MLR Distributing LLC
26.5mm Black Powder reloadable casings
Review by GROG
Copyright 2018 3LC Productions
This review will be on 26.5mm black powder aluminum casings manufactured by Mark Rogers from MLR Distributing LLC. Mark sent me four casings to review, two shorter 4.100” long, and two longer 5.600”. The casings have removable bases that are machined to accept a #209 primer, and approx 40 grains of FFFG black powder or BP Substitute. The bases are milled from solid bar stock, and are 1.100” tall. The top .500” is threaded. The powder chamber is .800” deep, and goes to the top of a seated primer. The bottom is concave to the primer top. The sidewalls are .185” thick to the outside of the threads. The casing sidewalls are .120” thick, which is pretty thick when compared to any other 26.5mm casing I’ve ever seen. The sidewalls are made from extruded aluminum tubing, and the interior of one end is threaded to accept the base.
The fit and finish of the base and tube wall is normal where MLR is concerned, which means nice. The base is highly polished and machined for years of use. The tube walls are thick, and also made to last years. When the base and sidewalls are screwed together, there is no play or gap in the threads. They screw together tightly. Remember to clean them very well, as with any black powder casing, and they will last you forever.
Inside base interior powder cup area
Primer end of base with #2 marking (so I can keep track of loadings)
Looking into the casing from the top
From the bottom. Notice the internal threads cut into the sidewalls. The base screws into these.
You can see how thick the sidewalls are. Good for black powder work.
Mark also provided 6 cardboard tubes with fuses plastic molded in place. There was ¼” of fuse protruding from the base of the tube, secured in place with resin plastic, poured around the fuse, to seal the base of the projectile. There appeared to be at least ¼” of exposed fuse inside the tube, on top of the resin plug.
I prepared 4 of these projectiles by adding two stars to each, two red, and two green, two pairs. One for use in the short two casings, one for use in the tall. I loaded a bit of burst charge with the stars, (same as in fireworks balls) and filled the remainder of the tubing with dry paper towel folded and compressed with a punch. I then capped the tube with provided cardboard discs, wood glued into place. These were allowed to set for a day before loading in casings for testing. I used my M203 for this test, with a 40mm to 26.5mm adapter.
I loaded one short casing and one long casing with 40 grains of FFFG BP, and one short and one long casing with 20 grains of FFFG BP. I thought about using the smaller cardboard discs supplied to seal the chamber where the BP sits, then thought it would be better to use no wad or disc between the powder and the fuse. The fused bottom of the projectile is flat, and this will seal the BP in position very well, and the projectile tubes fit tightly into the casing so nothing will leak around them.
I loaded all 4 projectiles into the casings, then went to the range. All 4 fired, all 4 lit, all 4 functioned. I actually managed to catch one burst in mid-air. My camera skills are improving… The wind was blowing hard, so I’m surprised I managed to get any of them on film. The projectiles with the 40 grain lift charge obviously went quite a bit higher. How much higher, I can’t say, because with a projectile moving that fast, and that small… well… you don’t see it until it bursts. What I can tell is, they burst fairly low to the ground, due to the length and type of fuse used.
Here is a video link to one of the test shots: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVGrcioXz4U
The other three were cut from the video, as they popped off camera due to windy conditions.
Time fuse can burn at different rates, some types burn at 21 sec/ft, some burn 28 sec/ft and there is quick fuse that would have to be coated before pouring resin around it. I’m not sure which was used in this application, but the length used set off the payloads of the 40 grain lift charges at around 50’ altitude, and they were returning to earth for some time when they went off. In order to get a quicker payload detonation, I recommend shortening the fuse a bit before loading your projectile, or MLR could load them with a quicker burning time fuse. When fired, the projectile is moving so fast that you want about ¾ sec before the fire reaches the payload chamber and ignites your main burst charge. This will allow plenty of time for the payload to reach a good altitude before igniting.
The 40 grain lift charge appears to be quite adequate for the intended signaling use, once again, if the fuse is shortened or a quicker burning type is used.
The casings performed very well for black powder casings. They were easy to reload and especially easy to clean. The screw apart bases allow you to easily get into all the interior places where residue can hide, and ruin other casings. These are good casings, and strong for use in signaling roles.
To order these casings from Mark, contact him through his website here: http://mlrdistributing.com/265mm-Reloadable-Shells_c13.htm