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Thread: Gewehr 71 Paper Patching

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Gewehr 71 Paper Patching

    Hello all, I have a paper patching question in relation to German Gewehr Model 1871.

    Unlike it's updated version Model 71/84, the groove diameter is larger on the 71. My chamber casting (cerrosafe) measures 0.4550" groove diameter. The chamber is pretty tight and 0.4760" at the case mouth and its 0.4665" at beginning of freebore. It's not possible to seat a bullet sized to groove diameter into the case successfully. I think all this is pretty well known. Assuming for the sake of simplicity that my cerrosafe measurements are the unshrunk values, and also assuming brass thickness of 0.015", the largest bullet that fits with 2 thou neck tension is 0.448".

    My question is this: I've seen a few people casually mention that paper patching the bullet is one of the solutions for this situation. Is a paper patched bullet that measures 0.448" total better than a grease-grooved bulelt sized to 0.448" for this scenario? If it is, could you help me understand why?

    thanks!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    The guns were designed to use a dead-soft swaged bullet, paper patched. The bullets were significantly undersized, by current-day standards. The soft lead was expected to obturate into fouled rifling on firing. This is why the chamber necks are so small.

    I've torn down several original rounds to verify this.
    Eleutheromaniac

  3. #3
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks uscra112 for the historical information.

    What I'm still not understanding is why would a bullet paperpatched to 0.448" be better than a GG bullet sized to 0.448" ? If they are the same diameter and fit in the case and both are soft lead, why are some people saying that PP is the solution to the undersized bullet problem? Do PP bullets fill out grooves much better than a similarly sized GG bullet?

  4. #4
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Good question. Would an ungrooved PP bullet seal better than a greasy one, all things being equal? I can't think of any reason why. All I can add for history's sake is that the OEM paper-patched bullet is smooth-sided, rather than grooved, and the paper was thin, as compared to current practice. And that they were apparently dipped in beeswax for waterproofing after the round was assembled.

    Did Mauser learn a lesson with the 71? i.e. that the grooves were too deep; hence the shallower grooves used in the 71/84? Might seem so. Given that you can't make the grooves any shallower, the solution for the problem is to ream the neck bigger. (Thus requiring a different set of dies, of course. )

    Hopefully someone who's actually been shooting a 71 will chime in. I have only a 71/84 which, aside from having had the stock rather heavily sanded, is absolutely mint, and I've been forever reluctant to deflower it. It's been a safe queen for well over 20 years, along with all the stuff I bought for it when I first acquired it. (Anal I am, about things like that. Gestalt complex. A common mental deformity among collectors.)
    Eleutheromaniac

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    This is starting to sound like an interesting experimental project

    I'm getting into Mausers and hope to start a collection focused on the progression of design updates. Unless I find a 71 Jaeger (Which is what I really wanted but cant find) or G98 depot "coversion" K98, a 71/84 might be my next target.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    That's about where I am. One of everything up to the 98. Except a 71. All sporters except the 71/84.
    Eleutheromaniac

  7. #7
    I would pull an original round to pieces, and then duplicate it. All your questions will be answered. Olde Eynsford 1 1/2F powder would be the best to start with.
    Paper patched bullets will have the best chance of shooting acceptably in any given barrel - this is not a target rifle, but a service rifle.

    I have seen the above approach work wonderfully with Martini Henrys, which all the experts seem to think need to be loaded with weird and wonderful concoctions and oversized bullets.

    Feed 'em what they were originally meant to be fed, and they'll probably shoot for you.

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold
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    thanks curdog007, I'll probably be shooting it with Swiss 1.5s since that's what I have a lot of.

    Still the historical aspects of the round doesn't answer my question. Why would pp bullets work better than gg bullets, both at the same diameter, for deep grooved barrels. I hear and read lots of anecdotes but have yet to see documented results/evidence or an explanation. If I had the extra monies for moulds I would love to investigate this. But I thought I would take the lazy option first and just ask lol

    From my understanding, historically smooth sided bullet was preferred because you can easily swage those. And to avoid leading they undersized the bullets to paper patch it. So did the militaries of the world pick pp over gg due to ease of manufacture or accuracy? Like you said, its for a service rifle so I could easily imagine them deciding on the basis of "good enough is good enough."

