Early trials with a Snider

fourfive8

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The steel marking is important because the early guns (which were all conversions) had iron barrels. Din Collins RIP, a friend of mine, went through old Petone Rifle Club records and found that the accuracy life of those barrels with the paper patched bullets was only about 700 rounds, if I recall our conversation correctly. This was due to abrasion from the paper.

I've also heard that about the accelerated wear from paper patching. The surprising data is that it can be measurable and severe in as few as 700 rounds- thanks for sharing that information! And, I believe some types of paper are more abrasive than others due to the clay used during processing. I don't paper patch for this rifle but have done quite a lot loading for Sharps rifles. My paper is the all cotton variety which I believe has a very low abrasive quality. I assume this Snider, being a later model with an approximate manufacture date of 1872 based on the lock date, would have a barrel of better steel. It appears the lock, barrel and stock are all original with each other and the rifle is not a "parts gun".

I couldn't guess the major source of bore wear from the components I'm shooting now.
I think the largest potential for degradation would be corrosion, due to improper cleaning or lack of cleaning.
 

fourfive8

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Plan to use them in the future. Even though the 3 groove rifle have a slow twist they will stabilize bullets that are longer then most think they would be able too.
Yep, I think that is the reason most of these solid base Snider conicals are fairly short-- slow twist stabilization. I'm sure the 445 B Accurate Molds conicals were designed with that slow twist stabilization in mind. I found you can work around that some by using a hollow base Minie' which uses aerodynamic "dart" stabilization but it is tricky to get the load just right and not suffer the dreaded occasional flier. I may yet work more on that... :)
 

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Yep, I think that is the reason most of these solid base Snider conicals are fairly short-- slow twist stabilization. I'm sure the 445 B Accurate Molds conicals were designed with that slow twist stabilization in mind. I found you can work around that some by using a hollow base Minie' which uses aerodynamic "dart" stabilization but it is tricky to get the load just right and not suffer the dreaded occasional flier. I may yet work more on that... :)

Though about using the Lyman 20ga foster slug too at one point. Problem with mine balls is their under sized and you want something that is groove sized from the get go. I still have to make bras for my snider I'm using 24ga plastic hulls right now
 
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OK. Have been to the range 4 times since the last post, chronographing and shooting tweaked loads. I have been able to get to 1200 fps fairly easily. Most of the loads have been between 1150 and 1200 fps. Some loads are better than others with smaller groups or lower SDs. I've settled on the load, for my Snider. Today I shot the load for the second time to verify... so I think I'm finished with the load development. From now on will play a little trying to shoot even better groups, making smoke for other shooters downwind :), shooting gongs at 100 to 300 and letting those who've never shot a Snider have a go. Plus, still have a couple of potential 375 HH loads to finish up on before rotating to the next project.

Here's the target from this morning. 50 yds from bench. 1.4" center to center. My POI is right at the outside edge @ 6 o'clock of thick red ring... about 2" below and slightly left of the group's center. I like to use quality, little used targets I pull out of the trash can at the range- I have no idea about the 5 small cal holes near the middle...

The load is a relatively clean burning duplex:
Pure lead 420 gr RCBS N-S Minie sized @ .584". Lubed with SPG in the grooves and filling the base. 4 felt wads to fill air space. No compression. 7 gr 5744 + 68 gr FF. Winchester mag large pistol primer. 24 ga Mag Tech brass cut to 2.0" annealed and sized in Lee Snider die. Mean vel- 1165, SD- 7

View attachment 343835
@fourfive8
Can't compĺain at that. Just need to fine tune the sights and have fun with it.
Bob
 

fourfive8

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Though about using the Lyman 20ga foster slug too at one point. Problem with mine balls is their under sized and you want something that is groove sized from the get go. I still have to make bras for my snider I'm using 24ga plastic hulls right now
I tried the hollow base Lyman Foster slug. It is a fair facsimile of the smooth sided Pritchett bullet which I know was also loaded in the Snider. It has to be run though a sizer (.590-600") before it will fit. I tried it with poor results, so save your money unless you have a source or already have the mold.

