Problem chronographing a blow back operated rifle (Winchester Model 1905)

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GregT posted this 20 October 2021

After four years of fiddling around with this rifle, I finally got the for-end repaired and strengthened and have proceeded to start reloading for it. Not much data around, but I did find recommendations for SR4759, Unique, 2400, and IMR4227. I'm using a 180 grain bullet out of an Accurate Arms mold. Drops WW bullet at .3525". Bore is .351". I'm using my own 50/50 lube but I also have my lube sizer filled with SPG.

I chronograph 10 rounds of each powder type I use to make sure I am not breaking the velocity limits for this blow-back operated rifle which seems to be around 1400 fps with a 180 grain cast bullet. I finally broke 1,017 fps this afternoon using IMR 4227 powder. Average fps for 6 rounds was 966 fps. With all four of the powders I have tried, Extreme Spread was quite high. For this load, it was 118. I weigh each powder charge which I drop from a Belding and Mull Visible powder measure. I am using a .38 Special cartridge case that I reduce the rim diameter on. I have not shot the rifle for accuracy yet. The bore is like new. Mechanically the rifle is like new. (the for-end was abused). It has two "Life Saver" shaped buffers (looks like compressed fiber of some kind, almost a plastic look too them) that keep the metal recoiling parts from impacting steel on steel. Those buffers are like new, and I have 6 replacements if I need them. The bolt and its long counter-weight is not locked, but kept shut and regulated to open by very strong recoil/return springs. I'm beginning to think that there is no such thing as an "extreme spread" number due to the irregular opening and closing of this blow back system. This situation has occurred with any loading I have tried so far. Never chronographed a blow-back operated rifle before as they are quite uncommon. Any suggestions? Thanks for your input.

Greg T

Hayward, Wi.

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RicinYakima posted this 20 October 2021

I would think the pressure is so light, that unburned powder is either going through the screens ahead of the bullet, or there is not enough pressure in the case to allow all the powder to ignite. The 1905 was only made for 15 years for a reason. I don't know if you could get enough MRI 4227 powder into the case to have complete combustion. 

I would slowly start working up to CotW max load of 13.0 grains of 2400 and see if that helps. 

I will be watching for you results!

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Wineman posted this 20 October 2021

I'm not sure that the Chronograph cares how the bullet gets there. Blowback is a simple system but as the charge gets higher it may get a bit grumpy. Lots of pressure trying to move a bunch of mass. As long as the velocity/pressure is not out of specification, shoot for a load the gives the best accuracy. Hatcher's Notebook relates a story about some factory ammo that shot remarkably but had a difference in charge weight of about a grain (about 0.2%). Someone broke the ammo down and said that the variance in manufacturing was bad. Stuff shot lights out, and that is really the only thing that matters. We all like things tied up in a neat package, but good numbers and poor accuracy is not what we want. There is probably a reason that the 32 WSL became the 30 M1 Carbine with a Tappet gas system. More Carbines were probably made by the smallest member (not IP) than all the Winchesters put together. The rifles are cool and are part of the history of semi-automatic rifles.

Dave

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 20 October 2021

i like Ric's scenario where a " cloud " of gas and unburned powder is causing a 6 foot long bullet one shot, and a 2 foot long bullet next shot.   maybe put a big newspaper screen with a small hole in it in front of the chrony sensors....... this would also show unburned powder marks.

this comes under the heading of " what could go wrong ? " ....  story of my life ...

****************

next, i would make a chamber cast to make sure your bullet is fat enough to promote good burning of the powder.   won't hurt a thing if the bullet has to swage down a bit to get into the main rifling, and will help to get that powder lit up faster ...

next i would consider loading some very light loads ( 800 fps ) with bullseye or 700x or Titegroup powder ... light enough to not noticeably open the bolt ... be careful about sticking a bullet in the barrel, of course ...   these should give you good SD's even though they might not stabilize well at that velocity.   if SD's look better, you might work up for accuracy .  with these hot powders, carefully .. maybe 0.2 grain at a time.  

these fast powder loads are just to see if it is powder combustion irregularity ... or something strange with your blow-back rifle.  switch back to slower powders as you need much more velocity ... Unique and Blue Dot are a middle burning rate between Titegroup and 2400 ...

and do keep us informed of your adventures .. nothing like getting one of these old rigs to shoot decently .. or sometimes to shoot at all ( g ) ...

ken

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JeffinNZ posted this 20 October 2021

Are you sure your chronograph is reading correctly?

