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Thread: Using a drop tube for pistol cartridges, is it really worth while?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Remmy4477's Avatar
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    Using a drop tube for pistol cartridges, is it really worth while?

    So I loaded up a 100 rounds of 45 colt this weekend for my pedersoli winchester 1873.

    Using a Lyman 452664 boolit, Starline brass neck sized, 35grns Goex FFG, probably about 1/8 inch of compression once the boolits seated.

    I started with a drop tube, 30 inches in length, when I began charging cases. But due to the length of the tube and my bench position, I was begining to feel like I was playing frogger, standing up everytime to fill a case. That got old quick!

    So I cheated, grabbed my old powder funnel weighed out 35grns of powder held the funnel over the case and dropped the powder in from about 8 inches or so above the funnel. I checked my charged cases and the powder level is the same by hand as it is with the drop tube.
    I find this interesting as I have tried doing the same thing with my 45-70 loads and the outcome is totally different, by drop tube the 65grns of ffg leaves enough room for the boolit with 1/8th compression. By hand the powder overflows the case mouth.

    Not complaining about changing my charging technique for the 45 colt, it worked and was a lot faster than using the drop tube.

    Everyone does bp loading different, I always weigh my charges thats just what works for me.

    Anyway I figure I'll leave out the drop tube when loading the 45 colt. If the outcomes the same why bother? I don't think the rams at 200 meters will know the difference.

    Just talkin

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Remmy4477 View Post
    So I loaded up a 100 rounds of 45 colt this weekend for my pedersoli winchester 1873.

    Using a Lyman 452664 boolit, Starline brass neck sized, 35grns Goex FFG, probably about 1/8 inch of compression once the boolits seated.

    I started with a drop tube, 30 inches in length, when I began charging cases. But due to the length of the tube and my bench position, I was begining to feel like I was playing frogger, standing up everytime to fill a case. That got old quick!

    So I cheated, grabbed my old powder funnel weighed out 35grns of powder held the funnel over the case and dropped the powder in from about 8 inches or so above the funnel. I checked my charged cases and the powder level is the same by hand as it is with the drop tube.
    I find this interesting as I have tried doing the same thing with my 45-70 loads and the outcome is totally different, by drop tube the 65grns of ffg leaves enough room for the boolit with 1/8th compression. By hand the powder overflows the case mouth.

    Not complaining about changing my charging technique for the 45 colt, it worked and was a lot faster than using the drop tube.

    Everyone does bp loading different, I always weigh my charges thats just what works for me.

    Anyway I figure I'll leave out the drop tube when loading the 45 colt. If the outcomes the same why bother? I don't think the rams at 200 meters will know the difference.

    Just talkin
    If you drop the charge slowly into the side of yr powder funnel so it spins round as it pours in you will struggle to see a difference to drop tube - the difference mostly then comes down to how fast or slow you pour it . I charge all my pistol calibre cases with a powder horn - just happens the horn spout is about neat fit into a 44 case mouth so the powder height is pretty much perfect for compressing - loading that way I get about a 30 FPS spread on the chronygraph - betcha it dont count enough to matter out to 100yards. Long range gurus claim single digit spreads from their methods and past 400 it proly matters (a lot?.)
    36 grains weight in a 38/40 under a 188grain RCBS cowboy boolit gets 1365 FPS - 26inch barrel - (Goex 5FA bought in the last century)

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    bigted's Avatar
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    I adhere to the " out on the lonesome prairie " concept of reloading pistol cartridges with black powder;

    ... size em.
    ... prime em.
    ... flair em.
    ... powder em ( this accomplished with a scoop made to hold 36 grains " volume" and scooped out of a container for each case)
    ... seat boolit.
    ... crimp n store cartridge.
    ... shoot em.

    These are simple reloads for fun and adventure. I am looking for a tong style loading kit for my 73's and 92's as well as the Colt's and reproduction Colt's.

