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Breech seating


Red Cent

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I would like to discuss by e-mail the particulars of breech seating. I have done most all things regarding reloading but I have never breech seated. The caliber is 38-55. 

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The effort is not worth the results you will achieve and, if you don't know what you are doing, you could ruin a fine rifle.

 

Lucky

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Red Cent - breech seating is an adaption 2nd to muzzle loading a bullet which does not cut land marks on the bullet base that looks like wings - which deforms the bullet.  Both methods present the bullet straight to the bore which increases accuracy of groups

What you need to breech seat:

* A rifle that has the chamber with a longer tapered leade to accept a tapered bullet.  CPA Rifles has the reamer and will recut your 38-55

* A bullet that is tapered vs straight sided with all GG bands the same diameter.  For the 38-55, the Ideal Doc Hudson 375272 bullet is a proven excellent bullet:

image.png.ab2df079f4de0b36fc2b62a33ffd533a.png375272. This is the famous Schuetzen bullet designed by Dr. W. G. Hudson, which gives such remarkable accuracy in .38-55 rifles which have been specially throated for it, the bullet being loaded into the bore ahead of the case. 5 bands, front three bands .372, bottom two bands .382 (PB, FN, 310 – TP 449)

Accurate Molds has a clone of this bullet

 

* A breech seater that will chamber the bullet so the bullet base is fully engraved except 1/16" then allow case to be charged with the proper charge of either smokeless or black powder that is capped with a thin wad so the powder doesn't spill into the chamber.  Here is my Russ Weber breech seater kit I put together

Box%20with%20Scope%20Caps_zpslalrthie.jp

That's about all there is to breech seating

 

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Yep John Boy. Read all that stuff. Those dimensions will work for my Marlin but not the C Sharps.

And....... I have been on the wire long enough to take the conversation off line. You know those things that everybody has?

 

 

C Sharps .jpg

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I breech seat my 45/70 and sometimes the 40/60 but alas the 38/40 is a lever gun.  I also paper patch the 475/ 3 1/2 oh poop had 38/40 on the brain 38/55 is what I should have said. 

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tmr, why not breech seat the lever gun? After all my research to date, it seems to be the answer to accuracy with the 336 38-55 that bunches of cowboys had "fixed". Breech seat that lead bullet and go around the trouble of making up and fixin' all the ills of the 38-55 chamber. Then who cares how tight the case mouth of the chamber is an what length brass to use. 

Going back to the 336 and try it is on my bucket list.

Have you breech seated using smokeless powder.

Lucky R. K., that is what I am doing. Trying to garner all the information I can so I won't ruin a beautiful rifle. Course, I shoot with a disreputable bunch including Tex James. And, you know what loads they shoot don't you.

All my life I have heard NO AIR SPACE WITH BLACK POWDER and in the next paragraph they tell you to set the bullet base at least 1/16" from the case mouth. And the case has......wait for it..... wait........BLACK POWDER.  And the next paragraph they say " well, you can have a tad ....or two of space". 

And try to pin down what causes the "barrel or chamber ring". And this is not an invitation to chime in. 

As I stated earlier, I have been on this site for around 16 years and I ain't gonna take every statement as is nor get in a deep public discussion. Now if you guys want to meet somewhere at a Logan's Roadhouse, or Texas Steakhouse, or even Outback, I will buy the first round of El Patron shooters.

Lucky R. K., one of the best of our Buffalo shooters uses 4227 and breech seats. Tack driving C Sharps 38-55 son o...............................................

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Screwed up one more reason I guess us geezers shouldn't post (see  edit above)  

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Trying to garner all the information I can so I won't ruin a beautiful rifle.

Red Cent - breech seating has been around since  your great grandfather was alive.  Stop shaking & sweating or change your alias to Nervous Norvis.  If you have all this angst about breech seating - Don't Do It

There are two kinds of powder that has been used for decades, smokeless and black powder.

* For black powder, are you familiar the origin of the 38-55 cartridge?  The 55 was 55grs of black powder in a 38 caliber cartridge. So just put 48-50gr of FFg in the modern day cases cause 55gr won't fit in today's cases because they are not balloon heads.  Put a pinch of cotton or a felt or cardboard wad at the case mouth so it doesn't spill in the chamber.  Load the case and pull the trigger

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All my life I have heard NO AIR SPACE WITH BLACK POWDER

Put that statement in the recycling barrel because for breech seating - One just Pours the powder in the case and one does not Compress the powder.  Pouring will fill the case up to the lip of the mouth and the case mouth will touch the base of the bullet when chambered. 

 

* For smokeless powder, bullet weight determinant, use any of the smokeless loading data charges, again put a pinch of cotton or a felt or cardboard wad at the case mouth so it doesn't spill in the chamber.

