View Full Version : A sleeve for a cartridge?

November 15, 2012, 08:22 AM
First post so: hi everyone, happy to be here, been snooping around these forums for years and I just decided to join the fun.

Now, for the matter at hand. I shoot a lot and repair firearms as a hobby. I also reload a lot, for myself and anybody caring to ask politely. All I ask in return is 10% of what I reload so if I get the material for 1000 rounds, it's owner gets 900 rounds back. I rarely complete the extra 10% as most often, I do not own a gun of whatever caliber I'm asked to reload. As such, I have a nice stockpile of loose powder, primers and bullets (I also often return the casings to their owner as they are fired brass in their rifles and most are wildcats anyway).

As I thought about ways to use all this, after a few beer, I got a somewhat wild idea. What if I had a rifle, swap barrel with a very large chamber that was made to accept a sleeve instead of a cartridge? I could use any cartridge as long as I had a sleeve for it (which is not really hard to come by if I make the chamber same as a 12ga as there are already an insane amount of sleeves for those) but could also have some sleeves made that you just reload like a cartridge (straight walled I guess) so that you prime the back of the sleeve and fill it with loose powder and sit a bullet in. I guessed such a rifle would need a strong action like either bolt or falling block.

Does this idea make any sense or I'm just taking a ticket for the Darwin awards?

November 15, 2012, 08:37 AM
Go to www.mcace.com they can answer all of your questions better than any one.

James K
November 15, 2012, 01:25 PM
I guess you are thinking about using the same barrel for all cartridges of a given caliber; if not, you would need an adapter that had a length of barrel also, adding to the cost. If you used a chamber adapter, you would have problems with the gas getting into the crack between the front of the adapter and the barrel, eroding the crack and decreasing the life of the barrel and adapter.

There are chamber adapters, usually used to fire pistol cartridges in a rifle, but they seldom work very well and are not highly popular.

BTW, I assume you have a license to manufacture ammunition if you are doing it for others and charging for it.


November 15, 2012, 05:29 PM
Erosion between the chamber and the rifling... kinda bad.

No, I did not intend to use the same barrel for all my shooting, just for the same caliber, which would greatly bring down the number of different firearms I'd need to "safely dispose of all that hazardous material" :cool:. Most calibers I reload, altough in very different cases, are 223/243/270/308.

Also, as stated earlier, I do not charge anything for reloading other people ammunitions. The 10% I talked about is far more a courtesy gift than a payment. Sort of like you hunt on private land and gift some meat to the land owner as a way to say thank you. If anybody really wanted the rest of the material, I'd happily hand it over.

BTW, I contacted MCA sports and had a similar answer, saying that such a setup would result in a "light load only" rifle. They were still very polite and said that if I really wanted to give it a go, they'd see what were our options.

Just food for thoughts, if I ended up with a design like an old cap n ball revolver (let's say with only one chamber to keep it simple) with a small gap between the chamber and the barrel, does that seem like a better idea?

November 15, 2012, 05:47 PM
If you load for someone else, then you are manufacturing ammunition and the BATF wants you to have a manufacture's license.

When we as handloaders reload our shells no mater pistol/rifle/shotgun it is for our own use and not for sale.

November 15, 2012, 07:52 PM
You really think reloading for free means he's "in the business of selling or distributing reloads for the purpose of livelihood and profit."?

Doesn't sound like a very good way to make a living to me.

He can reload for other people all he wants as long as he's not doing it for profit.

From the ATF FAQ:

Q: Is a person who reloads ammunition required to be licensed as a manufacturer?

Yes, if the person engages in the business of selling or distributing reloads for the purpose of livelihood and profit. No, if the person reloads only for personal use.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a) (i) and 923(a), 27 CFR 478.41]


James K
November 15, 2012, 08:29 PM
If a person reloads for himself, he does not need a license. But if he does the reloading and accepts payment for the product, he is "engaging in the business of manufacturing" ammunition. I don't think it matters if the reloader sets a regular payment or accepts "courtesy gifts".

