44-77 Brass

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VenisonRX
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by VenisonRX »

J.B. wrote: Fri Dec 08, 2023 8:09 pm Just come back inside from the 95f & climbing temperatures. Forget how hot is normal ..when its been mild for a while. Paying attention ? ..Just a little :wink: Bob , I dont have any recent 'first hand' knowledge but I know the general feeling here from a few years back is that Bertram brass is
quite good. I did have a failed case with my 45/110 over 25 years ago but a letter to Bruce at the time, with the case enclosed was rewarded with a box of 20 new cases and an apology for what shouldnt have happened. Then Norma basic became available and having been keen on Norma brass in any loading, I swapped to them and never looked back. I never had another failure with Bertram but then I wasnt using the product much either.
When the 44/77 bug bit me... I was trying to source cases just during Jamisons closure time. That left me with BACo or RMC... or Bertram. I rang at the time and they had no 44/77 and the lass I spoke with said " we have thousands of 43 Spanish ..isnt that the same' ? She sent me up some two Spanish and two Mauser rounds to test but there was too much difference when compared to the correct cartridge... at least there was for me. I asked if they were planning to tool up for 44/77 Sharps but indications were 'not with thousands of Spanish cases sitting here'... 'Perhaps if you order 10,000 we can get a run done'. Across the board we could probably use 10,000 cases in a heart beat but I'm not in a position to order that many. I gather quite a few U.S. shooters had bad experiences with early Bertram brass..or at least they are the only experiences we here about. Would they revisit the brand if the product was available ? Sort of a catch 22 really... " if you build it...they will come" ..or perhaps.. " will they come" ? The Jamison product was so good it was a 'no brainer' so anything else needs to be pretty respectable. The C Sharps vs Shiloh rim thicknesses are different but not hugely so but the older Remingtons and possibly Sharps (? ) ran to the more generous. Once fired for ones rifle though, if not full length sized I would imagine the problem would 'go away' for most. I have sufficient cases but I'm always on the look out for more. As you say.. a bit of prior preparation and planning..etc etc. but then who knows when a business will fail, the law will get heavy handed or Covid will strike and allow the ignorant full sway.

G.
Gavin,

I’m asking questions along similar lines in another thread on this forum. With regards to the 43 Spanish and Mauser cases not being close enough in spec for your taste, how far off are they? Would they be serviceable and perhaps stretch enough over use to work for a more casual shooter? I ask because I’m not smart enough on it yet but I do know you can convert 303 British to Krag fairly easily, it ends up a tad short in the neck but it doesn’t have a noticeable affect on accuracy or usability. I may be trying to compare apples to oranges on this one. Thoughts?

Also I noticed Bertram no longer has the 43 Spanish in stock at the moment. Perhaps we could try to gather a few orders and convince them again?
—Tom
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J.B.
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by J.B. »

Good questions. My enquiries were probably eight or nine years ago now so they would have had plenty of time to sell out their stores of Spanish brass. Between the two, ie. Spanish or Mauser , it appears the Spanish cartridge would be your best bet as a base to work with. My examples were 'seconds' , so there may be some variations but the case is 2.246" long, neck wall thickness at .0095-.0105. Rim diameter is at .6195 but the crunch for me would be rim thickness at .0815". Possibly perfect for the originals that ran thicker rims but not so the .067/8" ..or .076" of the current chamberings. The Mauser case has that 'stepped' base and I dont have the right 'gadget' to measure the rim thickness properly. Its rim diameter is .594" ..and the major rim diam is .062" ..but the raised portion in the middle would add to this. The case itself is much longer at 2.361" with a long pronounced neck. The Jamison brass I do have in 44/77 measures .624-.625 across the rim and .074 rim thickness. That's a lot of metal to take off the base against the depth of the primer pocket and I dont have the gear or know how to trim from the forward edge which would be preferable and also give me some much needed case length to allow for set back on fire forming. Were 'they' to produce the cases with a rim at a magical medium..that would allow use in all, well that would be great but having the length in the neck to trim back would be nice also. hth.
.. J.B.
"an experimental weapon..with experimental ammunition ? ...Lets experiment "
Nuclearcricket
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by Nuclearcricket »

Years back I made up a fixture to measure rim thicknes. It will work on the Mauser brass. I get around today and find everything I can post up what my brass measures.
As to thinning the rims from the underside, its a bit of a pain and a bit slow but with a lathe its very easy to hold .001" or so on the thickness. I have done this in the past with .45-what ever cases that had rims too thick for what the final case was needed for. A uniform inside neck diameter really helps to make for a better and more consistent job on the rim thickness. Anyone with a small lathe can easily make the fixture parts needed to set up and cut the rims thinner. I think even the itty bitty Unamat lathe would work.
Anyone that wants the info and such on the thinning set up feel free to PM me.
Sam
Kurt
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by Kurt »

You can use a V block to measure a tapered rim taking two measurements.
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Nuclearcricket
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by Nuclearcricket »

