paper patched bullets in vintage Marlin 32-40

  • 349 Views
  • Last Post yesterday
loophole posted this 2 weeks ago

About 1980 I bought a Shiloh Sharps 45-70.  It had very shallow rifling and a very oversize throat.  I friend who was a Sharps collector and cast bullet shooter told me the shallow rifling was actually used in originals for paper patched bullet.  The rifle shot very poorly with grease grove bullets, and my friend suggested paper patched.

In those days there was very little info about the original Sharps loading--Elmer Keith collected Sharps and wrote about shooting pp bullets in originals, but with no details about the loading.  No molds for the non-grooved bullets, except for originals if one were lucky enough to find one at a gunshow. 

Ron lent me the NRA Cast Bullet Handbook (I later bought my own copy which I still have and which is not for sale).  It has reprints of a number of article Col. Harrison wrote in the Rifleman in the '70's about 30 cal pp bullets and loading, assisted by our own Ed Harris.  No info about 45 cal or black powder, or breech seating, which I wanted to use in the Shiloh because I wanted to use the rifle in a sheutzen  match.  I modified the design for the NRA 30  , cal bullet and had Hoch make a 45 mold.  It cast a 385 gr bullet which just filled the throat of the Sharps.  Using info from Ned Roberts book The Sheutzen Rifle I got the rifle shooting very well, and another friend used my rifle and load to win the Boyd Hilton trophy at the next Ashevillle Rifle and Pistol Club sheuitzen match.

Well, I recently bought a mod 1893 Marlin in 32-40. Very tight rifle with strong rifling which looks to be a shooter. I loaded some .323" dia cast bullets and took the rifle to the range.  I also had some John Wayne commemorative Winchester rounds I've been saving for 30 years.  The cast bullrts hardly kept the bullets on the target paper The jacketed bullets were no better, most of them keyholed.  Slugged the barrel and found the bore dia .232" and the grove dia 330".

I read all the pp info in the archives and a good deal of material on the net.  I found that there is no discussion of PP bullets in 32-40 loads at about 1300 fps.  Seems everyone is interested in the 30 cal loads for a 30-06 or 308, or a 45 cal "Quigley" load.  I take it that all the info on sizing, lube, etc. from the 30 cal can be used by increasing the dia proportionally, but are there any other changes anyone would suggest loading a 1300 fps cartridge shot through a less-than-perfect bore?  Thanks in advance. 

steve k

 

Attached Files

Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
45 2.1 posted this 2 weeks ago


Well, I recently bought a mod 1893 Marlin in 32-40. Very tight rifle with strong rifling which looks to be a shooter. I loaded some .323" dia cast bullets and took the rifle to the range.  I also had some John Wayne commemorative Winchester rounds I've been saving for 30 years.  The cast bullrts hardly kept the bullets on the target paper The jacketed bullets were no better, most of them keyholed.  Slugged the barrel and found the the groove dia .232" and the grove dia 330". You need to know the throat diameter just in front of the case and 1/4" beyond that. Take a lead impact slug and measure it with a mic. Once you have that, find some .0015" to 0.002" 25% cotton typing paper (do not get erasable or any that will not wet with saliva). Measure that with the mic. Example: .0018" thick paper x 4 (2 wraps around bullet) - 0.0005" = 0.0067" added to bullet diameter. Take the throat diameter - 0.0067" (paper diameter added) = the diameter of the bullet needed. Cast that bullet out of pure lead to 50:1 lead/tin and size in push thru sizer to the next higher whole thousandth, Example: Throat of 0.332" - 0.0067 = 0.3253" round up to 0.326" for your base bullet diameter. Make a template for your patches, cut, roll them (wetted with saliva) so the seam matches, twist tail lightly and lett dry until tail is slightly damp, cut tail off and dry, lube and you're ready to load.

I read all the pp info in the archives and a good deal of material on the net.  I found that there is no discussion of PP bullets in 32-40 loads at about 1300 fps.  Seems everyone is interested in the 30 cal loads for a 30-06 or 308, or a 45 cal "Quigley" load.  I take it that all the info on sizing, lube, etc. from the 30 cal can be used by increasing the dia proportionally, but are there any other changes anyone would suggest loading a 1300 fps cartridge shot through a less-than-perfect bore?  Thanks in advance. 

steve k

 The above procedure will get you accurate bullets. Seat in case so the leade paper on the bullet smudges into the rifling and shows land marks.......... do not jump a paper patched bullet into the rifling.

