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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again! (Read 8312 times)
Reverend Al
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Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
May 8th, 2019 at 2:02pm
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So if you already have WAY too many project guns that you still need to work up loads for, what do you do?† Why, buy another rifle of course!

This one is a Stevens 44 with a 26" half round / half octagon barrel in .25-20SS.† Very good bore with 6 o'clock extractor.† I suspect that it's a fairly late gun with a serial number in the high 61,000 range?† This rifle came with some more .25-20SS brass and a nice 3 die set of CH4D dies too, so between this rifle and the goodies I recently got for my 1882 Maynard chambered for the same calibre I should be OK to shoot them both for a little while.

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« Last Edit: May 8th, 2019 at 2:09pm by Reverend Al »  

I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't quite reached my "Expiry" date yet ...
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calledflyer
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #1 - May 8th, 2019 at 3:17pm
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I know little about Stevens rifles (and learning less every day here), but that sight alone makes this rifle a little gem. What'r you drinking? I need to get some of it. Vall, too, but he won't share the info. Anyhow, thanks for the looksee.
  

happily ignored by J. "Sonny" Louis
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Schuetzendave
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #2 - May 8th, 2019 at 4:39pm
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My Stevens 44 .25-20 SS - Do not think she made it outdoors much.
  
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Bill Lawrence
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #3 - May 8th, 2019 at 5:33pm
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All right, boys (and girls), especially those with Stroebel's book and/or early catalogs, who made the tang sight?  My own guess is that it could be one of those made by William Lyman himself before the 1879 patent.  In any case, I'd also guess that it's older than the gun it's now mounted on.

Bill Lawrence
  
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Schuetzendave
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #4 - May 8th, 2019 at 6:35pm
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If you purchased it through the 1908 Sears catalogue you could order it with a Lyman sight and the front was the Stevens # 203 Rocky Mountain blade sight.

« Last Edit: May 8th, 2019 at 6:50pm by Schuetzendave »  
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Schuetzendave
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #5 - May 8th, 2019 at 6:38pm
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Here is the listing for the Lyman and Stevens sights from Nick Stroebel: Old Gunsights & Rifle Scopes:


Lyman No. 1 Combination Tang First Variation: $300-$600
Lyman No. 1 Combination Tang Second Variation: $200-450
Lyman No. 1A Combination Tang Third Variation: $150-$350
Lyman No. 2 Combination Tang First Variation: $250-500
Lyman No. 2A Combination Tang Second Variation: $175-$375


The tang sight on Al's rifle does not appear to be a Lyman or Marbles or King or Stevens.
« Last Edit: May 8th, 2019 at 7:21pm by Schuetzendave »  
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GT
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #6 - May 8th, 2019 at 6:50pm
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Reverend,
I do like your new project and I especially like that sight, or should I say I like how it sits on that rifle.  I'm not generally that fond of the Lyman configuration of tang sights but something about this is different.  I have that same rifle, same caliber, close to the same serial number I picked up from a member here a couple years ago - may have to think about trying my hand at a sight like that for it.  I have a hundred JBA cases for it that I haven't even finished firing the first time so I know what you mean about time and projects... Please give me a hint what you find shoots best in it...   Wink  Nice Nab!

Bill, doing a quick stroll through Stroebels book I didn't see anything that resembled it.
Greg
  

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Reverend Al
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #7 - May 8th, 2019 at 6:51pm
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Does anyone have any way to contact Nick Stobel so that I could send him some photos of this tang sight and ask his opinion about it?
  

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Reverend Al
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #8 - May 8th, 2019 at 6:58pm
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GT wrote on May 8th, 2019 at 6:50pm:
Please give me a hint what you find shoots best in it...† †Wink† Nice Nab!


I managed to scare up an original Winchester .25-20SS mould that throws a 77 grain plain base bullet and will try some of those first.† I have IMR4198, SR4759, IMR4227, and old Hercules 2400 that I can try initially and can dig deeper in my "stash" to see what other suitable powders I have.

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I'm just curious if anyone has tried loading .25-20SS with small pistol primers instead of small rifle primers?† After reading several articles on small pistol primers vs small rifle primers in the .22 Hornet I found in testing that the pistol primers did group better in those small capacity cases, so I'm wondering if it might do the same in these small volume .25-20SS cases too?
  

