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Fast Powders and AutoMags

Printed From: AMT Guns information
Category: Auto Mag Pistol
Forum Name: Message Board
Forum Description: Message Board
URL: http://www.amtguns.info/forum_posts.asp?TID=2251
Printed Date: 20 Jun 2018 at 6:31am


Topic: Fast Powders and AutoMags
Posted By: desertmoon
Subject: Fast Powders and AutoMags
Date Posted: 25 Oct 2017 at 1:22am
So, like most of you, I ran stuff like 296 and comparable powders in my AutoMag ( early TDE ) back in the day.  I developed my loads up from the middle until I got the gun to run.  It really didn't take long.

There was little on the AutoMag "net-wise" back in the "earlier" days of the net as a lot of the old timers hadn't made it to the net quite yet so there wasn't anything really steering me away from using the fast powder loads in my AutoMag.

I had used the old Hornady Volume II from 1974 and, like my 296 loads, I started in the middle and BEGAN to work my way up.  I never did get the gun to fully cycle reliably and I never got back to the project before I sold the gun.

One thing that had puzzled me was that my second set of loads was almost as soft as my first.  It wasn't until last night, going over the data with a fellow AutoMag aficionado that I realized that my loads were run through STARLINE cases as to where the DEVELOPERS AT HORNADY used reformed Speer .308 RIFLE cases which, of course have a much smaller volume and thusly developed higher pressures with less powder.


So, I have been giving this a lot of thought and I know a lot of folks don't like using fast powders in their guns....but please listen to my line of reasoning as to why I think there is a use for fast powders in the platform.

Most folks are pushing bullets FAST for power or distance...and that is one thing that the AutoMag was designed to do....

...but I began to think, "Well, why not also have lower velocity or midrange velocity loads that use a fast, more efficient powder to cycle the gun effectively but not necessarily push a bullet at 1300 or 1400 feet per second.

If, in a high volume casing, you use a moderate, fast powder load to drive a bullet at 1100 to 1200 fps...what is wrong with that?  You aren't approaching max pressures, you are NOT trying to hot rod...you are just using a fast burning powder with a different pressure curve in order to use the gun efficiently at LOWER velocities.

I am thinking of picking up where I left off and making a few Unique loads for my AutoMag. 

I don't see much of a fault in my logic.

WHICH IS WHY I MADE THIS POST.

Is there a fault in my reasoning?  Again, I am NOT trying to push bullets fast....in fact, quite the opposite.  Think of it as the AutoMag version of the classic 4.5 grain "Bullseye Load" for the 1911.

Am I missing anything?  Would love to hear everyone's thoughts.






Replies:
Posted By: BEEMER1
Date Posted: 25 Oct 2017 at 2:50pm
First off, I am no expert in loading for the Auto Mag.  I have not experimented and have only used 296 and H110 like the Experts have recommended.

Fast powders in magnum auto loaders have never worked well.  The pressure spikes early and goes down quickly and won't cycle the firearm  reliably.  This is true in pistols as well as rifles.  The pressure vs. time curve must match what is needed for that particular action.

From what I have read, 296 and H110 meet the pressure/time requirement the best and also give top velocity.

Get a Wildey.  With their gas system you can get about anything within reason to work.  They recommend Blue Dot because it burns clean and does not clog up the gas ports and that is all I have used.  I have a friend who uses 296 and gets amazing velocities but he cleans the gas system after every range visit.  To clean the gas system, you must remove the rib, gas valve, and piston and it is a pain in the ass.  With Blue Dot you can shoot 300 to 500 rounds between cleaning.


Posted By: Luc V.
Date Posted: 26 Oct 2017 at 9:15am
Desertmoon, I understand what you want.
I did the same thing for my 44AutoMag and came up with very good results when using Ramshot True Blue powder. That powder has about the same burning rate as Blue dot.
 
Do a search on this forum for True Blue and you will find my test results with pressure, velocity, accuracy etc.
I still use this load and have shot over 1000 rounds with this powder in my pistol. Works well and very clean burning.
 


Posted By: BEEMER1
Date Posted: 26 Oct 2017 at 1:07pm
Blue dot is very nice powder to work with and I have used a lot of it in the Wildey's and various 10mm's.

