Wednesday, September 19, 2007

.50 caliber cases to .45-75 - UPDATED

Well, I received both the .50-90 Sharps cases I ordered from MidwayUSA and 6 .43 Egyptian cases (converted from .50-70 cases) from Don in Fort Laramie, WY. Thanks again Don. Of course these cases have the same rim diameter but are too large for the .348 Winchester and .45-75 shell holders. I went to my dealer and bought a RCBS #31 shell holder for these cartridges. First I tried running the already partially reformed to .45-75 .43 Egyptian case and found another problem. That .50-70 base is just too much for the Lee full-length sizing die. Can't get far enough down the base to fully form the cartridge. I'm for sure not going to try this with the .50-90 as the case heads are the same diameter. Best not to waste more cases than necessary! More thinking is required.

UPDATE 9-18-07

I finally hit upon a lube method that did permit me to both insert the trimmed .50-90 brass in the full-length sizing die and to remove it but the case necks had horrible lube folds. Annealing is next, I didn't want to do that but can't afford not to with brass at these prices!

UPDATED 9-19-07

Man, I'm just so excited! As so often happens a thing isn't impossible to do but one has to hit on the technique to make it possible given the tools available. I knew that I could reform the .50-90 brass but hadn't hit on the technique necessary.

As can be seen in the above pic, I can now reform the .50-90 (and this means the .50-70 and .50 AK as well) brass to .45-75. What's best NOW is that I can do it in a single lever stroke in the full-length resizing die. I think the base is still a bit of a problem, but with differential lubing (and some folks with good lube to begin with won't need to do this) a trimmed case can be run into the die in one stroke and go get 'em. This is without annealing!

So what is differential lubing? Well, what I'm doing is lubing the trimmed .50-90 case with my usual RCBS lube on the lube pad. Then I'm shielding the top half of the case with my fingers (one could use paper if doing a number of cases at once) and spraying with the RCBS spray lube. That lube on the whole case produce the lube dents seen in the case second from the right in the below photo (labeled "with lube dents").  (NOTE: The only thing with .50-90 brass is that the rim diameter MUST be reduced so that the cartridge will enter the magazine tube.)

This really makes using the .50 AK brass more cost effective. With the .348 brass being about 1/2 to 3/4 the cost you can save in a lot of time in converting a lot of brass. I want to have a lot of one load loaded because I want to use the gun as I would any other gun and that means having brass to have ammo loaded for everything from plinking to groundhogs to deer. That's a lot of case forming. I'm not going back to reforming .348 Win unless I run out of everything else. I will have to try the Jamison if it comes back on the market or Starline if they ever produce it but I can see being able to have enough ammo to truly use the gun. I'm really chuffed about it!

I now have 250 of the Starline .50 Alaskan cases on order. These are enough longer than the .50-70 to give me full-length .45-75 cases but cost $.07 less each when compared to the .50-90 Sharps case. Oh, if somebody only made a form and trim die for the .45-75, now that would be usable with this brass. Just as with a .30 Herrett, one could simply lube the .50 AK case, run it up in the die, cut it off with a hacksaw and file, remove, chamfer and load. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Ok, to summarize the steps...
1 - trim .50-90 or .50 AK case to 1.88" using tubing cutter. Be careful because technique is required here as well.
2 - differentially lube the case.
3 - run the case into the .45-75 full-length sizing die.
4 - remove lube (I use alcohol pads, I like ALL the lube off my cases).
5 - final trim
6 - LOAD!

No comments: