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Old September 6, 2012, 03:18 PM   #1
Doc Hoy
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Need a little more advice on cartridge reloading

As you may recall I have moved into black powder cartridge reloading with the .45 Long Colt and have the pistol to shoot.

Pretty soon it is going to be time for a rifle.

I suppose there is real reason to stick with the same round for the rifle as I am using in the pistol. (Keep in mind I don't ever shoot CAS.)

But on the other hand if I wanted to change to a different caliber for the rifle what is a good caliber to get into?

I want to stick with nineteenth century lever actions (replicas)

Here are some of my thoughts.

44-40 is not all that different from .45 Long Colt. It may not make sense to get into a new caliber which is so close to the one I am already shooting.

.38 - .357 might be a choice.

.32 seems a little small.

Hurry guys, the gun show is Saturday.
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Old September 6, 2012, 06:37 PM   #2
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If you're going to shoot bp a 44-40 or 38-40 makes more sense than a .45 Colt. The cartridges are bottle necked and the case necks are thin. This thinness lets the case neck expand to seal off the blowby into the action. Leave a fired case in the chamber while cleaning and there will be no need to tear the action down. However the thin case necks means there is a learning curve on reloading them. Also you need to get cowboy dies for the 44-40 as standard dies still size to .427 and modern 44-40's are .429. I'm not sure about dies for the 38-40. Also the 44-40 and 38-40 are period correct rifle calibers and the .45 Colt isn't.
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Old September 6, 2012, 07:02 PM   #3
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So...

Are the dies for the .45 long colt for revolvers okay for rifles?
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Old September 6, 2012, 07:21 PM   #4
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Doc, I use them for my Hartford Rossi with no issue, same OAL as for pistols, 1.600 max. I shoot 1.584 length with no problems.
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Old September 6, 2012, 07:53 PM   #5
Willie Sutton
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.44-40 would be the classic choice.

.44 Mag would be a good choice as well, easy to load, and there's a good selection of rifles available. It's not a "classic" caliber, but brass is easy to get, and it's forgiving in the press. It will not seal off the chamber for cleaning as well as .44-40 for BP use, but... it's still a good choice. Do you plan to load smokeless or BP? If you are in the smokeless side of things then this would be my first choice. If you are going to load mostly BP then I'd pick .44-40.


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Last edited by Willie Sutton; September 6, 2012 at 07:59 PM.
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Old September 7, 2012, 03:23 AM   #6
Doc Hoy
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I am shooting BP only

...For Hawg and Wllie...

I will consider the 44-40 dies but I will need to figure out which ones are right. Which ones would be right for the rifle, .427 or .429? Who has the right ones?

SLTM1,

Good info. This may be the reason I just stick with .45 Long Colt. Perhaps I should build me skill on one caliber before I complicate things with a second.
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Old September 7, 2012, 05:50 AM   #7
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.429 unless you get an original rifle. RCBS makes cowboy dies with the correct expander or you could use a 44 mag expander plug. I just use a wad punch to bell mine a little bit.
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Old September 7, 2012, 10:01 PM   #8
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.44-40 or other

Doc,
I would just stick with .45 Colt and accept the historical innacuracy.
Why? Because I'm pretty sure that like me, you have about 69 different guns and calibres to shoot and only so much time. While .45 Colt may not be HC, it's great fun to shoot, and you can load rounds for all your BP cartridge guns at once.
I had (operative word: had) a .44-40 Ruger Vaquero, which was the first gun I ever loaded BP for. I found the .44-40 to be finicky to load (proabably due to my inexperience) and many of my reloads would not fit the chambers. I expect with more experience and the internet, I could have solved that problem, but my point still remains - spend your time with one cartridge and get good at it. This leaves more time for all the other projects.
I find myself working up a load for my .45-70, Brown Bess, .45 flintlock, 6 cap n ball revolvers, and three .45 Colts and can't manage to make enough progress on each to satisfy...
Cheers,
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Old September 8, 2012, 03:17 AM   #9
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Thanks for the wisdom

I am heading out to the show this morning. I suppose it depends what is available there at a decent price.
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Old September 24, 2012, 06:26 AM   #10
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As perhaps you recall....

....I was experiencing trouble with misfiring primers.

Using Winchester WLP.

Situation is that one in six shots failed to detonate the primer even though the primer had been dented by the firing pin.

Same situation on two brand new revolvers.

Tried seating the primers with an Auto-Primer after seating with the press alone..No change.

Brass from various sources. No change.

I have been through three hundred rounds and the problem persists.

Guy from the "Revolver Armory" in Suffolk, VA told me that if primers are stored at 115 degrees or higher for three or more days, their performance degrades to the point where they are unreliable. He also sais they are susceptible to degradation from humidity.

I bought some Federal Magnum Large Pistol primers at the show yesterday.

I will post how they do.
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Old September 24, 2012, 07:07 AM   #11
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Temperature ought not be an issue. Think of the millions of cartridges stored in Iraq, etc... heated to well over the temperature cited as a routine event. It's not that.

There is something going on that is specific to what you are doing. The *slightest* oil on the primer compound will do that... are you handling them with oily fingers? In fact, are you handling them at all? Best practice is to never need to handle them with your fingers at all. Correct tools help.


