Too slow, too hard, too skinny?

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Wineman posted this 3 weeks ago

I have a 3-screw Ruger Blackhawk 357 from the 1970's. Shoots great but has had a leading issue in the forcing cone and first part of the barrel. I had the cylinders all reamed out to 0.3575". The bullets are a commercial hard cast 358 SWC PB at about 19 BHN, not sure of the lube. They are all 0.358" and I have a bunch of them. At 950 fps with 4.5 gr Unique it leads. I increased to more of a 357 velocity of 1,100 fps with 5.8 grains of Unique, it still leads. My calculations said the faster load is 27,000 psi. Dividing this PSI by 1920 says 14 BHN is what I should use and dividing this PSI by 1,422 says that 19 BHN should work but is as hard as you really should go. My question is should I keep pushing the velocity up hoping to get the bullets to bump up more? Alliant data says I can go to 6.8 grains of Unique for 1,250 fps and 33,600 psi. I have never slugged the barrel, and I do not know what the forcing cone angle is.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

Dave

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Ed Harris posted this 3 weeks ago

Try tumble lubing the bullets with a thin coating of Lee Liquid Alox on top of what is already on them.

I expect that the hard lube on the commercially cast bullets is not doing the job.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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RicinYakima posted this 3 weeks ago

Ed's suggestion is the quick and easy way to see if the hot wax lube is the problem. My only other suggestion with the commercial bullets is to load 4.0 grains of Bullseye. If that doesn't lead, then you know it is the hard bullets.

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Wineman posted this 3 weeks ago

Ed and Ric,

That sounds like a sensible idea. I will give it a try. Thanks. Would the LEE FCD die be an issue? Maybe my 0.358" is not what I think it is. I can pull some down and check.

Dave

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R. Dupraz posted this 3 weeks ago

"Maybe my 0.358" is not what I think it is. I can pull some down and check"

 

That's also a good idea. I've had a Saeco sizer since the 60's and have a fair selection of size/llube  dies by now. The early dies were pretty much on the money. But not so much any more. Often the later dies had to be lapped out some to match the stamped size. So when buying new, I check every one. 

R. 

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RicinYakima posted this 3 weeks ago

Lee FCD are notorious for over crimping lead bullets. Using Unique you only need enough to keep the bullet from pulling. Most folks only use the FCD when using H110/296 and other hard to light powders in the 357.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 3 weeks ago

i use the Lee FCD on most of my calibers ... the best setting is when you are not sure it is doing anything ...

 

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RicinYakima posted this 3 weeks ago

Ken, when I was using mine, I measured the crimp with a micrometer.

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Wineman posted this 2 weeks ago

After pulling down a few rounds, my borderline 0.358" bullets lost about 0.0005-0.001". They went from needing a gentle push to go through the cylinder to dropping right on through. Part of the problem solved. My next steps would be to LLA (45:45:10) some, be sure my sized brass is not squeezing too much and avoid the LEE FCD. Given the hardness of these bullets, I may also add a half grain or so to see if more bumping up occurs with more pressure.

Thanks again and Happy Holidays!

Dave

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sudden thunder posted this 2 weeks ago

If that slow moving SWC is leading a proper forcing cone I would suspect the alloy possibly might not be correct - and I can't see how increasing powder/pressure/velocity would help. Maybe you can try another bullet of a known "good" alloy and see what happens.

Shoot for the moon! Getting older may be inevitable, but acting your age appears to be optional ....

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tony1960 posted this 2 weeks ago

Wineman, it seems you have discovered what I call "the american jacketed bullet phenomena" to which I remedied about 25+ years ago for my revolvers. I had the same issues, what should work didn't. Lousy accuracy and leading, I went bigger, smaller, harder, softer, changed powders etc then a very good friend of mine asked me if I had ever pulled a loaded projectile and measured it, sure enough, what was .358 going into the case certainly wasn't coming out, and differed for different brands of cases or ages. The "easy" remedy was to re machine a larger expander plug as all the ones coming from the US were designed for a jacketed bullet, and you aren't going to swage one of those down going into a brass case. 

So as you can see from the picture, the standard expander plug on the right is both short (and 357), so it is only expanding a very small portion of the case (enough to seat a jacketed proj) the one I had made on the left is not only the full length of the projectile but also 358 diam. In effect the projectile will be held in place very lightly and relies on the crimp to hold under recoil. 

My velocities average 1000fps and have never had one move forward under recoil.

 

Hope this starts the wheels turning.

 

358 expander plug

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Hornet posted this 2 weeks ago

   It's not just the size of the expander. The Lee Factory Crimp Dies are notorious for the carbide sizing ring being small enough to resize the bullets down a couple of thousandths.  I think they are more concerned with making sure the finished round will chamber than worrying about a relatively small group of people that NEED the larger diameter.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 2 weeks ago

... somebody said " beware the man with only one rifle " ... i think that applies to reloading also ... as a painful example, i submit myself ... 

************************

as a lowly plinker, i usually load maybe 20 to 40 rounds once a year or three ... for several different rifles ... 

three years later i need more ammo ... but by then the dies i want are on the bottom or back of the stack, the shellholder is in a different box, and the bullets i wanted were used up in another gun .......

the special expander i made was cut up and used for a different lathe project, and i loaned the preferred primers to a buddy that was short ....

...halfway through pouring powder, i run out of Unique ... oh well, i got 8 lbs of 700X, will keep them separate, should zero almost the same ...

..then when i am finally ready to seat, my adjustment are for another bullet, and heck who keeps notes for only 20 loads of 6 different bullets over 3 years ? 

... oops ... hey look at that !  45-70 has thin brass and thick brass ...  will sort them ... next time ... i promise ...

****************

occasionally i remember my 222 only rifle, and my tru-line jr dies set up always in my Herters No. 3  ... ballc and hornady 50 gr. SX  ... way too simple ... geeeze, like having only one wife ...

 

 

 

 

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Wineman posted this 2 weeks ago

Well the Free Lunch program has ended. I had a box of expanders, mostly 30 cal (and too small for most cast) but there was one that would get 0.358" and put a small flare on the case. It is for 0.375 but is tapered and seemed to work. Seating and crimping a 0.358 bullet in a case with 0.010" walls should work. But no. The crimp area is now 0.380+ and four out of six cylinders take a real firm push, the other two are a no-go. Back to the drawing board. I see that NOE makes a "M" die clone that will work in the LEE tapered expander die. They are pretty inexpensive so maybe an early Christmas is in order, (maybe get a cool mould too). I think that maybe a seat then crimp two step could help too. Projects are fun, at least until you figure them out.

Dave

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