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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  GENERAL TOPICS  |  The Shootin' Range (Moderators: Marshal Halloway, Texas Lawdog)  |  Topic: 1894 Stevens favorite, Calibers .22,.25,.32, others, either RF or CF 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: 1894 Stevens favorite, Calibers .22,.25,.32, others, either RF or CF  (Read 26673 times)
Chev. William
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« on: August 18, 2013, 08:15:27 pm »


I hope this is the correct place to post this, I tried searching for any forum/thread that included the 1894 Stevens Favorite in any of its chamberings or later modifications.  Not finding any, here goes:

Greetings,  I am a "semi-retired" who has recently Acquired two 1894 Stevens Favorite Receiver, two different caliber barrels, some spare parts and am looking to getting them 'speaking' again, either as RF or as CF conversions.

I know the action design, as implemented, is considered 'weak' so NO Hot Rodding is intended, this means no cambering for current Factory cartridges that are loaded over 24000psi Pmax. and if in .32 Caliber holding down to around 17,500psi Pmax.

The actions may be strengthened by replacing the pins and Action Screws, originally low strength unhardened steel, with newer alloys, Quenched and tempered to higher strengths.  The receiver has been described as a 'low grade steel' or a 'Malleable Iron' casting.  Some writers in describing their processes in resurrecting one of these little 'tilting Block' rifles mention that they have tried Welding via TIG process and the result leave the metal around the Weld too hard to file or grind.  This tends to indicate a Iron casting as the heating and sudden cooling of the weld would convert it to "Chilled White Iron" which was used for long wearing Streetcar and Railroad car wheels before about 1911.  Chilled Iron is Hard but brittle in tension and does not bend before breaking.

For my 'projects', I intend to use Grade 8 quality fasteners for the basis of replacement screws, Hardened Dowel Pins or Heat Treated Drill Rod for the Pins, and try to use good replacements whenever I need replacement parts for missing or broken items.
I have been able to obtain new manufacture Takedown Screws, Extractors, a Hammer and Trigger, spare Breech Blocks, a Lever, and two spare Llinks to use in my projects.
Parts were obtained off of Ebay (auctions), and from "Wisner's" and "Jack First" (purchases) so far to date.

The barrels I currently have are in two Calibers; .25 Stevens Rf, and .32 Long RF.
The .25 Stevens Barrel 'slugs' .248" Bore and .252" Groove diameters.
I did pick up a second Stevens Favorite barrel in .25 Stevens Long RF caliber, not yet slugged.
The .32 Long RF barrel 'slugs' .299" Bore and .305" Groove diameters.
Both are 21.75 long, muzzle to breech as received and are 'Half Octagon' style.

For the .25 Stevens, I have found that i can Resize/Swage .22 Hornet cases down to .275" diameter using Lee .25ACP Carbide Dies.  I did find out that RCBS Hardened Steel .25ACP Dies are NOT suitable for this process as they have a reduction in diameter at about 3/4 inch up from the Die mouth and forms a reduced size 'bottle neck' in the cases about where the side wall inside taper runs out.  This makes it impossible to use as a .25 Caliber 1.125 inch long case (about the length of the .25 Stevens RF case.
Along the way i found out that Factory Loads for the .25ACP are usable in the .25 Stevens as they are about the same size as the .25 Stevens Short RF cartridge, but should give the muzzle velocity of the .25 Stevens Long due to the lighter bullet.  Since the .25ACP is a semi-rimmed design it will extract and head space in the barrel.

For the .32 Long Rf, there are 'blank adapter sub-chambers' sold that use an offset .22 blank to initiate Black Powder (BP) charges behind either a round ball or a heeled bullet.  Also, another Gentleman in California, wishing to make his .32 Long RF chambered revolvers and multiple barrel pistols "speak' again, has drilled out some .32 Colt cases and is using .27 Caliber Grade 2, Brown, or Grade 3, Green, stud setter Powder Tool Loads, with or without added BP, to fire Heeled Bullets quite effectively. He has a Blog page on which he has documented the process and at the bottom there is a Video of him firing his revolver at a Range.

Cast Bullets are a possibility in both calibers as I have located mold makers that will do the molds, for .25 it is a modification to an existing mold to raise the weight to 65gr and add a Heel; for the .32 it is a Cataloged mold that casts a 90gr inside lubed heeled bullet that caught my eye.  in the mean time there are always the commercial 35gr. JHP and the 50gr. FMJ-RN that can be used.

