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Old February 10, 2012, 04:13 AM   #1
FrankenMauser
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Something new to play with

Today, my .429" Lee sizer came in.
A few hours later, my .375" lead wire showed up.
All I had to do was put them to use.


The basic idea is to clean up a .40 S&W case, trim it to the desired length, bump it up to .429"+ by cramming it full of lead, shape the nose, push it through a sizing die, and load it as a jacketed bullet.

These have a finished weight of 275 grains, in a full-length .40 S&W case (+/-0.8 gr). For Winchester cases, that's 203 gr in the lead core and 72 gr for the case/jacket.
My dies will let me swage down to about 205 grains in trimmed cases/jackets with acceptable results, but the best bullets seem to come from the 240-275 gr range.

It starts as (s)crap, and ends up as a semi-premium bullet loaded in .44 Rem Mag and .444 Marlin:


(Flared to .44 caliber on left. Lead core seated, on right.)


(Note the difference in lead exposure of the bullets in the background. That's due to differences in case wall thickness between two different lots of Winchester brass - even though they weighed the same. That brass had to come from somewhere. My guess is the web. )


(The .44 Mag is a dummy.)

I'm experimenting with bonding the cores, but my heat sources do not play well with brass. Eventually, I might get it figured out...

I'll share some more details after the loads are pressure tested on Saturday.
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Old February 10, 2012, 05:44 AM   #2
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Extremely interesting, please keep us posted.
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Old February 10, 2012, 01:09 PM   #3
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While I can stretch my mind to grasp mashing the upper part of the case out to 0.429", I'm a thinking that the 40S&W base, at 0.424, would be "loose" on the bottom side. Is this true? What will be the effect?
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Old February 10, 2012, 02:02 PM   #4
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This is very neat.

Just curious, did anything motivate you to do this other than just because you can? I'm excited to see what data you acquire later.
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Old February 10, 2012, 04:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
While I can stretch mind mind to grasp mashing the upper part of the case out to 0.429", I'm a thinking that the 40S&W base, at 0.424, would be "loose" on the bottom side. Is this true? What will be the effect?
Most factory ammo is actually out of SAAMI spec, on the low side. (Which is why I use unsized .243 Win R-P brass for my 6mm Wildcat, that is smaller than .243 Win.) The base of many of these cases actually comes in at 0.420-0.422". So, it's even more "loose" than you would expect by looking at cartridge drawings.

It doesn't matter, though. Just think of it as a very slight boat tail shape.


Quote:
Just curious, did anything motivate you to do this other than just because you can?
I have a large supply of .40 S&W brass.
I don't have a .40 S&W (and didn't/don't want to buy one).
I needed some cheap jacketed .44 caliber projectiles.
I wanted a decent jacketed hunting bullet for the .444, that didn't cost $1 apiece.
And, most importantly, I just love seeing the look on my father's face, every time I mention turning his beloved .40 S&W brass into bullet jackets.
Of course, they're dirt cheap, as well.


Assuming accuracy and terminal performance are acceptable, I'll be into this $5 for a set of Bair Cub 7x57mm Mauser dies.
The Lyman M die belongs to my set of .44 Mag dies, and the .429" sizer (used here mainly for the base punch) has future uses outside of this endeavor.

Cost breakdown is roughly ($):
Jacket: free (call it 0.01 each, if you want to count cleaning)
Lead: 0.11 each, with commercial lead wire; or 0.033 each, with reclaimed lead*; or 0.02 with wheel weight lead*. (*including 0.01 each, for propane, to smelt the lead.)
Bonding chemicals: 0.0098 each with commercial core bond liquid.

So, the most expensive product is the commercial lead wire, bonded, at 13 cents each. The cheapest bonded bullet comes in at 4 cents each for wheel weight lead. And the cheapest bullet, altogether, comes in at 3 cents.

I'm hoping these work out.
Down the road, I might try .380 Auto and/or .223 Rem for .375" projectiles, if I can get the tools together.
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Old February 10, 2012, 04:14 PM   #6
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Range report, pronto. Find a soft target to hit, reclaim the bullet, let us know what's up.

This is a very original idea, I want to see how it performs.
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Old February 10, 2012, 05:01 PM   #7
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Dumb question: Can you "pour" a core for the bullet, using conventional casting equipment?
Would that bond to the case?
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Old February 10, 2012, 05:03 PM   #8
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I think you have to pour the lead wire. A few different makers make molds for casting swaging wire.
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Old February 10, 2012, 07:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Range report, pronto. Find a soft target to hit, reclaim the bullet, let us know what's up.