    I insist on having fun during the entire process including casting, loading and shooting. This is my " meditation" and " centering" myself to remain as sane as is possible for this ol feller that seems to have been misplaced in time about 150 or so years later then intended for complete sanity.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use a Saturn brand funnel ordered from Brownells. This aluminum and brass funnel has long bump stamped into the funnel just above the neck. I slowly pour my Goex 2fg so the powder stream hits the raised bump and scatters the granuals as they fall into the 45 Colt Starline case.
    This trick funnel causes the powder to settle lower inside the case.

    I now use a 45 Colt pistol compression plug mounted in my expander die body and use the power of the reloading press to push the powder down to the depth required to seat the bullet to the crimp groove.
    I tried a 9” drop funnel and added vibration to help settle the powder. This system worked but was very slow and didn’t settle the powder much lower than just using the Saturn funnel so I quit using the drop tube and vibration method, it wasn’t worth the time and effort required.

    Get yourself a compression plug with a diameter that will allow it to slide into an expanded case.
    I ordered mine custom made from Buffalo Arms as their stock 45 cal. plug was too big.
    Track of the Wolf also has a compression plug that installs in a LEE case mouth expander die body.
    Last edited by greenjoytj; 07-30-2018 at 06:41 AM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigted View Post
    I adhere to the " out on the lonesome prairie " concept of reloading pistol cartridges with black powder;

    I like it ! (out on the lonesome prairie system)

    ... size em. -----only ifn they wont chamber without sizing
    ... prime em.-----yes
    ... flair em.------yes
    ... powder em ( this accomplished with a scoop made to hold 36 grains " volume" and scooped out of a container for each case) I just eyeball em with the powder horn - quicker even than your scoop system
    ... seat boolit. ------seat an crimp one pass
    ... crimp n store cartridge.
    ... shoot em. ------all that work and now theys empty again --durn it!!!

    These are simple reloads for fun and adventure. I am looking for a tong style loading kit for my 73's and 92's as well as the Colt's and reproduction Colt's.

    I insist on having fun during the entire process including casting, loading and shooting. This is my " meditation" and " centering" myself to remain as sane as is possible for this ol feller that seems to have been misplaced in time about 150 or so years later then intended for complete sanity.
    Lot of fellers dont enjoy the loading process ---I get your meditation words !!!!

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I started with a drop tube, 30 inches in length, when I began charging cases. But due to the length of the tube and my bench position, I was begining to feel like I was playing frogger, standing up everytime to fill a case. That got old quick!
    A total waste of time that adds no value to pistol caliber accuracy. Accurate settling of the powder & proper compression only aids long range accuracy - 200 yds & over
    Regards
    John

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I agree with John, waste of time for pistol ammo, long range BPCR is a dif. story.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Boy View Post
    A total waste of time that adds no value to pistol caliber accuracy. Accurate settling of the powder & proper compression only aids long range accuracy - 200 yds & over
    What he said!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master





    SSGOldfart's Avatar
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    Hmmm maybe you should add lube em to your list.
    Last edited by SSGOldfart; 07-31-2018 at 07:59 PM. Reason: Fat fingers small keyboard
    I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.
    Paralyzed Veterans of America

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSGOldfart View Post
    Hmmm maybe you should add lube em to your list.
    oooops ---mine is lubed before they get sized ----pan lubed, an I use a heat gun to melt the lube, little flat trays - use a cookie cutter to take em out, put new boolits in the old holes, a minute or so with the heat gun - new lot is done -----the double boiler thingy is gathering dust in a corner someplace - only use it to make up a new batch of lube .

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy Remmy4477's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    oooops ---mine is lubed before they get sized ----pan lubed, an I use a heat gun to melt the lube, little flat trays - use a cookie cutter to take em out, put new boolits in the old holes, a minute or so with the heat gun - new lot is done -----the double boiler thingy is gathering dust in a corner someplace - only use it to make up a new batch of lube .
    I cheat, I use an old Lyman 450.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Yea out on the prairie method for me to. Just dump the powder in seat boolit crimp and fire they shoot just fine.

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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