I set up and checked 5 random Mauser cases. the average was .0925. There was one that was thicker than the rest, or maybe it was just not quite seated in the fixture. The fixture I use is an aluminum round, longer than the case and bored out to let the case drop in. Then a brass disk is set on top of the case head and a measurement is taken. I use a dial indicator that is zero'd on the brass plate on top of the fixture. Hopefully the pics work.
Sam
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Nuclearcricket
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by Nuclearcricket »

Here is what I made up to thin case rims. Aluminum bored out to the diameter of the case head and to a depth a little less than what you want the finished thickness to be, and a plug drilled for a lathe center to hold the case in line.
100_1552.JPG
Then set up in the lathe, the case is driven by friction. you are not taking all that much off and it works pretty well. It is important that the case mouth plug fits nicely, that keeps the case from wobbling around and helps keep the head thickness even. A part off tool works just fine or a facing tool could be used as well. Kind of what ever is handy and sharp.
100_1553.JPG
Hope some of this helps you all out.
Sam
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J.B.
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by J.B. »

Sam that's good information and the pictures 'worth a thousand words'. I was having a 'c.r.a.f.t.' moment yesterday or I would have been able to measure the Mauser case properly but I came up with .061 for the wide portion of the rim and an additional .034 for the raised. portion so that is pretty damn close to .095" after all. I've approached a friend of mine, a retired tool maker and he's doing some trials with old 45/90 cases that separated to see if he can manage the 'reverse rim trim' ( no comments ) and he's pretty sure it wont be a problem if I can source some cases. Of course I'd prefer the proper brass but it may at least offer some options, not only for me, but others contemplating what is a more than adequate chambering.
I have emailed Bertram in Australia in the hope I may get some feedback at least but one hand up isnt going to generate much interest I fear. :wink:
.. we can but try.
rgds.. Gavin.
"an experimental weapon..with experimental ammunition ? ...Lets experiment "
Nuclearcricket
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by Nuclearcricket »

If he is going to trim 45-90 brass he shouldn't have any problems setting things up. If he is going to try some of the Mauser brass, my thoughts are that maybe a bit of glass bedding compound for the part where the base sets in might be a good idea. Yes the stamping will have to be removed but that should be easy and will give a bit better contact all around. Once build the fixture and get it up and running its really a simple set up. It is a bit of a pain to set the cases up to debur the rim but the small 3 jaw chuck I have works just fine for that. A quick touch with a file will easily break the sharp edge and your in business.
Sam
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J.B.
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by J.B. »

Thanks again Sam. Currently this is an 'exercise' to satisfy my own curiosity as much as anything. I have two rifles in 44/77 and while I've been fortunate enough to get brass, I would also like to know I have options should I need a resupply. The Mauser case is off the table currently as it just seems too much d****ng around to achieve the same result that the Spanish case should return with less effort and time. The one plus of the Mauser case is that the brass length is there to work with. Not so with the Spanish and most of the 44/77 offerings to date. Most fall at 2.245 and less before firing. Some as low as 2.230. Doesnt seem much but its evident before firing and very clear afterwards. Possibly more of a problem for me as I shoot both p/p and g/g ( both sides of the fence :roll: ) . Yes they all work..but it would be nice to have them all sitting happily at +2.250" and allow for an exact 'trim to' length. Just my OCD kicking in. When I placed my second order with RMC for brass I requested brass with extra length in the necks and certain neck wall thickness. From memory the oal was 2.270 or 2.275 " ..but dont quote me on that . They arrived absolutely right, down to the .0010 or better. I was able to dial those cases in perfectly. Trim and chamber ..trim and chamber until I had the depth just right and they didnt set back as much on firing as the drawn cases. I'll continue with my enquiries with Bertram but clearly if people want 'stockable' quantities of brass, then the order is going to have to come from much higher on the food chain. In the mean time I'll ask some questions and see what and if I can learn anything. Even if I can jag one box of Spanish cases, I may try them for the exercise but from a previous post, apparently 'none in stock' :(

.. rgds.. Gavin.
"an experimental weapon..with experimental ammunition ? ...Lets experiment "
marlinman93
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by marlinman93 »

J.B. wrote: Mon Dec 11, 2023 3:11 pm The one plus of the Mauser case is that the brass length is there to work with. Not so with the Spanish and most of the 44/77 offerings to date.

.. rgds.. Gavin.
The first brass I bought for my Remington in .44-77 was Mauser brass. It actually was loaded ammo, so I pulled all the bullets, and dumped the unknown powder. I tried dropping one in the chamber of my Roller and it of course was too long. I ran the cases through my .44-77 dies, and then began trimming necks to fit my chamber. Once the OAL was set I tried closing the breech block and the rims were too thick. But I also discovered that my LR primers seated too deeply, so I setup my lathe and took metal off the headstamp side of the brass until the breech block closed and hammer cleared. Then seated a new primer and it was flush!
So the only work was easily done on my small lathe in minutes to make the Mauser brass work. And there's very little headstamp left to read on the cases after thinning the rims. I've been shooting those cases for over a decade now, and they work great. If I saw anymore .43 Mauser brass reasonably priced I'd buy it.
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J.B.
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by J.B. »

