Shooting a Winchester Model 1895 Lee-Navy

  • Last Post 18 July 2018
Tom-in-Pittsburgh posted this 12 July 2018

I am interested in communicating with anyone who has had success shooting cast bullets in one of these old war horses -- I'm not.




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bullshop posted this 13 July 2018

Is the Lee Navy your speaking of the 6mm Lee Navy ?    Am I wrong to think the 6mm Lee Navy is basically a 243/220  Swift ?  What was the original twist rate ?  

I don't have one but would enjoy messing with one for awhile.  Bring it over and lets see what we can accomplish with it. I will supply bullets, primers, and powder if you bring the rest.

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M3 Mitch posted this 13 July 2018

I think that the 6mm Lee Navy cartridge is the same brass as .220 Swift, and probably anymore people neck up .220 Swift brass to make the cartridge.

My own experience and what I read on here make me suspect an undersized bullet as being the "usual suspect" for poor accuracy.  I would not be a bit surprised to find an original Lee Navy rifle has a considerably larger bore diameter and particularly the ball seat, compared to modern 6mm rifles.


Onondaga on here has written up how to ink a bullet and seat it in a dummy cartridge to check bullet fit.  Probably that's a good next move.

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.22-10-45 posted this 16 July 2018

I have an original Winchester-Lee .236 (6mm) sporting rifle.  Buffalo Bill archives letter states rifle left Winchester factory January 1898.  Bore is very near new with Mettford style rifling.  When Winchester brought out the .220 Swift, the original Winchester-Lee 6mm case head was smaller in dia. than the Mod.54 & later Mod. 70 bolt face..they increased case head dia. to overcome this.  I bought my brass from Buffalo Arms..this is based on .25-06 brass.  This rifle really gave me fits trying to work up loads.  Bore slugging gave a modern .244 groove dia., However the throat dia. was .0005" UNDER groove dia.!  No matter how tight bullet was in case neck, bullets were being pushed back into case as action closed.  I finally had to size bullet to exact groove dia. & turn it upside down & size nose & 1st. band .001" under bore dia.  I was hoping the spring-back of the Hornady gas-check would seal bore.  I cast up some hard lyno Ideal 245498 out of fear for that tight 1-7" twist, I also cast up softer range-scrap alloy.  First range sessions were shot at 50yds. due to the open buckhorn rear and German silver blade front.  I first used H4227, 10.0grs. giving 3/4" groups that shot to sights.  All case necks were powder blackened.  Later I tried IMR TrailBoss...interestingly, again 10.0grs.shot to sights and grouped in 3/4".  This time, necks were left clean & muzzle blast seemed less.  Moving back to 100yds., I was getting 1 1/4" groups.  All in all this was a very fun project.  I never did get around to using the hard alloy bullets, the softer shot just fine with absolutely no leading.  I have often wondered  what reaction some eastern dude would have had showing up at some western deer camp with such a small bore, with most of the old timers there having cut their teeth on a .54 Hawkin or some large caliber Sharps.

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  • M3 Mitch
Tom-in-Pittsburgh posted this 18 July 2018

Thanks for your responses, Guys -- much appreciated!

.22-10-45, did you author the "Deja Vu" article in FS 200? That is a good source of info and some of the info in that article looks similar to the info in your post. 

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