Attached Files

loophole posted this 2 weeks ago

Thanks for the response.  I still have three partly full boxes of Southworth Bond 25% rag cotton paper in three different weights I have been saving since the 80's.  Keep all shooting stuff and sooner or later it comes in handy again.  I'll make a casting of the throat and make bullet dia to fit.  Your suggested throat-size bullet dia is exactly how we made the bullets for my sharps.

Thanks again.

Steve k 

Attached Files

onondaga posted this 6 days ago

Steve, I shoot PPd bullets. Get a slide fit to chamber with the patch to stabilize the bullet in the chamber just as the best fit you can get for cast bullets. The ideal is your is your bullet diameter plus the thickness of a 2 turn PP giving you a slide fit into the chamber. The best innovation I have found for PPd bullets is to dampen the patch paper before wrapping it with Lee Case Sizing lubricant. The Lee lube dries, bonds the paper to itself and to the bullet. This method makes a very durable and waterproof PP. They even hold together well in the rain or in your pocket.....the old ones did not.

You can shoot well over cast velocities with PPd bullets and up to factory jacketed level with better accuracy than factory jacketed. However you have to get the fit, it is critical. Alloy is NOT critical at all with PPd bullets and pure lead is common at any speed with PPd bullets. But, I use #2 alloy for hunting, it dosn't splatter into meat like pure lead does.

Chamber casting will only give you a number. The actual fit is more important. If you do the job correctly your PPd rounds should take 1-2 pounds more push to chamber than a drop in fit jacketed round. The amount you miss the fit by is linearly related to making your groups bigger. Any less than a slide fit doesn't stabilize your bullet on ignition and they shoot all over the place if they don't fit right with a slide.

Making PPd bullets is labor intense but well worth it to shoot better than factory bullets by using cast PPd bullets that are basically free compared to jacketed bullets and they can be shot at jacketed level with better accuracy if you get the fit.

 

Gary

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
  • delmarskid
loophole posted this 5 days ago

Thanks for the info.  The bore dia on this old Marlin is .330" and I have determined that a .300" bullet will just fit in the throat.  I've used a .323 bullet,  wrapped it with two rolls of .004" paper, and I have what ought to be proper dia after it is run through a .329 lee bullet sizer.  The problem is to seat this  in the case.  The bullet is too big to seat in an unsized fired case.  I need a neck  expander big enough to expand the case neck open to about .327" and I cannot find a source for that tool.  I supose a 38-55 expander for my cowboy RCBS  die can be turned down to work,  but can anyone tell me where to find the oversize expander plug?

      steve k 

Attached Files

onondaga posted this 5 days ago

Steve,

You are trying to invent a method to avoid reality. Keep it simple and do it right. Actually, history shows that an un-sized case that chambers easily loaded with the largest PP'd bullet that will seat in a slightly flared case mouth is already too large.

Again, go for the fit by feel chambering, not numbers.

I studied "The Paper Jacket" by Paul Matthews to get started. It is available on Amazon and I highly recommend it:

https://www.amazon.com/Paper-Jacket-Paul-Matthews/dp/1879356023/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_1?keywords=the+paper+jacket+by+paul+mathews&link_code=qs&qid=1550081713&s=gateway&sourceid=Mozilla-search&sr=8-1-fkmr2&tag=mozilla-20

I followed his method and determined by feel that a .460" cast bullet gives a stable fit in my chamber. My Strathmore tracing paper measures .0018" when a stack of 10 is measured and divided by 10.

.0018 x 4 = .0072" ( a two wrap patch)

.460 minus .0072 equals .4528" bullet diameter required by arithmetic. In actual testing, I had to enlarge my bullet sizing die to make bullets .453" for a 2 pound slide fit to my chamber with my PPd bullets. They shoot terrific but are too labor intense for full time use. I just had to try and get it right and I did, but my regular cast load does terrific too.

The most helpful tip in Matthews book for me was his template jig for a table top office paper cutter to get my patches the right length and width for 2 wraps with angled end cuts that has ends that mate when rolling my patches dampened with Lee Case Lube on a glass plate. This was foreign to me to learn but I persevered.

