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Thread: Westlake Alfa - Any tips for a new owner ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Birmingham
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    Westlake Alfa - Any tips for a new owner ?

    I'll be getting a Westlake Alfa muzzle loader later this week and was wondering if anyone who has one (or the Armscor) has any tips or 'lessons learned' ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Pattingham
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    Alfa MLR

    It's like having and shooting a REAL gun from the good old days.
    Get extra cylinders if you can. I use Cheddite primers and Herco. Get a set of phials to transport your pre-measured powder, as many as possible (I've got about 50) or there is a chap on eeebay that sells a plastic device that loads all 6 cylinders at once. I use 148grn HBWC bullets or 140grn 'Cowboy' flat base with around 3.3 grns of the Herco atm but I will be experimenting a bit more with lighter and heavier charge when I get the time. Get a good accurate scale preferably with 'grains' as well as 'grams'.
    You will probably experience cylinder jam if you try to shoot much double action due to either badly seated primers or blow back causing primers to jump back. It can be alleviated somewhat by selecting and separating your loose or tight primers and seeing which ones are best for you. In single action it's not so much of a problem. Plenty of info on web btw.
    Enjoy, I do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Selby, Yorkshire
    Posts
    214
    Hi

    Good choice. I've had the Alfa for a couple of years now and despite some initial teething problems, it's now one of my favourite guns.

    I've documented my journey with it on Youtube, you can find that here : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCva...iV9_lYLGrcDaKw

    Including loading, firing and a strip down and rebuild video.

    Ammo: I cast my own from lead but I use 105gr SWC from a Lee mould, not the hollow base jobs. I found the hollow base were far too prone to leaving the skirt behind even with low powder charges. The 105gr SWC can be loaded back to front (which is easier btw) and in testing up to 25 yards are just as accurate and don't tumble. Plus they are solid with a flat base giving an excellent seal to the chamber. Lubed with Alox of course and I usually size them through a Lee .38spl sizer.
    Powder : I've used Herco and Blue Dot without problems. Sorry, I can't remember the charge weight at the moment - I think 4.2gr of Herco with the 105gr SWC - but Alan has a guide on his site as to the safe extremes. Work up your own load.
    Primers : Not critical so long as they sit flush in the primer pockets.

    Problems : Mine had slightly shallow primer pockets at first so the primers weren't sitting flush which kept giving sticking cylinder issues. However since I had a friend deepen the primer pocket shoulders by half a thou they've been fine. Could just have been the brand of primers I had. Cylinder gap is quite narrow on these Alfa's so there's not much leeway for tolerances, though it does make for a nice, tight cylinder lockup.
    The crane on mine works slightly loose with firing so I nip it up every three cylinders worth, takes seconds.
    Cleaning : As per any standard revolver but keep the primer pockets clean. I knock out the carbon/residue buildup from the pockets after every session, just to keep on top of it. You'll find a drill bit is *just* the right size for this, can't remember the diameter though and I'm at work and can't check.

    I recently acquired a long barrel version of the Alfa, I'll have to do a comparison video soon - both equally accurate!

    Regards
    Paul M.
    NSRA and NRA qualified RCO.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Birmingham
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    521
    When your filling the power vials do you tend to just use a powder thrower (and occasionally weigh to check its on), or use a powder trickler for each one ?

    I was just thinking it may want every one weighing as the tolerance range for the powder is quite tight.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Pattingham
    Posts
    808

    Alfa MLR

    When I fill my phials I use a Henry Krank small powder flask with a tiny nozzle that has been cut down to size so as to give the right measure. I can roughly adjust the amounts by various means-sticking things in the hole lol. I weigh out the powder on my digital scales for the first few and then line them up and do a visual check. I know that my load is accurate, I have weighed all my phials and they are (surprisingly) more or less identical in weight, consequently loaded phials should all weigh the same. Hence it is easy to check your charge is correct without hassle eg spilling powder.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Selby, Yorkshire
    Posts
    214
    I used a Lee powder thrower, never had an issue with repeatability.

    These days I've ditched the phials and use a dedicated dispenser. Derek at Anvil Conversions does them. I already owned one of Derek's Remington .44 nitro conversions and the dispenser for than gun worked very well so I ordered a second dispenser for the Alfa. Not cheap but they certainly work and are much more convenient than the phials.

