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Old October 13, 2011, 10:10 PM   #1
Daekar
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Which cartridge for lots of flexibility (subsonic)?

So, since I lately got the go ahead from my spousal counterpart to put a shooting range on our property once I can find/make a safe backstop, I have been musing about the ideal accompaniment to my bolt-action 22 with subsonic ammo. The gun in question will be a T/C Encore rifle, and the cartridge must be able to be handloaded to meet these requirements:
1) Subsonic, I'd like all loads to be ~1000 fps so as to minimize attention from neighbors. Even short-range hunting loads will be subsonic.
2) Wide range of bullet weights. I'd love to find something that ran from about 180gr to 350gr, which could be loaded with appropriate powder/filler to keep velocities at 1000fps. 200gr. is the heaviest the light bullets should be, and the heavier the better for the high end.
3) Long lasting brass with powder-puff loads.
4) Reasonably available components.
5) Someday a supressor will come into the picture. Don't know if that matters.
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Old October 13, 2011, 10:26 PM   #2
SHNOMIDO
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taking a shot in the dark here

.45 ACP

sounds like it fits all your parameters to me, except its light on the bullet weight.

So im 4/5 and that aint bad
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Old October 13, 2011, 10:43 PM   #3
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45-70 seems like the obvious choice to me. That will pack a pop at short range and is big enough diameter that you could hunt with lead (and not have to worry about a expanding bullet not getting the needed velocity). I've never gotten into NFA stuff though, so for that you are on your own.
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Old October 13, 2011, 11:02 PM   #4
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Looks like a heavy .45 Colt to me.
I would want a custom barrel and a gunsmith who understood your wants to cut a close chamber for accuracy and brass life.

A Linebaugh .45 revolver will exceed your ballistics, so they should be no problem in a strong 18" single shot.
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Old October 13, 2011, 11:32 PM   #5
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45 ACP was my first thought also, but it's kinda heavy for rabbits and tree rodents.
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Old October 13, 2011, 11:52 PM   #6
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What is the allure of getting a 45 acp when you have to get a custom barrel for it and the bullet weight tops out at 250ish? For a pistol yeah makes lots of sense, but why in a rifle?
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Old October 14, 2011, 12:24 AM   #7
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Yeah, I considered the 45acp, but it just doesn't stretch enough with different weights.

I should explain better (now that I'm not typing on a cellphone!), this chambering will be the heavier in a pair (the first being 357mag) for a few specific uses:
1) Introducing extremely blast- and recoil-sensitive shooters to non-rimfire cartridges
2) Quiet (relatively) plinking
3) Short range hunting - up to Eastern Whitetail. Bears wouldn't be on the menu with subsonic loads, that's not in my comfort zone even if its possible

Obviously, a supressor will be necessary to really get the sound and blast down.

As far as I can tell, using the right powders to make sure I use up enough case volume, I can load a 357 below 9mm power with the lightest bullets, and I've seen posts about people using up to 215 SWCs. That's a good spread for the first few steps. This gun would continue that gradient.

It would be great if I could get all the way to 1000ft*lbs and stay @ about 1000fps, which should be about a 450gr bullet. I think that's manageable with a 45-70, but I'm getting conflicting information on the web about the lightest bullet which will be accurate and stable out of a 45-70. Some people say 300 is the lightest to go, which means I'd have to drop my velocity target to about 800fps to get the lowest energy load where I would want it.

Is that about as clear as mud?
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Old October 14, 2011, 05:26 AM   #8
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.44 magnum is pretty flexible in that weight range. Handloads.com has data for 180 to 355 grain bullets.
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Old October 14, 2011, 05:29 AM   #9
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.44 Magnum

If you want to keep all velocities at or under 1,000 fps, then no need for a bigger case, just get the standard .44 mag. Mild pressures are obtainable with even the 350 gr bullets at 1,000 fps, and no fillers will be needed.

If you do decide to step up velocities for hunting, then you can drive the heavier bullets at over 1,400 fps in rifle barrels.

