Monday, January 30, 2006

Some couple of weeks ago I was challenged on what I'd presumed was common knowledge that the pressure limit for the trapdoor action was 28K PSI. I've been working on this assumption for years. Now, I don't have a Trapdoor but I do have a Contender and it was generally conceded that the Contender should be limited to the same pressures as the Trapdoor. Interestingly, that 28K PSI translates to the maximum breach thrust permissible in the Contender action.

Anyway, I've been researching this and found that several loading manuals recommend 28K PSI as about the max for the trapdoor action (and by extension, the Contender). First is the IMR Smokeless Powder Reloader's Guide. My copy is the revised in 2005 and shows 28K PSI and 27,400 CUP as the maximums for the Trapdoor. Interestingly, both measurement systems are shown. I believe that the newer data is shown in PSI and the older in CUP but I've not been able to verify that yet.

Ken Waters states in Pet Loads that 18K CUP is the pressure to which factory ammo is reportedly loaded. I've read elsewhere that the max average pressure to which factory ammo is loaded is 21K CUP

Speer #11 says that the industry standard is 28K CUP.

The TC Load Book shows no pressure info but does show the max charge of H322 with a 300 gr. Hornady FP to be 54.7 gr. This is about 18K CUP in the Hogdon manual. However, the Hogdon manual goes to 28K CUP for both Trapdoors and pistols (presumably Contenders).

Now the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, Inc. (SAAMI for short) is the standard setter for ammunition. Now, if they say that a maximum average pressure of 28K PSI is the standard for the .45-70...

Although one should be circumspect about internet data (look at Wikpedia's recent brooha for proof of this), there are some well thought out sources which bear consideration. This article is one that somebody interested in this subject just might consider.

My conclusion? That 28K CUP is a reasonable maximum average pressure for the .45-70. I will remember that every firearm needs to be evaluated for safety PRIOR to use.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Just a couple of quick notes so as not to lose data (I'll add to this later)...

Under the 90 gr. Sierra JHC in the .32 H&R there was a noticeable amount of unburned Lil'Gun remaining. I must now try using the CCI 550 (magnum) primers.

The fine fellow who sold me the revolver recommends 4 gr. of Unique under the Meister 94 gr. in the .32 H&R case. I'll have to try that as he has high praise for that load. I see that Alliant recommends 4.0 gr. of Unique under the 98 gr. RN.

I shot offhand (duelist) with both Single-Sixes today. The aggregate target is pictured. I think it demonstrates that the gun is capable of good accuracy with certain loads. I also think that while I could put as many as 4 good shots on target I was pretty shaky sometimes. I particularly find the "hook" in the lower left hand corner funny. I demonstrates that grip consistency is particularly important with the SA grip.

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Loads used in the .32 H&R were: 85 gr. XTP over 12 gr. Lil'Gun .32 H&R mag cases; 90 gr. Sierra JHC over 11.5 gr. Lil'Gun .32 H&R mag cases; 94 gr. Meister cast over 2.3 gr. Bullseye. Loads used in the .22 LR were the Winchester Power Point and the old Junior steel cased RN. Temperature was about 33 degrees Farenheit, wind was about 5-15 mph from 3-4 o'clock.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Winchester Closing

Apparently USRAC/Winchester will close the New Haven, CT plant effective March 31, 2006. Production of the M94, M70 and M1300 will end for an indefinite period. Now, that is sad. How in the heck will USRAC continue without production of these traditional firearms (the M94 and M70)? Will some US firm buy out the rights to these and begin producing them again? I suppose we can only hope so. Perhaps one might invest in M94s or M70s as suits your preferences.

Another change to the order of things this year is that, according to Handloader magazine, Hogdon will drop H4227 in favor of IMR4227. Now, we all expected that a consolidation or simplification of the two powder lines would occur but I sort of expected that H4227 would stay. Apparently IMR4227's sales far exceed the Hogdon product. Guess I need to lay some back...

Monday, January 16, 2006

I finally got the two Single-Sixes to the range (see the earlier post(s)). Of course I had to create some ammo for the .32 H&R in order to do any shooting in quantity. It was cold and windy at the range and the 25 yard "handgun" range was full but the regular 50-150 line was empty so that is where I went. I set up my targets at 50 and proceeded to bang away. I really NEEDED the stress relief. No chronograph was used.

Ammo used in the .32 was the .32 S&W Long loaded with 2.3 gr. Bullseye under the Meister 95 gr. PB cast, the Federal factory.32 H&R 85 gr. HP and 95 gr. SWC loads and 12 gr. of Lil'Gun under the Hornady 85 gr. XTP-HP. This sure looks like the bullet used in the Federal ammo!

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.32 S&W Long loaded with Meister bullet and .32 H&R Magnum loaded with 85 gr. XTP flank the bullets used so far.

