Slow or faster powder for a softer alloy


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horseman1
July 13, 2013, 04:23 PM
Hi,

I have some hollow point cast bullets in 215gr .452 diameter for use in my 1911 in 45 acp . I later discovered that these bullets are 10 BHN. This makes for quite a soft bullet.

In Richard Lee's Modern Reloading Second Edition, Richard goes to some trouble to explain that the pressure (and not the velocity) is what will cause the lead bullet to deform too much and become inaccurate at higher pressures. Also of course, cause other issues. He provides a chart (for lead rifle loads) that identifies the neighborhood of pressure one should shoot for for maximum accuracy with bullet of various BHN.

In my case, I will be willing to do the work, and work up a proper load as per usual. The only question I have is whether it is best to use a fast burning powder (like WST for example), or a slower burning powder (Longshot as an example) to keep the pressure down and still achieve an accurate and usable load in the end with a bullet this soft.

It seems like a lot of people use fast burning powders with lead, and this seems to conflict with what I understood from the Lee manual. However, I imagine most of the bullets are made of a harder alloy than this one :).

What do you think about a powder selection for this soft of a bullet?

Thanks!

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vongh
July 13, 2013, 04:29 PM
I use bullseye for cast .357 bullets and h110 for jacketed bullets. I don't own a 45 but this what I use and they both work better than ok. BTW I use wheelweights on the bullets I cast.

springer99
July 13, 2013, 04:41 PM
Those 10BHN bullets should work fine for you in a 45ACP. At the low velocities you'll be looking at, no need to go harder IMHO. I've never used WST, but according to most burn charts, it seems very close to TiteGroup. I use TiteGroup and W231/HP38 with good success in my 45's with cast loads, and actually prefer TiteGroup in this case.

USSR
July 13, 2013, 04:51 PM
In Richard Lee's Modern Reloading Second Edition, Richard goes to some trouble to explain that the pressure (and not the velocity) is what will cause the lead bullet to deform too much and become inaccurate at higher pressures. Also of course, cause other issues. He provides a chart (for lead rifle loads) that identifies the neighborhood of pressure one should shoot for for maximum accuracy with bullet of various BHN.

Have seen some of these charts which call for extremely hard bullets. It looks good on paper, but don't believe it. I load .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .38 Spl., and .357 Magnum, and none of my bullets are harder than 11 BHN. It's all about properly sized bullets and a good lube.

Don

popper
July 13, 2013, 04:56 PM
I shoot cast in 40, not 45. BHN 10 isn't pure, about what I use. 231 works, I think longshot is way too slow (won't burn well or completely). You want pressure to build slow enough to get it into the bore without smashing it, enough pressure to bump it up ALL the way through the bore. I haven't found Lee's formula to work. Just got a # of WST to try so I don't know how it will do. It is supposed to work in 45. BE & TG are close to WST. longshot is a tad faster than 2400, a 44mag & rifle powder. Hope that helps.

Jesse Heywood
July 13, 2013, 06:24 PM
Go ahead and work up some loads with your W231 and see how it does before buying another powder. Each gun shoots different and every barrel leads different so you can't be sure until you try a load.

Missionary
July 13, 2013, 07:16 PM
Greetings Horseman1
Mr. Lee is correct about bullet base pressure.
I have been around casting since I was 4 ( My dad and his navy Buddy) . I am now over 60 and hope I have learned a little about lead bullets.
Hit any metal with enough pressure and it will structurally fail. Lead of course is one of the softest. Have been loading my cast in 45 ACP since I bought my first one shortly after I ETS'd out of the "Pickle Suit" brigade in 1974. Have used 231, ACC #2, Bullseye, Unique (a favorite) ACC #5 and probably some others of the same burn rates of those listed in 1911's, a Sig 220 and a Colt Revolver.
So your bullet at 10 BN is not all that soft for the 45 ACP. I have shot pure lead with some tin (40-1) and it will work fine. As mentioned above Fit is primary. If your barrel is a fat one .452 groove and you load some .451 you will get a leason in lead mining. In a .451 barrel I load at least .452. I do my own casting, sizing and lubbing so I can deal with variables in barrels. But you want to stay no smaller than groove and .001 oversize will work great. Only problem could be a match chamber. They can be tight so see first if a dummy round will chamber.
In a 45ACP most any lube will work with the low pressures and the short barrel a 1911 has. I have use beeswax and olive oil and it works fine. Most any lube someone has applied to lead bullets intended for 45 ACP is probably going to be fine. 45 ACP + P is going to need more than beeswax.
As far as powder your 231 will be fine. Start low and work up. Your best accuracy will probably come about 80-90% . 45 ACP is such a low pressure round I do not see you having any troubles.
You might want to take a peak at the Castboolits site. Everything you could want to know about lead boolits. Great place to learn and investigate the truth about lead boolit shooting.
Mike in Peru

Sam1911
July 13, 2013, 07:53 PM
Here's Missouri Bullet Co's technical sheet on lead hardness and pressure: http://www.missouribullet.com/technical.php

Brad lays out the very simple equation to determine how much pressure you want to put under a bullet of any hardness. Then look up the load data at Hodgdon's web site to see about what charge of your powder should make about that much pressure.