Cheers from New Zealand

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GregT posted this 20 October 2021

Thank you all for the ideas. Back when they first put this rifle/ammo out on 1905, it must have been a real stretch to find the gunpowder that would work. Basically leaving the black powder era, sort of, smokeless powder for tiny cases was a new problem. Sadly, I am out of 2400 powder. I have feelers out for those of my local friends who travel looking for components. Until there is a concerted move on the part of industry to get moving, I am stuck without that powder. My chronograph was used extensively as I worked to get the .38/40 cartridge to work in my new Uberti Bisleys. There I was dealing more with thin, soft cartridge brass, until I started using my stash of Star Line and new WW cases. I was using Unique and old DuPont #6 to do the job of getting me 900 fps or so. I had the chronograph set up about 10 feet from the muzzle. Remember, with the .30 carbine ammo, the era of ball powder came to the front. Industry did not have the correct powder for that round, so they invented something new... Can't stuff just anything in the Model 1905, and Winchester apparently put up with it for awhile before they dropped it. How does #1680 and Reloder #7 sound? Burns a bit faster and I would have to start low and work up slowly. Having a velocity limit helps a bit. Could also try using Linotype metal as I have plenty of that. I will also change the battery in my chronograph. Supposed to rain today. I could use the full diameter of my slugs by pan lubing them. I have a .352"  Kake Cutter. I will get some targets ready to shoot at 30 yards to start. I know my powder measurement is absolutely precise! With the Belding and Mull Visible powder measure, setting the powder drop by tenths of a grain  is totally possible, then electronically weighed by RCBS. I will do what I can today. I like projects that don't give up the answer right away.

GregT

 

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Squid Boy posted this 20 October 2021

Information I have shows the original loading of a 180 grain bullet @ 1396 fps and a Pmax of 34,809 psi. I think you need to try faster powders instead of slower. A quick impulse might be better in a blowback action. Hodgdon Universal looks pretty good and so does Herco. Thanks, Squid Boy

"Squid Pro Quo"

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GregT posted this 20 October 2021

Squid Boy,

   Great suggestions for powder! I have both.

Thank You!

GregT

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 20 October 2021

...i use a 22 rimfire to check my chrono ...  with quality ammo ...cci minimags are consistent ...

ken

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Larry Gibson posted this 20 October 2021

Are you sure you have the M1905 Winchester in 35 SL and not a M1907 in 351 SL?  Slower burning powders will only exacerbate the problem as they are not burning efficiently in the psi range of the 35 SL cartridge.

If it is the M1905 in 35 SL then a powder such as Unique  or in that burning range is needed to give 900 - 1100 fps.  

If a M1907 in 351 SL then 2400, 4227, 5744 or perhaps 4198 would be more applicable.  Given the higher operating psi of the 351 cartridge the 180 gr bullet can be pushed to 1600 - 1800 fps.  At the higher psi of the 351 SL cartridge such slower powders burn efficiently.   

LMG

 

Concealment is not cover.........

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GregT posted this 20 October 2021

Hi Larry,

   Yup, marked on the tang "Winchester Model 1905".

GregT

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MP1886 posted this 20 October 2021

Yeah I was going to tell Larry the fact you mentioned making the cases using 38 Special cases tells us it's the 35 SL. 

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GregT posted this 21 October 2021

Gentlemen,

     Good Morning! Rain and wind and 39 degrees right now east of Hayward, Wisconsin. I'm gong to load a few test rounds using Herco powder and a small rifle primer. 1000 fps is the velocity goal. Got to get some meaningful pressure up before the slug starts moving. You know, this was a jacketed bullet round originally.... So, in trying to get this rifle functioning at 1000fps, I can also cut lubricant back and add some friction. Our lube is too good in modern times. Not to give the wrong impression, mechanically, the rifle apparently runs its mechanism using very little fuel. I also have an unopened quantity of DuPont SR-80 powder. I've dipped into this for other work now and then, never daring to mis-use it as Keith did. This stuff is pretty close to the era of the Model 1905. Definitely will get a trial.

GregT

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Larry Gibson posted this 21 October 2021

The one M1907 I played with many years back would shoot 35 SLs as both the 35 SL and the 351 SL are semi-rimmed and headspaced on the semi-rim.  The owner had some factory 35 SL and 351 SLs and both cases were crimped in the jacketed bullets canalure. Of course the factory 35 SLs wouldn't function the M1907 action.  However with a cast bullet loaded to 351 SL specs they did function fine in the m1907.  But a M1905 it is so I checked the old Complete Guide To Handloading.

Philip Sharpe lists 7 and 8 gr loads with a 180 gr "MC" (metal cased) bullet of SR-80.  It shows 1000 and 1125 fps.

LMG

 

Concealment is not cover.........

