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casting bullets

James1981James1981 Member Posts: 41 ✭✭
So just started casting for my 45-70,And I got some wheel weights and cast my first 50,and wow after 5 or so they started droping nice,so in the melt I used some tin solider with 95% Sn and 5% Sb,at first it was an 11 Bnh and guess the needed to be harder for say running up to 40,000 cup, so I heated to 460 for an hour and quenched them and tested again and the hardness after that was 14 bnh, so tested today and wow!22.7 bnh so my question is how hard should I be going for if I want to hunt elk and bear with this bullet shooting top loads and also plan on using h4198 any other sugestions on powder will be helpfull,I have read a lot and see some guide lines to use and think I am on the right track. thanks....

Comments

  • m113103m113103 Member Posts: 35 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Are you using a gas check? Watch out that you don't make them too hard or they will shatter upon impact. When you get a chance if you haven't already done it read Lymans cast bullet handbook. They have a wealth of information on bullet hardness vs. bullet performance. You will invest enough time and money on your hunt without having bullet problems.
  • chigerchiger Member Posts: 40 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hey James,

    To tell the truth man, bullet hardness is more about not fowling your rifling than any need for game penetration. I can tell you for fact that a 99.9% assay pure lead 229 grain patched round ball fired from a .54 cal with 50 grains of BP will punch a 1" hole through 3/8" plate steel at 25 yards. So I'm thinking your not going to run into any steel reinforced bear or elk. ;~)

    M is right though. Lyman's cast bullet guide is a great place to start. I don't remember off hand what the percentage of tin was (been a few years and I'm getting older), but I can tell you I followed their recommendations. Poured a couple thousand and I'm still shooting the ones I poured for my 357 magnum. And I load them as full magnum rounds. No fowling problems at all.

    Wheel weights already have a bit of tin (Sn) in them, maybe as much as 10-15%, but it's really unknown and varies by manufacture. Then your adding solder, which is a know. It's gonna be hard to get an accurate alloy unless you start with a known. The best thing to do is to be conservative and assume the wheel weights are something less than 10% and then add enough high tin solder by weight to get the alloy up to what they recommend.

    Oh, and stay away from solder that's high in zinc (Zn) if you can. Zinc, like lead is highly prone to oxidation. You'll get a layer of tarnish/oxidation on um in short order that will change the skin hardness and cause bore fowling. Just use the highest tin, copper alloy solder you can find. Should be fine.

    chiger,
  • mazo kidmazo kid Member Posts: 648 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'm thinking your straight wheel weight alloy would be fine for hunting. You don't want to just punch a hole through, you need some expansion also so as to expend that energy as well as make a hole(s) for blood loss. Just my 2 cents worth.
  • m113103m113103 Member Posts: 35 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I used to compete in PPC shooting and shot between 2 to 3 thousand rounds a year. We shot lead bullets. The shooters learned that after your bore smooths out you got your best accuracy by not cleaning your barrel until the season was over. We didn't have a leading problem. The only one that had a problem were the ones that were trying to drive plain base bullet at + 1000fps without a gas check. The commercial casters use a alloy specified by Magna Eng. I used to know a commercial caster and he traded his scrap lead to the scrap yard for bullet alloy. This way he knew exactly what his lead was. I then realized that the savings from using scrap lead was lost quickly if you ruined your mold.
  • chigerchiger Member Posts: 40 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hey guys,

    I agree with what both mazo and M said completely. If all you are shooting in your 45/70 is 70 grains of black powder...wheel weights will not give you heavy lead fowling. And you will still get some deformation for better knockdown energy.

    The reason I mention the need for alloying is that James mentioned 40,000 cup. Those are the kinds of pressures for a 458 Winchester Magnum with a 500 grain bullet. That, or some kind of special BIG old bullet in front of that 70 grains of BP. Either way a higher tin content would serve him well. A big, slow, black powder load will need some help with penetration at any distance past 75-100 yards on big animals.

    And as M says, fowling the rifling isn't a problem unless you start shooting high pressure smokeless powders. 40,000 cup would be a 1600-1800 fps smokeless 45/70 load, depending on the bullet size. In that case lead fowling the barrel would be a real possibility. Then you do need higher tin alloy castings or you will get significant fowling as M says.

    To answer your question about powder recommendations James, need to know the bullet weight, tin content and exactly which 45/70 gun you'll be shooting it through. I mean, my speer manual list a load for 52 grains of RE7 powder with a 400 grain jacketed bullet that will have 1860 fps muzzle velocity. That...is a big fast bullet well in excess of 40,000 cup. I wouldn't shoot it with a cast bullet for money!

    The load is designed for modern guns like a new Marlin 1895 or Ruger No.1 with 1-20 twist and a copper jacketed bullet with a .214 ballistic coefficient. They do not recommend it for Winchester 1886 rifles unless they are in excellent condition and no falling blocks at all. So it makes a difference what gun bullet type and bullet weight.

    Also, any cast or any nonjacketed bullet WILL increase the cup pressure...maybe beyond what your rifle can stand. Could blow yourself up or split your barrel. Ouch!!! Not good.

    I could and will if you really want, recommend a safe load from one of my manuals. But if I were you, I'd just buy a reloading manual. Or download one, but get the information and be very cautious with high pressure loads and cast bullets. It's dangerous.

    chiger,
  • James1981James1981 Member Posts: 41 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    The rifle is a new marlin 1895 gs, and I plan on using smokless powder, and I do have other loads that are jacketed and I have done some loads , and I'm not to max and got it shooting 1.5" groups at 100 yards,so no need to push those loads any more,time to play with something new, so the cast bullets is next in line.and realy at 6' and 240lbs I can take the punishment from a 500 grain slug from lee #90577, next on the list will be layman's new book but the more I know the better,and as for the leading I do not have a problem cleaing after a few shots,and when I get going I will test how they will act on some wet phone books,the way I see it that the size of the bullet is bigger than most average 30 cals. will mushroom,so all of your knowledge will be helpfull to find a nice safe load, and to talk about with you guys here.. thanks
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