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Range report: 1885 in 32-40
November 3, 2019
11:41 pm
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The 1885 I recently stumbled across has been an adventure, today was the first range trip.

Backing up a bit: I formed the cases from some old 38-55 cases I had lying around. They were old & hard so I lost several to the process and a few wound up with oil dents. I hope I have some new brass stashed somewhere, I don’t want to do that again. My starting load is a mild 5744 charge under an Accurate 322-170 cast GC bullet. This bullet is designed for a lever gun but it’s what I had on hand. All in all it’s a rather graceful looking cartridge, I like it!

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Today was beautiful, if a bit windy. Rifle seemed to shoot well but the load needs a bit of tweaking. The good folks at Cody told me this rifle was ordered with a 32” #4 barrel, mid-range sight and a light trigger. I don’t know what happened to that “light” trigger but it was crisp with no take-up. 

2322A3B7-786E-4AA6-84BC-DCEB5D35B980.jpegImage Enlarger

Mike

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November 4, 2019
1:28 am
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I enjoyed this report and, especially the photos that illustrated it. I wonder if annealing the 38-55 brass first would 'soften' it up to make reforming easier?

November 4, 2019
3:07 am
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It certainly would, Kirk. I even broke out the Imperial sizing wax for the occasion but it was still a tough go with significant casualties. I’ve done a bit of researching on the subject and found some shooters, mainly serious competitors, anneal their brass every time they prep the case. There are also many ways to go about doing it so I’ve stayed out of it, for now. I’m a low-volume shooter these days and buying new brass now and then will be more cost-effective than all but the simplest annealing setup.

Thanks for the gracious comments on my photos. Someday I’ll learn how to take good pics but today is obviously not that day. 😉

 

Mike

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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
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Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
November 4, 2019
1:28 pm
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Those photos are just fine, and a thousand times better than no photos at all. Those fellows who anneal brass every time they reload it would be a bit extreme I think. I would anneal before and after reforming, and after that only after I saw the beginnings of a split in the rim of one of the pieces after reloading it a lot of times. I don't particularly enjoy annealing. For straight-walled, black powder type cartridges, it is almost never. For my 30-30 cases, it is from time to time. I probably have shot 45-70 the most, and annealed all mine after about 15 to 20 years of reloading. Of course, I don't full-length resize and crimp just enough to do the job.

Regarding lube, I've never found anything better than 50% lanolin and 50% caster oil, mixed together, rubbed into a rag, and then lightly wipe the case with that rag before reforming it. I was reforming 45-90 cases into 40-82 cases, so some muscle was necessary to do it in one smooth pump of the Hornady press. I started with the Hornady spray on lube. It is alright for sizing cases, but was not sufficient for reforming the 45-90 to 40-82. I had to take the first one, stuck in the die, out to the garage and take a blow torch to it to get the stuck case out. A fellow said he swore by the castor oil-lanolin mix, so I bought some at the drug store. It is amazing .... far better than the Hornady spray on stuff (which I do use all the time for simply resizing cases). Of course, too much will put wrinkles or dimples in, but just a very thin wipe did the job beautifully, and I was able to reform a bunch of 45-90 to 40-82 with a single pump of the handle and damaged none of them.

November 4, 2019
1:40 pm
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Thanks, Kirk. I’ll look into that. I use the Hornady spray for all normal sizing too. Even with the lauded Imperial it took three strokes on my little RCBS press with an extra wipe of lube now and then to make the 32-40 cases. 

May seem like a lot of trouble but as you know it’s hard to beat the experience of loading for and shooting rifles built over a century ago.

 

Mike

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Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
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November 4, 2019
10:03 pm
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Mike, where did you get the red box to hold the shell holders?  I need a couple. 

November 5, 2019
1:33 am
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It came with a Lee Auto Prime shell holder assortment. I think Midway had it on clearance or something; even has a handy application chart inside.

 

Mike

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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
November 5, 2019
4:02 pm
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Hopefully you will be taking pictures of stellar groups with your 32-40 sometime in the future.  

I appreciate the report posts/discussions from you guys.  I think people handloading for old rifles are some of the most knowledgeable handloaders around.

