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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gents and Madams,

This past weekend a nice Remington Rolling Block, in full Military dress found it's way into my inventory. Argentina Model, Caliber is .43 Spanish. Bore is .439.

Plans are to study Mike Venturino's Buffalo Rifle book to glean information and hope that others have some first hand information.

RCBS & LEE dies, Lyman Mould 439186 and .439 sizer die are already available.

Looks like my questions will be directed towards black powder compression, wad use and the Lyman bevel base bullet.

And lastly, can/will it be effective on 500 meter rams with the military issue sights?

Anyone out there enjoying a .43 Spanish?
 

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43 Spanish Roller

Windcutter--I'm sure that the 43 Spanish would reliably topple any ram that you hit with it. However, you don't see the caliber being shot in silhouette because it and the British military calibers are not legal to shoot in NRA approved or registered BPCR matches. The rules require American cartridgesand rifles. As a result, you don't see the European black powder rifles and calibers on the firing line at BPCR matches in this country. rdnck

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Legality of .43 Span???

Now I'm confused...

The cartridge is .43 Spanish Rem which may or may not mean anything, however wasn't this cartridge used in some Peabody mil type rifles used by USA based guard, militia or...???

I'd really like this question cleared up.

Anyone know of any official rulings etc.?

If .43 Spanish IS in the good graces of NRA etc for BPCR then I maintain the reason for not seeing many (if any) is problematic to coming up with good loads in brass that will last.

I have a fair amount of experience with this cartridge and it is a work in progress.

Please clear away the clouds... anyone.

Hoppy
 

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Peabody in .43 Span...

I just got off of the militaryrifles.com site and here is some info I found there....

Mod 1868/1870 Peabody issued to Mass. and Conn State Militias, orig chambered in .43 Span then "retrofitted" by Providence Tool Co. to .45-70 Govt.

I did get to shoot a Peabody last year in .45-70. Felt somewhat similar to a trapdoor but had very obvious barrel mirage problem. Heat waves seem to boil up out of the area of the rear sight. Strange.

That's all for now.

Hoppy
 

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More .43 Ramblings

.43 Span and THE RULES….

I suppose this will be subject to interpretation and fodder for debate but here goes….

Ref: Jan 1997 NRA Rifle Sil Rules…
Pg 8, Sec 3.4 (d)

“….Cartridges will be of American BP era… orig blk powder loaded….prior to 1896, originally chambered in American manufactured rifles…” (my Argentine M1879 was made by Rem USA),

Now… can it be proven that the .43 Spanish round was at some time prior to 1896 manufactured in the USA and loaded with BP? The Peabody(s) in use by Mass/Conn St. Militias had to get their ammo from somewhere and I’ll bet it wasn’t Spain or Argentina.

With the info I have thus far it appears (IMO) that the .43 Spanish qualifies for BPCR Sil
And if it doesn’t due to some ruling I think that ruling is wrong. I’m not bashing those who made the rules/ruling (if it is “thumbs down” on the .43)…. But I would suggest/speculate that the decision was made based on incomplete information.

Yours Truly,

Hoppy,

(Future winner at Raton and future national record holder, all scores shot with a stock standard M1879 “Patria” in .43 Spanish)
 

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I may be shooting form the lip here, but it seems to me that the 43 Spanish started life as the 43 Remington, or was it the .43 Egyptian that was the 43 Remington first.

No books for research! All locked up in the storage locker.
 

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.43 Spanish RRB

Hello Windcutter!

I gotta smile every time I see your handle online. I wonder if anyone is crazy enough to call themselves "Windbreaker"?

I too have a Remington Rolling Block rifle in .43 Spanish caliber with mint condition .439 groove diameter barrel. I'm in process of making .43 Spanish cases from new .348 Winchester cases. Bullet will be from Lyman .439 mold w/appx 385 grain weight.

