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1873 Range Day
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October 14, 2020 - 7:36 pm
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Yesterday I shot my 73 in 44 WCF at 50 yds.  It has a Malcolm scope .  Here is the target.   The average of the 18 that went through the chronograph was 773 fps.  The extreme spread was over 300 fps.  I did not calculate the standard deviation but with the numbers I got it shows a poor attempt during loading.

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October 15, 2020 - 2:15 am
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From what I’ve heard about cowboy ammo that’s actually pretty good shooting! Bet it was fun, too. I’ll bet that old scope turned a few heads at the firing line.

 

Mike

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October 15, 2020 - 5:52 pm
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I also love shooting these old Winchester Lever guns. Last year I brought to the range one of my old 1873 rifles. It’s a 26 inch 32-20 octagon barreled rifle with what I would describe as having a “POOR” Black Powder bore. I set my 11×18 “Splatter” target at 100 yards and blazed away. Of 7 rounds fired, one complete miss, one low on the target ( a groin or leg hit ), 5 hits in the “Kill Zone”. I was using an adjustable tang rear sight with a standard front sight, and old reloads. Not bad I think for an old 125 year young firearm, but of coarse it’s a Winchester so that was to be expected!

Apache ( ya ta hey )CoolCoolCool

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October 15, 2020 - 6:29 pm
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TXGunNut said
From what I’ve heard about cowboy ammo that’s actually pretty good shooting! Bet it was fun, too. I’ll bet that old scope turned a few heads at the firing line.

 

Mike  

No one paid attention except the range master.  I had so much fun that I plan to shoot some factory loads through it next week.  I also need to readjust my chronograph screens.  I had left them where my paper puncher needs them so I was having problems keeping the gun aligned so the bullet would pass all 3 screens somewhat in the middle.  I had 6 shots that did not go over the last screen and I actually shot the middle screen. Luckily it still works.   If you look at the print out you can see shots 3, 5, 7 only recorded 1 speed.  Shot 1 shows 2 speeds as it should be.  If they are not in an acceptable range it will show an * so you can edit it out of the string if you wish.

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October 16, 2020 - 4:01 am
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Chuck,

What kind of chronograph do you use.  I have a run of the mill caldwell, has a few problems now and then, makes me question its reliability or accuracy.  Cant say mine is the best but would be nice to know what works for others and that they feel are reliable. 

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October 16, 2020 - 6:41 am
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Mighty slow….

Can you step them up to 900 or more fps?

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October 16, 2020 - 5:41 pm
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1892takedown said
Chuck,

What kind of chronograph do you use.  I have a run of the mill caldwell, has a few problems now and then, makes me question its reliability or accuracy.  Cant say mine is the best but would be nice to know what works for others and that they feel are reliable.   

My Oehler is at least 30 yrs old.  Printer plastic has become brittle.  Parts are not a problem.  Set up is not that bad.  Putting all the screens together takes a few minutes then you have to get the stands aligned with your gun so it will hit the target and go safely through the middle area of the screens.  My setup is 4 feet long. (2 feet between screens)  It will work from .177 pellet guns up.  I have seen the Caldwells and Chronys but never used any of these smaller units.

https://oehler-research.com/chronograph/

I have used the Magneto Speed that attaches to the barrel.  When it works it is pretty easy to set up and use.  This is the least expensive of the newer technologies.  The problem with these is if they move it can cause the point of impact to change by inches.  My machinist friend made a mount so the unit is attached to the hand guard instead of the barrel.  The other one I see a lot at the range is the Lab Radar.  As it says, radar.  Most expensive. You have to buy the unit then the case, battery pack, tripod etc.  There is moderate amount of input required.  Each change causes you to re input data.  It has rifle, pistol and shotgun set ups but each will need to be changed if you change any of the parameters .  Positioning of the firearm in relation to the unit changes from one type of set up to another.  Once you figure it out it works great and if you shoot the same load no changes need to be made.

One advantage of the newer units is the ease of data transfer and storage.  All of my data is printed out.  I then put all of the info on an Excel spreadsheet.  The newer ones can transfer to your phone, I pad and laptop.  The Lab Radar also has a port for a memory card.

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October 17, 2020 - 10:53 pm
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Chuck,  thanks for your analysis of the Lab Radar.  I have a Shooting Chrony, and find my using it less and less.  Pain in the ass to set it up about 10 feet out from the firing line.  All this time aligning it so the bullet goes about midway between the sky screens and the base, etc, and others on the range are wanting to shoot.  Me too.  I have been careful and in probably 15 years have yet to hit the unit or the sky screens.  Now watch me do one or the other next time out!  Now, most of my load work up is with modern rifles and I am looking at group size rather than max velocity, etc.  At first, everything I shot was through the Chrony.  I have a three ring binder with details.  Use that less and less, too!  A buddy and I have been thinking of spending the big bucks for the new technology, thinking it was “easier”.  Not so sure now!  TimLaugh

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October 18, 2020 - 3:58 pm
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I have an early Lab Radar, have had issues but haven’t taken the time to address them so will only say that it’s way more sophisticated than my old Chrony and much less aggravating to set up.

