Saturday, March 26, 2016

Shooting the Uberti 1873 With Black Powder Loads

Today I put 60 rounds of black powder .44-40s through my Uberti 1873 Sporting Rifle.

Fifty were loaded with Swiss 3Fg while the remaining 10 were loaded with Goex 3Fg. Either the bullets I used do not carry enough lube for a 24" barrel, or's lube isn't good enough for BP. (It's advertised as being suitable for BP or smokeless.) I got a bad ring of crud for a few inches back from the muzzle. Accuracy went to hell after about 15 rounds. For the first 15 rounds I could easily hold the black of an SR-1 target offhand at about 25 to 40 yards. After 15 rounds the bullets impacted all over the paper.

Shooting the rounds with Swiss powder and Goex side by side reinforced how much better the Swiss is. It fouled noticeably less, and judging by the recoil and boom, was a more powerful load. Frankly, Goex is crap in comparison with Swiss powder. Goex Olde Eynsford is supposed to be comparable with Swiss but at a lower price. The next time I'm up at Dixon's I'll pick up a pound to try out.

I have an antique Winchester mold and tong-type loading tool on the way, that I bought on eBay. They were made in the late 19th/early 20th Century. We'll see how bullets cast in that mold do using my homebrew lube based on the Gatofeo Number 1 lube.

(Picture from the eBay auction. I'm hoping to get them in hand on Monday.)

If the bullets from the Winchester mold don't shoot well, I'm going to get a more modern design that holds more lubricant.

Either way, it's fun experimenting.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I removed the rifle's sideplate and found very little fouling inside in the action. The little that was there was on the bolt, and no doubt to my cleaning the rifle in the field, and running down. The thin .44-40 brass sealed the chamber very well.

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