It is not what I call a "fast burning" powder though.  It is far too slow for most pistol cartridges except for the magnums and heavy bullet loads in 10mm and such.

Here is Alliant's description:   



http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/powder/blue_dot.aspx" rel="nofollow - Blue DotSmokeless magnum shotshell & handgun

  • Powder of choice for magnum loads
  • Consistent
  • Accurate


http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/shotshell.aspx" rel="nofollow - http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/shotshell.aspx


Posted By: desertmoon
Date Posted: 28 Oct 2017 at 4:57am
Thank you for the info, guys!!!!  I appreciate it.




Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 11 Nov 2017 at 1:21pm
Consider Blue Dot a "faster" powder than the normally used and recommended 296/110.  I use a lot on 45's both colt and ACP but after a call to Hodgdon  I am thinking of replacing my much used Blue Dot with Long Shot.  Interesting that someone made the reference that Blue Dot is a cleaner burning powder than 296/110, not my experience as that is the reason I am looking at changing powders for my mid power loadings.  If you want to experiment with a faster powder for the Automag a good candidate should be Long Shot, which was the recommendation of Hodgdon engineering.  BTW after using many pounds of 231 for my lower power choice for 40 years I am also looking at replacing that for a cleaner burning Tightgroup.

Interesting that in the 70's Speer manual the recommended loading for the 357 Automag showed the best velocity in 140 grain bullet was Blue Dot.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: BEEMER1
Date Posted: 11 Nov 2017 at 3:49pm
In my experience, H110/296 send a lot of unburnt powder down the barrel and out the muzzle.  This causes problems for the Wildey as the gas ports are very tiny holes and plug easily with this.

Blue Dot, for me, has always been a very clean burning powder in relation to the other 'magnum powders'.  It does need to be loaded to fairly high pressures to burn clean though.  The Wildey's and the 10mm's fill the bill.  The 45 ACP and most of the 45 Colt loads are loaded at too low a pressure for Blue Dot to burn clean.

I agree with you that the newer powders that are out now are a lot cleaner burning than what I started out with.  The new Unique is even fairly clean burning.


Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 11 Nov 2017 at 6:22pm
A difference between flake and ball powder.  Having used over 50 pounds of 296 and twenty pounds of Blue Dot I have not seen what you are saying as much as you imply.  When we first did loadings for Automags it was 200 grain with 630.  I went to exclusively 296/110 for all my magnum pistol loads and really have not used anything else.  I guess the gas ports on all my Eagles are not as particular as the Wildley.  All my loadings with 296 are over 42,000 so have been getting pretty good burning in the classic magnums and keeping over 50K in the Automags does not leave much in the barrel.  The admonition of heavy crimp for using 296 is really a requirement.  Now when you get over 60K with the 460 S&W i don't see any fouling left at all.

Since I mentioned heavy crimp.  Yes I do crimp all my 296 loads very well.  If using this powder you really need to do this.  With my rimmed stuff it can be a bit hard on the brass but I still get 10-20 loadings in standard 44 Mag and since my Automag is fed from 7.62 NATO blank stock it will likely not wear out.  How to crimp 44 Automag, well, have been using the RCBS taper crimp die forever and with a heavy crimp it still head spaces properly and with 29 GR under a 180 XTP functions well and fairly clean.  Without a heavy crimp you will get a lot of unburned stuff.  The reason for this is you need to get as much of the powder involved in the burn before the burn chamber starts expanding.  When the burn chamber expands the powder will become less likely to start grains that have not already started to burn.  This is not unlike the behavior of powders in higher altitudes (yes they burn different at 10,000 feet than at sea level).

Now about faster powders for Automags.  Yes you can and the reason I mentioned Long Shot was it is supposed to be much cleaner than Blue Dot and fits between Blue Dot and 296 on the speed charts.  As has been mentioned before faster powders can be problematic with something a picky as an Automag.  How do you get the total recoil moment high enough with keeping chamber pressure to standable levels for the gun and brass.  You could end up with a lot of primer pockets blown out so that the primers will now be too loose to use.  You have to have enough recoil moment to operate the action or you loose functional reliability.  Recoil moment is the amount of counter energy developed while the bullet is in the barrel plus the amount of back energy the escaping gasses cause into the equation.  The Automag is operated by this concept.  if you take recoil moment out by any means the equation is going to unbalance.  This will cause the action to not see enough backward force to properly cycle.  You walk a fine line with the Automag, not enough and it will not cycle, too much and damage can happen.  The Automag platform is one of the tightest of machines to load within these limits.  My Eagles are very forgiving in comparison, 357 to 50.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 11 Nov 2017 at 6:52pm
One thing that had puzzled me was that my second set of loads was almost as soft as my first.  It wasn't until last night, going over the data with a fellow AutoMag aficionado that I realized that my loads were run through STARLINE cases as to where the DEVELOPERS AT HORNADY used reformed Speer .308 RIFLE cases which, of course have a much smaller volume and thusly developed higher pressures with less powder.

