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Brinell Hardness, CUP, Gas Checks, Velocity, and Leading Questions

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by OregonJohnny, Aug 15, 2011.

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  1. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Member

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    I have just started learning about cast lead bullets, regarding their ideal and maximum Brinell hardness, and how it relates to leading in barrels, when factored together with a load's CUP.

    I've been wary of reloading with lead bullets, and have been fortunate to find pretty good deals locally on Hornady XTP bullets for my handgun loads. Up to now, I've been under the assumption that one shouldn't load plain base lead bullets to anything over 1,000 fps on a regular basis, as it will quickly lead the barrel.

    When I have bought lead bullets, they are either plain base bullets that I intend for cowboy loads under 900 fps, or I buy expensive gas checked hard cast bullets for heavy magnum loads. The XTP bullets fall somewhere in between.

    Now I'm looking to cut costs even more, and use bulk plain base lead bullets for my .44 Magnum loads. I want to be able to load 240-grain round flat point bullets for my Ruger revolvers and Marlin rifle, at velocities between 1,000 - 1,800 fps, at pressures between about 20,000 and 39,000 CUP.

    Can I get away with plain base lead bullets at a BH of 18 (such as those from Missouri Bullets) at these pressures/velocities without excessive leading?

    For reference, I probably won't shoot more than a couple hundred rounds at a time through any of these guns without cleaning them. But I don't want to have to worry about shooting 200 lead rounds, then having to do a major cleaning before shooting some jacketed bullets.

    Any help or advice is appreciated. :)
     
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I used to shoot lead in .44 Mag in my Winchester 94 without leading. I do not remember the BHN, but 18 is a good guess. It is a matter of bullet fit, pressure, and velocity. I shot water quenched bullets in .45 Colt at Ruger only levels without leading.

    No reason you can't do what you want with lead bullets and no gas check. Even if you have a bullet fit problem such as an over sized bore, you can use a poly filler to eliminate leading. Wax gas checks work great as well, but are a pain to u se.
     
  3. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    I'll try to help out with Richard Lee's info from his Modern Reloading 2nd Edition,

    A 44 Remington Magnum 240 gr lead bullet pushed to 1510 FPS with A MAXIMUM load of Hercules 2400 (now Alliant 2400) generates a pressure of 34,700 POUNDS PER SQUARE INCH.

    Going to his lead bullet hardness measurement chart that comes with the Lee Hardness tester, and the info chart on page 134 of the book, a bullet to handle that much pressure in PSI must be between 26 - 27.2 on the Brinell scale.

    I used 2400 becuase of it's common usage in the 44 Magnum and the velocity given was pistol data the velocity would be higher in the rifle.

    Wether or not the load quoted above would lead your guns is the question, barrel,throat chamber condition, bullet lube, all play a factor in not leading.

    Hope this sheds some light!
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  4. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Member

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    Missouri Bullet Company's website uses this formula for optimum BHN: CUP / (1422 x .90). So for the typical 32,000 - 38,000 CUP 44 Magnum load, that's an optimum Brinell hardness number of 27 (just like dagger dog says above). Why then does Missouri Bullet Company list their "44 magnum" bullets at a BHN of 18?

    I've been reading that Oregon Trail Cast Performance bullets are all at a BHN of 24. But they're MUCH more expensive than softer bullets elsewhere (almost double).

    Are these the bullets I need for factory-level 44 Magnum loads?
     
  5. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Load & shoot is the only way to know if PB cast is for you. Hodgdons website has rifle cast bullet loads at a maximum of 1434fps in a 20 inch barrel. Why no loads with w296 or IMR 4227 & cast, i dont know.
     
  6. Seedtick

    Seedtick Member

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    My son-in-law doesn't have any trouble with leading shooting MBC 18 BHN bullets in his 44 mag. Super Redhawk. His favorite is the .44 Elmer K and he stokes up some stout loads with 2400 and H110.

    I don't shoot a .44 but I shoot 'Ruger Only' loads in 45 Colt with Brad's Cowboy #1 and it is just 12 BHN. I don't think you'll have any problems with them. If in the off chance that you do the Gurus that frequent this joint will know how to fix it.

    Seedtick

    :)
     
  7. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    I shoot no gas check 44 Mag bullets in all three of my revolvers (Smith 29, 629, & Freedom Arms 10") and in my Winchester 94 lever action with no leading issues whatsoever. BHN is 16-18.
    When I want long range accuracy I do use and prefer flat based bullets with no bevel.

    I also shoot with no leading issues 500 S&W Mag, 350gr gas check bullets out of my Handi-Rifle at over 2100fps.

    MY powders of choice for 44 Mag is 2400 and AA4100, and for 500 S&W is AA4100 and IMR 4227. No need for magnum primers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  8. Super.45

    Super.45 Member

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    I found a wealth of info here at www.pennbullets.com regarding all types of cast bullets. Excellent bullets and very helpful service from the owner
    I just bought some325gr. .500 S&W bullets and the new 335gr. .475 bullets.
    Beautiful castings.
     
  9. ssyoumans

    ssyoumans Member

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    I drive the MBC smashers over 10.3gr of Unique for 1402fps out of my Marlin. I ran some up with Blue Dot up over 1525 but got leading in my barrel. I though about buying some gas checked bullets, but they were going to cost more than Hornady 240gr XTPs, which I can push to 1771 with a healthy dose of 296. So for me, lead at 1400 for plinking an the XTP's for hunting. The MBC's are very accurate out of my rifle, but have a different POI with the lower velocity.
     
