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Using the old Winchester loading tools
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January 28, 2021 - 2:27 pm
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 I know a lot of collectors of these fine old tools, but how many use them for their intended purpose. If you own an old Winchester and shoot it why not use the old tools and make a hobby inside a hobby. $100 will buy you an old mold or tool for most of the common calibers, add a lead pot and a few supplies and you have a hobby. A gun with the tools and the shell you made display well. Yes the cartridge is not always as clean and neat as the one you make with a die set, but it feels special when you pull the trigger.

 EBAY has a wide selection of Winchester original tools and molds, why not give it a try? T/R   

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January 28, 2021 - 4:20 pm
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Never used Win. tools, but have often used Ideal tong-tools–they were what the vast majority of reloaders used before the modern “C” type press was invented.  (By Pacific, I think.)  One thing I particularly like about them is that the regular Ideal dies neck-size only.  (Special dies were available for FL resizing.)  But as for cleanliness, I don’t see any big difference between careful loading with hand-tools vs. some super automated press.

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January 29, 2021 - 3:32 am
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I haven’t tried the loading tools yet but I did cast quite a few bullets with a Winchester 32-40 mould. It is a very well-made mould and once I learned its preferred cadence and temperature I was able to cast some very good bullets. Unfortunately they were a few thousandths of an inch too small for my purposes. They may have worked better back in the day with softer lead and black powder. All but a handful will unfortunately go back in the pot. Cry

 

Mike

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January 29, 2021 - 3:56 am
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Mike,

Why not try swaging the bullets to make them a bit fatter?

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January 29, 2021 - 11:56 am
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You might try using a relatively fast powder like Unique to “bump” up the bullet to bore diameter. My Lyman Ideal Handbook # 39  list several 32-40 Unique loads for cast bullets.

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January 29, 2021 - 2:26 pm
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Bert H. said
Mike,
Why not try swaging the bullets to make them a bit fatter?  

Shooters of muzzle-loading target rifles almost always swaged their bullets after casting, not necessarily to change their diameter, but to make them more uniform; swage, mould, & false-muzzle were supplied by the barrel maker.  But they were shot with paper patches, so no grease grooves.

How could Mike do this without a swage–uniformly, I mean?

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January 29, 2021 - 7:59 pm
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Bert H. said
Mike,
Why not try swaging the bullets to make them a bit fatter?  

Swaging usually makes them smaller but with a Lee Precision bullet sizer kit you can do both.  It comes with a punch that will expand the diameter.  If you don’t have a Lee press you need to buy a bushing that will screw into your press that replaces the one you have.

https://leeprecision.com/bl-bullet-sizer-kit.html

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January 29, 2021 - 8:21 pm
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Chuck,

The swaging die controls what the output size is, and for cast bullets, it is almost always used to bump up the diameter of the bullet, not make them smaller.

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January 29, 2021 - 10:04 pm
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Bert H. said
Chuck,
The swaging die controls what the output size is, and for cast bullets, it is almost always used to bump up the diameter of the bullet, not make them smaller.  

I’ve never cast, but I have resized using a Lyman lube-sizer, & it was also my understanding that bullets as cast were generally oversized (depending of course on the mould) & it was the function of the sizer to reduce them to a uniform dia.  Mike’s mould throwing undersized bullets seems like an anomaly, or else the bullets are correct but his bore is oversize.

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January 30, 2021 - 12:31 am
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clarence said

I’ve never cast, but I have resized using a Lyman lube-sizer, & it was also my understanding that bullets as cast were generally oversized (depending of course on the mould) & it was the function of the sizer to reduce them to a uniform dia.  Mike’s mould throwing undersized bullets seems like an anomaly, or else the bullets are correct but his bore is oversize.  

Clarence that is my understanding too.  If you add the punch it will increase the diameter.

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January 30, 2021 - 6:55 pm
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Bert H. said
Mike,
Why not try swaging the bullets to make them a bit fatter?  

I could, but if I really wanted to use this mould for regular production I’d use 20-1 lead and a powder with a more aggressive pressure curve because that’s what it was designed for. Swaging would probably work better with a softer alloy in my case because my presses don’t have the mechanical advantage desired for easy swaging. A quality swaging die would probably cost a bit less than a custom mould but if I want a .323 bullet I’ll cast a .323 bullet. I also prefer to use a multi-cavity mould for production work.

My point was that I really enjoyed using this old mould and I admire the craftsmanship that went into making it. I wanted to do it the way people did it over 100 years ago and I came pretty close to doing that. The fact that I used the wrong alloy and powder is on me, not the mould or the people who designed or made it.

 

Mike

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April 4, 2021 - 10:39 pm
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TR,  today I used my 1880 Type 2 .40-60 WCF tool to load 30 rounds for my 1892 vintage Model 1876 rifle.  It worked perfectly.  The companion 1878 type 4 mold was used to drop the 210 grain bullets.  I could only get 50 grains of Goex cartridge black powder in the resized and trimmed Winchester .45-70 cases.

I would like to find a nice 1878 type 5 mold with the wood handles in .40-60 WCF.  Even wearing heavy gloves those iron handles heat up!

The loaded rounds chamber and eject perfectly.  Rifle has a bore that’s about an 8 out of 10, a 30 inch barrel and set trigger that works.  I hope to take it out to test fire soon.

40-60-1880-tool-type-2-03.JPGImage Enlarger40-60-1878-type4-mold-01.JPGImage Enlarger1876-SN62537-01.pngImage Enlarger

Photos below show an original .40-60 WCF cartridge, a modern .40-60 WCF case made from trimmed and sized Winchester .45-70 brass and one of my loaded rounds.

IMG_3731-1.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_3732-1.JPGImage Enlarger

I call myself a collector as it sounds better than hoarder

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April 5, 2021 - 12:21 am
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Bill, That’s what the tools were intended to do, I enjoy loading old guns with old tools. Cast not sized in an original mold.

 The 1876 in 40-60 has a lot of steel around the chamber as compared to a 45-75, smokeless has worked good for me. I use 28grs of 3031 with cornmeal as filler, gives me 1345fps. I anneal the 45-70 brass and reformed it in a 1894 40-60 tool, trimmed to 1.870″. The cast not sized has worked on a lot of these bp calibers, but I recently had poor results on a 1894 in 38-55. The mold cast .377 and the bore was .380, big group. I have since ordered bullets from Bear Tooth cast .380.

 If you need a wood handle mold I can help. A lot of my steel handle tools came with homemade wood handles. You have to recycle a lot of bullets to get the mold to temp and then you can get into a slow rhythm that works. Homemade wood handles are cheaper than my original wood handle mold. T/R

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April 5, 2021 - 3:03 am
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Good job, Bill! My antique moulds have wooden handles but I sometimes use a welding glove to cut the sprue and sometimes on the mould handles on moulds that require them. OTOH some of my grandfather’s files still have corncobs on the handles but he was a Nebraska farmer. There were quite a few uses for corncobs back in the day. 😉

 

Mike

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