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HARD CAST is not a gimmick

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Jinzoningen80, Feb 17, 2011.

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  1. Jinzoningen80

    Jinzoningen80 Member

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    I thought the term “hard cast” was a gimmick and just used by makers who didn’t know or didn’t want to tell you any specifics like the BHN. My primary lead bullet source, mastercast.net, was one of those companies saying nothing more than “hard cast.” But I used them and had no problems for years. Now I’m always open to trying new bullets and in just the last 6 months, I’ve used bullets from TNT, SNS, and Mt Baldy. Without using hardness testers, and based solely on barrel leading, I can tell you that SNS is as hard as mastercast and Mt. Baldy was not far behind but Mt. Baldy will charge you nearly double the price.

    Last month I found Missouri Bullet Company and read their website with great enthusiasm. “Hardness optimized” is their slogan and what they said made perfect sense so I went for it and ordered 2500 bullets, both hard and soft, for .357/.38, .45 Colt, and 9mm.

    According to their website, I should use their cowboy .45 colt bullet with a BHN of 12 for my moderate .45 colt loads (700-800 fps). After trying 5 different powder combinations (which work great with every “Hard Cast” bullet I’ve tried, I was unable to find a combination that did not lead my barrel using Missouri bullets. I then tried their harder (BHN 18) bullet and while the leading was less, it was still much more evident than with any of the “non-optimized” bullets I use. I also tried these bullets in my 460 S&W mag TC encore. I did not expect a clean bore since these “moderate” loads are still pushing over 1500fps. The Missouri bullets resulted in extreme leading while amazingly enough, my mastercast bullets produced minimal leading at 1600+ fps! I’m still developing this load at the present time.

    .357 was another area where I had high hopes since I cannot find a good .38spl load using a lead bullet that won’t lead my magnum revolver. I thought using a soft bullet would perhaps better seal and prevent gas cutting. Wrong again. The missouri’s (both the BHN 12 and 18) resulted in considerable leading using everything from light .38 loads to heavy .357. It was less with the .357 brass and harder bullets but still nowhere near the clean, shiny bore I get after firing mastercast. I am still searching for a .38 load using lead bullets that will not lead my .357 mag revolver.

    9mm was my latest venture. I only recently got my first 9mm pistol so my initial bullet supply was limited to nothing but the BHN 18 missouri’s. I worked up a load based on accuracy and lack of leading and the best load still left me with some scrubbing to do. Afterwards, I picked up some mastercast bullets of the same weight and worked up a load completely independently of what worked with the missouri’s. Both loads are firing at about 1100fps with different powders and the mastercast are as clean as jacketed.

    I’m not totally discounting softer bullets. I think they may have a place with black powder or with light loads using hollow-base designs but this is not my area. As it stands, I am very disappointed with Missouri bullets and instead of believing “hard-cast” to be a gimmick, I now believe “hardness optimized” is the real gimmick.
     
  2. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Odd....I have fired a pile of MBC bullets in .357, .40, and .45ACP and have had no leading issues.
     
  3. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Jinzoningen80,

    Actually, BHN is the gimmick. It's more about proper bullet sizing for your particular gun than bullet hardness. Casting and sizing yourself has it's advantages.

    Don
     
  4. MissouriBullet

    MissouriBullet Member

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    Jinzoningen80, do you know what the actual Brinell hardness value of Mastercast bullets is? If so, what is it?

    I think you would be surprised to learn the actual hardness values of the various manufacturers' offerings. Values greater than 18 are rare. Oregon Trail is 22-24, and Penn Bullets can go to 20 for some of their offerings, as I recall. But most others are 12-16, as that is the sweet spot range for most shooters' applications.

    As mentioned, leading is determined by a variety of factors, only one of which is bullet hardness. The hardness is something that the bullet manufacturer can control. He can also control the diameter, of course. But the gun has a major part to play, also, especially so in revolvers.

    We have many, many customers whose experience is at variance with yours. Some of them have reported - in this very forum - using our .358 158 grain SWC bullet in their .357's at 1450 fps with excellent accuracy and no leading problems. And other bullets/calibers/velocities, as well. So, it strikes me as a bit odd that your experience is apparently so different.

    I don't think your leading problems are the sole consequence of the bullet hardness factor.

    What is a "hard-cast" bullet? How can it be objectively differentiated from a non-hard cast bullet? Upon what sort of scale would this difference be represented? The Brinell Hardness scale, maybe? At what hardness level does a bullet enter the category of "hard-cast"? What I am asking is - do you consider Mastercast's bullets to be "hard-cast" and the ones we make to not be? And if this is the case, then I think you will be surprised to learn that your conceptual basis has a basic flaw. If the BHN is the way you determine whether a bullet is "hard-cast" or not, then why don't you find out what the BHN value of the bullets that have been working for you is, and see where that leaves your conception of things.

