Ask The Experts
January 03, 2011
Spanish Ruby Gun Parts?...Spanish Ruby Gun Parts?...Small Pistol Primers For .223?...What's The .22 Remington Jet?...and more.
Ruby-type pistols were made by as many as 45 different companies. This one, made by the Basque firm of Alkartasuma, is very close to the Eibar pistol and features the distinctive grasping grooves on the slide, an external extractor, the steep grip-to-barrel angle, and a heel-type magazine catch.
Spanish Ruby Gun Parts?
Q. I really enjoyed the column by Paul Scarlata on the Spanish Ruby pistol in the July issue. I have a "Ruby" made by Gabilondo y Urresti-Eibar about 1926-1927. It is a very nice pistol, but my uncle removed the firing pin, retaining pin, and magazine and threw them away so no one would be shot. The story goes that he took this pistol from an Italian officer during World War II. I would like to put this pistol back into working order. Does Paul have any suggestions as to where I can find a firing pin, retaining pin, and magazine? I would surely appreciate his help.
A. As there were almost limitless variants of the Eibar pistol, even among those bearing the same name and/or model number, it might be impossible to find a firing pin or retainer. A good gunsmith ought to be able to make these parts for you, but it might end up costing more than the pistol is worth. At the time of this writing, Triple K Manufacturing lists a nine-round .32 ACP magazine for the Ruby. Sorry I could not be of more help.
Vintage Arms Editor
Odd-Looking .22 LR Rounds?
Q. I have some .22 Long Rifle rounds that have me stumped. They look like normal .22s except for the small hole in the center of the base. They appear to be inert, as a small wire probe inserted into the hole meets no resistance until coming in contact with the copper-plated bullet. The case is of a very dark brass, and there are no headstamps. My attempts to measure the diameter of the hole gives me a reading of somewhere between .040 and .055. What can you tell me about these unusual .22s?
-Monte R. Norton
Grass Valley, CA
A. What you have are some .22 rimfire action proving dummies. These cartridges are most likely some that were produced by Winchester for Brownells Inc. of Montezuma, Iowa. Brownells is perhaps the largest and oldest gunsmith supply house in the U.S., and the firm has sold action proving dummies in both rimfire and centerfire calibers over the years. The hole in the base is to help identify the cartridge as a dummy, as is the dark color of the cartridge case.Reid Coffield
Small Pistol Primers For .223?
Q. Currently, there seems to be a complete absence of Small Rifle primers available in the commercial market or on the Internet. Since I have a significant inventory of Small Pistol primers, can I use them for my .223 Remington handloads?
Huntingdon Valley, PA
A. The answer is, "No!" The reason is because of the potential for having a hangfire if the lower-powered Small Pistol primer doesn't adequately ignite the .223's relatively large propellant charge, or if a pierced primer occurs because a rifle's firing pin strike is substantially greater than a pistol's, or if there is a blown primer because the Small Pistol primer's cup is thinner and weaker than a Small Rifle primer's cup. So, "No....No....No."
What's The .22 Remington Jet?
Q. A friend of mine has a .22 Remington Jet that he has trouble finding ammo for. He knows I hand-load and has asked me about it. I've never heard of this cartridge, and it is not listed in my Sierra loading manual. I did find brass and dies on Midway's website, but I still have not found any reloading data on it. Can the experts please help me?
A. During the late 960s, I owned a Smith & Wesson Model 53 in .22 Remington Jet (also described by S&W as the ".22 Remington Centerfire Magnum"), and it was an interesting firearm. My revolver came with the standard-issue chamber inserts that allowed it to use .22 Long Rifle ammo, and it also had an extra cylinder in .22 rimfire. In those days, the Model 53 sold for $120, and the extra factory-fitted cylinder was an additional $30. At the time, I reloaded the .22 Jet, and while I am unable to locate any of the data I used, I do recall that 2400 (formerly made by Hercules and now produced by Alliant Powders) was a good choice in powders for it.The .22 Jet uses bullets of .222/.223-inch diameter rather than .224 inch, which is standard for most other .22-caliber centerfire cartridges. Hornady still offers its .222-inch, 40-grain Jet bullet, and the Sierra .223-inch, 40-grain Hornet bullet is an equally good choice.
According to the Sierra Reloading Manual, Edition V, a maximum charge of 10.9 grains of 2400 delivers 1,900 fps with the 40-grain bullet from a Model 53 revolver with a 6-inch barrel. A starting load of 9.5 grains of that powder produces 1,600 fps. Starting and maximum loads of IMR-4227 shown in the Sierra manual are 12.2 grains (1,700 fps) and 13.4 grains (1,900 fps). Sierra recommends using CCI 550 Magnum primers in this cartridge and keeping overall length within a maximum of 1.659 inches.
It is important to keep in mind that the slightest trace of oil in the chambers of a Model 53 revolver will cause the bottleneck cases to set back during firing and prevent the cylinder from rotating. The same will also happen if sizing lubricant is left on the cases of reloads. Thoroughly cleaning the chambers and the cases of loaded rounds with rubbing alcohol will usually prevent that from happening.
Executive Field Editor
Reload Aluminum Boxer-Primed Cases?
Q. Several issues ago, Lane Pearce wrote a column about reloading steel-cased, Boxer-primed handgun loads. I have noticed that some manufacturers of aluminum-cased ammo are now Boxer-priming these rounds as well. Could the same techniques be used to hand-load aluminum-cased ammo? Are there metallurgical differences between steel and aluminum that would prevent this?
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A. For many years I've always thought I knew that aluminum cases should not be reloaded. Metallurgically speaking, aluminum is not as resilient as brass or mild steel and work-hardens quickly. That means it's less suitable to expand and seal the chamber without cracking when a round is fired. Resizing a fired aluminum case only exacerbates the problem. In fact, I thought the reason why Speer loaded aluminum-cased Blazer ammo with Berdan primers was to help ensure that handloaders wouldn't even try to reload them because these primers were essentially unavailable, and expended Berdan primers are much more difficult to remove from the pockets. On a recent trip to the CCI/Speer facilities in Lewiston, Idaho, I found out that CCI/Speer has switched to loading Boxer primers in almost all of its aluminum-cased ammo because that type of case is easier to make, i.e., less scrap and production problems. Only a few SKUs remain Berdan-primed simply because they perform better in the current configuration, i.e., a satisfactory alternate loading has not yet been developed. After receiving this email, I made a quick call to CCI/Speer, and a spokesperson there confirmed that you should not reload aluminum-cased ammo even if it's Boxer-primed.
Straight-Wall Deer Cartridge?
Q. I am interested in acquiring an Encore pistol barrel for hunting whitetail deer in states that require using a factory-available caliber with a straight-wall case. Which caliber would you recommend, particularly for extended-range shooting?
Fair Play, SC
A. The most effective straight-wall choice with extended-range capability for whitetail deer is, without question, the .460 S&W Magnum. With Hornady or CorBon 200-grain factory ammo, it provides a maximum point-blank range of 250 yards on a whitetail-size animal, and it has the added benefit of chambering .454 Casull or .45 Colt when lesser range or more moderate power is appropriate.
Executive Technical Editor