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Thread: The Stars are Beginning to Align

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    The Stars are Beginning to Align

    Good news! Now that friend Vall told us about the 9.3x74R brass and it has arrived, Iíve finally figured out how to get into my safe so I can get to my Ballard Pacific. I think I can find my Barry Darr bullet mould, and I have a bunch of GOEX and some Winchester LRPs. To cap it off the newest edition of the ASSRA Journal showed up today with an article about the Ballard Montana Model and two about 40-90s. Yes, it does appear that the stars are beginning to align!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  2. #2
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Good luck Charlie! Hope the Pacific shoots well!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Update: I got out the Pacific and blew out the cobwebs... it looks like it is ready to go, at least for the case forming phase of this project. I took a box (of the 4 I bought) and primed those 25 cases with Winchester LRPs using a dependable old iron 310 tool. The caliber I used (32 acp) didn't matter since the #13 Priming Chamber screws into the outside of the handles. One observation: while, as expected, the #13 PC accepts the 9.3 X 74R rim perfectly, a NOS J-type #13 Lyman shell holder is too tight to take the rim. Go figure! While I don't know whether I'll be loading these on a press, it bugs me that it doesn't fit like it should. I think a little Dremel work will take care of it, though.

    This afternoon I plan to charge each of the cases with about 45 grains of FFg Goex, top them up with corn meal (or cream of wheat?) and seal them off with a wad of toilet paper. Then it's out to the range. Stay tuned for further events! :coffee com

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  4. #4
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    I think I'm using a shell holder for the .303 British Charlie. It is a slightly smaller base diameter, but seems to work with the 9.3x74R brass fine.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by marlinman93 View Post
    I think I'm using a shell holder for the .303 British Charlie. It is a slightly smaller base diameter, but seems to work with the 9.3x74R brass fine.
    Thanks, Vall. I hadn't even thought of that possibility! I just went down to the junk bench (supposedly work bench) and got out a random #7 J-type shell holder. The 9.3 X 74R feels a little "scratchy" going in, but it goes in. Success!
    Now I'm one step closer to getting it done. I also remembered I have an original double cavity Maynard bullet mould in 40 cal, so my choice of bullets is getting pretty broad! BTW, what is your favorite weight for 100 yd shooting with the 40-90 in your Pacific? I know you like smokeless, and if I really need to go that route, I've got a bunch of 4759, which seems to do well in the large old BP cases, but I'm leaning hard toward "Holy Black."

    All the best,
    Charlie the Frog
    "It aint easy being green!"

  6. #6
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    I've settled on the RCBS CSA 345 gr. bullet for all my loads in my .40-85/90 Charlie. It just works. But I also have the lighter version But I also have the 300 gr. version and it's equally good at distances below 500 yds. I would likely choose the 300 gr. RCBS if I was strictly shooting 200 yds. or less, and probably use it if I took the Pacific hunting too. I had the 300 gr. load loaded up for elk last fall, but chickened out taking the .40-90 Pacific, as I was worried about it being so minty. Instead I took a lesser quality Pacific in .45-70 that is nice, but I could live if it got a ding.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    With my Pacific's "checkered history" I'm certainly not concerned about adding another dent or ding. On the other hand, a horse and scabbard might be appropriate for hauling that cannon around (since it lacks a carriage and caisson!)

    After KFW mentioned (over on the ASSRA forum) how loose his 40-90 chamber was with 9.3 X 74R, I double checked mine against the one factory round I own. Although the rim of the original is a little larger in diameter (only a couple of thou) the base of the 9.3 case seems just about right. The Lyman #7 (or even #13) shell holders won't accept the original shell's rim, but the point is moot as I don't plan to ever fire and reload that one!

    I hope you're proud of yourself for the hornet's nest you've kicked over, Vall!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  8. #8
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Why yes, I am proud of dragging anyone into this lust for shooting old Ballards Charlie!

    I just last Sunday finally picked up an original paper patched .40-90 Ballard round too! I wanted one original, just so I could compare it to what I'm shooting now. I have some cases that I got from a friend of a friend on ASSRA. They were supposed to be .40-100, and were marked that way, but they were actually .45-110 when I got them. They were cheap, but needed more sizing at the base than my dies could do. Fortunately the seller had a sizing die he sent me to borrow and I was able to size them all down. I still had to turn the last 3/16" above the rim though, so they'd chamber. Those were before I found the 9.3x74R, and I'd pass on any now as the 9.3 work too well.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    My one round is marked 40-85 and comes from UMC. On opposite sides of the primer it is stamped "S" and "M" for Sharps and Marlin? Maybe "straight" and Marlin?? IIRC, I got this one round from Joe Ruth, but no explanation came with it.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    The chamber of my Hepburn .40-3-1/4” is tight enough so that a grease groove boolit loaded in a full-length Bertram shell has to be run into the sizer die again to chamber, but the 9.3 x 74s I blew out for smokeless shooting do have a slight asymmetric expansion ahead of the rim. These shells fit the grease groove boolits, seated out, and chamber just fine. They also seem to seal the gas pressure despite the slightly undersize bases; no smudges on the shell bases or poofs out of the breech. The rims are undersize, but extractable.

    I annealed the Norma and RWS brass I had about a third of the way down, used 12 gr or so of Unique, filled the rest with Cream of Wheat and put a piece of wax in the end. The pressure needed to stretch unsupported brass cylindrical is nowhere near the pressure limits of even a Ballard.

    GF, could that “M” be a distorted “H?” UMC cases were “Solid (i.e. Semi-Balloon) Head” in those days, and they bragged about this advanced technology.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Range Report: I finally had time on a clear, dry day to get out to the club range and try to fire form a few of my new 9.3 X 74R cases out to 40-90 Ballard. I only did a few rounds (ultimately 6) with both good news and bad news to report.

    First the good news; with 4.3 cc (my largest Lee dipper) of GOEX FFFg powder then the rest of the volume filled with Cream of Wheat and capped with a small square of toilet paper, the first 5 cases blew out to full chamber dimension except for a little wasp waist back about where the powder and CoW met. To see whether the "problem" was a function of a partially filled case, I went back and loaded a 6th case to the neck, leaving just enough room to cram in the little wad of TP, and fired that round. I cannot pick that round out from the other 5!

    The bad news? As somebody brought out on another forum, the rim on the 9.3 X 74R is a few thousandths smaller in diameter than the original Ballard round, and although virgin brass picks up and extracts easily, the Ballard extractor skips right over the rim of a fired round and it doesn't move. Good thing the Ballard comes with a wiping rod that can be used as a manual extractor!

    The project continues... I may have to get an extractor from a smaller caliber and fit it to my Ballard to overcome the extraction problem... I really hate to alter my original extractor (by bending, building up with weld, etc.)

    Stay tuned!
    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

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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