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Mountain Man Gramps

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    Being Grampa, photography, woodworking, and playing my harmonica. Too much fun!

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  1. Dannyvp, I also weight my rounds as the last step. But I found +/- 2.5 grains of weight variation between good rounds and I was only dropping 3.6 grains of powder. To figure out why I had so much variation, I weighted about 100 each of the bullets and cases. I found the bullets I was using (purchased from Missouri Bullet Company who I think is a good company) could vary by +/- 1.75 grains. And since my cases are reused cases from ammo I purchased before I started reloading, in other words a mix of brands, the case weight variation across my cases was about +/- 2.0 grains. In other words, if I didn't drop powder in a round with a heavy bullet and case, I won't catch it using a weight test. All this lead me to the conclusion that a final weight check to make sure I caught squibs isn't reliable. That's why I don't load without a RCBS powder stop. BTW, I load .38 special and .357 magnum. On the other hand, if you reload using only one brand of brass, my biggest variable, you'll probably be okay. As I use up my initial store of brass, I'm going to replace it with only Starline brass.
  2. As I'm sure you've discovered by now that there is more than one correct answer to most questions about reloading. But one thing I swear by is to have a powder check die in whatever combination of dies I end up using. Why? Mistakes happen when you're distracted and there is a lot going on in a progressive press to distract you just long enough to pass an uncharged or double charged case on to the seater. And the resulting squib during a match is frustrating and embarassing! I've tried the Hornady and RCBS powder check dies and swear by the RCBS. In fact, they call it a powder LOCK die. It doesn't just check, it locks up your press if you double charge or don't charge a round. It's caught me more than once no matter how careful I am. The Dillon powder check die squeals at you and some of reviewers said it was annoying. But the big thing to me is that the Dillon also doesn't lock the press preventing further motion until you correct the condition. To my knowledge, only the RCBS does that. The RCBS powder lock die is invisible until you make a mistake and then makes you fix the mistake before you can proceed. I like that. Just my two cents...
  3. PaleWolf, thank you for the clarification. I was trying to use the currently available Shooters Handbook, dated 1/2019, to figure this out. When you said the decision was handed down 1/2018, I was trying to find it in the current version. Thanks for the link to the official announcement. I missed that little red tag the first time I read it! I guess the bottom line is the little red flag trumps the Handbook. But it really would be helpful for newbies like me trying to understand this game if the Handbook was updated in a more timely manner.
  4. By way of perspective, I started this topic with the question of whether the Henry could be used in side matches since it was not a replica of an 1800's rifle. Since the Plainsman category requires "a SASS legal single shot rifle firing a traditional blackpowder rifle or revolver caliber cartridge", the Henry is not legal for Plainsman (not a replica or original 1800's rifle, therefore not SASS-legal). Under the Single Shot and Buffalo Single Shot, the rules say " Single Shot and Buffalo Single Shot firearms must be originals or replicas of single shot rifles manufactured during the period from approximately 1860 until 1899." Therefore the Henry is not legal in these categories either. The optical category states "The Optical Category firearms must meet the above restrictions with the following optical rules" that apply to optics. Therefore the Henry is not legal here. The Henry is not a lever action rifle, so it not legal in either lever action category. The only category it qualifies is the Open category since the rules state this category " may be used at the match director’s option to include those firearms not covered by other official Long Range Categories." I did not catch this when I first read the rules, but the Open category is a catch-all category for everything disqualified in the other categories. Therefore, the answer to my original question is that the Henry Single Shot Rifle is legal in only the Long Range Open category. (Sorry for the inconsistent fonts. Crazy editor!)
  5. Since Long Range/Precision side matches have 5 categories, plus the optional sixth “Open” category, would you not have 2 legitimate winners, one in each of two categories? The Henry shooter would not be able to enter any category except Open.
  6. Yul Lose, How can I resist that invitation! Shall do. BTW, if you need an assistant for the BBQ, I'm available.
  7. I'm looking for an inexpensive way to get into Long Range Rifle shooting and came across the Henry Single Shot Rifle. It is a break action single shot rifle available in .45-70 and sells for about $400 new. When I asked Henry's customer service if the rifle was patterned after any rifle of 1800's vintage, they said no. They said it is a modern design break action rifle. The SASS Shooter's Handbook page 31 says, among other things, " Single Shot and Buffalo Single Shot firearms must be originals or replicas of single shot rifles manufactured during the period from approximately 1860 until 1899", which would disqualify this rifle. But then the Handbook also says there is an open category which is defined as, " Open Category (may be used at the match director’s option to include those firearms not covered by other official Long Range Categories). (Page 30). So if I am reading this correctly, the Henry Single Shot Rifle would qualify for SASS long range competitions, but only in the open category. Am I interpreting this correctly? Before I consider dropping any more $$$, I thought double checking would be a good idea. My dream rifle is the Pedersoli Sharps Long Range 1874 Rifle 45-70 Government. But that is a $1900 gun. The Henry would be a way to get started and later trade up.
