Who Shoots A Colt New Service? What caliber?

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Ed Harris posted this 01 February 2019

I got lucky on another GunBroker auction and picked up a 1914 date of manufacture Colt New Service in .455 Eley.  Looks like it will be a great shooter and I look forward to a range trip when the wind dies down, the snow melts and the temperature is above freeezing.

Who else here has a New Service Colt?  What caliber?  What do you shoot in yours?

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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RicinYakima posted this 01 February 2019

I bought mine as a basket of parts, .455 Webley frame, 38 special cylinder that had been bored to .428" and no barrel. Chambered the cylinder in 44 Special and made a heavy 5 inch barrel from a Green Mountain blank. Good shooter, ugly as sin.

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Ken T posted this 01 February 2019

I have a half dozen.Two .45 Colt,.38-40,.44-40,.45ACP,and .38 Spl.I use cast bullets in all of them.The .45ACP was worked on by somebody who knew what he was doing.The action  is better than the Python and Officers Models I own.It has the old style Micro sights and the barrel is a newer .45 Colt barrel.

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Scearcy posted this 02 February 2019

Now I am not much of a handgun guy but the old horse has serious character. I look forward to the range report.

Jim

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gnoahhh posted this 02 February 2019

Mine is a 1920-vintage commercial model, .45 Colt, 5 1/2" barrel. Superb condition, excellent lock up/timing, nice trigger pull (don't ask me how heavy a pull, I never measured it). Throats are a uniform .454 so I size my 454424"s to that diameter. Cast of WW's+lead, 50/50 lube, 7.0 grains Univ Clays, it is my standard load for defending the backyard from marauding beer cans, clay pigeons, and dirt clods.

I too am not much of a handgun guy and the moment I found this load to shoot well in this gun 15 years ago I stopped right there with experimenting any more.

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Dukem posted this 02 February 2019

Duke, (timidly raising his hand in the back of the class room)," I do Mr. Harris sir." A 1930 38 w.c.f. I am having a bit of a "thing" about that cartridge, so I have a 1910 Model 92 rifle, a 1910 SAA, the New Service, and a Uberti SAA clone. I have a Magma 40-180-rnfp mould and I have loaded 5.5 grains of Trail Boss and I am comfortable shooting that in all of them. I'd like to standardize at 8.0 grains of Unique, but I'm a little uncertain about the 1st Gen SAA. I size to .402". Sadly the New Service shoots 6" low at 20 yards and I'm afraid I'll go to hell if I file the front sight to raise the point of impact.

 

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Ed Harris posted this 02 February 2019

Dukem,

Not sure if Accurate 40-220H or 224H would fit in your Colt cylinder, but if you'd like some samples to try, PM me with your snailmail address and I'll send you a few.

I don't recall anyone writing about the .38-40 for The Fouling Shot.  It would seem your stable is well equipped and that you would be just the fellow to do so.  Please accept my encouragement to proceed on that project when it would please you.

 

 

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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BudHyett posted this 02 February 2019

New Service; .45 Colt, 7 1/2 barrel, standard commercial model. Later production with the flexible firing pin. My father was in the USMC headed for the South Pacific and wanted more security. He  bought it from a retired South Dakota City Marshall living in Rock Island and then bought a full-flap holster in Oceanside. 

The load is 6.5 grains Unique, 200 grain H&G semi-wadcutter, a good load for both the New Service and the Colt SAA. This load was effective enough to kill dogs running the hogs and groundhogs in the yard. 

This revolver has a history:

  • The Marshall was walking down the street one day in the 1930's when four bank robbers ran out of the bank in front of him.
  • In the ensuing gun battle, the score was bank robbers 0, Marshall 4.  
  • The revolver was on Guadalcanal and Guam where Dad was wounded and managed to get the revolver back onboard the hospital ship
  • A Japanese submarine surfaced and stopped the hospital ship to search for weapons
  • The doctors took Dad's revolver and a 1911, that his friend's father hand stolen out of the USMC in WW 1, and hid them
  • They returned the pistols after the Japanese submarine had been gone for 24 hours. 

The Marshall carved an Easter Bunny with Easter Basket in the left hand grip. 

 

Country boy from Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 02 February 2019

great story, Bud !! .... ken

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Dukem posted this 02 February 2019

Dukem,

Not sure if Accurate 40-220H or 224H would fit in your Colt cylinder, but if you'd like some samples to try, PM me with your snailmail address and I'll send you a few.

 

 I'll make a careful measurement of the cylinder to compare with your diagram of Accurate's bullet. Plus 40 grains should raise the point of impact some.

Duke

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ALYMAN#1 posted this 04 February 2019

I also have a 38-40 my father picked up in late 50's. 5 1/2 " barrel, 1923 vintage in excellent shape, with an old holster by S. D. Myers which is still good.  Lately experimenting w a Ruger NMBH in 38-40 and trying to get to range with latest loads w/401043 6.0 grs HP38 and some 10 year old 401043 with 7.7 gr Unique (which I just noticed is over the new recommendations in 4th Lyman Cast bullet manual - my old one (3rd) went to 10 grs with 401043).  Probably ok in Ruger - powder was from 2009 or before:  anyone aware of powder changes or just more conservative data?

