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Thread: Max FPS in old rifle barrels?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Max FPS in old rifle barrels?

    Can someone please tell me why iv'e been told I should keep it at 1500FPS in my rifle? Its a winchester 1886 40-82, made in 1889.

    What happens? Does a faster bullet shoot out the riflings or eat away the steel with the friction?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Because it is a pure BP rifle!
    It has more to do with pressures than wearing out the rifling. And at that time a 45-90-300 BP cartridge only did some 1530fps.

    In 1895 Winchester started to use nickel alloyed barrel steel as they started to use smokeless.

    That being said the 1886 action is as strong as levers come and using Quickload i would say: load to @ 20kpsi for what ever speed that might net you (given that you really need that extra speed!).

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    Winchester did load jacketed and smokeless

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 17nut View Post
    Because it is a pure BP rifle!
    It has more to do with pressures than wearing out the rifling. And at that time a 45-90-300 BP cartridge only did some 1530fps.

    In 1895 Winchester started to use nickel alloyed barrel steel as they started to use smokeless.

    That being said the 1886 action is as strong as levers come and using Quickload i would say: load to @ 20kpsi for what ever speed that might net you (given that you really need that extra speed!).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Winchester did load jacketed and smokeless

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Iv'e been told that it would affect the rifling but im not sure how.

    Some people said that I could "shoot out" the barrel.

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    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Boolit Grand Master

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    Back in the days when alox was the lube in use for naked bulllets that was about as fast as you could go and not get leading, bad leading. In fact under 1000 was for pistols and 16oo was the most often quoted for rifles. Even with gas checks there were almost no loads above that speed. My oldest Cast Bullet Handbook lists NO loads over 1550 for the 250 Savage where with modern lube and gas check I have run 2000 fps with no problem.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Several reasons for this are 1) pressures of the loaded ammo are kept down to ensure safety in older firearms some which may be questionable as to strength thru age or design. 2) This helps to get the correct trajectory for the given round and maintain sights calibrations when applicable. 3) While these rifles are plenty strong they are from softer steels and heavier loads are harder on them from a wear stand point

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    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    Several reasons for this are 1) pressures of the loaded ammo are kept down to ensure safety in older firearms some which may be questionable as to strength thru age or design. 2) This helps to get the correct trajectory for the given round and maintain sights calibrations when applicable. 3) While these rifles are plenty strong they are from softer steels and heavier loads are harder on them from a wear stand point
    Thats what I was wondering, what wear does it cause?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Jacketed bullets in soft barrels wear down the rifling pretty fast. First the leading corner gets rounded. That creeps toward the center of the lands until the center starts to wear down. A number of Stevens 44s were spoiled this way. 60 grain jacketed in a .25-20 Single Shot, loaded to 1850 fps - the Allyn Tedmon load. Wiser heads reported that an original barrel rarely lasted past 250 rounds of that. Tedmon was very close to the Stevens factory. Maybe he was drumming up rebarreling business for them?
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  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Wear would be in the form of throat erosion at a increased amount mostly. The higher pressures, heat, and slower powders all will contribute to this. Other wear at a heavier rate might occur on locking lugs do to increased force. and the mechanism also do to the added force of operating. On softer parts with limited bearing surfaces this can really be magnified. A set of locking lugs originally designed for 30,000 cup and their area when subjected to a steady diet of "warm Loads" at 45,000 cup will wear much faster with the added forces on them during and after firing.

    A good example of this ( while not a rifle) was the small and medium frame 38 specials in police use. These ran almost forever with standard 38 loads and wadcutters. Increased to a steady diet of +P loads and maintenance almost doubled, when some were chambered for 357 mag the maintenance almost tripled. Same gun just the heavier higher pressure loading.

    I fine old rifle from the early cartridge eras wasn't meant to be a flat shooting high velocity rifle, But they were a very effective tool in their day.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    Jacketed bullets in soft barrels wear down the rifling pretty fast. First the leading corner gets rounded. That creeps toward the center of the lands until the center starts to wear down. A number of Stevens 44s were spoiled this way. 60 grain jacketed in a .25-20 Single Shot, loaded to 1850 fps - the Allyn Tedmon load. Wiser heads reported that an original barrel rarely lasted past 250 rounds of that. Tedmon was very close to the Stevens factory. Maybe he was drumming up rebarreling business for them?
    I dont have any jacketed bullets, only lead wheel weights or pure lead piping.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Ok, then the issue is how much pressure the rifle is good for. Those days, black powder and plain base bullets was all there was. Unless you loaded with extremely fine grain powder and/or very light bullets, about 1600 fps was all you were gonna get. That equates to no more than 15,000 psi with your 230 grain bullet. The load-bearing parts of the action were sized accordingly. More can start some plastic deformation (peening) to appear. Maybe not so bad in your Winchester, but I can again point to Stevens 44 small-game rifles which "shoot loose" rather rapidly when loaded much above 15kpsi.

    The old lever-actions all locked up at the back of the bolt. High pressures can therefor actually stretch the receiver, because the receivers were of necessity made of low-carbon, low-tensile steel that was only case-hardened. Not until after 1900 could steelmakers offer alloy steels that could be forged and through-hardened reliably. First evidence is that headspace opens up. (T/C Contenders do this when people insist on barrelling them for cartridges better suited to bolt actions, even though the frames are modern steel.)
    flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo

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    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    Ok, then the issue is how much pressure the rifle is good for. Those days, black powder and plain base bullets was all there was. Unless you loaded with extremely fine grain powder and/or very light bullets, about 1600 fps was all you were gonna get. That equates to no more than 15,000 psi with your 230 grain bullet. The load-bearing parts of the action were sized accordingly. More can start some plastic deformation (peening) to appear. Maybe not so bad in your Winchester, but I can again point to Stevens 44 small-game rifles which "shoot loose" rather rapidly when loaded much above 15kpsi.