TIP: Put a small flare on the case which will 'hug' the sides of the bullet base when the case is chambered

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And by the way, a beautiful rifle IMO is one with a Harry Pope barrel that in today's market goes 5,000 to 8,000 dollars.  Or a Stevens Walnut Hill and also add a JM Marlin Ballard, all used for breech seating  - not the Marlin lever actions of today's production

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Read all that stuff. Those dimensions will work for my Marlin

Red Cent - I hope you realize if you intend to breech seat your Marlin, the only seater that will work on a lever action rifle is a "plugged case" ... https://www.cparifles.com/products/plugged-case-for-breech-seating

And the force using a plugged case will be against the bolt face which in my opinion is not a good idea.  Normally a plugged case or a seater (which cannot work in a lever action) is also used on single shot rifles because the block of a SS rifle is a totally different design then that of a lever action where the extractor is in the action of a single shot rifle and lays in the barrel cut - not exposed as it is in a lever action rifle on the bolt

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12 hours ago, Red Cent said:

Have you breech seated using smokeless powder.

Lucky R. K., that is what I am doing. Trying to garner all the information I can so I won't ruin a beautiful rifle. Course, I shoot with a disreputable bunch including Tex James. And, you know what loads they shoot don't you.

 

I have breech seated with smokeless powder in a 25-21 Stevens 44 and a 38-55 Stevens 44-1/2. If you are shooting with Tex then you have seen the 45-90 Browning Creedmoor he shoots. I sold it to him after using it for years until I couldn't get down (up actually) from the mat anymore. 

 

I don't argue that you do not get great accuracy by breech seating, but that you can obtain the same accuracy without going to all that trouble.

 

Lucky grin_zpsebe960c5.png

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Zero angst here. You are assuming and that's what happens on a forum. One thinks the poster means this and he really does not. While I am a 76 year old opinionated cowboy, I realize my shortcomings regarding loading with the holy black. I started reloading in 1963 for a Marlin lever gun chambered for the 256 Win Mag. 

I have fired a number of duplex loads in the 336/38-55. Did not realize any accuracy improvement but all the bullets were in the 245gr  range. I would think that with a tad of mechanical ability, tools, and desire, one could come up with a tool sufficient to push a lead projectile (around 300 grs) far enough up the snout of the 336. 

Be aware the 336 has been "fixed" by the previous owner and I borrowed a reamer from a world and national bp champion shooter and reduced the leade angle. 

In the months of reading and talking, I will ask a question concerning breech seating that was, for me, never answered.

Seems 1/8" off the case mouth is OK and 1/16th is probably better. Simple. How far does the bullet need to be inserted using the base as appoint of discussion?

And..........when breech seating with smokeless, where do you place the wad that contains the powder?

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Seems 1/8" off the case mouth is OK and 1/16th is probably better. Simple. How far does the bullet need to be inserted using the base as appoint of discussion?

Depends on the bullet being used - the distance it is engraved ... your rifle will let you know the distance based on the groups on the paper
 

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And..........when breech seating with smokeless, where do you place the wad that contains the powder?

 

 

Guess you skipped over what I posted for your knowledge education ...
 

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* For smokeless powder, bullet weight determinant, use any of the smokeless loading data charges, again put a pinch of cotton or a felt or cardboard wad at the case mouth so it doesn't spill in the chamber.

 

 

 

And just in case you skipped over this too ...

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Red Cent - I hope you realize if you intend to breech seat your Marlin, the only seater that will work on a lever action rifle is a "plugged case" ... https://www.cparifles.com/products/plugged-case-for-breech-seating

And the force using a plugged case will be against the bolt face which in my opinion is not a good idea. 

 

 

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Lead Monger, the Marlin 336 lever gun chambered for the 38-55 went through some strange motions in its travels since it was the 38-55 Ballard. The birth of the 30-30 and the 375 Winchester happened and things happened to the cases. Another story. Linked but another story. 

Marlin chamber reamed their barrels where the neck of the cartridge area was tight ( a stretch of years this happened. May still be.). They also, most of the time, produced a barrel with a groove diameter of .379. A few were bigger and some were smaller :wacko:

Shooters slugged the barrel and discovered the size of the groove and turned to a bullet ( cast lead) a thousand or two over the groove diameter. Lo and behold, the bullet swelled the case and it would not chamber. There are other matters that a cottage industry will cure for you. The leade or the approach to the lands is rather abrupt and some ream this out.

