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Fast Powders and AutoMags

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AndyC View Drop Down
International Auto Mag
International Auto Mag
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Joined: 04 Jul 2015
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AndyC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jan 2018 at 8:43pm
I do plan on shooting mostly copper jacketed bullets eg XTPs, but I figured it might be nice to have a backup - something with which to experiment, if you will. I understand your points, Joe - I'm big on slugging the bore to check for true size, very familiar with hardening (and softening) alloys, etc. all to minimize leading and improve performance. Good tip on the WW296 - thank you.
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Pasadena-Joe View Drop Down
International Auto Mag
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pasadena-Joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2018 at 11:51am
Heavy and hard lead shot at modest velocities will work without making a mess of your barrel, but you need some other powder then WW296. 

Some here have used Blue Dot and some tried Unique.  I did not like either and have ended up staying with WW296 and just shooting faster rounds.

Someone once recommended AA-9 and maybe even AA-7 but I cant remember who and what they said.  I think the fellow from Europe recommended some other powder I never heard of. 

So there are some options, but you need to do a lot of testing to see what works for you and any time you are working with unknown powders and have no loading date to start with you are taking a chance of breaking your gun.  Just fair warning. 

Good Luck -Joe
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AndyC View Drop Down
International Auto Mag
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AndyC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2018 at 11:31pm
Yes, sir - understood! I'll be going into this slow and careful.


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Gerry View Drop Down
Callahan's Auto Mag
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jan 2018 at 1:38am
Have been an active caster for the last 6-8 yrs. Have you checked NOE or Accurate bullets. NOE has a 44 mag mold in the ranch dog section. They have a copy of the SSK mold in 270 gr and 310grs. 
I have never tried cast bullets in my pistol. Reading the old literature, I never remember any info on cast bullets in the automag. 
If you want a sample of a few bullets to try, pm me what you are interested in.
Gerry
MI
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Olestick View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Olestick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2018 at 9:15pm
Im having no luck  with the 357 BBL on my amp I use 158 gr jhp 21.5 gr 296 cci mag primers  in Starline
brass  I also tried H-110 in diffront weights from the book
I bought the gun used at gun broker with the 357 and 44 mag bbl the 44 works most time
 I know these guns are finnacky but I haven't got the 357 bbl to cycle even once.
I read u r article and I have no reformed brass from 308 . I do have 44 mag brass formed from 308 cases
maybe  I can make some from them.
  I appreciate any  help  
  Jer Ouch
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tgt40 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tgt40 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2018 at 11:17pm
Well from the " I don't know what you know" file I'll ask...have you changed recoil rod springs and are the springs tight?  When I got mine it had a bit of trouble cycling but new springs fixed it right up!  Remember to check your rod diameter and get the proper ones.  I THINK Brownells has them but if not order directly from Wolff gunsprings.

I loaded some paper punchers at 24.4 gr of 296 with a 124 gr bullet (It's what I had) and an OAL of 1.6664. 

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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Pasadena-Joe View Drop Down
International Auto Mag
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pasadena-Joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2018 at 11:36pm
Originally posted by Olestick Olestick wrote:

Im having no luck  with the 357 BBL on my amp I use 158 gr jhp 21.5 gr 296 cci mag primers  in Starline
brass  I also tried H-110 in diffront weights from the book
I bought the gun used at gun broker with the 357 and 44 mag bbl the 44 works most time
 I know these guns are finnacky but I haven't got the 357 bbl to cycle even once.
I read u r article and I have no reformed brass from 308 . I do have 44 mag brass formed from 308 cases
maybe  I can make some from them.
  I appreciate any  help  
  Jer Ouch

Don't think you are using enough powder.

Hard to know if you are having other problems, but my lightest load was 22gr of 296 and I have used 23gr with a 158gr bullet.

I was using 308 brass.

If its a feeding problem, change bullets, mine was picky until I switched to XTP bullets. -Joe
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Bellarmament View Drop Down
International Auto Mag
International Auto Mag


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bellarmament Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2018 at 5:04am
While we are on the topic of hand loading I feel this is important.

Your case length is critical to a long service life!!

Go and no go gauges are of limited use with the Auto Mag pistol. Here is a photo of the lug space / head space gauge I made for the .44 amp Auto Mag pistols. It operates similar to a pull through reamer.



Many of you after gauging would find you are trimming your casings way short! This causes excessive lug battering and lug compression and increases the lug battering as a vicious cycle as lug space worsens.

To use the gauge you first remove the upper then remove the extractor and ejector (this can be done without removing the bolt). Then retract the bolt and engage the hold open. Then remove the handle from the gauge (set gauge with a caliper to 1.350) and insert from the rear and re-install the upper and gently lower the bolt. The bolt will not cam over to lock because the gauge is set long. Install the handle on the gauge rod that is extended out of the muzzle and turn the handle ANTI clockwise until the bolt cams over to full lock into battery.

Then retract the bolt and engage the hold open to hold the bolt to the rear and remove the upper. Then remove the handle from the gauge rod and remove the gauge and take the caliper and measure length.This measurement will give you the minimum in lug space and indicate the trimmed case length and thereby increase the service life of the pistol if casings are trimmed accordingly. Some of the time you will need to trim cases .001 to .002 less than the gauge indicates to allow the bolt to be retracted easily and the pistol to function smoothly.

