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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am currently loading Missouri 200gr lswc (12BHN). Loads are 4.7g WST 1.250/.470 and 4.9g 231 1.250/.470. I know these will not make PF. I was going to load 5.3g/5.5g of 231 1.250/4.470 and 4.0g clays 1.250/.470, but im not sure if I can reach PF with these bullets w/o leading my barrel. So at what point/powder load do I move to the 18 bhn or will I be able to get PF out of the 12bhn?? thoughts & experiences please....:scratch:
 

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I've shot max data loads with WST & WSF with those bullets(12br) and had no leading issues at all.
Both were well over major.

The 18br IDPA leaded the barrel moderately until I was pushing them pretty hard.

That is my experience with my SA 1911.
 

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I regularily shoot 830 fps, 200grn, 12BRN, LSWC with WST(and I'm sure WSF will as well) without leading. These are bullets that I alloy/cast myself and I use a somewhat soft bullet lube. I use the same alloy/lube for 147 grn, 9mm @870 FPS but a much slower powder. Both offer great accuracy too! (I have not measured groove diameter or bullet diameter!)

John
 

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I cast mine to about 18 BHN and am very satisfied with them. They group perfectly (when my grouping fu is strong), fly straight and don't lead. Too soft and it can damage the bullet's nose/meplat during feeding. These are SAECO 200gr. LSWC's at 860fps.
 

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I cast my own bullets with pure Clip on Wheel weights. It is said that they are roughly BHN of 12.

I have pushed these to over 1000fps in my 45s and over 1200fps in my 10mm without leading issues. That is of course after I got the sizing down pat.

Personally, I don't think a BHN of 18 is needed in the 45 acp. Proper fit is far more important than BHN.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thats good my sizing is good. so im gonna load some with clays and give it a try. now to get a chronogragh set up. cant keep borrowing one..lol
 

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I am currently loading Missouri 200gr lswc (12BHN). Loads are 4.7g WST 1.250/.470 and 4.9g 231 1.250/.470. I know these will not make PF. I was going to load 5.3g/5.5g of 231 1.250/4.470 and 4.0g clays 1.250/.470, but im not sure if I can reach PF with these bullets w/o leading my barrel. So at what point/powder load do I move to the 18 bhn or will I be able to get PF out of the 12bhn?? thoughts & experiences please....:scratch:

You can't push soft bullets too hard without leading. On the other hand, you have to push hard bullets hard enough to get them to upset enough to solidly fill the lands and grooves and not lead things up. With soft bullets, its the softness moving too fast that strips the lead in the bore; with hard bullets its the hot gas blowing past the base when it doesn't fill the grooves that leaves the lead behind.

You might want to try using a 230 gr. bullet of moderate hardness (about 15) and make sure it is filling the grooves (minimum of .452"). That should make it easier to make major without leading because you won't have to push them quite as hard as a 200 gr. I've also found that using a gas check on hard bullets when you're pushing them hard helps seal the bore and prevent gas cutting, and at least in my .45 Colt gives better accuracy.
 

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A whole lot of internet text has been devoted the last few years regarding matching BHN to velocity. It has been hyped as the start point in eliminating lead fouling in handgun bores. It was more or less energetically propagated by a couple of boys on the left coast and really gained a boatload of traction over on the castboolit (whatever a "boolit" is beyond gunboard urbanics) Forum.

This is a steaming pantload!!

Nobody ever talks about the effects of changing alloy hardness on as-cast bullet diameters, the effects on surface hardness by running your bullets thru the sizing die of a sizer/lubricator because cast bullets are not of uniform hardness throughout or a number of other of significant factors. The overriding concern always seems to be alloy hardness.

NOT!

The controlling concerns with regards to the bullets are that the be correctly sized to the bore's groove diameter (the chamber throats in the case of revolvers) and that they carry the correct type and amount of lubricant. The manufacture, loading and shooting of cast bullets is an old, old technology and the basics of shooting cast bullets at velocities up 1,500 fps without undo bore fouling were learned decades ago and without the aid of BHN vs velocity charts, XL spreadsheets or algebra formulas and pocket calculators.

