Author Topic: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!  (Read 226 times)

Offline Tuolumne Lawman

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This will be the project thread so everyone interested can be updated:

Project goal: examining possibilities of developing a Black Hills .38 Colt round that work work equally well in .375" bore cartridge conversions of percussion revolvers, and .357" bore .38 Special CAS revolvers.  With .38 Special and cartridge conversions of percussion revolvers being more popular, especially with the aging CAS shooter population, author believes there is an untapped market, that up to know has been limited by the lack of suitable ammo for the .38 Colt conversions.

Possible solutions:

One is to offer their .38 Special 148 grain Hollow Base wad Cutter (148 HBWC), in a .38 Colt case, possibly with projectile not seated flush, but rather protruding approx. 1/4" to create additional case capacity (duplicating the .38 Special case) so loading data world stay the same.
 
The second is to possibly replace their existing 150 grain, .357" round nose lead, solid base projectile of their .38 Colt loading with a softer lead 150 grain round nose lead, hollow base bullet as was done in the original post 1892 .38 Colt loadings, discontinued in the 1960s.

Both options would work in both converted .36 caliber percussion revolvers with the larger bore, or standard .38 Special revolvers with the modern bore.

Two .36 caliber percussion revolvers are being supplied by EMF/Pietta (an 1851 Navy Colt and an 1858 .36 caliber Navy Remington) to be used in testing the loads.

Appropriate conversion parts for both test revolvers being supplied by Walt Kirst of Kirst Konverters.

Conversion of both percussion revolvers  to .38 Colt being done by Tuolumne Lawman.

Ammunition being supplied by Jeff Hoffman OF BLACK HILLS AMMO.  Initially, standard .38 special 148 grain HBWC will be used to see if that bullet obdurates sufficiently in its current configuration (shape and alloy hardness) to give acceptable accuracy from a .38 Colt cartridge conversion of a .36 caliber percussion revolver.  Other load possibilities currently being research by Black Hills Ammunition.
TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
CO. F, 12th Illinois Cavalry  SASS # 6127 Life * Spencer Shooting Society #43 * Motherlode Shootist Society #1 * River City Regulators

Offline Professor Marvel

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Re: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2019, 08:50:22 pm »
Thank you sir, I will be watching this thread intently.

Can You Also Please be sure to test accuracy at real distances,
at least 15 yards, preferably 20 or 25 yards? 

Whilst some folk only care if they  can hit a dinner platter at 10 feet, I personally insist that all my firearms manage
at least 2" groups from a rest at distance. Then I can blame all misses on my wobbling spaghetti arms.

yhs
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Offline Tuolumne Lawman

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Re: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2019, 10:55:45 pm »
I will be doing 5. 10. and 15 yards at least.  I do it off hand, two hand grip in an indoor pistol range.  I don't use a rest when shooting pistols.  I will be watching from group consistency and whether or not there are signs of key-holing or tumbling.
TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
CO. F, 12th Illinois Cavalry  SASS # 6127 Life * Spencer Shooting Society #43 * Motherlode Shootist Society #1 * River City Regulators

Offline Long Johns Wolf

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Re: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2019, 03:43:44 am »
Interesting project, TM.
X fingers that your test leads to promising results
For two years I am shooting smokeless .38 Long Colt reloads in my pair of newly made 1861 Navies in CAS.
Accuracy up to 25 m at CD-size bonus targets of my .357/158 grainers is more than sufficient.
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Offline Tascosa Joe

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Re: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2019, 07:13:56 am »
I think the real market would be rounds safe to shoot in the Colt DA's built from 1884 to 1905 and the M1877.
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Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2019, 02:33:12 pm »
This is a good project. Looking forward to your developments.

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Offline Lefty Dude

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Re: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2019, 05:15:55 pm »
A fellow CAS/SASS shooter of mine recently bought a nice Colt DA 1877 in 38 Colt. We slugged the bore at .377". According to an article by Mike Vinterino, He developed a load that shot very well using HBWC's or cast  HB round nose.
We elected to load the Hornady HBWC, in 38 Colt cases over Trail-Boss powder. The recipe is on the Hodgdon's site for Trail Boss. This powder I had in my stock. We loaded 100 rounds, and had a fun day at Cowtown.
Accuracy is well suited for CAS, our test targets were SASS revolver Steel targets.

The piece was a 38 DA Lightning made in 1902.

Our next loading for the piece might be, a case full of APP with a round ball seated on top.

Offline Tuolumne Lawman

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Re: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2019, 05:22:05 pm »
I'm going to pull some slugs from the Black Hills .38 Special 148 grain HBWC loads, and load them in the .38 Colt cases (to same OAL as .38 Special) and see how they do. 

Just got the Kirst Konvrerters for both guns and the 1851 from EMF.  The Remmie .36 is backordered, but expected this month.  The 1851 is SWEET and sleek!  I see why folks like them!  Its a 7.5" blued with the tan aged faux-ivory looking polymer grips.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 06:30:34 pm by Tuolumne Lawman »
TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
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Offline Tuolumne Lawman

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Re: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2019, 02:50:19 pm »
I just had to try...

I only have the 1851 Colt so far, and have not done the conversion yet. i do not have any of the Black Hills test ammo yet, nor do I have the .36 Remington. I was getting impatient, though, so I did pop the cylinder in with unmodified 1851 just to try.

At 7 yards, two hand unsupported firing stance in the back pasture, I tried some assorted 148 wadcutters. 

First I tried 5 rounds of no-name bulkcommercial reloads in mixed brass.  I used a puller, and they do have a hollow base wadcutter, but they seem pretty hard.  All five rounds key-holed completely and spread about 8 inches!  That was really discouraging!

Then I grabbed an old box of Western (Winchester) Mid-range 148 HBWCs.  5 rounds, all nice crisp crisp holes, about 2.5" spread with one clover leaf.  That's much more encouraging.

The WWs seem to have a soft lead wadcutter, whereas the commercial reloads were hard like 1/20 tin or even wheel weight.

I won't be doing anymore until after I get the ammo from Black Hills, the .36 Remington, and do the full conversions of both revolvers. I will do a range session with pictures and tabulate results.  I am guessing that it will be some time next month before I have more to share, but it is nice to know there is some hope for hollow base bullets.
TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
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Online Abilene

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Re: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2019, 04:01:40 pm »
Sounds good!

Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2019, 05:21:56 pm »
Good information so far. Obviously HB bullets are a necessity. Good testing already, even though it wasn't what you really want to work with.

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Offline Tuolumne Lawman

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Re: The Black Hills / Kirst / EMF .38 Colt ammunition project begins!
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2019, 05:28:06 pm »
All HBWCs are not created equal!   I quickly learned that they need to be soft hollow base like the classic Speer 148 HBWC Duke Venturino used.  Those hard HBWCs from the commercial reloads did not appear to obdurate at all, leaving nice rectangular sided holes that perfectly match the HBWC I pulled before the shoot.

I will say that it felt odd to be loading puny little .38s after 26 years of loading .38-40, .44-40, .44 Russian/Colt, or .45 Colt/Schofield into my revolvers!  I have a feeling I will be sticking with the .44/.45 calibers.....
TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
CO. F, 12th Illinois Cavalry  SASS # 6127 Life * Spencer Shooting Society #43 * Motherlode Shootist Society #1 * River City Regulators