    Brad

    ps - SNS uses the same exact alloy as ours - same manufacturer, same antimonial/tin mix, poured from the same vats into the same ingot moulds. We use the same casting and sizing equipment, as well. And the same moulds sets. So why are their bullets "hard-cast" and ours - aren't - again?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  5. Jinzoningen80

    Jinzoningen80 Member

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    I have no idea what hardness mastercast bullets are. That is one of the reasons I thought the whole "hard cast" ideal was a gimmick. As i said, i have no hardness tester and all my assumptions about hardness strickly come from testing specific bullets in my specific guns.

    for .357, I have a new S&W 686SSR and the only bullets i've fired through it without leading have been the mastercast bullets at magnum velocities (1300fps) i've tried both your BHN 12 bullets at .38spl velocities (in both 357 and 38 brass) and your BHN 18 bullets at low and high velocities looking for some sort of sweet spot but nothing has produced the cleanliness i get from using mastercast.

    It's very frustrating to me because I feel that softer alloys have a place and in some instances should provide better accuracy but I'm not seeing anything but a barrels full of lead. I do not understand what is going on, whether it be gas cutting or erosion of the base but something isn't working for me.

    As far as a direct comparison with SNS, i will say that i've only used them in 45 ACP and had no problems, I have not used mastercast in 45 ACP. My issues are with my 686, my ruger vaquero, my browning Hi-power, and my TC encore.
     
  6. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Member

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    Its not a gimmick....but is overstated most of the time.

    I cast my own for my 45-70, using Rotometals hardball alloy (2% tin, 6% antimony, 92% lead)...its air cooled BHN is 16.

    Cast it hot (750 degrees), drop it out of the mold into ice water...and its BHN is 30, this is what I use (my loads exceed 2,000 fps)

    Bullet fit has more to do with leading than hardness...but both play a role.
     
  7. NOLAEMT

    NOLAEMT Member

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    Ive had NO leading at all, when shooting MBC 158 grain bullets in front of 15 grains of 2400 in my 686+.

    I'm sorry your experience is different, but to come here and say that Missouri bullets is a "gimmick" is frankly libelous.
     
  8. Gryffydd

    Gryffydd Member

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    The only gimmick when it comes to leading is thinking that there's only one factor to leading. Whether that be hardness, sizing, or powder choice or anything else.

    It would be interesting to know whether the OP has slugged his chamber throats and bores, and what the results were. Actual loads used and chronographed velocities would be telling as well.
     
  9. tooltech

    tooltech Member

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    I've got to jump on the bandwagon here. I've loaded thousands of MBC bullets in 9mm, and 45 ACP. I've never had any trouble with leading. A couple passes with a boresnake before I leave the range, clean with M-pro7 once I get home.
     
  10. straitnate14

    straitnate14 Member

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    I like both MBC and S&S I would buy from MBC but I can drive 30min up the road and watch the guys make bullets and shoot the crap with them for a few minutes and not pay shipping.
     
  11. Jech

    Jech Member

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    Although hardness is certainly a factor to consider when you experience leading, it is just one factor of many. It's like saying that an oil change is the most important thing you can do for your car to keep it running. While ignoring the oil will most assuredly bring things to a grinding halt, there are a hundred other things that will cause catastrophic auto failure well before your oil burns up.

    Hardness is stereotypically over-rated...I still don't understand how this fad got started. Proper fit for the specific bullet in YOUR gun is the most important factor in preventing leading. The guys over at castboolits.gunloads.com will champion that one all day long. http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm is my other favorite resource that backs up proper fit over hardness. Some of the things they do with 44mag and 8bhn bullets blew me away!
     
  12. 918v

    918v Member

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    Jinzoningen80,

    Just because your bullets are hard does not mean they will not lead. Just because your bullets are soft does not mean they will lead either. Like USSR said, it's all about sizing and your firearm's dimensions. My guns don't lead with 12 BHN Missouri bullets or with pure lead swaged bullets for that matter.

    A lead bullet should be small enough to feed reliably, but large enough to seal the chamber throat and the barrel. This usually means a bullet .001" under the diameter we are trying to seal. Here is where BHN and pressure come into play. At low pressures we need a soft bullet that will obturate enough to seal the .001" gap. There is no need for a 22 BHN bullet. Hard bullets are only needed for high pressure high velocity applications.

    If your gun is leading at low pressures with soft bullets, your gun's dimensions are off.
     
  13. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    I shoot the 357 action bullet loaded over 14.5gr of 2400 with no leading from a S&W 686. I also use the softballs in 45acp, cowboy #9s in 45 colt, 300gr Siliohoutte in 45 colt, and 148gr DEWC in 357. No leading from any of those.
     
  14. AKMac

    AKMac Member

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    I've been picking up leading right after the forcing cone of my 629 using the 18 brinell 240gr Keith's, and 6.5gr of unique or 231.