I would like to address this since I use 7.62 NATO blank brass cut down.  I have not seen that much of this as the web of the brass is quite thick.  If this was true 29 GR of 296 under a 180 GR XTP would be a problem.  Reduce to 28 GR and action cycling goes quite unreliable.  29 goes bang very well, the action cycles perfect (although picking up a round from the mag with seven loaded can be a problem), and the brass is easy to reuse.  Now if you were to load the standard 240 GR bullets I could see this becoming an issue since the bullet seats much deeper into the case than a 180.  This goes to the idea that each gun is a separate beast and has to be loaded for on a very personal basis.  My loads I use will likely not work well in your gun.  When the major bullet makers of the time were coming up with the loading info it would have been good of them to make mention that everything you do and all changes made from their testing components could change things drastically.  Call the Automag the "Snowflake" gun, none of them are exactly the same and all respond slightly different to anything you do with them.  This could be just as easy the personality of your gun as much as the loading info.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 12 Nov 2017 at 3:13am
Originally posted by BEEMER1 BEEMER1 wrote:

Blue dot is very nice powder to work with and I have used a lot of it in the Wildey's and various 10mm's.

It is not what I call a "fast burning" powder though.  It is far too slow for most pistol cartridges except for the magnums and heavy bullet loads in 10mm and such.

Here is Alliant's description:   



http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/powder/blue_dot.aspx" rel="nofollow - Blue DotSmokeless magnum shotshell & handgun

  • Powder of choice for magnum loads
  • Consistent
  • Accurate


http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/shotshell.aspx" rel="nofollow - http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/shotshell.aspx

BTW Blue Dot originally was a heavy load shotgun powder that just also happens to work well with pistols.  Kind of like 296/110 was the original powder developed for the 30 Carbine M1.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: desertmoon
Date Posted: 12 Nov 2017 at 3:44am
Lot's of great info!!!  Thanks, Gang!!!

By the way, one of my thought experiments was the running of lead bullets at lower velocities to keep from "smearing" lead down the barrel.

It was just a thought....but it was intended as increasing the flexibility of the gun...but I don't know that you could run lead slow enough and still cycle the action fast enough to get the right blend of projectile performance AND reliability.


Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 12 Nov 2017 at 1:18pm
Originally posted by desertmoon desertmoon wrote:

Lot's of great info!!!  Thanks, Gang!!!

By the way, one of my thought experiments was the running of lead bullets at lower velocities to keep from "smearing" lead down the barrel.

It was just a thought....but it was intended as increasing the flexibility of the gun...but I don't know that you could run lead slow enough and still cycle the action fast enough to get the right blend of projectile performance AND reliability.

You can get hardened lead bullets or gas checked lead bullets that will not lead foul the barrel at surprisingly high velocities, I use 335 GR gas checked hardened lead bullets for my 460 S&W with 38 GR of 296 under them and no appreciable leading in the barrel.

Leads to ask the question, which is easier to clean out copper fouling or lead fouling?  Both get scrubbed, and both have special cleaners available.  BTW Sweets can be rough on a barrel if not used correctly.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: desertmoon
Date Posted: 19 Nov 2017 at 2:33am
I find copper easier, generally.  God, when you get a sheet of lead in a barrel....PHEW!!!

I wish mercury was a bit safer to use ( i.e. keep around the house ) ....I'd just plug the bore and let the lead amalgamate.


Posted By: Travis Morgan
Date Posted: 17 Dec 2017 at 5:28pm
Originally posted by desertmoon desertmoon wrote:


I wish mercury was a bit safer to use ( i.e. keep around the house ) ....I'd just plug the bore and let the lead amalgamate.

