Saturday, April 23, 2016

More Handload Testing in the Cimarron Uberti 1873

Today I shot my .44 WCF Cimarron Uberti 1873 Sporting Rifle with two variants of smokeless loads and then with black powder cartridges.

The two batches of smokeless loads were shot first. Both were loaded with 8.5 grains of Alliant Unique and 200 grain cast bullets. The first batch were from an old box of Lyman .429 hard cast with a moly lube, while the second batch were .428 soft cast from Desperado Cowboy Bullets. Both loads shot to the same point of aim and grouped about the same. Either would hold the black of an SR-1 target at 50 yards offhand. Recoil was very mild, similar to the low power commercial cowboy action shooting loads.

After cleaning the bore of the smokeless lube residue, I put 50 rounds of black powder cartridges through the rifle. They were loaded with 35 grains of Swiss 3Fg with a 200 grain soft lead bullet cast in an original Winchester mold. The bullets were lubed with a mix of beeswax and mutton tallow with a little canning paraffin.

The bullets in the black powder rounds dropped from the mold undersized, at about .425 - .426. I was hoping that the soft lead would bump up but based on my group at 50 yards, they didn't bump up enough. The group was about 8" offhand, not particularly good. I'm looking to develop a hunting load that will do 4" or less at 100 yards from a bench.

However, I was very pleased with the minimal amount of fouling in the bore and on the cases. Even after 50 black powder rounds there was no crud buildup in the bore, and no sudden deterioration in accuracy (such as it was). When I cleaned the rifle afterwards with MPro-7, all it took was two wet patches (running both sides through the bore). When I ran the first side of the third wet patch through it came out clean. With this bullet style, lube, and Swiss powder, I could probably shoot 100 rounds without it fouling out.

Before I cleaned the rifle I took a picture of the muzzle, showing the nice "lube star," indicating that the bullets carried enough lube for the length of the barrel.

(I'd placed a cleaning patch in the open breech to reflect light up the bore. I couldn't capture the state of the bore but it was a lot cleaner than I'd expected.)

The rifle's action stayed clean. The thin .44 WCF brass expands under the pressure of the full load to seal the chamber and prevent fouling from getting back into the action.

One problem I ran into today was that about 1/3 of the BP rounds didn't feed smoothly into the chamber. They seemed to hang up on the case mouth, indicating that the crimp wasn't uniform or deep enough. All the BP loads were assembled using the Winchester Model 1882 tool, while the smokeless rounds were loaded on my Lee Classic Turret press. All the smokeless rounds fed smoothly. The next time I use the Winchester tool I'll need to pay more attention to the crimping operation.

Even though the accuracy of the BP loads wasn't acceptable they were a good proof of concept, in that I've found a style of bullet that with the right lube will allow me to shoot at least 50 rounds without the bore fouling out. Also, the smokeless loads will make for good plinking rounds when I'm feeling lazy about cleaning the rifle the same day I shoot it. My club is having a lever action match next month and I'll probably use the remaining smokeless rounds in it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Give Accurate Blackhorn powder a look!