Excerpt from Fouling Shot #158, Jul-Aug 2002.By Forrest Asmus.
This past shooting season has been an enjoy able one for me. Our editor has encouraged me to write about the upside-down gas check idea which I have tried in my buffalo rifle with interesting and encouraging results. My rifle of choice this summer has been a Falling Block Works “J” action barreled up in .44/63 Ballard. I like this designation better than the better known .444Marlin since I shoot mainly in the “traditional” matches but it is in fact the .444 chambered on a 16-twist barrel.In the process of load development I settled on a custom made, lathe bored 460 grain Mos bullet, 19grains SR 4759, 1/4 sheet T/P and an unsized, inverted, Hornady gas check as “standard”. The inverted gas check idea came from CBA memberand my correspondent Mustafa Curtess. In one letter Mustafa told me how he had been trying the inverted gas checks (IGC) in his .45/70 with good results. I loaded some up in the .44/63 and tried them out too. My results were very good and I continued to shoot this combination right along even though Mustafa later indicated that his results had not proven consistent and he was putting the idea on hold. I wondered what had gone wrong with his procedures and kept on using them in my shooting. I was having excellent results with the upside down cups. Since this is a rather unusual utilization of a gascheck I’ll explain how I put them to use: The .44/63 case,being a straight sided design, allows me to seat the unsized IGC under the bullet without running the risk ofa check dropping off, as might be possible in a bottlenecked case. I start each check into the case about 0.060” by using a backed-off case expander punch. The IGC is then forced down as the bullet is seated on top of it, slightly compressing the column of powder and T/P.The procedure prevents the check from moving away from the base of the bullet during handling and transport. This tight stacking of components is very important in my view because if the check were to move away from the bullet base it would then become a projectile inside thecase upon firing. When it hit the base of a stationary bullet pressures would instantaneously rise, exceed the strength of the barrel steel and ring the chamber. I cautionany member who contemplates trying this loading method to use the utmost caution! From my point of view the IGC serves three purposes:It does seal the hot powder gases just as well as a normally seated check and certainly better than a card wad does. During firing the check also scrapes the bore, removing any lead wash which might otherwise accumulate during the firing of plain base bullets. Then, I believe that the unsized check, being forced into the case ahead of the soft lead bullet, acts like an expander punch, opening the case just a bit more and reducing the amount of bullet deformation I have seen on bullet bodies which were forced into undersize cases. (My cases are only partially sized, but excess case neck tensionis something we all know should be controlled to a bare minimum.)
I have used this load for shooting matches and for everyday sessions at our range here in Wyoming. Excellent consistent results have been my experience. In loading the IGC in my .45/70 I have found that any of the loads where I formerly used a 0.050 card wad under the bullet accept the use of a IGC without changing the load’s former dependability at all and improving accuracy as noted above. The advantages of not having to be concerned about lead fouling are considerable, both because it no longer happens, and because worry itself is eliminated. In all cases, accuracy is improved.