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Discussion Starter #1
Gentlemen,
Anybody out there have any experience with this caliber? I've been in touch with www.bainanddavis.com, cylinder conversions $150, and rebarrel a M94 in 44Mag is circa $500.
Not bad at all I'm thinking, though I have no clue as to what would be a fair and reasonable price.
Paco Kelly speaks highly of it, and www.singleactions.com has a good piece on the conversion. Any other input, ideas, etc would be appreciated.
Cheers,
R2
 

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I have had two Blackhawks chambered for the B&D (I still have one) and I have a custom 12" T/C barrel for it also. My next project is to have a Marlin 1894 re-barreled to the B&D. As you can see I really like this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
45-LCMan,
Cool, this'll be my first adventure into 'wildcatting', any problems neckiong down brass? And do you know of anywhere I can get some dimensions of the cartridge?
Also dies, Bain&Davis want $120 for a set of Custom RCBS, but I note that CH has 'em for about half the price.
Any load recommendations would be welcome as well. In my M94 I like Blue Dot, and 2400, and have begun to use H110 for hunting loads. Any experience with Lil' Gun in the caliber?
Cheers,
R2
 

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All of my loads are pretty much documented in the older manuals. When I was much younger the thought of adding 100 fps to anything was exciting but the older I get the less it matters to me. I purchased a manual called The Complete Reloading Manual for the T/C Contender a few years ago (they still show up on Ebay sometimes) and it has a lot of good loads except for the newer powders, including 'lil gun which I have yet to try myself. Since the B&D is not a cartridge that one would use reduced loads for I normally just stick to H-110 or WW 296 which are technically the same powder. That same reloading book (the Hornady section) has dimensions for the B&D. My Blackhawk has had some custom work done to it including exchanging the grip frame for a Super Blackhawk grip frame and the old 6 1/2" barrel was trashed for a 10 1/2" Ruger SRM bull barrel. Dave Clements also did an action on it and I added a Millett rear sight. I am real excited about the Marlin idea. Paco gave me the idea in one of his articles and I found a custom gunsmith who would do the work for $500, which if you say it real fast and squint your eyes kinda tight seems like a fair price. I don't really need something like this but "need" isn't really a factor when a neat idea comes along. Edwin
 

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I failed to answer one of your questions earlier. There are no related problems in sizing down .44 Mag brass. In fact it almost seems effortless. However, when I had an old model reamed out for my first experiment with the new caliber I had trouble with cases not chambering properly. It seems that either the guy who did the work used a well-worn reamer or the dies were too long. I sent the dies back to Hornady and they ground off a couple of thousands of an inch from the bottom of the sizer die (at no charge) and since that time I've not had any problems. I might add that the only reason that I am pursuing a Marlin in the B&D is I can't get one in .357 Maximum. I am married to carbide dies and the added feature of belling the case mouth for seating slugs. I hope that my limited experience with the B&D has helped you some.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Anybody do this on the .45 Colt case instead of the .44 Mag case? Seems like you'd gain a fair amount of capacity, although in the Blackhawk the conventional wisdom on pressures would be to stay at or below 30,000CUP (vs. 40,000CUP for .44 mag).

Probably wouldn't make any real difference, but would be something else interesting.
 

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MikeG I've often thought of that one too but you're probably right in the pressure statement. However, if one would use the Marlin 1894 platform he would probably meet .35 Remington ballistics in a nice short woods rifle that could be carried up a mountain without too much sweat. But them again there is the added cost of custom dies and working up loads in unknown territory. Oh well, it was a thought anyway. Edwin
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Edwin
Thanx for the Hornady tip, yep, listed in their Series IV dies.Titanium nitride coated I gather from ur post? WELL worth getting, case lubing is a PIA in my opinion. Very helpfull indeed sir! Lol, and now to push the envelope, :eek:), got a scanner? Love a copy of the dimensions if you'd care to post, sounds like we may have some interest.