Speaking of amalgams; I've had so many dental fillings - (since they used me as a guinea pig to experiment on through a government 'free healthcare' program right from kindergarten up to about grade nine) ... I'm sure that the government will probably have to declare me a 'super fund site' when I die and get buried! 

All that mercury hasn't had any affect on me over all these years (twitch, twitch)!




Posted By: desertmoon
Date Posted: 17 Dec 2017 at 5:40pm
Originally posted by Travis Morgan Travis Morgan wrote:


All that mercury hasn't had any affect on me over all these years (twitch, twitch)!




Yeah, me neither.  I'm derrrrrrrrrrrrrr just fine.  Derrrrrrrrr......Dead


Posted By: AndyC
Date Posted: 29 Dec 2017 at 12:47am
Originally posted by Rocketthon Rocketthon wrote:

You can get hardened lead bullets or gas checked lead bullets that will not lead foul the barrel at surprisingly high velocities

What style lead bullet (or mold) would be typical or even best for the .44 AMP? I'm an experienced caster, so I'm curious


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Posted By: Rocketthon
Date Posted: 30 Dec 2017 at 12:50pm
Back in the day we had some success with the Speer 225 GR half jacket semi-wadcutter.  That bullet is no longer available but it was a bit different from the Keith type in that it had a slightly smaller and more tapered nose.  We used some button type castings in 45's and they fed and functioned well, i guess that would also work for AM's.  If you find a truncated cone with a smaller nose and more taper than the usual it should work.  Avoid sharp shoulders and straight lines on exposed lead and you should get something to work.  As always your gun(s) will exhibit their own personality, what will work for one likely will not work well on another.

On gas checks and hardening.  Be careful with gas checks, if you don't have a locking lip like Hornady's you risk leaving the gascheck in the barrel in rare occasions, hard on the gun with the next round fired.  Hardening of bullets can be in two ways, metallurgy or heat treating, either works so experimenting will help you in the long run.  I have found that 5% linotype is pretty good for velocities in an Automag but if you do a lighter bullet faster then 10% is good.  Made a canvas chute into a five gallon bucket of water to drop the bullets out of the mold into, this did a pretty good job of hardening but you have to let the bullets get pretty well solidified in the mold before you knock them out or they will egg.  Have also heard putting them in the oven at a moderate heat, 300-400 degrees and then a water bath does the job.


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When you are up to your neck in alligators it is hard to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp


Posted By: AndyC
Date Posted: 05 Jan 2018 at 4:09pm
I've hardened bullets both ways, so I'm familiar with that - cool. Great info on the gas-checks; I wouldn't have been aware of that issue. Avoid straight lines and sharp shoulders - got it.

Thank you for the advice :)


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http://bane.2hell.com" rel="nofollow - My Iraq Pics


Posted By: AndyC
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2018 at 5:11pm
I can't find any round-nose .44-mag bullet-molds to my satisfaction, so I'm looking at the RCBS 240gr gas-checked SWC mold:



The ogive seems rounded enough to feed decently (one hopes), so I may get one just to try it and seat it like a .45acp SWC.


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Posted By: Pasadena-Joe
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2018 at 8:14pm
If you want lead to work reliably in a AutoMag, you better be shooting real heavy bullets and/or doing a lot of testing of powders to make sure you got the right combo.  WW296 is not good for slow and heavy lead, and fast lead will make a mess of your gun even the hard cast stuff. 

Dont believe me, then go ahead and try and you will suffer it for yourself.  -Joe


Posted By: AndyC
Date 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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http://bane.2hell.com" rel="nofollow - My Iraq Pics


Posted By: Pasadena-Joe
Date 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


Posted By: AndyC
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2018 at 11:31pm
Yes, sir - understood! I'll be going into this slow and careful.




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http://bane.2hell.com" rel="nofollow - My Iraq Pics


Posted By: Gerry
Date 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


Posted By: Olestick
Date 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


Posted By: tgt40
Date 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!



Posted By: Pasadena-Joe
Date 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


Posted By: Bellarmament
Date 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/



Posted By: Pasadena-Joe
Date 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




Posted By: Bellarmament
Date 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




Posted By: Pasadena-Joe
Date Posted: 29 Jan 2018 at 3:00pm
Looks like a real quality piece.