This is a very original idea, I want to see how it performs.
go to youtube and search the user named ammosmith. he posted videos about this about 3 or more years ago.

he has used alot of brass to make bullets but the cost is more to use brass bullets as a shell.

on the other hand the cci alum cases no one takes also work perfect and dont deplete the brass you have.

the best use of brass thought that i have used is re swagging a 22 lr brass into a head from a 5.56 or 223 rifle.
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Old February 10, 2012, 10:15 PM   #10
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Frankenmauser, you have too much time on your hands dude!! But if it works I'm on the bandwagon, if you know what I mean!!

BE CAREFULL: not to have tooo much fun dude!!!
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Old February 11, 2012, 12:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Frankenmauser, you have too much time on your hands dude!!
I agree.......................but he does come up with some pretty cool stuff as a result.

I was over watching him swage/press/form (whatever it is) some of these projectiles tonight.......its much less complicated than I expected, and finally lets us use the .40 S&W brass we have been collecting for the last few years.

Hope fully we will have some good results from tomorrows testing to report.
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Old February 11, 2012, 01:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Dumb question: Can you "pour" a core for the bullet, using conventional casting equipment?
Would that bond to the case?
You can pour the cores, but it's very difficult to keep them a consistent weight.
Unless the case is cleaned to raw brass, the same temperature as the lead alloy, and treated with a bonding agent or flux, it won't bond.

--
The wire I'm using right now is Rotometals extruded pure lead wire. It's rather expensive (almost $6 per foot), but I only needed a couple feet to test the feasibility of this method. Right now, I'm at the point that I have full confidence in this bullet design becoming a staple at my bench. So, I'll probably be ordering a bullet mold, to act as a core mold. I just need to decide on a weight range for the finished bullet, and so I can start browsing for an appropriate mold (.35, .38, or .40 caliber).

The lead wire is great to work with, but I can't justify the cost.
Here's a shot of a regular .40 S&W case, a case expanded to .44 caliber, and a lead core of about 200 gr.


Quote:
Find a soft target to hit, reclaim the bullet, let us know what's up.
Working on it. Soaking some phone books and newspaper in a crappy cooler (to be sacrificed), as I type this.

Quote:
go to youtube and search the user named ammosmith. he posted videos about this about 3 or more years ago.

he has used alot of brass to make bullets but the cost is more to use brass bullets as a shell.
Ammosmith has posted only one video that I know of, using .40 S&W cases as bullet jackets. He uses C&H and Corbin bullet swaging dies, though.
I know of only one other person doing this with a reloading die. (I'm using a 7x57mm sizing die.)
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Old February 11, 2012, 08:25 AM   #13
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I want to see pictures of the bore fouling., can you get some pics of what that brass doe to a bore,,,, and what muzzle velocity are you working for?

Also will I be able to hear it fire over here in missouri?
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Old February 11, 2012, 01:50 PM   #14
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subscribing.
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Old February 11, 2012, 09:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
I want to see pictures of the bore fouling., can you get some pics of what that brass doe to a bore,,,, and what muzzle velocity are you working for?

Also will I be able to hear it fire over here in missouri
brass doesnt do much to a bore. there have been rifles that have used brass driving bands for years that show little to no wear.
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Old February 11, 2012, 09:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Ammosmith has posted only one video that I know of, using .40 S&W cases as bullet jackets. He uses C&H and Corbin bullet swaging dies, though.
I know of only one other person doing this with a reloading die. (I'm using a 7x57mm sizing die.)
maybe it was one of the other reloaders i watch on youtube i just thought of him off the top of my head since he was the most recent.

either way good luck. i have made 40's like this and thot pretty good but i ended up just getting a normal barrel for my glock and shooting cast lead
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Old February 12, 2012, 03:20 AM   #17
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We have results.

I am very impressed with how tough this bullet is, and how well they hold together.

If you're still in kindergarten, just look at the pictures. You won't hurt my feelings, by skipping the text. ...I probably would, too. This is going to be a long thread.

To break up the monotony a bit, I'll be using bold letters to set some words off.

We fired 10 bullets of 3 different weights from a Ruger Super Blackhawk and a S&W 29 (both in .44 Mag, of course), at about 950 fps (estimated).
The only factory ammo we remembered to take with us for comparison was some Remington 240 grain Hollow Points at 1180 fps. Since we forgot to fire any other revolver rounds into the wet pack, it wasn't quite as useful as we had hoped. {slap forehead}

We also fired 20 of the 275 grain bullets from an H&R Handi-Rifle in .444 Marlin, from 1900 to 2400 fps (estimated). The ammunition chosen for comparison was Hornady Superformance 265 gr FP Interlocks, at 2400 fps.

