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38-40 reloading (Pyrodex)


Vail Vigilante
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Howdy!

So in another thread I was advised not to run modern stuff in Grandpa's old rifle.

So for the time being I am going to learn how to reload 38-40 with Pyrodex.

I can get it very easily.

 

So I have been reloading for about 30 years, all smokeless though. From 17 Remington to 338 Lapua Magnum and from 20 gauge shotgun to 10 gauge shotgun. I have a Dillion RL 550 and a Redding Boss 2 for a single stage. and of course the endless assortment of gizmos, scales, trimmers, and measuring tools.

So I thought, "I should be able to do this"...

 

Right now I am thinking of staying on the Redding. 

So...Im told that these cases are pretty thin and the Winchester factory used different and varying reamers to make barrels. So given that, have any of you approached this cartridge as a neck size only? What kind of growth have you found to be typical for this round? 

 

So how do you dump Pyrodex efficiently? I know the muzzle loading folks use a brass adjustable dispenser. I'm hoping for something a little more load-bench friendly.  Lee dippers? I have been reading about the importance of compression with this.  How do I actually know how much compression I am getting? Do any of you folks find you need cream-of-wheat to fill the case to compression levels?

 

Lastly, have any of you folks ever found a way to run Pyrodex on the Dillion (or progressive)? Been looking at my Dillion manual and non-smokeless is a no-go on those measures. Ditto for Hornady's measures.

 

Thanks! 

 

 

 

 

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I suggest that you read Curt Rich’s (alias Capt George Baylor) website section on reloading BP. http://www.curtrich.com/bpsubsdummies.html There is a plethora of opinions about loading non-smokeless on Dillon products. Do not load real BP  on them. You can load substitutes on the 550. I load APP on my 550. Just clean the powder hopper after use.

Since the rifle by your description is older, I would start out with light loads and your choice of fillers (grits, crushed walnut, etc.).
Search this site for more info. 
Regarding brass. I have not had any issue with Winchester brass. Starline is not an issue. 

Good luck,

La Sombra

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Look up George Baylor if you have Facebook.  He has written many articles on Cowboy Action Shooting.  He has done testing of black powder and substitutes for CAS.  He doesn't frequent the SASS wires.

 

Looks like La Sombra just beat me out. 

Edited by Tex Jones, SASS 2263
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Hodgdon provides some load information.  See https://hodgdon.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/muzzleloading_manual_2008.pdf.  They advise against using ordinary powder measures with Pyrodex.  I would use my Lyman black powder measure.  (Pyrodex is my least favored black powder sub.)

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If you can get APP, it would be a better sub than the corrosive Pyrodex. No compression is needed, just leave no air space w/APP. I weigh a few dippers and then adjust my powder measure accordingly. I use real BP however. I'm loading on a Dillon.

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52 minutes ago, Vail Vigilante said:

So in another thread I was advised not to run modern stuff in Grandpa's old rifle.

When people are talking "modern stuff" they mean smokeless.  Pyrodex is a BP sub.

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29 minutes ago, Warden Callaway said:

Although it's 44WCF, same difference.  I don't use a drop tube. Just a Lee dipper into a funnel through the powder die.  

 

 

Yes, I do my 338 Lapua Magnum that way. Just a funnel. Good to know. Thank You

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I loaded pyrodex 15 years ago when I started cowboy shooting.  Didn't take me long to discover how fast it rusts steel.   5 times faster than real BP.   Either shoot real BP, or get some APP.  You will thank yourself! 

 

good luck, GJ

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PLUS ONE for Garrison Joe!!

 

PYRODEX is an instant rusting agent that just happens to Burn.  It may well be easy for you to get, but the stuff will cause rust within minutes if there is any moisture in the air at all.  The ABSOLUTE WORST substitute you can use.

 

PLUS ONE for APP instead.  Contact "Bullets by Scarlett."  Scarlett can ship you all the APP you can possibly use.  Clean-Up is also SUPER simple.

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9 hours ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

I loaded pyrodex 15 years ago when I started cowboy shooting.  Didn't take me long to discover how fast it rusts steel.   5 times faster than real BP.   Either shoot real BP, or get some APP.  You will thank yourself! 

 

good luck, GJ

 

9 minutes ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

PLUS ONE for Garrison Joe!!

 

PYRODEX is an instant rusting agent that just happens to Burn.  It may well be easy for you to get, but the stuff will cause rust within minutes if there is any moisture in the air at all.  The ABSOLUTE WORST substitute you can use.

 

PLUS ONE for APP instead.  Contact "Bullets by Scarlett."  Scarlett can ship you all the APP you can possibly use.  Clean-Up is also SUPER simple.

 

THIS ^^^^

 

Pyrodex gave Black Powder a bad name. 

 

I shoot Frontier Cartridge Duellist or Frontiersman and can clean all 4 of the guns in about 30 minutes. Takes a lot longer to clean them if I shoot smokeless.

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To add to the chorus; if you use Pyrodex, as SOON as you get home, pull the wood off and start flushing the gun with very hot water. Use gallons, scrub where you can with an old toothbrush and run a bore brush down the barrel, and then flush with some more very hot water. Blow it off with compressed air, and oil thoroughly. Then check it ever day to make sure you didn't miss some of the fouling, because once it gets a foothold, it will eat holes in metal. Or use APP (Shockey's Gold is APP) if you want a sub that doesn't require the extreme measures Pyrodex does. 

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I use a Lyman Blackpowder Measure and drop-Tube , I batch process, I resize a bunch, Clean a bunch, Seat the Primers, (Watching a Western) Flair the case mouths, put them in loading blocks, (50 or 100 to a block ) drop powder in, Seat and crimp bullets.

I usually process 400 - 800 cases at a time ... I use Goex 3F, 34 grains under a 181 gr RNFP, lubed with SPG. I use the same load in both rifles and Pistols...

I get very little fouling, Tons of smoke and my guns will run a 6 stage match with No attention ....  I take the side plates of my 66 every 2 or 3 years to check for fouling and to lube things up and inspect for wear... My 66 has a 24.5/8 inch barrel and the bullets carry enough lube out to the end of the barrel to make a nice soft lube star at the muzzle... My revolvers are 7.5 inch Uberti Cattlemen... I have recut the throats to 19 degrees, squared up the barrel faces slightly opening the cylinder Gap to better work with Blackpowder... I buy Star - Line .44-40 brass in lots of 500 or 1,000 ( it is cheaper than 38-40 brass ) run it through the size die like normal and load ...

Up here a batch of 500 cases in .44-40 is $45 bucks cheaper than the 500 38-40 cases, both being Star-line ... 

 

This year marks my 60th. year reloading with-out supervision, started out under the watchful eyes of my dad before that... You could say I apprenticed under his care.  

 

Jabez Cowboy
 

 

 

Edited by Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129
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7 hours ago, Vail Vigilante said:

Yikes didn’t realize Pyrodex had such a downside. 

There are folks that swear up and down that Pyrodex is the next best thing to sliced cheese... IMO, those folks have never used it... or are such evil folks, that they want someone else to join them in their agony.l

Edited by Griff
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I've used a bunch of Pyrodex over the years with no I'll affects but I prefer real BP.  My caveat is.............. I clean my guns right after every match and there isn't much humidity out west where I live.

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