Well if you ever decide to market your tools, I think you could have a bunch of us who actually load as buyers.

Thanks for the fine details.  some already know this stuff, but its always good to repeat and sometime that little bit of extra info is new to even us old-timers.  -Joe


Posted By: Bellarmament
Date Posted: 29 Jan 2018 at 4:28pm
Thanks Joe,

When the weather warms up I will make a few. I can think of no other pistol more deserving of the adjustable gauge than the Auto Mag.


Posted By: AndyC
Date Posted: 29 Jan 2018 at 6:50pm
I would definitely be interested in one, if that helps.


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Posted By: Luvz2Shoot
Date Posted: 30 Jan 2018 at 12:34am
Count me in for one also. Sure would like it to fit the 357AMP and 45WM too (if I can make that request).

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If you were happy and you knew it, would you clap your hands?


Posted By: Bellarmament
Date Posted: 30 Jan 2018 at 3:00am
I appreciate the interest!

 I will order the metal and do an initial run of maybe 20 in each caliber .357amp, .44amp and .45 Win Mag.

Will also pm interested parties a price before before turning them out.

Thanks again
Tim


Posted By: Luvz2Shoot
Date Posted: 30 Jan 2018 at 3:27am
Would it be 3 individual guages? Or would it be 1 with the end that looks like the end of a shell case (that will press against the bolt), and 3 interchangeablebe ends (that would go into the chamber)?

Just curious as to what you were thinking.   

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If you were happy and you knew it, would you clap your hands?


Posted By: Bellarmament
Date Posted: 30 Jan 2018 at 4:15am
I would offer them in the most cost efficient way to buyers to suit their needs or wants.
 
The gauge can be easily disassembled and reassembled in the caliber so desired. The base of the gauge is the same for all three calibers. No need to pay for a bunch of handles, bases and rods you don't need.

Thanks
Tim


Posted By: Luvz2Shoot
Date Posted: 30 Jan 2018 at 3:44pm
This makes even more sense than what I was thinking.  Thanks!  Thumbs Up
 
 
Originally posted by Bellarmament Bellarmament wrote:

I would offer them in the most cost efficient way to buyers to suit their needs or wants.
 
The gauge can be easily disassembled and reassembled in the caliber so desired. The base of the gauge is the same for all three calibers. No need to pay for a bunch of handles, bases and rods you don't need.

Thanks
Tim


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If you were happy and you knew it, would you clap your hands?


Posted By: Gerry
Date Posted: 31 Jan 2018 at 1:23am
Tim
Put me down for a 357 and 44 AMP tools set.
Thanks 
Gerry
MI


Posted By: Bellarmament
Date Posted: 31 Jan 2018 at 4:48pm
Will do Gerry. Thanks


Posted By: Bellarmament
Date Posted: 31 Jan 2018 at 5:40pm
Hopefully those interested have had time to read the excellent article written by Allan Jones for shooting times. Link below:

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

I only want to add a couple of comments. Most gunsmiths or design engineers are not ballisticians and most ballisticians are not gunsmiths or design engineers and most gunsmiths are not design engineers or ballisticians. In my opinion the word Gunsmith is used way too loosely these days.

I agree that the over pressure results obtained during his testing (like with the 10mm) will not harm the stout pressure gun or pressure barrel they use in peak pressure and pressure curve determination. Most of the pressure guns used now have a 15 inch length barrel (SAAMI Standard) with one inch diameter (unless a larger bore diameter dictates otherwise). Alan may have used shorter barrels for handgun caliber testing and I have not purchased a new Sierra manual to see if barrel length is listed as a determiner for data. Depending on the length of the barrel peak pressure and adequate pressure curve to the drop off can be measured in shorter barrels dependent on the burn rate of the powder.

My point is the pressure gun being used is simply a strong stout test fixture and bears no semblance to the Auto Mag or any other type semi auto pistol. To make a comment that brief over pressure is happening so fast that no harm is done is debatable and questionable in my opinion. Almost like saying if I kick you in the balls fast enough you will not feel it or suffer any ill effects. Metal compression (cold forging) and metal fatigue are real issues that cannot be accessed in a particular firearm without testing and analyzing in a particular firearm (service life up to and including destructive testing).

