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"Big Boston"

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  1. I hates BP, but I agree with GJ on this one, for the reasons he stated, and the reputation of the Iver Johnson top breaks. I believe that if I were loading for an IJ top break, it would be with only with BP. A young shooter at our club has an antique top break, and loads only BP, and it just keeps on running, meet after meet. BP and a light(ish) bullet cast of soft(ish) lead.
  2. There are a few powders made specifically for high velocity loads that are within the pressure limits of the cartridge. IOW, if you need to gain some velocity over your normal load, you can switch to a powder like CFE Pistol, or Power Pistol (Alliant) and gain velocity. It is a high energy powder. Even if you were to move up to a 158 gr bullet, a minimum load would just barely be slow enough to be legal. If CFE Pistol is anything like HS-6, lowering the pressure will get you a lot of unburned powder, and if your bullet pull and crimp are not up there, erratic ignition will result. You could try loading below min recommended, but you should be chronographing your loads. Start with a min load to get a base line. However, be prepared to clean lead from your barrel, I've not been able to avail leading at near 1000 fps, YMMV. BTW, the CFE part of the name stands for Copper Fouling Eliminator, IOW there is tin in the powder to help reduce, or eliminate, copper fouling from jacketed bullets. Not that I want to rain on your parade, but I've invariably had better results loading a heavier bullet, 140 to 158 grains. It's easier to find a load that will shoot to the sights, have a low(ish) velocity (under 800 fps, closer to 700 fps). That being said, I've chronographed loads for other cowboys, and they had loads that were relatively consistent and low(ish) in velocity. One was a Bullseye load, the other with 700X. Those powders are Fast. I helped develop the 700X load for the cowboy, prior to his buying the 700X powder. (He had run out of Trail Boss.) Why 700X, mainly because it was available, and back in the day it was a popular all around pistol and light shotgun powder. It can be used for subsonic shotgun loads as well. But mostly because it was available. I see from the box that your bullets are Hi-Tek coated, and that is an advantage. Perhaps not era correct, but a good choice. Given the present situation, selling your CFE Pistol, or trading it for a faster powder is likely possible. IMHO you will not be happy with your ammo if you decide to use the CFE Pistol. Most of my reduced loads with slow pistol powders haven't worked well. Getting more popular is getting cowboy pistols in 9mm Luger. A reduced load (under book min) would likely work in that. I load a 357 dia bullet in my 9mm Vaquero, it works. I didn't use CFE Pistol though. But the larger bullet worked well. From what I could tell, it may be hard to find a 9mm combo that wouldn't work. IMHO, if I were able to buy a new cowboy revolver, it would be 9mm. Cheap brass, cheap on powder and not fussy on the bullet. Canada has banned the sale of handguns. BB
  3. I apologize if I missed the the Country of Origin or manufacturer. The hit or miss quality of some imports annoys me. And yes, a lot slicker than the two I seen used. And one of those was a Coyote Capp. I'll have to get one. I started with a 1897, and added a few more of those, a SxS and a single shot. As far as fun, the single shot is the winner. The SxS is not fun, it's a skill gun IMHO. But I can see myself finishing a stage with the 87 and saying "I'll be back". On my bucket list is to develop a buckshot load, cowboy power to fool with. Yes, I'm well aware it is not allowed, but heck, it would be fun. My idea is for a 6 pellet load at subsonic speeds, if that is possible. BB
  4. I have a Smoke Wagon, and I believe mechanically it is the same as a El Patron, IOW it has the retractile safety. But as you have stated, that part of the mechanism doesn't seem to be the issue as you have a solid firing pin strike on the brass. My Smoke Wagon was procured used, so my issues may have been induced after the firearm left the factory, but it may also be indicative of the quality standards to which they are built. But just like back in the day, gunsmiths were a necessity to keep, or get a handgun working properly. I see that the Pettifogger files have been mentioned. Those files were at the core of my resource information. I also found some information on SAA timing to compliment the Pettifogger files. You've already had it apart and have changed springs, so you know your way around the parts. Before checking the operation, the parts inside should be clean and lubed. On my SW I ended up buying a new hand and I also changed the retractile firing pin pieces. They may have been OK, but the RFP didn't seem to be working correctly. On to the clicks. I check the clicks with a smooth and very slow pulling back of the trigger. The fist click is the half cock, if the ejector rod is working correctly, and the chamber is in the center of the loading gate slot, that's probably not an issue. The second click drops the bolt into the ramp area of the notch. This drop is usually at the point where the ramp just begins. The