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Thread: CPA Stevens 44 1/2

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    CPA Stevens 44 1/2

    Anyone got any experience with this rifle? I traded for one and got three barrels with it including a .32-40 barrel with the dies and some 146gr Buffalo Arms cast boolits. The fellow I got the rifle from told me to shoot IMR 4227 with the barrel/boolit combination though he said he had never shot the .32-40 barrel and the owner's manual I got says to shoot only black powder in this action. Thoughts? Never had any experience with this caliber myself though I do load for and shoot a selection of different caliber black powder cartridge rifles. Manuals I have looked at that show this caliber say to use between 12-15.4 grs of 4227 which should give some low pressures which I would think would probably be safe to shoot in this action but then again...Any help would be appreciated concerning the rifle/caliber combination. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


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    Yep! I own several and shoot them a lot but have never heard of the blackpowder only rule. I know that CPA has chambered that action up in several hotter modern cartridges. Probably the best thing to do would be call CPA and talk a bit to them about your rifle and follow their suggestions. They are really great people to deal with and you will find them most helpful.

    Another good place to ask about single shots is the ASSRA forums there are a lot of good people there that will try to help you as much as possible.

    I assume that you are planning on shooting this with fixed ammo? Around 14 grains of 4227 is usually a good load but to get the best accuracy breech seating is the way to go.

    Richard

  3. #3
    Boolit Mold
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    Appreciate the response. Couldn't see either that it should hurt anything with smokeless being a modern made cartridge rifle. I have an email in to the CPA people to see what they say.
    The fella I got the rifle said the same thing, that they are some really nice folk to deal with. Never had any experience with breech seating but am willing to learn. I'd like to try some of the Schuetzen type matches with this rifle as one of the barrels is a .22 LR which I know is one caliber they use, along with the .32-40, for some of the matches. In my collection of stuff I have some .32-40 re-loads someone gave me with some jacketed soft nose bullets and thought I'd pull these bullets and use these bullets for the barrel break in per information give me with the rifle. After that it will be strictly cast boolits. Again thanks for the info and feedback.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    lapierre, I have a CPA 44 1/2 with 4 barrels (32-40, 38-72, 40-65 and 45-70). I am a BPCR shooter for all calibers. The barrels on the CPA receiver are Badger and Douglas. I use the rifle for Schuetzen matches, silhouette - to 500m and long range target to 1000yd - all with black powder loads.

    You may want to go to the ASSRA forum and look over the smokeless loads that many ASSRA match shooters use for the 32-40 ... http://www.assra.com/cgi-bin/yabb/Ya...num=1144106560

    Look over also the many 32-40 loading data that I posted from several old reference manuals for the 32-40
    Not mentioning the other 2 caliber barrels, also may want to post on the ASSRA forum for advice using smokeless
    Regards
    John

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    When you talk to CPA, ask if that 32-40 as chambered to breech seat.

    Paul & Gail are great people, and the rifles are top notch.

    Jon
    Isa 26:4

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    Per what the original owner told me, he said the CPA people told him breech seating would not make much of a difference with this barrel. Both the .32-40 and the .45-70 are Douglas barrels. As mentioned I have and email in to them and one of the questions asked is about breech seating with the caliber and barrel. Not much has been done to this rifle from what I can tell, including no finishing of the stocks or forearms. Man, I'm excited to say the least and can't wait to get out there and shoot it. I've got a library of re-loading manuals, older and newer, and will also check out the above mentioned websites. I load and shoot .45-70, .45-90, .43 Spanish and .50-70 BPCR but have never shot, much less reloaded for, the .32-40 but I know it will be some fun. Thanks to you guys for your help.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    when i bought mine, cpa told me the 44 and 1/2 was stronger than a hiwall. i have a smith barrel from canada in a gain twist on mine. 45/70. i shoot between 37 and 45 grains of reloader 7 behind a pp bullet of 480 grains. it is a tack driver. i really like to look at all the other kinds of bp rifles out their, but when it comes to shooting them cpa/s 44 and 1/2 is what pleases me best. you will injoy it.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I've got a CPA with barrels in .38-55 and .32-40. I haven't got a huge amount of experience with this rifle yet, but I'd definitely give breech seating a try if I were you. The Saeco tapered moulds for breech seating are inexpensive and make bullets that work well in my rifle.