I have seen casings trimmed so short the lug space was maxed out and
the head space became an alarming issue to the point the extractor could not snap over the case rim and was pushed forward by the ejector.
Since the firing pin does not have a protrusion stop the firing pin could reach out and set off the cartridge. The case head will slam into the bolt face and slam the bolt lugs against the barrel extension lugs. Yes I know the upper will move rearward but the damage is still imparted. Much like holding your hand in the air and letting me hit it full swing with a baseball bat. Your hand will move when struck but it will still hurt and cause damage!

I personally blew up a .45 Winchester Magnum Auto Mag (Winchester factory loads) that was running .012 lug space to prove my point as someone " in the know" swore the Auto mag would shoot with .015 lug space. Not so as it immediately sheared the bolt lugs!

Photo below is one of the worst lug battering / lug setback cases on a Pasadena .44amp I have ever seen. .016 lug space with a 1.298 trimmed casing (gauged at 1.314).  Even if you could find a casing long enough to take up the lug space you would lose .016 off your dwell time to helix opening by moving the bolt that far rearward. Also there is lug chipping and the wear and impact damage is uneven. The bolt safety detent cut on the bolt of the old pistols (comma type and smiley type as they are referred to) would allow pistols to be in battery and able to fire when dangerous or damaging tolerances were occurring.  Not so with the new Auto Mag pistols with the redesigned bolt safety tappet (disconnector) detent along with a properly fitted bolt safety tappet.



You can also find your distance to helix opening with this gauge also. After the bolt cams into full battery just reverse and turn the gauge rod clockwise. You will see the upper begin to move rearward. Look at the bolt through the ejection port to detect the earliest rotational movement then stop turning the handle. Remove the gauge as explained earlier and measure with your caliper. Subtract your earlier case length measurement from the dwell to helix opening measurement and there you have your dwell distance. If I remember correctly a normal pistol should run around .100 to start of helix opening. This distance gives the bullet time to exit the barrel and pressure to subside before the bolt begins rotation to unlock.

I have also seen pistols where the barrel latch had metal removed from the face that contacts the run out slot in the extension lug to allow the upper to move forward to decrease lug space. In these cases the casing trim length would still need to be gauged as you have lengthened the distance from the bolt face to the end of the chamber.

I apologize for another long winded post.

Kind regards
Timothy Bell

PS: What determines the free lug space on your pistol (unloaded with bolt in battery)? On the old Auto Mag pistols it varied.
The forward cessation of bolt movement was ended either by the cocking piece against the frame end of the recoil tubes or the rotation pin at the rear of the slot in the bolt or the cocking piece bottoming out against the rear of the barrel extension.

What is optimal for your Auto Mag? The casing being trimmed to a sufficient length to only allow a minimum of functional lug space.

Here is an alternate method for finding trim length on your pistol. Although I do not use this method you can take a long sized casing and if the bolt will not cam over on said casing remove the casing and reduce length slightly and retry until the bolt cams over then measure the length. A brass case with thin walls does not make a good gauge in my opinion due to the case mouth not being substantial.

There is a good article by Shooting Times regarding fast powders and handgun cartridges. Though not specific to the Auto Mag I feel is a must read. Link below:

http://www.shootingtimes.com/ammo/ammunition_st_cuppsireloaddata_200905/

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Pasadena-Joe View Drop Down
International Auto Mag
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Joined: 08 Jul 2016
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pasadena-Joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2018 at 11:39am
Never seen one like that, is it of your own making, or commercial?

Most I have ever seen were sold as a 3 piece set and for a specific caliber and never seen one for 44 automag.

Do you use the same style gauge for 357 AutoMag?  -Joe


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Bellarmament View Drop Down
International Auto Mag
International Auto Mag


Joined: 17 May 2016
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bellarmament Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2018 at 2:52pm
Thanks for the question Joe.


I make these from 01 tool steel and harden everything except the slip on handle that locks via cap head set screw.

I failed to mention if you have multiple uppers used on a particular frame each upper would need to be gauged on the frame with the bolt being used.

I have one laying around for the .357amp and .45 Winchester Magnum. Same type set up for .357amp except necked cartridges seats on the shoulder as you guys well know.

I never give out load data for liability reasons but will say I am also a fan of WW296 ball powder for a number of reasons.

Lastly in addition the blown bolts I have seen (lugs sheared off) were caused by excessive lug space issues and in addition sometimes head space issues building until failure from impact stresses. Many say that the bolts failed from out of battery firings. I disagree. If the bolt was rotationally out of battery the lugs would not be sheared off and if the bolt had not rotationally turned into the lugs none of the bolt safety tappet (disconnector) detents (comma and smiley) on the old pistols would have allowed firing from being rotationally out of battery unless there was an issue with wear or damage to the bolt safety tappet. As mentioned before the old bolt detent cuts allowed much latitude in case length and ability to fire the pistol by being in battery under adverse conditions.

The only rotationally out of battery firings I was able to pin down were due to protruding firing pins being held forward by a damaged cocking piece or rear bolt cams (ears) being damaged and the cocking piece shifting and holding the firing pin through the bolt face. I have seen sticky and hardened oil cause a firing pin to hang forward with enough resistance to set off a cartridge.

Another safety feature carried over from previous firearms designs involves the hammer's interaction with the cocking piece and firing pin. If the bolt is held back 1/8 inch you may still be able to drop the hammer due to the bolt safety detent design on the old pistols but the hammer cannot strike the firing pin due to the cocking piece angle versus the hammer face angle.

Off to work


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