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Shooting Johnson and Dow conicals in my 1858 NMA Pietta

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I recently picked up a J & D conical mold and have found out, to my surprise, that I cannot seat the conicals in the cylinders. I use a hand press after removing the cylinder from the gun and even with that leverage, it is not seating. Soft lead and just bare bullet over powder so I assume some modification needs to be made (reaming possibly?) or maybe the Pietta just needs to be fed round ball??   I would really like to shoot conical paper cartridges !!
Anyone had this experience?


Lucky R. K.:

If you are using pure lead it sounds like the diameter of the conical is too big for the cylinder.


I should mention that the press is really designed for round ball and it deforms the nose severely.. I need to find one that is made for conical bullets. Base of bullet drops right into cylinder. I wonder if I am expanding the bullet due to the round ball designed press and making it expand rather than pushing it??  I am looking at the Powder Inc loadsr.. Anyone have experience with these.??. My current one is too light weight I believe.

A pic would help me understand it better. I suspect the bullet is tall/long and the subsequent driving band(s) is/are too large in diameter so the ramming force deforms/mushrooms the bullet. I don't mind if the ramming plunger is cupped because it still makes the bullet a round nose rather than so pointy. Pointyness just takes up powder space.

Driving band is .460 with the diameter at the base of the olgive at .451..  I think the main issue is that the loading press i have is not designed for a conical. It contacts the conical at a slight angle and driving pressure is not straight down into the chamber. I will try the powderinc model and I bet that solves it.



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