Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Stefan A, Oct 30, 2022.
DO NOT PUT FILLERS INTO CARTRIDGES LOADED WITH SMOKELESS POWDER!!!
It can raise pressures an unpredictable amount.
In the beginning of the cartridge era, at the middle of the 19th Century, all cartridges were loaded with Black Powder, it was the only propellant available. This includes 45 Colt, 45 Schofield, 44 Russian, 44 Henry Rimfire, 44-40, 38-40, 38 Special, 45-70, and many other cartridges.(Yes, 38 Special was developed by Smith and Wesson in 1899 and originally loaded with a 158 grain bullet and 21 1/2 grains of Black Powder.)
Black Powder is not as energetic as most modern Smokeless powders, so the powder charge had to be large enough to generate enough velocity for a effective load. That is why the cases of these old Black Powder cartridges are so large, to accommodate a hefty charge of Black Powder. Also, unlike cartridges loaded with Smokeless Powder, cartridges loaded with Black Powder must be completely filled with powder right up to the bottom of the bullet, there must be no air space, and Black Powder performs best when the powder is compressed slightly as the bullet is seated. So if one wants to reduce the powder charge in a cartridge loaded with Black Powder, but still fill the case, it is OK to use a filler. Grits is the most popular filler in the Black Powder Cartridge world, although I made up some 45 Colt cartridges years ago using corn meal as a filler on top of the powder.
I have been loading cartridges with Black Powder for a long time. Here is my typical Black Powder load for 45 Colt. about 33.5 grains of Schuetzen FFg under a 250 grain Big Lube bullet.
The old standard of 40 grains of Black Powder is difficult to achieve with modern solid head brass because it has less powder capacity than the old Balloon Head brass. I cut two cases in half to demonstrate this. On the left in this photo is an old Remington Balloon Head 45 Colt case, on the right a modern Starline Solid Head 45 Colt case. The difference in powder capacity is obvious. Yes, it is possible to stuff 40 grains of powder into a modern case, but the powder will have to be compressed a lot more than I like. I find 33.5 grains of Schuetzen makes plenty of smoke, roar, and recoil.
Yes, loading the cavernous old case of 45 Colt with modern Smokeless powder does leave a lot of air space in the cartridge. Yes, if you want pin point accuracy you will want to use a powder that is not 'position sensitive'. You might also think about raising the muzzle before each shot, so some of the powder will be in contact with the primer. However, even when using a very fast powder such as bullseye, which requires a very small charge of powder, the primer will still manage to ignite the powder, even if it is lying flat on the side of the case.
My standard Smokeless load for 45 Colt is 7.5 grains of Unique under a 250 grain bullet. Not a maximum charge, but it does the job. Unique is a fairly bulky powder, that charge fills just under half of the case. Some complain that Unique 'burns dirty', they clearly have no experience with how sooty Black Powder is, but I like Unique because an accidental double charge should be obvious to the careful reloader, who peeks into every case after the powder has dropped, to make sure the right amount of powder is in there and there is not a double charge.
If one really wants to limit the amount of air space in these old cartridges, Trailboss is a good choice. Trailboss IS NOT a Black Powder substitute as some believe, it is a Smokeless powder with very fluffly grains designed specifically to take up a lot of space in some of these old cartridges.
Here is what the grains of Trailboss look like compared to Unique.
I wanted to post this now before too much more time goes by.
I will follow up with another post with my take on lever action rifles.
very informative, thank you.
I have found the Rossi .357 with 16” barrel to be an absolute blast to shoot. Not a single malfunction, feeds .38s just fine and hot .357 will rival factory .30-30 under 100 yards. The wood is not super high quality but it was also well under $1000.
My local store is a large Henry dealer so I’m often picking up Henry’s of various calibers and frankly for whatever reason I’m not terribly attracted to their centerfire models. I honestly don’t know why. They’re clean, smooth, well finished and built strong. But I don’t jump at them. I don’t know if its the weight or what.
Rossis and Henry’s are what I see on the shelves these days. I think at the price and what I’d do with it. I’d probably get a Rossi carbine.
