that have largish primer holes. Unfortunately if your firing pin protrudes a bit more than necessary and/or has a stout hammer spring, the anvil will damage the tip of the firing pin and primers will be pierced. There doesn't seem to be, or I haven't found, a standard for protrusion. I've adopted the following guideline: Maximum protrusion should be no more than 1/16", 0.0626". Given that many shotguns come with a 1/8", 0.125" firing pin this is equal to one radius of protrusion, and an ideal firing pin shape should be a circle with the same 0.0625" radius. That is what I use as a rule of thumb. I'd check firing pin protrusion, shape of the tip and as stated by GJ, check for crud in the channel. A bit of a stretch, but you did imply that you reload your shotgun ammo, are the backs of your hulls still flat with a good rim. IIRC, the primers on the left are Cheddite, and on the right are WW. BB SxS shotguns have a few more issues with firing pins as they are not inline with the shotgun bore. The firing pins strike the primer at an angle. This does promote wear, as does the fact that they are usually short. I've seen some pretty chewed up and dirty examples. Remember, first try and treat the disease, not the symptom.
  9. It does help with fine tuning. IOW, if you load 3/4 oz or less, the pattern gets a bit thin. For light loads I use a skeet choke to tighten the pattern a wee bit. I'm an old cowboy, when I kiss a pig, I prefer if it has lipstick and eye shadow, helps with the mood. It also helps to close your eyes and hold your breath.
  10. Ammo has been referenced, and I'd like to add a bit on that topic. Cartridge length is important, as is bullet shape. ideally the bullet should have a large flat meplat, this helps keep the stack of cartridges straight in the tube, and if the cartridge still in the tube is straight, the carrier has an easier time pushing it back in. Then there is cartridge length, and my preference is to have the cartridge OAL at 1.5" The ammo works better if it is smooth, case mouth crimped into the bullet enough so it passes the fingernail test. On my '66 when my ladle was loose, that was not good. When the tab broke, that was even worse. The lifter arm is fairly easily bent if the action is forced when jammed. This affects timing. A timing quick check is to see if the carrier is flush with the bottom of the action when the lever is closed, next is to load a dummy round and cycle slowly, the rim should not contact any part of the bolt. I like the write-up that Pioneer has on their site; http://www.pioneergunworks.com/technical-info
  11. A 16 ga in an 1897 typically comes with a 2 9/16 chamber, it's worth checking. App SN below 500,000. A roll crimped 2 9/16 is nearly the same for loading as a 2 3/4 fold crimp. Best powder seems to be in the Unique or Universal range. The roll crimper I bought from Russia didn't work for me so I deep sixed the project. Not really the crimpers fault, the "brass" base just turns on the hull body, can't crimp if it doesn't go round and round.
  12. I have an 1897 "C" that I've been resurrecting. The project is progressing and I've been doing a bit of test firing. When I was testing some Challenger Extra light loads I noticed quite a few pierced primers. I like the ammo, so I resolved myself to the fact that I would have to fix the shotgun, make it work with Cheddite primers. I backed down on the hammer spring, then I trimmed a bit off the firing pin tip, and reshaped it as well. I don't know why Winchester 1897 shotguns have firing pins that protrude so far. I researched the subject again, and for the most part 0.050 to 0.055" is the typical spec for most shotguns. Some sources list a minimum of 0.035". I've measured a few 1897's and they all protrude more than 0.050". At around 0.070" the pierced primers stop, so I stopped there as well. I polished the tip and gave it as round of a shape that I could do. I think that because it has to reliably fire when slam firing, Winchester left the firing pins a bit long. I also believe that primers from back in the day were a bit heavier built than todays 209 primers. 97's don't seem to experience light strikes or misfires.
  13. A couple of old 1897 stocks came my way and I used them to practice my wood refinishing "skills". If the butt stock is a trap stock, it should have a black ebony inlay, in the shape of a diamond. (Me doing my Captain Obvious thing). You don't want what you're using to strip the finish to lift that. The gummy surface is old linseed or some kind of wax. I suspect that the stock is oil filled as well. I had a real dirty one, and as per a Midwayusa video, I used Acetone. I recommend it. It does a very good job of removing oil from the wood. Another good tool is a heat gun. Warming up the surface of the wood softens the "gummy stuff" and lets you wipe it off. That would be my first step. If you are lucky, that may be all that is required. I also watched a video where they boiled the stock in water, I've never tried this, sounds like it would work. Bottom line, you don't want to damage the wood. BTW, 100 year old walnut is hard and it will crack and chip if you do something silly. Check for cracks, the wrist area is pretty thin and longitudinal cracks are common. Everyone seems to have their own method of reapplying finish. On the last couple I've used boiled linseed until the pores were filled, and then followed with a coat or two of Tru-Oil. Tung oil may be a better choice for the base coat, I'll be trying it next. There are still some streaks of oil left in the wood, but most has been removed. Several soakings of acetone. Blow out repaired, refinished and back on the shotgun. Another resurrection, brass cross pin in wrist. This one looked more like a piece of firewood than a gun stock. BB Addendum: I found this picture, it shows the diamond, and it shows a crack above it. This is a fairly typical crack, the pinned stock in the picture above had twins, one on each side, and the crack through the trigger cutout.
  14. 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.


