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Thread: Remington Rolling Block 7 X 57 Conversion

  1. #1
    Boolit Master at Heavens Range
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    Remington Rolling Block 7 X 57 Conversion

    A couple of years back, I traded for a Remington Rolling Block receiver, which I believe to be a No. 5 receiver. When I received it, there was a 6" piece of the barrel still attached (the chamber end). When I checked its bore, it was .284 leading me to believe it was an Old Spanish 7mm or 7 X 57. This receiver is in EXCELLENT condition, showing no pitting or ill effects to the untrained eye.

    I purchased a new full octagon 34" heavy .458 barrel from Badger Barrels. I sent the gun to a highly recommended gunsmith who is currently completing the project. Will be chambered for .45/70. New barrel, forearm and butt stock from Treebone Carving, trigger work, mounting a 32" long, fixed 6 power Wm. Malcolm scope, bluing, etc. pretty much the whole works on a basic, not to get fancy budget job.

    Once it arrives, I will post some pictures.

    I went to my old copy of the Hodgdon's 2006 Annual Reloading Manual (the paperback magazine issue) and opening to page 86 I found load data with pressure numbers for the 7 X 57. I averaged the listed pressure for all 59 loads, which came out to be 45,737 CUP. Knowing that the receiver was designed for this pressure level, is there a major difference in going from a "bottleneck" to a straight wall cartridge as far as pressure is concerned. What about the "thrust" that comes back on the block, hammer and the pins that holds everything together?

    I enjoy long range shooting with real big boolits (500 - 550 grains) and would like to reduce the arch as much as possible. That is one of the main reasons for this project. Knowing that most try to keep "Trapdoor" loads below 28,500 to 29,000 CUP in pressure and that most "Lever Actions" loads are usually kept around or below the 35,000 CUP level, does anyone have any EXPERIENCE with a set up like this who could tell me what might be a safe maximum load.

    I had hopes of being able to shoot some loads in the 35,000-CUP range, but first of all SAFETY IS THE NAME OF THE GAME.

    Any feedback from those with experience and or gunsmiths would be deeply appreciated. I have been reloading for over 25 years and would like to be able to load for another 25 years.

    Thank you in advance for any feedback.

    Sniper Chief

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I had hopes of being able to shoot some loads in the 35,000-CUP range, but first of all SAFETY IS THE NAME OF THE GAME.
    Chief, look in your Lyman 48 or 49th Reloading manual. There are all the loading data for many 500+ gr bullets including PSI
    I enjoy long range shooting with real big boolits (500 - 550 grains) and would like to reduce the arch as much as possible.
    Shooting long range, ie out to 1000yds is not necessarily more accurate using 500+ gr lead bullets at high velocities. Depending on the bullet design, under 28,000 PSI with smokeless will allow the bullet to 'go to sleep' better

    I shoot several 500+ grain bullets using black powder at 800 - 900 - 1000yds and have found that they preform admirably at around 1200 fps
    Regards
    John

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Congrats I did a same project with a number 5 rifle the barrel was a sewer pipe and the wood bad but the receiver was fine. So I had my gunsmith rebarrel it with a Green Mountain Barrel in 45/70 32 inch full octagon barrel and I redid the wood by altering a blank Winchester stock to fit it I got from Numerich Gun Parts and I made the forarm from scratch. I emailed Steve Garbe the National Champion of Black Powder shoots with these sort of rifles and of SPG fame along with his magazine and he told me that these actions (The No 5) like we have are good safely easily for the bottom third loadings in the loading books for the Winchester/Marlin loads That is above the trapdoor range by a bit and are still plenty stout enough for anything you would need a 45/70 to do. As you know 45/70 loads are divided into three sections the Trapdoor section, the Winchester Marlin section, and the Ruger section. Staying in the bottom third of that Winchester section still gives me some nice loads. One other thing when I asked about this the comments came in to play about the face of the 45/70 being larger so that would make a difference in backwards thrust too compared to the 7x57. So I keep my loads moderate in that lower third part of the reloading books.
    A gun is like a parachute: If you need one and don't have one, you won't be needing one again.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master at Heavens Range
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    Mr. John Boy - Sir, sometimes it seems I might be a little slow to pick up on things - I have the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, Third Edition, by C. Kenneth Ramage, Editor. This is NOT the publication you are making reference to, i.e. (48th - 49th edition Reloading Manual) correct.

