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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Darksider's Den  |  The Dark Arts (Moderator: Lucky Irish Tom)  |  Topic: Cheap Tricks from the tightwad... 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Cheap Tricks from the tightwad...  (Read 11514 times)
Cuts Crooked
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« on: May 12, 2006, 03:15:58 pm »


Howdy Gang,

Thought I'd put together a collection of my Tight Wads tricks fer dealing with the darkside. I've always had to watch my nickles & dimes very closely so I've come up with a few things that are kinda helpful in dealing with the various problems that are sometimes unique to the Darkside. Not everyone will need these tricks, and some might have a few of thier own to add. Please feel free to comment if you have a "cheap trick" we might be able to use!

One of my first problems in being a Darksider was the cost of powder! I found that I could save if I bought the low budget stuff in large quanities by mail order. Unfortunately there is usually a reason that it's less costly! It's usually DIRTY! A trick some powder makers do is to add graphite to thier powder. The reasons for this are not entirely clear to me, but the results ARE! It makes clean up a miserable chore, especially if you, like me, want to clean white patches coming out of the barrel at the end of the cleaning session. That danged graphite makes this nearly impossible! A number of years back, on a muzzleloaders board, Bill Knight told me how to deal with this problem....cheaply! Simply place about 1/4 pound of your powder in a white tube sock, roll the end shut and then, holding it at each end, roll the powder back & forth inside the sock. (hint: don't use a sock with holes in it!) Do this for a couple of minutes, then pour the powder out into a container and do another 1/4 pound, until you've a whole can done. Then you can put it back in the can for later use. This treatment will get most of the graphite out of the powder and even remove some of the "fines" in your powder making it burn more consistantly. One sock is good for a couple of pounds, and you can wash it and use it again in the future. (warnings: do this one outside or in a well ventelated area, graphite WILL get in your lungs otherwise. Also wash that sock by itself, or the little woman will probably scalp ya!)

Next trick:

Easy & Cheap BP Lube! Most recipies fer BP lube call for bees wax and crisco or olive oil in roughly 50/50 proportions. It works and it works pretty danged good, even with several variations in mixture and ingrediants. However Bees wax is not always easy to find nor is it cheap sometimes!. I've found a couple of ways to help here. Number one....find and make friends with a Bee Keeper. In the fall they often have more wax than they need. You may have to clean and strain it by melting it and pouring it through cheese cloth, but it will work! Another alternative that's good particularly for making small batches of lube is canning parrafin! The kind sold in the canning section at your grocery store. This stuff can be used in place of bees wax in lube mixtures. Don't try using any other kind of parrafin because it won't work& you will get nasty, hard, tarry, fouling that is a bear to clean out of your barrel! Canning parrafin is refined much further than the other kinds and the nasty esters and keotones that don't mix well with BP fouling are removed from it.

Cleaning that 92 Winchester:

Ah yes, the ever present and much malighned 92! The action is possibly the worst there is to take apart. My cheap trick here is Don't take it apart...and no you don't need to take it your gunsmith after match either! What I do is clean it like a muzzleloader, with a few minor changes. I simply put a fired cartridge case in the action, close it up and clean the barrel from the muzzle. If it's a bottle necked case like the 44-40 you need to fill the case with something to keep your cleaning jag from getting trapped in the case with a wet patch, but otherwise it's pretty much like cleaning a frontstuffer. After the bore is cleaned go after the chamber with a short jag and get it good and clean. Now comes the action....I take out the screw holding the butt stock and remove the stock, then I hose the action out with cheap brake cleaner! LOT of it, letting the crud run out onto the driveway! Once it's cleaned out I let it stand for a bit to drain, then hose that sucker down with my favorite lube, put the stock back on and it's done!

Muzzle protectors for cleaning:

The previous trick for cleaning 92 Winchesters means running a rod in & out of the muzzle of your precious rifle, which WILL wear the crown, and create loss of accuracy, unless it's protected. For my .45 I made a muzzle protector from a 44-40 cartridge by cutting off the case head. The neck of the case will slip nicely into the bore and my rod can pass through it without ever touching the crown. I've found that a 30-30 cartridge case works the same way for my .357s! With a bit of work I made one for a friends 32-20 by necking the 30-30 case down a bit before cutting the head off. I imagine it's possible to make one of these for about any caliber with a little thinking and the right cartridge! Hey...it's cheap!

Anyone got some more Cheap Tricks? Cheesy
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2006, 06:01:39 pm »

 .... Ed's Red
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 07:28:44 pm »

For Soy wax, my co-worker has a wife who is selling homemade soy wax candles.  I have just asked her for her oopses and get them at cost instead of having to hunt all over for said wax.

