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Thread: Poor man's Rook rifle

  1. #121
    Boolit Master
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    using a magnum primer helps get more consistent ignition with light loads in my experience.

  2. #122
    Boolit Master
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    I used to pine for a rook rifle, then it occurred to me that light loads in my 30-30 handirifle would do any thing a small 30 or a 32 would do. Works.
    Closest recorded range Chrony kill (3 feet with witnesses)

  3. #123
    Boolit Master
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    I make my 360No.5 cartridges out of shortened 38spl. cases and I have been paper patching swaged .358” bullets to .366” for my Holland and Holland.
    They shoot quite good with black powder.
    There is no reason that a standard length 38spl. case could not be loaded similarly to replicate a rook charge.


  4. #124
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    Alright, Huvius, throw us a bone here, please post at least one full length photo of that Holland's rifle.

  5. #125
    Boolit Master
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    Wow Huvius! My Jeffrey Rook is pretty decent but it ain't THAT decent!!! Nice, sir!
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  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharps4590 View Post
    Wow Huvius! My Jeffrey Rook is pretty decent but it ain't THAT decent!!! Nice, sir!
    Agreed.

    What exactly is that rifle? I like that a lot, could you post a few more pictures of it?

  7. #127
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Huvius, that Sir, is indeed a lovely rifle! Absolutely splendid!
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  8. #128
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    olafhardt, I have the same rifle as you, but probably an earlier version before H&R used the Handi-Rifle title. Mine came with a broken transfer bar, plus the replacement part, as the owner claimed he did not have the time to install the replacement part in the receiver. I got it working and started working up loads. The rifle was D/T for a scope and I set a 4X on it, total package is very light and portable. My early testing was very disappointing. I tried 150 and 170 bullet weight ammo, both factory and handloads. At 100 yards the rifle gave up 10-12" patterns! I tested many load combinations but nothing changed. One spring I wanted to cure my cabin fever and make smoke at the range. I loaded a handful of .30 Carbine bullets (110 grain FMJ) in 30-30 cases and hung up a target. Suddenly I got groups 1.5 - 2.0" at 100 yards. Yikes, this rifle wants light, fast bullets. I settled on Sierra 120 grain HP bullets over a top load of H335 and got 1.5" groups. All this suggested the rifle had a slow twist rate. How that will translate into a cast boolit loading as you are suggesting will be my next query. Quick summary, this rifle will become my poor man's rook rifle, thanks to your suggestion. I have multiple 30 caliber molds ranging from 70 to 210 grains weight. Surely there has to be some load combination this rifle will favor. Many thanks for your suggestion on using the H&R.

  9. #129
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    I finally got back from John Taylor the .38 S&W barrel to fit my pre-war H&R .44/.410 action. The local boys have dubbed this creation "The Lettuce Protector." I have not shot it yet, but plan to do so today. The plan is to use ordinary revolver loads which work well in the older revolvers for this caliber, firing the mild loads in the rifle, letting the velocity go where it will.

    Because my goal was to use as heavy a bullet as I can, launched at as low a velocity as will reliably exit the barrel, I used a fast-twist barrel to provide optimum gyroscopic stability. My other .38 Special barrel to fit this action is a 1:20" twist, which fine and accurate with standard 110-158-grain revolver loads, but heavier ones to group well at 100 yards must be driven "harder" than "Cat's Sneeze," resulting in a LOUDER gun...

    John used a Green Mountain "Gunsmith Special" 9mm Parabellum barrel blank with 1:10" twist of rifling. Dave Manson custom-ground a .38 S&W "Rook Rifle" reamer with 3 degrees Basic forcing cone, having a major diameter of .363" at the case mouth, which engraves the nose of the 190-grain bullet upon chambering, just like forcing a round of Eley Tenex in your Dad's old Winchester 52 match rifle.

    The .38 S&W cartridge is ideal for this application because the pressures of factory loads do not exceed 14,000 psi, and there are no +P loads produced in this caliber, which makes inserting a "hot" load into an old black powder rifle less likely, making the ".380 Revolver .775 Inch" cartridge a good candidate for restoration of small antique rifles you don't want to loosen up with "hot" loads. My .38 S&W revolver loads are mild, 2 grains of Bullseye or TiteGroup with the Accurate 36-190T or 36-159H or 2.5 grains with 36-151H.

    Attachment 212800 Attachment 212801Attachment 212802

    While the fat .362 bullet will raise pressure a bit in getting squeezed down into that .356" groove diameter 9mm barrel, based upon pressure tests done when I was at Ruger rechambering 9mm French cylinders to .380 Rimmed for the India Order, any resultant pressure-rise should be well within the design limits of the little rifle. I use other barrels on this action to shoot .38 Special +P and .45 ACP which operate at up to 20,000 psi. I doubt we will see anything even close to that, the expected Delta-V for the increased extrusion ratio being about +2,500-3,000 psi for a powder similar to Bullseye. The fat, soft lead bullet being extruded down a gradual origin of rifling, will provide a smooth pressure rise, a full clean burn and make the most efficient use of its tiny powder charge.

