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hal9000
December 9, 2010, 03:01 PM
My uncle contacted me with photos of this pistol and after a few minutes on google I found a wiki for it

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacture_d%27armes_de_Saint-%C3%89tienne
and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamelot_Delvigne_French_1873

He was asking about getting reloads made for it... personally I think that shooting it would be a mistake, but told him I'd see what I could find out.

What are the chances of finding either the original, or modern load data? At the very least it would be nice to have the information to go along with the revolver.

Thanks

jaguarxk120
December 9, 2010, 03:26 PM
The cartridge is listed in George Nonte's book "The home guide to Cartridge Conversions". I can scan the page for you, send me a PM with your email address.

Wildalaska
December 9, 2010, 04:24 PM
keep in mind that after you make the cases, you are going to want to use black powder only.

Sincerely

WildotherwisekaboomAlaska ™©2002-2010

hal9000
December 9, 2010, 05:31 PM
I had figured that there wouldn't be a modern equivalent, but my knowledge of black powder is limited to the two muzzleloaders that I watched my father build a couple decades ago. I wasn't sure if there was any acceptable practice for "modernizing" black powder loads to very light smokeless loads (Doesn't sound as if there is).

jaguar, I'll be sending you my email in a few minutes. Thanks for the offer of forwarding that load data.

mapsjanhere
December 9, 2010, 05:35 PM
There is now a smokeless powder that claims to be a safe substitute - Trailboss. Whether someone has tried it in that model, who knows.

Jim Watson
December 9, 2010, 05:50 PM
Buffalo Arms has the brass, bullets, and dies.
http://www.buffaloarms.com/browse.cfm/4,473.html
http://www.buffaloarms.com/browse.cfm/4,40.html

Kind of expensive but tooling up to make your own would be a chore as described:
http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?6244-RELOAD-11mm-French-Ordnance-Revolver-M-1873

If you don't want to load them and he just wants to shoot a few on "ceremonial occasions" Gad lists 11 mm French for $35 a box, black or smokeless.
http://gadcustomcartridges.com/
Which sounds like the way to go, the old gun might not be fun beyond 50 shots.

Mike Irwin
December 14, 2010, 09:08 AM
Trail Boss is NOT a direct replacement for black powder! Unlike the old true bulk smokeless powders, you cannot load Trail Boss by volume alone and ensure that you have safe and proper loads, especially in a black powder gun like the 1873.

Years ago I loaded for and shot my 1873 (made in 1876).

I used .44 Special brass and an obsolete Lee or Lyman mold. Unfortunately I lost the information somewhere along the line as to what mold.

Results were not anything to write home about. The bullet, cast from pure lead, was a bit undersized and was starting to show evidence of keyholing at 10 yards.

It was a fun exercise, but that's all.

Jim Watson
December 14, 2010, 11:02 AM
Trail Boss is NOT a direct replacement for black powder!

Amen.
Trail Boss is a pure smokeless powder with a burn rate not much slower than Bullseye. Its only distinction is its low density which lets it get the case nearly full for uniform ignition and no position sensitivity.

Mike Irwin
December 14, 2010, 11:43 AM
The bulk replacement smokeless powders of days gone buy were also pure smokeless powders, but were manufactured in such a way that they could be used without weighing.

Their burning rates were quite fast, too.

mapsjanhere
December 14, 2010, 01:29 PM
I'm a weighing guy, so the idea of replacing the powder simply by volume doesn't even occur to me. But if I had to start tinkering with such an old gun, that's where I would start before trying to load BP. You need to get a 170 gr round to only 550 ft/s to produce the original load, which used 10 gr BP.

Wildalaska
December 14, 2010, 02:02 PM
So:

Take a bullet, measure it, measure the case, seat the bullet and calculate the free space.

Pull the bullet. Drop some epoxy in the flash hole. Trim the case to maybe a few thousands over your measurement. Solder a handle to the case.

Scoop up Black powder with your new scoop, charge a new case, then seat bullet charge a new case. You should feel it compress the powder.

Then shoot. Clean with water and ballistol

WildeasyAlaska ™©2002-2010

Ideal Tool
December 16, 2010, 11:52 PM
Hello, hal9000. If I am not mistaken, that ctg. uses a "heeled" bullet..like a .22 L.R., bullet & case dia. are the same. There is a short section or heel that fits inside case..bullets could be a problem. Might try a hollow-base or check out Dixie gun works catalog, there is a chart showing round ball loads for obsolete ctgs. Best of luck!

hal9000
December 17, 2010, 01:26 PM
Thanks for all the responses guys... I've been busy with work, school (I'm a "non traditional" grad student at this point... Means I'm way older than average), and christmas stuff so I haven't been back lately.

I really appreciate the links to the commercial ammo and die info. I really didn't have much hope that anybody would be able to help me out. Thanks for not meeting my expectations!:D

I'm going to forward all that info on to my uncle. My guess is that he'll order a box or two of ammo. Leastways I hope he will. I don't want to volunteer to make the tools to cast and load ammo for that thing unless and until I have some spare time. The heeled bullets clinched it for me. More work than I'm ready for at the moment.

Mike Irwin
December 17, 2010, 02:25 PM
"Hello, hal9000. If I am not mistaken, that ctg. uses a "heeled" bullet..like a .22 L.R...."

The original cartridge did use a heeled bullet.

Sometime during the gun's usage, though, French arsenals began loading non heeled bullets, apparently with hollow bases.