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  #1  
Old 02-01-2005, 02:49 AM
Roadruner Roadruner is offline
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Old Wild West same caliber ammo?

Hi
I seem to remember long time ago reading somewhere that the old Wild West “cowboys” had the same ammunition for both their rifle and handgun. This obviously made sense when you are packing everything on your trusty steed and don’t want to carry the weight of different ammo. The question is how different was the range and accuracy of using the same ammo in handgun and rifle? OK the rifle would have more accuracy but would it have more range than the same bullet fired from the handgun? What was the range of those early bullets anyway?
Slightly off thread, same same but different, in a recent “Battlefield Detectives program” Re Custer's Last Stand the battle was lost because the army had carbines for long distance but the Indians had rifles better for close up. What’s the difference between a carbine and a rifle?
Same same but more different. In those days they used to reload their own ammo, I can understand how they would refill the used brass casings, mold lead slugs to clamp them in the casing but what gets me is where did they get the firing cap from? You know the bit that the hammer bangs on to set the whole thing off. This looks like part of the shell casing and not easily replaced.
Really sorry if this thread is too diverse but my guest membership is limited and as I don’t have credit am trying to get answers to “Life Universe and Everything” while I have the opportunity.
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2005, 07:12 AM
RandomLetters RandomLetters is offline
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Quote:
Slightly off thread, same same but different, in a recent “Battlefield Detectives program” Re Custer's Last Stand the battle was lost because the army had carbines for long distance but the Indians had rifles better for close up. What’s the difference between a carbine and a rifle?
Basically, a carbine is a rifle with a shorter barrel & sometimes a reduced power charge. Custer's men were using Springfield rifles and carbines, which were single shot, breech loading weapons, and quite accurate up to 500 yards or so, in the hands of a well -trained indidivual; most of Custer's men were not that well, trained, and would have been using the rifle at 300 yards or less.

The most common Indian firearm was the trade muskets cheaply made for trade with the Indians, as well as given out with treaties. Mostly smoothbore, muzzle-loading weapons, not as good as the Springfield rifles & carbines Custers men had.

However, the Indians did have large numbers of Winchester and Henry lever-action rifles with them; while they were not as long ranged as the Springfield rifles, they could hold 7-15 shots (several different varients here) that could quickly be rechambered, making these weapons more effective at short range.


Here would be a more comprehesive overview of the weapons at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
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  #3  
Old 02-01-2005, 07:40 AM
GaryM GaryM is online now
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The part the firing pin hits is the PRIMER. It's just a press fit into the PRIMER POCKET.

Removing the primer is called decaping.

I first start out in reloading with what was called a Lyman Tong Tool. It was a hand held reloading press that operated like a nutcracker. Your hands supplied all the force required.

This is similar to what was used in the "wild west". You'd take your fired cases and run them all through the process one step at a time.

Decap and necksize the cases.

Press in new primers

Measure and add powder charge

Seat bullet and crimp if required.

Easy to do while sitting around the camp fire.
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  #4  
Old 02-01-2005, 07:49 AM
Tranquilis Tranquilis is offline
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OK, this is likely to get a bit complicated - Firearms questions are loaded with exceptions and special cases.

First - A rifle is generally a long arm with a barrel containing grooves and lands, twisting at some rate down the interior length of the barrel. Pistols generally have riffled barrels too, but are caled pistols because... Well, just because. Note that I said "generally" - There are pistols and rifles which begin to cross the boundry from one general category to the other.

In the bad ol' days, there were a quite a few different kinds of rifles in use. The cavalrymen at Greasy Grass were using a single-shot Springfield carbine Model 1873 (there is a full-length 'rifle' version, too), chambered for .45/55 cartridge (the rifle version used the .45/70 cartridge). The .45/55 was man-killing powerful and accurate aout to around 60 meters. They're called carbines, but for your purposes, it's simply a short rifle, designed to have a shorter overall length for handiness - These were cavalry troops, you remember, and had to be able to get their rifles out and into action quickly, sometimes even from horseback (though cavalry toops usually fired disounted - Much more effective in battle than trying to control a horse and shoot from a moving platform!) The problem with the Springfield carbine is that it's a single-shot rifle, reguiring you to reload between each shot. this obviously, limits one's rate of fire, and under battle stress bad things, like dropping your bullets, happen with distressing frequency. Thus, a more simple manual of arms is always better. The Springfield carbine's manual of arms was far more simple than that of, say, a rifled musket, but still more complicated than that of a repeater like the Henry. The Springfield was a full-power (for the day) battle rifle, but ill suited to close, confused, combat. It simply didn't have the rate of fire or the handiness of newer designs, and the user could be overwhelmed by attacks from multiple directions.

The indians, on the other hand, used a wide variety of weapons, including Springfields and Henry Repeating Rifles. The Henry Rifle was (is) a different beast from the Springfield. - It isn't any longer than the Springfield Carbine, but it is a magazine-fed rifle, which can be reloaded, almost without thought, by the simple act of operating the action lever. It was chambered for the .44/40 rimfire cartridge, a relatively aenemic round, but capable of killing quite efficiently out to about 200 meters, plenty far enough for a battle like Little Bullhorn.