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GregT posted this 21 October 2021

Larry,

   You just quoted from my "bible"! Hold your thought as SR-80 is coming right up as soon as I get done having a little coffee in Hayward... Here's what I just did. I was looking through some of my old data, "Ideal Handbook" from January of 1951, reading .38 Special cast bullet load section. They list Keith's 173 grain #358429, Flat point looong Semi-Wad-cutter, 5.3 grains of Unique at 990 fps (estimated). I have a thousand of those slugs and I could size one down to use...but I would rather use my Accurate Mold and my own .352" Flat nose at 183 grains, sized to .3515". Hell, The Model 1905 Winchester cartridge is almost a .38 Special in this case. So, loaded two rounds of .35 WSL with 5 grains of Unique (1952 Vintage) (The dirty stuff!), a Remington 6 1/2 Small rifle primer (1956 vintage) and my bullet. Put the shell catcher on the '05 and went out on my back porch and fired two rounds over the back lawn into the woods. (Advantage of having 10,000 acres of county forest behind my house). Wow! The rifle actually recoiled as I would expect it to! The action was snappy! And the casing checks out fine, sealed the chamber well, and no pressure signs on the primer! I'm betting the fps for this load is a bit over 1000. Will check that later once the sun comes out. When I get back, the SR-80 is next, same process for Sharpe's recommendation of 7 grains of SR-80. Good thing this hobby has a history to it which is well-recorded, written down by experts who lived the life!

Later,

GregT

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GregT posted this 22 October 2021

Good Afternoon!

   Sort of....temperature is 39 degrees and no sun---but bright enough to use the chronograph. That is before the battery dies on the second round of testing. Battery was installed on August 17, 2012.... It was working as long as it was fairly warm outside. No work no more. BUT I got what I was testing for before it quit!

   First I did the testing using Unique. This one averaged out at 886 fps. This was using 5.3 grains of Unique. I was looking for at least 1000 fps...

   Next, SR-80 powder, using Phil Sharpe's data in the Complete Guide to Handloading, December,1948. I got thru 7 rounds before the battery flashed an error message and quit. Average for 7 shots, using 8 grains of SR-80, 1093 fps! Sharpe said 1125 fps! Not bad for gunpowder that can't be any younger than 1939 (The can has a very low lot number and probably really dates to the late 1920's).

   I'm going to re-test the Unique loading and this time I'm going to use 6.3 grains. That will put me over 1000 fps and is where I want to be. (Sharpe says 1100 fps).

   Weatherman says possible snow showers tonight and colder tomorrow. Couldn't be more pleased with the rifle! Might have to go to a fish fry tonight!

   I did do some housework yesterday with my new rug scrubber! Got about half of the family room carpet done. Maybe the other half tonight. We retired guys have to watch how hard we work, especially housework!

I want to thank you guys again for all the info and assistance so far.

Best Regards,

GregT

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GregT posted this 23 October 2021

Good evening!  I have to try a photo, just putting some info together, hope it works. The photo I am trying to move will be one of the side view of the action of the Model 1905 I am working with. Remember, this is a 1st attempt. Here goes.Side view of my Model 1905 action

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Larry Gibson posted this 23 October 2021

I've always found Sharpe's load data to be spot on but the velocities almost always were a bit 'generous".  That my have been because he may not have actually chronographed them as a chronograph was a very specialized piece of equipment back in his day.  They may have been guestimated as many velocities and pressures were back then also [and even today].   If actually velocity tested I doubt, with all the load data in his book, that 10 or even five shots were tested or that the velocity listed was an "average".  May have on tested, if tested, a couple rounds and then just listed the highest velocity(?).

Sharpe states in his book; "The following list of handloads has been assembled from sources believed to be 100% reliable"  So there is that regarding the listed velocities.....we have no way of knowing how the actual testing was done.

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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GregT posted this 23 October 2021

Disaster struck my photo sharing ability when my old desktop computer died about an hour ago. I was using an old Olympus Camera and to reinstall the program on my current lap top, I need an install disc for Olympus Camedia Master 1.2  .I have not tried Olympus Optical Company yet, if they still exist. My cheap option is to find a relatively cheap camera to use just to take photos and then transfer those to a program on my lap top. I do not have a smart phone nor do I want one. If anyone has a suggestion please feel free to contact me off line at:    [email protected]   . Thanks for any help you may be able to give me.

GregT

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GregT posted this 27 October 2021

Just a quick follow-up to my chronographing of the reload using SR-80 propellant. I installed the new battery in the chronograph and the final string figures showed up:  High fps: 1100, Low fps: 1057, Average fps: 1078 ES: 43. The two velocity figures are interesting but the other 4 shots were not saved as the battery quit. I am going to re-shoot this today with ten shots. Looks like the SR-80 is still pretty much intact chemically after all the years it has been around.

GregT

Hayward

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Squid Boy posted this 27 October 2021

Greg, I might be out of line here but why bother developing a powder that is long off the market unless you have a ton of it? I have been round that bend as more and more good powders are cut from production and force you to look for replacements. I don't bother dialing up new loads in those obsolete numbers and just use it up. I suppose that answers my question but i have a lot of loads that were developed long ago. Thanks, Squid Boy

"Squid Pro Quo"

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