I have several friends who have had case blowouts in Delta Elite Colt pistols in 10mm and many instances of this type happening in different firearms can be researched on the internet ( many caused by inadequately supported cartridge casing at the ramp cut in the barrel). Over pressure may not harm one type design firearm but may have undesired consequences in a different design firearm. Do a search for 10mm kaboom on your computer if interested.

I personally stay away from fast burning powders unless used for light to moderate target loads. I am not a ballistician but personally know several retired Lake City Arsenal and private sector ballisticians that I ping for knowledge and opinions when I am lacking. In some recoil operated pistols the amount of fast burning powder needed produce the recoil energy to operate the pistol reliably may possibly cause early peak over pressure that could cause damage in some pistols. Unfortunately Auto Mag pistols are expensive to do destructive testing evaluations so I prefer to stay on the safe side with slower burn rate powders.

Time for my quick can of Ravioli. LOL

Tim


Posted By: Bellarmament
Date Posted: 01 Feb 2018 at 2:44am
I have had several PM's regarding free space, lug space and head space. I will make an attempt to explain this better.

If your pistol unloaded with the bolt in battery has a distance between the face of the barrel extension lugs and rear of the bolt lugs of .004 then your free space is .004.

If the same unloaded pistol with the bolt in battery has a distance from the bolt face to the case mouth stop in the chamber a distance of 1.296 and you trim your casing to 1.292 you have .004 head space and still have the .004 lug space.

Add the two together and you have .008 of total tolerance that will be violently taken up in a micro second when the cartridge is ignited when the trim length is 1.292.

In the same pistol if the casing was trimmed at 1.298 you would only have .002 tolerance to take up or basically your head space would be fine but you would still have .002 lug space which is easier on the pistol and since .001 to .002 in my opinion is necessary for a smooth and reliable functioning pistol this will be about the best you can do due to the design of the firearm.

The goal is to trim the cartridge case to a sufficient length to only allow a minimum of functional lug space.

Hope this clears up any confusion and if not just drop me a line.

Thanks
Tim



Posted By: Bellarmament
Date Posted: 02 Feb 2018 at 2:33am
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


A firearm not cycling is a broad statement. It is difficult to diagnose a problem without more info.
The quickest way to attempt a diagnosis is to video the pistol while being fired hopefully in slow motion mode on a I Phone or similar device. We need to see where the pistol is failing. In what area is it failing? The video will tell me if you are limp wristing the pistol and I will also be able to tell if your upper is moving rearward properly and if the bolt is being launched to the rearward limit necessary for function.

1. Is the pistol mechanically able to perform ( broken, damaged parts, weak springs etc)
2. Is it failing to load?
3. Is it failing to fire the cartridge?
4. Is it failing to extract?
5. Is it failing to eject?
6. Is it failing to load the next round?
7. Are there any signs from reading the fired brass that would indicate a problem.
8. Is the ammunition adequate to function the pistol

First off lets check the mechanics of the upper. Be observant and be cautious as these firearms can bite and scratch!! Like Chevy Chase in Caddy Shack said of the golf balls the same can be applied to analyzing a firearm problem. See the gun, be the gun. Concentrate! Remove any live ammunition from your work area and make sure the pistol is not loaded.

Here we go.  Insert an empty magazine, retract the bolt  the hold open should engage and hold the bolt to the rear. Now remove the .357amp upper and make sure no one has removed the accelerator. If the accelerator is there look for any damage or binding. The accelerator should be able to rock fore and aft with finger pressure freely with no binding against the accelerator block.

Now lets check accelerator timing. Put the .357amp upper back onto the pistol and lower the bolt gently to see if there is any resisting or binding when lowering the bolt. Make sure the bolt moves freely forward and cams over the roughly 22 degrees to full lock into battery. Never ever drop the bolt with the safety lever without a cartridge in an inserted magazine ready to be loaded!

