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Thread: Why am I having trouble chambering cartridges in my 1886?

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garandsrus View Post
    I don’t know if your boolit is too large, but your crimp is definitely not correct. You can see a lot of lead that is shaved/deformed near the case mouth.

    Are you expanding the case mouth before seating the bullet? A taper crimp should remove the flair and that’s about it. The case is not rolled into the bullet.

    To correct your die setting, you will need to screw out the seating die several turns. Run a case in with a bullet and get the correct seating length. The case flair will still be there. After the bullet is the correct depth, turn the seating stem out by 4 or 5 turns. You can even completely remove it. Now, turn the seating die in by about 1/2 turn and see if the case flair is removed. It probably won’t be. Keep turning the die in by 1/2 turn and check the flair until it is removed. This is your taper crimp. Then, run the case back into the die and turn the bullet seating stem back down until it touches the bullet and stops. This should seat a bullet and set the proper crimp.

    It is never a bad idea to seat and crimp in a different step but both can commonly be done at the same time.

    I have also run loaded rounds partially through the sizing die with the decapping stem removed. The die is started high and the cartridge is run into the die. It shouldn’t touch anything. With the round in the die, screw the die into the press until the case is contacted. Lower the ram, then screw the die in about 1/2 turn, run the case into the die and see if your round will chamber freely. Keep screwing the die in and testing the fit in the rifle. It will probably take a couple revolutions of the die after the contact is made before the round chambers freely. This should produce the equivalent of a taper crimp. It could also size the bullet where it contacts the case walls, so go slow.
    I havent throught about running a round thrrough the sizing die. Smart! Il give it a try.

  2. #22
    Boolit Buddy Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2152hq View Post
    I suspect the brass cases are too long.
    Either the cases are too long or the chamber perhaps a bit short up front.

    New brass often needs a trimming to at least put some uniformity to the OAL on the lot.
    Many can be too long and that may be the cause of the problem.
    Sometimes you have to trim to a bit less than the 'spec' for these old ones.
    Definetly will check that out. It would make sense that the brass is trying to almost enter where the boolit should be.

  3. #23
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    Can you accurately measure:
    The Buffalo arms bullet diameter?
    The diameter of the bullet you cast?
    The buffalo Arms loaded round (diameter) at the neck (around the case with bullet in the case)?
    and then your loaded case/bullet diameter at the case neck?

    These are the critical areas. Case length should be measured too but if you have new cases, that may be fine, but measure it too!

    Post them.

    The two most used items on a handloaders bench should be a small flashlight and an accurate dial caliber OR (and) micrometer. Measure stuff, take notes, so you know what you are doing.
    Chill Wills

  4. #24
    Boolit Buddy Kev18's Avatar
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    OK GUYS. I finally got something going here. Someone mentioned to run a cartridge through the sizing die to make a taper crimp and it worked. Sometimes I need to pass one cartridge more then once, and its clear now that when I do this, the case has a bulge right where the boolit ends. Im guessing the sizing die pushes that bulge back in. My only concerns now are:
    Will my bullet get sized down with the case? I think my resizing die is for .406 but I need a bullet thats at least .409-.410.

    And just a question again. The cartridges chamber nicely now, but they have issues getting into the chamber itself. Meaning that when they are on the feeding ramp, they seem a tad lower then the chamber so the lead scrapes off abit from the bullet. I also need to wiggle the gun for it to get the right angle.
    Anyone know why?
    Thanks alot for all the help!

  5. #25
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Sounds as if they are to long.

  6. #26
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    Make sure you adjust the seating die. You don’t have it set up correctly. Once you have it set correctly, you may not need to use the sizing die for the crimp.

    Yes, the sizing die can size the bullet down.

    How do they shoot? Might be better than you expect.

  7. #27
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    I would also check your chamber diameter from a cast. Some old guns have tight-necked chambers combined with large groove diameters, which prevent loading a bullet of large enough diameter to fit the barrel. The possible solutions are to either use a heeled bullet, turn the case necks to reduce their thickness, or ream the chamber neck slightly to provide the needed release clearance. MANY .44-40s in the black powder era were made this way and work fine with paper-thin old brass, but not with heavier modern brass. Read the sticky on bullet fit. A dummy cartridge with seated bullet should not be any larger than 0.0015" SMALLER than the chamber neck diameter determined from a cast.

    A solution which "works", but is not perfect, is to resize the loaded rounds just enough so that they enter into the chamber without resistance. Once you know the chamber diameter you can look for a Lee Factory crimp die or profile sizer which reduces the loaded cartridge neck diameter no more than necessary, so as to avoid damaging the bullet.
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev18 View Post
    I measured the neck yesterday and it showed up as 0.08 I think. And I looked at the brass you mentioned from Australia but it is very expensive.
    I can't think of what might measure .080 (80 thousandths) anywhere on or around the neck of a 40-82 cartridge. Could you be more specific regarding exactly what you measured?
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms *shall not be infringed*.

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  9. #29
    Boolit Buddy Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garandsrus View Post
    Make sure you adjust the seating die. You don’t have it set up correctly. Once you have it set correctly, you may not need to use the sizing die for the crimp.

