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Thread: Ideal 421183 .44 Merwin Hulbert with a Bevel Base?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's Avatar
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    Ideal 421183 .44 Merwin Hulbert with a Bevel Base?

    I bought this mold recently with the crazy idea of trying to get my Merwin Hulbert Army revolver up and shooting. It is chambered in .44 M&H, their proprietary cartridge. When I got it in hand I noticed it has a beveled base. Why would they make a mold for very much a black powder only revolver to cast a bullet with a bevel base? Could you order a mold special with alterations from Lyman/Ideal? Any images of this mold I have seen have a normal square base.

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master Oyeboten's Avatar
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    There's a Hand full of 1880s, 1890s Revolver Bullets / Boolits, which had and have the little Bevel on the base, and it makes no sense to me either, other than, it might aid in starting it in to the Case when re-Loading one's own Cartridges with the Hand Loading Tools of the Day.

    The .32-44 S & W Bullet is this way also if with a somewhat rounded version...and I forget now who else is...if I fan through my Molds I might be able to come up with a few more which have some version of that.

    It's not like feathering or irregularity on an otherwise flat Bottom would be an issue in Casting a 'Bottom Pour' Boolit, unless one were fairly poor at it...so...that feature of some Molds it's a mystery to me!



    Can we see a few images of your Merwin Hulbert?
    Last edited by Oyeboten; 11-15-2021 at 02:35 AM.

  3. #3
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    Try some out…….you might be in for a surprise!

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    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    A photo for the archives. Thanks!

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's Avatar
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    I will try some out when I figure what to use for brass. I am thinking .44 Mag or .44 Special and make a die to size them down. Not sure yet, not much out there on what others have done.

    What is weird is that they offered the mold this way. I have seen others of this mold number with the conventional squared base that you would expect for a BP revolver. I will likely end up taking the bevel out of the mold and making it into a square base.

    I will take some photos of the revolver and post them when I get a chance.

  6. #6
    .44 Special is about the right length, but you need to reduce the diameter, including the head, from .457-ish to about .440. I made up some dies out of bolts to swage down the head in steps and I then clean them up on a lathe; the swaging process usually leaves some attached brass shavings ahead of the rim. It might also be possible to size down to the head with your sizing die and then reduce the head on a lathe.

    You don't want to try to swage the case heads with your .44 Merwin/.44 American sizing die, as that is an easy way to crack an expensive die.

    .303 Savage brass is also a possibility--it is very close to what you need--just need to trim to length, but also may have to ream. A .303 Savage die can be your friend in the forming process--it will get you very close to your final dimensions, and since Lee is making them you're not risking a spendy sizing die if you go too far.

    One other thing you may discover, which I have never heard anyone else mention--the barrel can get pretty warm, and you have to grab it to open up a Merwin, so have some leather gloves handy.

    Good luck & have fun.

    --DJ

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's Avatar
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    Thank you for the info DJ. I have some 7/8”-14 threaded rod that I am going to make dies from on the lathe for swaging the cases down. I debated whether it needed to be done in multiple steps but was going to try it in one step. I am glad you mentioned that you do multiple steps to swage it down, I will do the same. I have never tried something like this before but am up for the challenge.

    Since you shoot a .44 M&H, is your cylinder chambers without a step? I can’t understand why they would make the bored straight through as if it were for a heeled bullet.

  8. #8
    I'd do multi-step reduction--17/1000ths is a pretty healthy reduction for all at once. I think common wisdom is maybe .005 per step, but you could probably go a little more depending on how you plan to mash the case into the die. You can also save material by making the dies double-ended. I use an arbor press I picked up fairly cheap--get more leverage than my Redding Max.

    For shooting I use a heeled bullet and an Old West crimper.

    The .421 might bump up enough if it's soft--I also don't think 1870's accuracy standards are the same as we expect today.

    All that said, I scrounged up some .303 Savage brass I plan to try--in a pistol it should be just about everlasting.

    --DJ

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Oyeboten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang View Post
    Thank you for the info DJ. I have some 7/8”-14 threaded rod that I am going to make dies from on the lathe for swaging the cases down. I debated whether it needed to be done in multiple steps but was going to try it in one step. I am glad you mentioned that you do multiple steps to swage it down, I will do the same. I have never tried something like this before but am up for the challenge.

    Since you shoot a .44 M&H, is your cylinder chambers without a step? I can’t understand why they would make the bored straight through as if it were for a heeled bullet.
    Cylinder should have a 'Step'...the .44 MH was an inside Lube Cartridge.

    Could someone have modified it along the way?

    What is your Barrel's "Groove to Groove"?

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's Avatar
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    Photos of my Merwin Hulbert

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  11. #11
    Very pretty--some of the nicest grips I have seen on a Merwin. If you're going to shoot it much, you might think about a pair of repro grips--it would be a shame to beat up the originals on the range.

    --DJ

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's Avatar
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    Groove to groove is .425. Cylinder throats are .442. Cylinders actually taper very slightly. From what little I can find these measurements are the correct ones.

  13. #13
    I measured a 1st model and a second model in .44 M&H. They have five-groove rifling, and I did not use a v-block, so there is some interpolation.

    The 1st model cylinders are pretty close to .442. There might be some slight taper, but it did not seem consistently present. Bore was .431/.427, but there is that interpolation at play due to the odd number of lands.

    The 2nd model cylinders were also all pretty close to .442, bored straight through.
    Grooves are about .432 or maybe .4325, so a little larger than yours.

    I'll be interested to hear how yours shoots.

    --DJ

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Oyeboten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang View Post
    Groove to groove is .425. Cylinder throats are .442. Cylinders actually taper very slightly. From what little I can find these measurements are the correct ones.
    Huh!

    My 'Pocket Army' the Groove-to-Groove is .425 also..and, it is in 44 - 40.

    I bet you could use erstwhile 44 - 40 Bullets if you wanted to...the ones I cast up are .427, and they chamber just fine.

    It makes no sense to me though that the .44 MH being an inside Lube Cartridge, would have the Cylinder bored "straight through' with no 'step'...they certainly knew better! So, hmmmm...it is puzzling...

    Are your Cylinder Chambers still showing Nickel plate inside to full length?

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Oyeboten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BP Dave View Post
    I measured a 1st model and a second model in .44 M&H. They have five-groove rifling, and I did not use a v-block, so there is some interpolation.

    The 1st model cylinders are pretty close to .442. There might be some slight taper, but it did not seem consistently present. Bore was .431/.427, but there is that interpolation at play due to the odd number of lands.

    The 2nd model cylinders were also all pretty close to .442, bored straight through.
    Grooves are about .432 or maybe .4325, so a little larger than yours.

    I'll be interested to hear how yours shoots.

    --DJ
    So...it is sounding like the 1st and 2nd Models when in .44 MH, the Cylinders were bored straight through...

    Wow...

    I am surprised they would have done that.

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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