 

Gary

 

Attached Files

onondaga posted this 4 days ago

After reading the book you will also discover that  PPing  bullets requires 2 separate sizing steps to do the job correctly for superb accuracy. I size the bullets for the size needed for the patches and then the finished PPd bullets are then sized in my regular bullet sizing die that I use for cast bullets to make them fit with a 2 pound slide for stability on chambering.. That second bullet sizing also gives the patch a harder slick surface due to the Lee case sizing lube that has already been rubbed into the paper, rolled and dried after rolling.

If they just drop in the chamber with no 1-2 pound push they will shoot all over the place and you defeat the reason for even trying at all.

It may be challenging to believe but my PPd rounds actually shoot a lot better than factory rounds or my own cast rounds and I shoot the PPd rounds at jacketed factory ammo velocity.

 

Gary

Attached Files

Bill2728 posted this 4 days ago

The RCBS expander die in the 32 Winchester Special would probably get you very close. Midway had them on sale recently.

Bill

Attached Files

loophole posted this 4 days ago

this may benefit some others, so I'll report a mistake I just made--I used what I thought was an accurate dial caliper to make all my measurements, but yesterday I double checked with a new Lyman micrometer and found the caliper readings are all 2-3 thousands over the mic reading.  I have to remeasure dia of slug, paper, unsized bullets, wrapped bullets.  I am no machinist so I guess I need more info about measuring small thicknesses.....

I do understand the point of a close fit between the finished bullet and the throat.  My 45 cal paper patch bullets years ago used a custom mold and paper just thick enough to to allow  breech seating, s I used the Matthews method without realizing it.

Steve k 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • onondaga
onondaga posted this 4 days ago

I think you are doing well, it sure was a strange thing for me to learn! Rest assured that when you get it right you will really notice.

Good Luck!

Gary

Attached Files

Bill2728 posted this 4 days ago

The RCBS expander die in the 32 Winchester Special would probably get you very close. Midway had them on sale recently.

Bill

 

Sorry. that is the expander die in the Cowboy dies

Attached Files

Brodie posted this 4 days ago

Somebody else probably said this first, but it bears repeating: "We learn more and acquire more valuable information from our mistakes than from our successes."  I don't know the author, but he sure was right in my case.  People who won't admit to their errors scare me.  I do not think that they are a capable of learning as the others.

B.E.Brickey

Attached Files

jchiggins posted this 4 days ago

Steve,

NOE makes a wide variety of expander plugs that work with the Lee flaring die, but the NOE plug is shaped like the Lyman M die.  

Attached Files

loophole posted this 3 days ago

JC, your suggestion to look at the NOE expander plug is very helpful.  I already have a Lee flaring die and the NOE plugs are only $6.50 each, so I can afford to buy more than one and experiment with neck tension.  I have the CBY neck expander for the 32-40, but I think it is too small to allow the oversize bullet I need to be seated without tearing the patch or compressing the bullet dia.

I'm working on this. . . .  Thanks again to all of you for your help.

Steve k

Attached Files

harleyrock posted this 2 days ago

Somebody else probably said this first, but it bears repeating: "We learn more and acquire more valuable information from our mistakes than from our successes."  I don't know the author, but he sure was right in my case.  People who won't admit to their errors scare me.  I do not think that they are a capable of learning as the others.

 

Benjamin Franklin in "Poor Richards Almanac"  said "A wise man learns from the mistakes of others, a fool, seldom from his own"

Tom Stone

Lifetime NRA since 1956, NRA Benefactor, USN Member, CBA Member

Attached Files

45 2.1 posted this 2 days ago

Somebody else probably said this first, but it bears repeating: "We learn more and acquire more valuable information from our mistakes than from our successes."  I don't know the author, but he sure was right in my case. All you learned is what you tried didn't work.... you did not advance yourself. People who won't admit to their errors scare me.  I do not think that they are a capable of learning as the others. The point is to learn and advance yourself.... not stay in the same rut you're in.

 

Benjamin Franklin in "Poor Richards Almanac"  said "A wise man learns from the mistakes of others, a fool, seldom from his own" Quite a bit of intelligent thought there....... Following someone else sometimes lets you duplicate what he did... not better him.

