Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Shoulder Holster for the Cimarron Model P

I ordered this shoulder holster for my Cimarron Model P last week from an Etsy shop. I was originally planning to get something from El Paso Saddlery but their lead time is months and this was worth a shot for something more readily available, and for under $100. (I have no affiliation with the seller.)

The reason I wanted a shoulder holster is that due to my body type, belt holsters tend to drag my pants down. (That's a fancy way of saying I have a beer gut and no butt.)

It came in today and for the money I’m quite pleased. The ammo holder was a separate item. It’s intended to be worn on a belt but I’m planning to keep it on the shoulder strap, similar to how the WW2-style shoulder holster for my Victory Model was setup. The .44-40 rounds are very tight in the cartridge loops, so I’m going to leave the rounds in there to see if the leather stretches a little. I may put some neatsfoot oil on them.

The shoulder strap has holes punched in it for length adjustment, and it's secured with a Chicago screw. I’m going to add a second one to keep the excess from flapping and for extra security. I’ll give the whole thing a coat of Snow Seal or Montana Pitch Blend leather dressing. The fit of the gun in the holster is very snug. It carries vertically and there’s a hammer loop for additional security.

Maker's mark stamped on the back:

I might add a leather loop to secure the bottom of the holster to my belt to ensure that the rig stays in place when I draw.

This should work out well for use in the woods.

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Cimarron Model P Old Model .44 WCF

A couple weeks ago I ordered a Cimarron (Uberti) Model P in .44-40 with a 5.5” barrel. It arrived at my local FFL and we did the transfer yesterday.

I strongly considered getting a 4-3/4” barrel, but decided on the 5.5” barrel because of my presbyopia. For me the front sight is a bit easier to see on the longer barrel, especially if I’m shooting indoors under florescent lighting.

My new gun has the “black powder” or “old model” frame, which requires the use of a screwdriver to remove the cylinder. Uberti thoughtfully includes a spare base pin retaining screw. I would have preferred a Pre-War frame with the more familiar spring loaded base pin catch but nobody had them in stock.

I should note that this gun has the original Colt-style lockwork. The only safety is the two-position base pin, and you hear four clicks when you cock the hammer.

The Uberti Bisley in .44 WCF that I got last year is a great shooter, but I find that it’s easier to quickly get a good firing hold on the SAA-style plowhandle grip than with the Bisley grip. What would be really cool would be one of these with a Bisley hammer, which is lower so it’s easier to recock the hammer.

I’m already well stocked with loaded ammo and components for .44-40, so the availability or lack thereof of ammo at gun shops not a concern.

Before shooting any gun that's new to me I field strip, clean, and lubricate it. New guns come with an anti-corrosion coating but it's usually not a good lube, and in any event, you want the bore clean. Aside from that I painted the front sight with some high-visibility green paint. Not very 19th Century, I know.

I was able to shoot the new revolver last night, and I'm extremely pleased.

The action is very smooth with a great trigger pull. I haven’t put it on a trigger scale yet but I’m guessing it’s about 3 - 3.5 lbs. and crisp. The one-piece walnut grip doesn’t have the typical red color Uberti puts on many of their guns, and fits my hand perfectly. (I have small hands so I’ve always like the 1851-Navy type grip, which is found on the Model P.)

At least on the indoor range under florescent lighting, the gun shoots a little low for me when fired with two hands. However, if I shoot with one hand it hits dead-on. Windage is perfect. I shot .44 WCF handloads consisting of a 200 grain RNFP soft cast bullet from cowboybullets.com on top of 8.3 grains of Unique. I want to try it also with some lighter loads, e.g., 7.0 - 8.0 grains of either Unique or Universal. I’ll also try it with black powder.

(I also got to shoot a Colt King Cobra. Nice gun but the DA sucks compared to S&W DA revolvers. I'll stick with my K-Frames.)

There's one thing I'm not happy with, and that's the typically soft screws that Uberti uses on their firearms. Thankfully, they were not so tight that I couldn't get them out (a problem I've experience on other Ubertis), but some show slot deformation even before I touched them. IOW, they came that way from the factory. So, once I get confirmation that it's in stock, I'll be ordering a complete set of correctly hardened screws from VTI Gunparts.

Aside from recreational shooting this will see service as a woods gun. So, I need to get a suitable holster. I’ll probably order a M-1942 Tanker holster from El Paso Saddlery. Based on my prior experience with a Tanker holster for other guns it should be comfortable.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Nice Looking .44-40 Bullet

A couple weeks ago I placed an order for 500 .430" 215 grain RNFP bullets from Matt's Bullets. They arrived today.

L - R in the pics below: Matt’s .430 215 grain RNFP, Accurate Molds 43-215C 219 grain RNFP, Desperado Cowboy Bullets 200 grain RNFP.

You can see that the bullet from Matt's has a shorter ogive with a wider meplat than the 43-215C. This may improve performance on game.

