What is the Most Promising Aspect of CB Rifle Shooting for Improving Accuracy?

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John Alexander posted this 18 January 2020

CBA has been partially responsible for the progress we have made in shooting CBs in fixed ammunition (as opposed to breech seating) over the last forty years but that progress has mostly stopped.  Those shooting specialized custom rifles with no restrictions cannot consistently shoot aggregates of 5-shot groups much under 0.5" at 100 yards.  Those of us who like to shoot unmodified factory or old military rifles cannot consistently shoot 5-shot aggregates much under 1.0" at 100 yards. We have been able to shoot to this level of accuracy for at least ten and maybe twenty years with little improvement.

The first of the four stated "purposes" of the CBA on the back of every Fouling Shot says: encouraging experiments that will improve the accuracy and effectiveness of the ammunition and increase the satisfaction and enjoyment of shooters. Many, probably most, of us that shoot CBs in rifles want to improve either to enhance our competitiveness if we like to shoot in matches or simple to do better for field use or personal satisfaction if we don't. 

What is the best way to achieve that improvement?  Up until now many have thought that uniformity was the road to improvement.  Ever more uniform weights of cases, powder, bullets, even gas checks and primers, ever more uniform sizes of bullets, flash holes, primer pockets, ever more cleanliness of bores, case necks, primer pockets and inside cases. Other efforts at improving uniformity have included using only one case, using nose pour molds or turning bases to achieve perfect bases, shooting bullets in the order they were cast, indexing bullets, cases and even primers.

It is hard to argue against uniformity but easy to see that more and more isn't always better and some of the above have been grossly overdone and achieved nothing.  Many of our best shooters have found many of the extreme attempts for uniformity listed above were worthless and have abandoned them. 

Paul Pollard has asked in the thread on factory ammunition what should we be working on to improve?

Because we have already tried pursuing uniformity to the point of foolishness, that approach doesn't look promising for future improvements. I hope we can start a discussion on what are some of the promising ways that should be explored in order to shoot CBs more accurately? What do you think?

John

 

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RicinYakima posted this 18 January 2020

IMHO, a better material to make the bullets out of besides lead. As a new guy only doing this for about 24 years, I have followed every thread I could find plus reading every book I could find back to the 1890's. We seem to have reached the point that our lead alloys are not capable of handling the stress of being a bullet and fired more accurately. The leaders of the lead-free movement are looking at home castable bullets that do not contain lead. That is really unexplored territory.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 18 January 2020

I think the new coating is one aspect that has not been fully explored. We are just starting to experiment with the PCs, but true data under scientific conditions has not been done. Dan Lynch at Mountain Molds has been experimenting with different coatings with some success at high velocities. 

It is easy to believe there are many more coatings out there just waiting to be tried.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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joeb33050 posted this 18 January 2020

IT'S THE BULLETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ZINC?

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GWarden posted this 18 January 2020

One of the biggest things for me, and again each rifle is an individual has been alloy mix. I stumbled, and that is how it happened on trying a mix of 15#pb+25# mag shot+2% tin. I had and still try other mixes and none, I mean none come close in my 30cal & 6MM.  As noted in someone else might try this mix and get the opposite results. This has been the best in my 3- 30cal & 6MM Rem.

Bob

 

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Larry Gibson posted this 18 January 2020

I believe Joe is correct....it is the bullet.  Understanding that imbalances in the bullet during the external ballistic phase (bullet flight) are the reason we shoot groups instead of all going into the same hole.  In flight, if the center of form, center of gravity and center of spin do not coincide in the longitudinal axis then the bullets will vary from the intended flight path...i.e. shoot groups.  Then we also have the center of pressure and it's relation to the center of gravity and center of form in the lateral spectrum.

We can do all the things John mentions to ensure our cast bullets are about as perfect and consistent as possible.  However, we can not control exactly the balance of the difference metals during solidification or the control slight differences in the shrinkage during solidification.  Thus there will always be slight imbalances in the bullet no matter how well we think we cast.  We can not control the precise loss of lube on exit from the muzzle and during flight.  Then are we sure the GC is really consistent and balanced or do we just assume it is(?).  Additionally we can not control precisely the unbalancing affect acceleration has on the bullet during the internal ballistic phase.  Perhaps it's just the nature of a cast bullet and we've just not accepted that(?).

An occasional really small group will be shot now and then when the Sun, the Moon and stars all line up...…. but to consistently shoot such really small groups may not be in the cards.  Those really small groups John and everyone else searches for are anomalies...…...not saying we should quit searching for an answer but the question of just how consistently accurate (or precision) can we shoot cast bullets may already have answered.....

LMG

 

Concealment is not cover.........

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45 2.1 posted this 18 January 2020

CBA has been partially responsible for the progress we have made in shooting CBs in fixed ammunition (as opposed to breech seating) over the last forty years but that progress has mostly stopped.  Those shooting specialized custom rifles with no restrictions cannot consistently shoot aggregates of 5-shot groups much under 0.5" at 100 yards.  Those of us who like to shoot unmodified factory or old military rifles cannot consistently shoot 5-shot aggregates much under 1.0" at 100 yards. We have been able to shoot to this level of accuracy for at least ten and maybe twenty years with little improvement.

Granted, that we would be the CBA shooters in CBA matches. That leaves a large void you don't take into account and that doesn't include me either.


Because we have already tried pursuing uniformity to the point of foolishness, that approach doesn't look promising for future improvements. Correct! I hope we can start a discussion on what are some of the promising ways that should be explored in order to shoot CBs more accurately? What do you think?

John

 First of all, you all have tried the commercial bullets till everyone who does better has modified them in some way to do so. Most commercial bullets are undersize until they are fully in the barrel. If you are intent on shooting them, you need to use a soft alloy and a powder with a soft push and long pressure curve to get them in the barrel straight.

You need to try something else than what you are doing.... like a custom design and an alloy suitable to the load level you're trying. Harder is NOT better even though you guys really like linotype, it just isn't delivering great groups.

For you 308 shooters, I will give you a recipe for success. Try this alloy: 1/2 wheelweights with 1/2 dead soft lead (recovered factory wadcutters work fine) cast at about 725 degrees with a pot and ladle. Do not add anything to it! The sprue should set in about 3.5 to 4 seconds. Adjust the temperature until it does. Once there water drop them. Wait at least two weeks until you size them at 0.311" with Hornady gas checks with a "low viscosity lube" (that's important). The mold to use is this: https://www.mp-molds.com/product/mp-308-hunting-hp-gc/ with the hollow point pins. That bullet is dynamically designed for accuracy. The powder charge is 21.0 grains of SR4759 which will give you about 2,100 fps.

I shoot that in a stock factory stainless Ruger Gunsite Scout. That's my hunting load, but will do quite well on a target... at long range. It certainly beats the accuracy levels posted above by quite a bit.

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John Alexander posted this 18 January 2020

45 2.1,

Thank you for sharing your alloy, casting technique, and load information for the 308.

Would you please elaborate on "dynamically designed for accuracy"  What does that mean?  Who can do this type of design work for another caliber for us? Can you please suggest a reference where we can learn more?  Thanks.

John

 

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45 2.1 posted this 18 January 2020

45 2.1,

Thank you for sharing your alloy, casting technique, and load information for the 308. There is a lot more than meets the eye on manipulation of alloy, casting and loading than what is portrayed there.