 

Attached Files

loophole posted this 2 days ago

 

 

 

 

 

I thought I was closing in on the paper patch bullet, but again success eludes me.  In my 45 cal project I wetted Southworth paper and rolled it tightly on the bullet, using a rubber covered block of wood to squeeze the paper as I rolled it.  Let it dry over night, sprayed the bullets with Teflon spray, and pushed them through a bullet sizing die which I had a gunsmith friend make to fit my reloading press--I anticipated the Lee bullet sizer by many years.  These worked great. I used the same technique with my 32-40 bullets--even used the Southworth paper and the rolling block I saved all these years.

Unfortunately, the paper unrolled as it dried, and the last 1/4" of the corner peeled away from the bullet.  I tried to use Lee resizing lube to glue the end down, but when I tried to push the bullet through the lee bullet sizer the patch came off or was damaged.--it's as if it is not stuck to the bullet.  Any ideas?  When do you use the Lee lube.  Don't you have to let the patch dry first?

Steve k 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Attached Files

onondaga posted this 2 days ago

loophole

The Lee case lube is used on dry, clean patches and the bullets should also be clean and dry. The Lee product is a hydrolyzed wax much like a one step floor wax. It dries hard.

If the bullets have been lubed or the paper is contaminated you are setting up a loss of adhesion of both the patches to themselves and to the bullet.

I also suspect the rubber covered block you use. if the rubber rebounds from the force you use that will tear  dampened patches. Roll between two flat non absorbent surfaces. That rolls excess out and forces the Lee lube into the paper. I roll with 2 glass slabs but have also successfully rolled with 2" x 8" pieces of Formica covered counter making 3/4" thick plywood scrap. I roll moderately to press the excess lube out. They come out very smooth and hardly moist to the touch at all. My succession of steps is:

lay patch on glass

rub Lee lube into patch to just visibly dampen the whole patch. No dry spots.

lay bullet on patch and gently roll with fingers on one slab

final roll between 2 glass slabs.

fold patch tails and stand the patched bullets up in a shell holding tray to dry.

 

If your work is clean, firm and dry, you will have to scrape, rip and tear them to get them off. They are pretty tough.

I recommended these glass slabs to another shooter for rolling PPs and he was happy with them:

https://www.amazon.com/JSP-Glass-Mixing-Slab-Thick/dp/B07MNRHG3P/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=small+glass+slabs&qid=1550301774&s=gateway&sr=8-6

I cut mine from a broken 1/2" thick glass table top with a diamond blade electric tile saw.

 

Gary

Attached Files

Brodie posted this 2 days ago

Loophole said: "

Unfortunately, the paper unrolled as it dried, and the last 1/4" of the corner peeled away from the bullet.  I tried to use Lee resizing lube to glue the end down, but when I tried to push the bullet through the lee bullet sizer the patch came off or was damaged.--it's as if it is not stuck to the bullet.  Any ideas?  When do you use the Lee lube.  Don't you have to let the patch dry first?"

Had you twisted or folded your tail under when the patches unwrapped upon drying?  If not you may want to try that. 

I always lubed my patches after they dried with Johnson's Paste Wax (JPW), but Gary's method sounds promising and removes one step making the bullets available for loading that much quicker.

Rolling the patched bullets between two hard smooth surfaces (i.e. glass plates) gives you a finish similar to what is achievable with a cigarette  roller.  A smooth surfaced patch that is almost dry or at least has had all the excess water squeezed out of it.

B.E.Brickey

Attached Files

45 2.1 posted this yesterday

  Any ideas? 
Yep........... After patching for all kinds of rifles with smokeless and blackpowder, this is what works the best for me:
Ideally you want a very soft bullet (which would lead with the loads you are going to use) that is 0.0005" to 0.001" above bore diameter. You figure what paper thickness (onionskin at 0.002" thickness has worked well) will give you the throat diameter to 0.0005" below throat diameter. You want to do that so you don't have to size the patched bullet after it is patched (that usually degrades accuracy potential, sizing has not increased accuracy potential for me after patching). Paul Mathews patch lube (in his book) is the best I've used..... the others usually do NOT shoot as well. As for accuracy, I could win with them in CBA matches if I cared to shoot. These conclusions come after 34 years of trying PP loads in SS, bolt, revolvers and semi auto firearms. Go with my previous instructions if you want accuracy.

 

 

 

 

 

Attached Files

Close