Regards

Brad Dunbar

http://1895book.com/

November 5, 2019
5:25 pm
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Thanks, Brad. Unfortunately the front sight doesn’t lend itself to precision shooting but the initial results were very promising. Had 5-6 shots into a vertical group slightly over an inch but also had several fliers, 4-5 interestingly in another vertical group about 1.5 inches away. Wind was a bit gusty but I think a very slight tightening of the case mouth or moving the bullet a bit forward will reduce the fliers.

 

Mike

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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
November 5, 2019
7:15 pm
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TXGunNut said
Unfortunately the front sight doesn’t lend itself to precision shooting but the initial results were very promising.

If you really want to test the gun & not your holding ability, replace the front sight with one that accepts aperture inserts, the Lyman 17a being the easiest kind to find.  Somewhat contrary to intuition, the aperture should be sized to leave plenty of space around the bull.

With a SS, I usually try to seat the bullet far enough out to engage the lands.

November 5, 2019
8:17 pm
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I have a few 17 sights, Clarence, just not brave enough to install it. Some sight black will probably help. Have you tried any of those tapered bullets they used back in the day? I ordered a mould for one accidentally a few years back but sold it when I realized my error,

 

Mike

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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
November 5, 2019
9:27 pm
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TXGunNut said
I have a few 17 sights, Clarence, just not brave enough to install it. 

If bravery were required, I wouldn't have been using them for testing purposes most of my life.  Sight black won't compensate for the necessity of having to focus your eye (or try) on the blade, bead, or post of a conventional front sight.  There's a reason apertures are used in most kinds of competition.

I think tapered bullets work best when the chamber is shaped to match on custom barrels.

Lighter wt. barrels are sensitive to front rest position, but it shouldn't make much difference with a 4 wt.

November 6, 2019
3:44 pm
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FWIW, I re-size my 38-55 brass to make the 32-40. I find that trimming the 38-55 brass to (I can't recall at the moment) a given size, then I use Hornady spray, then while sizing I get the brass about 1/3 sized, then turn the brass and finish sizing. Sometimes I turn it twice. 

 

I think the initial trimming of the 38-55 removes unnecessary brass that would otherwise be forced down....and causes the woeful crimp on the case. 

 

FWIW

November 10, 2019
7:17 pm
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Food for thought, Dave. Thanks. Still looking for some lanolin, may have to order online, Kirk.

Took advantage of the beautiful weather today and sighted in my hunting rifles. After that chore it was the 1885’s turn! It was still hitting a bit right so I gave the front sight a little tap, it was much freer than I thought. Looks like a 17M will be temporarily installed before the next range trip. After aforementioned adjustment group size was only a bit over 2” so I feel a better sight is called for to see what this rifle will do.

Mike

70FCC1EB-4D19-43E8-9410-82F91F773534.jpegImage Enlarger61379FDF-48F7-4C7F-B8C8-64BA46948E2D.jpegImage Enlarger

Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
November 11, 2019
7:46 pm
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TXGunNut said
Food for thought, Dave. Thanks. Still looking for some lanolin, may have to order online, Kirk.

Took advantage of the beautiful weather today and sighted in my hunting rifles. After that chore it was the 1885’s turn! It was still hitting a bit right so I gave the front sight a little tap, it was much freer than I thought. Looks like a 17M will be temporarily installed before the next range trip. After aforementioned adjustment group size was only a bit over 2” so I feel a better sight is called for to see what this rifle will do.

Mike

70FCC1EB-4D19-43E8-9410-82F91F773534.jpegImage Enlarger61379FDF-48F7-4C7F-B8C8-64BA46948E2D.jpegImage Enlarger  

What does a 17 M look like?  Elevation wise you are close to a 200 yd zero. 

November 11, 2019
8:23 pm
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Can’t recall, think it’s a little taller than the existing sight. I quit adjusting because I was having trouble seeing the top of the sight. 

Mike

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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
November 12, 2019
1:53 am
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Chuck-

The Lyman 17M is a modern sight, I keep a few around to put on my “shooters”. They come in different heights, center of this one is approximately .3” above the top of the barrel, almost exactly the same dimension as the center of the ivory bead on the Lyman sight I removed from the rifle. 

 

Mike

Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
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