Would you please elaborate on "dynamically designed for accuracy"  What does that mean?  Some background... for example, we have Barlow type two diameter bore riders, Ardito and Eagan type cone in cone, and various tapered designs. Various problems arise with each type. People assume that a matching taper will shoot great. Ardito matched exactly with a reamer with the same specs (lathe tail stock and matching taper style) as the bullet... the problem there is starting it without deforming it, hard to do with soft alloys (which lino is at the pressures he used with a velocity pressure limit), Barlow types have room to move sideways when starting to move. The Eagan is tapered (how I'm not sure), and have a good reputation, but I don't see high velocity goodness for them posted. These types basically fit the throat to some degree while at rest (which I call static fit)..... what happens to there alignment upon ignition is another story. If they gave under 1/2 MOA accuracy all would be good, but again I don't see it. Dynamic design involves making the bullet stay aligned throughout the process from ignition thru full engagement down the barrel.... basically the bullet self aligns and stays that way, even if you jump it to the rifling like any semi automatic requires to operate safely. That process involves gradually engaging the rifling (so to speak as the time interval is measured in milliseconds) as it travels the first inch or so of travel. Simple concept, but hard to understand and make work. For the 30 caliber I used about 30 data sets for new to worn throats measured to +/- 0.0001" along there lengths at short intervals or where the taper changed on lead impact slugs. The design comes from advancing the bullet profile along these plots (AutoCad on different layers). There are places where all the plots converge then diverge along the length.    Who can do this type of design work for another caliber for us? Me.... Can you please suggest a reference where we can learn more? There aren't any other than mine in print as far as I know. The man who makes the molds is Miha Prevec who owns MP Molds. I'm the major designer of a large part of the mold s he produces.  Thanks.

John

 

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BudHyett posted this 18 January 2020

I know jacketed bullet cores are formed from extruded lead wire. In discussion with these bullet makers, they emphasize their determination to have uniformity in the wire. 

Note; When an object cools, it shrinks.

  • If a cylindrical object cools, this draws the circumference smaller.
  • If a rectangular object cools, this draws the dimensions smaller.
  • If either shape has a hole through the center, is heated and cools, the hole dimension becomes smaller as the object is heated by cause of expansion and becomes larger by the cause of cooling. 

Question: What happens within the interior of the bullet as it cools? 

  • Is there a migration of the alloy toward the external surface?
  • If there is a migration, is the center less dense and less uniform?
  • Will a center that is less dense and not uniform influence the path of the bullet? 
  • Can we casters even test this?   

I have run this through my mind several times and cannot think of a method to test this. Is the alloy in the bullet denser toward the surface and less dense in the center? Does this happen in a large enough factor to influence the bullet's path? Does not happen in a manner to enable testing?

There is a physical chemistry technique that can track the location of an element within an alloy, this is extremely costly. This technique was used by metallurgists in the 1970's to track element locations within an alloy in the quest to build better alloys used in defense and space. 

Wikipedia reference

With this concept in mind, I keep the casting alloy clean. I have often wondered if dropping bullets directly into cold water would freeze the alloy movement and bring greater uniformity. 

Your thoughts, are we chasing windmills? 

Country boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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45 2.1 posted this 18 January 2020

  

I have run this through my mind several times and cannot think of a method to test this. Is the alloy in the bullet denser toward the surface and less dense in the center? Does this happen in a large enough factor to influence the bullet's path? If you have a homogenous alloy, it wouldn't matter as it would be the same all the way around. The bullet would still be concentric. Does not happen in a manner to enable testing? Empirical testing. Air cool, water drop and heat treat to different hardness-es and test by grouping.


With this concept in mind, I keep the casting alloy clean. I have often wondered if dropping bullets directly into cold water would freeze the alloy movement and bring greater uniformity. It seems to do that. I've done it with different alloys over the last 30 years and it seems to work. The methodology has a relatively tight alloy temperature requirement. You need to be relatively near freeze temperature.... hotter alloy temps hardens the center too much. Beyond that I don't know.

Your thoughts, are we chasing windmills? No, you're not..................

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Tom Acheson posted this 18 January 2020

Might have to watch out for the credence we give to water dropping bullets. The hardness of each bullet will vary from other bullets handled a similar way during the session. Our cadence in opening the mold and lining up with the bucket will vary from bullet to bullet.  If we want all bullets in a session to have a chance of being close to the same hardness, heating ALL OF them up in the oven simultaneously and then move them ALL TOGETHER into a large container (sink next to the oven?) of cold water. The oven temp is around 10 degrees below the bullet slump temperature and the batch of bullets are often in the oven for about 45-minutes.

I’ve seen guys write that they store those bullets in the freezer to retard the bullet’s return to the non hardened state. 

Lots of theories on this!

How about a different variable.....the shooter and his skill, mindset, health, etc. the day of his range testing? Unlikely those factors are exactly the same on each range trip.

Tom

 

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Paul Pollard posted this 18 January 2020

45 2.1 said: Wait at least two weeks until you size them

I probably need to go back to bullet casting school, but what is the importance of the 2 week waiting period before sizing? Does the bullet retain its size better at this time instead of sizing the same day?

Thanks

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45 2.1 posted this 19 January 2020

45 2.1 said: Wait at least two weeks until you size them

I probably need to go back to bullet casting school, but what is the importance of the 2 week waiting period before sizing? Does the bullet retain its size better at this time instead of sizing the same day?

Thanks

Antimony dendrite growth......... Antimony grows a lattice structure as long as the Tin content is a lot lower than the antimony content. While doing that it also gets a little larger and harder. You need to wait for it to slow down and stabilize some. Of course the longer you wait the better they usually shoot.

 

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shootcast posted this 19 January 2020

I agree with Tom that on any given day there are always conditions that effect our ability. These range conditions probably have more to do with it than any other factor. How many times have you worked up a particular combination, alloy, Bullet , lube, powder charge and overall cartridge length. You think you found the best possible combination it shoots very well. So when you go home you duplicate everything to the best of your ability. Same alloy, same loading process. After all you wrote everything down. Next trip to the club or worse yet the match and everything changes. Imagine that ! . 

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jr460 posted this 20 January 2020

CBA has been partially responsible for the progress we have made in shooting CBs in fixed ammunition (as opposed to breech seating) over the last forty years but that progress has mostly stopped.  Those shooting specialized custom rifles with no restrictions cannot consistently shoot aggregates of 5-shot groups much under 0.5" at 100 yards.  Those of us who like to shoot unmodified factory or old military rifles cannot consistently shoot 5-shot aggregates much under 1.0" at 100 yards. We have been able to shoot to this level of accuracy for at least ten and maybe twenty years with little improvement.

The first of the four stated "purposes" of the CBA on the back of every Fouling Shot says: encouraging experiments that will improve the accuracy and effectiveness of the ammunition and increase the satisfaction and enjoyment of shooters. Many, probably most, of us that shoot CBs in rifles want to improve either to enhance our competitiveness if we like to shoot in matches or simple to do better for field use or personal satisfaction if we don't. 

What is the best way to achieve that improvement?  Up until now many have thought that uniformity was the road to improvement.  Ever more uniform weights of cases, powder, bullets, even gas checks and primers, ever more uniform sizes of bullets, flash holes, primer pockets, ever more cleanliness of bores, case necks, primer pockets and inside cases. Other efforts at improving uniformity have included using only one case, using nose pour molds or turning bases to achieve perfect bases, shooting bullets in the order they were cast, indexing bullets, cases and even primers.

It is hard to argue against uniformity but easy to see that more and more isn't always better and some of the above have been grossly overdone and achieved nothing.  Many of our best shooters have found many of the extreme attempts for uniformity listed above were worthless and have abandoned them. 

Paul Pollard has asked in the thread on factory ammunition what should we be working on to improve?

Because we have already tried pursuing uniformity to the point of foolishness, that approach doesn't look promising for future improvements. I hope we can start a discussion on what are some of the promising ways that should be explored in order to shoot CBs more accurately? What do you think?

John

 Hello all If I under stand the question correctly posted by John Alexander How to improve accessory with cast bullets  I have found over the years to  free float the barrel and use Limb savers at least 2 on a barrel  the easiest way is to start with one just in-front of the forend and the other about one inch behind the muzzle shoot at 50 yards three or 5 shot groups.Then move both toward each other one inch at a time you will see the group move bigger some times left or right and then start to come together once you have found the sweet spot just leave the limber savers their a lot of things are happing with the limb savers mainly you are adjusting the harmonics of your barrel with that load I have found using food grade spray silicone is the best way to slide the limb savers up and down the barrel .Now the limb saver trick can not be used on a military barrel which is covered up with wood may be one limbsaver by the muzzle or fix a bayonet to the bayonet holder you are playing with the harmonics of your barrel . This year I am going to use the limb savers and I have switched over to the RCBS AR sires of reloading dies along with a lee collet die and have been getting some very good results The tapper crimp die in the AR die set is great for taking out the Lyman step created by the M expand die I have set the tapper crimp so it will take out the bell in the case neck and not leave a mark on the cast bullet then I check the bullet to make sure it can not be pushed back into the case by putting the nose against the table and pushing down hard  if no movement it is set correctly. I will start another topic on this new loading way of loading fixed lead ammo latter on.

