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Thread: Machining .41 rimfire short from bar stock

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Machining .41 rimfire short from bar stock

    I'm not a machinist, just a home tinkerer. But just for fun, I tried my hand at making a reloadable .41 rimfire short case for an 1870s Colt 3rd model derringer. After machining the case, I drilled an offset chamber for the .22 blank used as a primer. I test fired it in the little Colt and it went BANG

    Next up is to load it with black powder, a 126gr heel bullet and go to the range
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Nicely done! What mold are you using to get that pill? My 41 Long Colt 205gr can actually be seen in flight from my little Remington!

    Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by cwtebay View Post
    Nicely done! What mold are you using to get that pill? My 41 Long Colt 205gr can actually be seen in flight from my little Remington!

    Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk
    Its a .41 long colt bullet that I shortened. The loaded cartridge holds 8.0gr of 2F.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ndnchf View Post
    Its a .41 long colt bullet that I shortened. The loaded cartridge holds 8.0gr of 2F.
    Did you cut down the mold? Or each bullet?
    I was kind of toying with the idea of having a semi-pointed (is postell profile the term?) made for my derringer as well as the few 41 LC's that I have. More because they look better to me than the profile you have.
    What size of acorn blank are you using?

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Also - I have to compliment and thank you on your contributions to this subject Steve. I really enjoy your videos and description of making these old gals talk again.
    While I would REALLY like to actually manufacture obsolete rimfire ammunition - this is an a fun way to get to shooting my meager collection.

    Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    A friend sent me a handfull of .41 long colt heel bullets. I have correct bullets coming from Bernie at Old West Molds. I cut the .41lc bullets down in the lathe to 126gr. The heel is .100" long. Glad you enjoy my posts and videos - thanks. Steve

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    I forgot to mention, Im using a .22 cal starter pistol blank for ignition.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I have to I admire those who go to such lengths to shoot an old classic. Well done Sir. Regards Stephen

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    how did you seat the heads ? use a die set with shell holder, if so where did you get the die set? or did you tap them in with a mallet, or thumb push them in?

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by toot View Post
    how did you seat the heads ? use a die set with shell holder, if so where did you get the die set? or did you tap them in with a mallet, or thumb push them in?
    Do you mean how do I seat the .22 blank primer?

    I made a flat top blank seater that mounts on the press in place of a shell holder. I start the blank by hand, then I use a slightly oversize die that lets the case pass through, but stops on the rim. The .22 primer pocket is reamed to .224". The blanks are about .226", so they are a snug press fit. The flat top seater presses the .22 blank flush the with back of the case. This is an example of seating a ..22 blank primer in a .44 rimfire.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    I went to the range to try out my ONE shop made .41 rimfire short cartidge in the Colt 3rd model derringer. The little .32 rimfire short Remington ring trigger was brought along too for a comparison. The Remington had a fail to fire on one round. That turned out to be a dud .22 blank primer. No fault of the pistol.

    https://youtu.be/6PCpwSJAtXw

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I was able to grab a screenshot of the Colt derringer firing. The recoil was quite surprising. Its no wonder the chronograph didn't pick up the shot - it went way high from recoil. The bullet hole was about 10-12" above the aim point.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I mean how do you seat the lead head into the case? dies' or push it in with thumb pressure? the seating of the blank is great thank you for posting how you do it.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    The heel bullet can be seated by hand. I have a custom collet crimp die coming from Bernie Rowles. In the meantime, I use a loctite type product to get a firm chemical crimp.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master



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    You say you're not a machinist - but from the looks of it you're not far from it. I enjoyed the video, that's good stuff there!
    So many guns, so little time
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  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Nice work. A lathe opens up many opportunities.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    thank you for the reply, toot.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Thanks Fellas. I'm really not a machinist, just a home tinkerer who has learned to use a lathe. I've had this old lathe about 35 years, and screwed up a lot of stuff along the way. But I've learned how to use it for what I want to do. Here is another little thing I made - a .41 rimfire sizing die made from 7/8"-14 threaded rod. Its a little crude, but does the job.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    The .41 rimfire short collet crimp die and bullets came in last night from Bernie Rowles at Old West Bullet Molds. If you are going to load heel bullets, these are the only way to properly crimp them. I highly recommend these. Bernie makes them to your spec and they are a work of art. His prices and turnaround time are really good. I have 5 of them

    The heel on his bullets is around .388"-.391". The cut down .41 long colt bullets I've been using had a .382"- 383" heel. So first I had to make a simple expander plug to open the case mouth. Previously I'd made a .383" plug. Last night I made a .387" plug, but it wasnt quite big enough to get the heel started. So another was made, this time tapering from .387" to .391". This allowed the bullet to seat nicely.

    Next I really wanted to see if I could get more powder in the case. Original cartridges were loaded with 11 to 13gr of powder. With my solid head case, I knew 13gr was out of the question. Using a snipped off and emptied noise blank allowed a little more powder space because the powder can go into the empty blank as well as around it. I carefully weighed 11.0gr of Old Eynesford 3F and slowly drop tubed it into the case. It just barely fit! I then compressed it .125" (the bullet heel's depth).

    With the powder compresssed, the bullet was seated with thumb pressure. Then run into the collet crimp die.

    I now have one cartridge that duplicates a factory loading.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Looks great!! Looking forward to a video on your next range visit.

    Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk

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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