With this optimized case size for subsonic shooting you will spend less money on components as well as being able to find them just about anywhere.
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Old October 14, 2011, 07:53 PM   #10
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Uhhh, why not get multiple barrels for your Encore. That's the benefit of a TC. Multiple barrels for whatever mood your in. If you end up going suppressed 30blk looks good to me (I'm already invested in .223 & 22lr so I'm not going to spend the money again for a 300blk suppressor).
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Old October 15, 2011, 09:47 AM   #11
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'06 and 308 work quite well sub sonic using cast bullets.

I use to load cast bullets for my Garnad and M1A for shooting at 50 ft indoor ranges at the NRA 50 Ft Small Bore targets for some good winter practice for my high power Matches (gets nippy in the winter in Alaska).

I used Unique back then but since they came out with Trail Boss I use it. 10 grns of TB in a 308 and 12 in a '06 works quite well with .311 cal 150 grn cast bullets at short range. Also cheap to shoot, no recoil and sub sonic. It also works in my TC w/30 Herrett and 30-30 barrels.
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Old October 15, 2011, 11:21 AM   #12
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A .45 Colt 250 grain LSWC will take deer cleanly at 1,000 fps and will be a heck of a lot quieter than a .45-70 pushing a 450 grain bullet to the same speed.

Last edited by Hammerhead; October 15, 2011 at 11:44 AM.
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Old October 15, 2011, 10:15 PM   #13
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.45-70 can go down that low with Trail Boss or some Unique loads.
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Old October 15, 2011, 11:37 PM   #14
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.45-70 is a great, versatile round, but when you download it to .45 Colt spec's it becomes very in-efficient and requires more powder than than the .45 Colt to achieve the same power level, making it louder than it needs to be.
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Old October 15, 2011, 11:39 PM   #15
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First thought was 45-70, next was 45 Colt. Latter may be more practical, former more versatile but would use more powder. You're on your own with the suppressor bit, I like to hear them go boom.
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Old October 16, 2011, 03:04 PM   #16
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I have a suppressed 458 socom that I have used 185-600 grain bullets with. Less case volume than the 45-70 so max 458 socom loads are on par with factory 45-70 loads. Still plenty for hogs and 45-70 won't fit in an AR.
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Old October 16, 2011, 05:10 PM   #17
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Suppressed AR in .458 socom?

I gotta' admit, that makes me a bit envious, especially being in a no suppressor state.
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Old October 16, 2011, 05:53 PM   #18
Daekar
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Hrmm... well I thought that I had settled on 45 Colt after seeing I could load it with 180 to 350 gr. bullets. But 185-600 sure beats the snot out of that!

How available is 458 Socom brass?

Does it use easily available .452" or .458" bullets?

Can you use cast bullets, or are you limited to jacketed for that cartridge?

... Yes, I know you're not supposed to use lead in a suppressor, but mine will be easy to take apart and clean.

I wonder if I could get an Encore barrel in that chambering? Cause I'm not really interested in an AR.
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Old October 16, 2011, 07:36 PM   #19
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Rather than make a mistake and hirt yourself, squib, overpressure, etc.

Just go and buy the stuff. Forgive me it sounds like you do not know anything about sub-sonic ammo.

Jim

http://www.thegunsource.com/category...mmunition.aspx
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Old October 16, 2011, 09:36 PM   #20
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Comments like those keep people from posting honest questions and just experimenting on their own. I'd like to see your source of information on that personally.
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Old October 16, 2011, 09:43 PM   #21
Daekar
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Well Jim, your helpful contribution is noted. When I hurt myself, I'll make sure not to include you in the lawsuit. It may ease your mind to know that I already own variants of the products you linked to.

Those of you whose heads are still located on your shoulders probably realized that the sum-total of my experience in reloading is reading through my reloading manual and talking to people at work about it.

I assume that doesn't disqualify me from contemplating the possible rewards of versatility and control that come with learning more and actually getting into reloading.