Have fun experimenting with the limb savers 

David Williams

  

 

 

1000 yards easy

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John Alexander posted this 20 January 2020

shootcast points out: "You think you found the best possible combination it shoots very well. So when you go home you duplicate everything to the best of your ability. Same alloy, same loading process. After all you wrote everything down. Next trip to the club or worse yet the match and everything changes. Imagine that !.

++++++++++

Most of us have had similar experiences.  To some extent these experiences show us that we have more to learn about how conditions (temperature, wind, mirage, humidity, elevation, phase of the moon) affect our groups.

More often I suspect it shows  that we don't shoot as well some days as on others. I know that in spite of my practice, dry firing, etc. I don't.

Perhaps even more likely than either of the above it may simply be the large natural variation between groups (even when everything is identical) has led us to a false conclusion. We tend to forget, or refuse to believe, that in a string of five 5-shot groups the largest group will be twice as big as the smallest almost half the time.  So if you are making a judgement by looking at single five shot groups, or even a few, those groups may easily be much bigger than average -- or much smaller, leading to wrong conclusions. Of course this doesn't apply if you are comparing one match, or a many group session to another.

FWIW

John

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hanover67 posted this 25 January 2020

"We don't shoot as well on some days as on others."

This thread has touched off some thoughts about the questions and answers so here are some irreverent observations.

I used to shoot in Highpower matches. Over 30 years my performance improved with a better rifle, better reloading technique, and enough match shooting that it qualified as practice as well. So one answer to better groups might be: Practice. I found that more improvement became harder and harder to achieve. The pyramid gets narrower at the top, and I eventually levelled off.

As to letting bullets rest for two weeks before sizing them, I agree. While I didn't know about antimony lattices until I read this thread, I had heard of lead resting before. I used Sierra 190gr Matchkig bullets for the 600 yard stage. Then I bought some 190's from Bob Cateruccio who made them in San Francisco. He said he cut his own lead wire and let it sit in the bullet jackets for enough time to stabilize. He said "Sierra doesn't have time to do that," and claimed I would get groups half the size of Sierras with his bullets. I did get better scores - not sure about group size.

I'm 77 and from comments posted on CBA forums I feel right at home age-wise.  I'll bet that if you could assemble a group of tech-wise 25 year olds and had them devote their efforts to bullet casting we would be amazed at what they would come up with. The achievements of the bullet casting community so far have been pretty amazing and the practices of reloaders in general have spilled over into the commercial manufacturers who now make much better ammunition and rifles.

I cast bullets in a pretty basic setup and I shoot for fun. I enjoy learning about exotic advances and results in the cast bullet fraternity, even knowing I'll never duplicate them.

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M3 Mitch posted this 25 January 2020

Anybody who can make a significantly better target bullet than a Sierra Matchking is an unusually good bullet maker!

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Ross Smith posted this 25 January 2020

Ted Williams said it best "Practice,Practice,Practice".

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John Alexander posted this 25 January 2020

We do have bad and good days shooting caused by the shooter. And bench technique and lots of practice is very important for some of our classes especially the military rifle and hunting rifle shooters. I shoot a 6 pound rifle with a round bottom forend and don't even know all the ways I can screw up.

But let's not kid ourselves that it is very hard to shoot groups much smaller than .5" with the type of equipment used in our classes that allow custom benchrest guns -- if the gun and load will do it. The first time I shot a 10.5 pound, full fledged, jacketed bullet benchrest rifle I repeatedly shot groups in the quarter inch range and anybody reading this could also do it if conditions are good.

With a flat bottom forend, guidance fore and aft, a two ounce trigger, and up to 30 pounds of mass it ain't hard and lack of practice isn't the problem (with the exception of coping with wind, mirage, etc.)

The problem is making that type of rifle do it with cast bullets, thus the .5 moa barrier -- unbroken so far.  

As Ken mentions cast bullets probably change shape when fired, They are much softer, non-elastic, and easier to distort than JBs. They are affected by fouling more and we burn a lot of lube contributing to the fouling.  Most bullets currently used in competition have a blunt nose even we know that BC is important. Somewhere in those or other differences with JBs is the answer as to where we should spend our time and effort.

It isn't going to be from picking more nits or using one case -- we have tried all those.  We have been like the drunk looking for his dropped car keys under the street light instead of nearer where he dropped them because the light was better.  Where should we be looking?

John

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joeb33050 posted this 25 January 2020

Zinc bullets.

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RicinYakima posted this 25 January 2020

Joe, attached is article from American Rifleman, 1974.

 

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John Alexander posted this 26 January 2020

Yikes! Thanks Ric, We have wasted 46 years. The groups quoted are good for almost any practical use but wouldn't impress many at a match, but if we had been working on it all this time -- who knows? Where can you get Zamak? There may be even better casting alloys now.

John

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RicinYakima posted this 26 January 2020

"Zamak" is a trade name for a groups of zinc based alloys, with aluminum, tin and copper mostly. I became familiar with it in the 1950's as the metal used to make the bodies of auto carburetors, fuel pumps and other low stress parts. In the '70's I would go to the junk yards and they would give me a bucket of broken fuel pumps for $.50. I'd break them apart and cast "bullets" out of them. The problem is that once you cast a bullet with this stuff, the mould will never cast lead again. And the pot you used will have to be cleaned down to the bare metal!

You could shoot .357's really fast for the first 25 yards. With no weight in the bullet, drop was a problem at 50 yards. If we want to use another metal, it has to have a lot higher density than zinc. While it is "hard", it will never conform to the bore and always leak gas around the sides. Lyman made specific bullet moulds for this metal in the 1950's.

Maybe someone has more experience than I have?

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 27 January 2020

.... there are several reports of casting zinc bullets on   youtube.com ... just search for   zinc bullets ....  

... might keep your skeptical hat on while observing youtube videos ... while there are a few " bullseyes " .... there are more " flyers " to be found there ( g ) ...

ken

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JimmyDee posted this 25 February 2020

I keep wanting to remark on cases and preparation.

I saw a video of a man shooting 30BR on an indoor range.  Using one case, an electronic annealing device, careful technique, a sled gun, and an armful of computers and electronics and cameras, successive shots had *identical* muzzle velocities and barely fuzzed the edges of a hole on a paper target.

I remember a long-range shooter remarking that the first loading using new, carefully prepared brass consistently produced the best groups.  Reloading - as opposed to selling once-fired brass and buying new - saved him only $.05 per round and produced larger groups.  (He must have been getting a good price for his used brass.)

But the OP asked about the most promising precision improvement.  I have to agree with others that changing the projectile material would give the greatest improvement.  Soft alloy produces larger groups than linotype which produces larger groups than jacketed; harder seems better.

Cast bullets are what we're all about but we're not talking about cast bronze or cast iron; we're talking about metals that melt at low temperatures -- like lead, tin, bismuth, zinc, and indium.  Even antimony, common in many bullet alloys, has a melting point that's hard to attain at home and is usually bought as alloy that melts at a lower temperature.

While various zinc bullets seem to produce good groups, RickInYakama points out that downrange performance suffers -- although maybe not on indoor 100 yard ranges.  Sectional density matters.  Monotype and linotype are fine for target applications but are poor performers on game.

I don't think we can realistically improve cast bullet alloy very much and I think we have a good understanding of alloys and their application.  We know about bullet designs suitable for modern lube that fill throats and match centers of gravity and pressure.

So, what's next?  Is it cases?  Did I just walk in a circle?

