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

  1. #61
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Then I stand by what I posted - you have a rifle with what would today be considered an abnormally small neck. Mike a fired case from one of your factory rounds. Compare with your reloads. Post both numbers for us. Interim solution will be to thin the neck walls to maybe .005", use a smaller boolit, until your reloads have a neck dimension small enough to enter the chamber. Take apart one of the factory rounds and measure the neck wall and boolit diameter, too. Post the numbers for us.

    Any boolit you use in this rifle will have to be very soft, so that will obturate quickly. The original factory rounds that I have examined were not only dead soft, they were swaged, not cast. Much cheaper process for manufacturing them in military volume. ('course the patching added cost, but....)

    Powder should be Holy Black, or a fairly fast smokeless. (Here finally is a use for Trail Boss, which I otherwise abhor.)
    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  2. #62
    Boolit Man Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    Then I stand by what I posted - you have a rifle with what would today be considered an abnormally small neck. Mike a fired case from one of your factory rounds. Compare with your reloads. Post both numbers for us. Interim solution will be to thin the neck walls to maybe .005", use a smaller boolit, until your reloads have a neck dimension small enough to enter the chamber. Take apart one of the factory rounds and measure the neck wall and boolit diameter, too. Post the numbers for us.

    Any boolit you use in this rifle will have to be very soft, so that will obturate quickly. The original factory rounds that I have examined were not only dead soft, they were swaged, not cast. Much cheaper process for manufacturing them in military volume. ('course the patching added cost, but....)

    Powder should be Holy Black, or a fairly fast smokeless. (Here finally is a use for Trail Boss, which I otherwise abhor.)
    What do you mean by "Mike"? Do I need a special measuring tool? I have calipers, im not really fancy. And im pretty much a beginner in the reloading world.
    And even if I would pull apart original cartridges, it still wouldnt tell me what I need. Original 40-82 1886's were know for varying bores. From .406 to .410.

  3. #63
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Micrometer. If you have a digital caliper, that will be good enough for this job. But you might think about adding an economy model 1" micrometer to your tool set.

    I can guess that Winchester wasn't too fussy about groove diameters because the soft lead boolits everybody used (usually patched) could be expected to "slug up", (i.e. expand their diameter), under the pressure of the powder explosion, to fill the grooves, no matter what size. As I wrote earlier, boolits for black powder rifles had to be smaller than we normally use for smokeless, because they had to fit into the barrel throat when it was choked with fouling, and they were soft lead, so they could expand as necessary. Rifle chambers were cut accordingly.

    The only shooters who used boolits sized to right up to groove diameter were target shooters, but they cleaned their barrels obsessively after every shot.

    Sizing that kind of case doesn't hurt it enough to matter. But the sized case mouth should be just small enough so that the boolit slides in easily, and doesn't fall out if you turn the round upside down and shake it gently. That's how I do it for my single shots. If your die is sizing smaller than that after the expander plug has done its' thing, you need a bigger expander, or maybe a different die. We won't know until you can provide us with some measurements.

    In any case, you will be crimping aggressively to keep the boolits in place when they're in the magazine tube, and that will be the limiting factor for case life, not the sizing. Crimping the lip inward and then having it blown out on firing, and then flared for boolit seating, and then crimped inward again on the next reload, will cause the lip to start cracking long before anything goes sour from sizing.
    Last edited by uscra112; 07-09-2018 at 10:35 AM.
    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  4. #64
    Boolit Man Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    Micrometer. If you have a digital caliper, that will be good enough for this job. But you might think about adding an economy model 1" micrometer to your tool set.

    I can guess that Winchester wasn't too fussy about groove diameters because the soft lead boolits everybody used (usually patched) could be expected to "slug up", (i.e. expand their diameter), under the pressure of the powder explosion, to fill the grooves, no matter what size. As I wrote earlier, boolits for black powder rifles had to be smaller than we normally use for smokeless, because they had to fit into the barrel throat when it was choked with fouling, and they were soft lead, so they could expand as necessary. Rifle chambers were cut accordingly.

    The only shooters who used boolits sized to right up to groove diameter were target shooters, but they cleaned their barrels obsessively after every shot.

    Sizing that kind of case doesn't hurt it enough to matter. But the sized case mouth should be just small enough so that the boolit slides in easily, and doesn't fall out if you turn the round upside down and shake it gently. That's how I do it for my single shots. If your die is sizing smaller than that after the expander plug has done its' thing, you need a bigger expander, or maybe a different die. We won't know until you can provide us with some measurements.

