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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Powder Room - CAS reloading (Moderator: Marshal Halloway)  |  Topic: Loading for a very unusual Remington Rolling block - .58 Roberts! 0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Loading for a very unusual Remington Rolling block - .58 Roberts!  (Read 4231 times)
ndnchf
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« on: October 16, 2013, 12:02:49 pm »


I’m a sucker for the odd and unusual, and this one is indeed that.  It’s a Remington rolling block, made in the late 1860s.  At that time there was a pile of surplus Civil War muskets available dirt cheap.  In the post-war economy, Remington was looking for a way to build rifles at the lowest possible cost.  So they acquired a bunch of old model 1861 and 1863 Springfield muskets, cut them up and mated all the parts to their large rolling block actions.  This included the barrel, stocks and almost all the small parts.






Many had their barrels sleeved to .50 cal and chambered in either .50 Govt. or .50 Ccarbine….but not all.  This one retains its original .58 caliber musket bore.  Remington cut the breech end off of these barrels, threaded them to the rolling block action and then chambered them for several different .58 caliber metallic cartridges.  After a lot of measuring, research and help of the Remington Society folks, we’ve determined that this one is chambered in .58 Roberts.  The chamber is a little longer than the .58 Carbine round, but shorter than the .58 Berdan.  

Here is an original .58 Roberts cartridge:



So this will be a new adventure in loading.  I have some lathe turned cases coming from the seller and am considering different bullet and mold options.  If anyone has experience loading the .58 Roberts, or any .58 metallic cartridges, I’d sure like to hear your experiences and advice.

More to come… Grin
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Shotgun Franklin
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2013, 01:42:49 pm »

Were these just for the domestic market? Remington sold huge numbers of these guns overseas.
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ndnchf
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2013, 03:38:39 pm »

Were these just for the domestic market? Remington sold huge numbers of these guns overseas.

I'm no expert, but from what I've been reading, they were sold to state militias and on the open market.  Then during the Franco-Prussion war, I think many went overseas.  The .58 Roberts was a cartridge developed by General Roberts for use in his Roberts breechloading conversion that was evaluated by the US military, but not accepted.  However, many of those were sold on the open market as well.  The cartridge must have caught on to a small extent.  My rifle has had a hard life on the outside, but the bore is excellent.  I would suspect that it was carried and maybe drilled with a lot, but not fired much.  When it was shot, it was properly cleaned afterwards.  So it has the potential to be a good shooter.
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2013, 04:46:14 pm »

There's a drawing of it in Herschel Logan's "Cartridges": 620 g bullet, 60 g powder.

As for loading it, you may have to be the one to write the book on that; can't be more exasperating than making 32 Long cases!

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ndnchf
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2013, 06:01:50 pm »

620gr bullet?  I would expect that to keyhole in this 1-72 twist barrel.  I'm thinking about as light a bullet as possible to get it to stabilize. It will be a similar challenge as the .32 Colt, but on a larger scale! 
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2013, 06:21:36 pm »

Ndnchf, how close are the dimensions of this to a 577 Snyder? There is brass available for that, and they also use brass 24 ga shotshells to form brass. I would think any .58 Minnie bullet would work, unless this one also needs a heel base. If so, I really doubt if Bernie would have a crimp tool for it!
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ndnchf
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2013, 07:06:17 pm »

577 Snider is the best case to make it from, although this is a shorter, straight taper case. But 577 Snider cases are hard to find also.  24ga brass shell are a possibility, but I'd prefer a sold head case if possible.
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2013, 12:28:40 am »

I wonder how big the chamber neck is cut on one of these? Got to thinking, while it should shoot a Minne bullet, since after all it's a rifle-musket barrel, was it originally loaded with one, or was it more of a groove diameter bullet? If the bore diameter is something like .580, then groove would be closer to .590 or more, I would think. I have read of Snyder shooters using a .600 round ball with good results. But it would depend on if the chamber is cut large enough to seat a larger diameter bullet in the case. If you use anything other than a mine, it would probably be a custom order mold.
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ndnchf
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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2013, 05:46:58 am »

