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Old August 15, 2000, 08:29 PM   #1
schlickenmeyer
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Just what happens to a lead bullet going too fast in a rifle? And then I guess the question would be how to calculate your speed from existing data as good load data for lead in a .300 WinMag is hard to find.
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Old August 15, 2000, 09:26 PM   #2
Art Eatman
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Well, you can drive a lead bullet just real, real fast. And you can learn all about bore cleaning as being real, real rough!

Depending on the hardness of the lead, around 1,300 to 1,400 ft/sec or so is pushing the limit for "just lead". The use of a copper gas-check lets you get on up around 2,000 or 2,200 ft/sec without undue leading of the bore. These are approximate numbers, not exact, of course. There easily could be some tricks I don't know about.

I do know that 20 grains of 2400 in an '06, behind a 169-grain gas check gives you around 2,000 ft/sec. (It also works in a .308 and a .30-40 Krag, I learned last month. Works with 170-grain .30-30 jacketed bullets, too, in those cartridges. Use 18 grains in a .30-30 with a 100- or 110-grain bullet for a nice plinker.)

"Meddlin' around" on the benchrest, my .308 is sighted in for 2" high at 100 yards with normal 150-grain hunting loads. With the 170-grain plinkers, and the crosshairs "as usual", I was around 15" low at 100 yards--which meant I was hitting the ground in front of the target. Quite a spray of lead, copper and gravel on the target!

, Art

[This message has been edited by Art Eatman (edited August 15, 2000).]
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Old August 16, 2000, 01:39 PM   #3
Paul B.
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Schlickenmeyer. Check out the 47th edition Lyman reloading manual. They have a couple of loads there. Lyman's Cast bullet loading manual has more data for several more bullets.
A case as large as the .300 Win. Mag. can be difficult to get decent accuracy with lead bullets. For the higher velocities, the bullets should be heat treated to make them as hard as possible.
To be perfectly honest, I've never loaded cast lead in a .300 magnum, usually sticking to 30-30, .308 Win. and 30-06.
Like Art said, try for too much speed and the leading will be a source of great displeasure while cleaning that barrel.
If that happens, wrap a piece of copper scouring pad, the soapless kind, (Chore Girl works fine)around a bronze brush and scrub away. Works for me.
It's all worth the effort though, once you find an accurate load. You gain more practice operating a rifle that you might not normally shoot as much, due to either cost or recoil.
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Old August 16, 2000, 10:11 PM   #4
JimWolford
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Schlik

I have never loaded lead in a 300 Win Mag, but only because I have never owned a rifle in that caliber <BG>

I have loaded lead bullets in almost everything else tho- from 22 Hornet to 458 Win Mag, It sure beats doin crossword puzzles.

My old Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook gives some data for 300 Win Mag. One example is a 150 grain gas checked bullet with 22 grains of Unique. This should get you 2,000 fps at 37,000 CUP.

You see that small charges of fast powder is usual with lead bullets. One interesting thing to try when testing loads is to point the rifle up in the air after chambering a round- to settle the powder against the primer.

Try this for ten shots, then point the rifle down for ten more and see what happens to your velocities ( if using a chrono ) or your point of impact if not chronographing your loads. It makes for some head-scratchin <VBG>

Jim

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Old August 17, 2000, 11:05 AM   #5
Paul B.
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Xxero. You are correct in saying lead alloy bullets are harded than pure lead. However, it has been proven that more than two percent of tin does nothing more than waste expensive tin. Antimony is what makes lead bullets hard. Arsenic, up to 0.05 percent will make lead alloys even harder. Straight wheel weights have enough antinony to make a bullet of 12 to 13 BHN. (Brinnell Hardness Number)Add some linotype to the wheel weights, or some 50/50 bar solder, ot leadless solder to slightly increase the percentage of tin, and you have one very castable alloy. If you then heat treat the cast bullet, you can, depending on the amount of antimony in the mix) have a bullet as hard as 32 BHN, although somewhere between 28 and 30 BHN is more the norm.
This is more than hard enough to reduce the chance of stripping lead from the bullet. With load adjustment, you can have the bullet hit to point of aim at say 50 yards, without readjusting your normal scope setting. A load somewhere between 1500 and 1800 FPS makes a great small game and grouse load, without too loud a report while big game hunting. It can also be used as a finishing shot on game you've shot and is not quite dead.
I have done this with .308 Win. and 30-06 for years. Just haven't gotten around to working one up with the .300 Mag. yet.
BTW. Full power 30-30 loads are no problem whatsoever.
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Old August 17, 2000, 07:30 PM   #6
schlickenmeyer
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Does someone have a temperature for this heat-treating? As lead melts easily, I assume there is not a lot of room for error without risking deformation..?? Thanx!
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Old August 18, 2000, 08:27 AM   #7
Jack Straw
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schlick,

I use a wheel-weight/tin alloy. I heat at 450 for an hour then drop in water.

