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Thread: 11MM Gras

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    11MM Gras

    A french Gras rifle came home with me from a gun show this past weekend. It needs some stock work but otherwise looks to be in good shape for a rifle coming up on its 138th birthday. Information for this cartridge is a bit on the slender side. The plan is to use the .43 Mauser RCBS mold that i have access to and open up a set of Lee .43 Mauser Dies. I plan to drive this with Black power or perhaps fun loads with trail boss. For cases i have on back order some of the reformed cases from Buffalo arms. What other options do i have? 8mm lebel gets me brass that is too short. .348 gets me longer brass but is too narrow at the case head and i need to file all the rims to fit the extractor.

    So who here loads and shoots for this old round? What kind of method do you use for brass and dies .etc? Any source for safe load data that you have?

    Thanks for reading.
    Your input and help are appreciated.

    .455

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    elk hunter's Avatar
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    Donnelly's book says use 348 brass. "Anneal case neck and taper expand to .450 diameter. Lathe turn base to .544" diameter. Build rim thickness to .08. Full length size. Square case mouth. Fireform."

    Apparently not too many folks here are loading for the Gras. Hope this is of some help.

    Let us know what you do and how well it works. Post pictures.
    BIG OR SMALL I LIKE THEM ALL, 577 TO 22 HORNET.

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub varifleman's Avatar
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    Here for your perusal is my Gras Model 1874/80 11mm rifle. Any help with the various proof/acceptance marks welcome since I'm new to French firearms. I seem to recall that the "Made in France" stamp indicates rifles France supplied to Czarist Russia in WWI and the Republican. I ordered a reloading kit from a French firm (11m brass; dies etc) and the reloaded ammo gives excellent results.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Very nice, varifleman, a real collector's item and should be great fun to shoot.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ooh that is a sharp looker. That made in France Mark is on mine also it seems to be on the batch interarms imported. Some have an acceptance mark from the Czar others do not. I have my eye on that French kit given the cost of factory dies and brass that looks like a good deal. What diameter are the slugs that came in the kit? What kind of groups are you getting?

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub varifleman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .455 Webley View Post
    Ooh that is a sharp looker. That made in France Mark is on mine also it seems to be on the batch interarms imported. Some have an acceptance mark from the Czar others do not. I have my eye on that French kit given the cost of factory dies and brass that looks like a good deal. What diameter are the slugs that came in the kit? What kind of groups are you getting?
    I've just shot it a few times and can't remember exact grouping; next time I shoot it I'll take some photos; I'll have to get the slug diameters and post them. I just checked the French reloading kit makers web site https://www.hc-collection.com/ and found reloading kit for then Chassepot but not the Gras.

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub Bouteselle's Avatar
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    Bertram produces cases, I don't know whether you can get some easily. For me, it ain't steady, and pretty expensive.
    I would personnaly use paper patch, furthermore I would save up on cases.
    Gras cartridges were originally loaded with a 380 grains bullet, backed by 85 grains of powder.
    Bullets were .433" / .434" unpatched, and about .442" patched.
    Tell me if I can be of any help.


  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy Argentino's Avatar
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    Almost any case suitable for .43 Spanish Remington or 11mm. Mauser (11.15x60R) would also work for 11mm.x59 Gras.

    The three calibers are very similar with slight differences in cases and bullet diameters.

    Perhaps the .43 Spanish is a tad smaller than the other two but cases are still usable and -as a rule of thumb- BP loads for any of them are quite similar.

    A bullet mould for a 11mm. Mauser would be a good starting point but I would slug the bore anyway. From which arsenal is your rifle? Almost all Ive seen are from Chatellerault.

    Argie.
    "Skill is acquired not alone through practice but through the combination of study and experience" - P. Sharpe

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub varifleman's Avatar
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    Argie;my rifle is from the Ste Etienne Arsenal.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    And mine is from Tulle Arsenal.

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    I have read on this board that the "Made in France" on surplus weapons of the era (Gras, Italian Vetterli, maybe others) was added when these were imported from Spain--the theory is they were supplied to Russia during WWI, then supplied by the USSR to the Spanish republicans during the Spanish Civil War before being imported by Interarms.

    You might want to see if your Gras will work with neck-expanded .348 brass before going through the other alterations. Mine works that way, and if you can avoid building up rim thickness and head diameter reductions, so much the better. I used a .446 bullet, which worked OK, but my grooves were around .454, so plan to try a heeled .446/.455 bullet when next I get around to shooting it. It's worth looking through old posts, as there should be much info about shooting these old guns. There seems to be a consensus (or at least common experience) that they shoot to the left--perhaps because they are regulated for shooting with that big ol' bayonet attached.

    --DJ

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by BP Dave View Post
    I have read on this board that the "Made in France" on surplus weapons of the era (Gras, Italian Vetterli, maybe others) was added when these were imported from Spain--the theory is they were supplied to Russia during WWI, then supplied by the USSR to the Spanish republicans during the Spanish Civil War before being imported by Interarms.
    --DJ
    Not a theory, this is in fact very true. The Gras rifles were first sold to Imperial Russia in WW1, then sold by Stalin along with other obsolete and current small arms, planes, tanks, artillery, etc., to the Spanish Republicans, in exchange for literally all of the gold in the Spanish treasury.
    In the 1950's, Val Forgett and Sam Cummings worked a deal with Franco to buy all of this surplus, and imported small arms into the US, marking some of them "Made in USSR" or "Made in France", etc., depending on the rifle. This was not a BATF requirement, but shrewd marketing directed at the mass merchandisers who sold surplus guns in department and hardware stores, Sears, Wards, etc.

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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