This notion that hard cast bullets will invariably cause lead fouling at low velocities is patently false. Cast bullets may be unnecessarily hard with regard to the prevention of bore fouling but almost never too hard. A bullet which needs to "obturate" in order to seal a bore is undersized by definition and is usually masking another issue such as oversized cylinder throats & constricted barrels just ahead of the forcing cone in revolvers or auto pistol barrels of poor quality. Barrels which are just plain rough or exhibit copper fouling with generally not shoot lead bullets without leading problems.

For new cast bullet shooters & loaders, the best course of action is to not overthink this exercise and use the KISS methodology when starting out. Determine your gun's groove diameter, order quality bullets of medium or higher hardness .001" larger than the groove diameter and be sure the bullet you order holds a large amount of high quality lubricant. Quality is defined by how well it works while traveling down the firearm's bore and not how easy it is to apply or how well it stays on the bullet during shipping & handling.

;)

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So bruce what your saying is as long as my bullets are the right diameter (which thet are) i should be able to produce greater velocities ( no where near 1500 fps) without worry of leading my barrel, even though i have the "softer" bullets? just clarifying not confronting.
 

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A whole lot of internet text has been devoted the last few years regarding matching BHN to velocity. It has been hyped as the start point in eliminating lead fouling in handgun bores. It was more or less energetically propagated by a couple of boys on the left coast and really gained a boatload of traction over on the castboolit (whatever a "boolit" is beyond gunboard urbanics) Forum.

This is a steaming pantload!!

Nobody ever talks about the effects of changing alloy hardness on as-cast bullet diameters, the effects on surface hardness by running your bullets thru the sizing die of a sizer/lubricator because cast bullets are not of uniform hardness throughout or a number of other of significant factors. The overriding concern always seems to be alloy hardness.

NOT!

The controlling concerns with regards to the bullets are that the be correctly sized to the bore's groove diameter (the chamber throats in the case of revolvers) and that they carry the correct type and amount of lubricant. The manufacture, loading and shooting of cast bullets is an old, old technology and the basics of shooting cast bullets at velocities up 1,500 fps without undo bore fouling were learned decades ago and without the aid of BHN vs velocity charts, XL spreadsheets or algebra formulas and pocket calculators.

This notion that hard cast bullets will invariably cause lead fouling at low velocities is patently false. Cast bullets may be unnecessarily hard with regard to the prevention of bore fouling but almost never too hard. A bullet which needs to "obturate" in order to seal a bore is undersized by definition and is usually masking another issue such as oversized cylinder throats & constricted barrels just ahead of the forcing cone in revolvers or auto pistol barrels of poor quality. Barrels which are just plain rough or exhibit copper fouling with generally not shoot lead bullets without leading problems.

For new cast bullet shooters & loaders, the best course of action is to not overthink this exercise and use the KISS methodology when starting out. Determine your gun's groove diameter, order quality bullets of medium or higher hardness .001" larger than the groove diameter and be sure the bullet you order holds a large amount of high quality lubricant. Quality is defined by how well it works while traveling down the firearm's bore and not how easy it is to apply or how well it stays on the bullet during shipping & handling.

;)

Bruce

The only fly in that ointment is that you can't always get cast bullets that are properly sized for your pistol. Most people who shoot lead, don't cast their own, so they're kind of at the mercy of whatever bullet maker they can find. In addition, every gun is different, and sometimes even if you have the right size and good lube, they still don't shoot for crap. Following the conventional wisdom of .002" over groove diameter works maybe 2/3 of the time. The rest of the time its a crap shoot. I ran into that with my Blackhawk .45 Colt. The throats are .4535", groove diameter is .452". I can't get .454" bullets to shoot very well, nor does the gun like plain base Keith style profile. But, it purrs like a kitten with .453" WFN-GC. Dead soft 255 hollow base lead shoots great at .454" because the pressure is blowing the HB skirts out into the rifling, but I sure wouldn't want to push them over about 850.
 