Brother has a 16” Rossi .357, Purchased within the last 2 years I believe and he has had zero issues. Maybe it needs “work” to compete in SASS. But in the fields and on the home range she’s done well. It will hold a 3in group with a 3MOA red dot at 100 yards. I wouldn’t be surprised if that could be tightened with optics or a target peep.
I loaded some light loads and used corn meal filler. Worked great.
Was at a Cowboy Action shoot, said I was glad we were on the last stage. A guy speaks up, "It must be lunch time, I keep smelling cornbread."
Lever Action Rifles, my take.
First off, let's differentiate between 'Rifle Caliber' lever guns and 'Pistol Caliber' lever guns.
Here are a few cartridges typically chambered in leverguns. Top to bottom, 45-70, 30-30, and 45 Colt. The first two would be chambered in leverguns with longer actions, to accommodate the length of the cartridge. 45 Colt is a good example of a cartridge chambered in a 'Pistol Caliber' rifle, because it is short enough to be commonly chambered in a revolver cylinder. Yes, there are some goofy revolvers out there developed to chamber 45-70, but they are unusual and out of the scope of this discussion.
The Winchester Model 1886 is a good example of a lever gun chambered for a Rifle Caliber cartridge. This one is chambered for 45-70
The Winchester Model 1894 is an example of a lever gun chambered for 30-30, another Rifle Caliber cartridge.
Because of the extra length of the action and the cartridge, the Model 1894 Winchester has a pivoting link at the bottom of the frame to help with the throw required of the action to feed a new round out of the magazine.
OK, let's get into some specifics.
The Winchester Model 1873 was known as a Toggle Link action rifle. I have removed the side plate from this Winchester Model 1873 to show the Toggle Links. The Toggle LInk design dates back to the 1850s with the small rifles made by a couple of guys named Smith and Wesson under the name Volcanic Repeating Arms Company. The Volcanic rifles were under powered due to the anemic Rocket Ball ammunition they fired, and eventually Smith and Wesson left the company to found a new company to make revolvers. Oliver Winchester, who had made a good amount of money as a shirt manufacturer, gained financial control of the Volcanic Company and its designs. He hired Benjamin Tyler Henry to come up with a more powerful cartridge and then to redesign the little Volcanic rifles to fire the new cartridge, which was the 44 Caliber Henry Rimfire cartridge. Winchester moved the company to New Haven and renamed it New Haven Arms Company. The 1860 Henry rifle was produced from 1862 until 1866, when Winchester and Henry had a falling out. Henry approached the Connecticut legislature and tried to have the company renamed after himself while Winchester was on vacation in Europe. Winchester got wind of the plot, cut his vacation short, hurried back to the US and renamed the company the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Under Winchester's guidance, the Model 1866 Winchester and Model 1873 Winchester were produced, each having the Toggle Link design.
In this photo, the links are lined up in the 'locked position' and the rifle is in battery. The hammer is down in this photo, but this is the position the links would be in when the hammer fell to fire a cartridge.
In this photo, the lever has rotated all the way forward, folding the links all the way. The front pivot of the links has pulled the bolt all the way back, and the bolt extension has cocked the hammer., The slanted piece is the lifter arm has and it has raised the brass cartridge elevator all the way up lining the next cartridge up with the bore. When the lever is rotated back to the normal position, it will unfold the links, which will in turn push the bolt forward, stripping a cartridge out of the cartridge elevator and feeding it into the chamber. At the last moment the cartridge elevator will drop down to its normal position and the magazine spring will shove a fresh cartridge onto the elevator.
As I said, the 1860 Henry, 1866 Winchester, and the 1873 Winchester all used the Toggle Link system, as well as the larger Model 1876 Winchester. The links were never truly locked in the sense of the lugs of a modern rifle. They actually locked up slightly cammed over, but lockup was never as strong as the lockup of a more modern rifle. In addition, the frame of these rifles was basically skeltonized, with much of the frame cut away, also limiting the strength of the Toggle Link rifles. However they were plenty strong enough for the cartridges of the day, the 44 Henry RImfire, 44-40, and 38-40, and 32-20. The Model 1873 was manufacture up until 1923, well into the Smokeless era, and was strong enough for the Smokeless cartridges of that time.