The problem with loading/reloading for that caliber is that many of the Remington/Spanish rifles were rechambered to 11mm Reformado caliber with a larger diameter case neck to take a .454 bronze jacketed bullet. Original 11 Spanish rounds will fire fine, but will probably split case necks on firing. Mine is so rechambered, and will accept factory .45-70 cartridges. Natchurly I doan wanna FIRE it with that oversize .458 diameter bullet and all the sloppy clearances between the cartridge base and chamber.

I've chamber cast several 11mm Spanish rifles, and find an amazing tolerance range for neck diameters. If what I've heard is correct, those Lee sizing dies may oversize case necks and give poor case life. Frequent annealing may or may not cure that.

As soon as I can find it, there was a good two-page web article a couple months ago describing a guy's expereince at casting bullets and reloading for the .43 Spanish. He reported case head separations were a real problem, and had to go to custom machined spacer rings to increase cartridge rim thickness when he changed brass brands.

I too am searching for good BP loads in this caliber. Any ideas?
 

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1st things 1st...

Morning Gents,

The first thing to consider is that we make sure we are all talking the same cartridge. My experience is with .43 Span Rem (the bottleneck) and not the Reformado. The Egyptian is a totally different animal.

With that established then I can talk with some credibility and while we talk, if you don't already have some, before you buy dies, moulds etc get some Cerrosafe and make a chamber cast that includes enough of the bore to make measurement there... be sure to get measurement on the rim cut, most are reported at .090" or a bit more.

I have fired around 700 loads from my Argentine since buying it about 3 yrs ago... all have been tests. The rifle is fascinating but finicky. Others have had theirs shoot well right from the start with bullets cast from off-the-shelf moulds. But anyway, hang in their, you may need some extra patience (and money :shock: ) but it will be fun.

That's all for now as I have to get ready for work.

Hoppy
 

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I went through the time and trouble of making .43 brass from .348 brass a couple of years ago, but it never did work out too well for me. As was stated above, the rim on the new brass is way to thin and creates a heck of a headspace problem in my old Peabody. I called Skip at Buffalo Arms and related my problem to him and he told me that they had the solution to my problem. Their reformed .348 brass has the rim swaged ahead on the outside edge which, in effect, thickens the rim. Now the brass fits very well with no problems. Hope this helps.
wolfy
 

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.43 Spanish

THANKS, Wolfy!

I will tray that rim swaging trick on my .348 Winchester. I've read of peening the rims to minimize headspace on fireforming the brass. I will try the swaging trick as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
.43 Spanish, part 2.

Gents and Madams,

To continue on the subject of the .43 Spanish.

The Remington Rolling Block is completely devoid of any outward markings indicative of it being issued to any foreign military. Full stocked, with bayonet lug and the duplicate Autrian Werndl rear sight, this rifle looks to be something that Remington could have sold on the civilian market because it was a contract overrun.

A CerroSafe chamber castings provides the following:

Rim diameter .650.
Rim thickness .090.
Diameter in front of rim .524.
Diameter at shoulder .515.
Diameter at rear of neck .468.
Diameter at front of neck .462.
Length from base to shoulder 1.590.
Shoulder length .150.
Length from base to rear of neck 1.740.
Overall Length (WOW) is 2.580.

Other then the extra length of the neck, the dimensions are in line with those given for .43 Remington and .43 Spanish as delineated in Ken Howell's Custom Cartridges, pages 349 and 350.

The chamber cast reflects a very slight extension of the rifling the full length of the neck. A barely discernable, (protruding) line about .001" rotating in conjunction with the existing rifling.

In addition to the excessive neck length a tapered .100" long leade exists prior to the five groove rifling. The five groove rifling is difficult to measure for an actual bore diameter. Somewhere between .439 and .441 is my guesstimate.

For sure the chamber IS NOT a .44-77 Remington.

After having read Mike Venturino's Buffalo Rifle Book and about every thread on Shooter's.com, the conclusion will be to purchase some .43 Spanish (Basic) brass from Buffalo Arms.