We use windex with vinegar at the house for household cleaning and I also use it to clean the soot (thanks, Iron Duke!).

As I remember more, I'll be back

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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2006, 10:37:14 am »

I like to cook on a small teflon coated electric griddle since it's just momma and me anymore. I wear them out but can't bring myself to throw them away just because the teflon is gone.
Stroke of brilliance.
Heat one up. Put pistol lube on griddle. The edge of the griddle has about a 3/16" lip. Add lube until the top of the melted lube is just below the lip. Lay a sheet of Walmart felt in the lube. Let it soak for a couple of minutes, take it out, hang it where it can drain and cool, go to the local "cheap" tool store and buy hole punches. ($3.95 for 8 punches at the local "chinatown") Lay cooled sheet on a plastic cutting board and go to punching. I use the 12MM punch to make lubed wads for my 1858 Remingtons.
The Walmart felt is 20˘ an 8.5x11 sheet. Pistol lube I have. Punches will last indefinitely. Time don't mean nothin to a hog.
Beats $5.00 a hundred.
I have become a bit more sophisticated since my initial post. Still use the griddle.Order wad material from http://www.durofelt.com/. (the Walmart felt is dacron)
It's real wool felt, hard compressed and cheap. The 11mm punch from a Harbor Freight $5 set will make perfect wads for a 44 cap and ball. Lay the wad material on a soft lead ingot and punch away. The lead will not dull the punch. My wad lube is 1 part parrifin, one part mutton tallow and 1/2 part beeswax. Too stiff for a bullet lube but works great for the c & b. Heat the griddle, add lube as above and dump the punched wads into the lube. When they look saturated, they're done.
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2006, 12:11:21 pm »

Good suggestions.  Wish I could add some.

See compression dies from dowel rods. (added 15 Nov 07)
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Take me out to the black, tell 'em I aint comin' back. Burn the land; boil the sea: you can't take the sky from me. Have no place I must be; since I found Serenity:  you can't take the sky from me.
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2007, 09:24:00 pm »

The two things one needs as a gun hobbyist are;
A powder measure.  Lee's are cheap and work, and you can go up from there. Get a good one to last you long enough to will to your grandson.
Calipers.  If it is green, so is the price.  Go to a tool discounter and get an electronic digital caliper, made by the same factory across the pacific, for a 1/4 the price.

You will acquire dies, moulds, and bits and pieces along the way, but before you buy a new mousetrap, consider what you have laying around.  Many problems can be solved with a bit of ingenuity!

Powder measures;
Find used cases at the range.  Pour powder in & measure.  Record their capacity for frequent future fun.  Some you might have to "cut & try". ( e.g. 300 Win Mag cut at the shoulder = 80 gr.,  7mm Rem mag, & similar cases, cut at the shoulder = 70 gr.)

A great one is the AK/SKS steel cases;  34 grains of GOEX 3F - ideal for .45 LC etc.  When you have a need, try out what you have on hand.  Use as is, if it works, or cut it down to order.

Drop Tube;
Get  a 24" length of copper plumbing.  Mount it on a stand made of scrap 2" by 4"s.  Stick a funnel in the top, and a copper reducing fitting in the bottom.

Case conversions.
Study your copy of Cartridges of the World.  You will soon recognize appropriate cases to straighten, fireform, or size to get your favorite smokepole making the right noises, even if it is a less-than-common caliber.  If that don't work, call Gad Custom Cartridges. (Try finding a case for 8 x 58R Danish!)

Need .45 wads?
Cut the neck off a belted magnum case, and chamfer.  Drill the primer pocket out to push out the wads.  Keep your eye open for wad material.  Paper pulp egg cartons, family pack breakfast cereal boxes, etc.   For 20 ga. use a commonly available 5/8" punch, and for 12 ga. brass, use a 3/4" punch for the 11ga. wads that work so well.

My aka? TIGHTWAD TOO
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2007, 10:45:10 am »

Can you say Harbor Freight?

I'm VERY sorry to say that most of it comes from Mainland China, but like Sir Charles mentioned, the same electronic caliper (as well as others up to 8 inches or MORE) is available there by the SAME manufacturer that the "green", "red", "orange" and "blue" are made by. 