Simply put, the indians overwhelmed the calvary with fire and movement, using their weapons mix to their best advantage, whilst the cavalry troopers were fairly dispersed and uncoordinated, using a rile that wasn't best suited to the engagement at hand.


Now, about relative power for a bullet fired through a pistol and through a rifle? Like so much else about firearms, it kinda depends. Assuming a rimfire like the .44/40, firing through a pistol wouldn't give maximum power from the cartridge. The bullet would leave the barrel while there was still some powder burning, wasting that energy. Also, gasses would leak out of the cylender/barrel gap, bleeding off pressure, and reducing maximum muzzle velocity still further. Fired from a rifle, the .44/40 was lethal pretty much as far as the casual marksman could shoot accurately. From a pistol, you might get lethal power to 2/3 or less that distance, and accuracy to even less.

The deal with accuracy from a particular cartridge is another complicated one. All other things being equal, longer sight-radius means greater practical accuracy. Thus, a rifle with it's longer barrel, will give better accuracy,even is the pistol had given the same velocity and power. Further, the stock of a rifle allows you to hold it far more steadily than a pistol (though some pistol shots are damned steady, indeed!). Again, all other things being equal, greater stability means greater accuracy. Lastly, higher velocity means less time for things like wind drift to mess with your accuracy, so a rifle, with it's nominally higher velocity, is generally more accurate in absolute terms, too.

Reloading is still quite popular today. Then, as now, if you had a Berdan-primed rifle cartiridge, you could hand-lad your cartirdges with simple tools that can be carried in a small bag. You'd just need to b sure to carry lead, powder, and primers in addition to your tools.
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  #5  
Old 02-01-2005, 07:51 AM
Tranquilis Tranquilis is offline
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Ah, bugger.

The Springfield carbine was accurate and lethal to 600 or so meters, not 60. I hate it when preview doesn't catch goofs like that one.

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  #6  
Old 02-01-2005, 09:45 AM
GaryM GaryM is online now
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Sorry, Berdan primed cartridges have the anvil built into the case and are not easily reloaded. http://www.recguns.com/Sources/VIIF3.html

I believe you meant Boxer primers which are most in use today. At least in most commercial ammunition. The boxer primers have the anvil as part of the primer itself.
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2005, 10:10 AM
Exgineer Exgineer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tranquilis
The Henry Rifle was (is) a different beast from the Springfield. - It isn't any longer than the Springfield Carbine, but it is a magazine-fed rifle, which can be reloaded, almost without thought, by the simple act of operating the action lever. It was chambered for the .44/40 rimfire cartridge, a relatively aenemic round, but capable of killing quite efficiently out to about 200 meters, plenty far enough for a battle like Little Bullhorn.
Just a nitpick: The Henry rifle fired the .44 Henry, which was indeed an amenic rimfire. The .44-40 (or .44 WCF) was a centerfire round developed for the Wnchester model 1873 and was a bit more potent.

After 1875 handgun manufacturers like Colt and Remington chambered pistols in .44-40. It was a good load for what it was intended to do, but not exactly a powerhouse.
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2005, 04:13 PM
Padeye Padeye is offline
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Modern reproductions of the 1860 Henry rifle are chambered in centerfire calibers such as .44-40 and that may be where some of the confusion comes from. The similar but slightly updated 1866 "Yellowboy" rifle was also in .44 Henry Rimfire but a very small number were made in .44-40 after that caliber was introduced. Keep in mind that the 1873 rifle has a steel reciever but still had the same toggle breech locking mechanism of the Henry so it was in reality no stronger.

I shoot a repro 1873 rifle with black powder loads and let me assure you it is no slouch in the power department. I haven't cronographed any of my BP loads as the smoke makes it devilishly hard but the Lyman handbook lists low pressure smokeless loads which are safe for "weak" rifles like the '73 that outperform .40 S&W with similar 200gr bullets even when fired from a handgun.
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2005, 03:49 AM
Roadruner Roadruner is offline
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Hi
I knew this was the right place for the SD and in simple words too that I can understand. Not coming from a gun culture and not really being a gun person I still find the subject interesting and while movies and TV programs explain a lot there are always some things left unexplained. So thanks for taking the time and trouble to post your all replies.
I have been “lurking” (is that the right word) for some time before joining as a guest and some of the subjects that caught my interest also lost me sometimes becoming too technical, so thanks everybody for explaining in simple layman’s terms. Thanks also for the links that I follow through and often they lead to even more interesting subjects that would take too long to find without those initial links.
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  #10  
Old 02-02-2005, 06:42 AM
pullin pullin is offline
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.44/40 was a rimfire? Egads. How do you reload and/or set up the primer in a rimfire? Is it just a layer of <whatever primer is> spread on the bottom of the casing? How do you reshape the bottom of a rimfire shell? (Especially out "in the field", so to speak).

Thanx in advance, I've always wondered about this.
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  #11  
Old 02-02-2005, 07:32 AM
Exgineer Exgineer is offline
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You can't reload rimfire cases. The .44-40 was a centerfire.
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