The same would be true for repairing firearms "as a hobby". If a person repairs firearms and takes money or anything of value for it, it is not a hobby; he is engaging in business as a gunsmith and needs a license.

Also, in either or both cases, if the person messes up, he can be sued and his homeowners' insurance won't cover "business" activity, especially of dubious legality. And believe me, one's "friends and buddies" will sue in a microsecond if they think there is money in it.

Now to the technicalities of chamber adapters. The analogy to a revolver is not a good one. In a revolver, the gas escape is to the open air. With a chamber adapter, the gas would escape into the gap between the adapter and the barrel and exert pressure against the adapter, trying to force it back out of the barrel. That would exert more pressure on the bolt lugs than the normal cartridge would since the adapter would be larger.

And of course, each adapter would have to be made to a its own headspace, a bit tricky with removable adapters.

I don't say it can't be done, but it requires a lot of thought, hopefully by folks smarter than I am. I will say that if it were easy, I think some company would already have put the idea on the market.


November 16, 2012, 07:38 AM
You pretty much thought the same way I was thinking in the beginning, that there would be a lot of pressure leaking into the action and bolt and quite frankly, a pipe bomb a few inches from my face is not a thing I fancy. MCA sport rep was thinking the same too.

Should have mentioned it but I live in Canada. Here the law is slightly different and yes, I actually asked a lawyer and the RCMP if there was anything wrong with the way I was doing things. They both answered that since I only received reloading materials, as long as both parties are happy, there is nothing wrong. I just had to make sure people I reloaded for have a valid Possession-Acquisition Licence before giving them the ammo.

F. Guffey
November 16, 2012, 10:10 AM
SHMEL, I have a P89 Ruger that is 9mm, I also have a 30 Luger complete slide (with barrel and return spring), for me it is a matter of switching slides. Adap-ter kits are available for the 1911 to shoot 22 ammo, Mausers have an adap-ter kit that allows the shooter to practice? with 22 ammo.

rifles and pistols are available with additional barrels, most are single shot from Thompson. I have receivers, I have barrels, I have no interest in building a convertible, back to single shot, and the imagination getting away from us, the receiver can have two bolts but feeding everything? would be a problem. Then there is removing and installing barrels, conventional thinking requires two wrenches, there is nothing written that says that is the way it has to be done, there are striker wrenches, for tight barrels use a bigger hammer, when using torque hammers the handles should be the same length, meaning, and that would require me to spend the rest of my life to explain,

Sleeves/Inserts, inserts are available, in the big inning an insert was used to modify the 30/06 chamber to 308 Winchester/7.62 NATO, most thought the insert was an either and or, as install the insert and shoot 308W, remove the insert and shoot 30/06 with little and or no thought given to the difference in diameter of the 30/06 and 308 W chamber, the 308 W case had to be sized down at least .011” at the shoulder to chamber. Back to “little and or no thought given” many reloaders and smiths have chambered 308 Winchester/7.62 NATO chambers to 30/06 chambers. After firing they discovered the 30/06 reamer did not remove all of the 308 Winchester chamber, the part of the chamber that did not get removed was the shoulder, a case when fired would have a ring around the case where the old chamber still resided.

One receiver with two bolts and multiple barrels is doable, making sleeves would be too expensive, inserts should be kept in the same family (7MM, 30 CAL, etc.,), I am the fan of the running start, I want my bullets to have a jump start, I have no interest in an insert that increases the distance between the bullet and rifling, but, it is possible to form cases with long necks, something like throating.

F. Guffey

F. Guffey
November 16, 2012, 10:30 AM
Then there was Easton-Ackley, they had a design on a magnum chamber, first the shooter/customer purchased a 250 Magnum then shot it out?, After shooting the barrel out the rifle was to be returned for cutting the barrel to 270, after the 270 was shot out the barrel was cut to 30 cal., next was the 35 cal. Something like going form 25/06 to 30/06 to 35 Whelen or a 338/06, somewhere between the 25/06 and 338/06 an 8MM06 could have been an option.


F. Guffey