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Are Hard Cast Bullets Best

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by J&S Custom Bullets, Nov 30, 2009.

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  1. J&S Custom Bullets

    J&S Custom Bullets Member

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    Hi, I'd like to show every body an article about cast bullet alloys. It talks about whether or not cast bullets have to be as hard as most people make them, and does it hinder performance when they are.
    http://www.sixguns.com/crew/obturation.htm
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    The general misconception these days is harder is better. Harder can be worse, just the same as too soft. I don't need to read the article to know that, but I will just the same. :)
     
  3. MissouriBullet

    MissouriBullet Member

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    Fryxell's article

    As noted in the original co-posting of this article on lasc.org's site ("This article reprinted with permission of Glen E. Fryxell and Sixguns.com"), it was placed there by permission of of the folks at John Taffin's Sixguns.com website. Probably it shouldn't be put up on the web by someone who didn't get permission to do so from either Glen or Mr. Taffin.

    Here's the original link to the article on lasc.org, and which contains the permission verbiage: http://www.lasc.us/FryxellCBAlloyObturation.htm
     
  4. Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets

    Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets member

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    Acceptance of softer based alloys was a direct result of the popularity of Cowboy Action Shooting and their findings that you did not need super hard cast bullets to shoot well at lower velocities. Up untill that time , it had been an ongoing battle to educate customers as to proper alloys and their applications.
    By offering 4 different alloys to cover the range of Blackpowder applications to high pressure silver based alloys for .454 Casulls and other high powered magnums we were able to convey the message better than other casters offering only one alloy which was usually the standard hard 18 bhn mix.
    Fryxells comment that the differance of velocity between the softer bullet and the harder bullet is based on blowby is inaccurate. Most hard cast bullets were oversized to have an effective seal.
    The differance is explained by the fact that the softer bullet is slightly heavier and more pressure is produced and the resistance of the harder bullet is higher than the softer bullet which is a more accurate indicator of the velocity differances. We see the same effect between jacketed bullets that run a 35 bhn on the jacket material and hard cast lead that runs in the 18-22 bhn range. Less resistance eqauls higher velocity all other factors being equal.

    Today more customers than ever before are aware of the benefits of chosing the correct alloy for their intended application.
     
  5. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I buy commerical cast bullets which are in the range 15 BHM. They don't lead.

    I had some Bull-X "hardcast" bullets in 45ACP. I did not have a tester then, but they were hard.

    And they leaded in the throats of my 45ACP's.

    A shooting bud told me his experience with pure lynotype bullets was not good.
     
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Match the hardness (BHN) to the pressure(PSI) with bullet dia. .001" over groove dia. with proper lube, NRA type 50/50/. IMO [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
     
  7. Gadzooks Mike

    Gadzooks Mike Member

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    It's very easy to figure out, but the fact is, you must figure it out. There isn't anything magic to BHN, just a formula.

    Here's a definition of Brinell Hardness Number (BHN) from businessdictionary.com: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/Brinell-hardness-BH-test.html

    It's a long definition but basically BHN is pressure measured in Kilograms/millimeter^2

    To convert from Kg/mm to PSI, you can multiply by 1422
    (Note to penpal - this is PSI, not CUP)

    PSI=BHN (or Kg/mm) x 1422

    90% of that is optimum for cast bullets, so the final formula to use is:

    PSI=BHN*1422*.9

    All you have to do is figure out your load pressure, then select the correct hardness. Or if you have a bunch of bullets sitting around to use, you can create a load of the proper pressure to use.

    If it was only the weight of the bullet, the accuracy wouldn't be effected with the change in BHN like it is. The only way accuracy could be effected is because of the obturation, i.e. the pressure acting on a given hardness.

    When I use the word "accuracy" here, I'm really saying "grouping" as, all else being equal, the heavier bullet will show more drop. Grouping should remain the same, however.

    I have proven this to my satisfaction using my 303 Savage, .309" lead bullets of a known BHN and different loads of pistol powder to increase or decrease the pressure. Small changes of quick powder such in a rifle changes pressure without doing much for velocity.

    People using Unique with their 30-30 plinking loads will agree with this in a heartbeat. At some point up the scale, bullets start flying erratic, but some weight just below that is a sweet spot that's extremely accurate.
     
  8. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Interesting, that we have 3 commercial bullet casters here.:) Yes, the proper bullet hardness is determined by the amount of pressure of the load used. Also, while bullet diameter is typically .001" over bore diameter in handgun loads, in many cases, rifle loads will find greater accuracy at .002" over bore diameter. My .30 Carbine just loves hard cast (BHN 23) plain base bullets sized to .310".