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Schuetzendave
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #9 - May 8th, 2019 at 7:15pm
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Small pistol primers seat a bit deeper in the primer pocket than the small rifle primers.

Somone who did this badly pitted out the face of his Miller's breech block because the primer slammed back against the face and pounded out the breech block around his firing pin hole.

Many others have said they have done it safely, so it may also depend on the amount of wear on the primer pocket and how old the cases are and whether you are careful not to fully seat the primers.
  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #10 - May 8th, 2019 at 7:46pm
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Hey Al, You sure have singleshotitis in a bad way. Or should I say in a good way. Maybe when Tom Rowe's new book on gunsights get's shipped it will have some info on this sjght.  Dale.
  

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Reverend Al
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #11 - May 8th, 2019 at 7:51pm
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Yeah, I just can't help myself when another good single shot comes along ...

Roll Eyes
  

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GT
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #12 - May 8th, 2019 at 10:03pm
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Al,
In the past I was always referring to getting another single shot as a result of my addiction...  I was corrected the other day, it's only considered an addiction if one is trying to quit! 
You won't believe the burden that's been lifted from MY shoulders knowing this, how about you? 
BUT...
There's a quote I recall about addiction  -
"Addiction begins with the hope that something "out there" can instantly fill up the emptiness inside."   
Whether I had room in the safe or not I seem to feel this emptiness when I see a single shot I like...  Roll Eyes  Maybe I'm not out of the woods yet, I'll have to consult my support group in a couple of weeks.
Greg

  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #13 - May 9th, 2019 at 12:28pm
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The SR and the SP, primers and primer pockets, have the same dimensions.

The LR & LP have slightly different length & depth dimensions.

Frank
  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #14 - May 9th, 2019 at 1:22pm
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Frank:

That was what everyone believes.
I cannot find the chart but someone measured the cup height dimensions of both rifle and pistol small primers of all the manufacturers and came up with a difference of .004".

Yes large rifle versus large pistol primers have more of a difference of about .008" but there is a difference between† cup heights of† small rifle and pistol primers - basically due to the .005" difference in the thickness of the primer wall.

Does that matter.
It was John Hutchinson's rifle that was purchased by Dick Spencer that had it's breech block pounded out and is now owned by Rob Pipke.

Dave
« Last Edit: May 9th, 2019 at 1:29pm by Schuetzendave »  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #15 - May 9th, 2019 at 3:20pm
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My Ballard shows no sign of primer pounding the breach block shooting 1000s of LR.  I did have the boyz at Cody make a new breech block but that was to have a quick change spare part in case of spring or firing pin problems during a match. Neither shows the problem.  Could it be a high pressure issue?
  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #16 - May 9th, 2019 at 4:15pm
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I do know that Kirk at Shiloh Sharps advises not to use pistol primers in the rifles he builds.  He's apparently had people bring in damaged breech blocks.

I have shot thousands of them in C. Sharps highwalls and hundreds in my CPA rifles with no ill effects, but I almost always shim the primers with 0.006" paper.  I don't know if that really helps, but it sounds good to me.

Chris.
  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #17 - May 9th, 2019 at 7:56pm
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Well, that was easy enough to check. I just checked Federal small pistol match and small rifle match. They both measured .1185 in height. Maybe CIL used to make some weird ones;-) I use the Federal small pistol match primers in my 25-20 SS, by the way, with 6.8 grains of H108 under Lyman 257420 GC bullets cast of 1 to 20.
« Last Edit: May 9th, 2019 at 8:02pm by oneatatime »  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #18 - May 9th, 2019 at 8:25pm
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Could it be a high pressure issue?

I believe it was.
John used a higher powder load so the slamming back of the pistol primer was related to his load being more of a rifle load as opposed to the pistol loads most Schuetzen shooters use.
  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #19 - May 9th, 2019 at 9:47pm
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oneatatime wrote on May 9th, 2019 at 7:56pm:
Well, that was easy enough to check. I just checked Federal small pistol match and small rifle match. They both measured .1185 in height. Maybe CIL used to make some weird ones;-) I use the Federal small pistol match primers in my 25-20 SS, by the way, with 6.8 grains of H108 under Lyman 257420 GC bullets cast of 1 to 20.