    One of the ways I wish to use this "long-gun" is to sit up on the side of the mountain and chunk large pieces of lead at coyotes at around 500 - 600 yards, and at this point in time, I am wanting to shoot smokeless to allow for lots of shooting and little mess. However, having said all that, if I understand you, the 48th/49th edition Reloading Manual should have some good BP load data and I will seek to acquire said publication. Thank you for the input.

    Lots to Learn - Sniper Chief.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master at Heavens Range
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    Mr. jh45gun - thank you very much for the information. When I get a little more time I want to ask a few more questions, specifically about your loads you are using. Would love to have more specific information about your loads to be sure I understand what you mean about the lower third of the reloading manuals.

    Thanks again - Sniper Chief.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Well I use the Lyman Cast bullet book and in it there are three sections for 45/70 Trapdoor and Winchester/Marlin and Ruger I use the lower third of the Winchester Marlin Loadings with some exceptions (My load of 25 grains of 2400) I consider the Number 5 action stronger than the black powder versions still due to the larger 45 case which makes a difference in thrust I would not consider the pressure CUP readings for the 7x57 or the 762x54 russian. Looking at the books Steve Garbe may have been a bit conservative as the pressure listings for the 7x57 can go up to 45 thousand plus CUP while the Lever guns go up to a little over 27 thousand CUP. Still there is the thrust factor of the larger based 45/70 over the smaller based 7 mauser though the Russian case does have a larger base being rimmmed I still Figure Garbe's advice is sound though I admit my load of 25 grains of 2400 is more than the bottom third of the listings and it works fine in my gun the first time I shot it I have only shot that load once but pressure signs were fine and I figure it duplicates my load that I used with 3031 which I tried to keep my loadings under 1500 since I am using the lee Hollow Based Bullet 405 grain sized .459. So I think if you keep your loads in the moderate loadings you should be fine. While these guns are old the modern rolling blocks are considered pretty strong yet folks caution shooting these guns with moderate loadings yet think nothing of shooting full strength factory ammo or reloads in the older lever guns like the 30/30 ect.There is no need to hot rod the loadings for these guns but in the same respect they can take more then the trapdoors can too. One other thing to consider is that we have guns with new barrels so all that steel surrounding the cartridge is new not a 100 years old. Still there is the thrust factor so that keeps the loadings on the milder side. The only reason I have tried the higher loading of 2400 was it was reccomended here if I remember right so I tried it and found it to be a good load and it is in the velocity area of the 3031 loading I was shooting keeping it under 1500 fps.

    Here is what Garbe told me take it for what its worth.

    The 1902 Remington I feel can be safely loaded to the low-end 1886 Winchester loads. You are right in your assumption that it is stronger than the Trapdoor by actually quite a wide margin. I would keep an eye on the firing pin as it may be slightly large.

    As an aside, the 1902 was chambered in .30-40 Krag...so much for it being weak!

    Hold center,

    Steve


    On this is what I based on using the lower third loadings listed in the books for the Win/Marlin listings though I admit my load using 25 grains of 2400 exceeds that as a higher listing yet it still keeps the velocity down so of course the powder beinging used makes a difference too so their are variables.
    A gun is like a parachute: If you need one and don't have one, you won't be needing one again.

  7. #7
    Boolit Man marlinman93's Avatar
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    The late model Rolling Blocks in .7mm are a bit better metal than early Rolling Blocks, and will be a great choice, especially in a .45-70 caliber.
    I hope you chose a Badger barrel with a twist rate somewhere around 1-18", or you might not stabilise the 500 gr. bullets. I've used a 1-18" on my Hepburn, and also my Ballard #4, both in .45-70 and they are the perfect twist rate in my experience.
    The 1-18" works super with 500-550 bullets, yet with light charges it will not overdrive a 360 gr. cast either.
    Can't wait to see the Roller when it's done! Are you going to have the receiver reshaped to octagon, or just leave it round top?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master at Heavens Range
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    Mr. jh45gun: Thank you so very much for this help. I have no intentions of pushing my .45/70 hard, but just wondering about the ability to SAFELY reduce the arch. I found Mr. Garbe's web site and I am going to look into purchasing some of his published material.

    If you have any suggestions of which I should get first, you would not hurt my feelings by suggesting a particular publication(s).

    Thanks again - you guys are super to help me as I step out in this new venture.