As to possible 'performance':

The .25 Stevens was considered better at killing "Pot Meat" small game without damaging most of the meat as compared to the .22 rounds that usually damage more meat in the killing.   Accuracy was said to be good out to about 200 yards, but had a 'high' trajectory since the loadings as listed were subsonic.  Some improvement in trajectory is possible within the pressure limits due to increased Muzzle Velocity (MV).  I believe this cartridge, in the modern form, even with conversion to a CF design for reloading purposes, will give good, creditable, performance out to a full 200 yards on the Target Range.  It is already being used by others on Squirrels and Rabbits, etc.  No, it is not a "Long Range Varmint" caliber as it will not reliably reach out 400 yards and convert Ground Squirrels or Prairie Dogs to 'Fir Clouds' and 'Pink Vapor'.  It historically has been a useful caliber for pests and varmints at shorter ranges out to 200 yards.

The .32 Long, either the Colt CF or the RF one, were loaded subsonic so their trajectory was 'high' and not considered too good at or beyond 200 yards.  The trajectory can be addressed to some extent by improved powders and loadings within the pressure limits expressed.  At least one powder and load calculated to generate 17,100psi Pmax would push the bullet out at about 1800fps MV, but it will be 'noisy' due to both the 'crack' from the supersonic bullet and the 'blast' from the Muzzle Exit Pressure (MEP).

The .32 Long RF and the .32 Long Colt, reportedly, originally shared bullet designs and sizes.  the later conversion of the Colt cartridge to inside lubed bullets smaller than the case diameter changed that.  The later heeled Colt bullets were about exact Groove Diameter for the Stevens barrel I have.

Join in on the discussion and, if your interest are 'tweaked' and you have one of these languishing in a closed somewhere, join in the Fun of returning a 'Voice' to it.

Best Regards,
Chev. William ETC USN Retired.
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Chev. William
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2013, 02:11:25 pm »

Continuing on this 'Saga', I received 115 resized Hornet cases after having their rims machined by my gunsmith and now will need to trim them to the length required for use in the .25 Stevens Favorite Barrel and chamber.  I ran into a problem, the Forster .25 Caliber trimmer pilot will not go into the resized ".250ALRx case mouths so I will need to find a smaller one.

I also bought some .32 S&W Long cases that were resized down to .32 Long Colt diameters by the seller.  I tried one in the chamber of the .32 Long RF Stevens Favorite barrel I own and found the drop in until about 1/8 inch from flush, then require thumb pressure to go the rest of the way in. 

So now I have cases to fit both calibers on hand that just need some light work to be suable in them when I get the actions rebuilt.

The trimming of the '.25 Stevens CF', called for now, ".250ALS" (trim to a case length of 1.125")  'Mild-cat' cases to get them ready for use is on hold until I get a pilot to fit them. 
I have some "Ranch Dog" design .257 diameter Cast Lead bullets I received from "Carolina Cast Bullets"(CSB) as samples to try out.  CSB also advertizes that they will, for a small fee, resize them down to .253 diameter, which may fit my Stevens barrel better.  I also have some .250" to .251" diameter  Jacketed bullets, both 50gr and 35gr in weight, to try out in the finished cases. " NEI Handtool"
Lists a .251 diameter 50gr mold that they say they can easily lengthen to yield a 63gr to 65gr bullet that would be suitable for the 'Mild-cat' and the resurrected Stevens Favorite.

As to the .32 Long cases, I also bought some .314" diameter Cast Lead bullets with a .298" diameter heel with two outside lube grooves. the heel length is .137", base to lowest driving band, and roughly .540" over all length from tip to base.  There is also a Accurate mold design that is designed to be correct to fit .32 Long Colt, with inside lube groove in the heel extension and a shorter tip to give about the same overall bullet length and a nominal 90gr cast weight suitable for the .32 Stevens barrel and action.

Best regards,
Chev. William 
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Chev. William
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2013, 12:37:21 pm »

I now have a pair of reloading dies for the .32 Long Colt and some cases with more on order.  the dies are from "Hollywood Engineering" in Sun valley, CA and the owner ground a Carbide sizing insert to match my Chamber dimensions while I waited and we did trial size a few cases in the process.  the cases are downsized .32 S&W Long made to match .32 Long colt dimensions by a man in WI. 