My Ballard experience has been Fed 150 LP.  I have never measured them.
  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #20 - May 9th, 2019 at 10:44pm
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Schuetzenmiester wrote on May 9th, 2019 at 9:47pm:
oneatatime wrote on May 9th, 2019 at 7:56pm:
Well, that was easy enough to check. I just checked Federal small pistol match and small rifle match. They both measured .1185 in height. Maybe CIL used to make some weird ones;-) I use the Federal small pistol match primers in my 25-20 SS, by the way, with 6.8 grains of H108 under Lyman 257420 GC bullets cast of 1 to 20.


My Ballard experience has been Fed 150 LP.† I have never measured them.

The Small Rifle and Small Pistol primer pocket uniforming tool from Sinclair uses the same smaller diameter cutter and is set to the same pocket depth for both types of small primers.
The Large Rifle and Large Pistol primer pocket uniforming tools from Sinclair uses the same larger diameter cutter, but the Large Rifle primer pocket uniformer is set for a deeper pocket depth, while the Large Pistol primer pocket uniformer is set to a shallower pocket depth.
  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #21 - May 10th, 2019 at 3:07am
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Do we know yet the maker of that tang sight on Reverend Al's rifle?
  
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Reverend Al
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #22 - May 10th, 2019 at 2:26pm
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The sight mystery is solved!† I went to take some close ups of the sight today.† When I removed the sight disc and looked closer I saw that it was marked "Watson Reg'd" on it.† Nothing else on the base or mast.† OK, so next I had a closer look with a magnifying glass at the front globe sight with pinball post and very faintly (a bit tough to read with my terrible eyes) it says:† "Watson Pat'd Dec 12 05" and then under that "Niagara Falls Canada".† There is something more just behind the patent date, but I can't make it out.† Possibly another date?

So I went looking online (Google is your friend!) and low and behold I found a post about Mr. Watson and his sights!† Apparently he was a Canadian sight maker in Niagara Falls, Ontario which makes sense since this rifle came from Ontario.† Here is the info that was in that post.

I had the opportunity of examining an 1899 rifle on the weekend that had a Watson front globe sight. On the sight it stated "Watson, Niagara Falls, Canada, Sept 06".
This may help solve the mystery of who Watson, where and when he produced sights.


Does anyone have any further info on Watson sights?

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I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't quite reached my "Expiry" date yet ...
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Bill Lawrence
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #23 - May 10th, 2019 at 3:45pm
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Good work, Reverend Al!  It appears to be a very well-made sight; and since Niagara Falls, Canada is literally just over the border, I'm surprised that we haven't seen more of them, especially on guns originally from the New York area around the falls.  In any case, it gives me something new to look for.

Bill Lawrence
  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #24 - May 10th, 2019 at 5:47pm
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That rings a bell. I had to look it up and when I saw the square shaft that cinched it. I have one at my smith that some day will end up on my H&A 1122 when it is lined.
  
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Reverend Al
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #25 - Nov 22nd, 2019 at 8:19pm
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Well, I finally got out to the range today with this Stevens in .25-20SS and shot a few rounds out of it.† What a pleasant little cartridge to shoot!† I think this will soon be a favorite of mine.† Seems like most folks like 7.0 grains of 4227 so I loaded a few rounds with the 86 grain bullets from the original Winchester mould and it's a good start!† (But these are only at 50 yards ...)

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The flyers are likely just me, plus I didn't bother to weigh any of the bullets.† One problem I'm having is that the tiny aperture hole on the tang sight is partially obscured with dust or lint.† What is everybody using to clean dirty tang sight discs?† I've used pipe cleaners in the past on larger aperture discs, but the aperture hole on the disc for this sight is so tiny they won't fit through the hole.† Anyone have any tips on how to clean it?

Didn't take the Maynard in .25-20SS with me today ... I'll shoot it another day.

Smiley
  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #26 - Nov 22nd, 2019 at 10:40pm
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good looking rifle and shooting. I have one in 25-20 with a bad bore, relined to a 218 Bee shoots well
  
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Reverend Al
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #27 - Nov 24th, 2019 at 1:58am
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Oh, and by the way ... these old WRA cases were large primer and I used Winchester Large Pistol primers.  All of the fired primers looked fine.
I'll have to take my Labradar chronograph up to the range with me next time just to see what velocity these loads are generating in my Stevens 44.  Next time I'll take my 1882 Maynard and test fire it with some of these same loads and chrono them for comparison too.
  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #28 - Nov 24th, 2019 at 2:02am
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Going up island to a gun show tomorrow and will pick up another 35 rounds of .25-20SS brass from a gunsmith friend that lives much farther up island, but is coming down island for the show.

