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Thread: 40-82 WCF load development help please

  1. #1

    Post 40-82 WCF load development help please

    Hi all
    This is my first post for help here on castboolits so if Iíve missed a previous thread on this subject please be kind enough to direct me there, I just donít know the site well enough to have found it alone. Thanks

    My situation is that Iím about to take receipt of a cupboard queen. A virtually unused original 1903 1895 Marlin in 40-82 which according to the proof marks is one of the earlier examples proofed for nitro powders.

    The bore is in great condition if a little greyed with very strong rifling and no visual defects I could see with the borescope.

    Some of you may be of the opinion that I should preserve it as it is and I respect your right to hold that view.

    I am one of those who admire what our pioneering forefathers achieved with metallurgy and cartridge development during that transition period in firearms development to bring us the fabulous tools we enjoy today.

    I like to honour their work by using their works with care and respect and with the aim of maintaining itís usefulness at a tool not an artefact.

    Have any of you guys taken a similar condition antique firearm back to a good shooting condition?

    When Iíve jumped through the legal hoops (I live in the UK) I eventually intend to work up some useful loads for the rifle with the eventual aim of using it as a highdays and holidays special event woodland stalker to bring her back to her original mission of food getter.

    I have yet to slug the bore so canít give any details there but will do as soon as she arrives, I shoot a lot of cast bullets in my 444 1895, 357 1894 and Old Army, but nothing in .40 cal.

    Would anyone recommend to gas check or not to bring the bore back to life in the re break in period, this is new ground to me.

    Thanks for any help

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Welcome to the wonderful world of .40-82 WCF! I used to shoot a Winchester 1886 with the rapid taper round barrel in .40-82 that had a beautiful bore, but I sold it in a weak moment when I was given an obscene amount of money for it (compared to what I originally paid). I found a lovely old Winchester 1885 High Wall octagon rifle to replace it and thankfully kept my Lyman mould and RCBS dies plus a reasonable supply of reformed .45-90 cases.



    When I first started shooting the '86 I got absolutely terrible results with the bullets keyholing through the target at 25 yards, but I found an old magazine article by Mike Ventrino on how to load for the .40-82 WCF cartridge with smokeless powder and cast boolits. (He was having the same keyholing troubles that I was encountering with an 1895 Marlin that a friend owned.) His fix was to use a filler to take up the excess air space in the large case. From memory his "magic" load was 35.0 grains of IMR3031 with bulk cornmeal filler to the base of the bullet so that it is a light crush fit when the cast boolit is seated. I also push a 1/4 sheet of toilet tissue down into the case with a wooden dowel to form a barrier between the powder charge and the cornmeal filler to keep them separated if I carry any of the loaded ammo afield with me where it might get "jostled about". I've used the same load in both the '86 I had and my current 1885 High Wall with excellent results. My '86 Winchester went from 6" groups with keyholing at 25 yards to 2" / 2 1/2" groups with no keyholing at 100 yards. Same cast boolit, same load, just with the addition of the filler. As a bonus the lightly abrasive bulk yellow cornmeal helps shine the bore up a bit. If I can find that article of Mike Ventrino's that I photocopied from the magazine I'll scan it and send a copy to you. I also feel the same as you. These lovely old guns were made to be shot and if properly maintaining it does them absolutely no harm. I just can't fathom owning a beautiful old gun in any calibre with a good shootable bore and NOT shooting it! Enjoy shooting your old Marlin '95 ...
    Last edited by Reverend Al; 03-04-2018 at 03:37 AM.
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master rmcc's Avatar
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    Reverend Al,

    I would like a copy of that article, also, if not too much trouble. I duplicated your recipe for a friend's 40/82 and worked great!!! My trouble is with a 1888 Trapdoor that shoots just as you describe at 25 yds.

    Thank you,
    rmcc

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    You need to verify the twist of your rifling so you can use a bullet of the right length.

    You need to slug the bore so you know the groove diameter. Plan on having bullets .001" to .002" larger in diameter than your groove diameter.