    Yes, the sizing die can size the bullet down.

    How do they shoot? Might be better than you expect.
    I didnt go shoot yet. Hopefully il be able to tomorrow.

  10. #30
    Boolit Buddy Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokeywolf View Post
    I can't think of what might measure .080 (80 thousandths) anywhere on or around the neck of a 40-82 cartridge. Could you be more specific regarding exactly what you measured?
    The thickness of the brass around the neck is 0.008. I just went to measure it again. Im using starline brass and people say it is thick. I dont know how thick brass should be?

  11. #31
    Boolit Buddy Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    I would also check your chamber diameter from a cast. Some old guns have tight-necked chambers combined with large groove diameters, which prevent loading a bullet of large enough diameter to fit the barrel. The possible solutions are to either use a heeled bullet, turn the case necks to reduce their thickness, or ream the chamber neck slightly to provide the needed release clearance. MANY .44-40s in the black powder era were made this way and work fine with paper-thin old brass, but not with heavier modern brass. Read the sticky on bullet fit. A dummy cartridge with seated bullet should not be any larger than 0.0015" SMALLER than the chamber neck diameter determined from a cast.

    A solution which "works", but is not perfect, is to resize the loaded rounds just enough so that they enter into the chamber without resistance. Once you know the chamber diameter you can look for a Lee Factory crimp die or profile sizer which reduces the loaded cartridge neck diameter no more than necessary, so as to avoid damaging the bullet.
    I passed the laoding cartridge in the resizing die and it seems to work now. People are saying it will down size the bullet in the case?

  12. #32
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev18 View Post
    I passed the laoding cartridge in the resizing die and it seems to work now. People are saying it will down size the bullet in the case?

    Yes, it will. With a very soft bullet and black powder, it may still shoot OK, but what you want is a die which represents maximum cartridge, rather than minimum chamber, which the sizing die does..Won't hurt to try a few, but they may not shoot well.
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  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev18 View Post
    The thickness of the brass around the neck is 0.008. I just went to measure it again. Im using starline brass and people say it is thick. I dont know how thick brass should be?
    To be honest, I'm not sure what what you brass thickness should be at the neck. I buy 40-65 brass from Starline and have never had a need to measure them.
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms *shall not be infringed*.

    "The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
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    "While the people have property, arms in their hands, and only a spark of noble spirit, the most corrupt Congress must be mad to form any project of tyranny."
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  14. #34
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    I use the sizing dies for a light crimp ( just enough to set bullet tension ) after hand seating a bullet. I have a spacer made that's roughly .400 thick. when setting the tension this ring goes under the sizing dies lock ring. this set tension to where the bullet stays in but still turned by hand.

    For what your wanting to do you may not need to run the round all the way into the die. Just enough so the taper compresses it to chamber. easier measurements to compare is loaded neck size between the working and sticking rounds. this should be around .430 dia on your round depending on brass and bullet dia.

    On my BPCR rounds fired in single shot rifles I deprime by hand and clean. reprime by hand. add powder and desired wad stack. compress to depth. hand seat bullet onto wads. last I run into sizing die partial to set neck tension where I want it. bullet stays in case handling but can still be turned by hand.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokeywolf View Post
    To be honest, I'm not sure what what you brass thickness should be at the neck. I buy 40-65 brass from Starline and have never had a need to measure them.
    smokeywolf, I am not sure the OP will be able to measure the neck wall accurately with what ever tool he is using to measure. I believe you and country gent might get an accurate reading but the average guy with out a tube mic is whistling in the wind. Do you agree?

    Kev18 - I think the advice of both measuring and posting those number on her so we can see them too, as well as trying to put an unfired bullet into a fired Starline case, will reveal if the problem is too large a bullet in too thick a case.
    Outpost75 outlined the sometimes problem of tight case neck/large bore and groove; and for that, these old BP rifles worked fine with BP and lead back in the day. The first owner might never have know he had a problem.

    Thinning out case walls sounds advanced and maybe it is a little intimidating, BUT it is the correct fix.
    I have done a bunch so I didn't have to mess up an old rifle chamber. Forester makes a great little tool for doing this, and it is easy to do a bunch of cases. Then you will be set up and can shoot! Plus, you will have learned a few things in the process. If you have, say, 0.011" thick necks and turning them down to 0.009" fixes everything, it is a best case fix, and sorry about the bad pun.

    One more thing, I would check again the bore/groove measurements! An error there, then proceeding on bad assumptions will compound failure. Just like carpenters say; Measure twice (carefully) and cut once.
    Chill Wills

  16. #36
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    Maybe i was too vague about a step i feel you have overlooked. That is a poor mans way to determine what your chamber is asking for.

    1 ... shoot tow or three shells in your rifle.

    2 ... witthout touching the case mouth with any tool, measure the inside diameter just below any crimp that is left on the case mouth.

    3 ... this measurement is final and till something gets changed in the chamber/throat area, this measurement is the LARGEST boolit able to work in your rifle , period .