In addition to that antique 38-40 Winchester Model 1873, I have an Uberti replica of the Model 1873. I bought it used about 20 years ago for Cowboy Action Shooting. Chambered for my favorite Pistol Caliber cartridge, 44-40. I bought it because I was going to start loading cartridges with Black Powder and thought I needed a shiny new bore for shooting Black Powder. That eventually proved to be untrue, but that is another story.
While I am on the subject of Toggle Link rifles, here is my Uberti replica of the 'Iron Frame' 1860 Henry rifle. This model is only available chambered for 45 Colt and 44-40. The original 44 Henry Rimfire round is no longer commercially available. I bought my 44-40 Henry on sale at Dixie Gunworks about ten years ago for $800. Those prices are long gone. I DO NOT recommend the 1860 Henry as a shooter's first lever gun. Notice there is no wooden fore stock. Yes, when fired with cartridges loaded with Black Powder the barrel and magazine get very hot. I usually wear a glove on my left hand when shooting my Henry in the summer time. And as the brass tab on the bottom of the follower works its way back every time the action is worked, eventually it will come up against the shooter's left hand, and the magazine will cease to feed, unless the shooter does the Henry Hop. Notice there is no side loading gate. That feature did not appear until the Winchester Model 1866.
The 1860 Henry is loaded by pulling the brass follower tab, which can be seen protruding out of the bottom of the magazine, all the way forward and swiveling the false muzzle to the side, exposing the front of the magazine. Fresh rounds are loaded into the magazine from the front. They must NEVER be dropped down the magazine with the rifle held vertically. And the spring loaded magazine follower MUST NEVER be allowed to slam down on a stack of live ammunition in the magazine. Yes, bad things have happened.
Let's move on to the Winchester Model 1892. It was stronger than the Model 1873, cost less to manufacture, and was about 1 pound lighter than a Model 1873.
This 44-40 Model 1892 shipped in 1897. I bought it about 20 years ago for a very good price because it had been refinished. Yes, you can occasionally find nice old rifles that have been refinished for good prices because the high end collectors are not interested in refinished guns. I had a gunsmith mount a Lyman peep sight on the tang, and the rear sight was changed out for a fold down rear sight that would not interfere with the line of sight when using the peep sight. I used this rifle as my Main Match rifle in CAS until I started loading cartridges with Black Powder. It was, and still is, a tack driver.
Here is the peep sight. Notice the pair of locking lugs locking the bolt in battery in front of the hammer.
The folding rear sight I had a gunsmith install.
The twin locking lugs, plus the fact that the frame is not skeltonized, is why the '92 is so strong.
One of the reasons the CAS crowd likes the Model 1873 so much is they can be made to run very fast. The cartridge elevator on the Toggle Link rifles is a big chunk of brass, machined to shape. It rises straight up and down in its mortise in the frame. The fresh cartridge is lined up with the chamber and when the elevator is up, and the bolt is shoving a cartridge straight into the chamber, it is like a torpedo on a submarine being shoved into a torpedo tube. It is a straight shot.
The Model 1892 Winchester, the model 1894 Winchester, the Model 1894 Marlin, and every other lever gun I can think of use a tilting carrier. When the carrier is down, a fresh round is shoved onto it. When the action is worked, the carrier pivots up, and the round is shoved into the chamber as the bolt closes. Much like feeding problems with a 1911 pistol, sometimes, ammo with a sharp shoulder on the bullet, such as semi-wadcutters, will hang up when the sharp shoulder bumps into the edge of the chamber. Round Nosed Flat Point bullets such as in this photo of a round being chambered in a Model 1892 Winchester, or truncated cone bullets do not present this problem, they usually load very smoothly. Also, with the '92 there is a recommended Over All Length of cartridges. Cartridges a little bit too long might not feed well. This can be particularly true of 357 Magnum 92s shooting 38 Special. I will have to get back with the suggested maximum Over All Length for 38s in a 357 '92.
