Wolfe Publishing Group

    Handloader June/July 2021

    On the Cover: A replica Sears, Roebuck & Company Colt COWBOY SPECIAL SAA .45. Photos courtesy Ashley Jayde Photography.

    Volume 56, Number 3 | ISSN: 332

    Article Bites


    Bullets & Brass

    New Loads for the .45 ACP
    column by: Brian Pearce

    Q: As I am sure you know, obtaining powders is extremely difficult or even impossible right now. I have been trying since the beginning of COVID-19 to purchase some of the powders that I normally use for my rifles and handguns, but with very limited success. I am not trying to stock up, rather just replenish, as I literally cannot load ammo. ...Read More >


    Cartridge Board

    column by: Gil Sengel

    We will never know by whom or when the bow and arrow was invented. It is certain, however, that the research and development process required a lot of practice shooting at something. After all, a projectile is useless if the user can’t hit what is being shot at. Thus was born the concept of target practice. ...Read More >


    Propellant Profiles

    Alliant e3
    column by: Randy Bimson

    Alliant e3 is not the new kid on the block shotshell powder by any stretch, but at the time of its introduction, circa 2002/2003, it set the target load shotshell propellant market on its ear and continues to define the attributes of a “best in class” propellant. For decades, three propellants have been the epitome of a target-load shotshell propellant, Hercules/Alliant Red Dot, DuPont/IMR 700-X and Hodgdon Clays. ...Read More >


    From the Hip

    Sears, Roebuck & Company Colt SAA .45 COWBOY SPECIAL
    column by: Brian Pearce

    In 1897, Sears, Roebuck & Company placed a special order with Colt’s Patent Fire Arms for an engraved Single Action Army chambered in .45 Colt. The details of that order are mostly lost to time, but clearly, it wanted the very finest gun that Colt could possibly produce, regardless of price. The resultant sixgun bore serial number 172485 and is listed in factory ledgers as having a 5½-inch barrel, .45 caliber, blued finish, carved Goddess of Liberty pearl stocks, engraved and gold inlaid. It shipped on October 23, 1897, to Sears, Roebuck & Company. The engraving was performed personally by the hand of artist Cuno Helfricht (Colt’s primary engraver circa 1871-1921). ...Read More >


    Mike's Shootin' Shack

    The Miracle of Primers
    column by: Mike Venturino

    To me it’s a miracle that primers are so often taken for granted. As this is written, it’s a miracle that they have disappeared from stores’ shelves. It’s also remarkable that they are actually selling for so much. I know locally of one “brick” of 1,000 large rifle primers that sold for $260! Last weekend at a Montana gun show, I saw a box of 5,000 small pistol primers sell for $1,000! Compare that to the Norma primers I found at a small gun store in Iowa 50 years ago – $6.00 per 1,000. I stocked up that day! ...Read More >


    Wildcat Cartridges

    7mm Thompson/Center Ugalde (TCU)
    column by: Layne Simpson

    I began shooting metallic silhouette during the 1970s. My first gun, built by John Towle for Unlimited class competition, was on a Remington XP-100 action chambered for a wildcat cartridge called the 7mm TNT. It was great fun to shoot and quite accurate to boot. When eventually deciding to also compete in Production class, I chose a Thompson/Center Contender with a 10-inch barrel in .30-30 Winchester with a Pachmayr rubber grip. Capable of pushing a 150-grain spitzer to 1,900 feet per second (fps) or so, it proved to be quite effective on all targets, including 50-pound steel rams at 200 meters. Recoil was not at all bad, but muzzle blast was plenty loud, even through double ear protection. ...Read More >


    In Range

    It's a Shooter's World
    column by: Terry Wieland

    On the way back from the range the other day, I stopped for a coffee and got to talking with the proprietor, a serious shooter who always wants to know what I’ve been up to. ...Read More >


    6.5x57mm Mauser

    Loads with Modern Bullets and Powders
    feature by: Patrick Meitin

    Popular with European hunters, particularly Germans, the 6.5x57mm Mauser is a highly versatile hunting round. Unlike many European 6.5mm cartridges, the 6.5x57mm never served in a military capacity, though it very likely inspired other 6.5mm rounds that certainly were. The 6.5x57mm – not to be confused with the more popular 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser – is likely unfamiliar to the average American shooter. While the cartridge has a strong following among European shooters and big-game hunters, it has really never gained a firm foothold on American shores. ...Read More >


    .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum (Pet Loads)

    Updated Loads
    feature by: Brian Pearce

    During the 1990s, I authored a number of articles on powerful, proprietary big-bore revolvers such as the .454 Casull, .475 and .500 Linebaugh and others. Around 1999 or 2000, I was approached by Smith & Wesson (S&W) and consulted regarding my thoughts on a totally new .50-caliber revolver. I felt that the market existed, but wanted the gun to weigh between 45 and 50 ounces for practical portability in the field; and that the cartridge should be capable of pushing a 435-grain bullet to 1,200 to 1,300 feet per second (fps), which is plenty of power for any game animal on earth. When fired from a 45- to 50-ounce revolver, the recoil of a cartridge with the above performance is nonetheless stout and not for the faint of heart, but can still be mastered. ...Read More >


    A Colt Quartet

    .38 Long Colt, .41 Long Colt, .44 Colt and .45 Colt
    feature by: Mike Venturino

    From the very beginning of the metallic cartridge era, firearms manufacturers wanted cartridge names to identify with their company names. Take Colt for example. That company produced handguns for a large and sometimes confusing array of cartridges bearing its name. At times Colt even got tricky. Its .38 Colt Special was nothing more than Smith & Wesson’s (S&W) .38 Special, except rounds with Colt headstamps carried flatnose bullets instead of roundnose ones as did those stamped S&W. ...Read More >


    Mannlicher's Bundle of Trouble

    Still, the 9x56 M-S is Too Good Not to Shoot
    feature by: Terry Wieland

    In a 1994 Pet Loads article, Ken Waters described the 9x56mm Mannlicher-Schönauer as the most troublesome cartridge he had ever encountered. From brass to chamber dimensions to bullet diameter to sizing dies, everything – everything – presented difficulties. Only Waters’ weakness for medium-bore cartridges, and the fact that he’d acquired a beautiful custom rifle, kept him at it until every problem was solved. ...Read More >


    Rifle Case Necks

    Technical Details of "Bottlenecked" Brass
    feature by: John Barsness

    Bottleneck rifle cases appeared shortly after the development of self-contained metallic ammunition in the mid-1800s, primarily to get more powder in a shorter case, which is often important in repeating rifles. However, the first weren’t very “bottlenecked,” due to the large amount of fouling left by black powder, because only about half of black powder burns. ...Read More >

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