    I have a modern .40-65 BPCR rifle and my accuracy is much better with gas checks than any plain base bullet and I have tried 4 plain base designs. I also use both 5744 and 4759 smokeless powders.
    EDG

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    The factory loaded .40-82 WCF rounds were a 240 to 260 grain bullet, sort of an "express" cartridge designed for higher velocity with lighter bullets rather than slinging big heavy bullets downrange. Most of the Winchester .40-82's slug at .406" to .408", but not sure about the Marlin '95's? The early Marlin 1881 models usually slugged smaller than the Winchesters. (I had an 1881 Marlin in .40-60 and it slugged at .403".)
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    I'll have a look in my reloading shop since I know that I kept a copy of Mike's article on loading for the .40-82 WCF ... it's just a matter of finding it!

    Quote Originally Posted by rmcc View Post
    Reverend Al,

    I would like a copy of that article, also, if not too much trouble. I duplicated your recipe for a friend's 40/82 and worked great!!! My trouble is with a 1888 Trapdoor that shoots just as you describe at 25 yds.

    Thank you,
    rmcc
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Sherman Bell in his series of articles "Finding Out For Myself" did a comprehensive pressure test series on fillers. His findings were fillers like Cream of Wheat, cornmeal, etc. often raised pressures too high. His findings were that cotton balls raised pressure the least...(who would have thought that?)...Dacron/poly fill was next least and open cell foam after poly. All three were safe. Grahme Wright's work indicated the same thing. Even before reading the articles by Bell and the book by Wright I had eschewed fillers like COW, cornmeal, etc.

    I used the load Rev. Al mentions by Venturino except I went to 34 grs. of IMR-3031 and it works well. I had some loads that had been setting on the shelf for several years. I got to wondering about them after I had been using open cell foam for several years so decided to pull some down and see what was going on in the case. I didn't like what I found. The cornmeal had nearly solidified and had to be dug out of the cases. I pulled them all and reloaded them with an open cell foam filler. That is just one loaders experience and others may have different results but, it was enough to put me off cornmeal, COW or any other filler of that kind.
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    You'll for sure want to figure out (A.) the bore diameter, and (B.) the rate of twist. As mentioned, Winchester at least marketed the cartridge as a high velocity express round shooting lighter bullets with a slower twist. They are not a launch platform for 400 grainers! More like 260-275.

    One of our other UK members mentioned a requirement that your hunting bullets must be designed to expand. I don't know what criteria are being used to determine that. Ordinarily, I would tinker with harder alloys, large meplats on the nose, and plain bases for a cartridge like that, but if your hands are tied with softer metals, you might want to delve into gas checks.
    WWJMBD?

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  9. #9
    Boolit Master Eutectic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharps4590 View Post
    I got to wondering about them after I had been using open cell foam for several years so decided to pull some down and see what was going on in the case. I didn't like what I found. The cornmeal had nearly solidified and had to be dug out of the cases.
    Very smart sharps4590! Cornmeal, flour, Cream of Wheat, are all quite hygroscopic and will even pull moisture from the air. If used at all it should be the same day as loaded. I have went to either foam or granulated poly buffer for filler....finally even quiting Dacron. Way back..... some early gun writers recommended flour for buffering lead shotshells for waterfowl! Talk about seeing moisture! A Model 870 3" 12ga I heard of split the barrel with loads so loaded the prior season. These flour/cereal items make paste when wet....... and big trouble dried out.

    Eutectic

  10. #10
    Boolit Master georgewxxx's Avatar
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    If all you're trying to do by a filler is to hold the powder against the primer, sheets of quarter inch poly foam cut into 1 inch squares pushed into the case with a dowel will hold that powder in place even in the magazine while firing. I've used that for all my non case filling loads for 40 years.
    N.R.A. Life Member

  11. #11
    Boolit Master



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    Good morning blokewatshoots and Welcome !
    As soon as I read your "handle", especially "bloke" the memories of working with a RTR (Royal Tank Regiment) in Germany in late 1973 came rushing up. Fine unit of dedicated "tankers"!
    Still have a pre 1899 Marlin but in 38-55 that gave us a terrible time slinging cast slugs all over the bern at 50 yards. Only loads that would shoot well were with BP and 40-1 255 grainers. Then tried the "corn meal" filler with 2400 and could go hunting with smokeless.
    Better solution with smokeless was and still is an oversized mold from the old NEI which drops a "range scrap" 263 grain slug at .384.