With both LEE and RCBS dies available, surely some decent ammunition can be built that will take up the entire neck area of the chamber and allow for proper sealing without the bullets obturating into the chamber neck area?
 

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.43 Cont...

Mornin' Windcutter etc.

I will dig out the specs on my chamber cast and see how they compare with your measurements.

You appear to have a bore that is not terribly oversize and that's good. Mine measures .4425 (chamber end) ... did not cerrosafe the muzzle.

Glad you read the threads on shooters.com and I hope you read the last of ".43 Spanish Question"..... The Hoch custom mold is where I am right now. Five loads sit in their boxes waiting for decent test weather.

I also have a bag of new .458 Winchester brass waiting for future .43 Span fabricating efforts if my current new batch of Buff Arms ".43 Basics" don't last.... we shall see. I've been casually looking for some brass washers with a thickness of .090" or a bit more to use for making rims to solder onto the .458's. That's down the road though. I am going to stick to 1F BP only during this cycle of testing.... which is cycle #3 (3rd batch of brass).

I'll try to come up with a short summary of hints etc for posting here. All that was tossed about over on shooters.com for the last few years has me still a bit drained in the brain. And since I have not arrived at the goal yet, which is target accuracy in brass that will last (I think I'm very close though), it's a bit premature to declare "Mission Accomplished"!

Hoppy
 

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Chamber Dimensions/comments

Subject: Chamber cast (.43 Span RBlk, Argentine)

Greetings Gents,

Here are measurements from my chamber cast:

Rim Dia: .648
Rim Cut Depth: .090
Dia, in front of rim: .525
Dia @ Shoulder: .517
*Dia Neck Rear: .471 (after honing) .467 (before honing)
*Dia Neck Front: .469 (after honing) .465 (before honing)
OAL (from fwd surface of rim cut to start of rifling) 2.625

* I honed out this dia to provide enough clearance with a loaded round (.005”) to use “Long Neck” brass made from .43 Basics. This gets the bullet out far enough to be at the rifling with its first driving band. The OAL of my brass is 2.516” trimmed but be forewarned that this may not be the length that you should have for your chamber if you choose do go this route. The diameter may not be what you should have either. Depends on the thickness of your case neck wall and bullet dia.

I can’t emphasize enough for anyone dealing with these rifles to make a chamber cast and make changes to brass length and chamber dimensions that are right for YOUR rifle. Of course, you don’t have to change anything (or hopefully shouldn’t have to) if you are going to use orig spec length brass. My intent with all of this effort is to achieve maximum target accuracy from my Argentine Rblk.

I realize that all this explanation may not be necessary for the experienced but there are those reading these posts who need to know what this fool is up to and why.

Be safe folks,… know what you are trying to do and why. I’ve more to add but thought I’d wait to see if there are any specific questions/feedback.

Hoppy
 

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...the tapered leade

Hi Windcutter,

That tapered leade at the forward end of the neck area is a real head scratcher, my chamber has the same thing. Makes me think that a hard bullet that doesn't bump up but bridges that area before entering the rifling might shoot well. I have some rounds loaded up (custom Hoch mould) cast in straight linotype, the bullet being just a hair over groove diameter... about .0005" over.

There must be a lot of strange things that happen to a soft bullet as it goes down that long neck area and hits that leade especially when the standard length brass is used. Strange chamber.

Is the muzzle end of your barrel square (perpendicular to the bore)?
Mine was way off and I had about 1/16" removed from the end of the barrel in a lathe to true it up. There is a slight gouge in my bore, affects one or two lands, about one inch in from the muzle that I think was put there by some tool used to cut the crown. Perhaps the end of a mandrel/pilot of a hand held auger of some sort. Crude.

Gotta go to work.

Hoppy
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
.43 Spanish, continuing saga.......