third or last click is the hammer dropping into the sear notch. This last click should occur concurrent with the bolt locking the cylinder. On mine, the cylinder had not turned enough and the bolt was not in battery with the hammer in the sear. This does require a very smooth and slow pull on the hammer and you need to stop just as the trigger drops into the sear notch. My hand had some timing adjustment marks, so I replaced it to get back to as close to as issued as I could. Sorry, not real technical but basically that will confirm if the timing is within normal operating parameters or not. To be thorough, check all six. My other experience with these was mostly undoing "adjustments" that the previous owners had experimented with. Sometimes guns are sold because they have flaws, and not all the flaws were there from the factory. I'd like to add that it's been my experience that new parts from Uberti are built precise enough that no fine tuning is needed. I'm old school, get the operation correct, and let normal use slick itself. My gunsmith paygrade isn't very high, my slicking skills stop at removing the odd burr, smoothing the odd friction point and making sure the guns guts are clean and lubricated. There is a whole bunch of experience that frequents this forum, and a lot of problem solvers as well, posting pictures will let other eyes see the parts. BB
  5. I have a Uberti 66 in 38 Spl. I have an aluminum carrier and a standard short stroke kit in it. I used all PGW parts and followed their information for modifications. It was a learning process as this was my first toggle link rifle. I had issues, broke a ladle and had some feeding issues. After working on it for the first year or two it has given me very little trouble. It's a bit intimidating at first, but if you have a bit of gun work experience, it can be a DIY project. The tools needed list isn't too long. In addition I have a 16" barrel and I trimmed the spring to get it to load 10. Filing and sanding off brass was a bit worrisome at first, but the PGW info is good. I started with one '66, and have added a few more '73s. All the Ubertis needed some TLC and most had minor flaws that needed attention. I'm in Canada, getting parts isn't easy, but Taylors sure helped. I've ordered several times and their customer service is decent. Even when mistakes were made, by me mostly, problems were solved without undue hardship. Their old website was better, their present site is convoluted, that's my way of politely saying it's crap. BB
  6. Blasting with baking soda is probably the direction I'd go. I've blasted vintage snowmobile parts and they come out looking real nice. BB
  7. I'll assume that the 30-30 barrel is good, and this is just a project. Back in Winchester 94 Commemorative days they made some in 44-40. I owned and used one for shooting cowboy when I started. It may not be the fastest action, but honestly my speed with it allowed me to run in the middle of the pack. I'm still running in the middle of the pack now, even with better kit. Sometimes it's not the kit, ............. The Commemorative series was post '64, and lots of the parts were MIM, a metal powder and glue mix meant for making kitchen utensils. The rifle was a loaner and I could tell after a few matches that the rifle was starting to eat itself. I had greased and oiled it at all the wear points, polished any burr I could find, but it was getting worn out fast. Out of respect for the owner I stopped using it before it was trash. I do have a comment on the design, to make feeding reliable the engineers came up with a folded metal part to make a long action work with a short cartridge. I think that one factor would make me abandon such a project. Sounds like you don't have a need for a 30-30, perhaps selling it and moving on would be a better decision. However, a rebarrel to 38-55 is another matter entirely. With a rebarrel, or rebore, you have some control over the bore/groove dimensions and can have a tailored chamber reamed. Win/Win. I've owned a Commemorative in 38-55, the MIM job was much better than the 44-40 and it was a good rifle all around. I got to appreciate the caliber. The other one was not as good. The action was clunky and it wouldn't shoot the ammo that worked well in the other one. I'm no Winchester expert, but it's been my experience that most of the pre 64 Winchester 94s were good, unless abused or worn out. After '64 up until Miroku began making them, some of those were OK, but a lot were poorly made with some dodgy metal. I have a '73 in 38/357, made by Miroku, that IMHO is a well made rifle. In conclusion, 45 Colt rebarrel is possible, but you may not be happy with it. Converting to 38-55 is possible and likely fairly common. However, 38-55 recoils a fair bit more than a 30-30, and even at BP velocities tends to kick you about a bit. A 30-30 shooting cast at 1400 to 1700 fps is fun, a 38-55 at those same velocities, less fun, more of a job. If I were to go 38-55 again, I think I'd like a heavier barrel, octagon, and a bit longer barrel as well, 24" min. A 20' round barrel carbine is a beast in 38-55. However, I'm not a real fan of having a rifle hurt me, I don't own a lever in 45-70. BB