    In any case, you will be crimping aggressively to keep the boolits in place when they're in the magazine tube, and that will be the limiting factor for case life, not the sizing. Crimping the lip inward and then having it blown out on firing, and then flared for boolit seating, and then crimped inward again on the next reload, will cause the lip to start cracking long before anything goes sour from sizing.
    I just used my electronic calipers and the outside of the case , right under the crimp is .427 and a bit lower is .430. The inside diameter varies, but I'm guessing it's because my cases aren't 100% round , I picked out two that looked round. I took the calipers and skinned then around inside the neck . It varies from .407 to .410.

  5. #65
    Boolit Master
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    Remove the decapper pin on the FL sizing die - run the round into the die to reduce the case diameter
    Regards
    John

  6. #66
    Boolit Man Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Boy View Post
    Remove the decapper pin on the FL sizing die - run the round into the die to reduce the case diameter
    I did that already, gives me my taper crimp.

  7. #67
    That cartridge looks like it could stand less of a crimp, but I think the interference begins just a shade further back than that would cause. While Winchester were probably quite good about chamber dimensions in these rifles, I suppose it isn't tight in the neck? I have Winchester drawings of 1912 and 1910 in front of me, which make the minimum chamber neck diameter .4283 at the rear and .4273 at the front, and the maximum cartridge neck .4278 at the rear.

    Those are extremely close dimensions, offering .0005in. interference if there was no taper in brass thickness from rear to front, as was quite likely. If your brass is .008in. thick (which is what I think you mean, as typos like that happen to me all the time), it ought to be enough for the bullet diameters you mention.

  8. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    Micrometer. If you have a digital caliper, that will be good enough for this job. But you might think about adding an economy model 1" micrometer to your tool set.
    The caliper should be fine for this job, but it is a low pressure cartridge, and firing it may not entirely iron out the effect of the crimp. I would anneal the neck and go through a couple of cycles of using the sizing die and expander button. But any inaccuracy incurred that way isn't your present problem.. It would only make the brass seem thicker than it actually is.

    The class act for this job is a tubing micrometer, which measures the thickness against a sort of spigot at right angles to the thimble.

    For some lever-action cartridges an alternative to the mouth crimp may be a cannelure pressed into the case behind the bullet. But the bottle-necked 1886 rounds are a bit too short in the neck, and critical on cartridge overall length, to do this.

  9. #69
    Boolit Man Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ballistics in Scotland View Post
    The caliper should be fine for this job, but it is a low pressure cartridge, and firing it may not entirely iron out the effect of the crimp. I would anneal the neck and go through a couple of cycles of using the sizing die and expander button. But any inaccuracy incurred that way isn't your present problem.. It would only make the brass seem thicker than it actually is.

    The class act for this job is a tubing micrometer, which measures the thickness against a sort of spigot at right angles to the thimble.

    For some lever-action cartridges an alternative to the mouth crimp may be a cannelure pressed into the case behind the bullet. But the bottle-necked 1886 rounds are a bit too short in the neck, and critical on cartridge overall length, to do this.
    I just taper crimped some. I reloaded about 20 an hour ago. And they all feed really nice. No friction in the chamber. Now I will need to make it as accurate as possible. Im guessing a beagled mold isnt the best. An actual .409 bullet mold will be better.

  10. #70
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    Did you adjust your seating die to not crimp the round? If so, can you post a picture of your current round, near the case mouth? It should look quite a bit different than your original picture.

  11. #71
    Boolit Man Kev18's Avatar
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    So I decided to post pictures of what the cartridge and the process in making them looks like:

    Fired/ Untouched case.


    Primed, and flared mouth


    Bullets


    Bullet in


    Seated bullet NO CRIMP


    Crimping set up. Sizing die with decapping pin removed.


    Taper crimped from the sizing die.


    Then I thought it would be a good idea to test if it fit in the chamber. So I opened the lever and fed it manually. closed the lever and opened it again.


    Frustrated, I pulled the bullet out a bit, and tried recrimping it with the sizing die. I would only push it abit with my finger and it would fall back in. So stuck it in my reloading tool. I wanted to see if it was going to chamber with the light crimp it gives. Turns out it goes in with alittle force. Definetly not as good as the taper crimp. It sticks out of the chamber by alittle more than an 1/8th inch.

