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Thread: Mystery Powder from Rem-UMC .32-40.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master WallyM3's Avatar
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    Mystery Powder from Rem-UMC .32-40.

    Does anyone know the identity or family of this powder from "pulled" .32-40 REM-UMC cases?

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  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy MattOrgan's Avatar
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    Looks like Lightning to me, lead bullet factory load?
    Last edited by MattOrgan; 11-27-2014 at 11:10 PM. Reason: Memory phart

  3. #3
    Boolit Master WallyM3's Avatar
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    Apologies. That definitely is germane. These are original factory loads. The two bullets were from different sources (in my collecting days), but appear identical. I haven't weighed them, but will and report back with the results.

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  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy MattOrgan's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure it is Hercules "Lightning" that was originally a Laflin & Rand powder from the 1890s. It was produced as a black powder replacement for cartridges originally loaded with black powder, the .32/40 being a good example of this. A very similar appearing powder was Sharpshooter, but I think that may have been restricted by the factories to .45/70 cartridges. Both were sold as canister powders to the public until WW II or maybe a little later. My grandfather used it in his .30/40 Krag reloads 40+ years ago.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master WallyM3's Avatar
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    Thank you! That's great info.

    I'm intrigued by the .32-40. Someday, I'd like a high-grade SS in this chambering.

    My understanding is that it was Pope's (along with the .33-40) favorite cartridge.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master w30wcf's Avatar
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    As Matt indicated, it is either Sharpshooter (developed as a smokeless replacement for b.p.) or Lightning. If the charge weight is closer to 14 grs., it is the former, if closer to 20 it is the latter.

    I am fortunate enough to have a small supply of both and have had a chance to use them in the .44-40, .30-30, and 45-70. They work great.

    w30wcf
    aka w44wcf
    aka Jack Christian SASS 11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
    aka John Kort
    NRA Life Member
    .22 W.C.F., .30 W.C.F., .44 W.C.F. Cartridge Historian

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Bullwolf's Avatar
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    Does this help any, after weighing the charges?



    Even if it's not much help, there's still a really interesting piece of history there.




    - Bullwolf

  8. #8
    Boolit Master WallyM3's Avatar
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    I love this stuff, I have to confess.

    I'll be weighing both the bullets I found (now a total of three) and the charges I was able to preserve.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master w30wcf's Avatar
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    Bullwolf,
    Nice vintage can. Thank you for sharing. According to the can, the .32-40 H.P. (High Power) load was 24 grs. of Lightning. It was intended for "Special Smokeless Steel" barrels only since the ballistics were around 2,000 f.p.s. and 35,000 or thereabouts psi.

    According to early Hercules Powder Pamphlets, they also recommended 20 grs. of Lightning for the .32-40 H.V. (High Velocity) cartridge which produced 1,744 f.p.s. / 25,400 PSI.

    According to their pamphlet, Hercules recommendation for the standard .32-40 cartridge was 12 grs. of Sharpshooter developing 1,420 f.p.s. Here is the back of an early L&R (Laflin & Rand) can showing the same powder charge.



    Interesting history!

    w30wcf
    aka w44wcf
    aka Jack Christian SASS 11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
    aka John Kort
    NRA Life Member
    .22 W.C.F., .30 W.C.F., .44 W.C.F. Cartridge Historian

  10. #10
    Boolit Master w30wcf's Avatar
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    WallyM3,
    Since the bullets are tin plated, your cartridges were produced before 1930.

    w30wcf
    aka w44wcf
    aka Jack Christian SASS 11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
    aka John Kort
    NRA Life Member
    .22 W.C.F., .30 W.C.F., .44 W.C.F. Cartridge Historian

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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