Gas Check Makers - Any Patmarlins Users Here?

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DonL posted this 21 January 2018

Hello all.  I'm reloading for .45-120 (rechambered Ruger No. 1) using a Lyman #457132 plain-based bullet and have recently gone the route of gas-checking it.  I purchased a "Checkmaker" die from Patmarlins to do so, since they make one designed for plain-based bullets.  Thought I should give that a try.

Anyone else doing something similar?  I'm finding it's working even better than I had hoped for.  Very interesting stuff, this making of gas checks.  I'm using beer can metal, which appears to be an ideal thickness for this die.  If I place the gas checks I make on a bullet sized to .458", the base of the check usually has a wrinkle across its base after sizing.  But if I place the check on a bullet sized to .459", no wrinkles and perfectly flat.

Seems to me - when using such a thin metal to make the checks out of - the fit has to be right on the money because it can 'give' under side-ways pressure very easily.  But, as it so happens, .459" is what I need anyway, so it's all good. 

I wouldn't be surprised if - since they specialize in making such dies - Patmarlins had taken the combination of dimensions into consideration when making them.  While waiting for the die to arrive, I asked Pat (of Patmarlins) about the thickness of metal he recommends and he told me that 0.010" (that I was contemplating usign) would be too thick.  So I went with beer cans that are 0.0045" and things worked well right from the start. 

It makes sense to use thin metal in the case of plain-based bullets anyhow, because you probably don't want to swage too much when putting it through the H&I die.

Anyhow, if someone's interested in how the Patmarlins Checkmaker is used, I recorded a short video, explaining the process - right from starting with an empty beer can - here:  

?list=PLEr5Wto8yuXRbeb9dYEVOfJ44DLlJdJNh

Cheers.

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45 2.1 posted this 21 January 2018

Yes, a lot of people are doing that. It started for me from the Free Chec ideas of Paco Kelley. It works well provided you don't use hard bullets. Something on the order of 40 to 50 : 1 lead tin mix does very well. Try your bullets just lubed with no sizing if it enters a fired case neck. Sizing the case neck in a Lee Factory Crimp carbide die for the 45 Colt will hold a 0.460" bullet securely also and is a easy thing to do.

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DonL posted this 21 January 2018

Thanks 45 2.1.  Good to hear others' experience.  I'm a bit fond of using my lubrisizer, so I'll continue in that vein, but when sizing at .459", it barely contacts the bullet anyway.  I agree it's best to disturb the bullet as little as possible after casting.

I'm using a mostly coww alloy with a bit of lino and 50/50 solder to bump the tin content up to about 2%.  Nice and economical that way and, here in Canada, the wheel weight supply doesn't appear to be going downhill as it does, some places in the States.  Been using this mix for over 30 years now.

What kind of velocities are you pushing your 45 cal bullets to?  In my case, they're around 1,600 fps.  I try to minimize the rainbow path to the extent possible, so that distance estimations in the field are less likely to result in a miss (my loads are used mainly for moose, elk and deer hunting, not target/competition shooting).

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GP Idaho posted this 21 January 2018

Don: I have no experience with the plain base Pat Marlin check makers but I do have the 30 and 35cal. check makers for the bullets that have the shanks. They work very well for me and it's nice to never be out of gas checks. Also, it's nice to be able to fit the checks to the shank and not be stuck with what ever the maker has chosen for material thickness. I have small bins that hold checks of various thickness in one thousandth of an inch increments. Noe makes some very handy tooling for seating checks. Their check seating die and check expanders work very well.  Gp

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45 2.1 posted this 21 January 2018

Don, I've shot them from anywhere from 1100 fps to 2000 fps in light to heavy weights...... calibers 450 Marlin and 45-70, 45-90, 45-120. They are a useful tool to help protect a bullets base when shooting soft alloys.

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DonL posted this 21 January 2018

Now that I've explored the 535 grain 457132 bullet for about a year, my thoughts are beginning to turn towards looking for a wide meplat bullet - perhaps something around 450 grains - for the hunting season this year.  Perhaps another plain-based design, so I can use the Checkmaker I have on it as well (those Checkmakers ain't cheap!)  Any suggestions on that would be more than welcome.

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