My rifle's groove diameter is .594".  The previous owner shot round ball, but that is not what I want to  do.  I don't just want to make it go bang, I want to see what it can do.  Some folks use minies in the .58 Berdan and Snider, but from what I've read they are not all that accurate.  I believe the best way to go is to have a custom mold made for a .595" bullet and one that is as short and light as possible in order to stabilize in the very slow 1-72 twist.  While heavier and longer minies were originally muzzle loaded in these barrels, the slow twist was not ideal for their accuracy.  From what I've read, the 1-72 twist was a compromise of bullet stabality vs ease of loading and minimizing bullet drift due to the spin.  At least that was the theory back then.  These rifles were never intended for target work.  So I'm not expecting the same accuracy as I get out of my Shiloh Sharps.  But I think 4"-5", 100 yard groups are a possibility with the right load.  But only time will tell.  The fun is not in the destination, but getting there Grin   
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Seamus
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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2013, 03:41:45 pm »

ndnchf,

Look here for lots of info on Snider bullets & molds.

http://britishmilitariaforums.yuku.com/forums/2/Snider-Enfield-Forum#.Um15zirn85

Seamus
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ndnchf
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2013, 05:11:32 pm »

Thanks Seamus - will do.
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Sir Charles deMouton-Black
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« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2013, 06:38:26 pm »

577 Snider is the best case to make it from, although this is a shorter, straight taper case. But 577 Snider cases are hard to find also.  24ga brass shell are a possibility, but I'd prefer a sold head case if possible.

Here is a case dimension chart that might be of interest;

http://members.shaw.ca/cstein0/riflelist2.htm  NOTE: Scroll to the bottom to find a selection of charts by type or caliber range,

I would say that the 24 ga. Magtechs would be strong enough as I don't think the case would accept more than about 50 grains of a slow gunpowder.

NEI have a .592 roundball mould.  Might get one myself for my Snider 3 band Mk III rifle.

http://www.neihandtools.com/catalog.html
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2013, 09:47:00 am »

Thanks Sir Charles, that's a handy reference chart.  I'm hoping to get the Rocky Mountain Cartridge Company lathe made cases for it soon and hope they will work with the bullet size I want.  if not, the 24 gauge Magtech brass may be the way to go.
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2013, 01:33:33 pm »

Accurate has several molds in the right range (http://www.accuratemolds.com/catalog.php?page=15)
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ndnchf
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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2013, 02:09:42 pm »

Accurate has several molds in the right range (http://www.accuratemolds.com/catalog.php?page=15)

Yes, I've been looking at their catalog.  They make some nice molds.  With the 1-72 twist, I need something as short and light as possible. Thanks 
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ndnchf
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« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2013, 04:07:37 pm »

I finally received the .58 Roberts lathe turned cases .  Unfortunately, some of them had been fired with black powder and then not cleaned, so they were pretty corroded and nasty.  But most are in good usable shape.  The problem with these is the case mouth thickness, about .025” - .027”.  There is no way I can get a groove diameter bullet into these cases without modification.  Groove size is about .594”, the case ID is around .578” - .580”.  I can use an expanding minie’ ball, but really prefer to get a custom mould for a short, groove diameter bullet.  But while waiting for the cases I ordered some .590” diameter minie’ balls to start out with.  But these would not fit into the case.   Well, I have a very old, well used bench lathe. So I set up a case in the lathe and inside turned the case mouth to about .594”.  I’m not a machinist by any stretch of the imagination, but I managed to get one case done as a trial.  The minie’ ball slipped in nicely and the round chambers – so far, so good.  After I decide on the bullet design and diameter I want to use, I’ll order a chucking reamer of the appropriate size to ream the case mouths.

Here is a shot of the .58 Roberts dummy round with a .56-50 Spencer to its left and an empty .58 case and minie’ ball to its right.  Coincidentally, the Spencer and Roberts cases are nearly the same length.  The Roberts cases are 1.330”, the Spencer is 1.356”.



I always thought the .56-50 Spencer was a big round, but next to the mighty .58 Roberts, it looks down right puny Shocked Shocked  The next step will be to decide on a bullet design and order a mold from Accurate Molds.

This is going to be a fun ride!
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« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2013, 06:19:34 pm »

Well, you could always go with a heel base bullet, and not turn the cases. Now that you're used to dealing with heel base, that is Grin

How many of the lathe turned cases did you get? if there's just a few, might be better to get a regular supply of cases before making a custom mold that will only work with the turned ones. Maybe it might work well with one of the light "target" mine bullets they have now, I think some are about 350-375 gr.
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ndnchf
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« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2013, 07:10:02 pm »

I hadn't thought about a heeled bullet for this, but you may have something there. I have 40 of the thick cases. It will be a lot of work to ream all those. I could also try making cases from the 24 gauge brass shotgun shells.  They are much thinner, but not as strong either. I'll have to look into all the options.   
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ndnchf
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2013, 07:30:46 pm »

I made some good progress today.  First I found  a 19/32” drill bit in my stash, which equates to .5938”.  I figured that would make it much easier to bore the cases to accept the .590” minies I have.  So I drilled out 4 to make a total of 5 usable cases. 



