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Thread: Much Better Grouping with my Rossi .357 Levergun

  1. #1
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    Much Better Grouping with my Rossi .357 Levergun

    Just like after a domestic squabble.... when things settle down... a man is inclined to ruminate on what went wrong and what might be done better.

    I felt my beautiful Rossi Puma had let me down. Sure she looks good, and we'd had some good times, but during some recent serious testing she just would not group consistently. I never asked her to be perfect... I'd have accepted a two inch group at 25 yards, but she wouldn't even do that. When we first got together I remember shooting a business card at 50 yards, but now some shots were all over the place. I wondered if maybe some the poor performance was my fault, so I shot some groups through some old .22s with open sights and found that I could still group acceptably well.

    I thought about what might have changed since I loaded my first .357 ammo. I had new primers. Previously I'd been using Federal, now I have CCI. I'd also started crimping my cartridges because that is often advised for tube magazines.

    So I re-lived the old times a bit. I kept the same powder load, but I decided not to apply a crimp. I doubted that the primer brand could make such a dramatic difference, so I used the CCI. I sat the bullets deeper in the case. Plus I decided to load a few wadcutter projectiles that I'd been given. These were old Lapua bullets with some serious thick lubricant. I went out today and shot some groups. The results were very encouraging. I'm now thinking that i don't have to break up with this saucy bit of equipment.

    It seems that the projectiles are firmly held in the cases without crimping, especially when seated deeply. Besides, these are mild loads and I seldom load my tube magazine to full capacity. If I use wadcutters, I can only have one in the magazine because the lack of a tapered bullet doesn't allow the magazine stop to slip in between the cartridges. Interestingly, the rifle easily feeds wadcutters from the ramp into the chamber.

    I'm not an expert shooter or reloader, so I don't dare to state any definite reasons as to why my groups were better today. It certainly seems that not crimping helped, and perhaps the deeper seating did too. I know that some folks argue that a three shot group is not good enough proof of accuracy..... but a good three shot group is just fine with me and it conserves powder and bullets. A pig appearing momentarily in a gap between two trees requires a good one-shot group.

    Whereas some of my older crimped cartridges might have previously shot a 2.75 inch group at 25 yards, the groups were mostly down to around 1.4 inches today. And the wadcutters were phenomenal... my group size was about 0.7 inches and they hit right where they should on the target. So my gorgeous gun is plenty good enough for bush work.

    So... after the satisfying shooting (in this case it was the equivalent of 'make-up sex'), I thought I should shoot off my few old crimped cartridges so that I had the brass to start afresh with new loads. Most of my cartridges are loaded in Starline brass. But I have a few nickel plated cases I was given... and I trimmed these to the same length as the Starline to keep things uniform. I shot off the Starline ammo, and the groups weren't marvellous. Then I loaded the nine remaining nickel cases I had and shot them all at one target. These grouped in a much tighter pattern than the other crimped cartridges to give a group size of around 1.7 inches.

    Why did the nickel-plated stuff shoot better? Dunno. Perhaps it is stiffer brass and that somehow affected the crimping. Perhaps it was because I carefully chamfered the inside and the outside of the case after i trimmed it, whereas I didn't trim or chamfer any of the unplated cases. After reading about them, I'd formed the opinion that the nickel plated cases were possibly inferior in some ways to plain cases, but they certainly performed well.

    Here is the wadcutter group:


  2. #2
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    I found nickled brass was very hard.... sounds like you are on to a winner,maybe its the length from case mouth to rifling??? maybe its lack of crimp,maybe the wadcutters are a better cast.....or have a better base.have you tried the wee matal bases on your cast loads (cant think of name of them)...lots of different shapes of projectile out there to try,small sample packs on trademe could be worth a crack.
    what have you got @shootersnz ???

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    Thanks Micky. This is the second reference I've seen to shootersnz. I look forward to learning more. Nope.... haven't used gas checks in the .357 as my speeds are subsonic. When I watched the elders reload .303 British with cast bullets back in the 1970s, they had gas checks... but then I think they would have been pushing the lead as fast as they thought was possible. I shot a deer with one of those .303 lead slugs... it dropped on the spot.