At last count I have four original Winchester Model 1892s. I hesitate to say 'antique' because the newest one shipped in 1928. Calibers are 44-40, of course, and 32-20 and 25-20.
Regarding the Model 1892s manufactured by Rossi, I have very little experience with them. I did win one chambered in 45 Colt in a raffle years ago, but never fired it. Instead I sold it and used the proceeds to help pay for my Henry.
Yes, it was a little bit stiff, but don't forget I have been spoiled by Winchesters over 100 years old, and they have been smoothed out by use over all that time.
If I was in the market for a lever gun, I would not turn my nose up at a '92 made by Rossi. I am a good enough gun butcher that I'm sure I could get one up to snuff with out too much effort.
Except for the very earliest, the Models 1881, and 1888, starting with the Model 1889, Marlins have always been side eject. This was a conscious decision by John Marlin in order to compete with Winchester lever guns, which have always been top eject. The Model 1894 was, and is side eject. I bought this 44-40 (again, my favorite levergun cartridge) Marlin Model 1894 back in the 1970s. It was made in 1895. Yup, no blue left on it and not much varnish either.
A cartridge visible through the ejection port loading into the chamber while the lever is being closed. Note the 'hook' on top of the lever. The Marlin has a central locking bolt that gets pulled down by that hook, simultaneously as the bolt retracts. Look carefully at the hook and you will notice it is discolored. This old rifle started having problems cycling soon after I bought it. A smith discovered the hook at been mostly worn away over the years. He welded up some new steel on the hook and shaped it, making the rifle functional again. The discoloration is the result of his welding job.
I love this old rifle, it is the first rifle I brought to a CAS match. The bore is old and pitted, but it still shoots just fine, and it likes my 44-40 Black Powder ammo. I still bring it to a match every once in a while.
I bought this little Marlin Model 1894CS used a bunch of years ago for my wife, when she started shooting cowboy with me. She did not like the 'heavy' 24" Winchester Model 1892 I was letting her shoot. The barrel on this little rifle is 18 1/2" long. It is chambered for 357 Mag, but it feeds my 38 Special ammo with truncated cone bullets just fine. I seem to recall it feeds semi-wadcutter bullets well too. A real pleasure to shoot with 38 Specials, a little powerhouse with 357 Mag. When I bought it, it would only fit 9 357 Mags in the magazine, but a friend shortened the magazine spring and follower a little bit so now it holds 10 357 Mags in the chamber. I dunno how many 38s, maybe 11.
A word about Marlin quality:
Marlin has been around a long time, since the 1870s. In 2007 Remington bought Marlin and moved production from Hartford to their factory in Ilion NY. At that time, most of the machinery at Marlin was old and worn, but long time employees were able to milk high quality parts out of the old machinery. Remington moved the old equipment to Ilion, and offered to relocate employees, but few, if any took them up on it. The result was terrible quality. This went on for a few years until Remington invested in new equipment to make parts, probably most of it CNC. After the new equipment came on line, Marlin quality went back up again. A couple of years ago a friend bought a 45 Colt Marlin Model 1894 made by Remington with the new equipment. I got a chance to examine it and shoot it. As far as I was concerned, the quality was back. More recently, the Marlin line has been acquired by Ruger. I have not seen any Ruger Marlins, but I would expect quality to be right up there with everything else Ruger makes.
Henry Repeating Arms Company.
Sorry folks, I will never own anything made by that company. Mostly because they continue to press the falsehood that they are somehow connected to B. Tyler Henry and his revolutionary 1860 Henry rifle. The Henry name was in public domain, and Henry simply appropriated it, there is no historical connection with HRAC and Benjamin Tyler Henry or Oliver Winchester, despite the photographs on their web page. I have never liked the whole Big Boy series of HRAC rifles, they are clunky and heavy. Yes, I have held and fired a few. As for their 'Original Henry Rifle' HRAC's version of the 1860 Henry, it was only introduced a few years ago. Uberti has been making their version probably since the 1970s. Suggester retail price of the HRAC 'Original Henry Rifle is $2720.00. The Uberti version starts at $1549. I have always been very happy with my Uberti 'Iron Frame Henry' that I have been shooting for about 10 years now.