    Chris.

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
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    Most all of the BPCR I shoot are old military rifles. I've got a Farmingdale Shiloh Sharps but have never tried breech seating. This is something I am going to look into trying. I've read some about it and kinda sorta understand the theory but never actually put it into practice. From what I've heard from you guys that must be the way to go. I've seen the light. Like the man said-only accurate rifles are interesting. If that's what she takes that what she'll get. Thanks again for all the help.

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    Just some further info on the rifle. Gail of CPA emailed me back and recommended 14.2 grains of IMR 4227 with a 200gr tapered bullet to be breech seated. Reckon she ought to know. Thanks again to all of you for the information. Really look forward to getting out to the range with that rifle. My project tonight is to go do some reloading.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    When you talk to CPA, ask if that 32-40 as chambered to breech seat.
    Lapierre - straight from Gail's lips to my ears ... "All barrels put on our 44 1/2 actions are chambered to enable breech or fixed cartridge seating"

    If you plan to try breech seating your 32-40, it's slow but accuracy is better than fixed cartridges.
    * A new case and a brass rod cut so 1/16" extends past the mouth - end cut smoothly
    * Many of the as cast bullets will have a 321 base and with the seater, the bullet bases will flare. So I cut my brass rod ends to 322 and then 320 to case fit
    * You'll need tapered bullets. I shoot the old Ideals so am not of much help with current molds for tapered bullets except the Hoch 321200 that I know CPA has in stock http://www.hochmoulds.com/stock.htm Paul and Gail both reload with this bullet. I too use the Hoch 321200 and 321205 bullets. Expensive molds but they are worth every dime of the price. Bases like glass and not out of round

    If you come across an Ideal 321289 (185gr) mold - jump on it. It was designed by Doc Hudson, a very famous Schuetzen shooter, and the accuracy with this bullet is excellent
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    * Cap your case with your wad of choice. Mine is a greased felt wad for BP and a dry felt for smokeless. Harry Pope punched his felt wads out of old hats

    Enjoy your new rifle!
    Regards
    John

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    If you do not have a mold and you just want to get your feet wet, the Saeco 200gr tapered mold works well in my rifle with Goex FFg Express. I've only got a few hundred rounds through the rifle so far, but it generally shoots nine and ten shot groups with about 1 moa of vertical at 100m. If you shoot BP, the rifle is quite sensitive to the fouling control technique you use.

    I've also got a Hoch 200gr tapered mold but have had some issues. The first one needed to be sent back as it was way too big. The replacement is a bit small and, so far, doesn't shoot as well as the Saeco in this rifle. Fortunately I just bought a have a Ruger #1 that seems to love it.

    Chris.

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    Cast boolits to fit anything and everything else I shoot but never had anything in this caliber so a new mold is in the not too distance future. Probably start with the Saeco just to see how that goes. I've still got the 400 Buffalo Arms boolits that came with the rifle in the dealings. Gail of CPA told me too that breech seating is the way to go with their rifles since the barrels were cut for it.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by lapierre1 View Post
    Anyone got any experience with this rifle? ... the owner's manual I got says to shoot only black powder in this action.
    Actually, the owners manual does not say black powder only. It says "The CPA action is designed for use with black powder or black powder equivalent loads developing no more than 30,000 psi." This level of pressure allows some serious loads.

    I recently got my first CPA 44-1/2 and love it, as I expect you will yours. They are finely made, accurate, and strong.

    Take care, Tom

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Today I had a few minutes to look as some 45-70 pressure data, since that is the cartridge for which my CPA 44-1/2 is chambered. It is not at all difficult to exceed 1800 fps with 405 gr cast (or jacketed) bullets and still stay well under 30,000 psi. The load I shoot in mine only runs 1450 fps, but it is very pleasant to shoot and accurate too. It is also quite deadly on game.

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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