Mike,
From what I can glean from around the net, the cylinder on the 357 Blackhawk is strong enuff to take the enlarged case of the 44Mag. And readily available in the dual cylinder 'convertible', so you'd be able to shoot either 38Spl., 357Mag and the 35-44 all from the same platform. For the larger 45 case, mebbe a custom 5 shot cylinder would be the go. In a lever gun, prolly wouldn't make a bit of difference, but fully custom reamer, dies, etc etc. You can even rent a reamer from www.rentalreamers.com for the B&D, and both CH and Hornady have dies listed circa $65 . Gary Reeder has his variation on the theme, the 356GNR, using 41Mag as the parent case, and built on a 41Mag revolver, but his guns, or work, ain't cheap, worth it if you can afford it by the looks of things. Investment quality for sure.
Lol, part of the reason I got started on all this, is I got a ever growing collection of 35cal moulds. Got 'castitis' bad here, now I'm lookin' for guns to fit my boolits, :eek:)
Like Ed in his last post, a short action lever approaching 35Rem would be neat, necessary??? Who cares! Damn, even thinking and researching this 'gunner get rountuit someday' project has already paid off in terms of the edjercashun.
Thanks very much for the input and experience gentlemen.
Cheers,
R2
 

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I have a scanner but it doesn't work and I've been trying to find a site that might have a photo of a .357/.44 B&D but if there is one it has eluded me. Contact me at [email protected] and I'll send you a dummy round in the mail. Edwin
 

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Try the web sites at the bottom of this post for more info.

It sounds simple enough. An 1894S in 44 Mag, replace barrel with one from an 1894C or CS (S is for the much loved crossbolt safety) in .357 Mag, chamber for 357 B&D.

It would also be necessary to make small modifications to the forend or forend hanger, depending on whether you use the 1894S or 1894CS furniture.

Check headspace, buy an 8lb. jug of H110, load on Sunday and shoot all week.

I missed a few other points like brass , dies and chamber reamer but you get the idea.

Gunparts has the 1894C barrel for $90.05 + shipping.

http://www.e-gunparts.com http://www.reloadbench.com/cartridges/w35744bd.html
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Nitro,
Thanks for the gunparts tip, I'd looked there before, but musta' been doin something wrong with my search criteria. Now to find out if the available barrels are ballard or microgroove, I do NOT want the micro version. I'll give 'em a ring on Monday.
A straight drop in pretty much, after the chambering. This is looking very feasible, and with a stock barrel, cheaper than the $500 custom quote I've had.
Minor mods on the forend hardware ehhhhh. Sounds like you may have done something similar in the past?
reloadbench.com is a great resource, but no cartridge dimensions for the B&D yet, I've emailed them and asked for same to be put up.
Now the hunt begins for the platform.
Your input is much appreciated.
Cheers,
R2
 

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Something else that you might consider is the barrel profile. The .44/1894 is chambered for a much larger diameter round than the .357 model and I think the barrels and magazine tubes are different diameters. I would at least order a new barrel band. Plus, the .44 is a 20" model and the .357 is 18 1/2" which means the grooves may not line up on the barrel and mag tube. I ran into this situation in trying to exchange stocks on three 336's last month. I wanted to put the straight grip on my .35 Rem. One was 16 1/4" and one was 18 1/2" and one was 20". The 16 1/4" was a T model and had a shorter forend than the other two by about an inch and a half. I have thought , like you, about ordering a .357 barrel and reaming it out but I just couldn't work out the logistics in my mind. Personally, I'm going to spend the $500 bucks and have it done right by someone who knows much more about it than me. If those GP barrels are short chambered, which I've heard they are, then I'm still going to have to pay someone to fix it. Do the math. Barrel.....magazine.
.......band.......reaming job...... and Tylenol. And then it may not be right. No thanks guys.
 

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Here's a page from the Hornady Reloading Manual, Third Ed.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Nitro,
Thanks! More grist for the mill.

Edwin,
Lol, I hear that! There's a lot to be said for giving it to somebody who's in practice. I'll keep juggling this stuff around in my head. At least when I get to a good gunsmith, I *may* be able to ask some pertinent questions.
It would be really lovely, IMO, to have a 24" octagon barrel in the caliber. And those extra inches will give a bit more fps.
By the looks of the load data that Nitro has so kindly posted,
my goal of circa 1500#'s of ME, a 180gr pushing 2000 fps, should be reached quite comfortably.

Cheers gentlemen, very helpfull and informative. I eagerly await ur dummy Ed!

R2
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I could never see rechambering a perfectly good .357 cylinder to this wildcat, until 'convertible' was mentioned. Duh! I have a .357/9mm convertible, and the 9mm cylinder doesn't see much use. Now it makes sense.

The Hodgdon/Shooting Times "Hodgdon's Annual Reloading Manual" has .357/44 B&D load data, for the princely sum of $7.99 (suggested retail).