Well, I had purchased a 38-55 some years ago and I decided I would make it a fly killer for up to 300 yards. At this point, let us assume I can shoot and I can shoot a rifle accurately. This started another research era for me and I ran across a guy called M. L. McPherson. And I bought one his books. Right now, the 336 barrel touches one small place on the fore arm. Almost full floated. Bench covered with the popular powders. Soft bullets, hard bullets, flat base, bt, and others. .379 to 381 diameters. Never hit the sweet spot. I could get it to 2" at 100 yards. Not satisfied. 

Consider that I can stuff a 265 gr .380 bullet in the case a bare 16th of an inch and can chamber the round and it will mark the first driving band only. Staight wall bullet. I could go on and on about the lever gun chamber. Pictures below. 

In breech seating, you stuff the bullet into the barrel practically guaranteeing a correct entry of the bullet into the barrel. As I said, you bypass ( I think ) the problem (s). Many, many use the practice in their Sharps, Hi-Walls, Martinis, Stephens, Ballard, Ballard-Hepburn,...................... Why would it not work in a lever gun. Some of you remember the '54 Ford 4 door with rust and bad paint that pulled up beside you at the stoplight. You could not grasp what that feeling was but deep down it was compression. You couldn't see the fat tires on the back or the hidden duals. And it seemed to be a little lower in the front. Might have been clacking a tad. That is what I want to build. In a lever gun :P

 

 

bad_throat lever gun.jpg

38-55  lever action.jpg

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That is what I want to build. In a lever gun

Care to tell all how you plan to develop and accomplish this?  If you can do it without buggering up your "beautiful rifle", I'm all ears. And put the words to paper soon without rambling on about a 54 Ford

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It really was a '56 Chevy 210 2 dr. 

John Boy, we, maybe, could discuss this over about 4 fingers of ice cold George Dickel.  FTF. But I am not going to do this on the forum. Your words are getting a familiar ring.  Maybe the guys at ASSRA ( now a member) can help me. See you there. 

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Red Cent - am sure the folks on ASSRA will be very informative about breech seating.  But be advised, the forum is about Single Shots, not about Marlin Lever actions

Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas

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Red Cent 

Thank you for the history lesson. I was aware of the bore variations in Marlins and chamber necks being a problem. Some variation exists with the Winchester 94 also. Then there is the long or short neck thing. I thought the normal solution was to use a very soft bullet in a Marlin or have the chamber neck reamed to allow a larger diameter bullet to fit without pinching the case neck. And it's still a repeater.

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Just a thought ,,,,for the .38-55 to do it's best at Long Range it needs bullets in the 300- 330 grain weight range ....

These are to long to stabilize in the Marlin 336 as the barrel is meant to shoot "short bullets" with flat noses weighing in the 249 to 265 grain range ...  Cut the chamber to the proper specs. and use it with good cast RNFP Bullets, it will work out to 500 yards or further for ringing steel....

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Wow...loads of misinformation here. Breach seating is usually the way the most competitive, accurate shooters load.....go over to the ASSRA forum and tell them that breech seating is not as accurate as fixed cartridge.... wear a flame proof suit

ASSRA=American Single Shot Rifle Association

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The key word being SINGLE shot rifle.

Absolutely.  A couple of 200yd targets with a System Audt Schuetzen rifle using the stop ring bullet

AydtAlliant300-MPb.jpg

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"I thought the normal solution was to use a very soft bullet in a Marlin or have the chamber neck reamed to allow a larger diameter bullet to fit without pinching the case neck. And it's still a repeater. "

 

Unfortunately, a bunch of 336/38-55 shooters had their guns "throated". Mine was.

"Consider that I can stuff a 265 gr .380 bullet in the case a bare 16th of an inch and can chamber the round and it will mark the first driving band only. Straight wall bullet." That is a lot of bullet sticking out and barely gets to the lands.”

I have fired a number of commercially cast bullets ranging from 8 Brinell to 21 Brinell. There is a group that believes that the Marlin Ballard grooves ain’t very deep so you need a hard bullet oversized to grab the lands and grooves. Maybe.

 

"300- 330 grain weight range ....

These are to long to stabilize in the Marlin 336 as the barrel is meant to shoot "short bullets" with flat noses weighing in the 249 to 265 grain range ..."

 

The normal twist rate in a 336/38-55 is 1:18. At first, it seems that twist does beg for a lighter=shorter bullet that many say max is around 265 gr. However, if you visit some bullet stability sites and log in the particulars of a bullet, you will probably find that the 1:18 will shoot the 300 gr bullet. John Boy is a proponent of using the heavy bullet in a 1:18 twist and speaks to astounding groups at long range. 

The C Sharps has a 1:15 twist and I will start out with a 310 gr tapered bullet. This bullet was chosen with the Marlin in mind. The last driving band is .379, the groove size of the Marlin. With a case full of Swiss, that should bump up the bullet base considerably. The C Sharps has a groove of .376 and I will resize....maybe. One of our top shooters uses a bullet that is .003 on the last driving band. And he breech seats. And he uses 4227. He also participates in Schuetzen matches. Wait! Don't they breech seat??!!