 

Mike

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October 18, 2020 - 6:46 pm
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tim tomlinson said
Chuck,  thanks for your analysis of the Lab Radar.  I have a Shooting Chrony, and find my using it less and less.  Pain in the ass to set it up about 10 feet out from the firing line.  All this time aligning it so the bullet goes about midway between the sky screens and the base, etc, and others on the range are wanting to shoot.  Me too.  I have been careful and in probably 15 years have yet to hit the unit or the sky screens.  Now watch me do one or the other next time out!  Now, most of my load work up is with modern rifles and I am looking at group size rather than max velocity, etc.  At first, everything I shot was through the Chrony.  I have a three ring binder with details.  Use that less and less, too!  A buddy and I have been thinking of spending the big bucks for the new technology, thinking it was “easier”.  Not so sure now!  TimLaugh  

Spend the big bucks and get the Lab Radar.  Nothing you do for setup will slow others down.  I have a mark on my cable at 10′.  The issue is the alignment.  You don’t have to be perfectly in the middle but I can’t set a rifle on the bench before shooting time so I’m guestimating the alignment at first.  The area between the screens with Oelher is much bigger than the Chrony or Caldwell.  I am currently working on 3 different cartridges and FPS is critical.  2 of these are black powder cartridges that I am using smokeless and the 3rd is a new bullet for my paper puncher.  I followed the loading manual and my first loads shot 180 FPS over what the manual said they should be?  It’s all about bump, jump and FPS.  I use Lapua brass, Fed Prem Gold match primers, Hodgdon 4350 and Hornady match bullets.

TXGunNut said
I have an early Lab Radar, have had issues but haven’t taken the time to address them so will only say that it’s way more sophisticated than my old Chrony and much less aggravating to set up.

 

Mike  

What issues have you had?  I believe at some point a Lab Radar is in my future.  My Oehler is more work to set up.  I get to the range before shooting time so I can set up and not hinder others but my first guess on set up isn’t always correct.  My Oehler works fine but the printer plastic has gotten so brittle I’m gluing it up constantly.

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October 21, 2020 - 9:11 pm
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Shot the 73 again yesterday.  I messed up and left the target at 100 yds.  Wasted a lot of ammo trying to get back on target.  Did shoot 18 rounds through the chronograph.  Winchester Factory 200 gr. JSP.  The mean/average was 1025 fps.  The extreme spread was 153 fps.  Fastest was 1081 fps and the lowest was 928 fps.  The standard deviation was 36.  These numbers are a lot better than the cowboys loads but far from what I would call precisely loaded ammo.  I didn’t have any of my hand loads to shoot so I can’t compare. 

My paper puncher is still not what I want.  I shot 10 ea. 5 round groups. 3 were over 1″ and one at .762″.  Rest were closer to the .5″ that I want.  I had 1 at .451″ and the best at .332″.  More tweaks and I’ll shoot again next week. 

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October 22, 2020 - 12:51 am
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Thanks for the update Chuck. Taking my 73’s (44 & 38) out next week to see which one punches paper best at 50 yds. Both is VG+ condition with same standard sights(22rear & 21 front). DOM 1886 & 1885 respectively. Will post results after.

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October 22, 2020 - 4:39 pm
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RickC said
Thanks for the update Chuck. Taking my 73’s (44 & 38) out next week to see which one punches paper best at 50 yds. Both is VG+ condition with same standard sights(22rear & 21 front). DOM 1886 & 1885 respectively. Will post results after.

RickC  

Mine was manufactured in 1879 and I have the original sights but the rear sight is in the butt because there is a scope on it.  I’m having trouble adjusting the scope.  A very slight adjustment made a 6″ change at 50 yds and even more at 100 yds.  

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October 28, 2020 - 6:33 pm
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Took a Winchester Garand to the range yesterday.  I have never shot a Garand before.  I used some Winchester ammo especially made for the Garand.  My friend told me how to adjust the rear sight so I would be close at 100 yds.  He also told me how to get a partially fired clip out of the gun for the range breaks.

 

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November 1, 2020 - 12:20 am
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Thanks for posting these range reports and, especially, the photos. I’ve used a Chrony for years and it gives accurate results and seldom ever misses a shot. My 44-40 loads for original ’73s give around 1,300 fps depending upon the temperature. I would expect that the accuracy of your ’73 should improve as you get closer to original factory loads. At that velocity, you might be able to get 5-shot groups at 100 yards of 3″ or less.

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November 1, 2020 - 12:32 am
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Kirk Durston said
Thanks for posting these range reports and, especially, the photos. I’ve used a Chrony for years and it gives accurate results and seldom ever misses a shot. My 44-40 loads for original ’73s give around 1,300 fps depending upon the temperature. I would expect that the accuracy of your ’73 should improve as you get closer to original factory loads. At that velocity, you might be able to get 5-shot groups at 100 yards of 3″ or less.  

Those groups can be confirmed by the Sioux & Cheyenne on June 25/1876.

RickC

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November 1, 2020 - 8:42 pm
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Kirk Durston said
Thanks for posting these range reports and, especially, the photos. I’ve used a Chrony for years and it gives accurate results and seldom ever misses a shot. My 44-40 loads for original ’73s give around 1,300 fps depending upon the temperature. I would expect that the accuracy of your ’73 should improve as you get closer to original factory loads. At that velocity, you might be able to get 5-shot groups at 100 yards of 3″ or less.  

You are right.  I haven’t loaded the 44’s for some time and I can’t find my records.  The other problem I was having was I don’t really know how to adjust the scope. It seems simple but I keep going the wrong way or too much.  I need to load some ammo and go shoot some more.

 

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November 3, 2020 - 2:06 pm
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With an outstandingly gorgeous rifle like that, any kind of work at all with it is a pleasure.

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November 4, 2020 - 5:09 pm
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Kirk Durston said
With an outstandingly gorgeous rifle like that, any kind of work at all with it is a pleasure.  

Thanks Kirk.  It is my favorite gun in my collection.  It has a lot of sentimental value.

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November 7, 2020 - 10:47 pm
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That’s some nice groups, Chuck.  One more adjustment would have centered you up.  What is the bore condition?

James

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