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Shooting a 1866 with a black powder rim fire.
April 15, 2021
12:46 am
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While at the Tulsa gun show last weekend I picked up some specially made shells that took a centerfire shell and were modified to accept a 22 starter gun shell that acts as the primer. The original primer hole is plugged with a copper plug and soldered, then a new primer hole is drilled in offset so one of the strikers will set it off. The round has to be feed by hand as to located the starter shell in front of one of the strikers.  I pulled a bullet on one to see how it was made and what kind of bullet was used. It has about 15 gr of black powder and a hollow back bullet of 207 gr along with the force of a starter gun shell has enough power to propel the bullet. I pulled a original UMC 44 flat shell and it had 26 gr of powder with a 196 gr  bullet. The shell 2nd from the left is the fired shell where you can see the striker indents. The starter shell started to push back where it wasn't held by the striker. The guy that we bought these from said that the guy that made these has past and was selling his out all his stuff. He did have many other rim fire shells of different calibers modified like these.

1866-shells-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Bob

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April 15, 2021
1:00 am
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Looks just about the same as those Dixie has been selling for many yrs--the cases only, I mean.

April 15, 2021
3:56 am
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That's great Bob!  I love seeing that old '66 making some smoke.  Thanks for posting the video.  

I'm hoping things will slow down enough that I can get back to trying to make some 44 rimfire ammo soon. 

I've got a set of molds for the heeled-based 44 bullets.  If you're in need of more bullets, let me know and I'll send you some next time I do some casting.

Mark

April 15, 2021
4:29 am
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Mark,

I would like to shoot some more to see if there is any accuracy but the first one I was more worried about something blowing back at me.

That would be great if I could get some. Were you able to find a commercially produced mold or did you have to have one made?

Bob

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April 15, 2021
1:52 pm
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1873man said
Mark,

I would like to shoot some more to see if there is any accuracy but the first one I was more worried about something blowing back at me.

That would be great if I could get some. Were you able to find a commercially produced mold or did you have to have one made?

Bob  

Bob,

I got the mold from Old West Bullet Molds, but I see they're "out of stock" currently.  

https://oldwestbulletmoulds.com/shop/ols/products/44-henry-flat-200gr-mould-and-crimp-die-set

I haven't used mine yet, but I've been meaning to get to it.  I just have far too many irons in the fire presently.  Next time I fire up the casting pot, I'll set some aside for you.  Mark

April 15, 2021
6:24 pm
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I'm jealous.   TR told me you did this.

April 17, 2021
11:06 pm
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Pretty cool, Bob. Glad you got to shoot the old 1866.

 

Mike

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April 17, 2021
11:20 pm
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Actually I shot 2 rounds through it when I bought the gun many years ago using Dominion shells.

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April 19, 2021
5:27 pm
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Neat stuff Bob.  Ive never seen or envisioned such a cartridge adaptation for the application.  On the starter cartridge used as a primer, is it just the head/primer of the starter cartridge that is set in the recess or is there more of the brass sidewalls that fill the inside of the larger cartridge, and how is it held in place or seated?

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April 19, 2021
6:31 pm
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Chris,

Its the whole starter cartridge. It does look like he put a sealer or adhesive on it. I will have to remove one to see if its a pinch fit.

Bob

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April 19, 2021
7:02 pm
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Thanks Bob for the added info.  Im wondering how much bullet/powder compression you can have with the BP and if it would have any effect on the  expansion of the starter crimp upon ignition of the primer and ignition of the powder within a highly compressed cartridge.  Maybe it makes no difference and everything happens simultaneously regardless.  

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April 19, 2021
11:47 pm
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Chris,

Here are two used starter rounds. The one that is opened all the way is the one I fired with no powder just to test that it would go off. The one that is part opened is the one i fired with the bullet. After looking at the shell he used which is a 44 S&W Spl it has less case volume than a rim fire 44 since the head is quite thick so with the 15 grains of BP fills the case about 3/4 full about to where the bullet would seat to. I did not see any adhesive on the primers but it sure wouldn't hurt. The primer that I fired without powder I had to use a hammer and punch to remover it. The other I could remove it with just a punch by hand. I assume the one that opened all the way kind of riveted itself in place. When I bought them he had a spent shell to look at and that primer was opened all the way.

Bob

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April 21, 2021
11:11 pm
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1873man said

While at the Tulsa gun show last weekend I picked up some specially made shells that took a centerfire shell and were modified to accept a 22 starter gun shell that acts as the primer. The original primer hole is plugged with a copper plug and soldered, then a new primer hole is drilled in offset so one of the strikers will set it off. The round has to be feed by hand as to located the starter shell in front of one of the strikers.  I pulled a bullet on one to see how it was made and what kind of bullet was used. It has about 15 gr of black powder and a hollow back bullet of 207 gr along with the force of a starter gun shell has enough power to propel the bullet. I pulled a original UMC 44 flat shell and it had 26 gr of powder with a 196 gr  bullet. The shell 2nd from the left is the fired shell where you can see the striker indents. The starter shell started to push back where it wasn't held by the striker. The guy that we bought these from said that the guy that made these has past and was selling his out all his stuff. He did have many other rim fire shells of different calibers modified like these.

1866-shells-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Bob  

Bob, that starter shell looks to me like it has a Flobert stamping on it? Pretty interesting!

April 23, 2021
2:06 am
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Aren't the acorn stamps from RWS?

April 23, 2021
2:58 am
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The RWS have a R on the head from what I've seen. The tin I have looks like it is printed by a American company that imported the shells from Germany which is where Flobert  is located.

Bob

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April 23, 2021
4:21 am
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April 23, 2021
5:25 pm
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From what I can find the blanks are a Flobert style and today are made by a few different companies.  RWS is a German company that makes them too.  This style of blank is known as an acorn because it looks like an acorn.  More than one maker uses the acorn as the head stamp.

April 23, 2021
9:35 pm
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 Chuck, I talked to an old gunsmith today and he said they used to shoot their 66's in the 50's with a similar cartridge using a blank as a primer. He suggested removing brass on the opposite side of the cartridge head to make room for the other side striker. This would keep the striker square and maybe prevent the blank from budging. I guess this is not a new idea.

 Starter pistol blanks are available for $18 a 100 on line. I just googled them and they came up. T/R

April 24, 2021
10:32 pm
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TR said
 Chuck, I talked to an old gunsmith today and he said they used to shoot their 66's in the 50's with a similar cartridge using a blank as a primer. He suggested removing brass on the opposite side of the cartridge head to make room for the other side striker. This would keep the striker square and maybe prevent the blank from budging. I guess this is not a new idea.

 Starter pistol blanks are available for $18 a 100 on line. I just googled them and they came up. T/R  

Thanks Tom.  I have talked to people about using a regular 22 blank or pulling the bullet and powder out of a 22 short.  I believe that is why some of the modified cases have the cut out area so the blank is flush with the rest of the head like the ones Bob found in Tulsa.  I recently had a lengthy conversation with Lou Behling about the Henry ammo.  It appears that original rounds had a tendency to bulge anyway.  He said it was the excess room between the head of the case and the bolt face.  I sent the picture of the 15 case heads to him to help the WACA member identify the year of production. Some of the ones I could not identify were fired cases that had bulged.

April 24, 2021
11:10 pm
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Chuck,

Yes they do bulge out. Here are the two Dominion cases I fired when I first bought the gun and they did bulge out. The only way to eliminate that is to have the two strikers the only moving part like a center fire

Bob

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