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Old January 15, 2020, 01:59 PM   #1
black mamba
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Mixed Bullet Experiment

I tried something different this week. As a long time reloader and load experimenter, I had accumulated a bunch of bullet leftovers that were not in large enough supply individually to load a batch of cartridges. So I conducted an accuracy experiment with six different 45 Colt bullets from 200 to 255 grains. I used two different 454 Casull chambered revolvers to shoot two separate 5-shot groups out of each handgun at 15 yards off sandbags. The handguns are a stainless BFR 5" with an UltraDot 30 red dot sight, and a Raging Bull 5" (ported) with iron sights.

Now, for the loads I settled on a medium charge of a medium speed powder, 8.5 grains of Alliant Herco in Winchester brass with CCI 300 primers in each of the six different loads. Only the bullet and seating depth were different. The six bullets were:
1) 255 grain cast SWC @ .453"
2) 250 grain coated RNFP @ .452"
3) 225 grain coated TC @ .454"
4) 200 grain coated RN @ .452"
5) 200 grain coated SWC @ .452"
6) 200 grain plated SWC @ .451"

At 64 years of age, my eyes aren't good enough to shoot for accuracy past about 15 yards with iron sights, so that was my distance. Here were my groups, measured center to center:

1) Raging Bull with bullets 1-5 = 2.06"
2) Raging Bull with bullets 2-6 = 2.83"
3) BFR with bullets 1-5 = 1.82"
4) BFR with bullets 2-6 = 2.24"

Obviously, bullet #6 opened up both groups, but even with it the overall average was just 2.24 inches. I'm surprised the results were that good. Your thoughts, please!
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Old January 15, 2020, 02:20 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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I once ran a similar experiement; .45 ACP 200 gr SWC all out of the same box, weight sorted..
1. Weighed bullets closest to average value.
2. Weighed bullets at heavy end of distribution.
3. Weighed bullets at light end of distribution.
4. Random draw.

Sure enough, the random batch grouped the closest out of Ransom Rest.
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Old January 15, 2020, 03:37 PM   #3
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That tells you other factors were statistically more significant to limiting group size than exact bullet weight. At short range, as long as that weight difference isn't due to off-center inclusions or mold-fill failures, but instead is just due to slight differences among multiple mold cavities, it isn't too surprising, as their is neither time for the effect of the difference in sectional density on BC to significantly change final velocity and therefore produce a difference in bullet drop, nor is there much time for lateral drift due to smaller mass eccentricity to move the bullet off the POI. At 100 yards it would start to tell, though.


Black mamba,

Computer glasses. I got a set based on my regular eyeglass prescription corrected to 1 diopter (1 meter or 39.37" focus) to clearly see the computer screen which is about that distance from my head on my desk. I can see a front sight very sharply through them.
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Old January 15, 2020, 05:53 PM   #4
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Unclenick:

My right (aiming) eye has a cataract so bad the eye Dr told me he could not give me a prescription for the right lens of the new pair of glasses I wanted to order.
My shooting has been pretty mediocre. I've had the slide of my 1911 just visually disappear while trying to shoot falling plates,and that was a few years ago.
The good news is apparently ,with his referral,Medicare plus plan B will give significant coverage for cataract surgery,so my eyeballs well get a pair of new corneas that are brand new and clear!. The Dr says my vision will be remarkably better. I'll visit the surgeon in Feb.

I was thinking of getting the single vision basic implants.

I've worn glasses since 8 yrs old. I think it best to avoid injury,I keep glasses on.

Nights,I want polarized night driving glasses. Days,I want the UV protection of sunglasses.

And yes,I might keep my left eye focused at distance,but my aiming eye might like the correction you describe.

Even machining or mechanicing,arms length clear focus is useful
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Old January 15, 2020, 06:16 PM   #5
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Thanks, Nick, I'll have to look into that.
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Old January 15, 2020, 07:32 PM   #6
RaySendero
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Quote:
black mamba asked:
Your thoughts, please!
.
LOL - I like your thinking and testing.

But, I really don't have a clue on factors or making
accurate handloads for revolvers at 10 - 15 yds.
I've reloaded practice/plinking rounds for 32S&W, 38Spcl, 357M and 44Spcl
and they have been more accurate than the factory loads I used as a standard.

But I don't know why?!
All mine have been just "thrown together" with an inexpensive bullet, std primers, some powder I already had on hand at a mid charge wt. and with a lower than factory COL due to case fill. The only thing I had to work out was with the 357M - It required a heavier powder charge to get it to shoot to same POI as factory PD ammo.

I would love to know what components and settings are most important to revolver reloads accuracy in order of importance.
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Last edited by RaySendero; January 16, 2020 at 05:56 PM.
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Old January 16, 2020, 09:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
RaySendero asked:

I would love to know what components and settings are most important to revolver reloads accuracy in order of importance.

.
Ok - I'll elaborate, I don't want this thread to be about handloading for rifles.
Want to know more about what factors to experiment with for revolvers.
BUT I'll use my rifle experience and testing as an analogy.
As long as there is not anything intrinsically wrong with the rifle or scope:

#1 is bullet choice
#2 is the handloading quality control, especially consistent charge wt. and crimps
#3 is DON't mix case brands
#4 is the case fill
#5 is the velocity
#6 is the COL

note: the powder choice comes into play with both #4 and #5.