    Sniper Chief

  9. #9
    Boolit Master at Heavens Range
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    Mr. Marlinman93 - Yes Sir, Mr. Stallman at Badger Barrels cut this one at 1 - 16 twist. I do not remember suggesting to him that it be this fast, but I would rather have a problem of spinning a slug too fast than have the problem I have with another .45/70 I own that will not stabilize the Lee 500 grain spitzer-shaped "Postel" type bullet that I cast. I do not recall right now off the top of my head the mold number, but really do like the look of this monster. With wheel weights it cast around 530 grains and I know when I start cutting the w/w with some plumbers lead, that the weight will go down a little.

    I recently went to a metal recycle yard and purchased all the plumbers lead they had, 385 pounds of pure soft lead. I already have managed to collect around 600 pounds of w/w because my son-in-law and I both have some contacts at a couple of tire and tractor shops where for a little "thank-you-cash" on the side, the guys in the shop fill a couple of buckets for us.

    I have purchased the .45/70 bullet mold from Ranch Dog Molds that cast a .460 diameter round at approximately 430 grains. I am excited about the chance to shoot some of these babies in my new gun. There is 7 or 8 .460 driving bands on this bad boy and I cannot help but think this thing will shoot real straight in my Rolling Block.

    Guys, I also purchased the Lee Lead Hardness Tester Kit and think it is going to really help me to put together a lead/w/w mixture that with info from the hardness tester, I will know approximately the best velocity to push the round. I have a chrony and once I get the barrel broken in and things settle down a little for me, I hope to start some serious load development.

    My goal is a very small group of very large holes in one spot on the target. Next, knowing the velocity of that load, attempt to determine elevation adjustments for the next distance increment, i.e. 200, 300, 400, 500 yards, etc. out to around 1000 yards just to see how much elevation adjustment I will need for each distance with each particular load.

    Further thoughts run along the line of developing this data for probably a 300 grain, 350 grain, 405 grain, the 430 Ranch Dog and something in the 500 - 550 grain range. After all that "FUN" I hope to get up on the side of this mountain (ha, ha, ha, big bump in West Texas) and start throwing big chunks of lead at "Song-Dogs" from around 5 - 6 hundred yards and watching their expression when it hits.

    The gunsmith drilled the barrel for a Weaver scope base at my request because I have a scope that is 8 X 32 power, 50 mm adjustable objective with a lighted reticule that I hope to use for load development and I just might leave it on there until after my eye surgery. These old eyes need all the help they can get. I say old, I am only 55, but have had very sensitive eyes all my life and now I am developing caddiracks (spelling here) and must wait until they reach "that point" when the doctor will correct my problem.

    Oh, one last thing for now. When I sent my "pieces" to the gunsmith, I basically told him that I felt gunsmithing was an art, and I was not going to tell the artist what to do, I was just going to supply the canvas and he as the artist could do as he desired, as long as he did the few "must haves" we had talked about. This gentleman came so highly recommended and I was so impressed with him over the telephone, that I was totally at peace with doing just that. He was thankful for the trust and told me he would do his best not to disappoint me. I doubt very seriously that I would be disappointed with anything he does.

    I have only spoken to him 2 or 3 times since I sent the pieces and some money to him. In one of our conversations, he mentioned he had just finished with the barrel installation and that he had taken the liberty of changing the "Round Receiver" into an "Octagon Receiver" and that even if he did say so, he though it was turning out pretty nice. I am sure it is and I will be sure to post some pictures when I get a chance.

    Again, thanks to all you guys for helping me along the way. May you all have a great Summer, may you find a stash of powder for a great price (and have the cash to make the buy) and may you be granted with an extended period of time to burn that powder up.

    Caution - I will be back. Thanks - Sniper Chief

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Not sure how much info Steve's articles will give on smokeless I think he mostly shoots black but I could be wrong.
    A gun is like a parachute: If you need one and don't have one, you won't be needing one again.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    One BP guru stated once that trajectory is really not tht much of an issue in long range shooting as the wind. You can set your sights for any range but the wind is much more deceptive. No 45-70 load is going to shoot flat at the ranges being discussed and the range has to be known to do any type of hitting. Many black powder shooters enjoy and advantage of very low variance, such as about 10 fps between loads and consider that an advantage over smokeless.