This morning I was on an online auction site and bid and won 130 rounds of .22 Lovel which I can fire-form into .25-20SS.
This now gives me about 250 rounds of brass for my two rifles so that I can dedicate about 125 to each gun and keep the fired cases segregated.  (I'll neck size only after they are all fire-formed in the two rifles.)
Smiley
  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #29 - Nov 24th, 2019 at 9:49am
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I often clean out sight apertures using a can of compressed air that I bought a few years ago at Staples.  It works really well.  Often I find that when I can't get a good sight picture it is from a very tiny amount of lint stuck in the rear sight aperture or in the front sight insert.

It looks like you've got that little Stevens rifle working well.  I had one for a while that made the rounds through the various gun shows here on the mainland.  The .25-20 SS is a cool little cartridge!

Chris.
  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #30 - Nov 24th, 2019 at 5:14pm
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We might have a can of that compressed air for cleaning computer keyboards, so might give that a try and see if it clears the "fluff" out of the aperture disc.

Picked up that 35 rounds of brass from my gunsmith friend at today's gun show so now I'll have some more loading to do for this Stevens (and my Maynard).
  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #31 - Nov 24th, 2019 at 5:43pm
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That supply of .25-20 SS brass is nice to have.  When I bought my rifle it came with some brass, from what I remember it was mostly Bertram.   I'll bet that if brass was easier to get then that cartridge would become pretty popular.

Chris.
  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #32 - Nov 30th, 2019 at 1:39pm
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When I was out shooting with a fellow club member on Thursday I fired-formed some of the .22-3000 Griffin & Howe brass that I bought into .25-20SS.  It blew out perfectly and I didn't lose any to splits or cracked cases.  Used my tried and true method of 3.5 grains of Nitro Trap 100 (since I have a fair bit of it), a bit of toilet tissue, then fill to the case mouth with bulk yellow cornmeal, then another small piece of toilet tissue to hold everything in place.  I used small pistol primers same as in the .25-20SS loads that I shot on target.  My experience has been that if you use a fairly "brisk" load to fire-form cases you don't experience many case failures, while loading gently often causes case failures.  They seem to want to be "snapped" out to the chamber fairly briskly rather than gently.  (And that was P.O. Ackley's advice on forming his AI cartridges too if I recall?)

Just waiting for 130 rounds of .22 Lovel brass to arrive in the mail so that I can fire-form it into .25-20SS with the same case forming blank load and that will give me about 250 rounds of brass in total now to use between the 2 rifles, so I'll be good for a while!
  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #33 - Nov 30th, 2019 at 3:48pm
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All may not agree, but I think corn meal is pretty abrasive to send down a rather soft steel barrel. It was suggested to me long ago to use cream of wheat as a filler as it is much less so. A moot point if you are using a dedicated barrel for forming, and of course dependent on the number of cases you are forming. I have found also that a rather stiff forming charge yields better results. Not a big thing if you are forming Hornet into K-Hornet, but hate to lose 22-3000 cases!!
  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #34 - Nov 30th, 2019 at 3:57pm
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I've been using bulk yellow cornmeal for fire-forming loads for nearly 40 years now and have never had an issue.  I've always been concerned about the possibility of "caking" with oatmeal / Cream of Wheat since it is much larger flakes, so I guess it's a personal choice in the end.  As you say, it is a relatively small number of rounds being fire-formed anyway so I don't think any damage is being done.  I'm sure that cormeal is mildly abrasive which in most cases in these old barrels helps to clean them up!  I've had some fairly "scruffy" and "dirty" looking bores shine up fairly nicely after fire-forming about 50 rounds with yellow cornmeal, and I've never found that it hurt the way the rifle shot afterwards.  In fact in most cases accuracy improved.
  

I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't quite reached my "Expiry" date yet ...
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #35 - Dec 5th, 2019 at 5:44pm
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Here are some of the cases that I fire-formed on my last range outing.  .22-3000 G&H cases fire-formed with yellow cornmeal to blow them back out to .25-20SS for my Stevens and Maynard.  So far not one single split case (knock on wood), but all were annealed before fire-forming.