  15. When you loaded your Cheddite hulls with Cheddite primers, how many pierced primers did you get? Did you try Federals or CCI primers? I'd also like to know what your firing pin protrusion was. Cheddite primers are about 0.001" larger in dia than a Winchester 209, and on my hulls they fit snug enough, IMO. I was loading a different recipe, it called for a Win 209, but unfortunately that load had other issues. My load that calls for Cheddites is better in that regard. I don't have any loyalty to Cheddite, or their primers, I'll ditch them in a heartbeat, when I get the go ahead from BPI. BB
  16. Thanks, after some more measuring, I too believe they are too thin. About 0.005" thinner than a W209. That's significant. However when I measure Fed 209's, the primer cup is about the same thickness (or thinness) as a Cheddite. Winchester primers are thicker. So it would seem that although thin, a Cheddite primer should not normally pierce. However, a strike by a firing pin at an angle will put the primer cup under more strain. Theoretically, IMHO, if the firing pin is not inline and completely parallel to the bore center line, at least the hemisphere on the tip should be. I had a Zoli 20 ga that pierced primers like a fiend, bottom barrel, and IIRC, the only primer the wouldn't was a Win 209. I also flattened the tip on the lower pin. I gleaned the following information from the "Great Google". Shotgun firing pins are in the neighbourhood of 0.125" (1/8 inch) in diameter. The more common shape of the tip is a true hemisphere. Therefore the tip extends by a distance equal to the radius of the body of the pin, past the full diameter, or 0.0625" (1/16 of an inch). That is also the maximum that they should extend past the face of the breech. The minimum seems to be 0.050". On my 16 ga '97, it extends a bit more than that, around 0.070". I don't like to mess with primer substitution in shotgun shells, so before I swap I'll contact the load data source. BB
  17. My recent project was loading some 16 gauge 2 9/16" ammo for my turn of the century 1897 Winchester shotgun. The hull I was working with was a pre-primed Cheddite, and as such came primed with Cheddite primers. My load data did call for Cheddite primers so all was golden. However, visual inspection of my first test firings showed up some pierced primers. Cheddite primers are a bit thinner in the cup than some other 209 primers, but changing to a different primer would be the same as turning up the radio when the engine in your car starts making noise. To every issue there has to be a root cause, that's just the way life is, My first order of business was to examine the firing pin. The super heated, high velocity of the escaping gases can very quickly erode the tip of a firing pin, gas cutting IOW. Once damaged, the frequency of primer piercing will increase, making the situation worse, until the firing pin will need replacing. First a few pictures: The purpose of the pictures is so I can better describe the entire situation, the what happens. I knocked apart a few fired 209 primers from my spent primer tray, it's entirely possible that none the primers in the picture weren't fired in my '97. They are for the purpose of illustration. It's been my experience that most shotguns have a pretty stout hammer/striker spring. As you can see, the firing pin drives fairly deeply into the primer cup. In fact, it drives the primer cup into the anvil of the primer with enough force that the anvil dents the cup. The anvil, being a bunch pointier than the firing pin actually pierces the cup. Even if the cup can withstand this blow, if the firing pin is long enough and the hammer spring strong enough, the anvil will eventually dint the firing pin. Once dented, the firing pin will eventually start piercing primers, or allow the anvil to pierce the primer, because the firing pin surface will not be smooth anymore. the cup will not be able to stretch evenly over curvature of the primer, it will fracture or tear. My first order of business was to check the tension on the hammer in my '97. In a Winchester '97, the hammer spring tension is adjustable. Not an easy adjustment, as the action needs to be disassembled. The hammer adjustment screw was tightened down snug, so I loosened it. This issue dealt with, it was time to examine the firing pin, more disassembly. The firing pin wasn't very smooth anymore, and it was a bit too pointed IMHO. So, I tuned up the tip of the firing pin as well. 100 years and use will tend to damage a firing pin, instead of being nice and round, they become pointier, and start to resemble the tip of a center punch. I did a bit of searching, and discovered the desired shape of the tip of a firing pin isn't exactly standardized or talked about much on forums. The firing pin that you see on the top of the picture is a picture picked off the interweb, a used firing pin. The tip is no longer smooth and it is starting to get a bit pointed. For illustration, or dramatic effect, the diagram below the firing pin is of a chisel, whose 60° pint is meant to drive through metal, not the shape you'd want for a firing pin. I'm no gunsmith, I've owned a few shotguns, and I have "tuned" up the tip on more than one shotguns firing pin. The quickest fix is to file the firing pin flat on the tip. The lowest diagram illustrates this. This does 2 things, it shortens the firing a bit, but minimally, and it creates a shape that has less of a tendency to drive into the cup. Much like the meplat on a SWC pistol bullet limits penetration in ballistic gel. I first saw this firing pin shape on an expensive Italian shotgun years ago, IIRC. This shape tends to minimize thinning the primer cup area that strikes the anvil. As the cup and anvil contact, there is less force pulling metal away from the contact point. anyways, that's how I see it. Sometimes the amount of damage dictates the best shape. The pointiest I'd go to would be a dome, like the right edge of the red dot below the chisel. Again, IMO, a better shape would be the curve of the white line. Some 209 primers have thicker or "stronger" cups and resist piercing better than others, but all primers have the basic same design for the anvil. I don't know why they have to be so pointy and sharp. Back before I was a pup, some shotgun primers were assembled with a large pistol primers, and the anvil in a pistol primer is rather dull when compared to a shotgun primer. In addition most shotgun firing pins are long(ish), and I suppose this is to compensate for the less than precise shotgun ammo out these. BB
  18. 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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