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Thread: 40-82 wcf help!

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    40-82 wcf help!

    I have had a Winchester 1886 in 40-82 for about 3 years now. I have a large supply of ammo for it. I dont qualify myself as a sharpshooter, but I sure can shoot pretty well. Whenever I tried hitting a target with the 1886, I would always seem to miss or have some crazy flyers. So I started doing some research and someone suggested that I slugged my barrel. So I did. It has a .408 -.410 diameter bore. The problem is that all my ammo is .406 diameter. I was wondering if there was anyways to make the bullets expand in the bore upon firing? Im new to reloading and I have been told this is the site to ask for help.

    Yesterday I shot quite alot of ammo, and noticed that when I lubed up the rounds with some of Lee's cast bullet lube, it did pretty well on the groupings. I also did a batch with lube, and drilled out the base of the bullet with a common hand drill. that also seemed to help, I kinda made homemade hollow base rounds.

    Any help would be super appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    You could open up your mold to say .410 or .411. But before you do that, do a chamber, throat and about 2 to 3" of the bore cerro safe cast to find out the correct diameters. I did this on one of my old rolling blocks that was giving me problems and it worked out great for me. I like to go as fat as the chamber and throat will allow. my experience anyway. james

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Darn near pure soft lead and black powder will be the best cure if the chamber is the right size. We had this problem with a friends 86 the chamber was tight and the bore loose. The soft bullet expanded enough to give fair to good accuracy at 100 yards 4 inches or so with peep sights.

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNsailorman View Post
    You could open up your mold to say .410 or .411. But before you do that, do a chamber, throat and about 2 to 3" of the bore cerro safe cast to find out the correct diameters. I did this on one of my old rolling blocks that was giving me problems and it worked out great for me. I like to go as fat as the chamber and throat will allow. my experience anyway. james


    What do you mean by opening up the mold? I cast my bullets in a 40-82 Ideal reloading tool. Im new to reloading. I use lead pipes for my source of lead. I dont mix the lead with anything else.

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCSO View Post
    Darn near pure soft lead and black powder will be the best cure if the chamber is the right size. We had this problem with a friends 86 the chamber was tight and the bore loose. The soft bullet expanded enough to give fair to good accuracy at 100 yards 4 inches or so with peep sights.
    I think I have this problem to. Some of the cartridges are super hard to chamber, the bolt closes all the way leaving about a quarter inch before locking in place. I hit it shut and rip the lever open to eject them. And i do use pure lead for my bullets. I use old lead piping.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    You will probably need to size your bullets down a little more. I have a Sharps that won't chamber the trapdoor rounds I had made up with 462 bullets. If I size to 458 they chamber just fine in the Sharps. We sweated and groaned on the 86 40-82 and never really got as good of a group out of it as we did from my 45-70. Pure lead will work but I find that I get a better bullet by adding just a little tin, it doesn't make the bullet much harder either. I have never figured why smokless won't do as good a job of bumping up the bullets either.

  7. #7
    Not many lead pipes are hardened, so they are likely to be close to pure lead, softer than most bullets. Some people use lead hardness testers, but you can get a pretty useful idea by compressing a ball bearing between a piece of your alloy and a piece of something else.

    I am sure near-pure lead bullets would expand quite satisfactorily. More so, in fact, than you really need, and it might produce leading. Unless your loads are very light, it might produce leading, irregular slumping of the nose, etc. The alloy most commonly used with these rifles was Not many lead pipes are hardened, so they are likely to be close to pure lead, softer than most bullets. Some people use lead hardness testers, but you can get a pretty useful comparative indicator by crushing a ball bearing between a piece of your alloy and a piece of something else, with a weight or vice, imposing equal pressure on both. The softer the alloy, the wider the dent in it.

