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Discussion Starter #1
It's one thing to be strange, it's something else to open your mouth and let everybody know that you're strange.

I've become involved in an unusual target sport.
I shoot Schuetzen.
This is a target sport that harkens back to the time between the Civil War and WWI. It involves the use of single-shot rifles (antique and modern) and plain-base (no gas check) cast-lead bullets. Calibers might range from the diminutive 25-20 to the venerable 45-70 with the bulk of the cartridges in the .30 to .38 caliber range. Match winners are usually the shooting a .32 Miller Short (MS) or .32-40 Winchester. -If you have an Accurate Reloading Manual, or can look at one, flip to the very back section under Schuetzen Loadings. We Schuetophiles do get some occasional press.-
Bullets, which are typically tapered, are breech-seated. This means the bullet starts it's path down the tube from a jammed into the rifling just ahead of the chamber position. Bullets and brass do not touch. Dies for sizing brass are never used. If the cartridge comes out of the chamber, it will go back in. I have pieces of brass that I have used exclusively at 100 shot matches for several years. The primer pockets will wear out (from de/re-capping) after about 1000 shots give or take a couple hundred. The appeal of this sport was the low cost of shooting.
I buy my lead at a plumbing shop for 93 cents a pound, and I mix it with bar solder to get an easy to work with alloy.
I bought a Falling Block Works rifle chambered in .32MS to start and I've won/placed at most of the matches I've attended. I'm currently having a heavy bbl (1.25" OD bbl) Ruger #3 (also .32MS) built for me. This will have a sawed forearm hanger, and a machined block to act as the fill-in piece for the mainspring support... -but that's a whole 'nother article.

Why do I post here??!!

I love my Handi!!! After some non-competitive attempts to make a .357 Mag perform (rifle too light, bullet selection not great), I'm building a 32-40 Winchester rifle. I've gleaned a lot of info here as a pseudo-lurker, as well as grabbing a couple of articles from the net and my Single Shot Rifle Journal archive master.

I'll be sending my rifle in to NEF for a 30-30 bbl fitting, trigger job and ejector/extractor conversion job (if they don't do it, I will) in the beginning of August. I will then have the proper extractor and a future barrel stub for my project. I will be ordering an unturned barrel blank from Shilen (.32 cal) and turning it down to the same diameter as the chamber area of the Handi, and 28" long -i.e. no taper. This rifle will be able to use both aperture and scope sights. The cost will still be fairly low compared to buying and modifying any other SS action to be competitive. I also have a ton of tapered 32cal bullet moulds to try.

So far I've completed the breech-seating design portion. I have a metal working shaper, so I've made the front and rear sight/scope rail (from 1/2" barstock 1018CR) which overhangs the back of the barrel and will have a groove cut into it to accept the seating tool. I'll make the tool itself from 1144 roundstock on my lathe. It will be a cam-type affair, the final dimensions and appearance of which will make themselves apparent as the shavings spool off.

I don't know if anybody cares about my project but me, but I will try to figure out how to post pictures when I've completed each step. I'm still new to this machining thing, so my wife's grandfather (retired tool-room machinist) will help me with the more challenging portions.

The photos that I do post will show all items "in the white", and I will try to drop in a few pictures of the finished rifle and tools when I have had everything blued.

I'm quite excited about this humble project. I look forward to being able to get into my garage to work on it, when it is not 90-95 degrees...

Later,

(not in the bars at night) :grin:
Dean
 

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Sounds like an interesting project. I look forward to seeing your progress.

As far as posting pics:

First you have to have the pics hosted on one of the many free picture hosting web sites. I used to use Hunt 101 until they went down. You can host pics here on Graybeards now, and that is where I usually put my pics now.

Once the pics are hosted somewhere it's easy. You just click on the button above that says "Img" on it. Cut and past the address of the pic after, then click on the Img button again. To find the address, open the picture, and right click on it. A box will pop up with several options in it. Click on Properties. The address of the pic will be in the properties. Then copy that address and paste it where you want in the post.

For example, here's what it would look like if I was trying to show you my rifle:

http://www.graybeardoutdoors.com/phpbb2/album_pic.php? pic_id=6[/img ]

I added some spaces so the picture wouldn't show up and you could see what it looked like.

Easy, huh?
 

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So, one actually presses the bullet into the lands with some sort of tool, like a corkscrew in reverse?

Like big naval rifles?

How far into the lands?

How do you keep the bullet straight, aligned with the axis of the bore?
 

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Hummm...yes this is strange to me, but cool none the less.
Could you explain it a little more to us? Perhaps a link to fill me in?
Do you actually put the bullet in the chamber..tamp it up the bore..or muzzle load it?
Sorry a little confused, but intrigued.
 