  10. GP100man

    GP100man Member

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    I`ve had the gas check shank removed from a few of my molds , here`s a 358156 DC that I just got back !!

    [​IMG]

    The boolit must fit first no matter the hardness , hardness applies to the boolits ability to grab the rifling & start spinning .
    These 2 have to work together to have sucess with lead boolits , & the measurements have to be good on the revolver .

    I`ve yet found a table or graph that is working to the T , just too many variables
     
  11. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Member

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    This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you.

    Those MBC 240-grain Smashers are what I've been looking at. It sounds like I'll be fine with the BHN of 18, pushed at normal 44 Mag pressures and revolver speeds.

    I'm thinking that since I like keeping the XS ghost ring sights on my 1894 zeroed at 75 yards for my 240-grain XTPs at about 1700 fps, that's what I'll keep feeding it. An XTP over 296 powder is not exactly a plinking load, but I can always put a few of these MBC Smashers down the tube if I'm trying to have an economical shooting session. I'm assuming 30 or 40 rounds of the lead bullets at a time through the Marlin won't cause me too much grief, even at about 1400-1500 fps. Adjusting the sights back and forth for different loads is something I haven't ever really had to deal with. But I guess I should start getting used to it.
     
  12. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    I used to cast bullets for all my .38's AND .44 Special reloads.
    THEN, Missouri Bullets came along.
    It's good to have the "cast bullet "expirence" but I'm sure that you'll find that Missouri Bullets IS the way to go.
     
  13. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Member

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    If the .430" 240-grain MBC Smasher bullets with a BHN of 18 can start leading a Marlin 1894 barrel at speeds above 1450 fps, (as is the experience of ssyoumans), is the Oregon Trail Laser Cast 240-grain SWC bullet a better choice? If I want to push 240-grain lead bullets at the same speed through my 1894 as my 240-grain XTP loads (about 1750-1800 fps), should I really be considering the harder BHN of 24 found with the Laser Cast bullets? I've read complaints about leading problems with the Laser Cast bullet, but these complaints seem to come from those shooting them at lower pressure levels and velocities from S&W revolvers. If I want near max loads from my Ruger revolvers and my Marlin 1894, I'm worried I'll be getting leading problems from the MBC bullets.
     
  14. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Go with the Harder BHN of 24

    [​IMG]Lyman 45th edition lists a 232gr plain base #429360 -2400- 23.0gr-Maximum 1845fps out of a Marlin 336 20" bbl. They use there #2 alloy. This #2 alloy has 5% tin with the same hardness level as listed by MB . Lyman note- for accuracy keep velocity below 1600 fps in barrels with light rifling/microgroove. When i had my Marlin, accuracy was poor with my cast bullets. Harder is better if 5% tin is used. Antimony makes bulllets harder, but may still lead without tin. [​IMG][/URL][/IMG] [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
     
  15. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Member

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    That's kind of where I'm leaning. I want to load up inexpensive 240-grain plinking rounds from cast bullets for my 1894 rifle, but I still want them at real .44 Magnum pressures and velocities, without too much leading. For a 240-grain cast bullet to move at 1750 fps from a rifle, that's probably near 38,000 CUP, which according to the common formulas, points to a bullet with an optimum BHN of almost 30!

    So by that logic, the Laser Cast bullets from Oregon Trail, with their BHN of 24 might suit my needs better than the MBC bullets with a BHN of 18, even though they cost a bit more. Plus, I can find the Laser Cast bullets locally, at about $75/500. That's better than the $23.99/100 I've been paying for 240-grain XTPs!

    I just hope my 1894 will reliably feed SWCs. I guess there's only 1 way to find out...
     
  16. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    Some 1894s will not feed certain SWC designs. Mine likes the 429421 but is not so fond of the 429244.

    Also be aware that a bullet that hard will most likely not expand but big holes let out a lot of blood. I get decent expansion and no leading with full power loads by using heat-treated alloys.
     
  17. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Member

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    Well, I e-mailed Oregon Trail, asking about their Laser Cast 240-grain SWC at magnum pressures and rifle velocities, and here is the response that I received:

    "With our 44c 240g SWC in a 44mag rifle the highest velocity we have tested without having leading was with H4227 up to 1736 FPS without leading issues. With our bullet too high or too low of a velocity can cause leading, another way to prevent having any leading problems are to seat and crimp in a two-step process."

    So it sounds like it's just what I'm looking for. 1736 fps from a rifle without leading, in a relatively inexpensive plinking round sounds great. Now I just have to worry about my Marlin feeding SWC bullets.

    Also, I wasn't aware of the 2-step seating/crimping thing preventing leading. I use this method when loading semi-automatic cartridges since I had problems with the bullet jacket shedding against the case mouth, and I haven't tried lead in those cartridges. But in my revolver cartridges, even with lead bullets, I've always had luck seating and crimping in 1 step. Anyone else try the 2-step method to prevent leading?
     
  18. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Member

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    I purchased the Oregon Trail Laser Cast 240-grain SWC bullets. But now I'm having major feeding issues in my Marlin 1894. If you have any suggestions, please see my detailed thread in the Gunsmithing and Repairs Forum:

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=609681
     
  19. flipajig

    flipajig Member

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    I have a M94 Winchester and it will not feed a SWC
    So I shoot a Nosler JHP with no problems 240 grn running at
    1600 fps and a 200 at 1800 every thing that I have shot
    With them so far is dirt
     
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