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Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by greybeard 1, May 15, 2012.

  1. greybeard 1

    greybeard 1 New Member

    Need help-- Recently bought 1883 .44 Reichrevolver (Gunsmith Tested) -I have Starline .44 Russian Cases --I have .44 LRN 250 grain bullets from Lyman mold 429383--and a Lee Reloading Press--Can anyone please advise safe load of Pyrodex P for basic shooting---first attempt at reloading----first question
  2. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

    I am not any sort of authority on the the 11 mm German Service Revolver, nor am I versed in loading Pyrodex into metallic cartridges, but if you're brand new to reloading, my advice would be to learn the process first with a more modern weapon for several reasons.
    The first is your personal safety, 130 year old weapons, were not built with the safety features that more modern firearms have, the steel was nowhere near as good as that used today and time is not friendly to metal, particularly springs, such as the ones that control timing and lockup on a revolver.
    Safety aside, there is also a historical aspect to your revolver, if a major reloading mistake (read KABOOM) is made with a $200 Taurus .38, as long as no one's hurt, it's not a big deal, the weapon can easily be replaced. If a historical weapon like your Reichsrevolver is destroyed however, it's just gone and a little bit of history died with it.
    Lastly, I think it would be be somewhat of a challenge to reload for your weapon and I've been reloading for almost 40 years. Black powder has all sorts of little quirks ( I've never used Pyrodex), and the bullet is an odd size, (.426 according to C. O. T. W.). There's no reliable data printed for the cartridge and to top things off, you'll have to use dies designed for the .44 Special and .44 Magnum and the only way that I can envision getting a proper roll crimp would be to mill about twenty thousandths off the bottom of your crimp die, although a Lee factory crimp die might work.
    I'm not trying to discourage you from reloading, I just think it would be easier, safer and more rewarding to learn the basics on a more modern weapon that has proper cases, data and dies easily available. Once you have the basics mastered, you can move on to more challenging things, like reloading for your 11mm revolver, it'll still be there.

    PS, Did the Gunsmith actually test the weapon, or just look it over? If it was actually tested, ask him what loads he used and keep the info for when you begin loading.
  3. greybeard 1

    greybeard 1 New Member

    Hello Swampman
    I thank you for very knowledgeable and prompt reply to my question on Reichrevolver/Pyrodex P, I have taken all this on board--I had bought Lee 3 Set .44 S&W Russian Carbide Pistol dies and a small Lee Reloader Press ---these will now be going into Mothballs for sometime---incidentally the Gunsmiths Report was based on visual inspection only
    Many thanks
    greybeard 1
  4. dnite

    dnite Active Member

    44 Russian


    Handloader magazine had a article a few months ago on the 44 Russian. It would well worth reading before you start loading.

    Also I agree 100 % with swampman, I love old firearms but shoot the modern ones. You eyes and fingers are worth more than any weapon.
  5. Stumper

    Stumper Well-Known Member

    I suppose that the advise to learn reloading on a modern gun makes sense....but all those folks 125 years ago just had to muddle along with the extremely messy and volatile black powder that was at least non critical regarding charges. Pyrodex has the happy characteristic of not only being less explosive than black when unconfined it also produces pressures that while comparable to black powder arre almost always LOWER volume for volume in loading. If I were in your shoes I would probably assemble some loads. You need tp use a blackpowder type lubricant on the bullets and find a charge that will be compressed slightly when the bullet is seated(That is critical. Pyrodex MUST be compressed) If you want to load really wimpy charges to begin with then make card spacers to go between powder and bullet so that the lighter charge is still compressed about 1/8 of an inch when the cartridge is assembled. I haven't mentioned any charge weights and I don't know precisely what they will be in Pyrodex. The original load was 23 grains of black-that should work out to about 18.5 grains of Pyrodex P.... but there is not room in the 44 russian case for an overload-the BP cartridges were designed to be filled by the proper charge.
  6. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

    I have to say that I feel it's somewhat irresponsible for you to tell a beginning handloader that, "If I were in your shoes I would probably assemble some loads", without addressing any of the real problems and possible dangers involved.