Also progress is being made on the Gunsmith's evaluation and upgrading of my two 1894 Stevens Favorite actions, they are now disassembled and in "Cookie Trays" on his work bench but set aside to allow assembly of previously ordered pistols that he received the parts for this week.
At the gunsmith's request I took him all my Stevens Barrels so he could inspect and fit them to the actions.  I have two in .25 Stevens RF, one in .32 Long RF (all about 21.75 inches long), and one from a different model in .22 Long Rifle that is 24 inches long and of much heavier pattern but still a 'half octagon' in design, I believe it may have been from a '44' or '44-1/2' model as it has a stepped 'spigot' with about the middle third of the 'spigot' threaded.

The Gunsmith also has my new Chamber Reamer for ".250ALRM" design (a case length of 1.250" nominal) for use in cutting a new chamber in  one of the .25 Stevens barrels, the one with the 'worst' bore condition of the two.  He also has my two new Head Space Gauges for .25ACP that arrived this week.

I had ordered 100ea 'Remington' Empty .22 Hornet Brass to be used in forming additional parent cases for my ".250ALRx" Experiments and when they came I found they are actually head stamped "Hornady .22 Hornet".  They have already been neck expanded to .250 ID and have had the first pass through the .25ACP sizer die but the base sizing is going very slowly as I have already bruised my palm from the forces needed in sizing the cases down.  Additionally, I found out my local Reloading Store has received some empty .22 hornet brass, so went in and bought two bags of 100ea and two RCBS #12 Shell holders to experiment with thinning the top down to allow further first pass sizing of the cases in the .25ACP die.  the original dimension seems to be about .250" height from ram top to holder top and I believe I can grind that down to about .220" with out overly weakening the extraction rim.  That would get the First Pass sizing .030" closer to the rim, lessening the number of ram strokes to get the base sized all the way to the rim.  I am using an RCBS JR-3 reloading press and in order to get enough force to size the base, I use the last increment of the travel as a 'toggle link' force multiplier, with the need to lower the sizing die in 1/12th turn increments to get it all formed. That means about 24 heavy short strokes of the press arm and lead to the bruising of my palm.
The finish forming of the total of 300 parent cases is going to take a while at this pace, but with no work calls from my Union, it looks like I will have the time but no money to shoot with in the mean time. Vehicle licenses and Utility bills need to be addressed first.

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2013, 10:54:35 pm »

Some "QuickLOAD"CALCULATED And Theoreticalloads for .32 Long Colt with the following assumptions:
Barrel length is 21.75 inches, Bullet is Accurate 31-090A 90gr inside lubed heeled bullet, Case length =.916", Bullet seat depth =.215", cartridge OverAll Length =1.211", primers CCI #450 SRM, Maximum Average Pressure allowed =14,504psi.

Alliant 2400, 5.0gr, MCP=10828psi, MV =1092fps, MEP =573psi
Alliant Bullseye, 2.3gr, MCP =10989psi, MV =1102fps, MEP =474psi
Alliant Unique, 2.7gr, MCP =11309psi, MV =1129fps, MEP = 513psi
Hodgdon H110, 7.75gr, MCP =14447psi, MV =1262fps, MEP = 784psi NOTE: Calculated Maximum pressure Load!
Hodgdon H110, 7.5gr, MCP = 13356psi, MV = 1219fps, MEP = 741psi NOTE Calculated 97% of max pressure Load.

These are Theoretical Loads that have NOT been Tested in actual firing by myself.  The are provided as talking points for consideration of possible use in the .32 Long Colt cartridges used in lieu of Factory Loads for our Older Firearms.

I hope everyone will think about these ideas and post their thoughts on the possible usefulness of these potential loads.

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2013, 03:26:51 am »

Today I made some progress on the Development of alternatives for the .25 Stevens RF cartridges.

I built up the first complete .25 Stevens RF replacement/substitute Rim Fire cartridge of this design.

It is made up of a roughly 1 inch piece of 9/32 diameter .014 wall Brass Tubing drawn down to .275 outside diameter in a .25ACP Carbide sizing die, A .25 Caliber Grade 3, Green Tipped Powder Tool Load, and a 50gr FMJRN Magtech Bullet.
The .25 Cal Load's rim fits into a .25ACP shell holder.
The Tubing after drawing is slightly smaller than the Load body, and can be pressed over it by using a fender washer on top of the piece tubing under the sizing die in a reloading press. The tubing will stop on the shell holder, leaving a small space between the rim and the bottom of the tubing. the blank is retained by about the same force as a primer cup in a Center fire round.
then the top of the tubing is belled with an expander die, and finally the bullet is seated and the bell ironed out in a seater/crimper die.

This first 'prototype' was not 'glued' together, it is just held together by the grip of the tubing. I then took it to my Gunsmith Shop and we tried it in one of my .25 Stevens barrels, It did chamber and appears to have sufficient rim exposure to allow firing.
Nine more of the same design,but using lacquer between 'blank' and tubing wall as an additional securing method, are partially assembled tonight. I left them open to allow the 'glue' to dry thoroughly before adding the bullet.
Upon completion these will join the other one with my Gunsmith for test purposes.

Progress on the Center Fire alternative for the .25 Stevens:

Ten of the formed and machined .250ALS Cartridges were primed with CCI#450 (SRM), charged with 2.5gr of (alliant) BULLSEYE (fill estimate is about 37% of net case volume), and topped with a 50gr FMJRN (Magtech) bullet. The assembled length is 1.415" to 1.410" for these. (Case Length is 1.125")
This load is calculated to develop approximately 10,700psi Maximum Average Pressure and should result in a Muzzle Velocity of about 1450fps out of a 21.75" barrel. The estimated Muzzle Exit Pressure is 865psi. these loaded rounds will be taken to my Gunsmith for use in testing the rebuilt Stevens Favorite actions. The Other Design is the CF replacement for the .25 Stevens.

Why were these chosen to be used as test rounds, both the RF and the CF? They are a reasonable match for the action and existing chamber. They are estimated to be below the SAMMI/CIP pressure limits for the Caliber and Cartridge as far as I have been able to ascertain. these are not 'Proof loads' but are intended for live function testing of the completed firearm(s). When I obtain suitable Cast Lead Bullets I will assemble additional rounds for the gunsmith to use for testing the firearms.

I feel this is good news on this date.

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2013, 03:33:35 pm »

Over the weekend, having obtained a one pound canister of GOEX fffg Black Powder (BP), experimented with finding out how much BP some of my CF 25 caliber lengthened .25ACP cases hold.
I found that, loose and not compacted:
The .250ALR holds about 8.0 grains with a little room to start a bullet. This is a 1.055" nominal case length.
The .250ALS holds about 9.0 grains with a little room to start a bullet.  This is a 1.125" nominal case length.
The .250ALRM holds about 10.0 grains with a little room to start a bullet.  This is a 1.250" nominal case length.

From my reading, I believe, the original loading for the .25 Stevens RF round was 10 to 11 grains of BP under a 67gr inside lubed bullet.

From my trials I think it is possible that the .250ALS could, with compression, hold around 10.0 grains of BP but I doubt that there is sufficient net case volume to get 11 grains in, even with heavy compression of the charge.  This is due to the fact that the CF case looses some net case volume due to its base thickness and the Boxer primer pocket.

After thinking over my results, I loaded five .250ALS cases with 9.0 grains of fffg GOEX BP and seated a 50gr FMJRN "Magtech" bullet, finally using left over nail polish from my late wife to paint the bullets translucent Red.   They look nice, something like 'Candy Apple Red over the copper colored jacket.  The nail polish will also serve to add weather proofing to the loads while they are in storage pending my getting the Stevens Favorite Action(s) back with a good report on their condition.

Best Regards,
Chev, William
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 07:34:26 pm »

This morning, while I was outside with the dogs, I checked what the Black Powder (BP) capacity of my (.912" to .914" case length) .32 Long Colt cases is.
It turns out that level full to the rim they hold about 11.7 grains of loose fffg GOEX; and if space is left to seat one of the heeled bullets without compression, they hold about 10.7 grains of loose fffg BP.

I would surmise that around 11.0 grains would fit with some compression, and perhaps slightly more with heavy compression.

Reportedly, the .32 Long RF originally had 18 grains of BP and the .32 Long Colt CF had 12 grains of BP. I guess the RF round gets its extra capacity from not having a separate primer and the CF round may have been a "Balloon Case" design.

Something to think about for the future.

Later, I tried a .25ACP cases and found it will hold 5.0 grains of Loose, not compressed, fffg GOEX Black Powder (BP) level with the mouth rim and about 4.0 grains of BP with space to seat a heeled bullet without compression, possibly slightly more with compression.

As far as I know, the .25ACP was never commercially loaded with BP as it was introduced with the Colt Pocket Pistol after Smokeless powder was developed.