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Boomer, it is not as much about hardness (most of the time) is what I think Bruce was trying to establish. Hardness matters to a degree, depending on many factors, but there are other variables at paly also. As an example, my cast 200gr. LSWC or 200gr. RNHP are cast at 9.2 BNH, sized at .4525", lubed with a good lube, and do not lead any of my 1911 barrels when shot at 960 fps using a medium speed powder. If I change that to a fast powder, even at a reduced 900fps, I start to see some leading. If I were to switch to a revolver, especially if that revolver had a constriction at the barrel-frame junction, I would probably get leading no matter what bullet size or load I used (or even alloy hardness). Some cast bullet makers will size to your specs, but that isn't always necessary. Try some different kinds first, and if you have no problems with them then you are overthinking this; if you do have problems we can try to walk you through to a solution. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Granpa, I think I have a a hold of it for the most part. I have had issues when I first started loading lead. But im just trying to get a head of this while im trying to make power factor for competition. I do appreciate the more elaborate explanations from everyone it has helped. I have three different combinations loaded and plan on getiing some 230 gr. RN also to try but I really do like the nice holes the swc make,,,lol I will more than likely be hitting you guys up for more info. hopefully not too soon. The members of this site really do help with the learning curve. thanks again, Boomer

p.s. if anyone has more recipes or combinations I am willing to take them under advisement also
 

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The fly in every ointment is that some guns are just not suited for excellent cast bullet shooting as the come from the factory and either have to be relegated to the jacketed bullet only list, the needs the attention of the gunsmith list or the "I'll try to do what I can do" list which usually proves to be less than satisfactory. Then again, as in all things in life, it all depends on what you're satisfied with. For my part, I could never buy cast bullets from a commercial caster locally which were of very high quality and in the shapes I wanted. That's why I began casting my own. Driving bands were never fully filled out from bullet to bullet, lube would be missing from grease grooves, weights varied too much for my liking from bullet to bullet, etc.. Unfortunately, I soon found that casting your own substituted one set of problems for another for awhile but those eventually went away.

It, incidentally, is not unusual to find .45 cal.(especially) revolvers with mismatched cylinder throats. Guns of prewar and early postwar vintage are the worst. Rugers can be problematical but not nearly as much as Colts and S&W's. The GC bullets would not foul regardless of alloy used because the bases cannot melt and the GC limits the "obturation" most fall back on. The HB swaged lead bullets like you described were made specifically for this situation going all the way back to the 1880's and earlier for rifles. Revolvers in other chamberings; not so much and issues seem to be more on a case by case basic.

Anybody here give any thought to what happens to the as-cast diameter of a bullet dropped from a mold designed to produce a .452" diameter using linotype (BHN 21) and then switching to a BHN 9 alloy?

Just curious.

Bruce
 

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So bruce what your saying is as long as my bullets are the right diameter (which thet are) i should be able to produce greater velocities ( no where near 1500 fps) without worry of leading my barrel, even though i have the "softer" bullets? just clarifying not confronting.
Bruce is right on,lube is what prevents leading. Not hardness.OR diameter. I run 130 gr. SWC's in my .38 Super. My bullet supplier offers them in .356,.357,and .358 diameters. All ,over the nominal .355" "standard dia." Many nines shoot better with bullets of greater than bore diameter. This guy has been building race guns for decades,and knows the ins and outs of cast bullet performace.Mine likes .357",and shoots lights out with them. Driving them at 1150 fps. No leading. Same with my 200 gr SWC's in the .45,at .452 dia.,shoot 'em by the thousands at 870 fps,spotless bore.
 

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Anybody here give any thought to what happens to the as-cast diameter of a bullet dropped from a mold designed to produce a .452" diameter using linotype (BHN 21) and then switching to a BHN 9 alloy?

Just curious.

Bruce
The BNH 9 alloy will drop at a smaller diameter; the more pure the lead in the alloy, the more the shrinkage as it cools.
 

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I am currently loading Missouri 200gr lswc (12BHN). Loads are 4.7g WST 1.250/.470 and 4.9g 231 1.250/.470. I know these will not make PF. I was going to load 5.3g/5.5g of 231 1.250/4.470 and 4.0g clays 1.250/.470, but im not sure if I can reach PF with these bullets w/o leading my barrel. So at what point/powder load do I move to the 18 bhn or will I be able to get PF out of the 12bhn?? thoughts & experiences please....:scratch:
Can we assume that you have a chronograph. You really need to chrono your loads as you work them up. First to achieve the velocity to reach pf. And then see if you have leading. I don't consider mild leading to be a problem if everything else is very good. In other words, I wouldn't scrap a load that was accurate and gave me pf just because of minor leading. Lead is very easy to remove.
 