    Details on his page http://anvilconversions.co.uk/

    Cheers!
    Paul.
    NSRA and NRA qualified RCO.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Maidstone, Kent
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLINT3 View Post
    It's like having and shooting a REAL gun from the good old days.
    Get extra cylinders if you can. I use Cheddite primers and Herco. Get a set of phials to transport your pre-measured powder, as many as possible (I've got about 50) or there is a chap on eeebay that sells a plastic device that loads all 6 cylinders at once. I use 148grn HBWC bullets or 140grn 'Cowboy' flat base with around 3.3 grns of the Herco atm but I will be experimenting a bit more with lighter and heavier charge when I get the time. Get a good accurate scale preferably with 'grains' as well as 'grams'.
    You will probably experience cylinder jam if you try to shoot much double action due to either badly seated primers or blow back causing primers to jump back. It can be alleviated somewhat by selecting and separating your loose or tight primers and seeing which ones are best for you. In single action it's not so much of a problem. Plenty of info on web btw.
    Enjoy, I do.
    Me, I sell em, contact me if you want any
    Itís sometimes best to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid rather than open your mouth and dispel all doubtÖ

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Pattingham
    Posts
    808

    Me, I sell em, contact me if you want any

    So how much? cheaper than eebay I would think, with no selling fees or paypal charge to consider (he said hopefully) plus fellow shootist discount lol.
    Put a pic up so we can see what they looky likey.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2008
    Location
    Maidstone, Kent
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    As they are new I don't think I am allowed to advertise them on here, but if you happen to look on the bay at 272379827333 you might just see them. Contact me via PM and yes they will be a bit cheaper direct....

    Dave
    Itís sometimes best to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid rather than open your mouth and dispel all doubtÖ

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Birmingham
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    Just picked up my Alfa from Alan What a true gent and I'm very pleased with the look and feel of the pistol - takes me back 20 years !

    Now I've just got to wait until tomorrow to shoot it

  11. #11
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    Feb 2016
    Location
    Pattingham
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    Alfa

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
    Just picked up my Alfa from Alan What a true gent and I'm very pleased with the look and feel of the pistol - takes me back 20 years !

    Now I've just got to wait until tomorrow to shoot it
    Where do you shoot?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    521
    I shoot at Wedgnock ranges in Warwick.

    Shot 60 rounds today with no jams or issues at all. Went bang every time with both single and double action

    Couple of lessons I learned was I need to get a clamp to clamp down the back of the bullet loader so it doesn't tip over, and put some tape on the loader handle to make it more comfortable to use.

    The Cheddite primers that Alan supplied all worked fine - I wasn't aware until he told me that shotgun primers come in different strengths and that the pistol should only use the lightest ones (CX50 for Cheddite).

    I also need some baby-wipes as while theres no shooting residue, my hands got very dirty from handling the lubed wadcutters.

    I mostly shot the solid-base 148gr wadcutters over 3gr Herco and tried a few hollow bases and some 3.2gr Herco as well. Today was more of a function test - next time I go I'll start working up the load for accuracy.

    All-in-all I'm very pleased and can't wait to try it again !

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Birmingham
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    Couple of maintenance questions,

    How are people cleaning the chambers in the cylinder ?

    Whats a good lubricant for the cylinder/yoke so it spins smoothly ?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2022
    Location
    Newbury
    Posts
    7

    Westlake Alfa powder dispensers

    Quote Originally Posted by CLINT3 View Post
    So how much? cheaper than eebay I would think, with no selling fees or paypal charge to consider (he said hopefully) plus fellow shootist discount lol.
    Put a pic up so we can see what they looky likey.
    Hi Clint -

    Are you still doing these? No, I donít want to buy any, Iíve designed and printed my own which Iíve been using successfully, and Iíve sold a few at my club.
    If youíre still selling them then Iím not going to tread on your toes, but if youíve given up and thereís still a demand, then Iíll try selling mine. I did look on eebayy but couldnít see a current advert.

    Regards - Richard.
    The only source of speedloaders for the Taurus .22 revolver.

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