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Old 08-28-2011, 04:34   #1
Fox
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Just bought alot of new Lyman casting/reloading equipment

I had purchased an Uberti reproduction of the 1873 Winchester rifle in .44 WCF when I was home on R&R Leave. It cost me about a thousand dollars.

Well I just spent about another thousand on bullet casting equipment, reloading equipment, and some components.

The casting and reloading equipment is all Lyman. I got the Lyman turrent press kit, the Lyman casting kit, Lyman bullet molds (x2), handles (x2), a Lyman top punch, 1,000 Winchester cases of .44-40 WCF, and ten sticks of the Lyman Black Powder Gold lubricant.

I have not purchased the blackpowder and primers yet, I am going to see what the local gunshops have on hand when I get home from deployment.

It sure is expensive. I still have other reloading equipment, but I wanted a press station dedicated to .44-40 WCF on my reloading bench. I am wondering if I need to get a brass drop tube for the blackpowder.

It will be fun to get it all unboxed and set up on my reloading bench when I get home. I will post a picture in the reloading form.
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Old 08-28-2011, 04:36   #2
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BTW, I bought everything from MidwayUSA. The prices there are alot better than what they had at the Lyman products website.
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:35   #3
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Black powder cartridge loading will require a brass drop tube from 18 to 24 inches long. Without the compression resulting from the long drop you'll get very erratic ignition and pressures.

I assume you already know that if you're going to use a powder measure you need to use one that has brass moving parts, not the same measure you use for smokeless.

Avoid the temptation to use synthetic black powder, you'll be very disappointed with the results... use Goex, Swiss, Elephant Brand or any other true black powder in FFG granulation. Even the cheap Chinese powder now being sold is far better than fake black powder.


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Old 08-28-2011, 12:44   #4
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What Jack said. I think you will tire quickly of shooting BP out of yor nice lever gun. They are a lot more diff to clean than the ss smokepole Jack shoots. The Lyman BP lube is good, but look for SPG from White Label lubes, great stuff.
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Old 08-28-2011, 14:05   #5
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God speed coming home.

Just do whatever Jack says. If Fred's advice agrees with Jack's, and it will make Fred feel better, then you can say you followed Fred's advice too.
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Old 08-28-2011, 21:58   #6
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Shooting black powder is fun.....until the novelty wears off ! If you really like it, get a muzzle loader or a Sharps, but keeping the lever gun clean is going to be a class A-#1 PITA !
Look into loading with a powder such as Trail Boss for light, accurate & fun to shoot loads. It's actually made to fill the old BP ctg's. & is very popular with the S.A.S.S. shoters for that reason.
Wishing you a safe return home, & thank you for your Service.

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Old 08-29-2011, 06:34   #7
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I always thought the drop tubes were just for the large cartridges used in the old buffalo rifles.
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:33   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fox View Post
I always thought the drop tubes were just for the large cartridges used in the old buffalo rifles.
They are for old buffalos, not the rifles
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:13   #9
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I only shoot black in the medium large single shots, .38-55 and .40-65 but going by what Mike Venturino says... He loads .44-40 just like he does .45-70, drop tube, compression die, and all. He wrote that it takes longer to load but does not need cleaning between CAS match stages. Most folks just dump the powder in and mash it down a little seating the bullet. They also carry Ballistol and moose milk to keep their guns running.

The 1873 is a good gun for black powder. Nothing is exposed to fouling sifting back out of the chamber except the front half of the breechbolt and the lifter. The lockwork is off in a compartment of its own.
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Old 08-29-2011, 21:19   #10
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What is a "compression die"?
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Old 08-30-2011, 20:56   #11
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I was on the phone with Jack when I read this... he says he's never heard of a compression die. I suspect it is something that compacts the powder in the casing preparatory to seating the bullet/boolit.

bullet: commercially produced projectile available at almost any gun store

boolit: lead projectile cast by your own hands specifically for YOUR gun
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Old 08-31-2011, 14:51   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by labdwakin View Post
I was on the phone with Jack when I read this... he says he's never heard of a compression die. I suspect it is something that compacts the powder in the casing preparatory to seating the bullet/boolit.