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    I will weigh in as I have both '71 and 71/84 and a host of others that share the same dimensional situation; i.e. can't seat a bullet big enough to fill the grooves. I am not sure it makes any difference, gg or pp except for the effect of lubrication-or lack of. A PP won't lead your bore. The Mauser ammo has a grease cookie between two cardboard disks under the bullet to keep the fouling soft, as do others. So, how are you going to lube the first shot? And what will be the impact? Acceptable ? to you?
    It's hard to say why anybody did what they did. American contemporary's used no inside lube or PP (45-70, 50-70, 43 Spanish). Swiss 41 rimfire used no lube but a PP applied over the seated bullet and case mouth. Clearly that was not going tp support the whole bullet in the bore. Russian 43 used a PP. and on and on.
    You want to test this, I have a bunch of molds in this size, more/less. I was using original brass then and could get Berdan primers. Not these days.
    I think you should give it a go and tell us what you learned. If you lube the gg'd, be sure to fill the grooves consistently.

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    thanks ascast! I'll need to save up some funds to gear up (don't even have brass yet!) but I think this would be a fun project



    From the many helpful posts here and also based on the fact that this thread has been viewed by lots of people, no doubt many experienced in PPs, but not too many responses, I'm coming to a tentative guess that paper patching is not a "solution" to the tight chamber/large groove diameter problem. It's just the way it's been historically done by the Germans for this rifle. I guess an objective experiment is the only way to really know!
    Last edited by Obi2winky; 09-19-2020 at 08:20 PM.

  11. #11
    The paper wrapped bullet will bump up to fill the grooves with black powder. Don't worry about it.

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    Yep, I know that. But wouldn't a soft lead GG bullet bump up also?
    Therefore my question, why would people claim that the PP would be better at filling the groove than the GG? Not looking for an argument. I genuinely want to know if PP has better bumping characteristics than a GG. That really is the most simple version of my question.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    As I posted earlier, I can't think of a reason why a greasy bullet wouldn't bump up just as well. But all the grease grooves must be full, or the obturation will all occur at the grooves and very little if any at the lands.

    Spitballin' here: That's a pretty long barrel. A greasy bullet would need to carry enough grease to make it all the way to the muzzle. PP doesn't have that problem.
    Eleutheromaniac

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    You have a good point. I've seen the kinds of grease grooves black powder cowboy shooters use for their lever actions. Those have short barrels and the grooves are massive! This point may make the comparison very tricky...

  15. #15
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Along that line if thinking - what are the guys shooting BP buffalo rifles at long ranges using?

    Not a few of the buffalo hunters used paper-patch bullets in rifles designed for them. If you can find it, there was a real interesting article in the Rifleman many years ago by Col Frank Meyer, who was one of the last survivors of that breed himself. I think I remember him writing that he ordered his bullets by the thousand, patched from the factory.

    Y'know, another interesting source would be Paul Matthews' "The Paper Jacket". Out of print, but you can find numerous used copies for sale on Alibris:

    https://www.alibris.com/booksearch?k...&hs.x=0&hs.y=0
    Last edited by uscra112; 09-19-2020 at 11:39 PM.
    Eleutheromaniac

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    I was thinking about this last night, thought I would/should mention that most PP will boast/post substantially higher velocity, like 1300 vs 1700 fps. That should mean better accuracy at longer range. Then you have to ad in the cost. I read somewhere that PP'ing was done by women and girls because they generally have more nimble fingers. I recall they could do 1`0 rounds per minute, IIRC. They must have had faith in it as that would be a lot of extra cost.

  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    Look at it from a manufacturing standpoint. A smooth sided paper patched bullet has simpler construction compared to a grease groove bullet and can be easily swaged in great quantity on the equipment available in the 1870s. Labor back then was dirt cheap, which justifies the very minuscule cost of patching by hand.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Not to mention a wax dipped PP bullet won't pick up dirt like a grease groove bullet if the lube is exposed. GG should be fine for the target range, but PP would be better for the battlefield.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi2winky View Post
    Yep, I know that. But wouldn't a soft lead GG bullet bump up also?
    Therefore my question, why would people claim that the PP would be better at filling the groove than the GG? Not looking for an argument. I genuinely want to know if PP has better bumping characteristics than a GG. That really is the most simple version of my question.
    I'm just an onlooker here but my question is how many people with an opinion on this have even tried GG boolits cast from pure soft lead ? or the same lead as the PP ones they use - they are difficult to cast nicely and would be more so in a factory situation where as the swage process is the reverse - difficult for us at home but easy and fast in a factory --could be part of your answer as far as the bumping up part goes ????

    Lots of other considerations as to why they did it --fr instance who is gonna lose useful field accuracy first PP or GG ?
    Last edited by indian joe; 09-22-2020 at 06:02 PM.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Good point! All of us who cast will invariably add some tin to get decent fillout. Swaging of course doesn't need (or want) any alloying metals.
    Eleutheromaniac

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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
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