Himmelwright’s guide to pistol and revolver shooting will particularly interest those who collect or shoot historical firearms. Various types of hand-gun are illustrated and described as is the ammunition that accompanied them. The author discusses shooting positions, target shooting and the reloading of ammunition. First published in the early 20th century, this book contains dedicated sections on revolver practice for the police forces of the period and interesting guidance in the use of hand-guns for ladies .
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
The measuring of the powder charge is the most important detail in reloading ammunition. There are several devices to measure powder that are convenient and fairly accurate. Those furnished by the Ideal Manufacturing Company, designated as No. 5 or No. 6, and those made by H. M. Pope are the best.<br>
The usual method is to measure the powder with a charge cup that is supplied with the reloading tools. A quantity of the powder should be poured from the can into a small box and the charge cup dipped into it and filled. With a thin lead-pencil tap the cup lightly two or three times on the side to settle the powder uniformly. If the powder settles below the top of the cup dip the cup into the powder again and fill it, being careful not to tilt the cup so as to disturb the powder already in it. Strike off the powder in the cup with the pencil and pour it into the shell. By measuring the powder in this way and verifying it by weighing each charge in a delicate balance, a high degree of skill may be acquired in a short time. Ordinary revolver charges should not vary more than one-tenth of a grain in weight.<br>
The charge cup method is preferred by many in measuring smokeless powders, as some varieties, being coarse grained and light in weight, are liable to form large voids. Such voids are invariably corrected when the charge cup is tapped and the powder settles.<br>
After the desired quantity of shells has been primed and charged with powder, the bullets, properly lubricated, are started into the shells by hand and then one by one the cartridges are placed in the reloading tool, which seats the bullet and crimps the shell.<br>
In reduced black powder charges, when the bullet is seated below the mouth of the shell, the tool should be adjusted so as not to crimp the shell.<br>
In loading cartridges in which the shells are not crimped on the bullets, it is very important that both the shells and the bullets should be absolutely uniform in size, so that the fit, and consequently the friction, of the bullets in the shell will be the same in all cases. By reloading some of the shells oftener than others or with different charges, the expansion of the shells will vary and the bullets will fit more or less tightly. Such ammunition when fired will vary in elevation. It is well to begin with new shells using the same load in them and reloading them the same number of times. Even with the same charge and under apparently identical conditions a few of the shells will expand differently. This variation will, however, be readily discovered in seating the bullets with the tool. Cartridges in which the bullets seat with greater or less effort than the average should be carefully separated from the rest and not used when fine shooting is required.<br>
In reloading ammunition with spherical or “round” bullets the neck of the bullet should be up, opposite the powder side. In this position the neck is always in sight, and any turning of the bullet so as to bring the neck on the side and in contact with the barrel will be apparent and can be corrected. All round bullets should be at least 1/1000 of an inch larger in diameter than the bottom of the grooves of the barrel. This causes them to deform slightly on the circle of contact with the barrel, and creates a narrow cylindrical surface around the bullet, securing a better bearing and greatly increasing the accuracy. It also insures the tight fitting of the bullet in the shell, preventing it from being displaced by the recoil. If round bullets fit loosely, or if there is the slightest imperfection in the bullet where it comes in contact with the shell or the barrel, “gas-cutting” will result and hot lubricant is liable to pass by the bullet into the powder charge. In either case the accuracy is impaired.<br>
When round bullets are used, the lubricant must be applied after they have been seated. This can best be done with a small brush. The brush is dipped into melted lubricant and then passed around the bullet where it is in contact with the shell. Too much lubricant is undesirable. At least three-quarters of the surface of[Pg 165] the bullet should project above the lubricant. By keeping the lubricant at a constant temperature, the quantity adhering to the brush will be approximately the same and the results uniform.<br>
In reduced loads, when black powder or “bulk” smokeless powder is used, the bullets may be seated so as to just touch the powder charge; never so as to compress it. When “dense” smokeless powder is used, a suitable air space must always be provided. This is necessary both when round or conical bullets are used.<br>
With all forms of conical bullets and when using either “dense” or “bulk” smokeless powder, in full or reduced charges, better results are invariably obtained by seating the bullets in the regulation position and crimping the shells moderately and uniformly on the middle of the front band of the bullet.<br>
Ammunition for automatic pistols may also be reloaded by hand, but there is much less economy than in reloading other ammunition. When the full charge is used, a metal-cased bullet is required which must be purchased from the manufacturers. Reduced loads with lead bullets will operate in some of the pistols only. An overcharge of powder for a lead bullet will lead the barrel and is liable to cause difficulty with the mechanism, and accidents. Only experienced persons familiar with the operations of loading the rimless shells and whether or not the arms will operate with the charges they propose to use, should attempt reloading this ammunition.