 

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M3 Mitch posted this 25 February 2020

Funny you would mention cases, JimmyDee, I was just here to point out that I have heard, but have not actually tested for myself, that one of the easiest accuracy enhancements available is to buy some premium brass, stuff like Lapua and Norma.  For some reason the Scandinavian brass makers make a superior product, of course it costs more, but is more consistent.

The whole accuracy game is hard to understand from a theoretical standpoint.  What I mean is, things that "common sense" would suggest ought to matter, like sorting bullets by weight, or weighing individual powder charges, don't actually help much in the real world. 

What apparently matters the most, is to have a bullet that is at the right hardness and not undersized.  A bullet can be pretty far oversized and this, in my experience and from what I read, does not matter near as much as undersized.  I think the vast majority of leading experienced with *cast* bullets is due to undersized bullets that are too hard to obtruate and seal the bore. So an undersized bullet is the key to inaccuracy.  If I could only find some one point that would give accuracy so easily.

For practical matters, particularly cast bullet hunting, for most of us, even a 2" group at 100 yards is very adequate for the ranges we have to stay within given that even a #2 alloy bullet is not the equal of a decent jacketed soft point, and substantially inferior to something like a Nosler Partition. 

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John Alexander posted this 25 February 2020

JimmyDee mentions: " Soft alloy produces larger groups than linotype which produces larger groups than jacketed; harder seems better."

===========

Before we run too far with this idea that harder is always better I respectfully point out that there is no significant difference in the match performance of CBA Heavy and Unrestricted class usually using linotype and PBB class that uses 25:1 and softer.  There are even a few oddballs shooting fixed ammunition that do well with the very soft alloys shooting against others using linotype. So darned many factors involved.

M3 Mitch writes: "I have heard, but have not actually tested for myself, that one of the easiest accuracy enhancements available is to buy some premium brass, stuff like Lapua and Norma."

=====

I use Lapua or Norma brass wherever I can, just in case it make a difference.  It is more consistent in neck thickness and weight than the domestic brass I have at least. However, I have never been able to prove that it helps accuracy a bit.   Does anybody know of any well run tests that show the more consistent  brass improves accuracy?

Do we even actually know that "prepping" cases actually improves accuracy?

So many questions -- so many opinions -- so little experimentation to see if the opinions are worth what they cost.

John

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RicinYakima posted this 26 February 2020

Somewhere about 2007 I wrote an article about different  brands and combinations of reloading dies. As I was measureing runout of case necks and bullets, less runout equaled smaller groups up to the point of chamber neck runout. On my best 1903 Springfield the runout is 0.003" from base of neck to top band of Lyman # 311284. I quit turning case necks since I bought Lapua and Norma brass. FWIW. p.s. I used linotype as long as I had it because I could make perfect bullets with less casting time. Now a softer mix of WW's and Monotype is working just as well, but reject rate has doubled to about 5%. Ric

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JeffinNZ posted this 26 February 2020

JimmyDee mentions: " Soft alloy produces larger groups than linotype which produces larger groups than jacketed; harder seems better."

===========

 

 

The breech seating boys would beg to differ. 20-1 alloy.

Cheers from New Zealand

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 26 February 2020

For me it is obvious.  When I bring a guest to a match and he shoots a better score than I, with MY RIFLE, the potential for improvement is ME.

 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 26 February 2020

as one who would like to see more playing with swaged bullets :

i observe that match 22rf bullets are swaged nearly perfect and shoot 1/2 moa

i observe that cheap 22rf bullets are swaged nearly perfect and shoot 4 moa .


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

i observe that this is confusing.  i do note that the front half of a 22 rf bullet doesn't fit in the rifling very snug. maybe a perfect bullet going in isn't so perfect going out of the barrel.

ken

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joeb33050 posted this 26 February 2020

as one who would like to see more playing with swaged bullets :

i observe that match 22rf bullets are swaged nearly perfect and shoot 1/2 moa

That's 1/4" at 50 yards, I don't know of anyone claiming that, 5 shots, reliably. I've done it, I did it today, wanna see? Where's my wallet?

I can, pretty reliably shoot 5 shot 10 group 50 yard averages < .5", on good days, <.45. Avg. < .25"? Hard to shoot, hard to measure.

BTW, 50 rf shots at 200 meters, 7.5". 25 shots at 200 meters, 5.125" and 3.875" 

i observe that cheap 22rf bullets are swaged nearly perfect and shoot 4 moa .


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

i observe that this is confusing.  i do note that the front half of a 22 rf bullet doesn't fit in the rifling very snug. maybe a perfect bullet going in isn't so perfect going out of the barrel.

ken

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M3 Mitch posted this 26 February 2020

I do think the point of "Tighten up the loose nut holding the rifle" has a lot of potential merit.  Benchrest shooting looks pretty mechanical and to the casual observer looks not very hard to do well.  But, in fact it is a difficult skill.  JoeB's point about shooting a lot of .22 match ammo off the bench, and keeping records, has definite practical merit.  I don't know how I am going to find time to do it, but, I will certainly keep it in mind.

As I understand it, independent errors, for example shooter error and say error due to bullet out of round, add as RMS.  So if you shoot 1 MOA with Tenex off the bench with regularity, a statistically significant number of groups with a centerfire rifle at say 1.5 MOA, would allow you to "back out" the 1 MOA that you are causing yourself, and find what the rifle could do if a "perfect" shooter shot it.

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John Alexander posted this 27 February 2020

I agree with M3Mitch and Joe that Intelligent practice to improve bench shooting skills has potential for shrinking groups and records with any practical rifle (sporters, 03A3, the rifles allowed in our production or hunting rifle classes, etc.)

However, I don't think practice will help us break the .5 moa barrier for CBs with unrestricted guns. If we were to replace the Lilja barrel, on a gun used by one of our top shooters in Heavy, UNR, or UNP class who averages near .5 moa with CBs, with a Lilja barrel with the right twist, chamber and throat for jacketed benchers and provide the right jacketed benchrest ammo, that shooter will magically be able to shoot as many .25 moa groups as wanted with no practice -- if conditions were good.

I know this because I have shot a string of groups that averaged <.25" the first time I tried with that class of equipment -- and the second time as well.  Any experienced CBA competitor could do the same with such a gun, rest, and ammo. With the flat bottom forend, top notch rests and sandbags, 2 oz. trigger and five minutes of instruction, It just ain't hard. I don't think we are not going to break the .5 moa cast bullet barrier by practicing more.

John

 

 

 

 

 

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OU812 posted this 27 February 2020

Using "real" linotype alloy.

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Larry Gibson posted this 27 February 2020

"I don't think we are not going to break the .5 moa cast bullet barrier by practicing more."

I agree with John.  Also "practice" does not make perfect, practice on perfects.  Thus, if one is simply practicing the same incorrect technique over and over again there probably won't be much improvement.  The trick is to learn and practice the correct technique for the application at hand.  Different kinds of shooting from the bench require different techniques.  One technique isn't applicable to all BR shooting.

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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Paul Pollard posted this 27 February 2020

Hey John,

When you shot those boring .25 groups repeatedly, were you shooting at normal jacketed bullet velocity? Have you tried shooting the same rifle and bullets at cast bullet velocity? What were those results. It may shed some light on bullets or wind drift being the bigger problem. 

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Tom G posted this 27 February 2020

We can blame poor accuracy on all kinds of different reasons but my experience has shown that cast bullets just don't shoot as well in a particular rifle as match grade or even so so jacketed bullets. This tells me that it's something to do with the bullets and not the guns or the shooting technique or the guy behind the trigger. 

Sure, none of us have exactly the same level of skill as the others when it comes to shooting. But, when you build a first class benchrest rifle, put a 36 power scope on it., shoot it on a first class bench in good shooting conditions, if you get poor groups, it pretty much boils down to something to do with the bullets we shoot. Shooting off the bench with a flat fore end rifle on a front rest with proper bags and a 2 oz. trigger takes a lot of the personal skill out of the reason why cast bullets don't shoot much better than a half minute of angle. 