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While I certainly wouldn't claim to be fully adept at Scheutzen, the breech seating tool is actually quite simple. There is a "hook" on the side of the frame (in the case of the NEF it would be the barrel) The seater is a two peice affair, one peice has an eye which engages the hook, the second pivots on the shaft of the eye, entering the chamber and creating the leverage (acting against the hook) to force a bullet into the rifling. How far depends, but the bullet base will usually enter the case mouth of a seated case by 1/16" to 1/8" to effect a seal on firing.

Scheutzen is one of those areas of handloading that has it's own set of rules, which may at first glance appear to be out of line with conventional loading methods. Most of the methods were developed in the days of blackpowder, and were "transitioned" to smokeless. This is a very exacting art, and winning groups at national matches are often less than 1" at 200 yards...... fired offhand no less and with cast bullets to boot.

The 32 Miller short can be described as a 357 Magnum case with a .040 taper, for the purpose of thinking of what the case looks like.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It sounds like their is interest in the shooting/loading method used in the Schuetzen game...

JHP45 has it pretty close. The lever and plunger (seater) tool that most of us schueters use is few pieces put together to act as one piece. There is a shnoz at the breech end which looks just like a cartridge, usually because that is what it is/was. It has had the mouth opened to easily receive a bullet to be seated, and the base has a hole drilled through it. Down inside this shnoz is the plunger, which is activated by a pushrod. The pushrod is pushed by one of the following means:
force of hand -i.e. direct push,
a lever and link-type system,
or a cam-type system.
JHP mentioned that you nee something against which you can hook to pull/push the bullet into the base of the rifling. A typical rifle used in this game is a falling block derivative, so you can hook into and work against the block channel. The NEF Handi doesn't have such a nice mortise, so I've had to create one by extending the scope/sight rail beyond the back of the bbl, almost to make contact with the downed hammer, It will have a groove cut, perpendicular to the bore, which will act as the hooking point for my seater. I will see if I can get a picture up this weekend of my current seater for the FBW or maybe one from my EABCO BF pistol...

The bullet is placed into the rifling about 1/16" to 1/8 inch ahead of the cartridge. The seal is formed because the bullet is tapered, meaning it is slightly over land diameter at the nose and slightly over grove diameter at the base. The bottom band will not usually have rifling marks on it as it is still in the throat area. The bullet is seated straight to the bore, just like a muzzle loader only the activity occurs on the other end of the bore. Early target work by H.M. Pope involved the use of a false-muzzle piece which could be fitted for seating the bullet muzzle-loader style, but still use a brass cartridge (32-40, 33-40 etc). The reason the bullet is seated straight is the speed at which the seating occurs = not real fast. The bullet is guided by it's base (plunger push) and basically it follows path of least resistance, which is straight.

JHP mentioned that winning groups will be 1" or less at 200 yards. This would be from the bench. I personally have put 10 shots into a 3/4 inch group, but the placement on the target was on the edge of our 25/24 (center ring) and I took a 247 and might have been in the top ten. Other BR shooters (jacketed bullet) get better groups and use a dial caliper to measure groups. We use a tape measure, but we have the pride/pain of making all of our own "stuff". Offhand groups (winning) are usually in the 6inch range with the occasional 3-4". (I zinged out a 1-5/8" one-hundred yard group at a match, with which I was quite pleased and won that event.)

The 32MS is a 357 max cartridge shortened to 1.270" and taper necked down to .32cal. A 357 mag will do in a pinch, but won't last as long.

I'll get to work on those photos!

Dean
 

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Gee, I could have avoided a lot of heartache by "turning" my 38-55 into a schuetzen rifle!

I'm wondering how it would perform with a longer, heavier, pointed lead bullet.

But I'm not curious enuff to want to start casting my own. Yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #10



Okay, I believe this worked. I took a picture of two seating tools. Both are for falling block rifles. The tools should be somewhat self-explanatory with the cartridge looking piece being where the bullet is placed prior to the tool being locked into the block's channel and the lever being pulled. The brass one is a 32-40Win. (right) the other, more worn, blued one is the 32MS (left).

I started making one this morning for my Handi. There is no block to work against, so I've made an elongated scope/sight rail which will have a groove cut across it behind the end of the barrel. Mine will be a cam style, rather than the lever-styles which are shown. I plan to have one that looks a bit like a bugle in profile. There is a lot of steel to remove, but that is part of the fun.

Later, :D

Dean
 

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AWF Hand.
I wish you all the luck, but I don't think the H&R action/system is a suitable platform for a serious Schützen Rifle. It is also unsuitable for a fine double set trigger or the best two stage trigger.

We are looking at a very precision target shooting discipline with mostly fine custom build and or blueprinted single shot actions, like the Miller, De Has, Hyme, Ruger, Farqusen ,and others. That is if you like to compete in the Schützen game. Sorry but some of the names may be misspelled.