  4. #4
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    gas checks....thats what I was thinking of. reason I asked is from what Ive heard/read...cast projectiles wont shoot worth a damn if there is any deformation of the base.

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    Member Max Headroom's Avatar
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    There are days that I know that I'm just not settled enough to shoot really well, and any grouping I shoot will be subpar, rather than sub moa.

    A few days later when I'm chilled out makes a big difference.

    "It's the nut behind the butt"

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    I hear you Max. When I'm in the zone things go well. And sometimes when I spend less time before I squeeze the trigger... as in rapid or snap shooting... I can surprise myself.

  7. #7
    Member Cordite's Avatar
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    You may be mistaken about dismissing the primers as the source of the problem. They may actually be the PRIMary problem. (-:

    Federal uses a hotter burning compound in their standard primers than other makers do in their standard primers.

    You also mention you use mild loads (I read: less filled cases) which might accentuate any irregular ignition issue occurring with cooler primers.

    If you have bought into another primer maker big time, the problem may be alleviated by a dacron wad keeping the charge back against the primer flash hole. Get dacron from an old polyester filled pillow, very little needed.
    Last edited by Cordite; 21-05-2019 at 12:32 AM.
    Bad choices do kill.

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    Thanks Cordite. I'm using Trail Boss powder which fills most of the case. The fact that the wadcutters were the most accurate supports your theory because these go so far into the case they almost touch the powder. Perhaps I should try using the shorter .38 special brass for my subsonic loads.

    Thanks for your thoughts on the primers... I still have some Federal brand so I should load up a few and do a comparison. Much appreciated.

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    Have you shot some factory stuff to compare with your loads. Just wonder how they compare. If you get some good results from a certain factory load you may work out why and mimmick that with your loads.
    The bomb likes this.
    Gun control is using both hands

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    Yep I have some American Eagle factory loads. They did group better than some of my handloads, but they make a heck of a lot bigger bang too. The factory loads I'd like to try are .38 special... and I'm hoping to get a few of these from a local enthusiast rather than buying a whole box of them.

  11. #11
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    try a fuller case of trailboss......it wont be subsonic but will still be semi quiet...... I love the concept of subsonic loads...BUT after a couple of less than ideal shot placements I will be using a tad more powder and poking pills out a bit quicker from now on....a little more speed = a LOT more impact.
    veitnamcam and timattalon like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky Duck View Post
    try a fuller case of trailboss......it wont be subsonic but will still be semi quiet...... I love the concept of subsonic loads...BUT after a couple of less than ideal shot placements I will be using a tad more powder and poking pills out a bit quicker from now on....a little more speed = a LOT more impact.
    Or bit more powder and slow them down by going heavier.........(Depending on how heavy you can go...)

  13. #13
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    weight isnt the issue....pills Ive been using penertrate plenty enough and expand plenty enough too.....its just that at subsonic speeds they have to be spot on with placement or they just make a hole with little or no effect on subject other than to piss it off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky Duck View Post
    weight isnt the issue....pills Ive been using penertrate plenty enough and expand plenty enough too.....its just that at subsonic speeds they have to be spot on with placement or they just make a hole with little or no effect on subject other than to piss it off.
    Thats not what I was getting at, but as long as you find a combo that works it is all good. Had a mate loading subs in his 7.62x39, but the 150gr would not work with that amount of powder (Inconsistant ignition due to half a shell worth of powder, but if he filled it up it was too fast. we tried soe 200gr casts and they same powder load had better ignition (No space / void in the shell) and the 200gr slowed down to about Subsonic.

    He found using a softer lead helped but you are very correct that placement atthese speeds is a biggy...

  15. #15
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    interesting as I have no problems with 151grn cast projectiles ignition wise...did go to std primers on advice as was having hard time getting load to go subsonic with magnum primers. its a stupidly small amount of powder but trailboss is great in that it uses up a lot of space.....
    life is one big larning curve...reloading just makes it more fun to learn as you go LOL.

 

 

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