Thursday, January 11, 2007

Range day,

and sometimes things actually do work the way they should.

Shotgun ammo test
I'd mentioned the ammo I keep in my shotgun is either Hornady TAP or Winchester Ranger: both 00 buck and both reduced recoil. You need to practice with everything, but this stuff runs $3 to $4/box of five. Yeesh. I also mentioned a while back that I became the owner of a shotshell reloading press. So I browsed around and found a recipe for a low-recoil 00 buck load I could put together, and gave it a try. And it worked pretty well, not as tight-grouping as the factory stuff, but about the same level of recoil. So today I unloaded 25 rounds of this at 15 yards(minimum distance the range requires for shotgun/rifle). Here's the result:

This was all fired offhand, going from port arms & safety on to aim & fire. If I remember right the individual groups were about half-again as wide as factory ammo, but seems to be comparable power. Definately good for practice, and in an emergency would do the home-defense job.

Pistol mod test
The other thing tried out today was a change on the Webley Mk VI revolver I picked up at the Wanenmacher Arms Show in Tulsa last fall. Worked fine, but the cylinder had been cut so it could fire .45acp ammo in moon clips. It'll also use .45 Auto Rim cases just fine, but with both you run into the problem that the brass and bullets are a touch undersize for the chambers and bore, so accuracy suffers. And it's hard on brass, it has to expand so much that resizing it works it a lot.

I had an idea on a fix for this(which so far- not being as good a man of my hands as Og, for instance, hadn't worked). And I'd been looking around, and ran across a guy who had an uncut cylinder. No, they ain't cheap, but this price wasn't too bad either. So I robbed the change jar dug around and came up with enough. More than I'd planned on spending after the holidays, etc., but this is one of those things I figured better get while I could. It came in a couple of weeks ago, and it was in beautiful condition, looked like the original bluing and virtually no wear on any surface. Dropped right on with no fitting needed. Which brings me to

Dies, brass and ammo
For a long time the only factory ammo I saw for .455 Webley was from Fiocchi, good ammo but about $35/box of 50. Yeah, I'm gonna run out and stock up on that. Hornady makes it now, but the price is about the same. I'd known while looking for this pistol that it would be a handloading proposition, which turned out to have problems too: brass and dies both available but bleeping expensive. Until Kevin posted on finding some bullets for a good price at Graf & Sons. So I hied myself over the to check and Lo! discovered that
Hornady is selling their .455 brass, and
Lee makes .455 Webley carbide dies,
both for a much better price. So I ordered dies and 100 cases. I used the same bullet I'd used before- lead 230 grain ball, not sized and lubed with Lee Liquid Alox- as it seemed to fit the bore pretty well, found a starting load and put fifty rounds together. Today I ran the target out about ten yards and fired six rounds single-action. Then I pulled the target back, thought "Bleep!" That had to be chance.", ran it back out and fired six more. Here's twelve rounds

The low-left flyer was the first round. I was very impressed, with the pistol, the load and with my managing to use them this well. So I ran it out to twenty yards and tried it:

Believe me, for me offhand at that range that's not bad at all. So I put up a small silhouette, ran it out to seven yards or so and

That's twelve rounds fired double-action, not fastest speed but not taking time either. Which also made me happy. So I stuck up another bullseye at about fifteen yards and tried one-handed:

So the original-length cylinder and actual .455 brass made a real difference, more than I expected. And the bullets I tried, I couldn't ask for better results from them. Definately a good combination.

By the way, I browsed around and ran across The Cartridge Collector who had this picture of the .455 with the Patented Manstopper Bullet and(third in line) a target bullet:

The Manstopper is basically a 220 grain .455 hollowbase wadcutter with a hollow nose made in a fairly soft lead alloy. To quote somebody, that'll leave a mark.

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