 

“Cut the chamber to the proper specs…”

 

What length? I would suppose the 2.125 length but the factory chamber is longer. Yes longer. So if you use 2.065” Winchester brass, you are not getting a good combination. The Winchester brass is a little thick in the neck and adds to the chamber problem. Along comes Starline and makes the 2.125 brass with a thinner case wall. They also make the shorter brass. Solves some problems…..if I had a factory rifle.

 

Now, please everybody, take a step back. Just outside your box. NASCAR does it. Harry Pope did it. John Moses Browning did it. Experiment. Am I going to blow up a rifle? No. That is why I research so much. I have a file of so many conflicting statements about breech seating, black powder, and my pet peeve, the terminology that people use to describe the areas in a chamber and the barrel. Yes, I know they come in the same box J

I do have some clock parts in the garage along with a few pistol and, probably, some revolver parts. You should see some Rube Goldberg rigs (is that PC?) made with an idea. Still have all my fingers.

Breech seat a Marlin lever gun. Why not?

 

 

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LM, yes it is. Gets a little expensive. Chamber, cut extractor slot, cut tenon and threads and lose 3-4 inches of barrel.  Maybe a little less than that. Or go buy a decent Marlin in 30-30 with a 30" barrel and rebore.  Wish I could find a 30" in 30-30 or 38-55. Maybe a 32 Special. 30-30, 32-40, 32 Special all came from the 38-55. And there are a few wildcats.  An interesting experiment would be to rebore the 30-30 H&R Buffalo Classic to a 38-55.  The H&R has potential but the barrel is not a 1 moa shooter. Normally. 

Been very tempted to order a Douglas premium for it. 

"We are now making a basic-type blank from chrome-moly steel suitable for rebarreling or building new Schuetzen or Creedmore style rifles. These blanks are 35 ½” rough length to be finished at 34". Cut the 1 ½” at the muzzle as the chamber will clean up the breech end. This blank comes in random, rough-turned outside diameters of 1.200" up. Calibers available are 32, 38, 40, 45 and 50 Sharps. These are rifle calibers. Price is $340.00 each with a discount to dealers."

http://www.douglasbarrels.net/

 

 

 

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Red Cent - modifying the barrel & chamber is not the issue to allow a lever action rifle to shoot breech seated reloads.  The issue is levers have short action lengths and a bolt with a face that has the extractor exposed, not in the cut on the barrel.  The design of a lever action is totally different action design being that the single shot action cut is much larger and open to accept a breech seater or plugged case.  A single shot rifle has a falling block that is flat faced with no exposed extractor or firing pin that can cam the seater or plugged cased into the chamber with no physical  harm to the firing pin or extractor, plus has the force when closing the lever on the falling block to seat the bullet to the proper distance

If you don't believe these words, buy a plugged case to breech seat reloads and see how fast the firing pin & extractor on your lever action gets buggered

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 First to Lead Monger. I firmly believe the area between the case mouth and the lands and grooves have been "throated" at the same time they reamed out the neck area of the chamber. Remember, I can easily chamber a seated .380 bullet. And I can seat it really far out. The neck area of the case needs a bit room (.001-2) to expand and contract upon firing. It should not need to be bored out to get a loaded .380 cartridge/bullet. As I understand it, the throat/freebore/just before the lands and grooves, should be the same size as the groove. I have read "fit the throat and it will shoot" so many times. Maybe. 

To correct all of this nonsense I would think that one would need to remove enough of the barrel to give one a clean start. The ability to load a 265gr  .380 bullet seated to its its full length tells me I have a bunch of freebore. And loose freebore to boot. Weatherby must like it but I don't.

 

John Boy. I don't intend to modify the Marlin barrel. Not any more than it is.  As I said in the last paragraph, I am almost there anyway. But, I want to shoot my new 310 gr tapered bullet (Accurate Mold) in it. And if the Marlin had a stronger camming action I could get 'er done. 

I have been setting here examining the 336 and there is a couple of ways to build a lever breech seater. "see how fast the firing pin & extractor on your lever action gets buggered ". Why not use a rod that fits the face of the bolt but does not touch the extractor? Or use a throw away case to start and go from there. The extractor is trapped against the receiver wall and it would take some kind of force to break it. However, I see an easier and better way. I will build a dowel rod model tomorrow and see if it has possibilities. At first glance :rolleyes: it looks easy. 

C'mon John Boy. Merry Christmas. I would rather have you as an advisor rather than a raw skeptic.

 

 

 

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