  8. Do what I do, close both your eyes just as you pull the trigger. I shoot smokeless and I only have one handgun that I'll see the flash on. It's a Mason-Richards 51 in 38 LC/38 Spl. I'm thinking that the long barrel has something to do with it, and the gap. Partially it's a matter of timing, IOW, the the burning rate of the powder and when and where along the barrel peak burning and pressure occur. I also suspect it has a bit to do with the nitroglycerine content of the powder. I don't see it all the time, but fairly often. You see it with BP as it burns for a long time, well past the muzzle. I'm thinking that for our game, the gap isn't all that critical. Mine run from about 0.003" to about 0.017". I'm more concerned with the rotation or wiggle in the cylinder when locked. That seems to give you the odd flyer. If you look at some of the guns from the real west, they were worn and sloppy. I think the Italians cloned a few of those. BB
  9. I've been known to overthink issues and think a bit outside the box. The one load for several guns is a good concept, but sometimes you end up with rifle ammo and pistol ammo, and even ammo for one errant pistol or rifle. Sometimes that's just the way it is unless you are willing to unless you can live with the the compromises. With a polymer bullet you can tolerate a bit undersize, I would tend to check the groove diameters on all you 45 Colts, and size to that diameter. I just send the bullets through a LEE sizer, either style, and carry on. In a cowboy pistol, a slightly undersize bullet is easier on the cylinder. However, there is a limit, you have not given us the throat diameter or groove diameters of your pistol. If your 454 bullet is already undersize for the throats and groove, going smaller likely won't be an option. I've had instances where the rifle has the larger bullet requirement, and because a rifle will tolerate and undersize bullet easier than a pistol will, i just sized for the pistol. In your scenario, you may not be able to go smaller for the pistol. In which case, to shoot the same ammo in both, you will end up being oversize in the rifle. And like it has been stated, that will raise the pressure slightly, but at our normal loadings, it won't be anywhere close to max. I'd check the rifle chamber, take a fired case, and bell it, (no sizing or anything) and see if a 454 bullet drops into the case like it is supposed to. Or if it takes pressure to seat the bullet. Ideal is loose for our game. In addition, I usually take fired cases and see if they slip into all my chambers. I want to know if I have a gun with anomalies that I'll need to pay attention to. Most of my 45 colt stuff is loose, and my handguns are all made for 451 - 452 bullets. I have issues with my 44-40, every gun I own in 44-40 is different. and the 44-40 being a bottleneck cartridge, the shoulder isn't in a consistent location either. I set the shoulder back about 010 to 020 from the shortest chamber. Fortunately the 44-40s shoulder location being back further than needed is only a minor ballistic crime, something I don't loose much sleep over. Just the nature of the beast. BB
  10. Just before the 2023 season started I bought a '51 Mason Richards by Uberti. A nice looking gun and it handles nicely as well. I like it so much I probably used it more often than any of my other guns. I have the long barrel, is chambered in 38 LC/38 Spl and I like it in the cross draw. Mine came in assembled kit form, as do most. I referred to the Pettifogger files more than once to get the old girl running. I needed a few parts and some advice as well. I like the customer service that Taylors provided me. They do have a rather annoying feature. The ejector rod lines up with the cylinder before the half cock stop. if you go to the stop, the rod misses the chamber mouth. No, not a defect, that is the way they came back in the day, and the new ones do as well. Mine was in horrible shape, test fired once and stored dirty for about 20 years. The barrel is pitted from the forcing cone in for about 3/8 of an inch. In addition the timing was off, and I needed some parts to fix that. I also moved the barrel back to take up some of the slop. IIRC I also replaced or tuned up the firing pin (pierced primers). The new ones are probably better, I can't see them being any worse. I also worked on the main spring, too heavy. It would drive the firing pin through the primer every time. WSP and CCI SP. If you will eventually sell your guns, clean them. It's OK to run them hard, but please do not put them away wet/dirty. If you are fussy and like perfect guns, don't buy one. They run just fine loose and sloppy. I have a '66 for a rifle, and my '97 just seems out of period, so I broke down and bought a SxS. I'm no purist, but shooting a '97 for a shotgun when my other guns are 73s or older just didn't seem right. BB
  11. I does seem like this has become a show and shine post. The original Ruger Vaquero was replaced with the New Model Vaquero circa 2005. 2025 will be the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the New Model Vaquero, and 20 years since the last of the originals rolled out of the factory. I've sold most of mine, I honestly find them a bit big in the hand, but they are built rugged and strong. I kept one in 45 Colt, one in 44 Mag and one in 44-40. I don't use them often.
