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Thread: Shooting some old-timers 41 Swiss

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Shooting some old-timers 41 Swiss

    After four kids finished collage, married and became self sufficient and the home place got paid off I found there was a small amount of funds now to pursue some long enjoyed pursuits. Mostly acquiring and shooting some old military rifles.

    One of my most rewarding acquisitions was a Model 78 Swiss rifle chambered for the 10.4x38mm R Swiss or as we call it the 41 Swiss. Now this is a rim fire cartridge and ammo is almost unobtainable so with the help of some U-Tube videos I was able to convert her to center fire without to much trouble. If you have ever fooled around with old guns you know that tolerances for barrels was not up to today's standards so the first thing I did was slug the barrel and found a grove diameter of .425 inch. After a quick internet search for a custom bullet mold maker I found Accurate Molds with a large on-line catalog of bullet molds that he will cut to any desired diameter. I ordered number 43-335B double cavity aluminum mold with a diameter of .435 inch with my specific alloy and the cost was a very reasonable $90.00.

    It arrive in short order and cast beautiful 318 grain bullets with two crimping groves. The top grove is perfect to keep OAL correct to work through the action. So far I have worked up loads with Trail Boss, 5744 and IMR 4198 and all have shot well with velocities running from 1044 fps with Trail Boss to 1357 with 5744. I would appreciate suggestions as to other powder that might be appropriate for this old timer and info about other 41 Swiss experiences.
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  2. #2
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    hpbear101's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    This my best 50yd group so far. I am using 18 grains of 2400 and the Lee bullet at close to 300 grains. According to Quickloads this is approaching max. I want to try the Accurate mold at some point as well but I will likely start at 16 grains of 2400.

    Tom

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Those are neat rifles and neat projects gents.
    About 5-6 years before the K31's came into the market, it seemed I was tripping over these all the time. Real nice ones to boot. I passed up an excellent example for pocket change, have been kicking myself ever since. Cheapest I have found are around $400, then in some what sad condition.
    Another I should have bought, probably the first one I ever saw, it had been turned into a lamp. Sadly it was the best example I have ever seen. It had holes drilled in bad places and they had silver soldered some brackets on it.
    Have not given up yet, but not looking hard either.
    Look forward to more of your work with these.
    Jeff

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    Go to the Accurate Mold web site and look around, there at hundreds of patterns that he can make or he will make one up based on your pattern. They are offered in aluminium, iron, or brass. Very happy with mine.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I just use a 290gr NOE 44 mold I already had. Cut the cases much longer than spec, like 45mm. Crimp at the right length to feed properly. Used 40-65 data out of Lymans, 24gr of 4198 was right on the mark when it came to velocity. Been trying to find a use for some Reloader 7 I have. 28gr gave 1550fps, 27gr was min, 30 max. And surprisingly accurate for such an old rifle. 6 bullets went into a single ragged hole.

    The conversion was free, modded the existing firing pin with a decapping pin. The guy who had the rifle thought gunbroker listing gave the value, only nobody was bidding on them. Still had the faded tag from whatever gunshop he got it at. Shop he left if for consignment let him know wasn't anybody else around here going to give him a dime for it. He wanted $500, then 4, then 3, then 2. Nope $100 is my best offer. Only reason took 10 days to get it shooting was waiting on brass and dies.

    Now have the Swiss rifles for a century and a half, started with an 1889 that are everywhere, then a 1911, and finally the Vetterli. Maybe get a k31, but then be 3 different 7.5 ammos to load and keep track of.

  6. #6
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    I'm looking to purchase one of these rifles and having it converted to center fire as well. Thank you for the post!

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Shot this target at 100 yards with my M78-81. Even at 100 yards my rifle shoots about 18 inches high, so I aim low. These rifles sights zero at 300 yards .Attachment 227493
    The most important things in life aren`t things.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I just got back into shooting about 3 years ago. Hadn't shot a gun since 1985 last deer hunt. But lately I have gotten back into it with a passion. Just can't afford much. When I started I couldn't find 22lr ammo so I embarked on a mission of learning to reload the little devils. This got me into making all the tooling to do so. I have so far made all the resizing dies, bullet molds, swaging dies. crimping dies, etc., Even down to making specific funnels for loading and powder dippers. i have had lots of fun and learned tons. Mostly about machining.
    About the 41 Swiss or the M61/78 Vetterli... I ran across info on the gun a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. The idea of reloading the RIMFIRE ammo is still something that I would love to do. However since the cases are as rare as loaded ammo, I would have to either find someone to draw brass for them or figure out and set up the brass drawing myself. (that ain't gonna happen). I did contact a new brass company that specializes in providing antique center fire brass and they want to talk further. To me it is an exiting prospect to maybe someday begin to reproduce rim fire ammunition for the old obsolete rim fire guns instead of have to convert them to center fire. It is more feasible now with the work of Marshall and his chemical wizardry in developing new non corrosive priming compounds. Wouldn't it be cool to have rim fire ammo for those wonderful old guns.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Rim fire your gonna get one use out of. The converted 8mm Lebel will last a long time, I did not even resize mine after firing, just tumble and reload. The conversion is brutally simple, and does not require altering the existing firing pin. It would still work as rimfire w a hole drilled for centerfire. I see the rifles for sale, but few buyers. Unaltered its a wall hanger, conversion ruins its collectors value. Tho not seen where anybody is actually collecting them to begin with.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I've been loading for mine for a while.
    Forget what boolet, but it has a round nose so can use through the tube mag.
    I added a spacer to the rear of the lifter so I could reload shorter rounds.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    My m78 Vetterli shoots great with the Accurate 436330C boolit which casts at .436 and 330 grains. Best loads are 20 gr of SR4759 or 12.5 grains of Trailboss. My bore measures .4355 and I form cases from 8mm Lebel brass. Case life is great, accuracy is excellent and recoil is negligible . My m78 is one of my favorite rifles.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    My local store has one for sale that's in great shape. It has not been converted, and it has a sling. I already have an identical one but it's still tempting. Not a bad price.

    SWISS M78 VETTERLI PRE OWNED $350.00
    SKU: 1058774
    Features: APPEARS MATCHING; 33" RS; SLING
    Caliber: 41 RF
    Action design: rifle: bolt
    Condition Rating: GOOD

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Yow is $350 the going rate? I looked them up on gunbroker, had prices like $350, but no bids. Guess I lucked out for $100, nice clean bore. Missing a barrel band and rear swivel, but not seen where its an issue when it comes to shooting it.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Are .45-70 type of cases acceptable for reforming? Will they extract? Have a M78 on the way and it would only be used for target shooting.
    The only amendment the Democrats support is the 5th.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by upnorthwis View Post
    Are .45-70 type of cases acceptable for reforming? Will they extract? Have a M78 on the way and it would only be used for target shooting.
    They are way too small at the head. Use 8x60R Lebel cases, you can get from Graf's.
    "Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est."

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Most use either 348Win or 8mm Lebel.
    I use Lebel brass.
    Rim is larger.
    Cheaper than the 348Win.
    When forming, go really slow.
    I enlarge the 8mm neck in steps.
    I use the Lee Die set.
    I made some different diameter sizers.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    And I enlarge them really fast. I chop the cases off to a rough length, fireform with red dot and cream o wheat, final trim, and done. After that I don't use any dies, just decap clean and load with BP and paper patched bullets.
    "Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est."

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I found the NOE expanders I already have work well. Trying to go from 8mm to 44 cal wrecked a couple cases when I started out.

    Not found much need for sizing in use. Just tumble and load.

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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