There were 3 different types of bullets tested:
1. Plain - The case is not annealed, and the core is not bonded.
2. Annealed - The cases is annealed before the core is seated.
3. Bonded - The cores were bonded to the jackets.

There were 3 different weights tested:
1. 275 grain - This was the only weight tested in the .444, and only 2 bullets of this weight were tested in the .44 Mags.
2. 225 grain - This was the primary weight for the revolvers. None of these were tested in the .444.
3. 185 grain - This was a developmental failure at the bench (equipment limitation), only two were fired, only in the .44 Mags... for the heck of it.

Most of the bullets were fired into a crappy cooler that was packed as tight as I could get it, with wet phone books, magazines, catalogs, and newspaper. A few bullets were fired into targets of opportunity. That will be pointed out, as needed.

To "calibrate" my test media, I fired a .177" BB at 625 fps. It penetrated 1/8". At that velocity, standard ballistic gel penetration is just over 3". (I would insert the "GASP" smiley, but the forum won't let me.)
A Remington .22 LR Golden Bullet from a 22" bbl penetrated only 5/8". ("GASP" again.) That stuff was packed tight.

As much paper as possible was removed from the bullets before being weighed.


Look at those mushrooms on top! They're better than most commercial bullets I've recovered.

The key to the photograph:
  1. 275 gr Bonded, .444 Marlin, est. muzzle velocity of 2225 fps, expanded to 0.931", cleaned weight of 177 gr. Penetrated 8.5".
  2. 275 gr Bonded, .444 Marlin, est. muzzle velocity of 2300 fps, expanded to 0.704", cleaned weight of 184 gr. Penetrated 9".
  3. 275 gr Bonded, .444 Marlin, est. muzzle velocity of 2360 fps, expanded to 0.741", cleaned weight of 178 gr. Penetrated 10".
  4. 275 gr Bonded, .444 Marlin, est. muzzle velocity of 2400 fps, expanded to 0.931", cleaned weight of 140 gr. Penetrated 10".
  5. 275 gr Plain, .444 Marlin, est. muzzle velocity of 2000 fps, expanded to 0.990", cleaned weight of 244 gr. Penetrated 9". (This bullet carried the piece of plastic more than 7" through the wet-pack, before it ripped off; and was also the first bullet tested. It was fully expanded by passing though a gallon jug {6"} of water, before hitting the cooler.)
  6. 265 gr Hornady Interlock FP, .444 Marlin, factory advertised muzzle velocity of 2400 fps, expanded to 1.053", cleaned weight of 207 gr. Penetrated 7".
  7. 240 gr Remington Hollow Point, .44 Rem Mag, factory advertised muzzle velocity of 1180 fps, expanded to 0.998" (core), cleaned weight of 235 gr. Penetrated N/A. (This bullet penetrated about 2" of the wet-pack before veering wildly off course, exiting the interior of the bottom of the cooler, and travelling through about 14" of styrofoam insulation, then coming to a stop. However... in that 2" of wet-pack, it managed to lose its jacket {which expanded to .735", and weighed 38 gr}. Altogether the best recovered weight of the bullets that expanded, but pretty sub-par performance, even for a revolver.)
  8. 275 gr Bonded, .444 Marlin, est. muzzle velocity of 2000 fps, expanded to 0.806", cleaned weight of 161 gr. Penetrated 24+". (This bullet penetrated a weaker part of the cylinder head, went through 14+ inches of a wet juniper stump, and plowed another 12" inches of dirt. One tough SOB...)
  9. 275 gr Bonded, .444 Marlin, est. muzzle velocity of 2000 fps, expanded to a doughnut, cleaned weight of 34 gr. Penetrated 0". (This bullet hit a very thick portion of a cast iron cylinder head. The cylinder head has survived pummeling by some really heavy hitters, so I don't blame the bullet, at all. The results are interesting to look at. So, I included it here. The next post has a close up.)
  10. 225 gr Plain, .44 Rem Mag, est. muzzle velocity of 950 fps, expanded to 0.554", cleaned weight of 211 gr. Penetrated about 6". (Fired into sloppy mud with gravel and sand.)
  11. 225 gr Annealed, .44 Rem Mag, est. muzzle velocity of 950 fps, expanded to 0.430", cleaned weight of 225 gr. Penetrated about 5". (Fired into wet pack.)
  12. 185 gr Plain, .44 Rem Mag, est. muzzle velocity of 950 fps, expanded to 0.434", cleaned weight of 183 gr. Penetrated about 6". (Fired into clay.)
  13. 225 gr Plain, .44 Rem Mag, est. muzzle velocity of 950 fps, expanded to 0.464", cleaned weight of 221 gr. Penetrated about 6". (Fired into sloppy mud with gravel and sand.)

