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1885 .32 WCF
April 5, 2017
7:15 pm
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     I have a pretty good “shooter grade” 1885 in .32 WCF, made in 1889  ( 47485 ).     The bore looks good, shiny with good rifiling,   at least when just using a light.     It slugged .3122.     However, using a Lyman borescope,  revealed more pitting than I expected.     It shoots OK, but I would like to do better.

     With a gun this age would it be better to use softer lead bullets, or would harder be OK ? 

     Considering how it slugged, would  .313 diameter bullets be best ?

     I would appreciate some bullet and load suggestions from those of you who shoot  .32-20  1885’s.

             Thank you very much .

                                                                                         

April 5, 2017
9:00 pm
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Kingston, WA
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My advice is to experiment with different types of bullets, diameters, and hardness, including jacketed bullets. Faster burning powders typically work better when shooting cast bullets, my preference is Unique. When l load with jacketed bullets, my powder preference is 2400.

Bert

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April 6, 2017
12:03 am
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mustang said 
     However, using a Lyman borescope,  revealed more pitting than I expected.     It shoots OK, but I would like to do better.
                                                                                            

If it takes a borescope to show up the pitting in a “shooter-grade” gun, I’d say you lucked out!  “I would like to do better” applies to every gun I’ve got.

April 6, 2017
12:36 am
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I’d try a Lyman lead bullet 311316 with a gas check and push the speed a little.  Have done this with a 28′ barrel rough bore 1885 and got better results than plain lead bullets.  Mine slugged at .3125 so I used a .313 sizer and lubricator, also Lyman.    7 grains AA #7 will send the projectile downrange at just under 1500 fps.  Have loaded some with 15.0 grains of AA 1680 but haven’t fired these yet.  They should develop around 1600 fps.  Also, I’m using a High Wall with a #2 barrel which I expect can handle a little more pressure than a Low Wall.

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April 6, 2017
2:24 am
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I really like my Lyman borescope but I happen to know borescopes have convinced more than a few rifle owners that their bore is worse than a sewer pipe and will never shoot. If it shoots OK I’d keep trying different bullet and powder combos until I found one that worked. I have an 1873 that looks like it won’t keep them all on paper @ 50  but finally found a nominal load of Unique under a custom bullet that it shoots “good enough”. Not a tackdriver but no slouch either. Black powder under a 20:1 cast lead bullet may “bump up” the bullet to shoot quite well but a rough bore often fouls pretty quickly, especially in the smaller calibers. Custom mould makers can make a copy of Lyman’s 311008 a little fat up to .314 or so and a .314 sizer will finish the job.

Paper patching is another option, I’ve never tried it but I know guys who swear by it in situations like yours.

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April 6, 2017
3:14 am
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TXGunNut said 

Paper patching is another option, I’ve never tried it but I know guys who swear by it in situations like yours.  

Always thought paper-patching required a near perfect bore to prevent shredding of the patch.

But what WILL work very well indeed, provided the rifling is still sharp to the muzzle, are jacketed bullets. However, from the description of this particular “shiny” bore, jackets would merely be an option, not a necessity.

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