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Please Explain How To...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Foto Joe, Oct 5, 2010.

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  1. Foto Joe

    Foto Joe Member

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    I would like to request that some of our more knowledgable members please take a few minutes and explain not only how to, but the reasons behind...Slugging Out A Barrel.

    There are probably one or two folks (I'm one), who out of ignorance really don't have a clue as to what the term means or the actual reasons for doing it.

    My reason for asking is as follows: I recently made a deal for a Uberti Schofield in .44 Russian. I won't be able to pick it up until I get back to Arizona next month, but I'd like to make preparations for the homecoming... brass, bullets, dies and who knows maybe even some loaded ammo.

    The information which I have gathered from researching the original .44 Russian caliber was that it was introduced in 1870 using 23gr of Black Powder and a 255gr .429 bullet. I have found .428's and .430's at Powder Inc. but since I haven't got the gun in hand I can't even put a caliper on it.

    Besides slugging out the barrel myself, if there's anybody out there who loads for this particular gun or the caliber, what are you using.
     
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Slugging the barrel is driving a soft lead (pure lead is best) through the barrel to get the inside diameter. That way you can tell what your cylinder throats and bullet diameter need to be.
     
  3. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    if you go to walmart and buy a lead fishing weight to slug with, be sure not to get one that is hard. they do not drive at all. read the label carefully.
     
  4. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    Slugging a berrrel is especially usefull if you are casting your own bullets. After dropping from the mold, cast bullets are lubed and sized. And Sizing dies are available in .001" size increments.

    Having your cast bullets sized to exactly match (or be .001" larger than) the groove diameter of you barrel is key to reducing leading and improving accuracy.

    Here's how I've done it on a 7.62x39 rifle, which wasn't shooting cast bullets sized to .310" inaccurately.

    I took an old 12 ga. buck shot cartridge, cut open the end and removed one pellet. These are typically pure lead (which is softer than lead-tin-Animony allowys) and they measure ~.33".

    Then, using a short dowel and a small hammer, I tapped the pellot into the muzzle end of my barrel, going slow to allow the pellet to deform in small increments.

    Once the pellet was completly inside the barrel, I ran a brass cleaning rod down from the breech end and poped the pellet back out the muzzle.

    The pellet now bears an exact imprint of the barrel rifling, and by measuring the outer diameter of the pellet, you get an accurate measure of the barrels groove diameter.

    Other people can add info. on how to 'slug' dims at other points of the barrel. I simply assumed that the groove dia. at the muzzle was good enough for my puposes.

    My barrel slugged at .312" and I bought a new bullet sizing die to match that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  5. bds

    bds Member

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    For pistol barrels, I just use my caliper and measure groove to groove at the end of the barrel.

    My M&P45 barrel measures at 0.451".
     
  6. somerled

    somerled Member

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    Uberti barrels for both .44-40 and .44 Russian are usually in the neighborhood of .429. If I were to want to buy bullets without actually having the revolver in hand, I'd get .430 dia. cast bullets. The smaller bullets will work in a .429" bore, but the accuracy's usually not the best.

    Both Hornady and Speer make .433 dia. round balls for muzzleloaders if you want to slug the barrel.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  7. MissouriBullet

    MissouriBullet Member

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    This excellent discussion and practical, helpful how-to's are excellent expositions of the reasons for and techniques regarding the topic and I posted a link to it from our FaceBook page to help spread the word.
     
  8. Foto Joe

    Foto Joe Member

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    Let's see, bi-focals that I hate, fingers that don't always work the way they're supposed to and not to mention a lack of confidence that I actally got the caliper "in" two grooves, getting old ain't fer sissy's.

    Yeah, I've tried that on my Peacemaker and an H&R. I probably got those two right because a bullet actually comes out of the end when I pull the trigger but I was looking for something a little more concrete. Thanks for the thought though.

    That's what I was lookin' for!! Black Dawge actually has the .430's lubed with SPG so I'll probably go with those for conicals. What is probably going to happen though is I'm going to load mostly Gallery Loads for punching paper. This thing is kind of a monster for using as a carry piece so I probably won't load too many serious rounds for it.

    It will be interesting to Chrony this Schofield with the original 23gr load and a conical. I'm expecting somewhere just under 1,000 fps which would be comparable to a Peacemaker.

    Thanks for the information.
     
  9. bds

    bds Member

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    Fortunately, I still got steady hands - you can't blame a guy for trying to enjoy the remaining "young" years til retirement? 10 years to go and counting down :D

    OK, so if your hands and eyes are not cooperating, slug away!
     
  10. somerled

    somerled Member

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    It will be tough to get 23 grains of BP into a modern, .44 Russian case. The old cases were of balloon-head construction--roomier but weaker.
     
  11. Foto Joe

    Foto Joe Member

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    Trying to load Goex I would tend to agree with you. I've switched over to Swiss for cartridge loading which by my calculations is 11.5% heavier by volume than Goex. I can relatively easily load 40gr 3f into 45LC brass with compression, although they hurt like hell when you shoot them with 235 RNFP's.

    I'll probably load a few .44's with 23 gr but would guess that my normal load will be less than that.
     
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