HFII and interested others,

This .43 Spanish chamber with the excessive neck length and tapering from aft to front, looks to be a candidate for a 15/32" twist drill bit.

Anyone considered barrel removal, chucking same up in a lathe and causing this 15/32" activity to happen? Seems like a simple solution.

Thanks for your input.
 

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Opening up the neck area....

Evening WCut etc.,

I thought along those lines and if access to a lathe was more convenient than a 20 mile trip to a friend’s shop (the guy that trued up the muzzle) I might have done it that way.

Actually I’m glad I didn’t. The taper seems like a reasonable idea, maybe not necessary, but it certainly would not hurt/hinder extraction. Also I felt the method I used would not create any sharp edges such as at the junction of the rear-of-neck and start of the shoulder angle. Seems like any kind of an abrupt transition there is not desirable… even though it is not extreme in this case.

I’m not a machinist (high school metal shop was a long time ago) but my feeling is the drill bit, or even a reamer method might be a little too quick. I do know that I would want to have the barrel rotating exactly true or to be more precise, the existing chamber must be indexed just right. Drill bits and reamers have a chatter/gouge/bite factor built in just waiting to ruin things for a novice like me. Also drill bits are notorious for drilling oversize.

My method was to make a rotating “flap lap” using a slotted wood dowel and strips of cloth backed abrasive that was chucked in a hand held drill and turned slowly… checking the work as I proceeded with a couple of “T” gauges bent from paper clips. One mic’d at .471” and the other at .469”. One time use ID gauges for lack of a better description. I finished the job by dabbing a bit of valve grinding compound on the abrasive cloth. The “flap lap” is also self-centering and one doesn’t have to remove the barrel.

It worked out just as I had hoped. But it was kind of a nail-biting experience. I’d never make it as a gunsmith working on other peoples’ guns… too stressful.

Hoppy
 

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Comments/Thoughts/Ramblings

Good Evening All,

This thread appears to have died out somewhat… perhaps you who are interested in the .43 Spanish Rem (esp in the Rem Rolling Blk) are waiting for more or maybe you have been run off to concentrate on something less daunting such as straight walled BP cases and the loading thereof.

I’ll close off my comments (unless more discussion presents) with the following thoughts and observations. All of this is gleaned from personal experience, the reported experiences of those who authored magazine articles/books and many comments from those who posted on BPCR forums, especially the shooters.com BPCR site. My effort with the stated cartridge in the stated rifle is still a work in progress and is certainly not the “Last Word”.

Here goes…

The best available brass at this time appears to be the .43 Basics or the finished std length case that comes from Buffalo Arms, made from tortured .348 Winch. You’ll most likely need those with the .090” rim. I contacted Starline several years ago and at the time they had no plans regarding the .43 Span.

Getting proper bullets that are suitable for SERIOUS target work with Black Powder is a problem. I’m afraid that the only real option (my opinion) is to have a custom mould made; a bullet that fits the bore in your rifle and carries plenty of lube….my choice was basically a scaled down RCBS 500 BPS. Mine is from Hoch. Bores (groove dia.) vary anywhere from around .440 to .446 as reported thus far. I even tried paper patching the Lyman 439186….no real improvement. A bullet from an NEI mould similar in profile to the Lyman 457125 showed some promise but had to be used with a lube cookie and although it showed pretty good accuracy I could never get the extreme vel spread down to good numbers that would eliminate vertical stringing at the longer distances.

Use 1F powders or MAYBE a slower burning 2F such as Elephant.

Minimum compaction/compression of the charge.

Keep case interiors scrupulously clean and smooth.

Try to use over-powder wads made of materials that would cause the least drag on the inside of the case. I think something like a thick cork wad would cause a lot of drag.

I don’t want to talk about fillers except to say don’t have ANY filler below the shoulder. I read some horror stories on this matter.