I think the groove diameter bullet theory is correct... the closer you get to groove diameter the better for most cast bullet shooting. The problem is usually the transition between the case and full engagement into the bore. Stiff BP will bump up a soft lead slug but it is in the case when that starts happening, then it has to travel the gap... the space between the case and the bore. That no man's land is the throat/leade zone and my theory is that is where much of the accuracy is made or lost in shooting any BPCR round out of any individual rifle.

I think your best bet for the Snider is to get some 24 ga brass cases to start then take a look at the throat in your rifle (to look at chamber and throat area, take a thin mirror and position behind chamber and shine a little light into muzzle, a trick I learned by accident years ago).. most I believe are a gradual taper from end of case mouth to bore with no groove diameter free bore section as is common with modern chambers. You'll need to measure from the bolt face to the start of the throat taper to get maximum case length. I just used trial and error with a slightly long brass case, trimming little by little until clearance at the end of the chamber was realized- recording that as my chamber length. Then trim cases to maybe .010-.015" shorter than that measurement. If you get the 24 ga Magtech brass, you'll likely have to trim a wee bit more than 1/2" off. They are 2 1/2" long. Trimming these thin brass cases is a real pain because they are too long to simply trim... they have to be cut. I built a small wooden jig to use a rotary tool with cutoff wheel to cut (trim) the brass.

The max case length for my chamber is 1.98" and I trim my brass to 1.96-1.97". After cutting (trimming), I anneal the neck portion for good measure. The other nice thing about the 24 ga Magtech brass is the neck wall thickness is only .010" giving .020" total. That is likely significantly thinner than either plastic or paper hull wall thickness. That allows for chambering a cartridge with a bullet of much larger diameter and closer to throat or groove diameter... usually a good thing.

Oh and an FYI, be sure to use large pistol primers with Magtech brass as the pockets are sized for them. That instruction is actually on the box but some don't notice it- I didn't either at first. Large rifle size will be little too long.

24 ga brass .JPG
24 ga brass trim for Snider.JPG
 
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fourfive8

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Just did a hasty check online and looks like both Grafs and Ballistic Products have 24 ga Magtech in stock for about $31 per 25 plus shipping. Not bad, all things considered.
 

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Just did a hasty check online and looks like both Grafs and Ballistic Products have 24 ga Magtech in stock for about $31 per 25 plus shipping. Not bad, all things considered.
Being in Canada i can order of either of them even though shotgun components are ok under ITAR. This isn't my first snider have had a couple cadet carbines(full length rifles with barrels lopped off for cadets in the early 1900's) I normally fire form my brass and load by hand after that.
I also have had 3 different mk IV Martini Henry's but their another animal altogether.

Snider cadet carbines and homemade sporters go for very reasonable prices up here even full military guns and commercial sporters don't fetch a very high price. The snider lived a very interesting life in Canada some even being held in north west mounted police inventory till the 1930's
 

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Been tempted several times, over the years, to pick up a 577/450 MH. These bouts of recreational frustration require R&R between rounds. My last fight, previous to the Snider, was with a 43 Spanish in a Rem Rolling Block. I will say this Snider has been a worthy opponent and challenge! There are certain old BPCRs and cartridges that can really test one's patience and perseverance - this Snider is one of them near the top. Even a couple of trapdoors in 45-70 have been a veritable piece-o-cake by comparison.:)

Snider, M-H, 45-70 .JPG


... and I thought the 577 Snider in a short rifle MKIII config would be kinder to work with than the older cousins based on converted muzzleloading Enfields.... hah! :)
 
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camerl2009

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Been tempted several times, over the years, to pick up a 577/450 MH. These bouts of recreational frustration require R&R between rounds. My last fight, previous to the Snider, was with a 43 Spanish in a Rem Rolling Block. I will say this Snider has been a worthy opponent and challenge! There are certain old BPCRs and cartridges that can really test one's patience and perseverance - this Snider is one of them near the top. Even a couple of trapdoors in 45-70 have been a veritable piece-o-cake by comparison.:)