Well that is good to know also, although in hindsight ( isnt it always perfect :wink: ) , I'd be concerned about the rim first in a Shiloh or C. Sharps and work on reducing that to the point where it would seat nicely in the rim recess at the .076" or so required. A bit less again I believe when working with a C.Sharps. Then concentrate on the c.o.a.l. Had I a lathe and the skills to use it, I'be playing around with this stuff a bit more but when relying on friends to help me out I dont want to presume too much. I'd need .016/016 off the Mauser case from the base or .006 from the Spanish brass from the leading edge. Maybe I need to buy a small lathe and learn something new....or something else new. :!:
J.B.
"an experimental weapon..with experimental ammunition ? ...Lets experiment "
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VenisonRX
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by VenisonRX »

Gavin, you raise an interesting point. For those of us who aren’t machinists, or at least people who don’t already own a metal lathe, using one would be an investment for the sole purpose of manipulating brass, even if more uses ended up being found for it later we can’t figure that in at this point since it’s such an unknown. But my initial thought was so what? It can’t possibly be worth the cost of buying the equipment especially for just one caliber. Then I’m sitting here at work waiting to meet my student and decided to do the math.

Current prices listed on Bertram’s website are at $390 per 100 or $3.90 a piece. Harbor freight sells a bench top lathe for $800. I’ve found others cheaper but I’d call those a bigger gamble because harbor freight will take anything back and you have a physical location to return it to if you run into a problem. The others I’ve found at $600 are through the mail only and from what I’m reading are nearly possible to return or get help with if it arrives broken so I won’t figure them into this. So for my
purposes in this exercise I’m saying harbor freight is the cheapest at $800. Rocky Mountain is currently listing 44/77 at $160 for a box of 20 or $8 a piece. In this case the difference in cost between 43 Mauser from Bertram and RMCC 44/77 is $4.10 a piece. If you include the cost of a lathe to me it’s looking like ~ 191 pieces of brass to make up the difference. Honestly that’s not too terrible and then after that you’re only doing better. Now I’m making a few big assumptions here. I guess that question is better answered by someone other than me since the best I can say is I use a wood lathe. Not the same thing so I can’t pretend.

Marlinman, assuming my math is correct, is this a viable option or just the musings of someone going down a rabbit hole? Is the harbor freight lathe even capable of the precision needed/able to cut that much brass without breaking? And is someone with no appreciable lathe experience able to self learn how to do this one particular job in any reasonable amount of time?

Can’t say I’m confident enough to try it, but the conversation this far did make me wonder about it.
—Tom
Kurt
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by Kurt »

The $800. price tag is cheap compared to the tooling you need to properly run it. :D
You would be ahead just paying Bertram's price for the brass.
The reason a dog has so many friends is because he wags his tail instead of his tongue.

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery"Winston Churchill
marlinman93
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by marlinman93 »

I didn't know Harbor Freight still sold lathes? Had to go look as my local store never has any. As to whether they'll hold up, I'd think that if all you ever used one for was brass it sure would be sad if the lathe wouldn't do that.
But I'd be looking at local Craigslist ads for small table top hobby lathes like Craftsman branded that show up occasionally for $300-$400, and always have some tooling with them. I bought a used Chinese made version and got more tools with it than I've ever used. Back when I got it I paid $200 and I've used it for 20 years, and not sure how old it was when I got it?
Considering how many of my rifles are chambered in obsolete cartridges, and what the cost of brass is, that alone has easily saved me several times what I paid. A lot of this brass is $3 or more each! And that's not counting other small gunsmithing jobs like firing pins, or other parts I've used it to make. Mine has a milling head also, and it's limited what I can do with the mill, but I have cut out forearm wood inletting on it, and some other small projects.
Nuclearcricket
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Re: 44-77 Brass

Post by Nuclearcricket »

Another less expensive source of 44-77 brass is to neck down and shorten 45-90 brass. Yes it will blow out some and look a little funny at the base but it will work.
As to the lathe thing, the one I have is not a lot different than the Harbor Freight lathe. Mine is longer and has a few refinements to it but over all the basics are the same. I have a 7X14, the HF lathe is 7X12. these are pretty basic lathes but some tune up and they will do nice work. There is a company called Little Machine Shop. (littlemachineshop.com) they carry all the parts for these lathes, as well as tooling and such. I have added taper roller bearings to my head stock, a quick change tool post, a 4" 4 jaw chuck and 2 different size collet chucks. They are not the most powerful lathe out there but if you take your time, they do good. They only take up about 3 feet of bench space and if need be can be picked up and moved around.
The one really nice thing I have found about these lathes is that they are change gear lathes. You have to change the gear train to get the threads you want, LMS had a calculator on its website where you punch in what threads you want to cut and it tells you what gears to put where. Its nice to be able to cut odd threads like 30 tpi for some of the lyman stuff, and 48 tpi for scope caps. If you take your time it will cut 7/8-14 threads for loading dies.
It can even come in handy when you stick a case in a die. Yes I have done that a few times. Stuff Happens.
Sam
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