  12. #72
    Boolit Man Kev18's Avatar
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    So in conclusion, I wasnt allowed to post more then 10 images in one post. So here is my beagled mold on the reloading tool.


    And here on the left is my cartridge and on the right is an original round from Winchester.

  13. #73
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    If you compare the final bullet to your first one, you have made a lot of progress! The loaded round looks a LOT better.

    My guess is that you are not sizing the case enough so you will want to turn the sizing die in a little more and check another round. Move the ram to the top of the stroke then turn the sizing die in until it contacts the shell holder. This should be pretty close to what you want/need to hold the bullet with neck tension. The flair is larger than it needs to be also.

    I would stick with the dies on your press and not use the reloading tool for loading operations. Should be higher precision and more repeatable. Someone can correct me if I am mistaken, but I don’t think the loading tool full length sizes the brass. Not sure how much it neck sizes, but apparently not enough if that’s what you used.

  14. #74
    Boolit Man Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garandsrus View Post
    If you compare the final bullet to your first one, you have made a lot of progress! The loaded round looks a LOT better.

    My guess is that you are not sizing the case enough so you will want to turn the sizing die in a little more and check another round. Move the ram to the top of the stroke then turn the sizing die in until it contacts the shell holder. This should be pretty close to what you want/need to hold the bullet with neck tension. The flair is larger than it needs to be also.

    I would stick with the dies on your press and not use the reloading tool for loading operations. Should be higher precision and more repeatable. Someone can correct me if I am mistaken, but I don’t think the loading tool full length sizes the brass. Not sure how much it neck sizes, but apparently not enough if that’s what you used.
    No, the tool doesn't resize. But I find it more precise then the press . The tool is more consistent too I find but it doesn't work for my rifle. It also makes ammo the way it was 150 years ago . Too bad it doesn't taper crimp .

  15. #75
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    The one pic shows the case belled with a lot more bell than is actually needed. You only need enough for the bullet to enter and square up good. You may want to raise the stem a little. If the bullets can be pushed into the case by hand look at the expander stems dia in comparison o the bullets dia. A lot of new dies sets in 40 cal are set up for .410 -.411 bullets the expander should measure .002-.003 under bullet dia for good neck tension. Mist dies size the neck small and set size with the expander stem expanding it back up

  16. #76
    Boolit Man Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    The one pic shows the case belled with a lot more bell than is actually needed. You only need enough for the bullet to enter and square up good. You may want to raise the stem a little. If the bullets can be pushed into the case by hand look at the expander stems dia in comparison o the bullets dia. A lot of new dies sets in 40 cal are set up for .410 -.411 bullets the expander should measure .002-.003 under bullet dia for good neck tension. Mist dies size the neck small and set size with the expander stem expanding it back up
    Well I expand the mouth more then it needs to so I dont shave lead off. Thats what I have been told to do.

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev18 View Post
    No, the tool doesn't resize. But I find it more precise then the press . The tool is more consistent too I find but it doesn't work for my rifle. It also makes ammo the way it was 150 years ago . Too bad it doesn't taper crimp .
    I have a hard time believing that a loading tool can produce more consistent rounds than a modern press and set of dies.

    If you look at your picture of "seated bullet, no crimp" you can see that quite a bit of the case bell has been removed so you have started to apply the taper crimp in the seating die. If you re-read the instructions in previous posts, you might be able to complete the crimp in the seating die and remove the sizing die as the final step.

    Are you using your die set to expand the cases or the loading tool? What is the diameter of the expander you are using and what is the diameter of your sized bullets? As country gent said, the bell on the case mouth is a lot more than what you need. I set up my die so that a bullet just barely sits on the case without falling off. If it wants to fall off, bell a little more and check again. It doesn't take much and the bell is barely noticeable. You can have 1/3 to 1/2 the bell your picture shows and not have any lead shaving problems.

    The bell is the biggest cause of case neck splits (excess expanding of the case) so people try to minimize the amount of bell. You have to have enough, but too much will just ruin cases pretty quickly and you won't get many reloads from them. You will know when the case is ruined by the crack in the case neck.
    Last edited by garandsrus; 07-10-2018 at 12:02 AM.

  18. #78
    Boolit Man Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garandsrus View Post
    I have a hard time believing that a loading tool can produce more consistent rounds than a modern press and set of dies.