  12. Sounds like an interesting category. Several years back mentioned it at our club but pretty much got boo'd off the range. Yo me it's a "run what you brung" or "bring what you have" category. I'm thinking that if you don't already own a Cody/Dixon compliant rifle, it may not even be a game of interest, unless you are young, which I am not. I only own one 30-30 lever gun, a Bat Masterson Winchester 94 Commemorative, and that is what I'd use. The Commemorative Winchesters can, or at least they were pretty cheap to buy. That's a plus, but lots of them were made like poo or the metal was poo, some were decent. The Winchester Commemoratives all had decent barrels, with six deep wide grooves, and a 0.300 bore diameter. Those are probably typical Winchester dimensions. I don't foresee any issues shooting cast. But if the target was out at 150 yards, I'd need it to be a buffalo sized one. I'm more of a 50 yard 30-30 cowboy. I'd want a 24" octagon barrel for the 150 yard stuff. Yes, I do need to practice, but without a 30-30 class to compete in locally, not much incentive. I have a two 311041 double cavity molds and I'd cast a bit hard so I could ring the target, if I hit it. I've loaded it with various powders, it doesn't seem to be too fussy, just a matter of picking a velocity. I am a bit confused about the duplex loads accepted, what would a typical duplex load consist off? BB
  13. Mine came to me in pre-assembled kit form, not unique to Stoeger, seems to be what you get nowadays. It`s hard to kick old habits to the curb, I pattern my shotguns and was happy to find that the test fired only Stoeger was a deluxe and came with chokes installed. The chokes that Stoeger uses are available for a reasonable price from the Stoeger Distributor in Canada. The chokes they sell are labeled IGA Choke. According to my research they are made to the WinChoke specs. I ordered the choke wrench as well, the one that should have come with mine, didn`t. For our game both chokes can and probably should be the same, and after testing it didn`t come as much of a surprise, that the Cyl choke ended up in both barrels. My Stoeger is a 20 ga and I load up a light target load, 3/4 oz @ 1150 fps. Not a powerhouse load, but it will break clays up to 30 yards. The pattern gets a bit thin out at that distance, a step up to the Imp Cyl would help, but 30 yards is about the limit for the small shot (7 1/2) anyways. It is a decent enough coach gun, certainly not a fine British SxS, It's a bit thick in the wrist area, and the front lumber is big as well. Precisely what would have been desired for riding in the drivers box of a stagecoach. My only mod was to remove the auto safety feature. I've not used it in a match yet, but I don't see why it wouldn't work well.
