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Old 03-28-2008, 11:27 PM   #1
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Bottle-Neck vs Straight-Wall Cartridges

Do bottle-neck cartridges, in general, feed more reliably than straight-wall cartridges in repeating firearms? I've read in several places that they do. Examples given were the .357 Sig in semi-auto handguns and the 38-40, 44-40, and 30-30 in lever guns.

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Old 03-29-2008, 11:01 AM   #2
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Bottle-Neck vs Straight-Wall Cartridges

Howdy Mr. Crash,

All I can do is offer my opinion, which is simply that sir. I have used pistols chambered in .380, 9mm, 10mm, 40S&W, 45acp, and 357 Sig. Only one, the 357Sig is bottlenecked. I have never had issues with the straight wall rounds feeding reliably. Having said that, personally I do think the shape of the bottlenecked 357Sig tends to make it a bit more reliable in feeding. I am not sure if the difference would be noticeable unless enough rounds had been fired in a pistol to make fouling and gunk an issue.

At that point, I do think the 357Sig would more likely have an edge over the others in feeding. But in most self-defense scenarios, I think that is a situation most of us would not encounter anyway. Shootings rarely involve that volume of rounds being fired, and most of us have long ago developed the habit of maintaining our firearms correctly.

The only lever rifles I own at present are a copy of the 1892 in .45Colt and a Marlin Cowboy in .45-70Govt. Both rounds are straight walled rounds, and I have never encountered feeding issues. I have owned two other 1892s in 45Colt and neither ever gave me a problem at all. Again, in a worst case scenario, I suspect a bottle-neck round might feed more reliably.

In the period when the lever rifles were originally developed, I believe that all of the rounds were initially bottle-necked ones. During that era, the 1892 was never offered in .45Colt, only the modern day copies. Manufacturers of that period may have felt lever rifles would feed more reliably with a bottle-neck caliber. That may well be where this concept originated.

In a Colt SAA copy I simply prefer the .45Colt, both for the history and power it offers me. That is why I chose the levers in .45 calibers as well. I also like being able to use the same round in both platforms.

I do have some friends who have the same combinations in .44-40, simply because they wanted to stay more historically correct with the dual round platforms. Both of us are very happy with our choices.

Not really much of an answer to be candid. Just a lot of my thoughts. In a worst case scenario the bottle-neck rounds may feed more reliably. But in real world situations I am not sure I see a difference between the two styles to be worth worrying about. I simply go with the calibers I want to own and shoot.

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Old 04-02-2008, 06:34 AM   #3
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Bottle-Neck vs Straight-Wall Cartridges

When it comes to rifles some feed straight wall cases very well. Lever actions particulary. Some Lever guns chambered for bottlenecks are not known for smooth and efficent chambering, the 1895 Winchester in 30/06 for example while the Savage's 99's do great with the 250/3000. I suspect it's the individual design more than the case shape.

When high velocity cartridges first came out the bottle neck design was requred to get enough powder in the case while holding a small diamater bullet. .303 British and .30 US Army and 7mm Mauser are good examples. At first they used fairly low power powder and needed all they could get into the case.

With bolt actions feeding can be an issue and no doubt the bottleneck design helps. Not many bolt guns were chambered for straight cartridges and the few I have seen were not real good feeders. Old Mauser re-barreled to 45/70 friend of mine used to have had to be single loaded.

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Old 04-02-2008, 09:29 AM   #4
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Bottle-Neck vs Straight-Wall Cartridges

The short answer is yes. That is because that with a bottleneck cartridge you are pushing a relatively small object - the bullet, into a relatively larger hole - a breech the size of the cartridge base.
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:01 PM   #5
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Bottle-Neck vs Straight-Wall Cartridges

One of reasons I like the 357Sig as a defensive cartidge. I just wish Browning would make an easy conversion for the 40 to 357 Sig.
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:33 PM   #6
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Bottle-Neck vs Straight-Wall Cartridges


The taper of the cartridge definitely helps feed reliability. Take a look at the tape on cartridges like the .300 H & H, .375 H & H, or the .404 Jefferies and you'll see what I mean...

Besides, they are great cartridges in their own right!


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