I also bought a set (well, my pard Dutch actually got them for me - Thanks,again) of hole punches.  The 7/16" works fine for my 45 Colt AND 45-70 and the 5/16" works for 36/38 cal stuff.  (I load 38 S&W BP for a pocket pistol)  I use all kinds of .027" to .060" cardboard found as spacers in LOTS of products as dry wads, and have cut plenty of wads from juice containers that will seal against lube migration.  The old juice cartons had a wax coating, the new ones feel pretty much the same, but have a plastic coating.  Felt wads?  No problem.  Get material (old hats from Goodwill, etc) from various sources and cut 'em with the punches - natural materials, like wool are best - synthetics can melt and leave a residue.  I then soak 'em in my homemade lube of beeswax + olive oil in different amounts depending on the use and season.  VOILA! Wonder Wads on the cheap and with little time or effort.  Or ca$h.  Wink  Carefully melt the lube mix, add the wads, let 'em soak for a TV show and then let 'em drain 'thru a strainer - mine is an ex-chili can with holes in the bottom and a lip on the side that allows it to drain hanging on to the side of the pan.

Next shooter ...
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"May Your Powder always be Dry and Black; Your Smoke always White; and Your Flames Always Light the Way to Eternal Shooting Fulfillment !"        

SEE MY PHOTOS: http://s17.photobucket.com/albums/b70/m1a1mstrgn/
NCOWS #1919 for Life, SASS Life #27463, NRA Life, Honourable Master of the Black Arts, GAF#98, SBSS, WARTHOG, STORM, American Legion Post # 495
*and a few other organizations*
F.&A.M. - Wayne Guthrie Lodge #753 *** Hiram's Rangers #105
(former) US Army M1 & M1A1 Tank Master Gunner
AKA - Jeff Bailey  A Three-Percenter & Sheepdog

Take me out to the black, tell 'em I aint comin' back. Burn the land; boil the sea: you can't take the sky from me. Have no place I must be; since I found Serenity:  you can't take the sky from me.
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2007, 06:52:58 pm »

 Re: Original 50-70 government load???
« on: November 13, 2007, 01:54:24 AM »     

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Who makes a decent and reasonably priced compression die for the 50-70 or 56-50? (.510" diameter)
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2007, 06:54:14 pm »

From Steel Horse Bailey

Re: Original 50-70 government load???
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2007, 07:50:06 AM »     

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Do ya have a table-mounted drill press?  Chuck in a 1/2" piece of dowel rod and go from there.  Ya don't have ta spend $40-$50 for an expensive die.

My home-made 45 compression die is actually about 42-43 caliber.  It doesn't actually go from side-to-side inside the case, but it gets the job done well - and it works for 44, too.
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2007, 06:55:56 pm »

From Delmonico

Re: Original 50-70 government load???
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2007, 10:20:34 AM »     

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My one for 45-70 is made from a 38 Special case sweat soldered to an 38 expander die from a junk die set.  Didn't even know anyone made such a thing back in 1995.  I read the Brits used a compressed back powder charge in the early version of the 303 and had to try it for myself, liked it to.
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2007, 06:57:45 pm »

 From Adirondack Jack

Re: Original 50-70 government load???
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2007, 06:23:34 PM »     

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I use a chunk of dowel with a line scribed all around and marked with a red sharpie. Charge the case through a drop tube, insert a .030 walters wad, .  Stick the stub of dowel in the charged case,(with a small caliber seat crimp die in the press and use it as a bearing surface)insert in the press and squish till the line is even with the case mouth.

Then hand seat bullets in lightly flared fired cases (no resizing, just decapped with a universal decapper and primed).  Box em up and they're ready.  I don't even remove the flare, as I am told it helps center the cartridge in the chamber.
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2007, 07:03:46 pm »

Cuts Crooked

 Re: Original 50-70 government load???
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2007, 08:12:19 PM »     

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And speaking of thrifty......I*'m gonna cuts & paste some of these posts about compression die substitutes into the "Cheap Tricks" thread in The Dark Arts area.  (BTW I use a 38 S&W case under the depriming stage on my shotshell loader to compress 45-70 loads.)
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Warthog
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2007, 07:05:26 pm »

From Adirondack Jack

"Drop tube", read that a 24 inch soft copper sink supply tube.  It has a bulbous flare on the top end that holds a powder funnel nicely, and the bottom end easily fits any 44+ cartridge.  Secure to the side of the bench with a spring clamp and yer set to go.  (eat yer heart out Brownells, this one costs under $6)
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Warthog
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2007, 08:37:56 pm »

From Delmonico

Re: Original 50-70 government load???
« Reply #22 on: Yesterday at 05:42:28 PM »     

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A quick check makes me think a junk 44 expander and a cut down case from the 38-55/30-30 family would work for 50 cal.  The rim may need turned down a few thousands with a drill and file.  The 40 and 38-55 and others that size looks like a 32-20 case cut off and the rim turned would work with the junk 38 expander.  When I made mine I tinned the inside of the  case and the expander, seated it and sweated it with the handy propane torch.
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Warthog
Bold
Scorrs
Storm
Dark Lord of the Soot
Honorary member of the Mormon Posse
NCOWS #2250
SASS #36914
...work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody is watching...
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