Let's talk 'Pistol Caliber Cartridges' for just a moment. Although it is certainly a pistol caliber cartridge, rifles were never chambered for 45 Colt in the 19th Century. This is a relatively new chambering, mostly due to the popularity of the cartridge and Cowboy Action Shooting. As far as I can tell, the first lever guns chambered for 45 Colt were made in the 1980s. Here is why. This is a photo of a bunch of old 45 Colt cartridges from my cartridge collection. Notice how tiny the rims are. At this time, 45 Colt was only chambered in single action revolvers, such as the Colt Single Action Army. All the rim had to do was keep the firing pin from shoving the cartridge down into the chamber, and it did not take a very big rim to do that. Ejection in the old Colts was always done with an ejector rod that poked the empties out from the inside, there was no extractor to grab a rim. Except for the round second from the right. That round was designed for a double action Colt, I forget exactly which one right now, and the extra large rim was so an actual extractor claw could get a purchase on the rim. On the far right is one of my reloads in modern brass with a large rim. SAMMI Spec for rim diameter of modern 45 Colt brass is .512. Some of those old rounds have much tinier rims.
The old Winchester Centerfire cartridges, 44-40, 38-40, 32-20, and 25-20 were designed as rifle cartridges. They had nice big rims, big enough for a rifle extractor to grab, .520 in diameter.
Nothing wrong with a lever gun chambered for 45 Colt, it just is not traditional.
One more thing. Let's talk about butt stocks.
This is a lovely old Winchester Model 1894, chambered for 30-30, that left the factory in 1895. It has a crescent shaped butt stock. If you look back through this post you will see that most of my lever guns have butt stocks like this. I hear more guys complaining about stocks like this in CAS, even guys shooting mouse fart loads from a replica 1873 or 1892, complaining how the points of the crescent dig into their shoulders and it hurts when they shoot. There is even a cottage industry that makes butt covers that lessen the pain. Many years ago I had an old 30-30 Winchester Model 1894 that had been cut down. The barrel was about 20", and the magazine had been shortened to half length. It was a very light rifle. It had a crescent shaped butt plate like this, and I could only shoot about three shots before it hurt so much I had to stop shooting. 30-30 is not an elephant gun round, but those sharp points were digging into me so much that I could only fire a few shots before I was flinching so bad I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.
Winchester and Marlin and everybody else were making rifles with butt stocks like this for many years. If they hurt so much to shoot, why did they keep making them like this? It turns out, modern shooters do not understand how to shoot a rifle with a crescent shaped butt plate. Rather than mounting the rifle butt to the meaty part of the shoulder, the butt should be hiked out a little bit so the points encircle the shoulder joint. The points should not touch the body. When mounted this way, the points keep the butt from sliding up or down while working the action. This may require the shooter to alter his stance a bit. I do not face the target directly, I stand at about 45 degrees to the target with the rifle slung across my body. I do not lower my face to the stock, I raise my right elbow to bring the stock up to my face. That old Model 1894 was stolen many years ago, I wish I still had it as I know the proper way to shoot it now.
Follow a recipe in a printed manual. Do not put in more powder than the Max listed in the recipe.
without using fillers. This has resulted in blown barrels. Mostly this happened with magnum cartridges because their cases were so large that bizarre burn-pattern permutations caused the blow-up. What happened to these reloaders was that they would reduce the powder and get lower velocity (that which was their wish), but at some point in under-loading, the rifle chamber blew up. Strange? Yes, very strange.
"In it, P.O. Ackerly discusses the subject of reduced loads. In definition, reduced loads means reducing powder amounts to less than starting loads. Disturbingly, the purpose of placing that discussion near the very front of the book is that under some situations, reduced loads can cause the gun being fired to detonate, blow up, or become severely damaged, often with the additional risk of damage to the shooter."
Shooting Times article:
"Fillers for Reduced Rifle Loads"
This concerns smokeless powder rifles. One round discussed is the .257 Weatherby magnum. The filler discussion surrounds the "puffball" fillers (as opposed to the granular fillers). The author really does NOT like puffball fillers.
