Gents, I'm back with some news about the project and am on the cusp of fine tuning this affair. First though I would like to provide a smile for those with imagination.
As you may be aware the various state game and fish departments have their rules, somewhat unique in total form, but also sharing similar traits with neighbors or even distant cousins. You've heard no doubt that some states forbid shooting small game with anything other than rimfire but they might also allow big game hunting with any centerifre of .22 caliber or larger. Or the adjoining states might do one or the other. Well, a fella posted on another website about this project "It wouldn't be legal", this in reference to small game hunting in his state. It occurred to me at that juncture, that a) if you're in one of those states, and b) own a Contender, that c) you could put RF ammo in one pocket and CF in the other and rock on. Of course this would only be appropriate for bonafide stunt shooters and I am not suggesting this be done....but it would surely confuse the game warden if he was checking up on you during a day in the field, no?
OK, on with the show! Mentioned previously that crimping was an issue with the new brass and my intentions were to anneal the fired brass and see how it responded to the crimping tool I've been using. Puzzled a bit about how to do that as the brass is tiny and my fingers large. Well, here ya go, and it works like a charm!
I'm preparing to load for the next round, same powders with a bump of .1 grain for each. I anticipate cracking the 1,200 fps barrier w/o much problem and will let you know how it goes.
Off on a small tangent, that being brass supply. My first effort to do this led me to Rocky Mountain Cartridge, formerly of Cody, WY, and a source of oddball brass for a few of my guns, the .25-20 SS as example. The company was sold to another party and they were amenable to making some brass for this endeavor. Their production was not usable do to failure to adhere to specs and I sent it back for their amusement. Nonetheless, they are advertising it on their website for whatever it may be worth. I recently had conversations with several other brass makers and have been informed they use the same alloy of brass I used in round 1 (Thanks Jimy!), so if you want some that would be one source perhaps. My primary issue for their production was the case OD was in the .220 range, neck walls were too thick (.010") and the ID around ..200" That may work in your gun if you have a bullet with proper heel diameter. My bullet heel is .210" diameter. 'Nuff said on that.
I contacted RCC ( https://www.rccbrass.com/
) and after discussion had them grind out 50 cases. They are not cheap by any means, but they are to spec and of more robust alloy. After fiddling around I decided to order some more and things got a little strange. Multiple attempts to place an order failed and I had no idea what was going on. Sooooo, I started calling some other companies. Fist thing I learned, there are precious few people doing this in the USA. At this juncture I have identified only 4, two of which I've already named. First up was Colorado Custom Cartridge ( http://coloradocustomcartridges.com/
) and after a very cordial conversation it was suggested that I contact another company, Quality Cartridge ( https://www.qual-cart.com/index.html
). Unlike the first three, QC makes their brass by drawing the brass, not turning on at lathe or similar machinery. I enjoyed the chat with Pete and came away with the following info: Due to set up costs and minimum purchase obligations for cups his initial set up to make drawn .22 GTC cases would run in the neighborhood of $150,000.00. OUCH! That said, he would have sufficient supplies to make several million cases. I was stunned to say the least, and failed to find out was unit cost would be. He called me back the next day however and suggested he would set up to turn cases for $1.50 per unit with a minimum order of 10,000 cases. Anyone want to do a group buy? laugh
Wouldn't you know it, but RCC called me the next day. They had been in disaster recovery mode for several weeks after their programmer had left the company, but had landed on their feet and were ready for my order. I placed that and asked them to enlarge the primer pocket to .173" (SAAMI min.) and was advised there would be about a 3 month wait. No problem for me, give a call when you're ready to accept payment I responded. He called the next day due to their moving the production schedule forward, the result of another order for several hundred cases. (Yeah, I'm smiling here!) I coughed up the jingle and am keeping an eye on the mailbox!
Well, that's the state of affairs at present. I have it on good authority that one of my Loony friends is gearing up to modify a 10/22 bolt to CF. I have a date with a fellow Tuesday morning to find out if he's got the moxie to make me a hammer swage that will allow me to fine tune the bullets. If he can pull that off he'll get to make a couple more tools in the spirit of the old Ideal 310 tool.
PS: The news is that the annealing theory worked like a champ. The crimp tool used previously put a taper crimp equal to heel length and the union is solid. 3 rounds cycled thro the 10/22 flawlessly.