Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Good Things come in 3's no wait, 4....um 5...do I hear 6?

For some time my 629-1 has been in need of a trip to the factory to be repaired for a broken hammer stud and a very worn trigger stud. I shot the snot out of this gun ever since I got it. Until last week I thought it would cost me a fortune to have it fixed (somewhere around $150-$200). Even though I was very upset that the gun was MIA and thought S&W should repair it I couldn't send it in until I had the money for the repairs. While on a chat room it was brought to my attention by another member that S&W had a recall on a number of 629-1 models because of bad metal. A interesting side note...It was found out that the member who helped me had a 629-1 that was a mere 300 #'s off of mine kinda cool huh. I was given the series and serial #'s that the recall dealt with and low and behold mine was in it. A quick email and phone call to them and they said they would honor the recall even though it is over 20 years old. Looks like my beloved 629 will be fixed and in shooting condition in short order. The 6" barreled smith is my favorite in my collection and I would only take a 5" classic barrel over it. Also with all this time to NOT shoot and with some of this reloading stuff I brought with me to my apartment I thought I should get cracking on reloading my staples. That is .45 ACP and .44 Mag And a few Paper patched 45-70 bullets to try when I go home for Thanksgiving break. My fav load for .45 ACP for both revolver and Auto (1911) is 5.5Gr of Unique under a 230gr RN cast. My favorite load for .44 Magnum is of course the 250gr Keith and 10.0Gr unique these clock at about 1000FPS. So now I have all the components I brought with me loaded up. Also I should have my custom reloading bench here in less than a week, My Genius welder friend told me it was done for the most part except for detailing I won't have to use my computer desk as my reloading bench anymore. short school week because of Thanksgiving I'll try to get at least a day out at the range and test these 45-70 loads out. I'll get my 629-1 shipped out and some more bullets cast up. I have 2 new molds to try when I get back. One is a very odd looking 45 mold and the other is a 200gr double wad cutter for .44

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Procuring Perfectly Paper Patched Projectiles : or : The Other 5 P's of life

Paper patching is a old but not out of date (only forgotten by most) method of protecting the bullet during its journey down the barrel, But not to the target( ideally it separates from the bullet a 19th century "sabot" if you will ). You see the paper patch keeps the gases from cutting/soldering the bullet to the barrel "leading" as it is often termed will cause the bullet to tumble or veer off its otherwise well intended course and cause the shooter much distress to clean when he or she gets home. Usually with cast bullets we use a lube to keep the barrel and bullet from becoming one. These are fine and dandy when they work but why stick with what works? Why not try to improve? 6 million dead buffalo can't be wrong along with numerous , Indians and stage coach robbers I'm sure. The paper patched bullet was the standard factory produced round for the 45-70 and other such "buffalo" rounds during the late 19th century.