Get a towel and put it on a solid surface. Put an empty magazine into the pistol and place the muzzle down on the towel and press down. You will see the hammer move back and the upper move rearward. Push until the upper stops moving rearward and hold in place. Wnen pushing the upper downward the bolt due to interaction with the rotation pin will turn the bolt to unlock. Was it a smooth transition or rough and grinding?  With your free hand pull the cocking piece slowly to the rear and retract the bolt until the hold open catches the bolt and holds it rearward. If when you initially began pulling the bolt to the rear you met with resistance that took a snatch to overcome then you may have an accelerator fitment problem. Early or late accelerator engagment with the bolt can cause problems. With the muzzle pressed firmly down your accelerator should have started the bolt rearward at the proper rotational attitude and linear distance to not grab or grind on your barrel extension lugs. If you felt a grab or grind remove the upper and take a flash light and look into the bottom of the barrel extension. You will be able to see the condition of the uppermost locking lugs. Look to see if there is any peening or deformation of the lugs you are able to see. The lower lugs can only be checked adequately with a good bore scope. You can buy a bore scope for your I phone or Android off ebay that works well enough to view and snap a picture of the face of the lugs. If either of the aforementioned is the problem then stop and have the pistol repaired by a competent Auto Mag gunsmith.

While you are at it pick up the frame and examine the bolt locking lugs carefully with a good magnifying glass and look for cracks, chips or deformation then check the function of the ejector and extractor. The ejector should allow itself to be pressed slightly below the bolt face and should have good return spring pressure (quick and snappy). Check the extractor with a small brass punch. The extractor should move with spring resistance outward enough to accept a cartridge rim so the extractor rim catch area should be able to move slightly past the interior on the ring of metal around the bolt face that surrounds a cartridge and then snap briskly back into place when released. If these two bolt issues are fine then take an  empty cartridge case and press the case head into the bolt face and make sure there is no entry binding or catching on the face of the extractor it there is take a round fine honing stone and chamfer for smooth entry. Check the firing pin by taking the tip of an ink pen and push forward on the rear of the firing pin and hold and inspect the protruding tip of the firing pin. It should have a rounded tip free of damage. Make sure the firing pin spring quickly and freely returns the firing pin when you pull the ink pin away from the rear of the firing pin. The reason an ink pen is good to use is it pushes the firing pin far enough through the bolt face to get a good look at the firing pin tip. A weak firing pin spring can cause light primer strikes. Check your fired brass to insure you have adequate indentation.

Naturally if you have a damaged bolt do not fire the pistol and have it repaired by a competent Auto Mag gunsmith.

I like to remove the bolt and examine the bolt frame ring for cracks and elongation at the rotation pin hole in the bolt ring. The bolt frame ring should stand perpendicular to the top shelf of the frame. If the bolt ring on the frame is leaning rearward or has an elongated rotation pin hole then my advice is to not fire the pistol and have it repaired by a competent Auto Mag gunsmith.

Guess we need to stop here. Not knowing what tools you have or how much Auto Mag experience you have I do not want to overload you or exceed your limitations.

Unfortunately if you have bolt damage you likely have barrel extension lug damage also but can have extension lug damage without any visible bolt damage. If this is the case it would be best to just purchase a new Classic upper as it comes with a new bolt. I feel the new uppers should be fitted to your frame by a factory gunsmith as the bolt safety tappet needs to be checked for proper function with the new bolt.
 

If everything is OK then clean the pistol, lubricate and reassemble and when at the range take a video ( close but safe distance when video is taken) and post it or at the very least tell at what point a failure to cycle is occurring. Make sure those recoil rods are tight!

If I missed anything guy's please chime in.

I would like to thank Ian for the use of his website to juggle info.

I am no longer with Auto Mag and changes could have been made to the new design I may not be aware of. Even though most of the info applies also to the new design pistols I mainly post regarding the old original pistols.

Hope this helps
Tim





Posted By: Olestick
Date Posted: 04 Feb 2018 at 4:16pm
Thanks for the info it was very useful
 I uped my 296 load from 22 gr.  to 23 gr  i tried both .357 starline and made some .357 from win 308  brass the gun function was improved  by far , neither  brass loaded  same components  made any difference that I could tell .. i think i will try  23.2 grains  of 295Smile
at this time my AMT will fire 3 rounds of .357 no problem 
thanks 
Olestick



Posted By: Olestick
Date Posted: 04 Feb 2018 at 4:25pm
Ok 
 does anyone have the contact info of a good AMT Automag gunsmith  that would be nice if i needed parts or service
Thanks Olestick


Posted By: Gerry
Date Posted: 13 Apr 2018 at 12:46am
Originally posted by Bellarmament Bellarmament wrote:

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/

Any update on your tool?
Gerry
MI



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