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1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

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DaleH
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1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#1 Post by DaleH » Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:55 pm

Well last week I walk into my local 'toy' store and lo & behold there's a unique almost-longrifle-looking black powdah bolt-action (?? really??) rifle that some old lady brings in, complete with bayonet & scabbard, that she wants to sell.

Wait ... Black powdah? Metallic cartridge? And then as modified in 1887 to have a fixed 4-round magazine loaded by a 4-round charger? Modified again during WW1 by sleeving the barrel and chambering to the 6.5 Carcano cartridge! And yet still one is still in the original 10.4x47R cartridge? How cool is that!

Well, the shop isn't interested, so for a few hundred bucks ... she left with me - uhhh, the Vetterli-Vitali rifle that is - and not the old lady, LOL! I walk out with an almost complete (missing the cleaning rod) V-V rifle with bayonet, where rifles alone have been selling for $650 to $850 on Gun Broker. The bore is mint, a tad dark and a little frosting, but no corroded spots, and it cleaned up really well using J&B Bore Compound and some ‘elbow grease’ and it now shines like a mirror (this is the old photo before the cleaning, as per below).

So .. does anyone here have any experience loading BP loads for the venerable 10.4x47R cartridge? I can get newly made brass cases from Buffalo Arms and use 44Mag dies to reload them.
B1737E76-D25C-4530-830D-22D1343A4AE1.jpeg
73637341-4EF8-4B5F-A4A0-B6720CB19269.jpeg
8311E3E9-6C63-4CFF-BD48-F7209224CA82.jpeg
Last edited by DaleH on Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#2 Post by vandle » Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:18 pm

That is very cool.

I like to find something like that
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Re: 1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#3 Post by DaleH » Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:22 am

Progress - Brass cases for the 10.4x47R cartridge came in from Buffalo Arms ($2 per case), as did a #17 shellholder for the reloading press, but I’m still waiting on a Lee #17 handheld priming tool shellholder to come in.

Loading - I plan to use the same trick I use when reloading other ‘rimmed’ cases like the 303 British and 7.62x54R Russian. For the 1st firing, I place a thin dental elastic up against the rim, so when I close the bolt it forces the case head to bear tight up against the bolt face. Upon firing the case will fireform to the chamber perfectly! When done in my 2 other rimmed-case arms as mentioned, I never have to re-size the case again. I just de-cap, reprime, bell w/a Lyman M die, add powder, seat the bullet & crimp (using a Lee factory crimp die).

I plan to use SR-4759 powder for these loads to fill ip the case and will use soft-cast 44Mag sized bullets. Clearly I’ll have to make some changes to this old, oddball cartridge as I did not buy the expen$ive $175 C-H brand dies. More updates later!

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Re: 1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#4 Post by S.B. » Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:06 pm

Must be the right time for these, I noticed on at Pontiac Pawn(Pontiac, Illinois) the last time in there also?
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Re: 1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#5 Post by B67 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:26 am

I use 8mm Lebel for both the Italian and Swiiss. I shorten, anneal and fireform with some green dot. I trim to length and use a 345 grain , .430 dia. bullet that I get from a guy on GunBroker. I use 22 grains SR4759 with a tuft of Dacron.The Dacron might not be necessary in this small of a case, but I use it........Lee 41 Swiss dies are used for any resizing and for bullet seating. You just need to adjust the die out from the shell holder for the Italian because the case is a bit longer and the shoulder is further ahead...I haven't had any issues chambering in my Italian...

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Re: 1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#6 Post by DaleH » Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:40 pm

B67 wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:26 am
I use 22 grains SR4759 with a tuft of Dacron.
Thanks! As I have plenty of 4759 on hand and have always used the Dacron tuft w/ it in my 38-55 Schuetzen cartridge rifle.

With the V-V, the issue I’m having is that the factory bullet is a ‘heeled’ bullet and with this chamber, there is not enough room for the 430 diameter bullet and the case neck thickness. A friend with the Swiss Vetterli sizes the lead 44 pistol bullets to 427 and that allows him to chamber his loads. I’ve been busy w/ other projects, but will cerosafe the chamber some warm day, as it was 16-degrees out today ...

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Re: 1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#7 Post by B67 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:33 pm

I must be lucky...I know those chambers can run tight with bore size bullets..I load for three Swiss Vets that span just about all the years of production, from a carbine that is early to a 78-81 and a 1870 Italian carbine and all will accept the .430 bullet I use...I know Accurate does sell a mold for the heeled bullet though...

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Re: 1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#8 Post by DaleH » Sat Feb 22, 2020 4:24 pm

What weight bullet do you use with that charge of 4759? Would you have suggestions for bullets weighing both 250 & 300-grains?

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Re: 1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#9 Post by B67 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:18 pm

The charge is based on the replacement value of the SR4759. The general rule has always been roughly 38% of the black powder charge when using SR4759...So I guess you could maybe go 1 more grain with the lighter bullets..The bullets I am using are 345 grains but that is probably the upper limit for the 1 in 12 rifling.... I think the Italians used a bullet around 300 grains and the Swiss used heavier, something near to what I am loading...In the event some one doesn't have any of the out of production SR4759, Accurate 5744 is pretty comparable but usually you need a grain or two more to equal 4759..

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Re: 1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#10 Post by B67 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:18 pm

Ok, I just won an auction for a Vetterli Vitali long rifle...Great price due to a poor listing. When I get this one I will post the hand loading results for this one....

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Re: 1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#11 Post by DaleH » Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:24 pm

B67 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:18 pm
Ok, I just won an auction for a Vetterli Vitali long rifle...Great price due to a poor listing. When I get this one I will post the hand loading results for this one....
Nice going! I saw one in VT the other week for ‘asking $395’, but I already have one so I didn’t pursue it further.

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Re: 1870/1887 Vetterli-Vitali

#12 Post by slowbob2 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:14 pm

My best results have been with the heeled bullet , it shoots really well . My best load was 300 gr cast heeled with 21.2 of H-2400 for 1300 fps . I have used 22 =/- 1 grain for the 300 cast load for about 1250 fps .

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