Friday, May 05, 2017

A confession to make:

Short while ago I became the owner of one of them old-style boom-makers
Pedersoli Sharps in .45-70, with that lesson I learned demonstrated by the presence of the recoil pad.  That's a Pedersoli mid-range tang sight, and a Lyman hooded front sight

About that pad, I'd thought of getting another stock and cutting the thickness of the pad off the back end(as the length of pull was just about perfect), but ran into two problems:
Nobody had one, and ordering it from Pedersoli would be damned expensive.  So pad mounted on the original it is.  And yes, the buttplate is safely put away.

Among the things I've learned about such:
Take care of the cartridge cases, and they'll last for many loadings.  With black-powder loads, you don't resize them after firing, just check the length and expand the case mouth enough to allow the bullets to freely seat(we're talking just push it in by hand).  For smokeless, resize about the first half-inch or so to get the neck tension needed on the bullet.  Either way, little stress on the brass.  I've read that you should anneal that half-inch or so every half-dozen firings.
When you're casting bullets anywhere from 330 to 500 grains, you go through a pound of lead fast.

I've been using the pan-lube technique on the bullets, which you may not have heard of. 
You take a small metal pan with a flat bottom.
Place the bullets in it, sitting up and with a little space between them.
Melt the lube.
Pour it into the pan until it's deep enough to cover the lube grooves.
Let it cool.
Use a cartridge case with the base drilled out and the mouth expanded to remove them: push it down over a bullet, twist or tilt to break the bullet free of the pan, lift out, then use a dowel through the hole you drilled in the base to push it out of the case. 
It's slow, but it works.  Then, depending on the bullet, either use as-is, or run it through the sizing die, which in my case is a Lee push-through type.
It came as a .457"; I did slug the bore of the rifle, and it's .457, so exact fit.  However, past experience with cast bullets showed best performance with the bullet being 1-2 thousandths over bore size, so I polished it out to .459"(because they don't sell a .459), which seems to work well.  But it does bring up a question: with black, I've read that it was common to have the bullet at or a fraction below bore diameter, as the ignition characteristics of it are such that it causes the soft alloy used to 'bump up' to tightly fit the bore.  So should I use .457 for those loads?  I'll have to obtain some to try that out.  With smokeless this diameter seems to work quite well, and so far with black as well.  At least as far as I can tell at 100 yards.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get to some of the house stuff I've been putting off with all the rain and chilly lately.  And because I'm lazy.


taminator013 said...

I love those Lee bullet sizing dies. I don't cast, but I use a lot of purchased, hard cast bullets. Many moons ago I wanted to try hard lead slugs in my .380 since they worked great in my 1911A1. Went to the local shop that sells reloading supplies and asked the guy behind the counter if he had any 9mm cast bullets of around 90 grains. He happened to have a box of 1000 - 95 grain 9mm Makarov bullets that he said should work for me. Got a great deal on them and happily rushed home to work up some loads. When I started adjusting the seating die I kept either bulging the cases or squashing them. I thought that I was doing something wrong until the light bulb came on. Finally remembered that a 9mm Mak is actually 9.2 or 9.3mm. Ended up finding the Lee dies somewhere on sale for $11/set. I bought .356 and .358. The .356 worked great for the .380 ACP and the .358 made nice plinkers for the .38 Special. Went back to the shop and "nicely" pointed out to the guy his error in selling me 9mm Mak bullets and saying that they would work. Got a really nice discount on another box.........

Larry said...

Buddy has one of those, what a fun boom stick. I don't cast, but as I recall from my reading, soft cast bullets equal to bore should have a mildly cupped heel so the base can expand to fit the bore on firing. Go with a thou or two over.

Old 1811 said...

You're 100% correct. These whippersnappers with their plastic pistols and ARs and AKs don't know what fun is.
The only problem with black powder is cleaning the gun afterwards. Burnt black powder is a water magnet and if you don't thoroughly clean everything right away, you'll end up with problems.
I especially love the rotten-egg smell.

B said...

Blow tube.

Trust me.

Or cast 'em outa PURE lead, and paper patch with lubed paper.

But with black, use a blow tube.

Firehand said...

Taminator, found you can do that with plated bullets as well; lube them and run them through. Was able to resize X-Treme 7.62 bullets to .309 for an idea.

I've been using a blow tube; piece of 7/16" vinyl tubing, fits snugly into the chamber, and yeah, makes a big difference.

Have tried some paper-patched, need to write that up.

One day the wind was almost still, which meant after firing had to wait for the smoke to clear enough that I could read the Chrony. Humid that day, too, interesting smell.