    The alloy most commonly used with these rifles was Lyman #2 (no longer a Lyman product), which was 5% by weight of tin, 5% antimony and 90% lead. It will also take the shape of the mould,especially at edges, better than pure lead. While wheelweights and solders do vary, you can get something very like it by combining:

    5 parts by weight wheelweights,
    3 parts lead
    1 part 50-50 bar solder

    Regardless of the alloy used, tight chambering at neck, especially if it is inconsistent, is a serious fault. It affects the burning rate of the powder. The bullet could be sized, or the case necks could be reamed or turned to consistent thickness. It is also possible that crimping the case-neck is producing a slight bulge. The .40-82 should have some kind of crimp to stop cartridges from telescoping in the magazine under recoil. But you could single-load enough without crimp to find out if this is the culprit, and if it is, replace the crimp with a cannelure behind the bullet.

    It is a long time since I shot my .40-82 Winchester 1886, but I got something like those 4in. groups with moderate loads of Reloder 7. Other points to watch out for are anything causing irregular contact of magazine and forend, or cleaning rod wear at the muzzle. These are rifles which needed cleaning in the black powder days, and didn't always get the bolt removed to do it. You may also get some improvement with a wax cookie between two card discs, behind the bullet. You can produce the right wax or lube sheet by melting some on top of hot water, and letting it go cold.

    Finally, is your reloading tool actually stamped ".40-82"? The .40-70WCF, although several cartridge reference books copy the wrong measurements from one to another, virtually is a heavy-bullet .40-82, and the actual .40-82 version of the 1886 Winchester, with a 26in. rifling twist, can only function with bullets up to about 260gr. I have no knowledge that Winchester did what they did with the .45-90: producing a heavy-bullet .45-90 for single shots without change of name, so that they had to increanse the rifling twist in the lever-action 1886 after too many people said "My gun don't shoot." But they might have, or Lyman might have labelled a heavier-bullet mould ".40-82".
    Last edited by Ballistics in Scotland; 08-19-2017 at 04:57 AM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Lots of good advice here. I would add a couple thoughts- beg or buy some correct bullits before altering anything, like your mold, or cases. If you do the cerro casting, try casting the first 2-3 inches of the muzzel. Front cleaners can get badly worn up there and no matter what you do on the back end they don't shoot right.

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
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    My tool is indeed stamped 40-82 pat. 1884. Do you think my bullets don't expand because I use light loads? I only use 13.5 grains of trail boss. Could you please share some of your loads ? Perhaps something powerful enough to make the bullets expand. I read somewhere that in the later years Winchester made factory ammo in smokeless. Thanks!

  10. #10
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    I have the loading tools in 44-40 and 40-82 and both cast undersized bullets. My "guess" is they were intended to be shot with BP and cast of a very soft alloy. I have one box of early 45-70 and IIRC it states the bullets were cast 16:1 Lead:Tin. Most commercial bullets for BP cartridges are cast 20:1.

    Buffalo Arms Co. sells cast 20:1 lead bullets lubed with SPG (so you could shoot BP or smokeless), I would recommend giving them a try before you make any alterations to equipment. I've included a link to the page in your diameter range.

    https://www.buffaloarms.com/reloadin...st-bullets?p=2

    Tom

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    Hi, thanks for the link. But sadly I bought nearly over 100 rounds from them. And they still had poor accuracy. Il try loadin up pure lead with bp whenever I can get my hands on some . For now I only have trail boss.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Black will bump them up better than smokeless. I'd try sizing them down a bit and paperpatch them up to whatever you want.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master w30wcf's Avatar
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    Kev18,
    Sorry to learn of your troubles with your vintage .40-82.
    You mentioned
    "Some of the cartridges are super hard to chamber, the bolt closes all the way leaving about a quarter inch before locking in place. I hit it shut and rip the lever open to eject them. And i do use pure lead for my bullets. I use old lead piping."

    What brass are you using? Sounds like there could be a variation in the neck wall thickness(?) if the bullets are the same diameter and the cases have been FLS. If so, it would be best to set aside those cases that are hard to chamber.

    You could try increasing the powder charge to 16.5 grs. which would still be plenty safe. If there is room in the neck to hold a 1/16" wad under the bullet, that should help improve accuracy by acting as a gas check.
    https://www.buffaloarms.com/40-calib...1000-wal412060

    About 10 years ago a friend had an 1876 Winchester in 45-60 that would scatter bullets all over the paper. We added 1 wad under the base of the bullet and there was a noted improvement in accuracy. Since it was a straight walled case, we then tried adding 2 wads under the base of the bullet which further improved accuracy (1 1/2" @ 50 yards). without the wads, accuracy was 10"+ at 50 yards!

