Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Col Del Rio

38 Special feeding in 1873s

Recommended Posts

I should know this, but what is the rule of thumb for reloading 38 specials to feed properly in 1873 actions rifles?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.pioneergunworks.com/technical-info This is the site for Pioneer Gun Works and the technical specs on ammunition please read about the OAL, bullet weight, etc. I reload and have used this information. I now load Trail Boss at 3.75 grains and a 125 grain truncated shaped bullet with roll crimp in 38 special. I use small pistol primers from Federal, CCI, and Winchester. My bullets come from Chey-Cast of Cheyenne, WY. I use the OAL that Pioneer recommends and have had No Problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use 3.0 grains of Trail Boss, 125 or 130 grain FNCP  or RNFP tips, crimped at the crimp groove and they work just fine. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Powder load depends on the velocity result you would be looking for.  However, for optimum feeding, either 105Gr Truncated Cone,  125Gr Truncated Cone or 130Gr Truncated Cone.  The nose of Truncated Cone bullets heavier than 145Gr may well be wide enough to cause jamming as the flat of the nose hits the breach end of the barrel.  Primers will depend on how light your action is.  I have never run anything but Federal Primers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Col Del Rio said:

I should know this, but what is the rule of thumb for reloading 38 specials to feed properly in 1873 actions rifles?  

To me the two biggest issues for feeding are the shape of the bullet and the OAL of the cartridge.  The primers and powder charge you use have very little if anything to do with proper feeding, unless you load so light you start having squibs or backed out primers.  Different guns like different lengths, so what works for mine may not work for yours.  I'm not as technically proficient as many on this forum, so when I started out I bought ammo from Georgia Arms.  It fed fine, so when I started reloading I used the same OAL.  Basically I adjusted my seating depth until the length of the cartridge I was loading looked about the same as the length of a GA's cartridge.  Then I placed a bubble level across the top of the two cartridges.  When the bubble was between the lines I had my length right.  I've been running with that for the last nine years with no problems.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These guns don't do well with really short 38's or really long 357m's. The optimum OAL for 66 or 73 ammo is about 1/16th to 3/32nds of an inch shorter than the OAL of the carrier.

 

The 1860, the 66 and the 73 have a built in ammo OAL gage. Open the action, turn the gun over and lay a round in the window where the carrier rides. If it doesn't fit, it's too long. It should be about 1/16 but not more than 1/8th inch short of not fitting tight. This length works best because the 73, 66, and 60 does not have a mag cartridge stop. The front edge of the loading gate, there just behind the carrier, is the only stop. While the carrier is in the up position it's the stop.  The carrier has to bring a round up to chamber while preventing the next round in the mag from coming on to the carrier. If the ammo is too short the carrier has to push the next round back into the tube as it comes up. Make your ammo long enough so that it's a shearing action as the carrier comes up.

Also because we don't need extremely accurate ammo just ammo that cycles well through the gun it is perfectly legal and practical to load 38 spec brass with a bullet set out in the case to a longer than normal OAL. We use lead bullets so just crimp into the side of the lead to get the OAL you need. Stay away from any bullet shape that has driving bands or cutter like SWC. Round nose flat point is what they were designed for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Col Del Rio said:

I should know this, but what is the rule of thumb for reloading 38 specials to feed properly in 1873 actions rifles?  

 

I would suggest a O.A.L of no less than 1.46. Personally I use 1.48 to 1.50 OAL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get away with 1.44" but I believe C&I suggests 1.45"  Caboose's standard of 1.46" is good insurance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading this post I checked some of my reloads. The OAL ranged 1.445 - 1.450.  Thats a 158 grain RNFP seated to the crimp groove. Thus far they've run flawlessly through my 73.  Only used it in two matches so far.

 

Knowing Caboose has a lot of great advice (Shot with him at my first SASS match last summer and got a lot of help from him and a few others) I think I may try to seat my bullets a little shallower to get a little more length, just to be on the safe side.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I load my RNFPs at 1.475 and never have trouble in '73s or '92s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a link to the man that builds race rifles, Palo Verde, check out tip #6

 

https://pvgunworks.com/palo-verdes-tips/

 

TB

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Turquoise Bill, SASS #39118 said:

Here is a link to the man that builds race rifles, Palo Verde, check out tip #6

 

https://pvgunworks.com/palo-verdes-tips/

 

TB

 

 

Yep - I've been loading 1.5 to 1.51 for about 7 years in my '73 with no complaints. (.38)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Northwoods Drifter said:

After reading this post I checked some of my reloads. The OAL ranged 1.445 - 1.450.  Thats a 158 grain RNFP seated to the crimp groove. Thus far they've run flawlessly through my 73.  Only used it in two matches so far.

 

Knowing Caboose has a lot of great advice (Shot with him at my first SASS match last summer and got a lot of help from him and a few others) I think I may try to seat my bullets a little shallower to get a little more length, just to be on the safe side.

 

 

 

Some rifles will run with the 158's some will not.

kR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shortest OAL length that the toggle link guns will handle is almost completely governed by the slope angle of the cartridge return ramp on the front of the carrier.

 

To get it to handle shorter lengths, the ramp can be filed to a shallower angle.   What that does is allow a fairly short second cartridge's rim to be pushed back into the mag tube as the carrier starts to rise.  The factory machines their carriers so that the minimum length is usually about 1.500" (but they don't hold that very precisely).   Most replacement third party carriers have a shallower ramp angle and can handle shorter rounds.  But, the limit for how far you can go with ramp adjustment - you DO NOT want to file into the cavity for the lifter arm that is in back of that ramp!

 

As you can see from all the reports above, it is possible to adjust ramps so that you can run as short as 1.420" if you want and have the right carrier.

 

And as you can see from the reports, not all bullets have the crimp groove in the best spot to make the round "long" so you can put light bullets in .38 spl cases and make them run.   That is when you might learn that crimping in the crimp groove is not necessary if you know how to crimp into one of the driving bands!

 

Personally, I cast a soft bullet (8 Brinell hardness) that usually has NO crimp groove, and crimp where ever I want to get the OAL that I want to run.   Gives great versatility in loading.   And eliminates leading at our usual chamber pressures and velocities.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.