  14. IIRC, when the Murom Primer factory was built, a large American corporation had a big hand in the project. The tools and machinery rivalled any primer factory in the world. F Class shooters experimented with and used them regularly for a time. The quality on the product is very much dependent on the worker. Bad workmanship is a real possibility, but may be limited to batches or if the QC department is lax, it may be a characteristic of the product on a wide spread scale. When I work out a load, I chronograph the ammo with powder forward (against the bullet) and powder rearward (against the primer). Primers from different manufacturers do vary in brisance. When I substitute another primer, I repeat the chronograph tests. It's not unusual to find that the substituted primer is not the same for powder position and that the average velocity may be higher or lower. You did not indicate that you had any change in velocity or any issues with powder position that you were not experiencing with your usual primer. I have a box of S&B primers that I tested. They were a lot milder than my usual primer. I save them for loads that don't need high brisance to function properly. IIRC I load them in my 9mm cowboy ammo, after all a 1.9 gr charge of Clays doesn't need much of a primer to function. With the primer shortage I've bought a few thousand stale primers. Stale as compared to fresh primers from the store with a batch number that is at most a year or two old. Pretty hard to complain about a primer that was made over 10 years ago and may have been stored in some obscure location. Do you have any idea how old your Murom primers are? BB
  15. Like you have stated; the indexing prongs are leaving the marks. The marks don't affect performance, and they don't seem to decrease longevity, but they are unsightly. The MEC loaders are a pretty decent tool, and they are not fussy on adjustment. A MEC will accommodate a variety of hulls without any need for re-adjustment. I think this is the reason very few MEC shotshell reloaders spend much time fine tuning the adjustments. I recently began reloading my shotgun ammo again, the availability and cost of factory was starting to become an issue. I've loaded shotshell for skeet back in the day and kept my old 600 and a pair of Sizemasters. Cowboy ammo has a few more nuances than skeet ammo. For one, the desired crimp should have a bit of a taper to it. a bit more than is needed for skeet or hunting. The MEC adjustments for the crimp are a bit slushy IMO. IOW, you can adjust a bit one way and not see any change and then adjust a bit the other way and only see a subtle change. Just the nature of the beast. To get the crimp I was looking for I went a bit deeper on the plunger and tuned the body of the crimp die for nice(r) taper. But: I did have to adjust the crimp starter up to get it to work. On 1F hulls all you need to do is start the folds, if you had new factory hulls you would need to form the folds, and adjustment would be different. My suggestion; back off the crimp starter, keep backing off until you have issues with the crimp stage. IMO there is no need to start the crimp any more than needed, overstarting will gain you nothing. I backed out my crimp starter several turns. For 12 ga I have a 600 with the old metal crimp start inserts, that system doesn't have the "prongs". The old system is not as simple to adjust, requires adding washers and such, but it will not leave prong marks. For my 20 ga I have a Sizemaster, (I do have Sizemaster dies for 12 ga but I'm so familiar with my 600, I just use it), and my 20 ga. with the plastic crimp starter adjusted for a just enough start, it doesn't leave any prong marks. I backed it off several turns, and the crimps just got better. I had it adjusted a fair bit too aggressively. BB Addendum: https://www.youtube.com/embed/MFdejFuOr-M The only mention i could find for setting the starter crimp amount. At one time someone published a complete manual that covered every adjustment in detail. I was not able to find any reference to it. I just checked my adjustments, my 20 ga is right on the recommendation, 12 ga, not so much, but IMHO, that is all I need for my 12 ga, YMMV.
  16. We're a friendly bunch, no need to have a defiant attitude, but I agree. The female anatomy adds a wrinkle to the shotgun fit equation, and recoil, or how it affects your shooting needs to be right to mitigate the recoil. The load is important as well. I just began loading cowboy shotgun ammo and for me a load that is subsonic will "feel" milder than one that is supersonic. My WAG on why that is, probably every pellet breaks the sound barrier and the resultant sonic booms push back on the shotgun. My 12 ga load comes out at 1100 fps, is a 1 oz. load, and in my under 6 pound single shot, it is very manageable. Caveat: I'm 5'10 and 240# but have the tolerance for recoil of a 5' 0" 98# weakling. I don't see many single shot shotguns being used, but IMHO, I think it would be a good choice for the recoil sensitive shooter. First, it is easier to tune as far as LOP, drop at the comb and cast (on or off). The spent shells are ejected so no funky movements required to eject hulls. I left the barrel a bit long to get the balance right and to keep the pattern a bit better. I'd suggest starting at 24". I could have added a recoil pad, but in reality the stock barely touches my shoulder at the pull of the trigger. I'm a bit opinionated on the load criteria and the choice of wad. I tend to avoid the leggy 3/4 and 7/8 wads. I settled on a AA wad, and to control the crimp i just put cardboard spaces under the shot. I adjust the crimp so it's a bit deep and the mouth have a decent taper. I would avoid the LEE Load-All, I've used them, owned a few and with every additional one I own and use the distain factor increases. They are not a good tool. For cowboy my suggestion would be a MEC Sizemaster. It uses a collet to reform the base. It doesn't quite get it to SAAMI minimum, but it is close. It also comes with a primer tray feed, a must have IMHO. The AA wad is made for a tapered wall hull like the AA Winchester, and the Remington RXP/Blue Magic and newer SPS. One issue with low charge weights is that the wad has to seat a bit deeper than it was intended to be used. I use about 5# of wad pressure, just enough so i can see the gauge on the MEC move. To check wad fit I remove the hull with powder and wad from the loader, no shot, no