Looking at the data, though, not sure if there is a lot of gain in a handgun. Comparing to the .357, both with a 10" barrel, both loaded with H110 and Hornady 158gr. JHP, the B&D gains a whopping 13fps while using 4.3 more grains of H110. The pressure of the B&D round isn't listed, though, and it would appear from the data that it is held much lower than the 40,000CUP of the .357 mag loads. Probably they kept it low to avoid problems with setback.

In a rifle, though, or Contender, setback would not be the issue and you ought to gain a lot more.

Interesting, and if I could come up with a reamer cheap, I'd certainly be tempted. I think that you could use the chamber reamer to make a sizing die pretty easily.
 

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MikeG, When I read loading manuals I read them with a grain of salt. If one takes the data literally one could go "bananas" real quick if he compared this one with that one and tried to make heads or tails out of the two. Sometimes when looking at data for a new cartridge I look at as many as 7 or 8 different manuals to arrive at a starting point. This one says that 39.0 grains of Super-igniter #22 powder pushes a 225 grain trailblazer bullet out of a 24" tube and then compare that to Brand X manual and all thing being equal the same bullet goes 300 FPS faster with 2 grains less of the same powder. Go figure! I wrote to Gary Reeder about his new innovation the .356 GNR, because I had read where it was much faster than the .357/.44 B&D. He responded to me in an email that his new round was not, in fact, faster than the B&D. Well, that came as quite a surprise to me because I had also read in Sixgunner.com where it was not only faster than the B&D but was in fact faster than the .357 Maximum. Now if you will go to the Hornady manuals you will see that the Maxi is faster than the B&D with all bullet weights. Go figure! Now I read where 353 Casull loads are faster than all three of the above mentioned rounds out of a standard .357 magnum round. Of course blown primers are included with the speed.

And that my friend is why I read loading manuals with a large dose of salt!!
 

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An idea I always wanted to try was a stretched version of the B&D based on the use of 445 Super Mag cases.

Simply use the standard B&D sizer die to place the shoulder in the correct location and a 44 Mag carbide sizer to size the web of the case further down when needed.

This will basically set the bottom of the shoulder at the length of an empty 44 Mag case, utilizing all the extra powder space.

Not sure about feeding in a Marlin though.


Regards
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Gents,
Quite a thread going. Here's Paco Kellys article on the caliber.Like Edwin, I take data in some of the, shall we say, 'exuberant', articles with a healthy dose of same salt.
But it does appear to me, sifting thru, that the round is very capable of substantially improving ballistics over a 357Mag.
180gr at 2000fps for approx 1500#ME, this out of a 24" barrel would make me very happy. That's an increase of about 50% in delivered energy compared to my 150grHPGC that I've chronoed at the 1750fps mark, again, 24" barrel. Well worth having in a short action lever, IMO.
In a converted convertible Ruger, prolly be going for the 140-160gr range of projectile. The figures from Nitro's file on load data and velocities, and others, have me thinking that 1800fps shouldn't be too much of a problem in a 6.5" barrel.
I've just completed a quote to Clymer, nothing listed in stock for the B&D, but I'm on the hunt for a reamer.
Mike and Contender got good ideas on the dies, and there's Paco's solution at the end of his article. Cost of a custom reamer may be all that's necessary, and if a couple people get interested, we may be able to spread the cost around.
Lots of ideas, and great input! {:eek:)
Cheers,
R2:D
 

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Contender the "stretched" B&D idea has made it's rounds in recent years too. The Ruger SRM was the platform for it pretty soon after it's introduction in 1983. I too have thought about a Marlin chambered in it but after trying to think of ways to make it work I came to the conclusion that it was already available. It's called the .35 Remington. And it would only be possible to make a B&D Maximum on the 336 Frame which kinda detracts from the "light-and-handy" rifle that I was dreaming about. Since we're on this "What if" scenario why couldn't we just do the work necessary to make the 1894 feed longer OAL (even I can do that) cartridges and short chamber the B&D Maximum and use shortened 445 Supermag brass? It would be a compromise between the standard B&D and the Maxi B&D and would probably give modern .35 Rem ballistics. Just today I thought the same thing about the 1894c and cutting down Maximum brass to where they were longer than .357 Magnum but longer than Maxi's. It would probably give near B&D velocities and I could still use carbide dies. Edwin
 
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