It be interesting to see a Handi Schützen rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey Fred,

I've been competing in Schuetzen for a few years now, and I've done quite well. When I work at offhand schueting, I'm stuck in "A" class. I've seen the NEF action converted (crudely) to a pretty decent schueter. The guy was posting some upper 230's with the iron sights (bench) and low 240's with the scope. Being this is the type of guy who cut his chamber using a boring bar rather than a reamer, and uses a hammer and dummy cartridge (filled with a brass-rod) to breech seat his bullets, I'd like to think that this could be a competitive rifle in, at least, the offhand portions of the events.

I think that the DeHass-Miller action, as well as the Ballards and Shuttleworths are the best of the best out there, but a big part of what kills a sport is telling somebody that they need to spend 2500-3000 dollars "to be competitive". That's BS! The first guy who told me that was an old timer (Miller rifle) shooter who I promptly beat in my second year of schueting.

I think a big reason that nobody schuets the NEF is they are considered to be inferior (psycological).

Call me a fan of Herbie the racing Volkwagen. I will make this underdog win an offhand event, just to prove it can be done!!

In 2004, Steve Durren, a gunsmith from Adrian, MI, built a "Modest Schuetzen". He did a fantastic job, but it had become way less modest (in Steve's opinion) after it's return from Ken Hurst engraving.

I will build a humble match winner, with an almost box-stock NEF. It'll take awhile, but it's all part of the fun!
 

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Awf Hand said:
I think that the DeHass-Miller action, as well as the Ballards and Shuttleworths are the best of the best out there, but a big part of what kills a sport is telling somebody that they need to spend 2500-3000 dollars "to be competitive". That's BS! The first guy who told me that was an old timer (Miller rifle) shooter who I promptly beat in my second year of schueting
That is exactly right. Over 30 years of shooting, I have watched as the gamesters out spent the competition, driving up the cost of even basic entry level guns. While it may be that 90% of the game is the shooter, that still leaves 10% of being competitive in the equipment. The worst offense to me though is not the cost of competitive equipment, but showing up at a match, only to be told by some old geezer you don't stand a chance as they sneer at the best you can afford. Competition is rarely about improving one's skills, it is about winning. Rarely does the most expensive rig routinely win, but it does whittle down who the competition is going to be.
 

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AWF Hand and JPH.
I have no arguments with your statements, but the fact is that superior equipment will be a factor to deal with. A double set trigger alone will be hard to bypass with a hunting trigger. Damaged lead bullets inserted with a ram rod or a whatever is handy will not produce the desired accuracy.

I know the $2000 guns etc are not affordable to a lot of shooters.

I shoot benchrest and we have many times shooters come with a hunting rifle and shoot real well. We do not however tell them they don't have a chance with such a gun. We like to see them try and compete.

In your game you say 90% is the shooter, I think it is more like 97%.
In bench rest it is even higher since everybody more ore less uses the same high grade equipment. In BR we have a factory class that competes only with as is rifles. Some fine shooting is done with these guns.

Sorry if I came across with something objectionable. Did not mean too.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
No offense taken Fred M, apologies completely unecessary! :wink:

I'm not building a rifle that I expect to be competitive from the bench. I will need to shoot in the 240's (bench) on the German ring target, to be able to keep my Grand Aggregate scores up there. I'm pretty sure I can do this with a 3# trigger because the rifle I'm using now has one (and only one).

My rifle will ultimately be an offhand rig. I've never thought that I was trigger sensitive with the standing position. Lock times will need to be low, and the extra weight of the hammer extension won't help that, but I've shot in the 220's (offhand) with the factory (light and whippy) .357Mag bbl. -These were jacketed loads at 100yds, and so, were not admissible. Pb bullets haven't worked with that monstrous throat.

I'm not sure what percentage of schueter/rifle ratio it takes to turn in winning offhand scores, but I know that last summer, when I spent 3-4 nights per week at the range doing offhand-only shooting, I was tearing off some good targets. With a new little one, however (our first), it may take some time to get this back.



One thing I forgot to mention that I found interesting was amount of detail work that Steve Durren did on his Handi.

He put the pins in his lathe and turned the rounds off the ends. He also filed the upper pin to match the curve of the receiver. Then he went over the action with sandpaper to clean up the ridges on the lettering that was stamped into the steel. These little bits of extra work really made the NEF look like the classisc that it is! :grin:
 

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Awf Hand.
I am glad you were not offended.

My two Handi's have 24 oz triggers and they work like a charm. I tuned one down to one lbs but that caused trouble with follow through of the trigger, with the transfer bar sneaking out of the way. The 1.5lbs is not bad if you pull the trigger with the first joint on your finger rather than using the finger tip.

If you could turn the hammer into a rebounding one you could remove the transfer bar and grind the horn off the hammer and tune the trigger to 1lbs. For a target rig that should be ok.

It would take a bit stronger hammer spring to compensate for the rebound spring. Plunger and retaining pin could be milled into the hammer face with a dymond drill.

When you got your rifle done post us a picture.
 
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