Anyone want to talk about Vetterli 1870/87/15

  • Last Post 13 August 2023
JohnForrest posted this 26 July 2021

New member here, been reloading a long time, casting about 4-5 years.  Looked at all 35 posts on CBA and just about everything else I could find. So I have a pretty good idea what I have here. 

My barrel slugs around .2685

Picked up a NOE 163 grain .269  plain base mold . It has the two little driving bands and the rest of the bullet is a smaller diameter. I chose this based on diameter and  it was about all they had available. 

I powder coated a small batch and started loading with Trail boss. they are about .272 on the bands. I've never lubed a cast bullet. I started powder coating right off the bat since it was so cheep and easy to do to start out. ( I was only casting pistol stuff)

5 grains of Trail boss shot 820, 840, 805 fps. plain bullet no PC. 6 grain shot plain bullet  avg 860.  So I and loaded coated bullets and  went back to 5 grain and speed slowed down a little ( avg was 820)  moved up by .5 grains  to  7.5 grains shooting 970fps. 

Cases started shooting cleaner as I went up, still a little dirty. 

Having a little trouble getting that bullet seated nice and straight. Seating it down to just past top band and that a little shorter than Lee COAL spec. on sheet.

So that's where I left off. I think Ill check barrel for lead or PC. 


Wondering how fast I want to try to get to. 7.5 grain of Trail Boss in this long heavy unit feels like shooting a 22 still. Ive been loading the same three cases up to 8 times now. Still the same demetions I started at. 

I must admit after all the "blow it up" hype Ive read, I was a little goosey with my aiming and shooting through my un-shot chronograph so my groups are all over the place. I should see how good of a group I could get with 7.5 of Trail Boss.


So that's my start, my first CBA post all wrapped into one.

Attached Files

Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
Wheel Weights posted this 27 July 2021

Good info. IME Trail Boss is not the best choice for CBs in rifles. Great for cowboy action handguns, but I gave up on it,

You'll probably get better results with 4198 or 4227

I PC all my handgun loads but in rifles, get better accuracy with SPG or Ben's Liquid DIY

Somtimes you need to add mineral spirts to thing it a bit

Johnson no longer makes liquid wax but Lundmark Liquid Paste Wax (Amazon)is just as good.

I generally use Ben's to shoot "as cast" bullets. after lube umbling and letting them dry I dust the with Motor Mica or a like dry lube to make handling and loading easier.

My Vetterli is 41 Swiss and probably easier to get to shoot with cast than your small bore. These were SPG lubed.

Given when they were made, I always joke it's the rifle Custer wishes he had.

Keep us posted and how about some pics of your rig ?applause


Attached Files

JeffinNZ posted this 27 July 2021

Are you able to get the nose of the bullet to contact the lands of the rifling?  If you Carcano chamber is anything like mine it will have a 'freebore' of about 3/4 inch which is why I went with full diameter bullets with as much 'groove' bearings surface as possible.  My concern is your bullet has a nose of 0.262 and if this is not supported accuracy may elude you as the bullet will be able to cant en route to the rifling.

WW is correct about Trail Boss.  Not my favourite cast bullet powder.  Serves the CAS guys well but I have yet to get stellar performance from it in the accuracy department.  15gr of Alliant 2400 under you bullet will get you approx 1400fps and cast in WW yo should get good accuracy.  

See my blog article on the Carcano.

Cheers from New Zealand

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JohnForrest
JohnForrest posted this 28 July 2021

Thanks WW and Jeff.  I just needed to get started with something. I thought Trail Boss would keep me out of trouble and I will admit, I don't know enough about reduced loading but respect that deal with getting over pressure from undercharged loads.  I'll be trying other powders soon. 

Jeff, I do have a ton of free bore. .86 from rim to the start of the rifling and the rifling is a very gradual cut at first. So no way to get this bullet to come close to lands.. I did do  a chamber cast and while it all looks symmetrical and not eroded. I see what you are warning me about.  This is not the bullet for a Carcano. 

I appreciate the input about what I'm up to. It's hard to keep everything all in focus when it's all kind of a new thing for me, so thanks.


Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
JohnForrest posted this 03 August 2021

 So I've measured my chamber casting so many time I'm starting to wonder if I've worn it out. At the start of the riffling it's .268 but the freebore  area opens up to .270 and then to .271 as I measure toward the case area (maybe a .272) close to the forcing cone. 

I realize as I figure out what I have here I am just following in Jeff's footsteps when he sized down a 270 mold (.280) to fit his barrel.

Suggestions on weight and mold manufacture are welcome. I think a heaver bullet would be better but then I wonder about the durability of the Vetterli sleeve so maybe lighter in that respect.

One positive thing so far. The three pieces of brass I started out with have 8 or 9 re-loadings each without any splits so I'm happy with my Lee dies and Norma brass so far.

Somewhere someone mentioned Wind Hills Range, I haven't been able to find out much current info or contact info. I'm only 100 miles away.



Attached Files

Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 03 August 2021

hi john ... i have a long rcbs 270-150 mold ( blocks )) that you might consider to fill up that long chamber.  i could send it over to play with if you like, or could cast a few from scrap if you think it might help.  pm me if.

Attached Files

JohnForrest posted this 12 August 2021

As I wait for Ken's mold I start to day dream about the paper patching technique to fill in for undersized bullets. In my case I just want to try and make a mold I already have, work better. I've just read about it the last few days but it sure sounds like a "fiddlers dream".

I'll be looking for a good book on the subject before I try anything but I have to wonder if PP might be a good technique to compensate for Vetterli 6.5 Carcano chamber short cummings? If not I have a feeling there will be alot of good learning with it.



Attached Files

linoww posted this 10 August 2023

old thread but my 6.5 Vetterli thrives on 8g of Trailboss(1200 fps IIRC) and the NOE copy of the Ideal 266469 in plainbase form casting at .271 diameter in range scrap. Groups vary from 1.25" (best) to 2.5"(worst) at 100 yards(5 shots) with the majority falling in between.The challenge is that chicken foot rear sight notch.

"if it was easy we'd let women do it" don't tell my wife I said that!

Attached Files

JohnForrest posted this 13 August 2023

Thanks for the info George. Been so long since Ive had that gun out. I get busy with guns every fall when work seasoin is over. It always ends up being a complete "start over" maybe this year I take some notes and get her going with  trail boss?

Attached Files

linoww posted this 13 August 2023

.I didn't initially wanna like trail boss but I found it works quite well in specific cases. This 6.5 ugly rifle is one of them.

"if it was easy we'd let women do it" don't tell my wife I said that!

Attached Files