crimp. I take a hemostat and pull the wad out. It should take a bit of force but not so much that the wad petal you have pulled on is all beat up. I also note the point at where the top of the wad sits. I then take an unprimed hull and push a wad down into the hull. It should not stop until it is lower than the position it has with powder. The goal is to have a combination that shoots very consistent and does not distort the odd hull and prevent it from ejecting smoothly. I tend to keep the pressure to about half of max, IOW about 6,000 psi. This is enough to seal the chamber, promote clean burning and keep the pattern decent. You wouldn't think that at the distances we shoot a stationary target that pattern would be a factor, but at low velocity and pressure, patterns go south awfully easy. My load will tumble a pigeon up to about 30 yards out. A 24" barrel, open choke with a one ounce load of 7 1/2 shot at 1100 fps (actual chronographed speed) can do that. I tested it twice, both birds tumbled. That load was with Clays, but I'm out of it now, so my next try will be 700X. My old Dupont book has several 1100 fps one ounce loads listed. I do try and use book loads, I've seen and experienced too many funky things when the load data came out of the witches cauldron. BB
  17. I have tried the two die setup, just about exactly like you described. It does improve the symptoms. I just backed out my LEE Carbide sizer to size a wee bit more neck than I needed to hold the bullet. To make it decap I swapped in a Universal pin so it would reach down far enough. In the last stage I used a LEE FCD, (Factory Crimp Die) The FCD doesn't size the body much, just enough for it to be at or a bit under SAAMI Max Cartridge. I used that setup until I found a Redding Dual Carbide. The RDC is just an easier and a bit more fool proof way to go, BUT, in reality the two die set-up worked a bit better as I could control the neck for different bullets. I went with the RDC because I like my ammo to rattle a bit in my handguns. With ammo right at SAAMI Max, they were loose, but not quite rattle loose. The blow by was marginally greater, but well within reason. The advantage of not having seperate rifle and handgun ammo outweighs the slight increase in blow by. There were several comments about the rather dirty burning properties of Trail Boss. My experience was similar. BB
  18. Before spending money on an annealing machine, I'd like a bit of proof. IOW, in my first post I outlined a simple "Sheet of Paper over the Action" test to quantify by comparing blow-by with a new load to blow-by of your regular load. I'd like to see the difference annealing makes. I know how much difference heavier loads, heavier bullets and neck sizing make, but so far nobody has posted any test results or any videos to show how much blow-by can be reduced by annealing. Nor have I seen any test results comparing a 451 or 452 bullet with one that is say 454. I'm thinking that my attempts to mitigate blow by have met with success because most of my brass is new from Starline. Brass age hardens in addition to work hardening. Looking forward to seeing some test result pictures posted. BB
  19. Back in the day I was a fan of the RXP, IMHO the best hull I ever used. However it had a limitation and that was for the bigger hunter loads you sorta ran out of room. But for the 1 1/4 - 1 1/8 - 1 oz it worked well. Blue Magics were rugged, load them many times, but the crimp was always a challenge. The old AAs were a good hull as well. IMHO the hull must have a brass base. But let's not forget the importance of the wad. Often overlooked is the fit of the wad in the hull. A poor fit usually manifests itself with a poor pattern. the other no so subtle side effect of a poor hull to wad match is a distorted hull. Just below the crimp the hull will sometimes bulge when fired and cling to the chamber. The ballistic explanation is a bit above my paygrade, but I do know that the pattern board will tell you something is wrong, and the shell not falling out tells you that as well. If you are in a habit of examining fired wads, there will be some indications there as well. If all is well, you should be able to use the wad for another reload. Plastic hulls are not all made of the same plastic, and not all powders burn the same. When the smooth interior of the hull becomes rough from the hot gasses burning the surface, performance suffers. IOW, patterns and pressure/velocity become inconsistent as well. The important factor for ease of extraction is a consistent and linear pressure curve. Not super critical, or that hard, to select a wad/hull/powder combination as the good zone is fairly broad. For 12 ga in a tapered wall hull I use a AA wad (the white ones) and just put cardboard spacers in the bottom of the cup to get a good crimp. The cup/leg relationship on the AA wad seems pretty good, pretty hard to ruin the pattern. Not that we really need nice patterns for our game, or for that matter a consistent velocity isn't needed to hit the target either, but I think it's important to have a consistent pressure to keep the process working smoothly. It just takes a bit of simple testing and component selection to get a good combination. Things to check: Before you put the shot in, look to see the position of the wad. Then take a decapped hull and push a wad into it by hand to that height and it should push back out easily. ( I use a piece of small dowel, and push up from the primer hole.) I then push it back in and keep pushing until I feel an increase in resistance, that point should be further down in the hull than a wad seated on the powder. Too loose is bad as well, powder will leak past the base of the wad and bloopers will be the result. Not many reloaders use card and fiber wads anymore, but if you're tempted, it's been my experience that they do not work well in a papered wall hull. At the extreme, it can be dangerous. The hard nitro wad wedges against the wall, and pressures go up. I try and keep wad pressure to a minimum, 5 - 10 #, just enough to move the gauge. BB
  20. Almost exactly what we've done at the club I shoot at. Our group is small, this lets the shooters with a 1911 the chance to shoot with the rest of the cowboys. I enjoy it. BB
  21. That is a good idea, versatile little press. Mine cost a bit more, the owner knew what he had. Sometimes it's not what the tool is, it's what you use it for that makes it valuable. BB