Increasing the temp will increase hardness, but you can deform the bullets. You could find the max temp for your alloy by gradually increasing the oven temp every 15 minutes until the bullets start to slump. I've never bothered to find out the max temperature for my alloy and my bullets are plenty hard enough for maximum .44mag loads.

Jack
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Old August 18, 2000, 09:18 AM   #8
Watchman
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by schlickenmeyer:
Does someone have a temperature for this heat-treating? As lead melts easily, I assume there is not a lot of room for error without risking deformation..?? Thanx![/quote]
I heat treat most of my bullets and it is quite simple . Heat treating the bullets reduces leading in the barrels and in the case of my .44 Colt Anaconda it makes them more accurate.

Cast the bullets ...when the metal solidifies ,drop them into a 5 gallon bucket of water. That is all it takes. The bullets cool enough that they are solid and will not deform when they hit the bottom of the bucket.
It s really simple and worth the time.You can devolope a routine in which you cast, turn and drop the bullets into the bucket on the floor. Soon you'll be doing it without thinking about it.

Elmer Keith used hardned .44 bullets to kill quite a few whitetails and mulies. He just shot them through the shoulders. He has one account of shooting a wounded mulie at over 500 yards ! The bullet penetrated completley thru. Hard to beleive I know, but he did have witnesses.

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Old August 18, 2000, 09:22 AM   #9
Watchman
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Whoops ! I forgot to tell ya that heat treating only works on alloyed lead. It will not work on pure lead bullets.

I use wheel weights and these have enough alloy in them that it works quite well.

Not to mention...I get the wheelweights for free from a friend of mine that owns a tire shop.

[This message has been edited by Watchman (edited August 18, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Watchman (edited August 18, 2000).]
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Old August 20, 2000, 02:43 AM   #10
schlickenmeyer
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Too bad, as I can get 100% pure lead free. what can I alloy it with (per pound) to achieve a good alloy?
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Old August 22, 2000, 05:26 PM   #11
labgrade
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schlick,

"pure lead" probably isn't but wouldn't make any difference re bullet casting. "Pure's" gonna require a bit of alchemy.

Grab a copy (any # really) of Lyman's cast bullet handbook for all the ins & outs re alloying for bullets. More info really than most of us care to know ...

In my experience, .30 cal require that I do add the tin for castablility OR, jack the temp up higher .... same temp, same alloy as for .38/.357 & I just don't get the mold fill-out.

Straight wheel weights have worked very well for .308, 30-06 & 9mm/.38 for me with the above caveat re tin/higher temp for the .30s

Although the cats can kill just as well as a jacketed bullet (ask the buffalos), they're not in the same league as far as speed goes.

However, they can (it'll probably take more load development & work) be as accurate - at least in the 100 yd range.