The lube on the Matt's bullet is Carnauba Red. This works great with smokeless powder but as far as I know isn't suitable for black powder. The 43-215C is lubed with my homebrew 50/50 beeswax/mutton tallow mix. It's outstanding for black powder and smokeless (at least at mild velocities). The DCB bullet on the right appears to be cast from a Magma mold commonly used by commercial casters. It supposedly has a black powder compatible lube, but it doesn't carry enough of it for use in a rifle.

All three bullets are soft, around 11 - 12 BHN. This allows them to bump up and fill the bore on my guns as long as they aren't sized too small. They don't cause leading in my guns with my loads.

I loaded 50 of the Matt's bullets in virgin Starline .44 WCF brass on top of 8.3 grains of Alliant Unique tonight. I'm looking forward to seeing how they shoot.

Assuming they shoot well, I will probably reach out to Matt to see if I can purchase a batch as-cast, with no lube and not sized. I'll then size them to .430" and lube them with SPG so I can shoot them on top of black powder. It would be nice to have a commercial alternative to the AM 43-215C that I can load on top of BP, for when I don't feel like casting to replenish my supply.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Been on a .44-40 Loading Binge

Last week I took stock of my .44-40 ammo stash and decided that it was lower than I wanted. I have plenty of components, so I got to work. Since Thursday, I put together 250 rounds:

  • 100 full power black powder loads (Accurate 43-215C bullet on top of 2.2cc of Scheutzen 3Fg)
  • 50 .44 Henry rimfire-equivalent loads (same bullet but 1.9cc of powder, with a 1/8" thick nitro card in between to take up the air space)
  • 100 smokeless loads (200 grain RNFP from Desperado Cowboy Bullets on top of 8.3 grains of Alliant Unique)
The smokeless loads should push the 200 grain bullet north of 1,200 FPS from a 24" rifle, a bit less from a 20" carbine, and somewhere in the 900s from a revolver.

I also put together 3 functioning dummies in Starline cases with the DCB bullets sized to .430" (as they came from DCB). Previously, I'd sized them to .429". They feed and chamber just fine in all my .44 WCF guns so that's one less step I need to take with the second box of these bullets I have. I'm hoping that they'll give better accuracy as well. Groups in the rifles have been mediocre although my Uberty Bisley shot them well.

After wrapping up I ordered a 500 count box of 215 grain .430" RNFP bullets from Matt's Bullets. The design looks very similar to the Accurate Molds 43-215C so I am hoping they shoot as well. Unfortunately, they are lubed with Carnauba Red. This is an outstanding bullet lube for smokeless powder but it's not suited for black powder AFAIK. So, they'll be reserved for loading on top of Unique, Reloder 7, IMR-4227, or Herco if I can find a pound at a reasonable price.

Loading the 150 black powder rounds mostly depleted my stash of 43-215Cs, so it'll be time to cast soon. After I cast a bunch I am planning to borrow my brother's RCBS Lube-A-Matic to size them at .430" and lube them with SPG, which should be quicker than pan lubing them.

Monday, August 30, 2021

First Range Trip with the Interarms 65

Yesterday I got the Interarms 65 to my club for the first time  and tried a few different loads at 50 yards from the bench.

The first was a 200 grain RNFP from Desperado Cowboy Bullets on top of 8.5 grains of Unique. Accuracy was poor. I'll have to try both lighter and heavier charges to see if I can get them to group. Or, it might be that the rifle simply doesn't like the DCB bullet.

I ran a couple patches wet with Ballistol followed by a couple dry patches through the bore before proceeding.

Next up was my .44 Henry rimfire-equivalent load. This is 1.9cc of 3Fg black powder, a 1/8" thick nitro card to take up air space, and a 219 grain bullet cast from an Accurate Molds 43-15C mold. This gave pretty good accuracy. The flier was my fault.

Finally, I shot some of my full power .44 WCF: 2.2cc of 3Fg Swiss BP, no wad or card, and the same 43-215C bullet. Accuracy was on par with the Henry-equivalent load, with noticeably more smoke, noise, and recoil.

I put 30 rounds loaded with black powder through the rifle. I cleaned it before leaving the range using patches wet with a Ballistol/water mix (mostly water). The 5th patch came out clean. Because .44 WCF brass seals the chamber so well, no fouling got back into the action.

Between working the action at home and shooting it, plus the internal work we did, the action is slicking up nicely.

I might have to take this into the woods this Fall.

D4 Guns Lever Wrap Kit

Lever action rifles function best when you work the action authoritatively. Some more so than others, for example my Interarms 65 (a rebadged Rossi 92) really needs to be worked like it owes you money. That can be hard on your fingers, so something that cowboy actions shooters have created is a lever wrap made from leather (or paracord if you want a more tacticool look).

So, the other day I ordered a D4 Guns Lever Wrap Kit. it includes materials for doing two levers, so I wound up putting one on the Interarms and the second on my Cimarron 1873 Sporting Rifle.

The included instructions are OK but D4 Guns has an excellent video on how to do the stitching, which I recommend. Click here.

