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Adventures in brass cleaning


Ethan Cord

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Well my topic about side matches got me thinking about loading ammo for my pocket pistols and Derringer. It has been rainy the last couple of days here so I decided some reloading would be a good use of my time.

 

I have a American Derringer in .44/40 and needed to dig out some brass for that. I know I have some somewhere, perhaps mixed in with my .38/40 but so far no luck finding it.

 

I found a bucket of the grungiest, nastiest 45 Long Colt brass that I have ever seen. It had been Black Powder ammo that was fired and then thrown into some kind of soapy water mix and then forgotten about. I had tried cleaning it using the standard media before with very little change in it's appearance. I ran it through the tumbler last night using some ceramic media I bought from Cabelas and it came out surprisingly shiny!

 

I searched through numerous other various containers and found a party pack mix of .38 Short Colt & .38 S&W which I separated and now have cleaning in the tumblers. The .38 S&W feeds my Marlin & U.S. Revolver pocket pistols.

 

Next I found a small container of .32 S&W mixed with several pieces of .32 S&W Long.

 

Still no .44/40!

 

Well the sun came out this afternoon and I have the grill all ready to fire up. The boys will be coming over for a steak and potato dinner with me and their mom. It's been a grand day so far!

 

Now if I can just find that dang .44/40 brass! If all else fails, I guess I can feed it with .44 Russian.

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Well my topic about side matches got me thinking about loading ammo for my pocket pistols and Derringer. It has been rainy the last couple of days here so I decided some reloading would be a good use of my time.

 

I have a American Derringer in .44/40 and needed to dig out some brass for that. I know I have some somewhere, perhaps mixed in with my .38/40 but so far no luck finding it.

 

Now if I can just find that dang .44/40 brass! If all else fails, I guess I can feed it with .44 Russian.

 

Nope, the .44 Rus will fall too far down into a 44-40 chamber to fire. Take a few of your newer .38-40 and run them well lubed into the .44-40 expander die. You will lose a few, win a few, but end up with enough for derringer loading. Then color the head so you know to keep them out of the .38-40 pile.

 

Good luck, GJ

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Nope, the .44 Rus will fall too far down into a 44-40 chamber to fire. ...

 

Won't the .44 Russian headspace on the rim and not fall into the chamber? I know of one person who fired .44 Russian in a 44-40 rifle. Not saying it is a good idea, but I think it can be done.

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Won't the .44 Russian headspace on the rim and not fall into the chamber? I know of one person who fired .44 Russian in a 44-40 rifle. Not saying it is a good idea, but I think it can be done.

Ok, depending upon just how well built the derringer is, it MAY hold the 44 Russian case securely enough. There is a nominal 5 thousandths or so smaller rim on the Russian. You will certainly blow the case wall out about 15 thousandths when it fires, if you develop much pressure. Accuracy (in a derringer, they ask) will not be all that hot. And expect some gas blowback.

 

I'd still just grab some 38-40 and expand the neck, or ask a fellow BP shooter for a handful of 44-40 cases.

 

What do we say? Be safe, have fun, be safe. Two out of three ought to trump the other.

 

Ethan - if you are coming to WR, let me know and I'll bring you 20 or so 44-40s.

 

Good luck, GJ

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Garrison Joe,

 

I won't be at Winter Range but thanks for the offer! I was only teasing about the .44 Russian, even if they fired it would ruin the brass.

 

Cliff,

 

Thanks for the offer but I know I have some around here somewhere! I won't need them until Thunder Valley most likely anyway. That brings up the question of how to load them. I think a Black Powder match should have Black Powder side matches don't you? Should we offer a smokey-less category for the feeble mind that think that new fangled powder is gonna catch on?

 

The steaks were good and I enjoyed visiting with my sons. One is off to spend time with his girl friend and the other is off to watch cage fights. I'm gonna go check the brass in the tumblers.

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The use of the 38-40 case is the best idea since it is a 44-40 case necked down to the 38 size. You will probably not have much case life as the neck area is thin and all the work stress will make it go south faster. If you need just a few rounds I can also help you out with Starline cases. Later David PS Don't fire the 44 Russian as it will not work!!

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