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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Powder Room - CAS reloading (Moderator: Professor Marvel)  |  Topic: Loading smokeless into an Open Top or Cim Richards cartridge conversion in 44 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Loading smokeless into an Open Top or Cim Richards cartridge conversion in 44  (Read 1517 times)
Black River Smith
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« on: August 24, 2017, 08:08:11 pm »


First do you use smokeless in these revolvers?

Do you use standard loads for the 44spec, 44Colt and/or 44 Rus or do you download or use a lighter bullet?  I use a 246gr in 44spec, 217gr in 44Colt and a 251gr in 44Rus for both my smokeless(1873 SA) and BP loading(open top).  If you download the smokeless, what bullet weights do you use and what velocities do you 'try to reach or maintain'?

In general I would be loading BP for these revolvers if I could or would be shooting outside but since I now have to shoot at an indoor range, exclusively, I 'have' to use smokeless loads.

Thanks for any comments or suggestions.



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Black River Smith
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2017, 08:43:12 pm »

First a CAVEAT:  I'm a card carrying, inaugurated, no holds barred ....... RECOIL WIMP.  Second another CAVEAT:  Big heavy bullets are expensive.  Are powder charges are expensive.  I'm CHEAP.  Third more CAVEATS:  For the game we play (CAS), we don't have to stop speeding locomotives, kill charging Rhinos nor blast bad guys out of their saddles.  All we have to do is ring steel plates.  That's it.  The ammunition used by our forefathers was at first intent military.  Then personal defense or hunting.  That also doesn't translate to our game.  Especially punching paper on an indoor range.

I Down-Load.  A LOT!!  For my .44 Open Tops and Conversions I have settled on 160 - 180Gr cast RNFP bullets.  I personally like TightGroup powder.  Nice manly bark even when reduced.  Not position sensitive in the case and not terribly temperature sensitive until you drop under 40 degrees with really light loads.  I have gotten down to around 4Gr TightGroup in a 44 Russian case.  No need to use big cases for reduced loads.  Smaller case gives a much better burn.  I also prefer Federal Magnum primers with light loads.  Again, a better burn.  YMMV

The idea is to have fun when you play.  Not to beat yourself up with full power loads.
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Sagebrush Burns
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2017, 09:28:40 pm »

Gues I'm the other side of Cofinmakeer's coin.  I shoot 45 Colt in my open tops and SAAs and use more-or-less standard level loads in all of them:  250 grain bullet at about 850 fps propelled by Unique oe W-231.  I (and my wife) find them fun to shoot.
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Coal Creek Griff
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2017, 11:09:05 pm »

Keep in mind that you don't know me.  I could be an evil villain making this up as a nefarious scheme to disarm the world by getting people to blow up their guns (mwahahaha--that's an evil laugh).

With that in mind,  I've been using a load of 5.0 grains of W231 under a 215 grain cast bullet in modern .44 Colt cases.  It makes a pleasant load (in my guns) which I believe causes minimal wear (in my guns).

CC Griff
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 11:10:00 pm »

  I shoot more or less "standard" loads as well; a 250-258 gr. cast SWC over something like 6.5 grs. of Unique or AL20/28, which is under maximum. That'll yield around 900 fps out of a 7 1/2" barrel with that particular weight bullet.

 

  If you're concerned about the strength of the revolver, I wouldn't be. Firearms produced in Europe are "proofed" with loads that exceed SAAMI/C.I.P. spec's by 30%. That doesn't mean I'd endlessly run top end loads through the revolver, but a 250 +/- gr. bullet at 800-850 fps isn't going to hurt anything.

 The only problem I've encountered is mine shoots WAY high with loads such as these. I mean like 6" high @ 25 yds. I have loaded some home-cast 170 gr. RNFP's down to around 700 fps for CAS, but I prefer a little heavier loads.

  

 CHT
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Coal Creek Griff
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2017, 11:27:08 pm »

My Open Top and RM conversion shot way high too.  I ended up replacing bothffront sights to bring the POI down to a manageable level.

CC Griff
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2017, 04:43:45 am »

My Open Top and RM conversion shot way high too.  I ended up replacing bothffront sights to bring the POI down to a manageable level.

CC Griff

 Where, pray tell, did you get a taller front sight?

  CHT
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Johnny McCrae
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2017, 08:17:07 am »

I used 3.2 grains of Trail Boss with a 200 grain RNFP bullet in a .44 Colt Starline case for my Richards Transition.

Note: originally posted 4.2 grains. Should be 3.2 grains


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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2017, 09:06:51 am »

Where, pray tell, did you get a taller front sight?

