Reloading and Shooting

I like reloading, but I’m not into “precision” shooting as much as Gary. I’ve nothing against it - I just don’t see a situation where I’ll ever need to hit any past 100m again.

When I got my first Henry for Father’s day - the Big Boy in .357 Magnum, I knew it wouldn’t be my only Henry.
My wife got me another one for my birthday, this time in .44 Magnum. Only this time in stainless instead of brass. While I had put the brass Skinner sight on the .357, I thought I’d go with something different on the .44, so I got the 1895 scope for it in stainless. it matches quite nicely.

But how does it shoot?
Well, after fruitlessly trying to get a good group at 100 yards with the stock buckhorn sight, which everyone on the planet pretty much agrees sucks big time, I shot a group with the new scope.
I only had five rounds left of the Precision One ammo (I have not yet begun reloading .44 Mag because large Magnum primers are hard to procure locally) so I had to make every round count.

My quick session dispelled two myths above:

  1. The cold bore shot. But I’ve already proven that with my AR. Don’t clean your gun every time and you’ll be fine.
  2. There are no 1 MOA guns.

Here are the results at 100 yards. The first two shots at the lower left of the coffee filter touch. So much for the cold bore theory. The third was a called flyer. I was using an assault pack as a rest and felt the gun moved just as the sear broke.

I went down to observe my target, discounted the flyer and made adjustments according to the instructions that came with the scope.
The final two shots ended up close enough to center for me to call it good.

I may go back today and shoot some even hotter ammo. But truthfully I bought the nickle plated brass rounds to go in the buttstock cuff (and eventually sling) that I’m making myself.
Call it posuerish if you will but I think they look great with the Henry and the scope.

So, at least for that one day, the gun is a sub MOA gun. I’ve always thought there are sub MOA guns, just not many sub MOA shooters. And I’m not even that good…

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I need some help and I’m hoping that the fine people of this page will be able to help. I want to put together a work bench to work on and repair my own firearms and I need a comprehensive list of all of the things that I will need to set this up.

So as a follow up to the post two posts up - I went back to the range and fired a couple of those higher velocity 44 mag rounds. I showed him the picture. As expected with a much higher muzzle velocity, the rounds climbed higher at 100 yards.

It’s important to know that I did not clean the barrel whatsoever since the last time I fired the gun. I offer this as further proof that the concept of the Cold War shot is highly overrated. These two rounds landed almost exactly where I expected them to, albeit slightly to the left. But there was a slight bit of a cross wind today. The rounds are almost touching, which shows me that the difference between a cold bore shot and a shot in a warmed up barrel is negligible. It also shows me once again there is such thing as a sub MOA rifle. I mean, think about it. This is a lever action rifle shooting pistol ammunition of all things. Can you imagine if Gary applied all of his voodoo magic on the rounds? There’d probably be one hole in the target.
Or even better, fired from a bench rest, instead of an assault pack filled with my daughter’s stuffed animals.

I had a friend (no longer a friend) who was into the bowling pin shooting with a couple 45’s. He had feed issues as well, and ended up finding a “roll sizer” for his brass. He loaded for forty caliber and 9mm as well. That took care of his feeding issues 100%. Works only with rimless cartridges, and there is a learning curve. I shoot a lot of wheel guns so I had little need for one, and even then had no idea where to get one. With revolvers, most of us use the sizer die with the carbide ring built in it. Problem with it is that it only sizes about three quarters of the case, and even then usually way under the chamber size, I reworked several sets of steel dies (the ones nobody wants) to fit the chambers (about .003" smaller). Brass lasted longer and the revolvers shot better.

Never had a lever action in 44 mag! I do own a couple .444 Marlins, so I know a little about the 44 caliber in a rifle. The bullets you use mean a lot to the grouping. Then there is the crimp. I have several sets of 44 mag dies, but almost always go back to the Lyman die. Not that they are so much better, but I like the way they crimp. Another issue you maybe having is that you’re using a die with the carbide ring in it. Watch for the solid steel die sets (you see them at gun shows a lot.)
Try the Hornaday 265 grain sold tipped bullet of H110 or some similar (296??) The H110 maybe a little too fast of a burn rate, and maybe something slightly slower would be better. Bad thing about having to crimp the bell of the case is that you’re limited to where you seat the bullet.

Believe it or not; primers can make a world of difference. I pretty use use nothing but Federals with a few exceptions. I can usually shoot five shot groups under an inch and a half with the .444 @ 100 yards, and my 44 mags will shoot about 1.62" groups at fifty yards (my T/C’s will shoot about 1.25"). I know they will shoot better, but just lazy I guess. My brother has a .444 that shoots 1.25" groups at 100 yards. His is just tighter than mine.

By they way my best groups are in the .19" range with a Savage in 22-250. Factory barrels at that. I do have a 6mm/250AI (similar to the 22-250 case necked up to 6mm and improved) that will shoot .250" groups all day long. My Remington .223 NM is shooting right around .40" groups with a struggle. It’s getting a new barrel with the Savage nut in .222 AI or a redesigned .223 case.

Youtube decided to show me this:

Taking the hobby seriously I guess …