Monday, March 05, 2018

Lever Action Rifle Shoot

Yesterday I attended for the first time one of my gun club's lever action rifle matches. I shot my Cimarron 1873 Sporting Rifle with my .44-40 handloads of bullets cast in the Accurate 43-215C mold on top of 35 grains of Goex 3Fg black powder in Starline brass.

Normally, the lever action matches involve shooting steel plates at 25 yards and 50 yards, but due to recent weather the range was a bit swampy. So, we shot at 25 yards only. Each of the first 9 relays was 5 shots on ~8" steel plates, against the clock. The final relay was 5 shots on one plate, against the clock, and if you didn't miss any, 5 seconds would be deducted from your total time.

Cimarron 1873s were the most common rifle choice, but mine was the only one with a 24" barrel. The rest were 20" short rifles in either .45 Colt or .357.

One guy was shooting an Uberti 1866 Carbine in .44-40. He and I were the only guys shooting .44 WCF.

We had a couple rifles from Henry and one Marlin 1894 Cowboy with 24" barrel. Finally, we had one guy shooting a Rossi 92 in .454 Casull but loaded with .45 Colts.

I was the only one shooting cartridges loaded with black powder. Everyone else used smokeless and mostly were light cowboy action shooting loads.

I saw a few feeding issues at least one of which was due to short-stroking, and the 1866 went down at one point due to a squib load. I am pleased to say that my rifle ran flawlessly.

Cleanup of my rifle afterwards was a snap. The thin .44-40 brass really seals the rifle's chamber so no fouling got back into the action. The bore needed about a dozen patches wet with moose milk (Ballistol/water mix) to get clean. Then, a couple dry patches and then two more with straight Ballistol.

The match was an absolute blast. Today I got an email with the scores and was happy to see that I came in third. Considering that the two guys who placed ahead of me were shooting mouse fart-level smokeless powder loads, I have absolutely no complaints.

I think I'll being doing it again.


Tim said...

Great Idea, I'm going to suggest we try this at my club, Airfield Shooting Club in Wakefield Virginia. I've got a couple of Henry's in 357 & 41 Magnum I'd lie to exercise.

Do you shoot iron site or scoped?

Dave Markowitz said...

We shoot irons only.

Think of it as a more informal cowboy action shoot. I.e, dressing up in period gear isn't required.