I've shot thousands of rounds with cast bullets over 30 years and they never shoot as good as good jacketed bullets in the same gun. I have a Rem. 788 in 30-30 that shoots 7/8 moa consistently with cast bullets. One day I shot a bunch of 150 gr. jacketed bullets and worked up a good load. This gun shot half inch groups with just run of the mill production hollow point jacketed bullets. I have no doubt that it can shoot even better with match grade bullets. Before I shot the jacketed bullets I shot a series of groups with cast bullets that averaged just under one MOA. 

I was using the exact same equipment on the same range under the same conditions for this test. Nothing changed but the load. The results were consistent and repeatable. I shot lots of groups so it wasn't any kind of an abberation or fluke. 

The cast bullets I shot were all very good quality. The were very uniform and weighed just as close to each other as the jacketed bullets. They fit the barrel properly and were bumped in a taper die that fit the taper of the throat of the gun. The bases were gas checked and bumped perfectly square to the c/l of the bullets. They should have shot into .3 moa in my estimation.  But they didn't, while so so jacketed bullets did shoot way under a half inch. groups. 

I've come to believe after many years of shooting cast bullets that the reason cast bullets are not as consistent as jacketed is a lack of a consistent barrel condition. By that I don't mean that this is caused by leading because my loads didn't lead at all. After a lot of soul searching and some more testing, I came to the conclusion that the lubricants that we use are the reason we can't shoot as good with cast as jacketed. 

In other words, the friction in the barrel and possible the gas blow by varies from one shot to the next and this caused the bullet to emit from the barrel at a different time during the barrel vibration cycles. I know from testing and have confirmed to my own satisfaction that the amount of lube on the bullet greatly effects what we call fliers. I also know from testing that the actual lube formula has a great effect on accuracy. By "great effect" I mean adding a quarter of an inch to a half inch to the group sizes.  To some, that amount may be inconsiquential but for a benchrest shooter it is a lot. 

Lube is the one variable in our loads that we have never really gotten a real hold on. If we ever get one that works perfectly, I think we can shoot cast bullets just as good and probably even better than jacketed bullets. 

In the past I've identified the fact that lube causes fliers. It's a necessary evil at this point in time if we want to shoot cast bullets without leading at any kind of higher velocity. So far, I've never been able to lick the flier problem but I've been able to reduce the fliers by playing around with the lube formula and the amount of lube on the bullets to get rid of about 90% of them. My theory, and it's only a theory since we can't see whats going on inside our barrels with each shot, is that the problem is that we cannot maintain a consistent level of lube and thus, friction and sealing over a long period of time. That the lube builds up in the barrel and every once in a while, it purges it out and the barrel goes back to a steady state for a few shots before the lube builds up again and gets to the point of causing bullets to fly out of the groups. 

I can cite examples of this happening. but this is already a long post. I can say that my suppositions are based on real observations of cause and effect. Not being able to monitor bore conditions as well as we would like, that's about all we can use to try to rationalize why we get fliers with cast bullets and don't with jacketed. 

It just snowed 6 inches last night and the wind is blowing so that the wind chill here is 8 degrees. I figured that this is a good time to throw out this theory and see how others feel about it. I think that the next big leap forward in cast bullet accuracy will undoubtebly be tied to finding or eliminating the use of converntional lubes as we know them. Flame on!! 

Tom Gray in snowy Michigan

 

 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 27 February 2020

... or maybe it is actually real simple ... nothing can go faster than light .. ( at least for a long time now ) ... and maybe we just can't shoot 50 shots into under 1/2 moa with cast.

... or maybe only wimmin critters can shoot cast under 1/2 moa ... they do unnatural things all the time ...

ken

 

 

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RicinYakima posted this 27 February 2020

Tom, No flames here!

I belong to another BB where the four or five main characters where all lube makers. And I mean 40 plus for each one. There conclusion is like yours, but found no "perfect" lube. Reading there stuff makes it seem like every 10 degrees of temperature change and humidity change, something else works better. To me, it doesn't seem like it is the number of degrees, but how long it takes the temperature in the bore to dissipate.

Since they wanted higher velocity and were happy with one MOA, I never followed up. Since then they have all gone to powder coating; high velocity, average accuracy and constant bore conditions, except for heat.

I have no answers, but follow the discussion.

Ric

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Tom G posted this 27 February 2020

My post was/is addressed back to the original question :  

What is the Most Promising Aspect of CB Rifle Shooting for Improving Accuracy?

I think that advances in lube are probably the most promising things that we have going at the present. 

I know some serious benchrest shooters who are shooting groups of .2 to .3 inches routinely. They are not shooting rifles that are any more high tech than the most advanced cast bullet benchrest rifles. They are dealing with heat almost exactly the same as we are. Yet they aren't blaming heat changes in the barrels for bad accuracy. They mostly blame the bullets. 

Granted, lead bullets are more susceptible to heat probably than jacketed because of the lower melting point of the alloy and the heat's ability to change the lubricant properties. But, with the lubes I used, I never saw any deterioration in accuracy that I could correlate to a hot barrel. Granted, I shot heavy barrel guns that have a more stable heat tolerance and didn't shoot fast enough to get them very hot.  But, cold or just moderately warm barrels throw shots on a regular basis so it's hard to not think that the lube is still the problem. 

Cold barrels usually don't shoot the first shot into a group. I always attributed this to the lube being temperature sensitive and the change in viscosity with temperature. This is a pretty well established fact and our magazine is called the Fouling Shot for a purpose. 

I have no argument that heat can cause inaccuracy but my guns shot unexplained fliers ( maybe one out of each 10 shot group at best) while I was shooting at a constant pace and maintaining a fairly consistent barrel temp. They did throw the first or second shot almost all the time when shot starting cold. But, jacketed bullet guns do that too. 

No doubt that those guys you mention that attribute fliers to heat are seeing a cause and effect. But they may be using lubes that break down faster than the lube I was using as heat changes in the barrel. Not all lubes are equal. 

I shoot mostly practical pistol stuff now. Many of the shooters are using powder coated bullets. I haven't tried it yet and still stick to the conventional method of lubing. I have observed that their guns shoot very well and will go several time longer before they need cleaning. They don't lead the barrel but eventually un burned power does clog up the action to the point where it can cause a malfunction. 

I recently traded two bags of shot and paid lots of cash for a Ransom Rest. While I haven't shot it a whole lot, I've shot my accurized 1911 45 ACP and a Belgian Browning Hi Power on it. These guns, when on an accurate load shoot round groups and no unexplained fliers. Maybe shorter barrels can tolerate lube better than longer ones. .Or, maybe my testing methods are not so well refined as to actually resolve when a flier occurs. The best my 45 has done is right around 2.5 inches at 50 yards but the groups were predomanently round and consistent.That's with the Lee copy of the H&G 200 gr. SWC in WW+T.   

 

Powder coating is now pretty well established but is probably still in the infant stage as far as testing and development. They mostly all stick to Eastman or Harbor Freight paint powder and I think that there is still room for a lot more experimentation in this area. From what I see right now, PC probably has a lot of potential to answer our question.  