And pardon my ignorance... but to my knowledge, subsonic ammo is nothing special - it's just slow and doesn't have issues with transonic turbulence. Reloading light loads in a larger case volume might have its own challenges of course, requiring the right powder or even a filler... but I imagine it's more patience and precision than rocket science. I am, of course, willing to be correct and educated.
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Old October 16, 2011, 10:42 PM   #22
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There are some dangers sure, but thats life when you are dealing with gun powder. I had no reloading experience either until I started doing it. My first experience dealing with reduced rifle loads came when I researched it and did it for the first time. If this is your first venture into reloading make sure to come back here and draw on the experiences of others when you start getting into specific load data.

There have been a couple times when I've simply told someone not to carry out some idea they had. But that always dealt with specifics which I viewed as unsafe, such as using a rifle powder for 45acp or filling a 44 special case with H110 and calling it a starting load.
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Old October 16, 2011, 11:32 PM   #23
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There are several dangers in loading subsonic. You really need fast pistol powders and magnum primers to get consistent ignition, but small charges of fast pistol powder leave a ton of room in the case, so double charges are very possible. Another is using jacketed bullets, which can get stuck in the bore, then if another is fired on top of it, rupture city.

I use American Select in a .308 Win shooting cast lead bullets. American Select is very bulky, which helps prevent double charges, and lead bullets are less likely to stick in the bore than jacketed bullets.

ALWAYS double check your cases after charging (comparing the powder levels) and ALWAYS check your bore after each shot if you don't see a new bullet hole in the target. Start with 1100-1200 fps loads and work backward toward 1000-1050. A chronograph is essential.
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Old October 17, 2011, 10:15 AM   #24
Daekar
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Yes, I'll definitely be consulting others when I go to start working up (or down, as the case may be) my own loads. It's not worth blowing yourself up just to say "I did this one all by myself," that's for idiots.

I've been reading online, and it does seem that there are a few very popular powders for light loads in large cases like a 45-70. Many people seem very happy with Trail Boss, even if it is on the pricey side. I've seen other people use other powders for their light loads, but they do all seem to be pistol powders, yes.

As far as jacketed vs lead, I don't see the point in paying for the jacketing. It's not like 1000fps is enough to cause excessive leading, I really have no concerns about that as long as I lube properly.

I am definitely concerned about double charges! The best solutions I have seen to that are 1) Don't fill a bunch of cases from a grid all at once, and then put the bullet on - just do the powder and seat the bullet in one step where you never put down the casing. That means that a charged casing will have a bullet in it, and an uncharged one won't. 2) Determine the variation in weight of your brass and weigh the charged casings to look for anomalies. Not sure how well that would work with really tiny amounts of powder, though.

I'm looking forward to buying a chronograph... it's almost the only way to get concrete information about anything you're doing or shooting. I'm actually curious just to see the velocities out of the guns I'm not reloading for... like the CZ-452 Ultra Lux that I shoot Jim243's subsonic ammo out of.... what is the effect of that long barrel? How will it compare to my Marlin 60?

So... can anybody else verify that 185 gr bullet in the 458 Socom? I only saw references down to 200gr.

I've been doing some searching, and I had no idea how popular it was! I had dismissed the large-bore AR rounds out of hand in favor of the "cowboy" rounds, but it seems that was a mistake. Terminal performance of the 600 gr. bullets looks unreal, ventilates hogs from bow to stern. The middleweight loads are the most popular of course, and there is even a bullet made of ALUMINUM (100gr!) that zips along over 3000fps. Not really sure why you'd want to shoot aluminum, but it's neat that people are experimenting nonetheless.
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Old October 17, 2011, 08:12 PM   #25
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In plumbing, when you double the diameter of the pipe, you quadruple the flow of water. Needless to say, gun barrels are about the same with air pressure. This is the reason most subsonic ventures are done with .224 to .308 barrels. When you jump to 45 caliber, it is much more difficult to suppress because air can escape the larger hole faster. Then you add to that the much smaller amount of powder needed for a lighter bullet vs a heavier bullet. Your 45 will never be in the same league as the smaller calibers when it comes to being quiet. Of course, they will win the day with energy.
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