|DAMMITTS vs Dooleys by Howdy Doody
There was a lot of hype and even more joshing and elbowing
as the first of an annual match in Tombstone A.T. put on by the Tombstone
Ghost Riders February '08 that pitted the Texas Dooley Gang vs the
Dammitt Gang of everywhere else, plus others that wandered into the fray.
The start was side match events on Friday, the regular
speed events and of course long range. Added, but not an official catagory
was Friday nights bash at the Crystal Palace to celebrate Rocky Meadows
birthday. No scores were kept on the birthday party, but I ended up with
a really good steak, some dark beer, a red sash and some gold and purple
strands of beads. Don't ask, it is another whole story, but at least I
didn't get my fingers run over as I crawled back to my motel.
Happy Brithday, Rocky!
Saturday, wow what a nice day. Things started in the
usual way of a safety meeting and the pledge of alliegence to the flag,
but then there was a twist and sort of an ice breaker. The Ghost Riders
had a reinactment group come in and charge LayLow Curly, T Bone Doodly
and Youngblood with a variety of charges (mostly shooting of mouths on
the SASS event wire) and then proceeded to commence to hang them. Well,
luckily a state official dropped by and found a technicality and those
rascals excaped the noose. It was some kind of fun to start a match and
I knew it would be fun, fun, fun.
I was right! We shot 6 stages on Saturday under the bluest
sky and the weather warmed to about 75 degrees. Saturday the club had an
included dinner and it was first rate. Right off the back of a chuckwagon
and it was all indoors under cover with new benches and tables.
I should say that this private range is the doing of
Cowboy Doug, who is building what is going to be a premier facility only
two miles from Tombstone. Targets and props are all brand new and working
flawless. Tye will have more bays and props next year. They are also set
up for mounted shooting and have a nice arena all set up.
|Reloading Blackpowder Shotshells with Antique Tooling – No 1 by
Red Sun SASS#635
Shotshell & Tooling Evolution…
Ideal Mfg Roll Crimper
||Wad Seater, Funnel,
& Decapper Base
Powder & Shot Measure
The process of reloading of shotshells and tooling evolved
rapidly from the introduction of the centerfire ignition cartridge. Shotshell
casings of brass first appeared as the “base-fire” by Charles Lancaster
in 1852. It was the Daw’s Patent Central-Fire utilizing a replaceable “cup”
primer in 1862 that gave us the center-fire configuration of today. There
were many in this race for the optimum cartridge design, but Lancaster
and Daw was the most notable by design and ingenuity. Brass had the longevity
of re-use but suffered from corrosion. Paper cases followed when the quality
and cost of manufacturing were optimized. All processes for commercial
loading were done in large assembly facilities staffed predominantly by
women. Reloading of cartridges by individuals was popular in these earlier
times. Reloading tools were readily available by piece or in groups. American
and British tools (photo Figure 1) dominated the markets both here and
in Europe. Some tools were imported and relabeled by American distributors.
Notable makers from the London and Birmingham Guilds of England packaged
high quality tools with cased shotguns. These cased guns included gun tools,
spares parts, and reloading tools. Some of these cases were built as double
layer to have one layer used for reloading supplies and loaded cartridges.
The earlier less expensive tools evolved slowly. It wasn’t
until the late 1880’s when reloading tool sets sometimes referred to as
the “Gun Implement Set” became available through a wide variety of suppliers.
One of the main suppliers of these earlier tool sets was BGI or the Bridgeport
Gun Implement Company. These sets came boxed with every component necessary
for reloading shotshells. These were all moderately priced and available
in various calibers. In order for the end user to properly reload empty
cases, a considerable amount of trial and error occurred. In some cases,
it might have even resulted in unfortunate incidents. These reloading sets
were intended for paper but were often used with brass hulls. Today you
find a number of these roll crimpers often referred to as “bench closers”
to have excessively worn rolling pins in the heads.
When John Barlow and Ideal Mfg introduced his extensive
line of personal and commercial reloading tools, he had his people design
them with hardened and replaceable components. These patented items became
available in the mid 1890’s. These were the “Cadillac “ tools of that era.
Today, for those of us that choose to reload our own,
we used very sophisticated and convenient presses for shotshell reloading.
Plastic casings have become the basis of reloading and paper is not even
considered in most circles. Reloading these old paper hulls for the sake
of just being “old fashioned” or purely traditional can be challenging
and rewarding especially when using these vintage tools and processes.
This article covers a personal venture into that world of “nostalgia” and
the rewards of seeing a fine Damascus barreled hammer gun go boom like
it probably did over a hundred years ago.
This series of articles will show the use of some very
unique and fine tooling. The tools shown are collectible and available
on eBay® and similar auction sites. There are some modern versions
of these items that will be covered that can produce a similar result.
A Few Tools…
.How to start…
A few things to start with: (l-r) Wad press, funnels, decapping
base, a selection of paper hulls,
Ideal Mfg Roll Crimper and Ideal Mfg Shotshell Case Trimmer.
These are all original tools.
||Here is a Federal Gold Medal paper hull. It has a standard
2 ¾” open length for the folded crimp. We are going to trim this
back to 2 ½” for the roll crimp. Since the shotgun used has 2 ½”
chambers, we need to reduce the open length to eliminate any interference
with the step into the barrel from the chamber. This is very important
since excessive pressure can result at the chamber throat when a longer
case is used. Also, paper is thicker than plastic and the wad needs to
stay expanded to maintain pressure down the barrel.
|Trimming the hull to length
The Ideal Trimmer in action showing the hull being trimmed
The Ideal Trimmer consists of a holder for the brass and
a sharpened cutting wheel. The mandrel is adjusted to support the cutter.
Now when we have enough hulls trimmed, we can start to gather
the necessary items together for loading these. We will be using Goex powder
(FFg), nitro cards, fiber wads, lead shot, and over-shot cards. All of
these items are consistent with the earlier loading of these hulls.
||We now have a 2 1/2” case ready to be primed.
I used Federal 209A primers since they are a little hotter than Win 209’s.
I tend to use hotter primers for BP. But either will work fine.
Next month, we’ll continue with the details of loading
these shells. In the meantime, your comments and suggestions are welcome.
Please forward those to Redsun635@aol.com.