Monthly Archives: April 2022

6.8x19mm Update

I have been working on the 6.8x19mm project. I just ordered a .270 Winchester rifle barrel off of Ebay ($42 including tax) and it should arrive next week; .270 actually uses a 6.8mm/.277 bore. When it arrives I will throw it on the lathe and turn down a barrel-liner for my long-suffering Maadi Helwan and we’ll be in business.

I also came up with a method to swage some 6.8mm pistol bullets from 58gr. .251″ lead bullets so there’s something to start with. I obtained some 5.7x28mm brass from a friendly range-master and cut the cases to 19mm overall length. With a tiny bit of reaming they were good to go, and I loaded up some test ammo.

From top to bottom: .380 ACP, 32 ACP, 6.8x19mm and .25 ACP on the bottom.

So, I have the gun, ammo and barrel. I still needed a magazine. I happened to have a Promag magazine that fits, so I modified the feed lips and follower and after some testing I have a magazine. It feeds great, especially since the 9mm chamber is massively oversized for the cartridges. Hand-cycling is kind of a hoot; just point the barrel down, rack the slide and the cartridge’s slide out the end of the barrel. Hey, it’s proof-of-concept!

Who says Promags are useless? hey, at least I don’t mind possibly screwing them up!

The magazine comfortably holds nine rounds. It’ll take ten, but why fuss with it? because of the smaller cartridge diameter the slide would lock back with a round still in the magazine, but a couple minutes with a file lowered the step in the follower enough that it now locks back on the empty magazine.

Of course even after I have the barrel on hand and lined there’s a hell of a lot of work left to do. I suppose it would be easier to mount the barrel on an existing single-shot pistol, but where’s the fun in that? Much more interesting to develop a functioning semi-automatic pistol.

Stay tuned, this one will probably come together in the next couple of weeks, then it’s on to ballistic testing…

Stay safe and take care,

Michael Tinker Pearce, 26 April 2022

Reloading .30 Carbine

After the end of WW2 there were many, many thousands of surplus M-1 carbines available to the public. They’re handy little guns for hunting, pest-control and of course self-defense. With the plethora of carbines available a lot of people sporterized them and I understand aftermarket stocks were available.

I’ve always liked the M-1 Carbine, but it seemed like there was always something else that was a higher priority. Then they got really expensive. While I am no great fan of sporterized military rifles this one caught my eye. It’s a lovely thing, fitted with an old 4-power scope.

OK, this particular carbine will be the subject of it’s own post and probably a video too, but I need to do some more research first. Now you know why I am reloading .30 carbine, so about that…

When I picked up the gun I also bout a box of Sellior & Bellot ammunition, their 110gr FMC loads. These worked pretty well in the gun and have plenty of power but at $42 for a box of fifty there was never any doubt I would be reloading. A buddy of mine had a surplus set of dies and it turns out that a .32 ACP shell-holder works fine. Powder… that was another matter. I mostly reload handgun cartridges so I didn’t have a lot of rifle-appropriate powders; I had a small amount of 2400 on hand, but not much. I looked at reloading data for the carbine and went to Pinto’s with a list of appropriate powders. Given the scarcity of reloading supplies these days all they had was IMR 4227, so that’s what I had to go with.

Sellior & Bellot 110gr. FMC

Bullets were another issue. I had scooped up a couple of boxes or Speer 100gr. Plinkers over the years. These share the profile of ball ammunition, but the front half of the bullet is relatively soft lead and the back half is jacketed.

Speer 100gr Plinkers

I loaded these over 14.9gr. of 4227, and they functioned pretty well. I also has some .32-caliber 100gr XTP jacketed hollow points. These are .312″ in diameter, so I ran them through my Lee .308 re-sizing die and loaded them up, also over 14.9gr. of 4227. These proved problematic, jamming when I tried to chamber them. That was a bit disappointing… then I realized that I had loaded them to the cannular on the bullet. Being pistol bullets this seated them too deep. When I Ioaded them to the same length as ball ammo they seem to cycle but were a bit weak. I upped the charge to 15.2 gr. and they cycle with authority. The cannular sticks out of the casing, but that’s OK.

100gr XTP JHPs

Lastly I picked up some 110gr. semi-jacketed hollow-points from the clearance table at Pintos. I don’t know the brand. The lead used is quite soft. I loaded these over 15gr. I haven’t tested these yet, but they will hand-cycle fine. I’ll see about getting all of these loads to a proper range to chronograph the loads. I also want to check their accuracy and I’ll do some gel-testing as well.

I really like the gun, and weirdly I could afford it precisely because it had been sporterized. It’s fun to shoot and I can use it for hunting; the deer on this side of the mountains aren’t all that big and shot further than 100 yards are rare in the areas I hunt. I am quite confident that with the right bullets this gun is more than adequate for that use.

Part two of this with the tests might be awhile; my local indoor range is changing management and has been closed for the last month. It’s not the only option, but it’s the only convenient one and it’s been a busy time lately. In June I can join another range and since I will be turning sixty I can get half-off on the membership. Until then things may be a little thin…

Stay safe and take care,

Michael Tinker Pearce, 25 April 2022