    Historically speaking, original ballistics were 1,445 f.p.s. Smokeless came along in the late 1890's.
    In the book, Winchester Lever Legacy, the author used 29/4198 with a toilet paper wad to replicate the original ballistics.
    Also, 82 grs. of FFG powder.

    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

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    I'm using the brass from buffalo arms and some from Gad customs. When I got the rounds from them they chambered fine. Even if I use the sizing slot on my reloading tool, they are still hard to chamber.
    And il try using wads like you say. I'm at the cottage right now for the weekend so I'm shooting as I'm reading your posts. I'm trying everything I can. It's making it abit difficult to measure powder tho, since I left my damn scale at home! Il try adding toilet paper maybe... like you said. Hopefully it will act as a makeshift wad.

  15. #15
    Boolit Mold
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    I was shooting earlier and I used toilet paper wads. I'm not to sure what I was doing, so I filled up most of the empty space in the case with tp. My accuracy improved. Also I think I found my problem why the cases are so hard to chamber. About half an inch at the bottom of the cartridge seems to have expanded to much. I'm pretty sure il need to purchase a resizing die for the cases themselves.
    Also the cases that I have been using so far have been doing good, except for two that the necks blew off for some reason.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master w30wcf's Avatar
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    Kev18,
    I am sorry that I wasn't more specific regarding the toilet paper over powder wad. Cut a 1" square and fold it one way then the other. More than that should not be used AND ONLY with slower burning powders like 4198. The author used it to hold 4198 to the back of the case so that it would give more of a consistent burn.

    Trail Boss is much faster burning and no over powder wad should be used! That is likely the reason for the neck problem and possibly the excess case expansion.

    If the case expansion happened with the factory ammo (was it black or smokeless) the cases should have sprung back unless the brass does not have good properties in which case, as you indicted, a proper sized die would be needed.

    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

  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks for all the info. The cases expanded with the smokeless powder . I originally bought cases from buffalo arms, fired those. And reloaded them again. Fired them with smokeless powder and now they are to tight but now I have a 136$ hole in my pocket because I ordered the full set of dies yesterday off of buffalo arms.

    Also, do you think it would be good to add some type of better quality wad instead of toilet paper? Like cork ? I went to a flee market yesterday and I purchased a hole punch that fits the cartridge perfectly. It's just that I'm not sure if the wad material matters ?

    Thanks a lot!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master w30wcf's Avatar
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    Kev18,
    having a good set of dies is certainly a step in the right direction. The 1" square of toilet paper is only to be used as an over powder wad for slower burning powders. Please do not use with Trial Boss which is very fast burning.

    A solid wad should only be used under the base of the bullet. Since the 40-82 is not a straight walled cartridge, care must be given to make sure that the wad stays in contact with the bullet and does not fall into the case. Hopefully there is enough room in the neck to hold the wad in place under the bullet.

    I have not worked with cork but perhaps it would be strong enough to work as a gas check with smokeless. The experience I referenced was with .06" Polyethylene.
    https://www.buffaloarms.com/2-sq-ft-...terial-060poly

    If the gas can be contained behind the undersized bullet, it will transverse the barrel undisturbed by the powder gases and give accurate shooting. At least that has been my experience.

    Of course there is BP which will bump up the undersized bullet to fill the bore.

    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

  19. #19
    Boolit Bub
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    I have a Marlin 1895 chambered in 40-82. My load is 28 grains of IMR 4198 & a 280 grain bullet with a gas check sized to .408. My recommendation is slug your bore & determine what size bullets to use. I had the same problem you had the rounds chambering hard only in a 40-70 Winchester which is very similar to a 40-82. I talked to some people & tried a taper crimp die from Lyman & that solved my problem. With a taper crimp all cases should be the same length.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Cheshire Dave's Avatar
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    I recently read an article about Unique powder and the author had good luck using it in a 40-82 because it bumped up the bullet diameter like black powder does. I have had good luck with Unique with most light cast loads. Worth a shot.

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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