Thanks

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Ed Harris posted this 04 February 2019

My understanding is that Lyman is being very cautious with load data which they are unable to pressure test.  Much of the older data would exceed SAAMI MAP, and was developed using subjective pressure signs which are now deemed unreliable.  The publishers of today's loading manuals are more concerned with ensuring safe loads than seeing how large a velocity number they can get.  They must also tailor the loads for the weakest gun they might be used in.  I think that your 7.7 of Unique is probaby fine in a 1923 New Service, but not in a black powder frame Colt Frontier Six Shooter.

A practice I have used successfully is to measure the velocity of factory loads in the gun, several different batches, including "vintage" ammo when obtainable.  Often I have purchased partial boxes of pre-WW2 ammo just for the purpose of testing them, using that data to benchmark what my handloads should do.  In calibers like the .32-20 and .44-40 I have found this method produces useful results. I would surmise the .38-40 would do likewise. 

If unable to test .38-40 factory ammo, I would shoot for comparison a full-charge black powder load using good quality powder, with light compression and a suitable bullet of correct hardness, weight and diameter.  Hopefully DukeM will chime in here and provide a more learned comment on your load, but I believe my judgement to be correct.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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JeffinNZ posted this 04 February 2019

Ed: Is the .455 Eley the same as the British .455 service ammo?  Who would those revolvers have been made for?

Cheers from New Zealand

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Ed Harris posted this 04 February 2019

The .455 Colt and the .455 Eley were commercial loads assembled with 265-grain lead hollow-based bullet in the longer 0.86" Mk1 type case, versus the shorter 0.76" case used in most British, Cdn. and ANZAC service loads. 

A good reference is:  http://cartridgecollectors.org/?page=introduction-to-455-cartridges

Canadian Army officers, like their British counterparts, purchased sidearms at their own expense.  The only stipulation was that commercial pistols had to be able to use issue service ammunition.  Both the British and Canadian governments  also purchased pistols for issue as needed to other ranks.  Most of the .455 revolvers still available in the US came across from the Canadian surplus market, and unlike most of the .455 revolvers imported into the US before 1968 that were shaved to fire .45 ACP cartridges, the Canadian examples are usualoly still chambered in their original .455 caliber.  

My New Service is one of those.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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JeffinNZ posted this 05 February 2019

 Now THAT is a confusing subject.  BEST quote from the text referring to the .450 Adams cartridge.  "Adams gun/cartridge’s lack of effectiveness where it served more to annoy the natives than to dispatch them."  LOL.

Cheers from New Zealand

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RicinYakima posted this 05 February 2019

Well, a .455" pure lead bullet weighting  225 grains at 650 f/s may not sound like much, I would not want to get hit with one. On the other side, unless you had a body hit above the diaphragm or in the CNS, it was not a stopper. Took them a couple of minutes to realize they were dead.

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Dukem posted this 06 February 2019

Well Ed, indeed I do have a nice stable of 38 w.c.f. firearms, and I have an Oehler chronograph, and I am not intimidated by writing articles, so. It just may be awhile before I dive in because Wisconsin weather can be challenging. Plus in addition to casting, loading, and shooting, I ice fish, open water fish, ride motorcycle, and mess with a hotrod and a 57 Olds Super 88. In about 10 days I'll be ending my second stint as a LEO after 43 years, so that will free up some time. Now, off to the debris field I call a reloading room and measure that New Service cylinder length.

DukeM

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Dukem posted this 06 February 2019

Darn it Ed, the nose of your 220 gr. Accurate 40 caliber bullet is .025" too long, and that would be with the bullet nose perfectly flush with the front of the cylinder.

Duke

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Ed Harris posted this 06 February 2019

You could order 40-220H with its nose shortened by 0.04, reducing its overall length to .66, which would provide about a 0.315" diameter meplat. 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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ALYMAN#1 posted this 06 February 2019

I did some chronograph work yesterday - some results follow straight off the tape.

38-40  401043/WW0.401  7.7 GRS Unique Rem-UMC balloon head cases, CCI 300 loaded in 2009  944 fpsm, Ruger NMBH

            401043/WW/0.401  6.0 grs HP 38  reformed 44-40 range brass  CCI 300 in Ruger NMBH  852 fps mean;  Same loads in Colt New Service 776 fpsm    Ruger must be tighter.

            For Ed's info   United States Cartridge Company Caliber 38 for Winchester 1873 (light blue box marked LESMOK Central Fire Solid Head), cases are Balloon head with a small primer inscribed with US on face.  Box has 2 SC business license tax 5 cent stamps on top.  Fired 6 rds in Ruger NMBH since I figured it would be easier to clean - 849 fpsm with 812 to 884 spread, lots of smoke and all went bang.  Took a while to clean before I did anything else.

            Western 38-40 180 gr SP, yellow box, no zip code, 2 8 cent SC tax stamps, probably from the 60's  1068 fpsm from Ruger.

            Old Rem-UMC JSP Balloon head  only got one reading for 3 rds (one didn't fire), probably operator error   960 fps.

Have readings for misc. 32-20, 45 Colt and 38 SP/357 loads available. if anyone is interested.

I did learn that a Ruger OMBH that has many problems, some fixed, is only going to be accurate using 357 brass, while I have been trying to make it shoot with 38 spl brass - apparently the excess cyl gap and 0.360 throats don't like short brass. 

Thanks for reading.

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Ed Harris posted this 06 February 2019

Alyman#1,

What is barrel length?  5-1/2"?

Would be helpful to measure cylinder gap also, as that is another variable.

If you want some .360" bullets to try in your OMBH I can send you some.

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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