Best Regards,
Chev. William

A post on another Thread by w30wcf corrects the above data;
"Original .32 L C b.p. cartridges (.78" long / 90 gr. bullet) had up to .14" of compression according to some originals I dissected.  The balloon head cases held about .7 grs. more powder than modern R-P brass trimmed to .78" length.
 
Not all b.p.'s have the same  density so the actual amount by weight can vary a bit with the same volume. For instance, Goex is about 10% lighter in weight by volume than some of the early b.p.'s.  Currently produced Swiss is pretty identical to those powders.

Technically speaking, if one fills the .78" case completely full and seats a 299153 bullet, the amount of compression will = the original cartridge.

According to the early catalogs the outside lubed cartridge (.78" / 299153) contained 12 grs of b.p. and the inside lubed cartridge aka .32 Long Rifle, contained 13 grs of powder under the 83 gr hollow base bullet.

w30wcf"
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2013, 11:40:40 am »

While awaiting the bullets from W30WCF, I revisited another part of the projects, the substitute .25 Stevens Rim Fire.
This time I cut some more of the 5/32 Brass tubing to roughly 1" lengths and ran them through the .25ACP sizing die, then used a Forster Collete to squeeze down one end slightly so it would grip the ..25 Caliber Powder Tool Loads a little tighter.  I then applied Blue (removable) LockTite to the inside with a swab, pressed in the Powder Tool Load, and set them aside to cure, per instructions, for 24 hours.  The next thing I will need to do is trim them to a uniform length before adding a Lead Bullet.

I was happily 'interrupted' by by a Union Work Call that turned in to two day work with a chance of more next week.
My World is Looking Good at the moment.

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2013, 08:20:51 am »

Back from work Saturday, and took a look at the curing RF experimental primed tubes.  They are holding somewhat better as I cannot get one to move under hand pressures.  

Then tried to take some spare trimmer pilots to get them ground to the diameters needed for my several projects but found the hours of the grinding shop are Monday to Friday only, Oh Well.

Then stopped at my Gunsmith Shop and asked about the pending projects progress.  The Good News is he is busy, the bad news is he is not going to get to projects until later in November or early December due to pending Movie Work that he is scheduled for, including a trip to location out of State with his guns, leather, and costumes for a movie he will be in also.

It is Good that Movie work is showing up again, it has been too long between work calls here and people are getting down on their savings to pay bills etc.

Will this be the beginning of an upturn in my local economy?  It's too soon to tell. But I hope so.

Best Regards,
Chev William
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2013, 09:35:47 am »

RE: The identification of my 'new' barrel.
I have received several suggestions of what action it is for and what cartridge it is chambered in.
The general consensus to date is that it may be a set back and chamber cut Stevens Model 44 Barrel.
The Chamber dimensions, it is believed match those of the .25 Stevens Long RF cartridge however the Bore and Groove diameters are larger than is used for that round.
The .25 Stevens Long RF uses a bullet of .250 to .251 nominal diameter, inside lubed.
The Bore dimensions seem to be correct for the 25-20 Stevens, or as others called it , the 25-20 Single Shot, which did use a .257 nominal diameter bullet.

Perhaps someone else had the thought to use it as a Center fire conversion to a 'mildcat' of the .25 Stevens and then found to late that the bore dimensions were not right for their project?

Now there is what should be done with it?
Should it be the beginning of a project to develop a 'Heel base' bullet of .257 or so diameter to fit in a 1.124" or so case length and chamber in a 1.175' long chamber?
Should it be again cut to a new chamber for some other .257 diameter bullet using cartridge?
Should I 'unload it' to someone else?

It has a Very Good Condition bore after cleaning it, with smooth and shiny insides and sharp rifling the full length from Chamber to muzzle. 
When I slugged it with a "Ranch Dog" design .25ACP bullet, from chamber to muzzle, driving it through with a 3/16 Hard Brass rod and mild hammer blows I found it even in tightness until about an inch from the muzzle end, where it felt slightly looser than the rest.

Inspecting the slug with a 20 power magnifier, the rifling cut sharp edged grooves in the driving bands almost to the bullet nose diameter and the drive bands, including the 'swell' of the nose before the first driving band, showed contact with the full diameter of the barrel grooves.  It seems it would seal, and possibly shoot well even with this bullet size, if it is not reduced in diameter in the loading process.  An obvious problem with a cartridge that requires some tension on the bullet to retain it in the cartridge.