    So what your saying is I should bump up the pressure to create a better seal, thus reducing leading?
     
  15. 918v

    918v Member

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  16. Jinzoningen80

    Jinzoningen80 Member

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    guys i've come here to seek answers not bash missouri. I think they are a great company and i'm not discouraging anyone from TRYING their bullets. They have a good reputation and they are the only company i know that offers sample packs. bravo!

    I'm am merely using this open forum to relay MY specific experiences with MY specific guns using SEVERAL missouri bullets and i do not feel my experiments have been lacking. I tried 5 different types of their bullets. I've used them in 3 different guns, all of which have fired other brands of lead bullets without problem. I've varied powder charges giving me velocities from the low 700s in .38 to 2000fps in the 460. and where applicable, i used different kinds of brass (.38 in the .357 and .45colt in the 460s&W.) I'm not trying to overexaggerate the discrepency here either - yes i HAVE gotten leading from other brands of bullets and yes i HAVE minimized leading with missouri but it was a lot harder to do and it is always present

    I'm not saying that hardness is the only factor in determining leading and i do realize that many other factors will affect it and that is why i tested and tested until i ran out of options. i will not say that my guns are at fault or the chamber throats are too tight (i DID have the .45colt reamed to proper dimension and the .460 is a single shot) given what i have, i am simply stating that i have not found missouri bullets effective for me. your mileage may vary.

    i encourage everyone to always try new bullets especially from the small businesses and especially from a company that offers sample packs. given what mr. missouri said about SNS using the same equipment and method, i think i'll get some of their .357mag and do a direct comparison with missouri. if they are the same, however, i'm left to wonder why SNS does not offer multiple harnesses or even state their BHN on their webpage? - in any event the ONLY thing that can determine whether a bullet will work for you is for you to get some and load them up.
     
  17. MissouriBullet

    MissouriBullet Member

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    We both purchase our alloy from Mayco Industries. I purchase the 2/6/92, same as SNS, and I also purchase 100% pB. I use the latter to alloy the 2/6/92 down to 12 BHN, while SNS sticks with the one alloy and thus, only produces one hardness.
     
  18. Travis Two

    Travis Two member

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    I have seen various threads througout the forums in which there have been complaints about leading issues with Missouri bullets. I attribute much of that to improper loadings and or size issues.
    That does not seem to be the case here which is curious as to why the issue with one brand over another that use similar or same materials.

    I would tend to suspect that it might be a lube issue since they probably use different lubes from one another. That could be the variable.
     
  19. MissouriBullet

    MissouriBullet Member

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    SNS uses Magma Engineering lube, whereas we use Thompsons Blue Angel, which is a bit of a higher-temp lube, FWIW. The characteristics of both are very similar, actually, but I have found that the Thompsons "sticks" a bit better, causing less damage in transit. Although, the USPS can knock any lube off of any bullet when they set their mind to it!
     
  20. Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets

    Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets member

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    The term " Hard Cast" is an advertising gimmick used by some bullet makers as the problem is there is no industry standard for what consitutes "Hard Cast"
    In 30 years I have seen too many casters use the term on bullets made from straight wheelweights to linotype bullets.
    Use of BHN numbers was being listed as a way to quantify the differances between the makers but I have issues with BHN numbers being the sole determining factor as it doesn't relate to alloy strength which to me is a more important factor and I cover more of this in detail on the web site.

    Companies like Missouri and ourselves and others have provided information on what and how we make our products to provide consumers a way to make informed choices.

    I can't address the particular problem the OP has with Missouris product and not with the others he has used. It could be a lube issue as well as several other variables.
     
  21. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

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    Casting and sizing your own bullets is key. I got sucked into the "Push as hard and fast as jacketed" mentality and was sorely dissappointed. Not until I started casting my own and slugging my barrels did I achieve my desired results. Bore diameters vary. Sometimes considerably.
     
  22. MissouriBullet

    MissouriBullet Member

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    Bingo, Bob. That's the point I was trying to make when I asked the OP to quantify the definition of "hard-cast." It's an ill-defined term and, as such, is useless.

    BHN is certainly not the definitive measurement of alloy strength, but it is a critical component of that measurement. We can easily provide that number, and so we do.

    I think a lot of people would be surprised to learn how many companies out there selling "hard-cast" bullets are making bullets made from wheelweights and other scrap metal, rather than certified analysis foundry metal alloy made to specification.

    I think that one should always ask.

    Brad
     
  23. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Yep! BHN doesn't tell you squat about a bullet's performance in your particular firearm or, even more importantly, it's terminal performance on target. For example, I can use two alloys that both are 8-9 BHN to cast hollowpoint bullets, and one will fracture on impact, while the other will mushroom beautifully.

    Don
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  24. millertyme

    millertyme Member

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    Good thread.
     
  25. equalizer

    equalizer Member

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    Missouri Bullets = :D for me.
     
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