Sunday, March 15, 2009

The weather was gorgeous today.

I couldn't just waste the sunshine and 65-degree temperature outside, so I took full advantage of it.

I had good reason to, actually. Mrs. G-98 was doing some serious spring house-cleaning with all the hazmat chemical smells thereof, so I moved the two big dogs, a boombox, some Mountain Dew, and my Midway Portable Reloading stand out to the back deck, and proceeded to resize a batch of 7mm Rimmed International (aka, 7-R) brass for use in my big Wichita Silhouette Pistol. I'd used up a goodly portion of my stash last fall during deer season, putting venison in family freezers and just plain having fun at the rifle range, so it was time to get busy.

By way of explanation, the 7mm Rimmed International cartridge was the brainchild of the late Elgin Gates, intended as a handgun round that would reliably knock down the big, 50+ pound steel ram silhouettes at 200 meters, regardless of whether you smacked it in the feet, tail, or head. That it did, quite handily, and I remember at one IHMSA match where I pulled a shot low, but it hit the ground in front of the 200 meter ram, then deflected up into the silhouette, toppling it nicely. It wasn't my best form, but I got credit for the ram, by Gawd! The 7-R and handguns chambered for it faded from the scene as IHMSA trailed off, but the round was too good to really forget. It was reincarnated after a fashion by Ken Waters as the 7-30 Waters cartridge, which gained some fame as a flat-shooting round for the now-discontinued Winchester Model 94 levergun.

From the 10" Wichita Silhouette pistol (itself an anachronism), the 7-R will deliver a 139gr Hornady boat-tail spire point at 2000+ fps, and I'm pretty sure it gets there propelled by nothing more than the shock wave created by the blast and flash of a case full of WW748. I also load a 150gr Saeco gas-checked cast bullet to a more leisurely 1600fps, but the deer are just as dead with the latter load as they are with the former.

So with the dogs sprawled at my feet on the deck, the boombox playing my Foreigner Mr. Moonlight CD, and a cold glass of iced Mt. Dew within easy reach, I set out to resize a few .30-30 Winchester brass to replace the 7-R cases I lost in the deer woods last fall, as well as resize and prep 100 or so fired 7-R cases for later on.

The 7-R looks very similar to the parent .30-30 Winchester round, save for minimal case taper, a sharper shoulder, and a longish neck intended to properly center the bullets as they jump into the barrel's rifling. When forming from the parent .30-30 brass, the cases thus created have the proper 7mm neck, but the shoulder and case taper are still reminiscent of the parent cartridge. This gets ironed out in the first firing, a process called "fireforming" which creates the final dimensions for the new round and gives it a tad more case capacity in the process.

From left to right, we have the parent .30-30 case, an intermediate 7-R case prior to fireforming, and the finished 7-R case after being fired in the pistol's chamber. The astute viewer will note the differences in the case taper and shoulder angle between the 2nd and 3rd cases:

A few hours later, I had 120 resized and prepped 7-R cases, ready to prime and load. Granted, it took me the better part of the afternoon, because I also uniform all my primer pockets, as well as deburr the case mouths for best consistency in reloading. Any cases that are too long also get trimmed to length, part of that whole consistency thing.

Now, this ain't the Sunday Smith (that's somebody else's job), but this gives the Neural Misfires reader a better idea of how the above cases appear when loaded, as well as an appreciation for the delivery system of those good-looking rounds. Behold, a vintage Wichita Silhouette Pistol, chambered in 7mm Rimmed International, 10" of absolute Douglas hexagonal-barreled, silhouette-dropping, deer-thumping, sinus-clearing, concussion-producing fun, looking for all the world like the illegitimate offspring of John Moses Browning's (PBUH) Model of 1911 and a Thompson-Center Contender:

And that's how I spent my gorgeous Sunday afternoon. I hope y'all had fun, too.

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