  CHT

I ended up making my own.  See http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,57904.0.html 

CC Griff
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2017, 02:04:31 pm »

Thanks for the replies and suggestions that is what I was looking for.

Cholla Hill:   Yes, your comment 'If you're concerned about the strength of the revolver, I wouldn't be.' is what I was concerned about most when asking these questions.  Good information there.

Nothing says I have to shoot the standard loads in these revolvers but I always believed in doing what they had to do, back in the period.  That is why I used the heavier or more traditional bullet weights and full BP loads for general competition and NCOWS Originals category.  It was fun for me, to experience that way.

Having to go back to smokeless is just for modern reasons (not competition) and I just want to know if these gun would take the same level of use.

I think that I will drop the bullet weight to 200gr (Lee's FP) and work most of my loading around there for just a lot of general shooting and then have my standard 1873 SA level loads, as desired, for once and awhile shooting.

Thanks
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2017, 11:39:46 am »

I would point out that being "proofed" means they are not supposed to do a violent disassembly when shooting normal pressure loads.
It does not mean very heavy loads, that are so macho to shoot, won't beat the gun to pieces.
Remember that back in that time a top hand cowboy worked for "forty an month and found"  Ammo was expensive. So I would suspect a two match a month SAS shooter would shoot in a couple of months more ammo than the average cowboy in that time would shoot in a lifetime.
At least that is my thought. My loads are very mild because i don't care how FAST the bullets go I am concerned WHERE they go
Never forget that "Fast is fine, accuracy is final"

Bunk
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2017, 04:12:16 pm »

Bunk,

Please note that in my original posting I stated that I wanted to know if people used 'standard factory velocity loads' with standard weight bullets.  That was my question.  If they did not use standard velocity reloads what did they use.

Please also note, that these smokeless loads were not for competition but for general indoor shooting where I would not be firing 100 to 200 rounds in a day.  More just general fun shooting.

When I used the term 'heavy' it only refers to the bullet weights which are standard original factory weights but not 'excessively hot loads' or heavy loads.  I do not believe in overloading any firearm.  I believe in factory standard limits, so I can use that costly firearms for years of fun and shooting enjoyment, not to see how fast I can destroy them and buy another one.

But, if people have seen failure through competitive use of smokeless than I wanted to know ahead of time, to stay safer and not ruin my firearm.

Yes, some people would say that BP and original weight bullets are too much for competition but I have never needed to take a single firearm in for repair in over 20 yrs of shooting my style of competition.

Thanks
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2017, 04:42:21 pm »

I would point out that being "proofed" means they are not supposed to do a violent disassembly when shooting normal pressure loads.
It does not mean very heavy loads, that are so macho to shoot, won't beat the gun to pieces.
Remember that back in that time a top hand cowboy worked for "forty an month and found"  Ammo was expensive. So I would suspect a two match a month SAS shooter would shoot in a couple of months more ammo than the average cowboy in that time would shoot in a lifetime.
At least that is my thought. My loads are very mild because i don't care how FAST the bullets go I am concerned WHERE they go
Never forget that "Fast is fine, accuracy is final"

Bunk


  It's not about macho. It's about buying a .44 caliber revolver and loading/firing .44 caliber loads in it. I never saw the point of loading these larger caliber revolvers down to .38 Special ballistics, but to each his own.

  CHT

   
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Coffinmaker
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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2017, 11:15:16 am »

CHT,

If one is in hot pursuit of the Brass Ring, and one prefers a Large Bore gun, and one is shooting 2,500 rounds per week at practice plus matches, One might find "standard" .44s a little hard on the hands and wrists.  Loading for a little less snap is not a bad way to avoid Carpel Tunnel.

Of course, one could just down size the caliber to 38, but if one prefers the 44, one should not be forced by convention to give up one's preference for caliber .. yes??
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2017, 10:15:12 am »

Coffinmaker,

Here is just my take on your statement about downloading for CAS.  Understand this is just the way I play and want to enjoy this sport.  I was interested in CAS all the way back to '81 when I first read a Gun 'n Ammo article about its start.  This was way before the 'competitive edge' took over the sport.  It was about shooting the old style firearms in a western style setting and getting more people involved in a shooting sport and it worked.  Yes, it was about promoting the guns and shooting, too me.

I could be wrong but it did not start as a 'title or business' maker for individual shooters.  That happened over time.