bullet: commercially produced projectile available at almost any gun store

boolit: lead projectile cast by your own hands specifically for YOUR gun

bullethead: Jack
Whycome everone gets to talk on the phone with Jack except me? Or is it that everyone HAS to talk on the phone to Jack and I figured out a way to get out of it?
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Old 08-31-2011, 16:40   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson View Post
I only shoot black in the medium large single shots, .38-55 and .40-65 but going by what Mike Venturino says... He loads .44-40 just like he does .45-70, drop tube, compression die, and all. He wrote that it takes longer to load but does not need cleaning between CAS match stages. Most folks just dump the powder in and mash it down a little seating the bullet. They also carry Ballistol and moose milk to keep their guns running.

The 1873 is a good gun for black powder. Nothing is exposed to fouling sifting back out of the chamber except the front half of the breechbolt and the lifter. The lockwork is off in a compartment of its own.
No you won't need to clean between stages, but will at the end of a days shooting. I did it once @ the AZ state champs, never again. Three days of shooting & three days of cleaning. You will need to detail strip & clean the lock works at the end of your match, stufff does blow into the interior.
One doesn't need a compresion die, like the expander die but flat faced pin to compress teh powder. Fill the case near the top, use the bullet, small cardboard wad, compress w/ the bullet. That is how I made mine.
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Old 08-31-2011, 17:13   #14
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Hold the phone, hold the phone.

I'm going to share my experience with you. I have shot three 1873 Winchester copies for the past ten years. I shoot black powder (real black powder -- Goex and Shutzen) exclusively. The guns I use are .38 special and .38 Winchester Central Fire (essentially a 44/40 that is slightly necked down). I have used Redding, Lee, and Hornady dies on the 38-40 over the years. I shoot at least one match per week and have fired thousands of rounds of 38/40 and 38 special over the past, several years. Here's my experience.

1. The bottle necked WCF calibers seal the chamber of the gun very well.

2. Pistol calibers, like the 44/40 do NOT require a drop tube. It adds nothing to the consistency of the ignition. The cartridge is not designed to shoot at supersonic speeds and is probably not going to be used for 1000 yard competition. Just put powder into the case at the depth of the bullet base, seat the bullet, and start pulling the trigger.

3. The 44 WCF does not require a compression die and does not require over powder wads. Again, that's for the big guns.

4. The bullet's capacity for carrying lubricant and the lubricant formula itself are the secrets to success. The only secret to success. And, the critical secret to success. Big lube bullets, or some of the 100 year old Lyman designs (perhaps) are your huckleberry. Big Lube bullets cannot be beaten for shooting pistol caliber, vintage guns.

5. I shoot Big Lube bullets and go through a six stage match without any cleaning, lubricating, spitting on, or otherwise tinkering with my guns.

6. I do not have to clean the action of the 38 WCF between days of a match. I do, however, have to clean the action of the 38 special rifles when shooting black powder as the straight walled cases permit a lot of blowback. The 1873 rifle and the WCF cartridges were engineered as a complimentary unit. These cartridges are specifically designed to run a gun all day without cleaning. (of course, they had better lubricants back then).

7. I prefer the Hornady dies in the WCF calibers. For straight walled cases, I use whatever carbide set is at hand.

8. When shooting 45-70 and 45-90 at long ranges I do drop tube, use Walters wads, use over primer wads, do use a compression die, and do a lot of other stuff that is helpful for precision shooting. But, I don't do any of these things for WCF pistol caliber rounds. They are a waste of time and add nothing to the consistency, or performance of the gun.

Prime the case, throw in the powder, seat the bullet, pull the trigger. (after, of course, you've got your Big Lube bullet mold and a good black powder lubricant).

Sorry, guys, you just made a lot of work and confusion for this poor GI. I hope this helps.

Let me know If I can help you in a more direct fashion.

All the best.
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:50   #15
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Thanks for all the advise. I will post pics when I get my reloading kit up and running. I will also post a range report on the 1873 rifle and .44-40 WCF ammunition.
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