In the following Dacron is discussed as a filler for the 45-70. Some folk have had issues when using Dacron in bottleneck cases.
"Barrel damage? From dacron? Haven't found it yet with over 10,000 dacron'ed loads in a 400 dollar OTT 25-20 barrel. If it happens I'll let you know, but you may be waiting a long, long time. I've shot it in large volume many other calibers as well, with the same lack of issues."
Barrel fillers are not used as much in the past few decades. Why? We now have SO MANY choices in powder, that one can select a powder that fills the case AND deliver the wanted ballistics.
"However, irregular pressure waves can cause the bullet to become dislodged from the case, and becomes a barrel obstruction. As the pressures continue to rise from the burning of the powder, the pressures can become dangerous."
I have heard this for years with light loads, below the 'starting loads' published in most manuals. Basically the bullet starts to move when the powder starts to burn, but friction causes it to stop before the burning powder generates enough pressure to keep it moving. Once the bullet stops moving, it becomes a barrel obstruction, and as the powder continues to burn, reaching maximum pressure, the stuck bullet cannot get out of the way fast enough, and the barrel, or chamber of a revolver, bursts from the pressure overload. Guys, particularly in CAS, who want mouse fart loads with no recoil, say there is no way a very light charge of powder can generate enough pressure to burst a barrel, usually claiming an accidental double charge, but clearly, with a stuck bullet in the bore and the powder still burning, bad things can happen.
I posted earlier that fillers should never be used with Smokeless powder. The posts on one of the boards regarding dacron fillers used with Smokeless powders demonstrates how tricky it can be. That is why I make the blanket statement to not use fillers at all with Smokeless powder.
It needs to be clarified what work needs to actually be done on Rossis to 'run well'. The fixes for a Rossi are not usually along the lines of major gunsmithing to get them to cycle, fire, shoot a group etc- they will usually shoot fine and good accuracy as any other lever action right out of the box. Steve Jones, one of the top cowboy action smiths has said that about 1/3 of the cost of a production lever gun goes into the final work and polish and this is where Rossi saves some money. They can have a lot of sharp edges,the load gate scratches cases, magazine tube can have a bevel that scrapes bullet noses, extractor can nick rims etc. Admittedly the latest batch seems to have gotten around some of these problems
Excellent post from a man who clearly knows his lever guns. Thank you for taking the time. And, for what it is worth I have the same thoughts regarding the above excerpts.
Now that I own two Ruger-Marlins the metal work quality exceeds anything ever made by either JM or Remington. We can pick at wood fit on the laminate stocks which are purposely not fit tight like a walnut stock but the quality is there. A few years back I was in Alaska camping and hiking in the outback. I decided I needed a firearm for a couple of reasons. Went into Anchorage and shopped about and stopped at Cabalas and there on the rack was a nice looking Marlin SBL. I asked to see it and looked it over for a good 30 minutes. It was just fine, fit, finish, action, all good. I told the clerk I wanted the rifle and handed it back to him. He then informs me they do not sell the guns on the rack. This made my face turn red and I remained calm since he had just wasted my time. He goes in back and brings out a box with another rifle. As soon as he opened the box I knew it was a reject, sanding marks on the receiver, no go. He gets another, it had an action like a coffee grinder, reject. I told him I want the rifle on the rack I had looked at and to get the manager. The manager looked, agreed and told him to sell me the rifle I wanted. The difference by serial numbers, which I had googled before my shopping spree, was 2013 and 2014 vs late 2015. It is a keeper and a shooter.
Faux Henry is a pass for me.
I snagged a late model Remlin SBL before anyone would have guessed Ruger would be purchasing Marlin and I had done my homework and new there could be problems so I looked it over real well before I bought it. (At Dick’s Sporting Goods of all places.) When I got home I completely disassembled the rifle looking for poor machining and tool marks etc and all I did to it was knock a sharp edge off the loading gate. But I did find some metal and wood shavings jammed under the fore-end that I cleaned out. Shoots like a champ. Already taken 2 whitetails. The action I feel *after* some use is as smooth as the Ruger Marlin I felt in stores. Don’t get me wrong I still want a Ruger-Marlin but I’m happy with the price I paid for my Remlin. So far I’ve swapped the large loop lever with a standard loop from a 336, swapped the hammer spring, removed the cross bolt safety, and slapped a holo sight on it. It’s freaking sweet.