    Don
     
  9. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    I feel tin is needed in any alloy because of what Lyman has said. As little as .5% tin would seem to work for very light target loads with 2% antimony. :confused:
     
  10. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Ther really is no "Best", it is just different hardness work best with different applications.

    Short answer if sticking with commercial cast or swagged bullets.

    Use softer bullets for low pressure cartridges like the .38 spl and .45 acp. They will lead less and work well. Hard cast leads at low pressues that don't obturate the bullet base to seal in the bore.

    Use hard cast for loading magnum cartridges with magnum loads (high pressure & high velocity). Hard cast will lead less or not at all while softe bullets will lead heavily.

    If you cast and size your own bullets and match size to your bore, leading can often be avoided despite the bullet being harder or softer.
     
  11. NuJudge

    NuJudge Member

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    Usually a harder bullet will cost more Tin and Antimony to produce, which can be a major expense. I've never found an application where a hard bullet of sufficient diameter would not shoot well.

    I like hard bullets, and they work for me.
     
  12. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

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    If I had to list them in importance, then FIT would be first on the list, and BHN would be second. I use a 10 bhn alloy for my rifle bullets because it will expand when I'm hunting. And I like to practice with what I'm going to use to hunt. But if I want to avoid heavy leading I have to size it correctly for the rifle and keep the velocity to a reasonable level.
     
  13. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

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    Hardcast today is different than hardcast a few decades ago. Keith used a BHN of 12 or so for his .44 Magnum loads and that was hardcast. Now we can cast alloys up to 22 BHN and harder.

    I personally have no use for bullets harder than 15 BHN. When I was a commercial bullet caster, my alloy was 15 BHN.

    Too many people don't understand the basic dynamics of lead bullets and it's a waste of time trying to educate them. It's getting better but those that know better cast themselves.
     
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep. There was swaged (soft) and cast (hard), thus "hard cast bullets"
     
  15. twice barrel

    twice barrel Member

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    I agree. We used a good "fingernail" test and then miked the bullets when still warm and then a few days later once cold. I remember wheel weights not being much good for anything than 38 wadcutters at low velocities or they would lead about as bad as swaged lead did. But wall sheathing and cable sheathing with a little wheel weight lead and 5% by weight of tin (from solder or babbit) made for a good slick bullet and leading was a non-issue even in my 44 Mag B92 or my 30/30 Marlin 336T.

    But its becoming clearer to me that folks know a whole lot more about it now than we did in 1981 when I was really "into it".

    TB
     
  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I used wheelweights with some 95/5 solder mixed in. I still have a good bit of those "bars" left, although some are shaped like muffins. ;)
     
  17. USSR

    USSR Member

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    I do the same thing. Wheelweights benefit by adding a little extra tin to it.

    Don
     
  18. Gryffydd

    Gryffydd Member

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    From the linked blogspot:
    Let me fix that up for you...


    You may be wondering if there is any cast bullet manufacturer that sells softer than normal bullets. Well, I sure haven't seen to many but there is one, J&S Bullets. [strike]There[/strike] Our bullets have a bhn of 10 and they use the Micro Band technology (which [strike]they[/strike] I tell more about at [strike]there[/strike] my site). Heres there link


    Oh, and check out my sig!
     
  19. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    "Here's" or "Here is" as well. ;) :D
     
  20. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

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    Seems to me the OP's bullets are simply Lee's tumble lube design with an exciting name. Looks like straight up alox lube too.
     
  21. Gryffydd

    Gryffydd Member

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    That was my impression as well.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Could just be the photography, but the nose looks like it might be just a tad sharper. Plus, they're labeled as "custom" so they couldn't possibly be the same ;)
     
  22. J&S Custom Bullets

    J&S Custom Bullets Member

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    Yes we do use Lee's mold and liquid alox. We've edited our site to show exactly what we are selling. We want to run an honest and upright business.
     
  23. MissouriBullet

    MissouriBullet Member

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    I think you may be onto something with this hardness-optimized bullet thing. Darn! Why didn't I think of that??
     
  24. Roccobro

    Roccobro Member

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    LOL M.B.!!!

    Justin
     
  25. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    For those of you that don't cast your own, you have some great choices right here in this thread to get your cast bullets from. For those of us that cast our own, we have good resources here to learn from. I thank you all for contributing here and answering whatever you can so we can all learn something from you.
     
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