    The old lever-actions all locked up at the back of the bolt. High pressures can therefor actually stretch the receiver, because the receivers were of necessity made of low-carbon, low-tensile steel that was only case-hardened. Not until after 1900 could steelmakers offer alloy steels that could be forged and through-hardened reliably. First evidence is that headspace opens up. (T/C Contenders do this when people insist on barrelling them for cartridges better suited to bolt actions, even though the frames are modern steel.)
    I dont want anything crazy fps wise. I wouldnt mind staying under 2000. Maybe 1800 max. I reload with 3031, 34 grains, and cornmeal filler. Supposed to give about 1495fps.

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    Kev18,

    By your questions and responses in this thread it's clear you've not done much research yet on shooting cast. I would suggest to you that you need to spend some time reading the stickies so that you understand why the things that these people have told you are wrong, not just that they ARE wrong. It's a "teach a man to fish" kind of thing, and eventually, you can teach these other people why and how they are wrong.

    Just might end up with a casting buddy or two.
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"

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    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish View Post
    Kev18,

    By your questions and responses in this thread it's clear you've not done much research yet on shooting cast. I would suggest to you that you need to spend some time reading the stickies so that you understand why the things that these people have told you are wrong, not just that they ARE wrong. It's a "teach a man to fish" kind of thing, and eventually, you can teach these other people why and how they are wrong.

    Just might end up with a casting buddy or two.
    Jack of all trades, master of none.

    I try to be an all around handyman, but its hard to keep track of everything. Im no expert in lead, lead alloys, or barrel metals. Is there anything that You can recommend for a quick education on my issue? Or anything you can tell me?

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    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev18 View Post
    Jack of all trades, master of none.

    I try to be an all around handyman, but its hard to keep track of everything. Im no expert in lead, lead alloys, or barrel metals. Is there anything that You can recommend for a quick education on my issue? Or anything you can tell me?
    Kev
    You have a fine 120 year old rifle - plenty of fellers would "give their eye teeth" for one just like it - be happy with it - shoot it as it was intended - 250 grain boolit at 1500-1600fps is gonna do most things you want anyway - if it was me I would keep the alloy soft enough that you get a nice mushroom if you shoot it into a soft dirt bank at 100yards - if you can cover your group with a spread hand at that distance you will kill a deer - its good enough to knock a rabbit or a fox at 50 - and if you want to target shoot you can have a lot of fun for not much money and that old rifle will still be good enough to hand on to your offspring.

    If you cant get it shooting good enough to be satisfying 1) you could get the barrel relined 2) there is a bloke down in florida (I think) that will make a replacement barrel complete with the winchester markings - but those are options for later I reckon - take yr time wih this old gun

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    Kev
    You have a fine 120 year old rifle - plenty of fellers would "give their eye teeth" for one just like it - be happy with it - shoot it as it was intended - 250 grain boolit at 1500-1600fps is gonna do most things you want anyway - if it was me I would keep the alloy soft enough that you get a nice mushroom if you shoot it into a soft dirt bank at 100yards - if you can cover your group with a spread hand at that distance you will kill a deer - its good enough to knock a rabbit or a fox at 50 - and if you want to target shoot you can have a lot of fun for not much money and that old rifle will still be good enough to hand on to your offspring.

    If you cant get it shooting good enough to be satisfying 1) you could get the barrel relined 2) there is a bloke down in florida (I think) that will make a replacement barrel complete with the winchester markings - but those are options for later I reckon - take yr time wih this old gun
    It shoots great, but i was just wondering to add a bit more power to the bullet. I have some 260, 280 and now im waiting on a new 300 grain mold.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev18 View Post
    It shoots great, but i was just wondering to add a bit more power to the bullet. I have some 260, 280 and now im waiting on a new 300 grain mold.
    Go easy. The rifle is a historical treasure. Hot-rodding that Winchester reminds me of the old practice of stuffing Ford V8s into a MG TDs that was popular in the early '60s. Rich kid in my high school drove one his father had had built. The chassis couldn't take the weight. Something broke while he was sportin' about on a back road. Hit an embankment and killed his girlfriend. Worse, he destroyed an irreplaceable TD.

    Scrounge up a strong single-shot to rebarrel if you want to explore the power potential of smokeless powders in that cartridge. A High-Wall 1885 would be appropriate.
    Last edited by uscra112; 05-26-2019 at 08:50 PM.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    I wouldnt say I'm hot roddin anything. And im not a fan of adding stress to the rifle. I've been shooting it with factory ballistics and it's been working nice, so I guess it will stay like that for now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev18 View Post
    Jack of all trades, master of none.

    I try to be an all around handyman, but its hard to keep track of everything. Im no expert in lead, lead alloys, or barrel metals. Is there anything that You can recommend for a quick education on my issue? Or anything you can tell me?
    If you want a quick education in handloading, the stickies are the short cut. If that takes too much time for you, I highly recommend a different hobby.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  20. #20
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    If you want a quick education in handloading, the stickies are the short cut. If that takes too much time for you, I highly recommend a different hobby.
    Not handloading, id need something on the effects of fast bullets in old barrels.

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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