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #36 - Dec 7th, 2019 at 9:40pm
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Looking good! Will you choose to load smokeless or black? Duplex? I've seen someone here state they could not come up with a workable black powder load.

When I get to the new home and get my range set up, I now have a Maynard barrel in .25-20 SS to test. Doesn't look very hopeful, throat very rough from corrosive primers, but worth a quick try before deciding to reline.

I hope yours shoots splendidly!† Smiley
  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #37 - Dec 8th, 2019 at 2:35pm
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Gleaned as much info as I could from posts on here and ended up loading 7.0 grains of IMR4227 with an 86 grain plain base bullet cast from the original Winchester .25-20SS mould I have in some of these reformed cases.  The Stevens 44 loves them and shot them very well for a first load plucked out of the air for testing!  Now we'll have to see if the Maynard likes them too?

Just been too busy lately to get out to the range to shoot anything and that will likely be the case until sometime in the New Year.  My wife and I have been helping out a best friend who has terminal cancer and likely only has 2 to 3 weeks left to live.  It is heart-breaking for him since we just took all of his guns (about 100?) and ammunition and accessories out to another friend's gun shop for consignment sale with the proceeds going to the estate.  I'll be helping his executor by liquidating some of the other reloading gear.  Like all of us he'd spent years amassing a varied selection of guns and reloading gear to enjoy a shooting retirement.  Now he doesn't know if he'll make it through until Christmas.  It's been a very sad and sobering experience to say the least ...

  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #38 - Dec 8th, 2019 at 5:25pm
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"Sad and sobering." Well said. I've been around that quite a few times, and the experience gives pause.

Value every day, friends. As the Spanish say, "Who has promised us tomorrow?"
  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #39 - Dec 12th, 2019 at 8:07pm
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Running into a small problem with my various brands and types of .25-20SS brass.  Most are old WRA cases, some .25-20SS, some .22-3000 G&H, and some .22 Lovell.  Most of them are a very loose fit in my RCBS #10 shell holder (normally .222 and .223 Rem).  When I got to prime them on my Rockchucker press most of them push out of the shell holder under pressure.  They tip to one side and push up on an angle as if both sides of the rim are not being supported.  Any thoughts or suggestions on another shell holder that might work better?
  

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #40 - Dec 12th, 2019 at 10:14pm
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Redding calls for their shellholder #10.

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On the left I have one case set in a Lyman .222 shellholder.† On the right is a case set in a Redding #10.† I think the Redding shellholder is a bit closer fit.

I hope this helps.

And also, my heart goes out to you and your friend who is so ill.

Curl
  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #41 - Dec 13th, 2019 at 12:29am
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Maybe an RCBS hand primer instead of using the press? Control is much easier and better.
  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #42 - Dec 13th, 2019 at 9:19am
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Donít know the numbers, but when my .25-20 SS shell rims and bases donít fit in a .223 shell holder, I drag the one out that fits the rim of the .32 Colt.

One of those shellholder charts in an old Handloaderís Digest should get you the number.

Owners of .25 caliber Single Shots would do well to get another rifle in .32 Long.  When the necks crack on the .25 cases, they can be trimmed back to .32 Long Rifle (inside lubricated) or the shorter .32 Long heeled version for another lease on life.
  
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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #43 - Dec 13th, 2019 at 1:55pm
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OK, I'll go and check a shell holder chart to see what fits the .32 Colt and I can try that.† Many thanks!

Your response is timely too since I'll have a bunch more fire-forming to do!† I just received my latest auction win ... 130 rounds of .22 Lovell reloads most of which were re-formed from .25-20SS brass (some are .22-300 G&H).† So now I'll have to pull these reloads apart and fire-form them back into .25-20SS.† This will now give me about 250 rounds of brass between my 2 rifles chambered in .25-20SS ... Woo Hoo!

Smiley

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Re: Stevens 44 in .25-20SS ... did it again!
Reply #44 - Jan 26th, 2020 at 4:19am
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Made some more progress today.  Pulled apart some of the .22 Lovel ammo I bought recently, then ran them through the .25-20SS sizer without the decapping rod.  (Had to reduce the sharper shoulder so they would chamber in the .25-20SS chamber again.)  Now I need to load them with my fire-forming cornmeal blanks and get out to the range and form them back into .25-20SS.

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