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HG
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32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Jul 17th, 2017 at 1:47pm
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I recently acquired a 32-40 Ballard on a pacific action that was built by the late Bud Welsh of New York state. Rifle appears unfired. I loaded 13.5 grains of 4227 behind a rcbs 170 gr FNGC seated out to engrave the rifling and it shot a .80x.30 4 shot group at 100 yrds. The barrel has 8 lands and grooves. .316 bore and .321 groove. The lands measure .020 wide and .0025 deep. The grooves are .130 wide.
There is .200 free bore. The twist is 15.5, It feels like the barrel is choked near the muzzle but I cannot get a measurement that confirms this. With all that said, where do I go from here? What bullet and powder? Would black powder work with the bore dimensions? I have a breech seating tool that came with the rifle but to use it I would have to remove the scope to seat bullet.
Thanks in advance for any helpful advice,
HG
  
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J Louis
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #1 - Jul 17th, 2017 at 3:41pm
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What is your intended use going to be I feel should be the first question to address and then to move foreward from there. Seaters can be made to use with a scope and your .200 freebore should not be an issue if you would like to pursue breech seating. My 28-35SS is cut with .220 thous. of freebore so I base that comment on extrmely competitive shooting experiance. 300MP is probably a better choice than 4227 it being the more consistent day in and day out also based on long term experiance and bullet choice is typicaly not overly critical but it should also be based around the intended use.

JLouis
  
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HG
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #2 - Jul 17th, 2017 at 4:17pm
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I would like to get a competition started at out local gun club, 100 and 200 yards, bench and off hand.This rifle is built in a off hand style, lots of drop in the stock and deep hook butt plate.

HG
  
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HG
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #3 - Jul 18th, 2017 at 7:46pm
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J Louis
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #4 - Jul 18th, 2017 at 8:09pm
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HG all I have ever shot was the type of rifle you have explained off the bench and have done extremely well with them over the past 16+ years and so will you once you get used to it so don't let it hinder you.
I also wish you the best in forming a group in your area to either compete or just to go out and have fun with.

JLouis
  
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jfeldman
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #5 - Jul 18th, 2017 at 11:33pm
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I would make a guess that with that twist and barrel dimensions that a plain based bullet of around 200 grains might do a bit better in your rifle.  If you can get a 10 shot group around 1 inch at 100 yards, it will probably do pretty well at 200 yards.  I've always had good luck with 4227 powder.  Best of luck in your quest.

Regards, Joe
  
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RSW
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #6 - Jul 19th, 2017 at 1:29am
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HG
As no one has offered any BP loading tips, I'll throw a few ideas at you.
1. Decide if you really want to shoot BP. With smokeless you will get better results with a lot less work. Not trying to talk you out of shooting BP, I love the stuff but just know it's work.
2. Breech seat bullets as you would for your smokeless loads. A bullet .001 greater than groove diameter will work with either smokeless or BP.
3. Swiss 1.5F would be a good powder for starters, or use what you have. Fill primed case even with case mouth by trickling powder through a drop tube (12 to 24 inch length). Press a snug fitting card wad, about .025 thick in case mouth. This compresses powder some, try wads as thick as .060 to see what gives best accuracy. 32-40s can be frustrating, as with some powders you can get case separations. If that happens use 1F powder and more compression.
4. You will have to wipe bore between shots. One damp patch from breech and out muzzle, followed by a dry patch, also through bore and out muzzle. You might have luck using dry patch only on chamber, leaving the bore damp, it's worth a try.
Good luck shooting with BP. 120-130 years ago, lots of matches were won by guys with 32-40s shooting straight BP.
  

Randy W
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HG
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #7 - Jul 19th, 2017 at 6:28am
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Thanks for the replies. I have a few questions that I will post this afternoon when I get in from work. It's time to hit the door!
Thanks,
HG
  
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HG
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #8 - Jul 19th, 2017 at 5:37pm
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Thanks again for the replies. I feel better about this Ballard now because no one objected to the chamber and bore dimensions and it didn't blow up on the first 5 shots.
I am an avid muzzle loading competitor in both rifle and shotgun. I even load BP for my LC Smith for trap and doves. I got the bug for black powder cartridge shooting in 2006 and organized the first NRA BPCR Silhouette matches for our local gun club in '09. Numbers are dwindling and I really would prefer target matches but our club doesn't have target pits. There are none within reasonable driving distance.
With that said, I hope to drop some of our monthly matches and start travelling to some of the other matches in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Georgia. I hope to get my feet wet in schuetzen competition along the way and get an informal match going here. What I learn here will be passed on to prospective shooters the same as I have done in the BP silhouette game. I enjoy getting people into the more traditional shooting sports and I do have people interested. When people have success early on they tend to embrace the challenge rather than giving up.
Questions: Is there an off the shelf 200 gr. mould that you would recommend or drawings available so that I might order one from BACO or Steve Brooks.
No wad with smokeless breech seating?
Is there any difference in how deep I would breech seat the bullet for smokeless or BP?
Should the same bullet that works for smokeless work for BP?
I realize that experimentation is part of the process and I do enjoy load development. I understand my miles may vary but when top shooters give advice I listen and I don't go against the grain.
Randy, smokeless scares me when it is loaded in the small amounts that are used in large cases and I really enjoy the challenges that BP brings to the sport. Especially when I out score the white powder guys.
Thanks gain, I owe everybody a beer.
HG
  
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J Louis
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #9 - Jul 19th, 2017 at 5:47pm
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Having never shot BP breech seated its best I just bow out but if you ever need help with smokeless send me a PM. If you have no qualms about adding a lug to your action and or barrel send me an e-mail and I will send you a picture of an easy breech seating tool to make from a Colt loading lever from Dixe Gun works.

johnnymlouis@gmail.com

JLouis
  
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craigd
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #10 - Jul 19th, 2017 at 11:56pm
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Since Brooks is an option, maybe you can do a chamber cast with the throat, some bore and send it off to him. I'd consider letting him recommend the design and and how to use it. I'd stay on the watch for used molds by the smaller makers including Welsh. While I'd have my doubts, I'd also try the NOE 217gr. just for kicks. For this rifle and cartridge, I'd just stick with smokeless you already have and maybe give another powder or two a good try. The way you described how the rifle started off, it sounds like one that I'd be interested to try at least two or three molds and fiddle with loads. Best of luck with it.
  
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40_Rod
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #11 - Jul 20th, 2017 at 8:57am
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Bud Welsh used a variety of barrels over the years at one point he made some barrels of his own. He used Douglas and I owned a Borchardt he fitted a Schoyen barrel to.
For your use with a 1:15.5 twist especially if you are going to use black Powder or duplex loading I would use about a 170 to 190 grain bullet. I would look into a tapered bullet in that range. The one other thing that would be a factor is the Ballard action a Cast or a forged action? If cast use it only as a black powder action, if forged it is fine to use it with loads up to 14.5 grains of 4227.

40 Rod
  
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marlinguy
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Re: 32-40 Chamber-Barrel-Load Question
Reply #12 - Jul 20th, 2017 at 11:32am
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40_Rod wrote on Jul 20th, 2017 at 8:57am:
The one other thing that would be a factor is the Ballard action a Cast or a forged action? If cast use it only as a black powder action, if forged it is fine to use it with loads up to 14.5 grains of 4227.

40 Rod


If it's really a Pacific action it would always be forged.


If you want to breech seat and still use the scope, you can build a breech seating tool that straddles the scope. I built this one to use on my Ballard rifles that allows it to work with iron sights or scope, and doesn't require using the sight base to hook it on the action.

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Vall
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