Tom

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45 2.1 posted this 27 February 2020

Interesting what people believe. I'll give you what I know to be true.... and will probably get shot in the back by more than a few arrows from folks here. Jacketed bullets underwent a very large jump in accuracy potential in the 60's. We now have long range shooters that shoot five shot groups a little over an inch at 1000 yards when conditions are good. They are able to do that with very concentric well made bullets. Accuracy with cast depends on more factors than jacketed. Foremost of these is the bullet. Many people here state their bullets fits properly. Do you get fliers? If so then that bullet DOES NOT fit properly because if it did, you wouldn't get fliers hardly at all if the design is correct (clue: Barlow type two dimensional bullets are very hard to get to fit and quite hard to get high velocity with accuracy out of).. BTDT too many times over a long period of time. The bullet that has a nose matching the throat does quite well until you try pushing it to hard. The best is a bullet that gradually engraves more as it enters the throat area. That throat area isn't parallel or tapered if it's been shot some either, it's curved. Hard to find an as cast bullet like that to fit to it.The next factor is the lube on that bullet. Hard or soft slickery lubes with high viscosity will cause fliers...that's a FACT. Low viscosity lubes let you get by very easily and really don't throw bullets out of the group. The next factor is your alloy.... folks say they use linotype because it casts so nice. Unless the that bullet fits well and you are shooting above 45K, it isn't going to do well part of the time. Softer than what you think alloys (not necessarily hardness) shoot quite accurately.... you want hardness from a soft antimony alloy, then water drop it and wait two to three weeks for it to get hard. Next thing is your load. The old timers gave you the answer with "match you alloy to your load" statement, but it isn't necessarily what you think. The best way to pick a powder is with a chronograph. A powder with low extreme spreads does better at long range. Test your load at over 300 yards, does it string vertically? If so adjust it up or down slightly to see if the groups becomes round. A chronograph can tell you things you can't see, use it. Lots of powders in the same burning range to try... and one of them will work right. Next is chamber and cases. A properly cut concentric chamber in line with the bore is the best possible condition. Anything less hurts everything you try. Cases with a lot of neck clearance don't help you at all. Skill with the rifle and technique is another necessary thing. That's a start for you to go with...................

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joeb33050 posted this 27 February 2020

It's the bullet, not the lube. Lube experiments go back to Roman times, nobody found any provable difference, even on the 24th try. Look it up.

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John Alexander posted this 27 February 2020

Paul Pollard wrote:

Hey John,

When you shot those boring .25 groups repeatedly, were you shooting at normal jacketed bullet velocity? Have you tried shooting the same rifle and bullets at cast bullet velocity? What were those results. It may shed some light on bullets or wind drift being the bigger problem. 

=============

Paul,

Good question. Yes, in both cases (one 6ppc and one 30BR) these were near maximum loads. I have not tried loads with velocities close to match winning cast bullet velocities (1,400 to 22,000 fps). I will put it on my list of things to try but the list is already pretty long. I have no idea whether you can shoot .25 moa groups in such a rifle with reduced JB loads. JB benchrester shooters seem to all shoot em hot but that could be to reduce wind drift.  Does anybody know if if it possible at say 2,000 fps ?

However, I don't think the difference in precision between CBs and JBs is only that JBs wind drive less (i.e.have higher BCs and are shot at much higher velocities) although that is probably a part of it. If we could average .25 moa five shot aggs with CBs in a tunnel or a warehouse and the difference was wind, then excellent CB groups shot in wind should be .25 moa high and .50 moa wide (measured on the appropriate angle for that twist). The groups approaching .5 moa I have observed at our nationals tend to usually be round at least in most years.

John

   

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John Alexander posted this 28 February 2020

I may be biased but it seems to me that the posts on this thread have especially interesting.  I think some of them have the potential to influence our experimentation in a profitable way.

However, in an intelligent discussion it is important that we know what the terms mean.  One term in particular is used often in discussions like this yet it is seldom clear what it means.  That term is "flier". We all know that it means a shot out of the group but there is usually one shot out of the group. How far out does a shot have to be to be a flier?

We need a definition of flier that we all agree on.  However, I think that is too much to ask for in a forum thread.  However, it seems reasonable to ask individual writers using this term what it means to them so we will be able to understand what is being said.

Should the worst shot in a five shot group enlarge the group of the other four shots 25%, 50%,100%, 150% or something else to be called a flier.

Should the worst shot in a ten shot group enlarge the group of the other 9 shots 15%, 30% or 50% or something else to be called a flier.

To take my own medicine for my future posts, unless a shot in a a five shot group increases the group size of at least 75% I don't consider it a flier. I have my reasons, but it is not some magical number given by the gods or a number I expect others to agree to.

TomG and 45 2.1 have both recently posted long and interesting posts using the term flier.  It would be helpful to understand your posts if we knew your criteria for "flier".  I hope other posters using the term will also give their definition.

John

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Larry Gibson posted this 28 February 2020

John

Got to agree, 45 2.1's last post was excellent, concise and to the point.

LMG

 

Concealment is not cover.........

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GWarden posted this 28 February 2020

Someone mentioned the breech seating. Now they and slug gun shooters are using soft lead mixes, and getting groups at 200yds that are amazing. So why can the fixed ammo shooters not match their accuracy? I know there is the bullet jump for the fixed ammo. Breech seating shooters do not size their bullets, but shoot as cast. It is even pretty phenomenal what bench muzzle loading round ball rifles will do at 100yds with aperture sights.bob

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45 2.1 posted this 28 February 2020

TomG and 45 2.1 have both recently posted long and interesting posts using the term flier.  It would be helpful to understand your posts if we knew your criteria for "flier".  John

Something clearly out by it's lonesome not having to do with wind deflection or velocity induced variation.

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Ross Smith posted this 28 February 2020

I have to second what Gwarden said. My ML bench gun and my breechseat 32-40 always amaze me and are fun to shoot. 

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John Carlson posted this 28 February 2020

What's a flier?  Well, in my humble opinion:

If I have a group in which 80% of the shots are within X diameter and the other 20& are at least 1.5 times X I call them fliers. If I shoot a 10 shot group and 8 of those shots are in a 2 inch circle (1 inch radius) but the 9th and 10th shots are more than 1 1/2 inches from the center of the main group, I'd call those fliers.  If I shoot a 10 shot group and 6 of those shots are in a 1 inch group but the other 4 spread evenly around to make it a 3 inch group, I would not call those fliers.

 Of course when all is said and done the group measurement that goes on the score sheet is the only one that matters.  Kinda like bowling.

For some time I went to my 223 JB rifle, scoped identical to my 03A3 CB rifle, and shot at the same targets just to reassure myself that I wasn't the problem (at least not all of it).  Only recently did John Alexander's influence convince me that I would indeed not burn in CB hell for putting jacketed bullets through my cast bullet rifles.  Guess what.  They shoot better there too, even when loaded to cast bullet velocities. I'll continue to follow this discussion closely watching for the holy grail.

Holding public office should be viewed as an obligation to serve, not an opportunity to rule.

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John Alexander posted this 28 February 2020

GWarden asked: "Someone mentioned the breech seating. Now they and slug gun shooters are using soft lead mixes, and getting groups at 200yds that are amazing. So why can the fixed ammo shooters not match their accuracy? 

------------

The short answer is they can and they do. There is more than one way to skin a cat or shoot a cast bullet and both breeching seating and fixed ammo can both produce five shot group aggregates near .5 moa.

Using CBA national records for 5 shot and 10 Shot groups at both 100 and 200 yards as a rough measure of precision indicate that the custom rifles shooting fixed ammo shoot insignificantly better at 100 yards and maybe 10 percent smaller aggregates at 200 yards than custom rifles using breech seating.  Both approaches seem to have hit the wall at about .5 moa.

John

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joeb33050 posted this 28 February 2020

I may be biased but it seems to me that the posts on this thread have especially interesting.  I think some of them have the potential to influence our experimentation in a profitable way.

However, in an intelligent discussion it is important that we know what the terms mean.  One term in particular is used often in discussions like this yet it is seldom clear what it means.  That term is "flier". We all know that it means a shot out of the group but there is usually one shot out of the group. How far out does a shot have to be to be a flier?

We need a definition of flier that we all agree on.  However, I think that is too much to ask for in a forum thread.  

 

4 EXPECTED AND UNEXPECTED FLYERS

 

We define, here, EXPECTED flyers as wide shots that are part of the distribution of the other shots; and UNEXPECTED flyers as so wide that they are unlikely to be part of the distribution of the other shots.

 

Measure the groups with and without the flyer, divide the larger number by the smaller.

 

If (5 shot group size) / (4 shot group size) is greater than 1.6, then we are 95% sure that the fifth shot is an unexpected flyer.

 

If (5 shot group size) / (4 shot group size) is greater than 1.8, then we are 99% sure that the fifth shot is an unexpected flyer.

 

If (10 shot group size) / (9 shot group size) is greater than 1.4, then we are 95% sure that the tenth shot is an unexpected flyer.