    No matter what the bore and groove numbers are, your chamber is not going to change into what you want/need for the barrel measurements .. rather the needs for the functioning of your rifles action.

    This leaves you with the possibility of a tight chamber which will not allow the needed diameter of boolit that will give accuracy a decent chance.

    The FIX if this is indeed the problem, is to open the chamber neck area to accept the proper size boolit that when loaded, will function thru the action and chamber as well as be proper for the groove needs of the barrel

    Check the fired cases first before doing anything. If the measurement is too tight for your boolits then a chamber cast is going to be required for a for sure diagnosis of your problem.

    Good luck and I'm hoping for you that the cure is easy and fast.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  17. #37
    Boolit Grand Master

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    While not as common today. some rifles were cut with small chamber for paper patch bore riding bullets. Ive seen several of the single shots like this but never a lever action with this style chamber. Several ways to get an idea of what you have are:

    1) a chamber cast of the chamber throat and leade. this will give an easy to measure image of these areas.
    2) measure a fired unsized case neck dimension this is harder to do and requires a better feel of the "touch"
    3) compare loaded neck dias from working rounds to the ones sticking this gives a comparative measurement between the rounds
    4) neck wall thickness is tricky to measure with out a ball mike or gage. even then a burr or bad edge gives a skewed dimension.

    Thinning the neck can be done in 2 ways ream or neck turn. Both require some specialized tools. both accomplish the same thing in the end. On Straight walled cases I prefer reaming over turning. Actuallynota super big job it needs to be done right and with care.

    Neck turning requires a properly sized mandrell in a holder with a single point cutting tool that's adjustable for the cut, normally turned by hand. cases are sized to this mandrel and then the cutter is set to remove the amount needed when turned this remove material from the outside of the neck. On a shouldered case the cut is blended in to the neck shoulder junction leaving no steps or ridge. Done right and with care .0002 can be held. Bench reaters use this with fitted necks and may hold ,0005-.001 neck clearences on loaded rounds.

    Reaming is done with a cutter that runs inside the case and removes material there. For best accuracy the case is supported in a die, this keeps the neck from expanding around the reamer. The case is ran in the die in the press and the reamer supported straight and square in a bushing. the reamer is turned thru by hand. on straight wall cases the body taper allows the reamer to fade out better. Not a big a step or ridge when reaming to below seating depth. .001 increment reamers are available
    and a couple passes with a fine stone on the flutes will make a 1/2 size. Once you determine the right size reamer and get it theres no setting for size it cuts to size. pin gages are a big help here. as the die can be ran into the die and pin gages used to measure id in the die. then the reamer purchased to remove the amount needed. IE if you need to remove .001 then a reamer pin gage size and .001 is purchased. The reamer can be driven with a tap handle and will cut to size or very closely.

  18. #38
    Boolit Bub
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    I'm certain that this may be a wrong way - but I encountered a similar situation in an 1876 - 45/75 - full length sized the case, expand back to "just fired" size, barely seat the bullet, then gently chamber the (powerless, primerless) round. If it's the bullet it will bulge or buckle the case (hence the g... e... n... t... l... e). The bullet should seat to near normal seating depth. Rules out the crimp, bullet cant.
    I'm really liking reading this thread!! Learning lots!!

    Sent from my HTC6545LVW using Tapatalk
    Last edited by cwtebay; 07-06-2018 at 11:29 PM. Reason: I am editing this because I neglected to mention that I am assuming you are trimmed and reamed, and that your barrel was indeed slugged.

  19. #39
    Boolit Buddy Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigted View Post
    Maybe i was too vague about a step i feel you have overlooked. That is a poor mans way to determine what your chamber is asking for.

    1 ... shoot tow or three shells in your rifle.

    2 ... witthout touching the case mouth with any tool, measure the inside diameter just below any crimp that is left on the case mouth.

    3 ... this measurement is final and till something gets changed in the chamber/throat area, this measurement is the LARGEST boolit able to work in your rifle , period .

    No matter what the bore and groove numbers are, your chamber is not going to change into what you want/need for the barrel measurements .. rather the needs for the functioning of your rifles action.

    This leaves you with the possibility of a tight chamber which will not allow the needed diameter of boolit that will give accuracy a decent chance.

    The FIX if this is indeed the problem, is to open the chamber neck area to accept the proper size boolit that when loaded, will function thru the action and chamber as well as be proper for the groove needs of the barrel

    Check the fired cases first before doing anything. If the measurement is too tight for your boolits then a chamber cast is going to be required for a for sure diagnosis of your problem.

    Good luck and I'm hoping for you that the cure is easy and fast.
    Im going to shoot tomorrow. Il keep a couple case and measure the inside diameter as best I can.
    And im not sure if there is any confusion, but I have owned this rifle for 3 years. And I have shot it plenty. It just was hard to chamber with my reloads so I am now looking for a fix.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master

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    Regardless of whether your chamber is too tight or not, it seems that your seating/crimping die is not set up correctly. You are OVER crimping and the bulge below the bullet is very likely due to the OVER-crimping. Too much crimp bulges the case and keeps cartridges from chambering.

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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