Here are a couple views of the Interarms Rossi:

And the 1873:

One downside is that they aren't easily removed in case they get wet. You'd have to cut the stitching and redo it. The thread is artificial sinew, like this stuff.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Interarms Model 65 (AKA Rossi 92) .44-40 Carbine

Back in May I picked up an Interarms Model 65 carbine in .44-40. It's simply a rebadged Rossi 92, which is a replica of the Winchester 1892.

The blueing is nicely done and a deep, blue-black. The wood has a dark stain that I like better than the light color of more recently produced Rossis. Wood-metal fit is acceptable.

The exterior condition and the bore are excellent, however the action was rough. This rifle was probably made in the early 1990s, long before Rossi bought new CNC machinery. Not much of attention was paid to the internal fit.

One nice touch is that a prior owner installed studs for quick detach sling swivels. They will come in handy. I ordered a Hunter Company #220-1 1" carrying strap for it. I have one on my Cabela's Hawken and like the simple design.

As typical of Rossi 92s it was oversprung. I installed reduced power springs for the hammer and ejector from Steve's Gunz.

Disassembly wasn't difficult with the assistance of documents found online and a couple YouTube videos. Reassembly, on the other hand, was a BITCH. This past weekend I enlisted the assistance of my friend N. who aside from being a shooter, is a mechanical engineer by training and generally the handiest guy I know.

Aside from fiddling to get it reassembled, we also had to debur the ejector and ejector collar. The action is much smoother than it was when I got it but to feed properly you need to work it like it owes you money. I think as it gets shot more it'll get even smoother. Since I work from home I've been leaving it out and cycling the action several times when I take breaks during the day. I've already noticed that the carrier is working better. (The action is well lubricated with oil and white lithium grease in spots.)

After we got it back together we ran 31 rounds of my black powder, .44 Henry-equivalent handloads through it shooting at a gong. That load is 1.9cc or ~28 grains of 3Fg BP, a 1/8" thick nitro card to take up air space, and a 219 grain bullet cast in an Accurate Molds 43-215C, all in a Starline case. Primers were CCI.

With the reduced power ejector spring the cases cleared the rifle easily but landed near my feet, instead of being launched several yards. The reduced power spring also make fully closing the action easier.

I'd forgotten to bring a bottle of moose milk with me so I just ran a patch with some Ballistol on it through the bore while still at N.'s, then finished cleaning it at home. I first wet brushed the bore and then after about 8 patches they came out clean. There was zero black powder fouling in the action because the thin .44-40 brass seals the chamber so well.

I'm planning to bench the rifle and see how it does at 50 and 100 yards. Because the 1892 and replicas have very strong actions, I might load up some +P loads (taking care to keep them out of my other rifles). I'm not going to get too crazy because at about 5.5 lbs. with a steel buttplate, anything much hotter than a standard .44-40 load is going to suck to shoot. (I did not particularly enjoy shooting my Marlin 1894 .44 Magnum with full power loads, and eventually sold it off.)

Rossi currently sells the 92 chambered for .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .45 Colt. You can sometimes find them in .44-40; I found this one on Gunbroker and had it shipped to a local FFL for transfer.

Due to the simpler and easier to maintain design, if I was limited to one I might prefer a Winchester 1873 over the 1892 for a long-term survival rifle. But there's nothing handier than an 1892 carbine and it's a still very viable choice especially since the Rossis are much less expensive than the Uberti or Winchester 1873s.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Biden's Speech Today

 Key points from President Potato Head's speech this afternoon:

-We were never there for nation building. (Bullshit. That was a clear aim from the get go. IMO that was always a mistake but let's not deny history.)

-"I opposed The Surge."

-Trump's Fault!!!!111!!!

-Threw allies under the bus.

-Threw Obama under the bus.

-Terrorism world-wide, so if we leave Afghanistan it's no biggie. (Hey fuckstick, how about that WIDE OPEN southern border?)

-Human rights must be the center of US foreign policy (but our policy will be toothless).

-The Taliban doesn't have an air force. (Yo dumbass, you just gave them one!)

-Failed to address all the equipment we left behind, from M4 Carbines to Hummers and drones, which now are in the Taliban's hands.

-This is not in our national interest. On this point I mostly agree, Afghanistan is an uncivilized shithole. That said, there was no planning for an orderly withdrawal that secured our assets and allies.

-"The buck stops with me." (But the current situation is everyone else's fault.)

-No questions, not even anything vetted ahead time.

Now he's going back to Camp David.


We did the same thing in Afghanistan that we did in Vietnam in the 1970s: We pulled our air support for indigenous ground forces, after which they shortly collapsed.

I'd be nervous if I was in Taiwan now.

What a disgrace.

1975 vs. 2021

1975 - US evacuates its embassy in Saigon.

2021 - US evacuates its embassy in Kabul.

1975 - We are at the mercy of OPEC.

2021 - We are at the mercy of OPEC.

1975 - Inflation.

2021 - Inflation.

1975 - The Bee Gees are popular.

2021 - The Foo Fighters (!?!?) release a Bee Gees cover album.

1975 - A year before a peanut farmer wins the White House.

2021 - The resident of the White House has the mental acuity of a peanut.

1975 - Communists fought the establishment.

2021 - Communists are the establishment.