So, I looked at the sport more as a realism of what it was like for the 1870' to 1900's and still do.  Therefore, along those lines if you went into a store to buy ammo (just as you do today) what would you get but 'factory full loads' not 'downloads'.  Therefore, you bought what you had or could use, either way.  If you could not handle a 44 or 45 loaded gun then you got something smaller (or cheaper back then).   Just as today, if all you can do is buy ammo from Walmart and you do not likes shooting full 44MAG loads why own that gun you can't handle, so you buy a 38 or 9mm.  You here this logic all over, still today.

The difference is 'reloading'.  More CAS people reload then buy from the store, so you can shoot more and also 'customize' the loads.  Even 'back then' reloading was not a customizing approach, you got factory set of tools for reloading the specific cartridge and that was it.

So, no I do not believe in loading down a 44 or 45 to a 38 or (maybe) 32 levels, for competition reasons.  I believe in downloading alittle to make my firearms last a long time.

BRS
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2017, 08:23:28 pm »

BRS!!

A cannot, nor will I fault your logic nor reasons for a preference to shoot ammunition closer to those halcyon days of yesteryear.  There is nothing wrong with that at ALL.  I do tend to take issue with those folks whom find fault with another shooters' preference, based on their own personal preference.  If I managed to give you the impression I thought you were wrong, My Heartfelt apologies.  I had no intent to do that.

One of the great things of the CAS game, is the game is designed so each player can play at their level of competition or their level of fun no matter if they desire to chase the Brass Ring or just show up on Saturday to play Roy and Dale.  The level of intensity is driven by how an individual wants to play.

The evolution of the game has been driven for years by SPEED.  Everything has evolved to promote SPEED.  I use to chase SPEED.  I was very successful.  Or a failure depending on your point of view.  Shooting an average of 18 second stages gives you a total of 1.8 minutes of play.  Over a 6 or 7 hour day.  Shooting 35 second stages gives you 3.5 minutes of play.  You get to play twice as long and still swap a whole days lies with your friends.  I no longer chase SPEED.  I shoot Frontier Cartridge Gunfighter with Cap Guns and a 12Ga Mule Ear Double gun.  Oh, and All Brass 12Ga hulls.  I'm having a ball.

In your circumstances, I would see absolutely NO problem shooting standard velocity/bullet weight in your guns.  My only other CAVEAT with any Uberti Open Top type revolver is to first check and fix the Barrel to Arbor fit.  That fit is seldom correct and until it is correct and the gun goes together the same way every time, you'll never get consistent accuracy.

Hope I've managed to say this right
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2017, 10:28:13 pm »

Coffinmaker,

I took no real offense from you comments.  

I won't lie either, way back when in the 90's and early 2000's I did have an opinion about the competitiveness changes of this sport and I did voice them, to a limited audience.  I did not like what I was seeing happening.

My thinking was --- what other sport combined the 'profesional / desired professional' against the general amatuer?   My argument was when this sport started anyone was invited to come and play and shoot, even at EOT.  I never could make it to EOT but I had a strong desire to see it.  But as the competition set in rather than general fun, I was definitely certain I would never want to attend or if I did I would be drummed out or disqualified at every turn.

The logic to my opinion was -- you don't put professionals or would be professional on the same field or up against rank amatuer.  Golf professionals would never play on general public courses because they expect higher standards and rate of play, right.  You don't see race cars driving there track speeds -- in and amongst regular city drivers, because it is dangerous.  You don't see professional baseball or football players playing against lower level players, right  "What would be the entertainment factor?"  Therefore in this shooting sport these would be professionals should have had their own venues and the promoters should not have still enticed general shooters like me, to still come.  The big shoots should have been by invitation only(but then the money intake would not be there), then the playing field would have been 'level', as the argument went, and those guys could have had and used all their 'tricks'.  The shoots at the range level should not have allow the tricks and competitors to control the general public ranges.

These were just my opinions and beliefs and they mean nothing, now.  I never formulated how anyone 'would transition' from amatuer to professional going from local range shoots to being to the one person with a TITLE.  Now, I have no interests in these political matters, anymore.  I just what to shoot what I have, when I can, as safe as I can.

Thanks, this was not to be a speech for desired change... just the way I approached my CAS shooting.  I have no irons in the fire as the saying goes.
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2017, 04:06:45 am »

I have shot with some of the best shooters in the game today and they seem to enjoy shooting with me. That's the great thing about this sport, it's not like other sports. The best can and do shoot right along with the slower shooters.
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« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2017, 10:40:45 pm »

Black River Smith,

Good posts, and I agree on both loads and the state of the sport.  I load my 44-40 for my 1860 Henry to .44 Henry levels (about 1125 fps) with 7.5 grains of Trail Boss.  I load 6.0 grains of Trail Boss with a 200 grain bullet in a .45 Schofield case for my 1875 Schofield and my Richards Type II conversion.  That gives me about 900 fps + or - from the 7" Schofield and 8" Richards.  That should be close to the original load for both. 