If you try the bullet hardening by dropping them into water - PLEASE - be very careful with water around your liquid lead. Not a very good mix & water hitting that lead will instantly turn your water to steam which may blow hot lead a ways. Once usually does it.
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Old August 22, 2000, 05:42 PM   #12
Quantrill
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Lead bullets can be alloyed with tin (to make the bullets fill out better and the lead to flow easier and a hardening agent)
, arsenic (to allow it to be heat treated to greater hardness), and antimony (which is really just a hardening agent). The method of heat treating by dropping into a pail of water is probably the most common way used and is usually effective. The most precise way is to heat the bullets in a controlled oven to just under the deformation temperature and then dump them into the water. To determine the proper temperature of the oven (assuming that your oven is capable of holding a preset temp. to within a few degrees), it is necessary to test a sample of the alloy that you are using by placing it in the oven and increasing the temp. a few degrees at a time until the alloy just deforms and then backing off a few degrees so that your bullets will not deform. Now heat the bullets to that temperature and then immediately put them into the water. The closer the bullets are to the deformation point when doused, the harder the bullets will be.
Be aware that heat treated bullets will lose their hardness over time so they should be prepared as close to the time of shooting as possible.
Bullets have been allooyed with just tin as much as 30%, but everyone has their own pet formula.
For a complete treatment of cast bullets, the Cast Bullets" from the NRA is excellent as is the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook. I'm sure there are others. Quantrill
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Old August 23, 2000, 03:55 PM   #13
Paul B.
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Schlickenmeyer. Get the latest version of Lyman's Cast Bullet handbook. The NRA handbook CAST BULLETS is out of print and no longer available. You might find a copy at gun shows.
Due to lack of time, I can't go into heat treating right now, but if you E-mail me, I'll give you details on that and what to do to make your pure lead treatable.
Paul B.
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Old August 23, 2000, 11:44 PM   #14
schlickenmeyer
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I actually do have an oven that is fully programmable. I will try this, and see how it goes. By the by the lead is probably as pure as I can get, it is from x-ray liners, so alloying is surely required. Thanx for the info!
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Old August 24, 2000, 03:29 PM   #15
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slick and meyer, is that two of you? just kidding. I like the project you're undertaking. Gutsy!

The 300 Win Mag is not the same for lead loading as 30-30, 30-06, .308, etc. This case was not designed for cast loads and I will depart from my friends here on this board in that Lyman manuals do not even come close to adequately addressing cast loads in the belted mag cases (even though I have several and use them extensively). That said, I will tell you what my experimentation with cast in the 7 Mag has done. First, the case is too big to burn powder efficiently. Second the neck is too short to efficiently hold a bullet. You also have to contend with bullet weight and design, type of lube, seating depth, barrel length and twist, among other things. I worked the powder rate chart from 7828 to Unique back to 7828 with and without over powder wads, LR and Mag primers. The resulting 'best' round was an RCBS 7mm-168-SP, checked with home made lube in all grooves, sized well over .285, seated to where the base of the bullet was at the bottom of the shoulder in a neck sized case, over 30 gr of IMR 3031 with a dacron over powder wad. Results? 5 rounds at fifty yards, .57 inch group (Rem 700 with 4X scope), repeatable. I guess the point of this is, that if you are going to shoot cast in the mag cases, it takes ALOT of experimenting with stuff that is not published (the stuff in the manuals is barely a starting point). btw, my bullets are made from range scrap and run about 14 to 15 BHN. My experimentation is ongoing, and I'm sure at some point I will find another 'good' round. I hope I don't sound too 'preachy', but expect to spend some time looking for a load that is both very accurate and very repeatable. As with all of my other cast loads, I do not clean the bore. No leading, no carbon. I attribute this to a combination of things, but mostly the lube. sundog

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Old August 24, 2000, 03:45 PM   #16
sundog
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slick, sorry, I started out to answer your first question and got to jabbin over developing the load. Too fast lead in the barrel can do several things, including making a horrible cleaning job. Bullets can 'strip the rifling' causing very poor accuracy to include problems such as key holing. Sometimes they seem to shoot just fine, but just make large groups. As far as velocity, the best thing to do is use a chrony. Things like bullet size, type and amount of lube, velocity and powder burn rate (pressure curve) have direct affect.

Also made an error in previous post, the size of my 7mm cast bullets is just barely over .285 after sizing/lubing.

Good luck on your project! sundog
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Old August 25, 2000, 07:37 AM   #17
sundog
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slick, I told you something wrong. My repeatable group size in 1 inch (that .57 was a different project). And that's shooting off a wobbly bench and not the best rest. I shot two more five shot strings last night, same results, 1 inch. I'd be interested to know how you make out with your project. sundog
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Old August 27, 2000, 02:26 PM   #18
labgrade
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My comment re Lyman having more info than you'd care to read was moreso regarding metalurgy, etc. ... that type info.

No doubt about it - you'll spend a bunch of time playing with cast bullet loads - part o' the fun. & I wholeheartedly agree - the manuals give you a starting point for what works in what they used. As in all else YMMV.

For casts, I really don't care how fast they go. I look for an accurate load. Especially for plinking/small game, doesn't really matter how fast they go anyway.

& me? Zip experience loading any belted anything.
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