Pondering on this,  I surmise that a heel based and heel lubed bullet design similar to the Accurate Molds 31-090A, but of around .258" maximum diameter and with a .250" diameter heel would work.  The heel length should be about the same as the seated depth of a .25ACP bullet and the driving band should be about .050" long to fit the bullet in a 1.125" long ".25 Stevens CF" case and still chamber in the 1.175" cut chamber as found.
Accurate molds does not make molds below .300 bullet diameter at this time according to their web site.
The nose could be a 'bore rider design and extend into the rifling as it slugged at .250".
A bullet weight of about 67 to 75 grains would be interesting for this barrel, especially since it seems it is for the stronger Model 44 action rather than the 'Favorite' action.  The stronger action would allow loading to higher chamber pressures and resulting muzzle velocity than would be useable in the 'favorite' action even with improved strength pins and screws.

The resulting cartridge would retain the powder chamber volume to hold between 9 and 10 grains of Black Powder so could still be named perhaps ".25-10 Stevens Center Fire" and, if loaded with a nominal .251" diameter bullet, still used in the 'Favorite' action and barrel/chamber combination.

What do the other members of the Forum think of these ideas?

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2013, 07:51:38 pm »

As an experiment, I set up a Lee collet type Factory Crimp Die for the 30 Carbine round so the slots in the collet were squeezed completely closed plus a little 'overpressure'.  Then I placed a Magtech .25ACP case (about .608" case length) in the shell holder as a spacer pin and then placed a 'Jack Harrislon' made .32 Long Colt Case on the top of the 'spacer' and ran it into the Crimp Die.

The results are promising, the crimped area of the case is about .765" to.770" up from the base and it measures between .308" and .310" in a four lobed pattern, which may be due to the collet being designed for the 30 Carbine round and NOT for compressing to "Two Blocked" condition.

If the length of the 'spacer is adjusted to put the rim of the case about even with the maximum crimp point, it should crimp adequately without having to be 'Two blocked" in use.

This is a possible alternate way to add a crimp to .32 Long colt heeled bullets for those who find that the fired cases do not adequately retain the heeled bullets in their firearm.

Something else to think about.

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2013, 09:31:04 pm »

I now have an "Old West Bullet Moulds" modified Lee Collette type Factory Crimp Die for .32 Long, Short, and Long Rifle Colt as it is adjustable via a shell holder that has a custom machined Threaded stem with the holder recess on top and there is a Set Screw in the side to lock the adjustment.

Yesterday I received a barrel from an Ebay Auction that is for a 1894 series Stevens Favorite that has the knurled Nut on it  for head space adjustment.  I have not cleaned it yet, the bore ;looks either nearly shot out or has heaving lead fouling as the Rifling is barely visible.  The exterior surface from muzzle to Tenon is covered with dark brown rust but the Tenon itself is grey metal.

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2013, 11:32:16 pm »

I cleaned the bore on the 'new' barrel today and the rifling is present full length although there is pitting the whole length of the rifling.  I have not yet done any cleaning on the outside surfaces as I have not yet decided how to proceed.
Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2013, 03:05:33 pm »

I learned something new today about the variations in the 1894 series Stevens Favorite actions.

I ran across a post on the ASSRA web site that discussed the different main springs and Hammer types that Stevens used over time.

Quoting WCFMetalsmith: "Is everyone aware that there are THREE different 1894 Favorite mainsprings. Also THREE different Hammers due to the spring seat to match the Mainspring

The early one is about .055" thick and is not screwed to the bottom tang, it rests against the side of the screw head, arcs up almost to the top tang, drops back down and the last 5/8" of the spring bends back up under the hammer, the spring recess is a square cut with a very small radius in the corner.

Then the intermediate mainspring is 3/32" thick that is screwed to the bottom tang, it moves up slightly and forward, then at the end the tail is a upside down tear drop shape to match the larger radius in the hammer.

The last version is 3/32" thick is screwed to the bottom tang, moves up slightly and is fairly flat all the way to the tip. This hammer is different as the spring seat is much lower and goes almost all the way into the pivot screw hole. BUT has a lowered pad section that rides on top of the flat section of the mainspring.

The 1915 hammer and coil spring system is a whole other thing, and you could fit it IF you can find a 1915 Hammer.

The hammers and mainsprings do not interchange, so it is important to match the proper mainspring to the hammer.

So bottom line is after how many decades of use for that rifle, parts could have been changed, and altered vs what you think you have.