There were also several 275 gr Bonded, Plain, and Annealed bullets fired into mud and dirt with the .444 Marlin, that could not be recovered. They simply penetrated too deeply to be dug out. (Another smiley should be here.)



Another view.




Flipped over.


Another view, flipped over.


Close-ups of the 4 bonded bullets fired at the highest muzzle velocities:


Note the missing primer. It blew it out, backwards, when the bullet impacted the wet-pack.



The forum software is getting angry at me. I'll cover a few of the details in the next post.
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Old February 12, 2012, 03:25 AM   #18
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As promised, the close up of the doughnut:


So...
Lessons learned:
1. These things are TOUGH!

2. Accuracy wasn't really tested today, but terminal performance is great. If I can hold accuracy at Minute-of-Elk, or better, these will be my primary projectile in the .444.

3. Annealing is a waste of time. Bonded bullets get annealed when they're bonded. Plain bullets are deep penetrators. The middle ground, annealed (but not bonded) bullets just shed weight and come apart.



Bonding: I know you're wondering.
To bond these cores, I used a paste flux meant for tin solder. Something meant for lead would have been even better, but even this "compromise" worked very well. I boiled the cases clean, dried them thoroughly, brushed the inside of the case with flux, inserted the core, and heated the assembly. When the lead was melted, and the flux was burned/evaporated, they were set aside to cool. If the lead draws up the sides of the case, and leaves a sink hole in the center, you're good to go. If not, you fail. It's a reject (I had a few).

Quote:
I want to see pictures of the bore fouling., can you get some pics of what that brass doe to a bore,,,, and what muzzle velocity are you working for?
I was hoping to hit 2250 to 2300 fps with the 275 gr bullets. Although we did not have a chronograph, I'm certain I exceeded 2400 fps today (with lower apparent pressures than the Hornady Superformance factory ammo).

The bore appears to be fine. I didn't expect otherwise. Cartridge brass is 30% Zinc, which acts as a lubricant in the bore, and, often, reduces fouling.


It's late. I'm tired. I'll come back tomorrow, and fix the typos I'm certain are in these two posts.

On a side note:
One of the reasons I'm so tired, is because I spent 4 hours sorting some of today's haul:

That's a 48 quart tote, filled to the brim on the near side. It weighed 45-50 lbs, before I started sorting.

Thanks to Crankylove, Cornbush, and Cornbush's kids.
Less than 100 cases belong to me, and less than 40 shot shells were from us. All of the rest ...were left in the desert (mostly today) by non-reloaders.

It was a good day.
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:35 AM   #19
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Gotta love public ground where the brass gets left, wish they would pick up the rest of their garbage though.....
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:42 AM   #20
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Bravo!!!! Bravo man!!! Thats' cooler than _its!!!!
That will be a "wicked hog round", heck, bear probably!!!
Jeeze man BRAVO!!!! hehehehehe!!! jeeze,.....
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:59 AM   #21
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You should put 22 shells in the middle to act as a hollow point!
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Old February 12, 2012, 10:43 AM   #22
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Tag.

This is too cool not to follow.
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Old February 12, 2012, 01:54 PM   #23
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The plan, from here (in no particular order):

-Finish my new reloading bench. Swaging these bullets is putting a lot of stress on my Redding T-7 turret press. I'd prefer to get the new bench finished, so I can mount my Rock Chucker for swaging these bullets. The RC also has a better mechanical advantage, so it will take less work from the human at the handle.

-I need to decide on a finished bullet weight (or two) to stick with, so I can decide on a mold to use for consistent cores. Right now, I'm cutting cores from the lead wire and tricking up to the desired weight with #9 lead shot. I can't see the voids and graphite from the shot being good for accuracy. NOE molds makes a multi-weight pointed soft point three-cavity mold (412-210) that is really close to what I would want. I need to see if the owner can make me a custom mold for the exact weights I want.

-And, of course, accuracy testing.
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Old February 12, 2012, 02:05 PM   #24
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This is coolest post I have seen in years. Consistency could be met by weighing cases or possibly using 40cal lead bullets weighed out and pressed in the 40 SW case. Two thumbs up for Frankenmauser.
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Old February 12, 2012, 07:08 PM   #25
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Between you and BT Sniper over on Castbolits, you fellows are going to get me to swadgeing my own yet.

He uses C&H dies he modifies to work a bit better than the standard version and there are quite a few folks who are putting out some GREAT looking bullets from all sorts of different caliber cases.

Thanks for sharing yours.
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