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The BNH 9 alloy will drop at a smaller diameter; the more pure the lead in the alloy, the more the shrinkage as it cools
Roger that!

That shrinkage is a co-efficient, that is a percentage or a factor that the nominal diameter is multiplied by to get the as-cast diameter. If you're dealing with a larger caliber bullet to begin with such as a .45, the actual deviation in inches from the "rated" diameter is greater than when you're dealing with a smaller caliber such as a .30 or 9mm. Most molds, whether cut with cherries or CNC'd or EDM'd assume the caster will be using either Lyman #2 or Linotype. If you start dropping down to BHN alloys of 9 or even lower with standard .452" diameter molds, you are not going to be dropping .452" bullets unless your molds were out of spec to begin with.

Then there is what happens to the driving bands after running bullets thru the sizing dies of a sizer/lubricator because cast bullets are not of equal hardness throughout. Actually, these tools are for ensuring bullets are round and not for bringing oversized bullets down to size. So, the goal is not to obtain molds which drop minimum .454" diameter bullets with all of your various alloys and then swage the bullets down to the diameter needed for a particular gun. It is actually exactly the opposite with the optimum condition being using the bullets in an as-cast condition with the lubricator/sizer tool only applying lube.

Something to think about.

Bruce
 

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BruceM - great to see someone who understands the relationship between the "as dropped" size and the "after sizer/lubricator" result. Most often, the less sizing that happens in the sizer/lubricator, the better.
Having said that, most of the molds I have from the early/late 70's dropped bullets very close to the sizer die dimensions, resulting in small amount of sizing and mostly lube application, one of the reasons I think many of the older molds give fewer problems with leading. Many of the recent general-production manufacture molds, from what I've read, have had issues with consistency cavity-to-cavity and overall actual-to-advertised size. Probably a very good reason some of the custom mold makers are now backlogged on orders by 6 - 18 months.
Long ago (back when brass was cheaper than iron or steel), molds were often made of brass, and the benefits of brass for a mold material was forgotten when iron/steel molds were brought on the scene. For anyone who has experienced the consistency of bullets that drop from one of the newer brass custom mold makers, it is a rediscovery that is "light bulb" time, and the ability to specify the "as-cast" diameter for a specific alloy has re-opened a door into bullet casting that was once almost forgotten.
Stay safe, shoot straight.

G50
 

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So bruce what your saying is as long as my bullets are the right diameter (which thet are) i should be able to produce greater velocities ( no where near 1500 fps) without worry of leading my barrel, even though i have the "softer" bullets? just clarifying not confronting.
Sorry to highjack the thread but this is what I'm saying. As long as the bullets are sized correctly and carry the correct amount of high quality lubricant, hardness is way,way down on the list of things to worry about and not anywhere near a primary concern. I have shot cast bullets in .45 auto's made from alloys ranging from wheelweights with a little 50/50 solder added to straight lino (from the foundry pigs and not the burned out linotype machine slugs) at 750 fps paper punching velocities without leading. The bullets must be of correct size and lubed properly however. There are those that would have you believe that the linotype slugs would have turned the barrel of my pistol into a smooth bore in short order because of this "obturation" bunk but this is nonsense.

Now, in the case of guns which have mechanical issues such as revolvers with mismatched cylinder throats, you can putz around with the softer alloys as a work around all you want. I will not say that some haven't found varying degrees of success because they have. However, having said that, you are, in fact dealing with a work around and in a lot of cases, no amount of tinkering with the alloy will resolve a problem with a gun just not suitable for shooting cast bullets with a great degree of accuracy. Then there are the problems with as-cast diameters when changing alloys, the effects of sizing dies on surface hardness, the effects of frosting on as-cast diameters and a whole bunch of other things to look at if you really want to get beyond the KISS methodology of cast bullet loading & shooting. BHN vs velocity is really one of the least of the beginners worries.

Bruce
 
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