Harder bullets might be best from a case life standpoint. I would think that soft bullets that “bump up” cause more drag on the case interior… can’t prove it but it sounds reasonable.

Index the loaded rounds to be chambered the same way each shot.

Don’t depend on the case shoulder to do the headspacing. It’s really not much of a shoulder. If your brass is soft and somewhat thin in the shoulder area I suspect that the heavy hammer fall coupled with the large dia firing pin (we are talking Argentine RBlk here) may cause the case shoulder to be shoved aft a bit.

Measure OAL of fired cases and probe the interior with something to feel for a thinning of the brass. If the cases are growing the brass is thinning somewhere. All of my brass failures have been partial separations about half way between the shoulder and the rim.
But that doesn’t mean that’s where YOU might have trouble… depends on your chamber and brass. Watch those cases closely… examine them after every firing.

Use whatever primers you like but I prefer large rifle. I’m concerned that large pistol primers might “cup” the face of the breech block. Maybe I needn’t be concerned but keep an eye on that area if you use pistol primers.

If you are going to use “long neck” cases made from “basics” that fill up the long throat and allow the bullet to be seated at the rifling be sure there is sufficient clearance for proper bullet release.

Use a blow tube and expect to use it vigorously, maybe as much as twice what you’d need with a .45-70. You’ll be burning 90 plus grains of powder (with the“long neck” case) and the fairly thin barrel will heat up quickly. You are going to want a strap-on recoil pad.

Groan, rub your forehead, and when you go to bed try not to lose sleep over the Argentine rifle you’ve been afflicted with.

Cheers,

Hoppy
 

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43 Spanish

Wind cutter, I made brass out of 458 Win. mag brass. Made brass rings out of 3/8 brass pipe nipple. soldered on. I hear another way is to use the "e" clips or circlips in the groove for the rim. Either way the mag belt has to be removed for the rounds to chamber. My groove dia. is .446. After I made the brass long enough to fill the chamber and bought an 11mm Mauser bullet mould the combined dia of the loaded round would not fit all the way into the chamber because of the tapered neck as has been mentioned in the previous posts. I bought a 15/32 strtaight shank reamer from MSC. Made a ring to center up the back end of the reamer in the chamber and let the gods center the front of the reamer. It only had to remove about 3/1000 to straighten out the neck in the chamber. Didn't remove the barrel or anything. Just turned the reamer by hand and when it stopped cutting, I stopped turning. Brass from the same belted mag family can be used but 7mm mag comes up too short and the others like 300 Win Mag and 375 H&H mag will work but are more work. Trigger pull is horrendous. My calibrated trigger pull guage consisted of 5lb. bags of sugar. Trigger will hold two bags but not three. Good accuracy is tough with a 12lb? trigger pull.
I really like the dimensions of the chamber casts. It gives us real dimensions to relate to rather than guesstimations. I'll measure up my chamber cast and post them. NJMJ
 

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Well i,ll jump in here. The only rb that i know that can be said that is a 43 spanish from the out side is thee argentene with the octigon barrel shank in front of the recever ot is marked ag. Them millitary gun.s are sure hard to figure out. The few barrels that i have in 43 suposedly spanish are in the 439/440 bracket. 2 reformado spanish (43 spanish reformado) are in the 455/56 bracket. Now ther was a 43 remington that is close to the spanish. I have one barrel that mikes out to 446/447/448 that might be egyptian. The one 43 spanish reformado rifle and barrel are not marked. The recever does not have rem pat. but both barrels have a recoil lug about 3" from the recever. It looks like a round washer that a bolt goes through from out side the stock. I shot the rifle with one round from numric arms at 2$ a pop. Wish we could send pics. Ther was also the 43 berdan that might have been chambered in the rb? Remington keeped there millatary guns more or less quiet no records who or what. They sure did make a lot of them. No tellen what the spanish gov was doing they also made rb. I have a star rb in 30/30 carbine made in the late60 early 70,s. well that all for now
 
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