    Possibly the Handloader article is .40-72 and 405 WCF's Loads for the Winchester 1895 in Mag #295 April 2015 page 48. We shoot the 405 in a repro japchester so I was very interested to read this this article.
    Mike in Peru
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Home built Matchlock similar to what an early 1600 Colonial soldier might have.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by blokewotshoots View Post
    Hi all
    This is my first post for help here on castboolits so if I’ve missed a previous thread on this subject please be kind enough to direct me there, I just don’t know the site well enough to have found it alone. Thanks

    My situation is that I’m about to take receipt of a cupboard queen. A virtually unused original 1903 1895 Marlin in 40-82 which according to the proof marks is one of the earlier examples proofed for nitro powders.

    The bore is in great condition if a little greyed with very strong rifling and no visual defects I could see with the borescope.

    Some of you may be of the opinion that I should preserve it as it is and I respect your right to hold that view.

    I am one of those who admire what our pioneering forefathers achieved with metallurgy and cartridge development during that transition period in firearms development to bring us the fabulous tools we enjoy today.

    I like to honour their work by using their works with care and respect and with the aim of maintaining it’s usefulness at a tool not an artefact.

    Have any of you guys taken a similar condition antique firearm back to a good shooting condition?

    When I’ve jumped through the legal hoops (I live in the UK) I eventually intend to work up some useful loads for the rifle with the eventual aim of using it as a highdays and holidays special event woodland stalker to bring her back to her original mission of food getter.

    I have yet to slug the bore so can’t give any details there but will do as soon as she arrives, I shoot a lot of cast bullets in my 444 1895, 357 1894 and Old Army, but nothing in .40 cal.

    Would anyone recommend to gas check or not to bring the bore back to life in the re break in period, this is new ground to me.

    Thanks for any help

    Ah, I've got mine - a .40-82 Winchester 1886, with a well-worn but not abused bore and exterior, but it has the excuse of being taken back to Norway by a returning immigrant, and being hidden under the floor of a mountain cabin during their occupation by gun control enthusiasts. I don't believe it was ever intended as a weapon of resistance, but it was more the principle of the thing.

    There is a book which for reloading and use of the Browning-designed lever Winchesters, leaves second-best nowhere. It is "The Winchester Lever Legacy" by Clyde Williamson. It is out of print, common but quite expensive on www.bookfinder.com , for it is an enormous book. Don't be fooled by its very folksy style, for most of it is about the most exhaustively documented load development programme available on any antique firearm, and Williamson, a farmer who didn't need deer tags, has done a lot of shooting at things besides cardboard and gongs.

    Colonel Brophy, in his "Marlin Firearms", gives a Marlin table of 1909 which lists the .40-82 bore dimensions as follows. It is tighter than Winchester's, and with rather shallow rifling, but the figures are totally accurate on my only Marlin, an 1892 .32 Long Rifle of about 1905.

    Bore .397in.
    Groove width .1247in.
    Land width .0831in.
    Groove depth .0025

    Unsurprisingly at that date, it is listed as hard steel, which presumably means nickel smokeless steel. (In an 1899 Winchester catalogue I have, they used that only for the 1894 and for the .45-70 Extra Light 1886, but it looked like it was coming for the others.) The twist is given as 20in. instead of the usual Winchester 28in. It is very unlikely that they went tighter than that, for in a lever-action rifle the cartridge overall length is limited by what will feed through the magazine. In the Winchester you get a rather nasty jam by going longer, and it is undesirable to have a cast bullet protruding past even that very slight bottleneck.

    When Winchester introduced a faster-twist, heavier-bullet version of the .40-82 (more often, I would guess, used in the 1885 Single Shot), they called it the .40-70, presumably to stop people coming back and saying "Your cartridges keep missing". I believe I argued this one onto our government's list of antique firearms, up to 1939, which are as freely ownable as a walking-stick as long as it isn't for use. Several cartridge books copy one another in getting its dimensions wrong. But it is simple a 40-82 with a slightly narrower shoulder (probably the dimension to which they actually were making the cartridge), and the shoulder a little steeper to give a longer neck for lube grooves.)

