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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire (Read 5073 times)
ndnchf
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Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Apr 22nd, 2020 at 7:14pm
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In the Single Shot Rifles sub-forum I posted about my early #2 RRB in .44 rimfire. I've put a centerfire block in it and am now in the reloading phase, so I thought it best to start a thread over here.  The original discussion can be found here:

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The centerfire version of this cartridge is very similar to the .44 S&W American, but a little longer.  I determine the case length by seating a bullet in the breech. Then backing off .015".  I ended up with a case length of .965".  All other case dimensions are equivalent to .44 S&WA.  To start out I purchased .44 S&WA heel bullets from BACO. I made cases from both 303 Savage and .41 Magnum. Both worked fine, but the .41 Mag rim is a bit small and will occasionally slip past the extractor.

This was my first time out with the 140+ year old rifle. My goal was to verify proper functionality, collect chronograph data and see if the bullets flew straight.  I was successful on all accounts.

After a lot of research, I made up four loads to start, 10 rounds each.

Load #1 was 22.0gr of Swiss 1.5, lightly compressed, my home made black powder lube in the exposed lube groove. 303 Savage brass, WLR primer.  This gave an average velocity of 1023fps.

Observations:  This shot well, but I had one light hammer strike. Cases extracted easily.

Load #2 was 13.0 gr of Blackhorn 209, lightly compressed, my home made smokeless lube. 303 Savage brass, Fed 215 LR magnum primer.  This gave an average velocity of 931fps.

Observations:  This shot well, but I had one light hammer strike. I think the LR primers may be a little too hard for this rifle. Cases extracted a little harder.

Load #3 was 16.8gr of Reloader 7, filled to base of the bullet, my home made smokeless lube, .41 Magnum brass, CCI LP primers.  This gave an average velocity of 1023fps.

Observations:  This shot well, no misfires. Cases extracted easily. The avg. velocity was exactly the same as load #1 with Swiss 1.5. The agrees with what the late John Kort said.  That a case full of RL-7 closely duplicates the original black powder loading velocity and pressures in pistol size case.  I've had the same experience with .32-20 and .32-Ballard XL. 

Load #4 was 5.0gr of Unique, my home made smokeless lube, .41 Magnum brass, CCI LP primers.  This gave an average velocity of 807fps.

Observations:  This shot very well, but case mouths were not sealing. Potentially the most accurate load.

Continued...
« Last Edit: May 5th, 2020 at 7:11am by ndnchf »  
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ndnchf
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #1 - Apr 22nd, 2020 at 7:23pm
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Hit my character limit in the first post....  Tongue

So overall I'm very pleased with this rifle for the first time out. Its not tack driver. It has the original barrel sights, no tang sight and my aging eyes.  But there was no keyholing and it was reasonably accurate with the heel bullets and just fireforming the cases. 

The rifle functioned fine and there is real potential here.  Bernie Rowels is sending me his .44SWA collet crimp die and sample bullets from his .44 SWA mold.  It looks nearly identical to the BACO bullet.  I will most likely order this mold after I test his bullets.

More to come as I continue load development.
  
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #2 - Apr 23rd, 2020 at 11:29am
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surely better than a pocket knife!  nice work on your part  best  art
  
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oneatatime
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #3 - Apr 23rd, 2020 at 11:45am
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Knowing what you have been going through I have been following this with interest. Keep it up!
  
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ndnchf
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #4 - Apr 24th, 2020 at 7:35am
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Last night I went to prep the fired cases and found they are a bit out of round  Undecided  It seems this rifle had a rather sloppy chambering job. Fired case on the left, neck sized on the right. Visually, the chamber looks fine. But this can't be good for accuracy....

  
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ndnchf
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #5 - Apr 24th, 2020 at 9:13am
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Perusing the net, I came across a couple bullet lube recipes that appeared in a 1943 American Rifleman magazine. One was said to be a factory lube for external lube groove/heel bullet ammunition. Apparently it is a little harder/less sticky than lubes for internal groove bullets. Its a simple recipe and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, so I made a small batch to try out.

1 part paraffin
1 part mutton tallow
1/2 part beeswax

I'll try to dip lube the bullets of completed rounds and see how it does the next time out.
  
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ndnchf
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #6 - Apr 24th, 2020 at 6:53pm
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I got looking at a pile of Lyman/Ideal 427098 bullets I cast a while back for a 44-40. Noticing the similarity to the BACO heel bullets I bought, I thought hmmm, maybe I can make them into suitable heel bullets. I put one in the lathe and turned the base band down to .412". That left .150" long heel - the same length as the BACO bullet heel. So I made up a dummy round and it chambered fine. So I turned 39 more  Smiley
  
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ballardhepburnmich
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #7 - Apr 24th, 2020 at 11:19pm
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It looks like you're on a roll. I'm very much enjoying your posts and progress.
Lee Gibbs Pres.ASSRA
  
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ballardhepburnmich
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #8 - Apr 24th, 2020 at 11:21pm
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It looks like you're on a roll. I'm very much enjoying your posts and progress.
Lee Gibbs Pres.ASSRA

P.s. when you're done you should write it up for a journal article.   Please!
  
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #9 - Apr 25th, 2020 at 6:21am
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Thank you Lee.

