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Old November 22, 2018, 19:35   #1
Retired Bum
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Bottleneck cartridges in revolvers

In my motley collection of handguns I own revolvers chambered for bottleneck rounds. Four of them to be precise.

The first is a S&W Model 53 chambered for the .22 Remington Jet. Essentially a .357 case necked down. The bullet is a .222 inch 40 grain JSP. Introduced in 1961. S&W made 15,000 M53's and ended production in 1974. Remington was the sole producer of the Jet round and ended production in 1989. I have a decent supply of cartridge cases and both Remington and Hornady bullets. The M53 required that the chambers and ammo be clean and dry. Otherwise the case would set back against the recoil shield and lock up the revolver. I use rubbing alcohol to remove any oil from the chambers prior to firing. The loaded rounds get a wipe down as well.

The second is a Ruger "Buckeye Special" which was made for Buckeye Sports in Ohio, a big Ruger distributor. It is a NM Blackhawk .32 Convertible with two cylinders. The .32-20 Winchester and the .32 H&R Magnum. The .32-20 is an old round introduced in 1881 in the Winchester Model 1873 lever action rifle. Ammo is still produced by Winchester and Remington. Loaded to very mild pressures due to all of the old rifles and handguns chambered for it. I worked up a load using a 100 grain LSWC I cast and Bullseye powder. It does 1000 fps in the 6.5 inch barrel. Recoil is quite mild. Very good accuracy as well.

The third is another Ruger "Buckeye Special" .40 Convertible. Two cylinders, one in .38-40 Winchester and the second in 10 mm Auto. Winchester still produces the round with a 180 grain JSP. I chronographed this load at 900 fps. I bought a Lyman four cavity mold for the original profile 180 grain flatnose and worked up a load using SR #4756 powder. It does an honest 975 fps in the 6.5 inch barrel. This duplicates the original load using 40 grains of black powder.

The fourth is a S&W Model 544 chambered for the .44-40 Winchester. The 544 is a Model 29 with a five inch barrel. It was produced as the Texas Wagon Train Comm for 1986. Both Winchester and Remington offer an identical load. A 200 grain JSP with mild pressure. I cast the RCBS #44-200FN which duplicates the original lead bullet. Load it over Winchester #231 powder for a velocity of 850 fps. The cylinder walls of the M544 are quite thin and so I keep the pressure down to a safe level.

I enjoy shooting the old Winchester rounds in modern revolvers. When I go to my club range with one of these revolvers it attracts the attention of other shooters. Quite a few of them know very little about the old bottleneck Winchester rounds. And absolutely nothing about the .22 Rem Jet.

And so it goes.

The Retired One
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Old November 22, 2018, 20:18   #2
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I, too, had to clean the cartridges and cylinder frequently on my Jet when I took it to the range. The same for my Smith 32-20. And, people always ask about them.

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Old November 23, 2018, 10:39   #3
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Back in '77 I wanted to go handgun hunting for deer in Pennsylvania. So I bought a new stainless Ruger Blackhawk in .357 Magnum. I sent the cylinder off to Bob Booth in Castro Valley California where he machined it for his new wildcat cartridge, the 357/44 Bobcat Magnum. While waiting for the cylinder to return, I sent the frame off to Ruger and had a new .357 cylinder fit. Both the Bobcat machined cylinder and the Ruger new cylinder fit revolver arrived the same day. Now I had a dual cylinder stainless Blackhawk.

The bottleneck 357/44 Bobcat cartridge is simply a .44 Magnum necked down to 30 caliber. The cylinder is not bottleneck reamed as the cartridge itself requires a collar to be placed around the entire bottle neck taking the loaded cartridge to 44 Magnum dimensions, except for the bullet itself. Luckily I ordered a bunch of collars with the cylinder machining.

The 357/44 Magnum ammo is hand loaded to 357 Automag specifications. One load is for a 110 grain bullet loaded over a bunch of H110 giving you 2000 fps out of a 7 1/2 inch barrel. The muzzle blast is absolutely amazing!

I never did take my Blackhawk deer hunting because I got sick as a dog during handgun hunting season. Sadly, one of the guys I was to hunt with died from a fall off his tree stand. He broke his neck and died instantly.
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Last edited by mg34dan; November 23, 2018 at 10:49.
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Old November 23, 2018, 14:01   #4
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jet revolvers reportedly jammed in function if the cylinders had any oil in them, at all. the cases would set back and expand against the recoil plate tightly enuf to stop the gun. jet guns should have ammo full sized in reloading and be shot dry. loud little fuggers too, sonic boom and all.
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Nonetheless you disgust me, and I take comfort in the knowledge that your obituary will be nowhere near as humorous as mine.

The next time I hear "THE RANGE IS NOW HOT", it just wont be the same.

Max tried another question. "What sort of people live about here?"
"In THAT direction," the Jin said, waving its right paw round, "lives a Han: And in THAT direction," waving the other paw, "lives a Ming Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad."
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Max remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Jin: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Max.
"You must be," said the Jin, "or you wouldn't have come here."
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Old November 23, 2018, 15:51   #5
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The M53 I have has the six inch barrel. I chronographed six rounds of R-P factory ammo and it did 1750 fps but with a big velocity spread. My hand load using the 40 grain Remington bullet with H110 powder and a Winchester magnum pistol primer does 1850 fps with the same level of velocity spread as the factory load.

The muzzle blast puts my four inch M629 .44 Magnum with full power loads to shame. I use both ear plugs and muffs when shooting the M53. But I did have a handgun that was even louder. The Remington XP-100 in .221 Rem Fireball. Rated at 2650 fps in the 10.75 inch barrel. That little beast sounded like the crack of doom when fired. And yes, it did produce an impressive muzzle flash. If ever a cartridge was aptly named it was the Fireball.....

And so it goes.....

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Old November 23, 2018, 16:06   #6
Bawana jim
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I seem to recall conversions to bottleneck cartridges in revolvers some years back. I believe Bain and Davis did one where they necked the 44 mag down to 357 in a Ruger.
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