    Northmn

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Sounds like a great project gun, using all the best stuff.....In time you will probably realize,(like the rest of us) that BP is the best way to go for best accuracy in which case you don't have to worry about your action strength. If hunting and cleaning at the same time is a concern, I would suggest you try duplex loads using 90 % black on top of 10% 4759 or RL-7. You can hunt/shoot all day without cleaning, just a cleaning when you're done. You'll get BP accuracy, more vel., and a cleaner gun that allows repeated loadings without chamber fouling.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master McLintock's Avatar
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    Sniper Chief,
    Sounds like you'll end up with something about like this one, a former 1902 7MM that now has a Badger barrel from a C. Sharps, in 38-55 on it and Trebone wood. The action's been streamlined and the hammer sporterized like the original Remington Sporting rifle, but they turn out pretty nice.


    For a loading source, order one of the books specific to the 45-70 from Midway or Brownell's. It will have loads for 3 different strengths of actions, several different commercial moulds and all kinds of powders. Should give you all the info you'll need, but 50 grs of 3031 with a 385-400 gr bullet has always been a good '86 Winchester load, so should work in the Roller.
    Good luck with it,
    McLintock
    Last edited by McLintock; 06-03-2009 at 03:49 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    50 grs of 3031 with a 385-400 gr bullet has always been a good '86 Winchester load
    That would be over a max load in the Lyman books so are you saying that the Roller will take full charge Winchester/Marlin Loads? I know they are stronger than a trap door but I felt that max loads might be a bit stout for this action even though my 2400 load is max the velocity is down from the load your suggesting 1500 fps abouts for the 2400 load to over 1700 fps for the 3031 again looking at the thrust angle.
    A gun is like a parachute: If you need one and don't have one, you won't be needing one again.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master McLintock's Avatar
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    The book I'm talking about is titled "The Complete Loading Manual for the 45-70 Government" and it covers actions from the Trapdoors to the Ruger #1, jacketed and lead bullets, and all types of powders.
    It lists the Rolling Block with the Trapdoors, but specifies the blackpowder models, it doesn't address the 1897 or 1902 versions. But, as they were extensively chambered for the 7 MM, it would stand to reason that their pressure limits are higher than the earlier guns, all the 7MM's were loaded to at least 40,000 cpu's I'd think.
    So, based on this assumption, going to this book, and with a Lyman 457643, 49+ grs of 3031 at 1762 fps, it gives a pressure of 26,300 cpu's; that's an '86 load. In a Univeral chamber and with 56+ grs of 3031 and a 420 gr Lyman at 1996 fps, it lists 35,600 cpu's. 500 gr Lyman bullet with 52.0 grs of 3031 gives 34,700 cpu's. In the Accurate Powder section of the book, the highest pressure they came up with for a 400 gr jacketed bullet at 1926 fps was 28,000 cpu's, not extremely high. The IMR, Hogdon and Hercules pwder sections didn't list too many pressure for their powders; the pressures for the Lyman bullets listed above came out of the Lyman bullet section.
    Guess you just have to follow your own instincts on whether to trust this manual or not. As for me, I'm shooting Swiss 1 1/2 in mine, so it's a moot point to me.
    McLintock

  16. #16
    Boolit Man marlinman93's Avatar
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    You can't load a Roller to that high of pressure, (40,000cup) even an action that was once a 7mm action. The 7mm back in 1902 is not the same 7mm loaded later on, and that is why many of these early 7mm Rolling Blocks had a reputation for shooting loose.
    Early 7mm ammo was not only a bit different, but did not run in the 40,000 range either. Keep your loads down in the 30,000 (or less) range and your Roller will last forever.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master McLintock's Avatar
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    According to Cartridges of the World, newest edition, the original 7MM military cartridge from Spain and other countries fired a 175 gr bullet at 2300 fps. Various other early military rounds shot lighter bullets at various speed but all were at least 2300 and Uraguay's round was a 142 gr at 2740 while Brazil and Columbia used a 139 gr at 2950 fps.
    If you go to the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, loads for the 7 MM have pressure readings listed for them, most of my other books do not, so I'm using it for my source. Heaviest bullet they use is a 162 gr cast, and they show velocities from 1400 to 2449 with this bullet. Lowest pressure is 36,000 and highest is 42,800 cpu, with a max load of 32 gr of RL-7 giving 2235 fps and 41,900 cpu. There are 6 powders with velocities over 2000 fps and all 6 are over 40,000 cpu. Going to my 41st Edition of the Lyman Manual, it gives loads for the 175 gr jacketed (which the originals all were) and suggested and max loads. All the suggested loads were 50 fps either side of 2300 fps. This comparison suggests to me that probably the original load was very close to 40,000 cpu, and maybe over, and I'm sure most of the original loads were fired in the 7 MM Rolling Blocks irregardless of the pressure.
    But, Frank de Hass, in Single Shot Rifles and Actions, agrees that only low to moderate pressure rounds be used in the Rollers, and preferably a rimmed case. Since the 45-70 fits this criteria and the '86 loads fit the pressure criteria, I'd say it'd be safe to use the '86 loads and not just the Trapdoor type loads, at least for a 1902 action. Frank goes on to say that with higher pressure loads, the action isn't unsafe but due to tolerance stack up in the pins and breechblock, excess headspace and case streching can be an issue, but that a rimmed case deminishes or negates this somewhat. Anyway, 'ya pays your money and takes 'yor pick, your call.
    McLintock