There doesn't seem to be many people who fool around with things like this. But I enjoy the challenge of bringing them back to life. This forum is a wonderful venue for sharing and capturing the process and information that may help someone else down the road, as well as help me in the future when I've forgotten what I did  Grin
  
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #10 - Apr 25th, 2020 at 5:54pm
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Second trip to the range today with this rifle. My goal was to see if the Ideal 427098 bullets that I lathe cut heels on would work. I'm pleased to say they did.

The rifle's groove diameter is .430", the bullets were the same size. Usually I prefer bullets .001- .0015" over groove size. But this is what I had on hand. They were cast of 40-1 alloy, which helps.

They drilled nice straight holes at 50 yds, so I'm very happy with that. The biggest problem is my aging eyes and the original barrel sights.  It really seemed to like the Old Eynsford 3F and Unique loads. It grouped well despite the errant shots that are my fault. It does show good potential. I'll make more 427098 here bullets  Smiley
  
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #11 - Apr 27th, 2020 at 11:10am
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I've been reading the fascinating document that John Boy shared about small arms ammunition displayed at the 1876 Centennial Exposition.

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In particular, I was looking for something that would relate to the 44 chambering of my #2 rifle.  Of course, mine was originally a rimfire, but as I noted earlier, the dimensions are very similar to .44 S&W American.  In researching 44 S&W American, I've seen references to two different bore (groove) sizes; .440" and .432" -.434".  This has puzzled me a bit.

Looking a the 1876 document, I saw on pdf pg 25, item #135. The description is  "Caliber .44, for Ballard's carbine, made by
Smith 8c Wesson in 1865. Charge-25 grains,
bullet 205 grains. 0-1.534, C-.969, R-.505,
H-.432, B-.440. Note: some of these are
"heel" bullets, the reduced part fitting inside
the case mouth, and the larger part
being greater in diameter than the case."

This describes almost exactly the case dimensions I came up with for my rifle. However, it is the larger bore size of .440". The case length I came up with for my rifle after careful measuring of the bullet fit to the chamber was .965".  The above states .969"! 

So what does this mean?  Well the cartridge described above was made by S&W in 1865. Here is a photo of it from the document. This leads me to believe that perhaps it was a prototype for what would become the 44 S&W American cartridge. At some point the bore size decreased.  I speculate that when Remington needed a 44 rimfire for the #2 rifle, they used this cartridge as the basis of it. But Remington reduced the groove size to .430".

Thanks for listening to my meanderings Smiley
  
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #12 - Apr 27th, 2020 at 12:24pm
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What would be the point of Remington deliberately reducing the groove diameter to .430?  A proprietary cartridge?  Or is this simply reflective of a time when tolerances held to 1/100th of an inch were still considered "good"?

Bill Lawrence
  
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #13 - Apr 27th, 2020 at 2:08pm
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MrTipUp wrote on Apr 27th, 2020 at 12:24pm:
What would be the point of Remington deliberately reducing the groove diameter to .430?  A proprietary cartridge?  Or is this simply reflective of a time when tolerances held to 1/100th of an inch were still considered "good"?

Bill Lawrence


Good question!  Generally, the trend at that times was towards smaller caliber, flatter shooting projectiles.  In 11 years the standard US infantry rifle went from .58 to .50 to .45 cal.  Maybe to be closer in line with the wildly popular Winchester 44 wcf? (although I think these early Winchesters were more line .427").   
  
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Re: Early #2 Remington Rolling Block - 44 Centerfire
Reply #14 - Apr 27th, 2020 at 3:28pm
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ndnchf wrote on Apr 27th, 2020 at 11:10am:
I've been reading the fascinating document that John Boy shared about small arms ammunition displayed at the 1876 Centennial Exposition.

(You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)

In particular, I was looking for something that would relate to the 44 chambering of my #2 rifle.  Of course, mine was originally a rimfire, but as I noted earlier, the dimensions are very similar to .44 S&W American.  In researching 44 S&W American, I've seen references to two different bore (groove) sizes; .440" and .432" -.434".  This has puzzled me a bit.

Looking a the 1876 document, I saw on pdf pg 25, item #135. The description is  "Caliber .44, for Ballard's carbine, made by
Smith 8c Wesson in 1865. Charge-25 grains,
bullet 205 grains. 0-1.534, C-.969, R-.505,
H-.432, B-.440. Note: some of these are
"heel" bullets, the reduced part fitting inside
the case mouth, and the larger part
being greater in diameter than the case."

This describes almost exactly the case dimensions I came up with for my rifle. However, it is the larger bore size of .440". The case length I came up with for my rifle after careful measuring of the bullet fit to the chamber was .965".  The above states .969"! 

So what does this mean?  Well the cartridge described above was made by S&W in 1865. Here is a photo of it from the document. This leads me to believe that perhaps it was a prototype for what would become the 44 S&W American cartridge. At some point the bore size decreased.  I speculate that when Remington needed a 44 rimfire for the #2 rifle, they used this cartridge as the basis of it. But Remington reduced the groove size to .430".

Thanks for listening to my meanderings Smiley



I need to make a slight correction.  The "B - .440" above means bullet diameter, not bore diameter. I missed the abbreviation legend on my first read.  But along the same train of thought, I've seen the .44 S&W American bullet diameter listed as both .440" and .434".  So was there a change in bore size, or was the .440" bullet just made overly large to account for a variety of bore sizes from different makers?
  
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