 

If (10 shot group size) / (9 shot group size) is greater than 1.5, then we are 99% sure that the tenth shot is an unexpected flyer.

 

 

 

 

 

However, it seems reasonable to ask individual writers using this term what it means to them so we will be able to understand what is being said.

Should the worst shot in a five shot group enlarge the group of the other four shots 25%, 50%,100%, 150% or something else to be called a flier.

Should the worst shot in a ten shot group enlarge the group of the other 9 shots 15%, 30% or 50% or something else to be called a flier.

To take my own medicine for my future posts, unless a shot in a a five shot group increases the group size of at least 75% I don't consider it a flier. I have my reasons, but it is not some magical number given by the gods or a number I expect others to agree to.

TomG and 45 2.1 have both recently posted long and interesting posts using the term flier.  It would be helpful to understand your posts if we knew your criteria for "flier".  I hope other posters using the term will also give their definition.

John

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joeb33050 posted this 28 February 2020

Hey John,

When you shot those boring .25 groups repeatedly, were you shooting at normal jacketed bullet velocity? Have you tried shooting the same rifle and bullets at cast bullet velocity? What were those results. It may shed some light on bullets or wind drift being the bigger problem. 

Paul;

At your suggestion I spent about two years shooting thousands of groups in 223 and 22-250 in a dozen barrels or so with jacketed bullets at cast bullet velocities. There were several conclusions; the most germane to this discussion is this. It is dead easy to shoot jacketed bullets at cast bullet velocities more accurately than cast bullets.

I explained the test and the results here in detail. All the  records are available on request.

The reason that jacketed bullets are more accurate than cast is THE BULLET. Not orienting or sorting or weighing or the lube; it's the bullet. 

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45 2.1 posted this 28 February 2020

The reason that jacketed bullets are more accurate than cast is THE BULLET. Not orienting or sorting or weighing or the lube; it's the bullet. 

 

Joe is right that it's the bullet between jacketed and cast. But with cast you can do just about 0.3 MOA with a correctly fitting bullet alloyed for the load. Even a couple of long bodied Lyman numbers will do that when loaded right. Shield in place for those arrows now.

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Paul Pollard posted this 28 February 2020

Joe,

The testing of jacketed bullets at cast velocity which you did has been read and re-read. Thank you for testing and reporting. 

You've always held the CBA shooters to a higher standard, comparing our results to the IBS shooters and noting our lack of improvement for 100 years or so. I think the IBS or NBRSA guys shoot custom aftermarket barrels (Krieger, Shilen, Bartlein, or Lilja). Since your testing was done with various Savage takeoff barrels, I thought maybe John Alexander had shot some jacketed bullets slowly in a real Benchrest rifle. We then could see what the potential is for excellent bullets at slow velocity.

Since my 6ppc is chambered the same as a jacketed rifle, I can actually do the testing myself. I managed to find some Berger bullets which should work. Are all Berger bullets labeled "match"? I will try to do some meaningful testing and report back, hopefully with enough data to be useful.

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John Alexander posted this 28 February 2020

But with cast you can do just about 0.3 MOA with a correctly fitting bullet alloyed for the load. Even a couple of long bodied Lyman numbers will do that when loaded right. 

=======

45 2.1 is right it is no big deal to shoot 0.3 moa with cast even I have done it with my hunting rifle.  There are usually a bunch of such groups at every CBA nationals. And of course its not rare on the Internet.  But a 0.5 moa aggregated will almost always take the gold in any cast bullet match anywhere and in the history of Am. Rifleman testing of a lot of high priced rifles I can't remember them every having achieved a 0.3 moa average and they are testing with several brands of jacketed bullet ammo -- funny abut that.

John

 

 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 28 February 2020

amongst my growing list of orphan shooting stuff are some bullets that might be of interest in testing; pm me if.

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45 2.1 posted this 28 February 2020

 I can't remember them every having achieved a 0.3 moa average and they are testing with several brands of jacketed bullet ammo -- funny abut that.

John

Go to a national level bench rest match in the jacketed realm, 0.3 MOA will not get you any notice or awards and you'll place way down in the listings. They shoot down in the teens from what the two local shooters say.

 

 

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RicinYakima posted this 29 February 2020

John:  "history of Am. Rifleman testing of a lot of high priced rifles I can't remember them every having achieved a 0.3 moa average"

45 2.1: "Go to a national level bench rest match in the jacketed realm, 0.3 MOA will not get you any notice"

You guys are starting to talk apples and oranges again.

I'm sick and having a hard enough time trying to follow all this conversation between the drugs and sleepiness.

 

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JimmyDee posted this 29 February 2020

John was referring to American Rifleman tests using commercial ammunition in his "[never] achieved a .3 MOA average" remark.

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RicinYakima posted this 29 February 2020

I know, that is why I quoted him.

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45 2.1 posted this 29 February 2020

You can learn a lot following the other fellows game that you can't learn doing your own. Most people never see that. Cast a perfect bullet to begin with and the unnecessary regimens will be seen as that....unnecessary.

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joeb33050 posted this 29 February 2020

 

If you're talking abouit under .4; then CBA NM:

 

 

 

 

 

But with cast you can do just about 0.3 MOA with a correctly fitting bullet alloyed for the load. Even a couple of long bodied Lyman numbers will do that when loaded right. 

=======

45 2.1 is right it is no big deal to shoot 0.3 moa with cast even I have done it with my hunting rifle.  There are usually a bunch of such groups at every CBA nationals. And of course its not rare on the Internet.  But a 0.5 moa aggregated will almost always take the gold in any cast bullet match anywhere and in the history of Am. Rifleman testing of a lot of high priced rifles I can't remember them every having achieved a 0.3 moa average and they are testing with several brands of jacketed bullet ammo -- funny abut that.

John

 

 

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John Alexander posted this 29 February 2020

Sorry about bringing JBs into the conversation. What I was trying to say politely in my last post, I will say in plain language.  When you see a keyboard shooter on the internet say he can shoot 0.3 moa with cast bullets especially if he claims doing it with a sporter type factory rifle there are two possibilities.

1. He has shot an occasional group that size and doesn't understand that such lucky groups aren't the same as actually being able to shoot at that level. 

2. He has been smoking or ingesting something that distorts reality.

We should be tolerant and kind.

John

 

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John Alexander posted this 29 February 2020

Thanks for the table Joe, That puts in in perspective.

If you latest entry of 2017 means you don't have the breakdown of scores from 2018 and 2019 I will be glad to send them to you.

John

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OU812 posted this 01 March 2020

I bet my little 223 will out shoot all you guys.

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harleyrock posted this 01 March 2020

Coatings research:  Federal Syntech.  Surely Federal has done extensive research before setting up the logistics for producing coated lead alloy bullets commercially at a profit.

I don't keep good records, but I'd bet Federal does.  I would freely share any useful data (if I had any). I'd bet Federal wouldn't.

Lifetime NRA since 1956, NRA Benefactor, USN Member, CBA Member

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 01 March 2020

I bet my little 223 will out shoot all you guys.

I bet my vintage Red Ryder will out shoot your .223 @ 500 yards, I can beat you 9 times out of 10 arm wrestling, my bank account is 5 times bigger and my feet don't smell bad like yours, but this is all my opinion. 

My suggestion is that you re-join the CBA and shoot side by side matches to prove your opinion on your .223. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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OU812 posted this 01 March 2020

Sorry...I was working nightshift and feeling a little silly when I made that comment, but I bet it can still out shoot all of you.

Just kidding. Need to get back to range.

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OU812 posted this 01 March 2020

Adjusting for throat errosion. Bumped bullet must fit perfect and little changes can help or hurt. It is very hard for me to mail down.

True linotype (roto metals) and higher velocities along with bumped bullet fit has shoot the smallest groups for me. Oh...and old long cut 4198.