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Only thing I would think to look for McClintock is the thrust factor which I brought up before since the 45/70 rimmed case is so much bigger then the 7mm case meaning the case head takes up more space on the breech block. I do agree with you that the 1902 actions are a lot stronger then a trapdoor and probably will take most of the 86 loads ok as long as they are in the 28000 cup area of pressure. how much that thrust issue has to do with it I do not know only that it was brought up to me as an issue when I first got my Roller built.
    A gun is like a parachute: If you need one and don't have one, you won't be needing one again.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by McLintock View Post
    According to Cartridges of the World.....

    COTW is not a reliable source of load data or pressure data. You should certainly not trust your life to COTW as being ~gospel~.

    Turn to the page for the 8x58R Danish cartridge. When you read the performance levels and note they generally exceed modern .30-06 to a degree that will raise your eyebrows then I want you to think about the 1889 Swedish rolling block chambered in the 8x58RD cartridge and putting a 46,412 psi cartridge in the chamber and firing that 1889 rifle with its re-case hardened receiver and new forged breechblock and hammer and remembering the receiver was originally manufactured anywhere from 1867 to about 1875.

    COTW used as reference.. apparently its only reference... CIP maximum average chamber pressure which is 3200 BAR (46,412 psi at sea level).

    Did COTW take into consideration the fact that CIP did not consider the 1889 Swedish rolling block when coming to the determination of this 3200 BAR?

    No. They did not. As far as CIP is concerned the 1889 Swedish rolling block never entered the equation. Nor will it for the 7mm rolling block. COTW also printed erroneous velocity data of Norma factory ammunition further reinforcing their primary errors in the safety of 3200 BAR in any firearm chambered for 8x58RD.

    However the number of people who quote COTW for pressure information for the 1889 Swedish rolling block in 8x58RD (and others) are putting their lives at risk by repeating erroneous information without double and triple checking that one single source of bad data.

    Norma of Sweden knows more about the 8x58RD in the 1889 rolling block than any body any where. You know what pressure they loaded their factory ammunition to?

    1950 BAR or 28,660 psi.

    http://dutchman.rebooty.com/8x58rd.html

    I had email with a ballistician at Accurate Arms who provided load data to a person who inquired about loading for the 8x58RD and that "professional" and "experienced" ballistician looked up the maximum average chamber pressure in the CIP sheet and saw 3200 BAR and proceeded to give out load data that was patently unsafe in the 1889 rolling block. He read COTW, too, and never thought beyond the false words before his eyes and merely repeated it as if he had no mind of his own with which to discern safety from danger, prudence from imprudence.

    Be the prudent handloader and heed the words of dear Norma.


    Dutch

  20. #20
    Boolit Master McLintock's Avatar
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    I didn't know this thread was about anything concerning the 1889 Swedish Rolling Block or the 8X58RD cartridge. I don't have one, don't want one and don't know anything about either one, so if it had been, I wouldn't have said anything. The only thing I quoted from COTW was the original military loads for the 7X57 and it did not include any pressure readings. I got the pressure reading from acknowledged reloading guides, i.e. The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook and the Complete 45-70 Reloading Manual, which had data from most major reloading sources and component makers. So, my question is, what's the point and what the hell is XXXXBAR, you lost me there.
    McLintock

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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