  8. That cart belongs in the Smithsonian! But fortunately it will be well used!
  9. I re-read parts of this post and finding that I am progressively learning from all that’s being shared as this post gets longer. For example, I missed what OLG was saying in his post about crimping. I assumed you always had to use some sort of crimping die. But OLD if I understand you correctly now, you said you don’t use a crimping die or a seating-crimping die, just a seating die and tap the bullet into place while rotating it. You then use sizing die to squeeze the case just enough on to the bullet to hold it in place. Did I get that correct? You also mentioned a “stepped expander plug”. Is there a difference between that and the expander plug you get in RCBS’s Cowboy die set for 45-70? What I’m thinking of doing is getting the RCBS 45-70 cowboy die set and taking advantage of their $25 service where they make you a custom seating plug based on three bullet samples you send them. I’ll then use the sizer/deprimer and expander dies as they come out of the box and replace the stock seating plug in the seater/crimp die with the custom seater plug. I’ll then set the seater crimp die to seat only, seat as you described, and then use the sizer/deprimer to close the mouth around the bullet as you described after removing the deprimer. Any thoughts? I’m still debating in my mind about measuring powder. I’m thinking about some sort of powder drop into a scale with a trickle to finish it off, but then my sub-$100 Hornady LNL powder drop easily does +/- 0.1 grains by itself. Is there any equivalent for BP? From what I’ve read so far, there isn’t. Or does anyone know of one?
  10. Yes, it does. Thank you. I figured they were specifying the business end of the expander stem.
  11. OLG (or anyone), both you and Mike Venturino say to use an expander that is 0.002" smaller than the bullet. I'm sure you're correct, but I don't understand. I thought the expander is supposed to let the bullet easily slide into the case with the crimper then compressing the case on to the bullet just a little bit. In this case, it sounds like you'll be shaving lead off the sides of the bullet. What am I missing? Sorry to ask so many questions, but this newbie is just starting to learn.
  12. OLG, I’ve read Mike Venturino’s “Shooting Buffalo Guns of the Wild West”. Excellent recommendation and definitely worth the time. I’m now reading Lyman’s bullet casting manual with the black powder manual next. Amazingly, I haven’t spent much money yet! You made the comment, “You will also want a stepped expander plug, since you'll be shoot'n lead.“ How is this expander different than the expander in RCBS’s Cowboy die set since the RCBS is specified for lead bullets? BTW, after a close look at the photos in Mike’s book, it looks like he uses a slight roll crimp. That with his mention of crimping into the “crimp groove or the top grease grove” to me implies a roll crimp. Any thoughts anyone? Here is a list of what I culled from Mike’s book: Based on Mike Venturino’s “Shooting Buffalo Rifles of the Old West, use the following BP components: Cases - Starline (pg. 78) Primers - Federal 215 Large Rifle Magnum (pg. 96) Wads - Vegetable wads, 0.060” thick (pg. 92). https://www.buffaloarms.com/45-caliber-rifle-463-060-vegetable-fiber-walters-wads-bag-of-1000-wal463060 Lubricant - SPG BPCR (pg. 85). This is a critical component of BPCR reloading. Bullet Mould - Lyman 457125 (pg 86). Good for match shooting and large animals like bison due to its weight, 520 gr. Powder - GOEX Olde Eynsford 2f. Recommended by Original Lumpy Gritz See also chapter 18 of Venturino’s book. Summary of Venturino’s reloading procedure (pg.96): “As a synopsis of just how I go about reloading my own buffalo rifle cartridges I'll finish up thusly: Resize all cases fully. Make sure all cases are trimmed to the same length. During case preparation clean primer pockets. Clean inside of case mouths with stainless steel or bronze brush. Bell case mouth so a bullet base will start freely, and use an expander stem at least .002 inch smaller than the bullet's diameter. Prime with Federal 215 Magnum (or other primer that has been proven better). Use a bullet cast of a suitable alloy such as 20:1 lead:tin that is of barrel groove diameter or .001 inch over, and whose nose will be approximately .002 under barrel land diameter. Lube the bullet with an SPG black powder bullet lubricant. Charge the case with enough black powder so that the bullet will compress it about 1/16 of an inch, including the wad if one is used. Seat bullets so that all grease grooves are covered and give case mouths a firm crimp into crimping groove or top grease groove.”. From photos, Mike seems to use a bevel crimp or at most a very slight roll crimp into a groove. Therefore, RCBs’s Cowboy die set will work with the crimp adjusted to be just barely a roll. Also, since crimping is into a grove, that implies a roll crimp.
  13. OLG, The latest Cowboy Chronicles has an article about Old E. The writer speaks very highly of it. That will be the first powder I use.
  14. Driftwood - "Although I load all my CAS ammo on a Hornady Lock & Load AP, I load my Black Powder 45-70 ammo on my old Lyman Spartan press that I bought when I was first learning to reload. Unlike loading 100s of rounds at a time for CAS, I like to take my time when loading 45-70. I actually enjoy the process. " "You only put in the dies you need at the time. If I was going to load 45-70 on my L&L I would run all the cases through just the sizing de/cap die and belling dies first. Then I would take all off the press to charge with powder. Then I would put the compression die and seater/crimp die in the press and run everything through that." Driftwood, thanks for your post. Your step-by-step process made me realize I'm too much in a CAS volume pistol-rifle frame of mind. Very enlightening.
  15. Thanks again everyone for your posts. I picked up Mike Venturino's book about Buffalo rifles and it is excellent. Also, Shiloh’s website also has a couple of good books that are now on my read list. OLG, I’ve changed my mind. Based on Venturino’s Book, I’ll definitely start shooting with black powder, especially since, as you pointed out, they shoot better with it. I’m also finding that half the fun of BPCR is the process of getting there, all the learning, reading, and discussions. And that will help reduce unneeded purchases. Since this won’t be a cheap venture, that’s good. So for now, I’m reading, learning, and saving my pennies.
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