Paper patching is something I have wanted to try ever since I got my W&H 45-70 2 years ago from a guy who purchased the rifle from a old SASS shooter who needed the money. The fellow who I purchased it from complained of its recoil...I didn't say anything to this I simply handed over my $285 for the rifle and walked away with a smile. 45-70 brass is fairly easy to come across but I only had 40-60 brass at home I obtained from an auction for a whopping $0.75 yeah..3/4 of a dollar for 100pcs of necked down 45-70 brass. 50 of the rounds were loaded with 40 cal bullets and full of black powder. The remaining pcs of brass merely were necked down and ready to load. My first order of business was to fire form the loaded rounds....does not seem to hard pop a 40cal round into what is supposed to be a 45-70 caliber rifle. 50 rounds later and a few split cases I had a good start on fire forming the already loaded cases. My barrel was very leaded but it cleaned out after about 10 minutes of attention. What to do with the other rounds? I had a bunch of .41 magnum bullets around that my dad had cast up back when he shot the 41 mag about as much as I shoot .44 mag these days....so I ran the 50 remaining pieces through a 41 magnum ball expander die and loaded the 41mag bullets with a full case of cheap black powder. Needless to say these were odd looking rounds. Almost looked like a hour glass. the bullet was bigger than the case body at this point. I shot those 50 rounds and had 3 split cases. So now I have about 94 good 45-70 cases and a little odd-ball education on fire forming. Next step was to load them with 45 cal bullets (I used the classic 405gr RN)and a case full of powder. Ran through the 95 pcs of brass and split 5 more cases. So at this point in time I have a 10% case failure rate...not bad for $0.75 of brass, time and cheap black powder. My next order was to learn how to anneal the cases so I wouldn't split anymore. I read up on a few web pages about the process and practiced on some old 30/06 brass. Basically I used a old lazy Susan, a pan of water and a propane torch. I annealed the remaining 45-70 cases and loaded them back up with a 500 gr RN cast bullet with 4 lube groves and graphite lube this time. I just used the 500gr bullet cause I wanted to try them. I used about 50 grains of 777 and headed off to the range. I sighted in on a steel ram at 200 yards, and only missed about 10 times out of the 90 rounds offhand. It was a good accurate load, no leading and easy clean up as black powder usually is if you know how to use soap and water. I clean the cases in hot soapy water after each firing and tumble them in the media tumbler ready for the next loading. These cases are on their 8th or 9th firing now and show little wear. So I start my search for a Paper patch mold now (you thought I forgot didn't you?) I looked on the online forums and posted want ads when I could. But non were to be had at a good price. Then while I was walking around at a outside gun show this past fall my dad spotted 2 paper patch molds for 45 cal. and got them both for $60. They were 2 single cavity Rapine molds one 400gr bullet and one 501gr bullet. The 500gr bullet is what I cast up with to try on this adventure. I cast up about 125 or so at home and brought them back with me to my apartment to paper patch. But then it hit me...the bullets were .446-.447 in diam and the .0011 paper I have would not work....nor would the paper that came with the bullets as they only bumped the bullet up to .452 with 2 wraps and they were precut so that did me no good. So I started my search for the right paper to use. Phone book paper seemed ideal, Cheap (hell, free in most cases) lots of it and thin. Actually it turns out it might be the worst paper to use because it is recycled which means it has clay and acid in it I guess? I would like to take some paper samples to one of the chem labs and have them run tests on it. So far I've messed around with patching bullets with phone book paper, 20# copy paper and the patching paper that came with the mold. The phone book paper I will try a few of but I'm not sure if i want to stick with it. Vegetable paper, Onion skin, Bible book paper? (May the word of God always be with you and travel at 1800 FPS) and vellum are other possibilities but I need to find good low cost sources for these. Stay tuned for range results with the Phone book patched bullets.

These are great sources for info, I have no connection with either of them. Please feel free to ask Q's or comment with words of wisdom.

Case annealing info

Additional info on PP bullets

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm a 21 year old college student with a passion for the gun culture. I enjoy all aspects of shooting and firearms. Reloading, Casting my own bullets (boolits), Building firearms, altering them, novice design, competitive shooting, plinking, experimenting and all sorts of other things.

I don't collect and shoot firearms like most people do. The majority of the firearm owning population collects perhaps one specific type of a firearm and the variations of it. For example the Mauser bolt action rifle, they might try and collect every variation from all the producing nations. Or perhaps a S&W collector who tries to get the rare pre-dash models. I "collect" in very loose terms various actions and mechanisms of which have been employed to propel projectiles. Bolt actions, Retarted blow back, Rolling block, Roller delayed blowback, straight pull bolt actions, gas operated, Short recoil, Long recoil, straight blowback, recoil operated, Reciprocating blowback the list is truely endless. However one man's designs stand out above the rest. John M. Browning. If it is one designer I am a fan of it is him. But I will just as soon take my AK to the range as my 1919a4/a6 or my single shot 45-70 or any of my match rifles. As far as me shooting a bit differently than the average shooter I do some rather odd things with rifles and pistols. Revolvers at 200yards on a regular basis? .22 rimfire at 200 yards? Elephant rifles shot at rail road ties? WTF? Kevlar vest testing with pure lathe turned Teflon bullets?

I enjoy building firearms as well (yes its legal). I am a novice machinist and have some experience on a mill and lathe and have my own lathe at home. I enjoy designing and making custom projectiles from varying materials and testing them on various materials.

I hope to log my varying projects, advancements and fall backs, I would also like to point out that these projects are my ideas but can not always be carried out in full by me. Some projects require welding and for that I turn to my good friend who is a genius welder. Also I wanna thank my dad for his support and guiding hand in my youth and even today, as well as his friends who provided me with ideas and lessons on what to and what not to do in life. My dad has been a big part of what I am today...If it was not for him and his funding I would not have done 1/8 of what I have done thus far in my shooting career. Thanks Dad and Mom( for putting up with all my projects always laying around the house...even when I'm away at school)