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Old September 24, 2012, 08:12 AM   #12
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Yeah, I'm with Willy on that. Smokeless pistol primers are not like percussion caps - they do not respond well to handling by human fingers.
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Old September 24, 2012, 10:46 AM   #13
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Primer trouble

Doc,
I've had similar troubles recently with primers. Never had the problem before, shooting them in my Uberti SAA or my Lever gun, but with my 1872 Open Top, I sometimes get a dent and no boom. If I cycle through and try again, I have a near 100% success rate.
I had been thinking that this is due to the gun, not the reloads. The hammer on the Open Top does not fall particularly hard. Also, the gun is not tolerant of primers that stand proud, so I have made an effort to fully seat all my primers. I don't wonder if I have seated some too deep for this gun.
I don't usually handle the primers, although they do sit in my garage through the Las Vegas hot summer.
Cheers,
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Old September 24, 2012, 10:53 AM   #14
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I am going to re-examine...

...my method.

My handling of the primers is pretty much restricted to taking them out of the box and putting them into the press.

I am going to verify that the fitting for the press is very clean.

I may start handling the primers with latex gloves.

I tumble the cases with the spent primers removed first.

I made a sieve which I will begin to use to get the cases out of the polishing medium.

I might also try blowing over the cases with some LP air to finalize the cleaning process.
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Old September 24, 2012, 11:05 AM   #15
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F16

When I was just shooting the Uberti, I automatically thought there was a problem with my brand new revolver. But when I experienced the same problem even down to the statistical likelihood of the misfire in the Vaquero, I figured there was little chance that two brand new pistols had the same problem.


The Auto-Primer will force the primers futher into the case than the press does. You can tell the difference by running your finger over the case. I also tested this by auto-priming fifty rounds and only using the bench press on the rest of the cartridges. No change whatever.

Just like you, if I cycle the round for a second shot, it frequently goes off.

Out of 250 rounds last Sunday, I brought home three that would not fire even after trying three and four times. Pulled them apart with the collet and recycled the brass. I should have carefully marked the ones which do not work on the first try.

The "Revolver Armoror" guy (don't know his name) has a very good reputation in this area and a very successful business. He seemed quite certain I had a bad batch of primers.

I will let y'll know how it goes.
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Old September 25, 2012, 12:53 AM   #16
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Hello, Doc Hoy. I too experienced mis-fires with a Colt S.A.A. This one is in .38 Spec. gun had action/trigger work by Hamilton Bowen..hammer pull really lightened up. Funny thing, on those that did go off..punch mark on primer looked to be normal depth & dia. I have always seated primers by "feel"..using the excellent K&M tool.
Not wanting to go thru all the hassel & potential risk of shipping gun back..I remembered my Forester Co-Ax press has a built-in priming feature..and priming punches have a built-in pre-set depth control of .002" under case head. I began priming using this tool..and have not had a mis-fire since...you can really see difference in depth between the two priming systems. I still use the K&M for everything else..rifle & revolver..just not for that particular Colt.
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Old September 25, 2012, 04:31 AM   #17
Doc Hoy
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Response to Ideal

Thanks for the wink back.

I use the Lee press which has the priming fixture. It is the three hole press that is going for 70.00 to 80.000 depending upon where you get it. I bought coupla four hole turrets for it. I have been using it on all of the primers thus far. Used properly it pushes the primers home uniformly. But I can't say what the depth is.

Because I was not certain about the seating of the primers, I took fifty rounds with the primers already seated with the press and used the Auto-Primer to push them in until they were fully seated.

There was no difference in the performance of the ammunition primed with only the press in comparisonwith the ammunition that had the primers seated deeper with the Autoprimer.

I am going to try these Federal Primers and I am going to load some of the rounds handling the primers with my ungloved hands. I will then do a second batch with the primers handled only with latex glove. I have been working pretty clean and I don't think I am contaminating the primers by touching them with my fingers. But I am new to this environment and there is much I don't know.
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Old September 25, 2012, 07:48 AM   #18
Willie Sutton
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Unless you have case lube on your fingers, you are probably not contaminating the primers by handling. I have seen rolling cases on a case lube pad, running the case into the die to size, then with their greasy fingers pick up a primer, drop it into the priming arm, and then seating the primer. THAT can lead to contaminated primers. But if you are priming in a separate step from resizing, it's not likely.

Primers need to be "crushed" or "upset" into the primer pocket VERY slightly in order to be at the correct sensitivity. The cup needs to be bottomed out into the primer pocket "plus a thousandth or two", else they will not be as sensitive as they are designed to be. Make sure your primers are FULLY seated. There is a "feeling" you develop with your hands on the tools that gives feedback as to how they are seating. You DO NOT want primers to not be fully seated, so don't be shy about putting pressure on the tool. With that said... don't be a gorilla either.

If you have clean primer pockets, clean primers (latex gloves are NOT needed), and they are correctly seated and then struck by a firing pin with the correct velocity, and they still do not fire... you have bad primers.

To the VELOCITY of the firing pin... getting a good impression does NOT mean that you have struck the primer with adequate energy to fire it. There is an impact VELOCITY that is critical for detonation of every explosive, and a priming compound is an explosive. Strike it at a velocity less than it's detonation initiation velocity... it's not gonna go bang. You can slowly deform a primer and make a correct looking impression and it will not fire. Weak firing pin springs will do this. Impressions tell you that the firing pin is long enough. They do not tell you the SPEED at which the impression was made. It makes a difference.



You need:

Clean Pocket

Clear flash hole (no grain of tumbling media in the hole)

Clean Primer

Correctly Seated (fully, and then a bit)

Hit with the correct firing pin impression

Hit at the correct velocity by the firing pin.




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Old September 25, 2012, 07:59 AM   #19
Doc Hoy
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Willie,

All good stuff and info I will use when I do my next reloading session.

Possibly as soon as this afternoon.
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