That will give you the best chance of making any other factors (such as bullet fit to the bore diameter) minimally likely to induce leading.

If you hit the pressure sweet spot and you still get leading, I'd push the pressure UP slightly (especially if your bore slugs a bit large) to get the bullets to obdurate and fill the bore tightly.

TooManyToys
July 14, 2013, 01:47 PM
Horseman1,.. Well framed & informed question you posted.
Good factual responces by informed & experianced members.

Is this a great site or what !

horseman1
July 15, 2013, 11:55 AM
A great site indeed! Valuable experience and excellent information provided, plus links. Thanks to all!

According to the link and the formula provided I get this:

Optimum BHN = CUP / (1422 x .90)

Sticking 10 in for BHN...
10 BRN= CUP / (1422 x .90)
10 BHN = CUP/1279.8
1279.8 *10 = CUP
12798 = CUP

Starting loads for 230gr lead using W231 and Longshot (they dont list data for 215gr)

230 GR. LRN 231 .452" 1.200" 4.3 699 12,200 CUP

230 GR. LRN Longshot .452" 1.200" 6.0 747 12,000 CUP

Seems I may find the most accurate load at the lower end of the work up with either powder.

I've had good luck with W231 at the lower half of the load, so I think I will stick with it for these bullets.

The folks on this forum are really great. Thanks for helping a noob.

Sam1911
July 15, 2013, 12:14 PM
:) Good luck!

mikeglass1969
July 15, 2013, 01:50 PM
Good Luck. Please report back...

I am interested if this load is gonna be smoky for 231, so please note that.

Thanks

horseman1
July 16, 2013, 09:41 AM
Thanks guys. It will be a while before I get to test them out at the range, but I will report back if I can still find this thread when I get the time to go try them.

41 Mag
July 16, 2013, 06:29 PM
horseman1,

Not much to add in lieu of what has already been posted.

I can however say that I am running about that BHN in my 41, 44, and 45 Colt up to velocities around 1100 - 1250fps with several of the same powders mentioned above. In most cases I see no issues, but in the 41, it seems to only take a tiny bit more pressure to jack things up than the other two. It has a lot to do with the surface area of the base as well I figure.

With my ACP, I have run some 200gr HP's down to around a 7 or so BHN with no issues over a stout load of Unique. I have several other powders to play with, 231 being one of them I just haven't made up my mind to do so.

Good luck with yours. I am sure they will do just fine for you.

horseman1
September 9, 2013, 07:29 PM
Reporting back regarding the loads I made with this bullet (215 gr lead HP). I worked up to 5.2 gr of W231 and had good accuracy and little to no leading. Thanks all.

Mike - They did not smoke much. Similar to the other lead rounds with different bullets I made up using WST.

ArchAngelCD
September 10, 2013, 02:40 AM
Most of the cast bullets I shoot are between 10 and 12 BHN and I don't get leading in any of my handguns. I also use a lot of W231/HP-38 with cast bullets. I rarely push them above 900 fps except for the 9mm bullets which are ~1000 fps. (yes I know it's pressure that counts and not velocity)

Walkalong
September 10, 2013, 07:41 AM
It's hard to lead up a .45 ACP, unless the bullet is a terrible fit, or just obscenely hard, or the load is way to light. Softer is better for .45 ACP.

david bachelder
September 10, 2013, 09:24 AM
Every bullet I cast is a BHN of 10. I haven't seen any leading or sloppy performance.

I cast for my pistols only.

horseman1
September 10, 2013, 08:24 PM
Thanks for all the comments and sharing your experience with me. It is reassuring to know that I am getting similar results as people with your experience are getting.

I'll be moving to a place with its own shooting range very soon, so it wont take as long for the follow ups next time :).

918v
September 11, 2013, 11:52 AM
Elmer Keith developed the .44 Magnum using 11 BHN alloy. If that hardness is sufficient for magnum velocities and pressures, there is no need to go any harder with the .45 ACP unless you wanna see if you can get better accuracy. I have found that 18 BHN bullets and 12 BHN bullets do not shoot the same with the same powder charge. Some people claim that a real hard alloy is best in their gun, but I think it's only due to the individual load and gun they're using.

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