View attachment 398139

... and I thought the 577 Snider in a short rifle MKIII config would be kinder to work with than the older cousins based on converted muzzleloading Enfields.... hah! :)
The martini is pretty easy use a .468" 480gr grease groove cast bullet and 85gr of fg bp with real cotton balls as filler up to the base of the base of the bullet and everything is golden. Use the same 24ga brass nice thing is if a case deforms in the process it can be trimmed and fire formed for the snider.
 

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I have a Snider .577 Sporter & used the Magtech cases to but my mate put me onto 24ga plastic cases & I use Home made Black Powder, cases come out clean as if I had used Nitro & much easier to trim down the plastic, the other cases I use are the old kynoch & just fit shotgun primers to them to .
 

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I have a Snider .577 Sporter & used the Magtech cases to but my mate put me onto 24ga plastic cases & I use Home made Black Powder, cases come out clean as if I had used Nitro & much easier to trim down the plastic, the other cases I use are the old kynoch & just fit shotgun primers to them to .
I have a couple of dominion .57 snider cases around here somewhere these are a bit shorter(1 5/8") dominion didn't want to waste brass with have extra uneeded capacitythese were loaded with semi smokelessor somkless originally. I also had some kynock. 577-450 that was cordite loaded.
 

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.577 Shotgun Primer-.JPG

.577 Shotgun Primer=.JPG

.577 Shotgun Primer - 1.JPG

.577 Shotgun Primer.jpg



That plastic case has been fired twice with BP, the other cases are turned brass by a NZ company ,
 

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I've also heard that about the accelerated wear from paper patching. The surprising data is that it can be measurable and severe in as few as 700 rounds- thanks for sharing that information! And, I believe some types of paper are more abrasive than others due to the clay used during processing. I don't paper patch for this rifle but have done quite a lot loading for Sharps rifles. My paper is the all cotton variety which I believe has a very low abrasive quality. I assume this Snider, being a later model with an approximate manufacture date of 1872 based on the lock date, would have a barrel of better steel. It appears the lock, barrel and stock are all original with each other and the rifle is not a "parts gun".

I couldn't guess the major source of bore wear from the components I'm shooting now.
I think the largest potential for degradation would be corrosion, due to improper cleaning or lack of cleaning.
The older rifles and carbines, all being conversions of Enfield rifles and carbines, had three-grooved iron barrels. The Mark III Sniders were new production with five-grooved steel barrels. Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 19th Century Firearms by Major F Myatt MC, 1979 and 1989. The ISBN for my 1989 edition is 1 85501 027 5.
I cannot speak to the abrasive qualities of paper with clay content BUT as a former commercial stationer, amongst other activities, I advise that paper with a high clay content will readily absorb moisture from the air. That is why copier/printer reps tell you to store your reams of paper in a dry place and glossy publications react so poorly to humid conditions.
It seems that you are a sucker for an interesting life in your spare time!
 
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fourfive8

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The snider lived a very interesting life in Canada some even being held in north west mounted police inventory till the 1930's
I was just looking at the first part of Yearout's excellent book on the Winchester 1876 Carbine use by the NWMP. I found th following info: The NWMP was officially formed in 1874 to enforce law and protect government and private interests in the western part of Canada. The first unit was formed at Ft. Dufferin south of Winnipeg. The unit set out in 1874 and headed westerly to Ft. "Whoop-up" near the Montana territorial border. It was comprised of 275 officers and men with wagons, horses, oxen, push carts and 90 head of cattle. Armaments included: two mortars, two nine pound field guns, 50 Snider carbines, 46 Snider short rifles and 330 Adams .450 handguns along with an unknown number of shotguns (smoothbores) for foraging. There was resistance to use foreign (non-crown) made guns to arm the NWMP but the necessity to upgrade to a reliable repeater was overriding. A decision was made to purchase and issue the Winchester M1876 Carbine in 45-75. The first 50 were taken into possession by the NWMP in 1878.
 