    The "Lettuce Protector" is 34-1/2 inches long and weighs 4-1/2 pounds. I expect ballistics from the little rifle which are similar to firing a .38 Special wadcutter from a 6-inch revolver. In previous field use with these handgun-caliber rifles shooting, mild, subsonic loads, I have found it best to utilize an "optimum trajectory" in which the maximum bullet rise does not exceed about 4 inches. This way with iron sights you can take a 6:00 hold on any small game animal until the front sight bead nearly covers the critter, and then you just cover him up and shoot. With the .38 S&W this works out to a 75 yard zero and a 90-yard "point blank" at which the path of the trajectory drops 4" below line of sight.

    The maximum range at which the rifle velocity decays to the point that remaining energy equals revolver energy near the muzzle is 150 yards, with 36 inches of drop, about the height of an Army E silhouette. While no power house out there, a 150-grain bullet arriving with almost no noise to help you identify where it came from would be an unpleasant surprise to either a 2-legged or four-legged intruder.

    The full range report with verified results will follow when the rain quits and the mud dries out!

    Attachment 212796Attachment 212797Attachment 212798Attachment 212799
    Last edited by Outpost75; 01-26-2018 at 12:08 PM.
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  10. #130
    Boolit Master

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    Looking forward to seeing how the little rifle does. Hope it's every thing you expected. It was raining to hard here for me to try it out.

  11. #131
    Boolit Master
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    I just about have my project gun and parts ready to send to John now I’ll wait for a report on Outpost75’s new 38S&W barrel. I might change my mind about going with the 32S&W Long.

  12. #132
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    .45 Colt single shot works.

  13. #133
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Velocity Data of Factory .38 S&W Loads Fired in Revolver vs. Rook Rifle:

    Firearm____________S&W 32-1__Colt_____Ruger____W&S Mk4____S&W Victory___Rook Rifle
    Barrel length__________2”_______4”_______4”________4”____ _____5”___________20”

    Cyl. Gap_pass 0.004/hold 0.005_0.005/.006_.004/.005 .005/.006__ _.008/.009_____Solid bbl.

    Ammunition________________________________________ _______________
    FN Mk2z_1984_______577,8 Sd__616, 10___618,19 ___616, 10______571,22___Bullet stuck in bbl!
    Kynoch 146LRN (WW2)_623,26___649, 31___650,22___695, 7 _______685, 22_____848, 7
    WRA 146LRN (WW2)__659, 10___701, 13____727, 5___702, 22_______681, 14_____787, 14
    RemUMC150LFN____668, 22____768, 14___765, 15_____n/f________754, 10_____ 920, 14
    Fiocchi 146 LRN______706, 12___809, 21___820, 23___794,14_______709, 24_____985, 9
    R-P 146 LRN________603, 14___674, 12____697,18___668, 190______627,22_____790,10
    W-W 146 LRN_______586, 18___593, 36___662, 29___643, 15_______620, 19_____801, 12
    Factory Ammos
    Column Mean_____631_____687_____705______686_________664_ _____855


    Acc36-155D
    6.3#2400_________696, 26____n/f_____854, 32___n/f__________n/f_________1058, 23 +P modern guns only
    2.5 Bullseye_________629, 8___727, 12__735, 16___n/f__________680, 25_____856, 22 Factory Dup. Load

    The .38 S&W cartridge has about the same velocity and energy as a .38 Special wadcutter fired from the same barrel length. The .38 Colt New Police is the same round with a flat-nosed bullet instead of a round-nose. When handloading for this cartridge if you do not cast your own bullets, buy 148-grain soft-swaged, hollow-based wadcutters of the same type used in .38 Special, and just seat them out in .38 S&W brass, using the same powder charge and overall cartridge length as listed for the wadcutter ammo in .38 Special, about 1.175-1.20" In modern postwar revolvers you can safely boost performance up to .38 Special levels, but doing so is not recommended for the WW2 S&W Victory Model, Webley MarkIV and Enfield topbreaks, etc.

    The 20" rook rifle John Taylor put together produces velocities with factory .38 S&W ammo which approximate standard pressure .38 Special 6" revolver performance, and can match .38 Special +P ballistics using handloads which are suited for the strong, postwar revolvers like the S&W Model 32 or 33, and the India Model Rugers.

    Set sights 2-1/2" high at 25 yards for 75-yard zero with about 3" drop at 90 yards and 6" at 100. Here is firing table for the rook rifle based on iron sights 1 inch above bore and 150-grain LRN bullet at 845 fps.