  22. I would be interested is the details, pictures if possible.
  23. The concept has intrigued me as well, and to that end I bought a set of 310 tongs and dies for 44-40. It turned out to be a better concept than a reality. Just like the LEE loader, the 310 dies are neck sizing dies. The 310 dies have the advantage of being able to push the shoulder back to whatever is required to chamber. But the sloping sides are left untouched. Not an issue if you have one gun and it has one chamber, not a viable process if you have a pair of revolvers and a rifle that have chambers very different from each other. Although I set the project aside, I didn't abandon it completely. I saw a Harrell press, the one made for loading pistol ammunition. It has an opening of about two inches, more than enough for any of the cowboy ammo I load for. It is an impressively well built little press. It only weighs 4.5 pounds. The linkage has a small amount of cam-over, the ram is drilled completely through and the spent primers are unceremoniously dropped straight down, onto the floor or into a small garbage can. IMO I'd want to use a decapping tool like a FA hand deprimer to keep the crud out of the works.
  24. That pretty much sums up Unique and light 12 ga loads. Yes, it will produce a load that feels light, but it's not really in the zone. I'm no expert, but I have done a bit of research and loaded a few different light loads. One of the issues or nuances of finding a light load is finding data to follow. Not following data puts you in the "Mad Scientist" arena and that can be a bit of a challenge. a good source of data is with the subsonic crowd. Subsonic is as it sounds, the ammunition is below the speed of sound. The speed of sound is dependent on the ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure or altitude. but for arguments sake it's about 1100 fps. When a load is subsonic the ejecta does not break the sound barrier. Therefore at the muzzle, no sonic boom and the accompanying added recoil. Sounds to me like the zone I'd like to be with my loads. Ballistic products, the curmudgeon, is a decent source of data. Now for a bit of ballistic theory as I understand it. A shotgun shell has a maximum operating pressure of about 12,000 psi. Sort of a hold over from the old drams equivalent black powder days, and the fact that is the designed operating pressure of most shotguns. The thing is that by loading down the likelihood of exceeding that pressure are slim. However if the pressure gets too low, the hull will have not seal the off the chamber as it is designed to do, which leads to leakage back into the action and into your face. The other nuance is that lots of powders do not burn clean at lower pressures. Unique, HS6 and several others get real dirty at low(ish) pressures. If you are the personality type that needs a number, my theory is that things start to go south below 6,000 psi. IOW, at below about half pressure, things start to go awry. I have a long list of failures, but one powder that does seem to work well at about 1100 fps is Clays. Unfortunately Clays is probably discontinued. I have about 1/2 cup left, and another powder of interest for me is 700X. The old IMR handout data books have data for 1100 fps and up in 50 fps increments. I just use AA wads, and adjust the wad for the proper crimp by placing cardboard cards in the bottom. One ounce loads are easier to load, in that it is easier to get the proper clean burn and 1100 fps than with 7/8 oz. https://www.ballisticproducts.com/Brochure-Subsonic-Loads/productinfo/00BSUB/ Winchester used to sell Super-Lite powder, specifically for 980 fps loads of 26 grams (.9 oz) of lead shot. WSL is no longer available, although Winchester still sells the loaded ammunition. 00BSUB.pdf BB
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