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I was just looking at the first part of Yearout's excellent book on the Winchester 1876 Carbine use by the NWMP. I found th following info: The NWMP was officially formed in 1874 to enforce law and protect government and private interests in the western part of Canada. The first unit was formed at Ft. Dufferin south of Winnipeg. The unit set out in 1874 and headed westerly to Ft. "Whoop-up" near the Montana territorial border. It was comprised of 275 officers and men with wagons, horses, oxen, push carts and 90 head of cattle. Armaments included: two mortars, two nine pound field guns, 50 Snider carbines, 46 Snider short rifles and 330 Adams .450 handguns along with an unknown number of shotguns (smoothbores) for foraging. There was resistance to use foreign (non-crown) made guns to arm the NWMP but the necessity to upgrade to a reliable repeater was overriding. A decision was made to purchase and issue the Winchester M1876 Carbine in 45-75. The first 50 were taken into possession by the NWMP
Smooth bored snider were common here too both military examples and stuff made by retailers when the snider were sold as surplus much like the zulu shotguns,rolling block shotguns and mauser shotguns
 

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Made it to the range today- been almost a year for the Snider sitting in "jail". Able to visit with a friend who also shoots old guns. This morning he was shooting an old Marlin deluxe lever in 45-60 and a Win 95 in 35 Win.

Snider load- 450 gr ACC B soft cast bullet, 55 gr FF BP over 6 gr 4759. Wad column of .030 hard card plus 24 ga fiber wad plus 1/8" felt.

Group was about normal for this load at just under 1.2" C to C @ 50 yards. POA with fine bead right at 6 o'clock on black bull. IIRC and load log confirms, this load does shoot POI=POA @ 50 yards. Trigger actually isn't too bad on this Snider. A little heavy of course but manageable with fairly crisp let off. Trigger "memory" was good after so many months, so didn't have any oops. :)

Snider target 50 yds.JPG
 
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camerl2009

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Made it to the range today- been almost a year for the Snider sitting in "jail". Able to visit with a friend who also shoots old guns. This morning he was shooting an old Marlin deluxe lever in 45-60 and a Win 95 in 35 Win.

Snider load- 450 gr ACC B soft cast bullet, 55 gr FF BP over 6 gr 4759. Wad column of .030 hard card plus 24 ga fiber wad plus 1/8" felt.

Group was about normal for this load at just under 1.2" C to C @ 50 yards. POA with fine bead right at 6 o'clock on black bull. IIRC and load log confirms, this load does shoot POI=POA @ 50 yards. Trigger actually isn't too bad on this Snider. A little heavy of course but manageable with fairly crisp let off. Trigger "memory" was good after so many months, so didn't have any oops. :)

View attachment 398267
I never had much of a problem with british military triggers I find the snider and martini better then the Lee Enfield triggers. All that said I grew up with an no 4 mk1 in my hands I also have more of a preference to the cock on close actions as long as the bolt swing is right(lee,p14,p17) I find them faster.
 

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good thread 458.
while i would like to see purely black powder loads, that is a personal choice.
in the day those rifles were called on the be reliable for repeat shots shooting dirty, and they did.
the old snider has always been considered as an interim measure, and as such of lesser interest.
for this very reason many of them would have become budget working guns for farmers and backwoodsmen, and kept meat on the table and feral pests under control.
all sorts of ammo would have been used, unlike mil spec as used by the military.
have you considered using lube soaked felt to both wipe the bore and pre lube the barrel for the next shot, as a filler.
bruce.
 

fourfive8

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good thread 458.
while i would like to see purely black powder loads, that is a personal choice.
in the day those rifles were called on the be reliable for repeat shots shooting dirty, and they did.
the old snider has always been considered as an interim measure, and as such of lesser interest.
for this very reason many of them would have become budget working guns for farmers and backwoodsmen, and kept meat on the table and feral pests under control.
all sorts of ammo would have been used, unlike mil spec as used by the military.
have you considered using lube soaked felt to both wipe the bore and pre lube the barrel for the next shot, as a filler.
bruce.
Bruce, yes, it is surprising the number of historical references of Sniders showing up well after their official usage and issue, obviously repurposed in many ways after being disposed of through the surplus market. Shooting these old originals from that era is interesting to me because it is one of the only ways to get a first hand taste of history.