    .38 Smith & Wesson, 150 grain LRN, from Rook Rifle with 20" barrel:

    Range__Drop__Vel__Energy
    Yds____ins.___fps__ft.-lbs.
    0__-0.9660___845__238_ simple open sights with line of sight one inch above bore.
    5__-0.0094___841__236
    10__0.8244___838__234
    15__1.5345___835__232
    20__2.1199___831__230
    25__2.5794___828__228
    30__2.9122___825__227
    35__3.1172___821__224
    40__3.1934___818__223_Max. bullet rise about 3"
    45__3.1398___815__221
    50__2.9553___812__220
    55__2.6390___809__218
    60__2.1898___806__216
    65__1.6066___802__214
    70__0.8885___799__213
    75__0.0343___796__211_Point of aim = point of impact at 75 yards
    80_-0.9569___793__209
    85_-2.0862___790__208
    90_-3.3547___787__206_Maximum Point Blank Range 90 yards with about 3" drop
    95_-4.7634___784__205
    100_-6.3133__781__203
    105_-8.0057__778__202
    110_-9.8414__776__201
    115_-11.8216_773__199
    120_-13.9474_770__197
    125_-16.2199_767__196
    130_-18.6401_764__194_Use head hold on "E" silhouette for torso hit
    135_-21.2092_761__193
    140_-23.9282_758__191
    145_-26.7983_756__190
    150_ -29.8206_753__189_ Energy at 150 yards equals .38 Special 4" revolver near muzzle
    _________________

    Attachment 213209Attachment 213208
    Left 25 yard impact holding center of mass, At right 100 yard group of pre-WW2 Rem-UMC Dogbone Box balloon head ammo.

    Attachment 213211
    Last edited by Outpost75; 02-01-2018 at 07:08 PM.
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  14. #134
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by richhodg66 View Post
    Agreed.

    What exactly is that rifle? I like that a lot, could you post a few more pictures of it?
    This particular rook rifle is a Holland & Holland ejector, built to patent #1294 of 1882.
    H&H rook rifles such as this are commonly known as the "Ross" model as there was also the option of a "Royal" which had the same basic action just more ornately engraved and stocked with a cheek piece.












    This shot actually caught the bullet in flight!


  15. #135
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    Sweet !

  16. #136
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    Lovely rifle, thanks much for sharing the photos. It is a near twin to my Wm Evans 250.

  17. #137
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Range report on the .38 S&W Rook rifle.

    With muzzle diameter .70" and barrel length 20" rifle is 34-1/2" long and weighs 4-1/2 pounds. A .495" high XS front sight blade dovetailed into the .70" diameter muzzle is zeroed with Remington 146-grain LRN factory ammo at 50 yards, using a pre-1964 Winchester Model 94 open rear sight, with the step-elevator removed and the rear sight resting on the barrel. With the step elevator inserted and set on the lowest notch, point of impact is about 3 inches high at 50 yards, which is about right for a 100-yard zero with factory ammo and equivalent handloads using the Magtech 158-grain LRN .358" diameter, cup-based bullet, with 2.5 grains of Bullseye and seated to 1.20" OAL, crimping in the lube groove and seating the bullet out so that the shoulder is pressed lightly against the throat.

    Typical 50-yard, ten-shot groups are about 3" and 100 yard ten-shot groups about 6", which is as good as I can see iron sights anymore and the same as I do with my cowboy rifles. The 158-grain Magtech bullet reliably exits the barrel with 1.7 grains of Bullseye, measured with the RCBS Little Dandy Rotor #00, which is the lightest charge it will meter. This load shoots just below the front sight at 50 yards with the step elevator set on the first notch and also shoots 3-inch, ten-shot groups at 50 yards. This load is almost silent and the bullet hitting the steel gong at 100 yards makes more noise than the rifle going off.

    Attachment 214217Attachment 214219Attachment 214220Attachment 214221

    I think that the .38 S&W cartridge is a great option for those wanting to reline old black power action rook rifles, because there is no +P ammo made in this caliber so you won't get into trouble. The bullet weight and overall cartridge length is similar to a .38 Special wadcutter, and wadcutter load data will give you a safe guide for using modern powders for which there is no tested .38 S&W data.

    John Taylor has the reamer for this puppy and those soft lead .360" diameter bullets work fine with this rook rifle chamber and down the Green Mountain 1:10" twist 9mm barrel!
    Last edited by Outpost75; 02-14-2018 at 08:13 PM.
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  18. #138
    Boolit Man
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    I got a 16" 9mm insert off of ebay that fit a 20ga. fit perfect in a H&R. It shoots great, if you can use a rifle lower the lock time on shotgun lowers are slowwww. I have killed a ton of small game and several deer with it.

  19. #139
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Interesting reading as always Outpost75.

  20. #140
    Boolit Master
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    Some years ago, I had a desire for a rook rifle, but not the money. What to do? Go to the gun show, buy a hardware store .410 in good condition, send it to John Taylor, and have him line the barrel for the .32 H&R Magnum cartridge and bush the firing pin. Then, after spending more than I had budgeted, I sold the gun to 'pipefitter' and he worked up the Cat's Sneeze loads for it. I enjoyed the project and understand from Kevin he had a lot of fun with it. You might want to try a similar path, as most of the single-shot .410s have a nice profile for a rifle like this and don't weigh very much.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check