WCF "
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2013, 06:44:41 pm »

Today is a Good Day,
My latest Ebay purchased Stevens barrel arrived and this one is a "keeper". it has about 90-95% thin blue all over, including the Tenon; the bore looks shiny and the rifling is all present with no obvious pits.  I slugged it and the measurements are .245" Bore and .251 Groove diameters tight all the way from chamber to muzzle; which is cut square and flat.  It is marked "25-Stevens" and the chamber seems to be just that, one of my .250ALS cartridges goes in nicely all the way to flush with the breech face.
It does have 'ghost' double stamping of the "J. Stevens A & T Co." name and address but the caliber stamping is single strike and sharp.
The Tenon seems to measure .662" near the front and .660" to .661" at the breech face.  the Rim cut is clean and sharp and the extractor cut is also clean and sharp.
The rear dovetail has slightly raised lips and the front dovetail lips are either flush or very close to it.  All in all, I am very pleased with this 1894 series 22" long Half Octagon-Half round barrel.
Next I will be looking out for sights for it.
Best regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2013, 09:49:59 pm »

I have purchased, and am waiting for mail delivery of a pair of Iron Sights to fit my "keeper" .25 Stevens chambered barrel from an Ebay Auction.  I also bought a spring leaf rear sight through Gun Broker and a pair of elevator pieces through another auction site fo I think I have the basics of a set of Sights for this barrel.  I bought the two rear sights as I am not sure that one dovetail is actually the right size as the photos were not sufficiently clear to tell and the auction was going to terminate before a message could be sent and returned (based upon past experience).

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2013, 11:13:25 pm »

The first set of sights, a blade front and a spring leaf rear, arrived today an they appear to fit my 'Keeper" .25 Stevens barrel properly.  I did need to buy elevator wedge from "Numerich Arms" and it is narrower than the slot in the leaf so it may or may not work when the sights are installed.

I am still waiting for the delivery of the second rear sight I bought on the internet.

Best Regards,
Chev. William

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« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2013, 10:12:29 am »

The Second sight arrived and it is long enough to 'overlap' the receiver IF it fit the rear sight dovetail on the barrel.  It does not, being narrower than the dovetail cut it 'falls' through on the barrel samples I have here.  There are three more barrels at my Gunsmith that I may try it on before deciding whether to keep it or sell it.
Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2013, 02:43:22 pm »

This week was 'inclement' in its weather so I started experimenting with the "Bastardized Tenon" Model 44 cut down barrel I got off Ebay.  I chucked the Tenon and used a live center to guide the muzzle in a friends lathe and started cleaning the 'crud and rust' off the round portion of the barrel.   This worked possibly using a green Scotchbrite pad but did not touch the heavier rust build ups.
Next i used a pad of fine steel wool, which polished the smooth sections but did nothing fo rthe heavier rust spots.  Finally I tried a fine cut Mill file on the rotating barrel, and that took off the rust build ups quite well, so I used the Mill File to go over all the round portion of the barrel while it was spinning in the lathe until it looked almost all bright and smooth, then went back to the Scotchbrite pad, adding 'WD40' and worked it back and forth until it stopped leaving grey-brown coating on the steel.  After wiping off the 'WD40 and 'cuttings' there were some stained spots on the 'bottom' of the barrel that looked bluish in color and overall a satin like finish.  I then spun up the lathe and used the steel wool again for a long period of 'polishing until the satin finish change dot appear more polished and reflective.

This brought me to the point where I had a barrel with a 'white' round section and a rusted and 'crud coated' octagon section.

So off to a vice with it and initial work with the Mill File 'Draw Filing' the flats  This brought me to the present condition of the barrel: in the 'white' but with discolored pits and gouges in the Octagon section but the flats are even ad have sharp edges with the original stampings still present with sharp imprints.  I will ponder whether to continue 'Draw Filing', which may remove the stampings but would remove the pits and gouges, or to use some other technique to clean up the remaining spots.

After I get the barrel cleaned completely I will need to learn a suitable finishing technique such as 'blue' or 'Plum' color finish or have it coated with some other material such as 'Black Chrome'.
This will probably wait until I decide how to complete the barrel for use and get that machine work done as there is no use finishing it until all the machine work is done or I would probably mar the finish in the process.

Sight and stock problems are still to be resolved for this barrel along with whether to try to find a Model 44 action to marry it to or to cut the Tenon to fit a 1894 or 1915 series action.

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2013, 09:32:57 pm »

Trying a Chemical Rust Remover by the name "Envro-Rust" that I bought from Harbor Freight tools Store.
It came in one Quart rectangular plastic bottle.
I put it into an empty Soft Drink Bottle that I cut toe cap and most of neck off and immersed the Breech end of the Bastardized Model 44 Barrel I had 'Draw Filed' in the previous post.
It now has been soaking for about 6 hours wiht no visible cleaning action yet.
I will leave it to soak for at least a total of 12 hours to see if any visible cleaning appears.
Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2013, 10:31:53 pm »

I used the brand Evaporust to clean a muzzleloader barrel and it worked really well. Harbor Freight carries it as well as some auto parts stores.
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Aye its been quite a ride aint it?
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« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2013, 01:47:06 pm »

My Rust removal experiment now has 24 hours of 'soak' time and is showing some visible results.
There is a visible difference in the appearance of the part o fit that is immersed compared to the portion that is has not been immersed.
Still a ways to go before the rust is removed.
Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2013, 01:39:07 am »

I tried a different Rust removal experiment.  this time I use some rusted reamers and drill bits as the subjects of the test, the same "Enviro-Rust" chemical, a Glass rectangular casserole dish as the container and kept it on my bathroom sink counter (insde temperatures).
The experiment was run for four 24hour days with the tools checked each day.

Results:
Day one - no visible effect.
Day two - visible reduction in the amount of rust on the tools but still rusty.
Day three - Tools mostly rust free and the dish has quantity of black particles in the bottom, chemical is turning dark.
Day four - Tools almost rust free, except for some remaining discoloration.  After rinsing and rubbing with a Scotch bright dish sponge pad almost all discolorations came off.  Experiment terminated and deemed a success.

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2013, 11:28:15 am »

Two more things arrived after purchase.
The first was another Stevens 1894 .32 Long Barrel with the Knurled Ring on it.  This one seems to have been chambered for the .32 S&W Long as the chamber diameter is .347" and the depth is 1.055"; a lot larger in diameter than the .318" - .320" for a .32 Long or .32 Long Colt.  I have not Slugged the bore on it yet so I will not comment on those diameters.  The bore has good rifling for full length with some pitting but not bad in appearance overall.  The exterior is gunmetal grey with blue-brown coloration patches covering mos tof the exposed surface.  There are 'dings' in the exterior from long use.

The second thing is a 5 cavity mold from Accurate Molds to cast ".311090A" heeled inside lubed 90 grain Round/flat nose bullets for my .32 Long Colt loads.  I will be sending the mold to "Matt's Bullets" in Highland, AR to have the bullets cast for me.  I intend to let Matt commercially cast and sell the bullets for other users of the .32 Long Colt just because there are so few commercial sources for such suitable bullets.  Jack Harrison of WI does cast and sell "299153" outside lube 90 grain bullets and there may be a few more around.

My next 'adventure' into bullet molds will be to design and have made a mold for a 65 to 69 grain .255" diameter bullet that can be sized to .252" or so to fit the .25 Stevens cartridges and barrels.  So far I have foud NO commercial source fo rthis weight and size bullet.  there are sources fo r.251" diameter 35 and 50 grain jacketed bullets and 50 grain Cast bullets but none of the 65 to 69 grain range less than .257" to.260" diameter.

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2013, 07:00:40 pm »

Some measurements on1894 and 1915 Stevens parts and comparisons:
Two Stevens Favorite 1894 Breech Blocks measure .502" and .495" in width.
Three Stevens Favorite 1915 Breech Blocks measure .542", .544", and .432" in width.
The Custom made !915 Action Breech block measures .594" in width.

"Wisner's" web site states that both of the pivot screws (Breech block and lever) for the 1894 action measure .187" diameter. The Breech Block Width is stated as 1/2".
"Wisner's" also states that the Breech Block pivot screw for the 1915 action measures .216" diameter and the Lever pivot screw measures .187" diameter.  The Breech Block Width is stated as .550".

My 1915 action Pivot screws measure .249" (Breech block) and .225" (Lever) while the matching holes are .250" and .228" diameters.

Conclusions to date:
My 1915 action has been modified in the past with a custom pair of pivot screws, a custom Breech block, a modified/custom lever and possibly a custom link, all of which are larger in the stressed sections than the original parts.
Presently I surmise that the larger sections are also probably modern, high strength Steel Alloy so may provide increased Action strength and resistance to bending or breaking under load.

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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