    I have an original Winchester mould, but it casts at 406in., while my grooves measure .409in. A medium-hard alloy should upset to seal the bore, if you can prevent gases from getting around the sides first. I think this is what that cornmeal was doing, for the result seems too good for adjusting the volumetric capacity to do it. I don't really think cornmeal is quite as great a safety consideration as some claim, in a nearly straight case, but it is enough to feel uneasy about, so I prefer a light filler. At least in the UK cigarette filter tips are (or then were) made from measured portions of kapok, which has less volume under pressure even than cotton. it works so well in life-jackets because the fibres are tubular. A felt wad with the edge rolled in melted lube, with a card wad behind it, should do what is good about cornmeal, the exclusion of gases. But I would prefer an eighth-inch of wax between two thin cards (the one between wax and bullet to stop it adhering.) You can make wax sheet by melting it on top of hot water and letting it go cold.

    I think it is important to avoid any hard and granular filler. Dr. Franklin Mann, in 1910, experimented with a sand filler behind the bullet. Eccentric I know, but presumable it was a condemned barrel, and he was trying to determine the effect of an air space, something inert made sense. The result was to tear off the case necks, which went downrange with the bullet. Presumably sand locks solid under impact, which would explain why dry sandbags stop a bullet in less distance than damp ones. Cork sheet might be good, and experiments with rubber bungs have been very alarming. For cork has the unusual characteristic of compressing one way without bulging out sideways.

    I modified a .310 RCBS mould made for Sharps rifles, by inserting hollowpoint pins which made a flat rather than a hollow, to shorten the nose, and riveting a plate onto the shortened rear to make a gas-check step, which is very useful if you want high velocities without the wax-sheet messing about. These are not weak actions. Williamson developed smokeless loads in the 1900 to 2100ft./sec. class, and was surprised to find them very close to the high velocity loads briefly manufactured by Winchester. I don't believe discontinuing them was because they were unsafe. It might have been to stop people trying to equal them with the smokeless powders of the time, which Winchester sternly warned were unpredictable, or perhaps just to sell people the 1894.

    Any load anybody tells you should only be approached by progressive working-up in your own rifle. My best results, sometimes a 5in. group at 100 yards, were obtained with 38gr, of Reloder 7, although Williamson recommends 29gr. of the faster 4198 for lead, and 50gr. of 3031 for jacketed. Deformation of the primer was very reassuring, and it was extruded by .005in. and not driven home again. The adhesion of case to chamber was bearing the pressure. So why do we need locking lugs? Well, suppose you have a wet or oily chamber, or some other complication I haven't thought of?

    Even rifles that can be owned freely must be entered on a licence for use, with a good reason given. In Scotland (where deer must logically be differently constructed from English ones), there is a legal requirement for a minimum velocity. I never actually tried for a deer with mine, but I got it agreed quite amicably by showing computer ballistics results indicating that it could be done with light .41 revolver bullets. Well so it could, I suppose.

    The Winchester's greatest weakness isn't a life-threatening one. The ejector (maybe in reaction to the even then obsolescent folded-head cases) is very large, extending to the firing-pin hole, so that it actually is part of the breech face. It has been known to break off, and is likely to permit loading and firing one shot before you notice. Williamson describes continuing use of a rifle in this condition, poking the cases out with a rod, but suppose again that you have a wet or oily chamber, or some other complication? The design was modified in the 1892, 1894 and most modern 1886 clones.
    Last edited by Ballistics in Scotland; 03-05-2018 at 11:52 AM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by missionary5155 View Post
    As soon as I read your "handle", especially "bloke" the memories of working with a RTR (Royal Tank Regiment) in Germany in late 1973 came rushing up. Fine unit of dedicated "tankers
    Ah, I used to work in Kuwait with one of those, who reached the North American continent. On exercise in Canada in the Chieftain tank, he was too gentle a soul to ask his gunner if he was sure he put the shell in before the charge. The flash went four hundred yards - a first-class illustration of the effect of pressure on the burning rate, and the shell, with luck inert, lies buried in some corner of a foreign field that is forever England. They were afraid of having the cost of the charge stopped out of their pay.

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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