    1 - Those folks that "muddled along" 125 years ago generally did so with cartridge cases and bullets (or molds) that were actually designed and intended for the cartridge they were loading, unlike people today, who must sometimes make do with substitutes designed for other cartridges.

    2 - Then, as now, most people purchased their cartridges already loaded, if they were reloading metallic cartridges, we can rest assured that it wasn't for 125 year old guns!

    3 - The weapon cannot be an "1883 .44 Reichrevolver" as Greybeard 1 stated, since no such weapon has, to my knowledge, ever existed. It is probably an 1883 Reichsrevolver chambered for the 11 mm German Ordnance Cartridge. According to Frank Barnes in C.O.T.W., this weapon takes a bullet of .426" not the .430" projectile generally used in cast bullets for American .44s.

    4 - You mention that he must use a "blackpowder type lubricant", yet you didn't caution him about the alloys used in bullets at the time his revolver was made. A modern hard cast .430 bullet could escalate pressures quite a bit compared to the pure lead or 1/20 tin/lead alloys used in the 1880s.

    5 - You state that "The original load was 23 grains of black" and further that "there is not room in the 44 russian case for an overload-the BP cartridges were designed to be filled by the proper charge." This might be good advice...IF HE WAS RELOADING FOR THE .44 RUSSIAN CARTRIDGE!
    Unfortunately, he is not, his plan is to use .44 Russian cases and dies to reload ammunition for a 125 year old revolver chambered for the 11 mm German Ordnance Cartridge. From my limited knowledge, this should be a workable plan, but it is NOT a project I would recommend to a beginning reloader, particularly as a first project. Greybeard 1 acknowledged this in his last post, your urging him to reconsider this decision, is, in my opinion, unwise.
  7. Stumper

    Stumper Well-Known Member

    Swampman, Your opinion is reasoned and justifiable.....but it is not my opinion. Yes he needs to consider the factors involved but once again. I ,that is me myself, the one opining in the first person, would load some up and shoot it. If you read Barnes extensively you would note that he says loads can be made with shortened 44 special cases and light Smokeless loads can be used. Our friend has 44 russian cases and dies....which are dimensionally suitable and is sticking with the lowest pressure propellant.
  8. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

    Understood, but please try to understand my viewpoint, I'm not at all against shooting and reloading for antique weapons as long as it is performed with all due caution. Obviously, Longbeard 1 made the right first move by having a Gunsmith properly vet the weapon.
    I just feel that an original period piece, with no standard cases, bullets or dies available is a poor choice to use as a first reloading project.
    Rest assured, if the weapon were mine, I'd be going full steam ahead to acquire the components and specialized knowledge required to load for it. You, I'm sure would be far ahead of me since its obvious your knowledge of BP and Pyrodex is far greater than mine. Try for a moment though, to look at the project, not from where you are today, but from where you stood as a prospective handloader X number of years ago. Think of all the little things that you just flat didn't know, then ponder whether you would have been well served by starting your reloading career with a challenge like an irreplaceable 1883 Reichsrevolver.
  9. Stumper

    Stumper Well-Known Member

    Swampman, Also understood. I've been loading for so long that it is pretty non-intimidating. I very vaguely remember the initial nervousness about rolling my own ammo. At the same time I think it is good to remind non-loaders/prospective handloaders that it is NOT really a very complicated process. If Greybeard were one of my neighbor's I could walk him though the process and together we'd get to shoot the old relic. I think we could guide him through via the net also....but your concerns are valid. Not everyone will keep asking questions if all is not clear to them and some don't learn easily without being able to observe personally. I hope Greybeard will get the help he need to shoot his revolver if he truly wants to.
    No resentment whatsoever on my part regarding our difference of opinions.
  10. greybeard 1

    greybeard 1 New Member

    My thanks to THR Members

    I recently became THR member, I posted a question on Reichrevolver/Pyrodex P ----I received very knowledgeable and informative responses from three THR Members--Swampman--Stomper--dnite---I do not know how to answer all of these members individually, so I wish to sincerely thank these three members through this thread-----Regards, greybeard 1

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