The next challenge was to load these with no appropriate equipment.  No dies, shell holder, bullet sizer or priming tool.  It took a while but I finally got 5 rounds loaded with 50 gr of Goex 2F.  Yeah I know the bullets aren’t all seated to the same depth, but they will serve to test fire the rifle.  I plan to get dies made for it, but at least for now, I can make thunder and lightning with it.

Here are the 5 rounds of .58 Roberts next to a .32 Long Colt for comparison.



I hope to get to the range this week and try them out.  Stay tuned for an update Grin
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« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2013, 09:11:24 pm »

I went to the range today and fired the rifle for the first time.  The rifle functioned fine and I was pretty happy with the results of my first 5 cobbled together cartridges.  I fired them at 50 yards off a rest.  Windage was right on.  The group was nothing great, but it did group Grin  The bullets seem to stabilize well as the holes were nice and round. It showed that the minie balls were expanding and gripped the rifling well.  The trigger pull is very heavy, probably 15lbs or better.  The front sight is so worn, its really just a nub.  So really accurate shooting is not likely.  But the cool factor and style points of the mighty .58 Roberts are hard to beat Cool



The next loading I may try Swiss or Old Eynsford.  Boy - this is a fun piece of history to play with!
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« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2013, 10:51:32 am »

Ndnchf: I for one am terrifically impressed with your Roberts. I did not know it even existed until this thread. If you can tell me the base and rim dimensions, I can tell you if CBC/Magtech 24-gauge brass can be made to work. This brass is widely used as a basis for .577-450 and .577 Snider, and at about $1 per case, it is relatively affordable.
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Sir Charles deMouton-Black
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« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2013, 11:03:49 am »

Here is a cut'npaste from the table I linked above;


58 Roberts       B    0.612    1.37    0.741    0.610    -    0.656    1.90    -    1870
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« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2013, 12:19:23 pm »

Sir Charles - thanks for posting those specs.  I’ve been doing a lot of research and actually found 3 different sets of .58 Roberts specs, all vary slightly.

Bill - my rifle's chamber is:
Rim - .775"
Head - .660"
Neck - .635"
length - 1.400"

The RMC cases I have are 1.330” long and we’re made from a chamber cast, so they fit real well.  I've got about 35 good RMC cases.  It seems to have pretty generous headspace and I’m a bit concerned about using the thin skinned 24 gauge shells in it.  I know a lot of Snider shooters use them.  If I didn’t have these cases, I would probably try them.  But for now I’ll stick with these, as they were made for the chamber.  I have ordered a 19/32 reamer to open up the case mouths, which should work better than the drill bit.  I’ve come up with a way to neck size the cases, prime and deprime.  So I think I can avoid spending several hundred dollars on loading dies.  At least for the time being.

I’ve got 6 cases loaded with 55gr of Old Eynsford and the .590”, 480gr minie’, and am leaving work in a couple hours and heading for the range.  Also bringing along my Uberti 1876 in .50-95.  It’s a day for big bore fun!
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« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2013, 01:22:51 pm »

ndnchf, that is a very Cool project.It is great to see you bring that old war horse back to life.  Them dang holes are so big I can see down range through em. My Gawd. ,,,,,Dusty
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ndnchf
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« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2013, 07:38:09 pm »

Thanks Dusty, it is a lot of fun.  I went out today and shot my loads with 55gr of 2F Old Eynsford at 50 yards.  The results were disappointing.  Windage was good, but a large vertical spread.  The holes are nice and round, so they are not key holeing.  I really think the problem is twofold.  1. -  a badly worn front sight, the blade is essentially worn off and only a nub of sorts remains.  So it is really hard to get a good sight picture.  I'll have to think about what can be done with it.  2. - The trigger pull is extremely heavy.  Its the worst of any rifle I've fired in over 40 years of shooting.  Its got to be at least 15 - 20 lbs.  I may get another hammer and trigger spring, lighten them and swap them out.    

I think the trigger pull is contributing to the vertical stringing.  I'm pulling so hard on it, that the muzzle is bobbing up and down.  Lots of excuses I know, but it is fun trying.  Here is the ugly truth.

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