Yes, when I got the rifle home from Alaska I ever so slightly smoothed the inside of the loading gate with 1200 paper on a dowel, I also slightly rounded the razor sharp end of the bolt. Otherwise it was clean as a whistle. I have added a WWG Happy Trigger, Bear Claw ejector and a RPP loading gate and a RPP quick takedown screw. It is possibly my favorite rifle ever. I have a few thousand rounds through it from light powder puff Trail Boss loads to full on Buffalo Bore stuff. It eats it all.
I love mine. Right now I have an EoTech on mine (scandalous I know) but an electronic sight like that is so easy for adjusting zeroes on different handloads. And I was afraid some of the other sights might not be as shock proof as an EoTech should be. But I’m tempted to set it up with skinner sights to keep the low profile of a lever gun.
Thanx for this new information. I friend of mine reloaded for smokeless and black powder (had two Remington 1873 rolling blocks, .43 Spanish, .43 Egyptian; for the Egyptian he had to mill/form his own cases). He used fillers. I've only reloaded .308 = zero need to even think about fillers ever.
Your point about a load only shoving a bullet up to block the bore is great one. MEGA-dangerous.
Some fillers caused a bunch of problems. Don't know which. Not my expertise at all. The reason I talked about fillers is because the person asking questions was looking for a load that would enable him to plink / have a good day at the range. He was NOT going to be hunting with his loads. He later stated that he didn't know if he could use the .45 Colt due to a bunch of empty case existing should he download.
I hope reloaders like yourself can help this fellow with this issue/topic. I'm rooting for the guy because I've really enjoyed the lever actions I've owned over the decades. In the mountain woods of Southern Appalachia, the ranges are short and the maneuverability of one's firearm is important. Other regions of the country are a whole other story.
First, my rifle experience is limited to my AR (resting it) and a little bit of hunting with my 308. Plus a cheap bolt action 22. This was my very first time firing a lever action. I went out and shot some .38 specials and .357 in about 15 minutes of time. I am worn out... This rifle has a bit of a crescent buttstock. So, remembering what Driftwood said, I researched a bit how to properly shoulder it. I tried it at my shoulder socket straight on. Then, a bit more into my upper arm while standing 45 degrees and the rifle across my body. Plus I tried the "normal" way with the gun straight out and the stock in the meaty part of my shoulder. I can tell you that I will likely have a bruise at the socket and I am feeling it right now. My arms in general are feeling weak - not being used to shouldering an 8 pound gun. Other than that, I was a bit surprised at the recoil of .357. It's definitely those that are making me sore. Of course, the .38's were much more manageable for a beginner like me. I can see myself wanting to shoot more 38's for the time being - until I build some strength. That surprises me. I expected to only want to shoot .357. I am glad I get to have both experiences. I am also glad I didn't get a .44 mag.
As for the rifle itself, again, I have no frame of reference. But I was surprised by the ejection going randomly behind me, landing on the top of my head, and directly in front of me. Some went off to the right in front of me. Getting the rounds in the side gate is a bit of a bear. Hard to push in - very hard to push all the way in so the gate closes. Most of the time, the rounds were halfway in, and the next round pushed it in all the way. To get it all the way in, I really had to push and get my thumb way in there. Is this normal? Is the heavy pressure normal? Do I have an action job in my future? Operating the lever was fine. No issues whatsoever - other than me just learning how to properly hold.
So, On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being I loved it and 1 being I hate it - I might have to go with a 6 or 7 for now. I mean the entire experience - the gun, the feel, everything. I am looking forward to gaining some more strength and endurance.
I'm no lever expert, but it were me and I wanted something fun to shoot, it would be a Henry or Marlin 1895 in .44 or .45 cal. They are such wonderful guns, but I can only speak to the Henry, I don't have nor have I ever shot a Marlin but I think they're both hi test lever guns.....
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