As a matter of fact the Lil'Gun load has noticeably more oomph than the factory 85 gr. load. My first cylinder-full was the S&W Long load and it grouped into about 4" at 50 yards but a full 3-4 inches to the left of the POA. The next load was the Federal factory and the 6 shots fired put 5 on the groundhog vitals sized Shoot'n'See target. The next 6 shots were the Lil'Gun load which put 6 shots into about 3" and again, 3-4 inches to the left and slightly below POA. Most of the rest of the 50-60 rounds was fired at rocks and bottles left on the range by others. It wasn't all that difficult to make the occasional hit on the plastic gallon jug at 100 yards. This gun is lots of fun and recoil isn't a factor even in the light Single-Six.

Then I broke out the .22. I had only Long Rifle ammo along and this was that old Russian manufactured steel cased crap. I was slightly surprised that every round went bang. In fact, the first 50 yard group, while not on target, went into just 3"! Now that was surprising. Then, the next 6 shots joined them and I went back to plinking rocks and such out as far as possible.

Both guns are going to be enjoyable. I think this was money well spent!

Boxes are necessary, at least in my mind, for the correct storage of ammunition. I found that the MTM 9mm box works for the .32 S&W Long as I've loaded it. At least it often does. I've boxes of different vintages and at some point the molds must have changed as some boxes are a shade too shallow to work but others work although things are tight. A .38 Special/.357 Mag box was used for the .32 H&R Magnums but it is overly deep. I'm not one to enjoy the slopping about of ammo in the box.

Friday, January 13, 2006

.32 H&R Magnum and the Single-Six

The .32 H&R Magnum Single-Six has arrived and is as described. The fine fellow who sold the gun described it to a "T".

These 2 single-actions cover just about any task.

Well the first thing I needed to do was get some ammo. One NEEDS ammo after all. With the revolver I received about 100 Starline cases, a few 85 gr. Hornady XTP and several hundred 95 gr. cast bullets. I already had bought a box of the Sierra 90 gr. JHC and a box of the 100 gr. Hornady XTP. I've also ordered some 100 gr. Beartooth cast LBT style bullets. On hand, I had just a couple of the .32 S&W, about 60-70 (I forgot to count) .32 S&W Long and just 1 (yes ONE) .32 H&R Magnum case.

Left to Right - .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long and .32 H&R Mag cases showing differences in length.

I already have the necessary powders. Bullseye will obviously fill any light target load requirement and Unique and Lil'Gun will be tried for the heavier loads. I've got expectations for Lil'Gun!

It is likely that standard small pistol primers are all that will be required even for Lil'Gun. I'll have to see though as the .357 Mag requires the mag primers for some loads though not for others.

I also needed leather for the new guns and while I'm debating on an El Paso Saddlery Tom Threepersons for both of the 5½" Single-Sixs (I can use the same holster for both) I can carry the revolvers in the same Simply Rugged Alaskan Sourdough Pancake I got for the New Vaquero. Might not fit perfectly but works well!

A Single-six in the Simply Rugged Holster

Monday, January 09, 2006

The .32 Single-Six is enroute and I had to go out and buy some ammo and bullets. Couldn't wait. Isn't that always the way of it?

This should be an interesting gun and cartridge. It has the potential to be a great deal of fun and useful for training the grandson.

What I really need to do is finish cleaning up the reloading area. I've gotten a lot done but it isn't finished.

I also need to finish those projects I've been meaning to get to. Perhaps if we have more cold weather I'll be more inclined to stay inside and do them. I also have NON-shooting stuff to do.

The county in which I reside now has a bounty on coyotes. $75 1 Jan to 1 May, $50 1 May on. Limit to $5000 paid to any one individual. They have limited hours during which they process for the bounty and clip the ears. So, I'm thinking that if I can learn to hunt coyotes AND get access to them I might make enough to buy another gun. Yeah, right! We'll see.

There are a lot of forums and web sites dedicated to this sort of thing.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Well, today I became the proud owner of my third and fourth single-actions.

One is a Ruger New Model Single-Six .22 Convertible 5½". I took it home today and have been looking for a while. Paid $280.  Although I intended to use it mostly in the .22 LR mode I've found that I really like the .22 WRFM cylinder and loads.  I don't have another .22 WRFM handgun and it seems to fill a need.

The other is a Ruger New Model Single-Six .32 H&R 5½". Paid $375. It was purchased from a fellow in PA and hasn't arrived yet. Heck the FFL and MO just went out today! It should come in next week and I'll pick it up then. Can't find the .32s around here, at least not with the adjustable sights. Folks must like them!  It should prove pretty useful even when using the .32 S&W Long as a bunny load.  I'm sure the .32 HR will do well even on game as large as coyotes. 

I actually planned on getting the two in 5½" length so that they would use the same holster.  Both are show here with my New Vaquero.