GUNS Magazine June 2013 Digital Edition - Page 52

Oddball Never have reloaders been able to put e. so many obsolete guns back into servic E Mike “dUke” VentUrino PHotos: yVonne VentUrino arly in life I realized my drum beat differently than most others in the world. Here’s one major for-instance: Never have I ever watched on television even a single ball game of any sort. The same has always held true for my shooting and handloading career. Back when I avidly hunted elk most of my friends carried .270s, .30-06s. The rare one packed a .300 Magnum. I chose a 7mm Remington Express— the name Remington tagged on their .280 in the late ’70s in a bid to make it more popular. Those same friends shot .222 or .223 Remingtons or .22-250s for varmints. I used a .222 Remington Magnum. When diving into the world of BPCRs (black powder cartridge rifles) in 1981 the obvious pick for a novice would be .45-70. I even already owned appropriate dies and bullet molds. Nay, I had to go for a .50-90. When the NRA formulated the BPCR Silhouette game many shooters turned to .40-65 from .45-70s in an effort to get away from heavy recoil. That particular .40 caliber round was picked because its brass could be formed from readily available .45-70 cases. Instead I went for the .40-70 Sharps Straight, whose cases had to be made by cutting down .405 Winchesters, which weren’t all that plentiful either. The same has been true with handguns. There exists a staunch following for .44 Special. I prefer .44 WCF/.4440. Handguns for .22 LR are extremely popular. I hadn’t owned one for decades until a friend gave me a Smith & Wesson Model 18 a few years back. One editor told me I should get a lifetime achievement award for being the only gun’riter to tackle handloading the ancient .44 Smith & Wesson American, the very first reloadable handgun cartridge introduced in 1871. Perhaps it’s my fondness for all aspects of handloading Duke has found it easy to load two odd military handgun cartridges. RCBS makes dies and bullet mold for 8mm Japanese Type 14 Nambu (left) and .32 ACP dies and bullet mold can be used to load for 7.65mm French Long Model 1935A if you have the correct cases. These cases are custom-made by Buffalo Arms using .32 S&W Long as the parent case. that made many cartridges now considered oddballs seem attractive. For many of those rounds the only way to get proper projectiles is to make them which is no problem because I’m one of the rare fellows who enjoy bullet casting. How else could anyone get bullets for a .44 S&W American? It shares bore dimensions with no other handgun caliber. In days gone by reloading for oddballs was far more difficult than now. Reloading oddball ammunition has gotten popular enough that even some major component manufacturers have joined the march. For example, until the last few years if someone wanted jacketed bullets for the 6.5x50mm Italian Carcano or the German 7.92x33 Kurz they were out of luck. The former is the only 6.5mm round to use 0.268-inch bullets instead of 0.264inch ones. The latter cartridge was meant for 123-grain 0.323-inch bullets and the lightest on the market weighed 150 grains. Hornady has stepped into the breach with both examples. They now make a 160-grain 0.268-inch diameter roundnose and a 125-grain 0.323-inch hollowpoint. (Why hollowpoint instead of full metal jacket is a puzzle but I’m extremely grateful anyway.) Then there was the matter of cases. Just a couple of decades back if a shooter wanted to step outside the straight and narrow he was going to have to form his brass from some other more common case. With .44 S&W American I had to get RCBS case forming dies 52 W W W. G U N S M AG A Z I N E . C O M • J U N E 2 0 1 3

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