I was actually loading 7.0 grains of Trail Boss, but I felt it might be a little too hard on the guns.  Either load is far less than the Hodgdon "fill the case to bottom of bullet" for maximum load than back down 30% Some people say 5.0 is maximum, but it is only about 60% of the case volume below bullet level.
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TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
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« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2017, 07:30:28 pm »

Tuolumne,

Thank you for the comment.  PS -- have been following your posting about new firearms purchases and your re-entry back into the sport.  Congratulations and hope you enjoy all your new acquisitions.

Gentleman,

I need to redirect or restate my initial post for info.  First, I no longer shoot these firearms for matches because it just does not work for me at this time to participate in formal shooting.   Second, I still retain the firearms that I desire and enjoy shooting.  Third, because I no longer shoot matches I cannot shoot BP in an outdoor setting.  Fourth, I don't live near an outdoor range to make it convienent, enough.

So, I must go to an indoor shooting range to have fun with any firearm and their rules require the use of smokeless powders in all firearms.  Now you will also see why I am not really worried about quantity of rounds fired.  I will not shoot 100 to 200 rounds at indoor range sessions.

With this new info and understanding behind my questioning, I still would like any other suugestions as to what people do to lighten the smokeless loads you use, so I do not over-stress these styles of western guns.

BRS
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2017, 01:55:31 am »

I am shooting .44 cal Colt conversions since 2011 with smokeless loads in CAS, plinking or what have you: 200 grainers (inside lubed)  at ca. 650 fpc out of their 5,5" barrels.
Thousands and thousands of rounds were fired through the pistols without issues.
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« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2017, 09:43:15 pm »

When I first got my 44 Spec calibered Open Top and 44 Spec 66 'Yellowboy' (2007) I bought 500 44 Spec and 500 44 Colt cases from Starline. Plan of attack was to load smokeless in the Spec's and black only in the 44 Colt cases mainly for ID purposes of knowing the SL from the black and so some sense of 'Old Timey' shootin with close to the org caliber and powder in the 44 Colts. Bought a Richard II about a year afterward in 44 Spec so the same procedure was followed. Worked, no problem, most times when shooting would only shoot SL loads, other times only black powder loadings. Had accurate loads for both powders, no big problems.

 For some unknown reason, I started shooting more black than SL in them and soon quit loading smokeless in them. Wanted to shoot the 44 Specials with a little more steam, but couldn't, so purchased a Ruger 44 Super Blkhawk and Marlin 1864 Cowboy rifle chambered in 44 Mag. Now anymore the pre-1900 models get FF Goex black only topped with 200 grain Mav's in 44 Colt brass and the 44 Specials are shot threw the Ruger and Marlin using cast 240 grainers with harder lead, with some loadings a tad under 1000 fps and some 1000+. Makes for fun shooting all way around.

 BUT to be true to the OP's first question, smokeless can be loaded safely in either revolver model as long as you don't exceed pressures that will tear it apart (neither are top strap models and even then aren't built to the ruggedness of a Ruger or modern Colt.) Keeping the fps/velocity under 900 too (which helps keep pressure down), follow loadings in manuals or publications, and suggested loadings from fellow shooters or on-line loadings as suggested here at CAS and both guns will eat em up with no problems. Word of caution though, always check any suggested loadings with manuals, powder company suggestions, etc as ya never know, what was typed may be in error or the guy typing has no care how he beats his gun or concerned about his safety. Not hittin on anyone here, just saying--better to play it safe. Of course pre-exhisting problems with the guns such as arbor fit, bolt/lead-cylinder bolt cavity timing, and other problems that are unique to these reproduction pieces need to be worked out if present. My OT needed arbor fitting and bolt/cylinder timing done (bolt coming up to soon). My Richards II just needed a little stoning of the inards. Both now are eatin up anything I stick in em and pop the primer!
 
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« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2017, 08:24:38 pm »

I shoot all 3 of the 44 cartridges in my open top 1872 Uberti. I find anything heavier than a 200 grain CB to be a recoil hindrance in the stage I am shooting. In all 3 cartridges I shoot IMR Trail Boss. It is a lower recoil producing propellant, and eliminates the possibility of double charging the case with powder. I am not that fond of breathing sulfur dioxide either.
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