    If you look at your picture of "seated bullet, no crimp" you can see that quite a bit of the case bell has been removed so you have started to apply the taper crimp in the seating die. If you re-read the instructions in previous posts, you might be able to complete the crimp in the seating die and remove the sizing die as the final step.

    Are you using your die set to expand the cases or the loading tool? What is the diameter of the expander you are using and what is the diameter of your sized bullets? As country gent said, the bell on the case mouth is a lot more than what you need. I set up my die so that a bullet just barely sits on the case without falling off. If it wants to fall off, bell a little more and check again. It doesn't take much and the bell is barely noticeable. You can have 1/3 to 1/2 the bell your picture shows and not have any lead shaving problems.

    The bell is the biggest cause of case neck splits (excess expanding of the case) so people try to minimize the amount of bell. You have to have enough, but too much will just ruin cases pretty quickly and you won't get many reloads from them. You will know when the case is ruined by the crack in the case neck.
    I said that about the loading tool because there are no adjustments like a set of dies.
    I use the dies to flare the mouth open . And I haven't measured the expander plug, but il surely try to adjust it if it's to much. Id say I already reloaded those cases at least 8 times if not more .

  19. #79
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    Kev
    You are getting so much good advice here its all getting a bit confused
    If you loaded a full case of black powder some problems would go away - If you are worried about fouling ? 5 grains of 4227 under the black will take care of that
    1) That old mold makes a good boolit but it has no crimp groove - its a blackpowder mold - so in trying to crimp for smokeless so the boolit wont disappear down in the case you always run the risk of that little bulge at the casemouth that started all this - with a full charge of blackpowder - the boolit has a base to sit on and all it needs is a light crimp on the ogive just ahead of the last lube groove to stop it falling out of the case - a light taper crimp is enough = no case bulging, maybe it chambers ok - If Not - run it in the resizer die until it will chamber.
    2) from your initial post it seems like the rifle needs that fatter boolit to shoot accurate
    3) I believe you are right in not wanting to work your brass too much - I dont hardly ever full length resize anything - I dont neck size my blackpowder cases either unless they will not chamber - most dies reduce the neck diameter way too much and then expand it back = neck tension - ya dont need neck tension with blackpowder . Those old guys reloaded many many times with tong tools just like you have - if the round will chamber ok is all the sizing you need.
    One thing I would pick on - the boolits in your picture are not lubed very well - lots of gaps in the lube grooves with no lube in there and then lube all over the place where it dont belong - that stray lube will clog up your dies in time and you get uneven seating depth - at the same time I believe that incompletely filled lube grooves takes away from accuracy. Pan lube em - use a cookie cutter - then store em carefully

  20. #80
    Boolit Man Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    Kev
    You are getting so much good advice here its all getting a bit confused
    If you loaded a full case of black powder some problems would go away - If you are worried about fouling ? 5 grains of 4227 under the black will take care of that
    1) That old mold makes a good boolit but it has no crimp groove - its a blackpowder mold - so in trying to crimp for smokeless so the boolit wont disappear down in the case you always run the risk of that little bulge at the casemouth that started all this - with a full charge of blackpowder - the boolit has a base to sit on and all it needs is a light crimp on the ogive just ahead of the last lube groove to stop it falling out of the case - a light taper crimp is enough = no case bulging, maybe it chambers ok - If Not - run it in the resizer die until it will chamber.
    2) from your initial post it seems like the rifle needs that fatter boolit to shoot accurate
    3) I believe you are right in not wanting to work your brass too much - I dont hardly ever full length resize anything - I dont neck size my blackpowder cases either unless they will not chamber - most dies reduce the neck diameter way too much and then expand it back = neck tension - ya dont need neck tension with blackpowder . Those old guys reloaded many many times with tong tools just like you have - if the round will chamber ok is all the sizing you need.
    One thing I would pick on - the boolits in your picture are not lubed very well - lots of gaps in the lube grooves with no lube in there and then lube all over the place where it dont belong - that stray lube will clog up your dies in time and you get uneven seating depth - at the same time I believe that incompletely filled lube grooves takes away from accuracy. Pan lube em - use a cookie cutter - then store em carefully
    Thanks, it is abit confusing . I have pyrodex and goex. True black powder is hard to find. I used to only reload with that but my bore isn't new. It has pits. I was told to not use black because it gets stuck in all the pits. And the cleaning process takes forever.
    I would also like to know how to identify smokeless powder , i have no idea what all the numbers even mean. I thought you weren't supposed to mix smokeless and BP?

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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