I have tried an unbelievable number of load/component combinations with this rifle. The perturbations seem endless for any cartridge and especially so when multiple components are in play. Matter of fact I have used SPG lubed felt wads of various thicknesses in many combinations. The session yesterday was a repeat to confirm a load I had worked up about a year ago and it uses a 24 ga shotgun fiber filler wad lubed with SPG as the primary "spacer" in the column. I noticed, as with all BPCR shooting, that BP fouling is a function of the game and can only be dealt with but never eliminated. Keeping the fouling soft is one of the keys to successful BPCR shooting. I think it helps mitigate bullet damage as each bullet has to run over fouling from previous shots. Soft fouling does less damage to the bullet. Lube cookies and lubed wads do help keep the fouling soft as does shooting in cooler, more humid conditions. The small amount of smokeless used in a duplex load seems to decrease, but not eliminate, the total amount of fouling any one BP load produces.

Early on, I cautiously tried to work up smokeless loads as per some well known and published recipes. None gave even minimally satisfactory results. Working up from the lower end, I stopped well before getting into trouble in the effort. While a cartridge like the 45-70 is well suited for certain ballistically mild smokeless loads with powders like 5744. IMO and my theory anyway, the expansion ratio is simply too large in the 577 Snider to achieve proper smokeless progressive burn without getting into pressures that are too high, too quickly, without warning. I gave up on that idea without further testing. Simply not worth the risk and well out of my comfort zone.
 
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Bruce, yes, it is surprising the number of historical references of Sniders showing up well after their official usage and issue, obviously repurposed in many ways after being disposed of through the surplus market. Shooting these old originals from that era is interesting to me because it is one of the only ways to get a first hand taste of history.

I have tried an unbelievable number of load/component combinations with this rifle. The perturbations seem endless for any cartridge and especially so when multiple components are in play. Matter of fact I have used SPG lubed felt wads of various thicknesses in many combinations. The session yesterday was a repeat to confirm a load I had worked up about a year ago and it uses a 24 ga shotgun fiber filler wad lubed with SPG as the primary "spacer" in the column. I noticed, as with all BPCR shooting, that BP fouling is a function of the game and can only be dealt with but never eliminated. Keeping the fouling soft is one of the keys to successful BPCR shooting. I think it helps mitigate bullet damage as each bullet has to run over fouling from previous shots. Soft fouling does less damage to the bullet. Lube cookies and lubed wads do help keep the fouling soft as does shooting in cooler, more humid conditions. The small amount of smokeless used in a duplex load seems to decrease, but not eliminate, the total amount of fouling any one BP load produces.

Early on, I cautiously tried to work up smokeless loads as per some well known and published recipes. None gave even minimally satisfactory results. Working up from the lower end, I stopped well before getting into trouble in the effort. While a cartridge like the 45-70 is well suited for certain ballistically mild smokeless loads with powders like 5744. IMO and my theory anyway, the expansion ratio is simply too large in the 577 Snider to achieve proper smokeless progressive burn without getting into pressures that are too high, too quickly, without warning. I gave up on that idea without further testing. Simply not worth the risk and well out of my comfort zone.
@fourfive8
I'm well out of my zone with both but I had a brain snap last night and thought I would run it by you.
As you are basically using a straight sided shotgun case would it be possible to use a smokeless load with a saboted slug. This would eliminate small charges air space in the cartridge and the problem of paper patched bullets.
It is just a thought I had may be laughable but you never know.
Bob
 

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