Anyone want to take a shot at a similar list for revolvers?
Pun intended
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Old January 16, 2020, 03:49 PM   #8
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Ray, don’t forget the variable ‘which cylinder is being shot’

Mark “cylinder 1”. Put up 6 targets, one for each cylinder. Shoot the 6 targets once each.
Reload
Index first shot to Cylinder 1. Repeat. Repeat. Etc.

Then compare the group sizes between cylinders.

If there is a substantial difference, now you know.
If the group sizes are all the same (they won’t be) you’ll know your statistical noise floor.
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Old January 16, 2020, 03:57 PM   #9
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If there is a universal first thing, I would say it is good bullet-fit. Getting lead bullets that match the chamber throat diameter plus zero minus half a thousandth will generally have the gun shooting lead as accurately as it can without gunsmithing, though, to Stinkeyete's point, you will quickly find few production revolvers have matching throat diameters all around. If the chamber throats are narrower than the groove diameter of the bore, it won't shoot any lead bullets very well but will shoot them as well as it can if they are chamber-size. Jacketed bullets are much more forgiving of exact fit.

If you have a frame thread-imposed constriction in the bore near the throat and a very smooth bore, the gun may still shoot pretty well with lead bullets soft enough that the pressure bumps bullets up again after they pass through the constriction. Harder cast bullets often won't shoot well in that situation because they may not get back to full bore diameter, allowing gas cutting. Whether or not a jacketed bullet will shoot in such a gun depends on how severe the constriction is. They are springy enough that they will tolerate some amount of constriction.

As mentioned earlier, bullet bases need to be square and unmarred.

Seating primers well matters to revolver shooting. High primers or others that barely go off can cause ignition delays that give a meandering muzzle more time to move off POA. You want to seat primers pretty firmly for most rapid ignition, past the point where you feel the anvils touch the bottom of the primer pocket.

A couple of things I do that seems to help a little are to use a Lyman M type expander, so the bullets are upright and centered for seating. I have taken a shine to the Redding Profile Crimp dies, particularly for magnum loads, as the results are consistent when the brass is trimmed to the same length. I am experiementing with the Lee Collet-Style Crimp Die for magnum rounds, but haven't done enough to reach any conclusions yet.

Avoid powders too slow for the pressures you are loading to. I once tried to make some very low pressure loads of 2400 and wound up with unburned grains jammed in the barrel/cylinder gap that stopped cylinder rotationg. If you want the mechanism to operate reliably, you want to avoid the excess fouling an inappropriate powder choice results in.

When all is said and done, the gunsmith can typically do more for revolver accuracy than the handloader can. Get all the chamber throats reamed as described above. Get the timing set up to lock the chambers when they are coaxial with the bore. Get any constrictions lapped out of the bore and, for lead, even a slight taper down half a thousandth from the breech end of the rifling to the muzzle can help accuracy (firelapping with bullets in the 12 BHN range can do this). Get the muzzle crown perfected. Get trigger work done; there is nothing like a bad trigger to make a shooter tend to move a handgun before the bullet clears the muzzle.
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Old January 16, 2020, 05:32 PM   #10
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pete and nick - Thx
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Old January 17, 2020, 12:00 AM   #11
black mamba
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I agree with bullet fit being key. Bullet number 6 is the only one undersized (.451) and it was the one which opened up group size.
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Old January 17, 2020, 12:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Bullet number 6 is the only one undersized (.451) and it was the one which opened up group size.
that is the factor I noticed. SO, here's the question, would you get if the different weight bullets had all been the same size (dia.) It appears you'd have something like you got with bullets 1-5, but to be sure, you need a test with all the bullet .451" (or only 1 bullet at .452") to see if the results are the same.

And, of course, it only really tells you what happens in the guns you shot them from. Other pistols, even "identical" ones could very well yield different results.

Another thing is, the advice/experience from rifle reloading. There are a number of things that make a noticeable difference in rifle rounds that do not make as much a difference or no detectable difference in pistol rounds. And some things that matter in semi autos that don't in revolvers and vice versa.
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Old January 17, 2020, 05:08 PM   #13
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I have tried many different bullets in both of these revolvers, and used .451, .452, and .454 inch sizing. The .451s have always been the least accurate in a variety of shapes and weights. They just squirm around too much before they get to the rifling! :-)
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Old January 18, 2020, 03:25 PM   #14
Jim Watson
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In BPCR I used .380" bullets in my .3795" .38-55 and did ok but think I would have been better off with a larger diameter. That would have called for a custom mould, though.

I ended up with .410 and .411" bullets in my .40-65 in spite of the nominal .408" groove diameter. It needed bullets to fit the throat.
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Old January 18, 2020, 05:28 PM   #15
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Similar to what Jim Watson did, my old Marlin 1893 has a 0.381" bore proven by slugging the barrel.

I had Tom @ Accurate Molds make me a 0.382" mold that works with my alloy. I modified a Lyman sizer to match the 0.382" bullet. This allows me to true the roundness of the cast bullet plus seat a gas check if wanted. I use my 46 yr old RCBS Lubrisizer for this.

The last time I shot it I put 7 shots into 1 1/4" @ 50 yds. The reason for the 7 shots is I ran out of ammo that day. Normally I would shoot a minimum of 10 shots.

It is accurate farther than I can hold the irons on a target.

The longest shot so far: I killed a beer can at an estimated 185 yds. Second shot. The first shot went left about 2". I used a tree trunk to steady myself.
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