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4and1 posted this 5 weeks ago

I'm fairly new to cast bullet benchrest. I do however have over 25 years of shooting both score and group benchrest with jacketed bullets. I have competed against the top shooters in this country (note I said competed against, not beat!). We all have guns that have the best of the best gun components, we use the best of the best ammo components. So why do some always end up at the top of the results and most are below them? Those at the top know how to keep a gun in tune. They change their loads from the first warmup match to the last target of the day. They know how to deal with temperature changes and humidity changes. Those here that have that some days you do good and the next day not so much. Well there is your reason.

But, one thing is a given. You cannot tune a gun, you cannot properly hold off from the last shot on paper, unless you KNOW your last bullet shot where it should have. What I mean is, if it were a flier and you took that as full value, your next shot based on that one will be wrong. You can't have UNEXPLAINED fliers and shoot a great match. If a shot goes out of your group, you have to know it was a missed condition, not a bad bullet.

I agree with all here that believe bullets are the biggest culprit to inaccuracy. I swage my own jacketed bullets. The cores must be pure in their alloy since they are squirted by size/volume. The jackets must have very little to no wall thickness variance (.0003" or less). And your dies must be good, they all are not made equal. The process and lube in swaging must be the same. Good bullets fly true, a flier is caused by conditions or out of tune load.

So in my opinion, it's the bullets, assuming the gun is capable.

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John Alexander posted this 4 weeks ago

4and1,

Excellent post. You mentioned temperature and humidity changes.  Whatever effect they have on jacketed bullets they may have even more on cast bullets. Increasing or reducing a load in anticipation of temperature on the day of the match is obvious although how much exactly isn't so obvious.  What wisdom did you learn from your JB benchrest friends about compensating for these changes in conditions. i don't think most of us CB competitors have a clue although maybe it's just that I don't have a clue.

I think you will get a lot of support here for your opinion that the bullet is most likely the weakest link, but again what to do about it"

Many CBA competitors already weigh sort their bullets to .2 or even .1 grain for 200+ grain bullets (0.1% or 0.05%)  Berger match bullets vary several times that percent variation and shoot better than any CB. We stew about hidden voids but with good casting practice it is not certain that they really exist.  There is no test results to support the idea that such things as examining bullets under magnification to pick up visible defects that can't be seen with our trifocals does any good. Matching the chamber pressure to the appropriate hardness has been mentioned here by 45 1.1 and others, but many of us have been trying to do that forever.

Any advice you have from your experience with jacketed benchrest would be valuable.

 

 

 

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4and1 posted this 4 weeks ago

John, thank you! If you notice in my post I mentioned not many being at the top of the list, well I'm not one of those at the top! I have not learned the fine art of  keeping the tune. When I travel to a match, I go a day early and spend time on that range working on loads. Every range is different. At the end of the day I would feel confident I had the gun shooting as good as it could. Then the next day when the match starts, I couldn't make two bullets touch. Or, I would start out and shoot a couple good groups, then the tune goes out and I'm shooting .3's the rest of the day. It can be frustrating.

I will say though, and no offense toward others, not many people take the time to work up a load for the gun/bullet/powder in a methodical way. There is a process, it takes time, but it will show you what your gun wants to shoot. Every rifle creates vibrations when it goes off, and you have to find where you can get the vibrations to a neutral node, otherwise shots go everywhere. There are two aspects of a load, powder charge and seating depth, considering the brass is prepped and the barrel is clean. Side note, I know some cast shooters hardly ever clean, to each his own. But when I go the the line, I want my barrel in the same condition each time. I won't shoot more than 10-12 shots on any target. The only way to know this is to start every target with a clean barrel.

Find the depth where the bullet just touches the lands. With a piece of brass that is sized enough where there is no feel when closing the bolt (firing pin removed, ejector removed) seat your bullet and slowly chamber the round. If the bolt closes on it's own weight the bullet is seated to far into the case. If the bolt won't drop then the bullet is seated against the lands. Carefully seat the bullet a small amount until the bolt will almost drop closed, not fall, but start to lock up . There is where you have touch, this is ZERO setting.

Powder charge- with your powder of choice, start with a light charge, for sake of discussion, let's call that 25 grains. Set a target that has a bunch of rows of bulls. Make up something on the back of a normal target, you want 3 bulls wide, and quite a few of the rows down the paper. So here we start:

With the seating depth at ZERO, load a fouling round just to shoot off the side, load 3 rounds with the light load, 3 with a medium load and 3 with a heavy load. You decide if the load difference is by grains (how many grains if need be). Shoot the 3 light in the first bull, 3 medium, 3 heavy.

Next row, from the ZERO depth, seat the bullet .010" into the lands, load the same 3 rounds each of the 3 charges.

Next row move the bullet another .010" into the lands (.020" total), shot the same 3 shots of each charge.

Next row go back to ZERO, but this time seat the bullet .010" into the case, shoot the 3 loads

Next row seat another .010" deeper (.020" total into the case) shoot the 3 loads.

You should see a difference of the groups. You should see a pattern somewhere. It may be the powder charge or seating depth that shows better groups. Follow what shows best. It may be the farther into the lands were getting better, so chase that and see if more is better. Or powder charge, you might need to go faster or slower. But what you should see is what the gun likes or doesn't like. If you didn't run a test like this, you would never know. .010" may be too much of a change, cut it in half. Same with powder charge, go between to fine tune. It takes time, but it's worth it.

Sorry for the long post, didn't know how else to explain it.

I'm adding a comment here. In short range benchrest most likely you are shooting either a 6PPC or a 30BR. In both cases, powder type and charge are tried and true, usually only some tweaking will be needed.  When I started cast, I went through the match results and noted all the powders and charges people had listed. That was a good starting point for sure, and I tried all of them. Some did OK for me, some were a flop. I zeroed in on a burn rate that seemed to work, and concentrated on powders in that range. Powders have more of a characteristic than a burn rate, as far as burn rate charges go. Even in the same range of powders, some still work better than others. Don't be afraid to go outside the box.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

4and 1 ::   great stuff .  fits right in this thread.

we keep buzzing around the problem/answer of better cast accuracy ... kinda like those flies we hear about ... heh .

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

your described testing of br jb loads mirrors the " testing lots " of 22 rf with our match rifles.  we tested brands, then lots, then barrel tuner settings.  we bot ammo by the 5000 round case and shot almost all of it testing ... the most fun was talking about  IF and WHAT we had learned .

we also shot initial 3 shot groups when checking the tuner settings .. we eventually discovered what JoeB has been telling us here for several years in his revelations of statistical hard truths.

our three shot groups were not telling us the best tuner settings, they were only telling us if a setting was really really bad.  we knew we could shoot 500 shots and our group would be under 0.4 ( at 50 yards ) ... so if a tuner notch gave us a 0.6 group we knew that on that day not to use that setting.  yep, a 3 shot group is just part of a larger ... say 150-300 shot group ( that we would shoot in a match ) .

so after we ran through maybe 20 of 3 shot testing groups we had to go back and shoot 2 or 3 complete 25 shot targets with each of our best-guess tuner settings.  that setting would be good for that day in those conditions.   we tried to pick a notch that gave good groups a click or two each side of optimum, thinking that would be more likely to be close in other conditions.

the ammo makers love 22 rf shooters.

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

we did find that ... contrary to all those gun magazine articles where they test 70 kinds of 22 ammo to find " which ammo their rifle likes " ... that ::

the best ammo shoots best in all the rifles.... once the tuner setting is found.  this is an observation, i am not sure what this might mean.   ... all 40 cent a shot midas L looks exactly the same ... but some lots shot better regardless of the tuner setting ... or chamber variations or headspace settings or barrel maker or twist ... 

this probably gives credence to the obsessive powder grain-counters ...  but it still doesn't give us predictable groups under 1/2 moa with cast.

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

just to make ourselves feel better, i do follow my heroes that shoot mj bench .. i delight that even at the big matches, where yep the winners shoot a lot of 0.1 groups ... but there is a whole bunch of 0.4 and even a few 0.6 groups ... in fact, i buy an occasional shilen/hart barrel from some of those " non-winners " ... heh, have got about 30 of these now that i put on local varmint shooters rigs.  they get a few ( lucky ) 0.4 inch groups at 200 yards and so the technology gets passed on .

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

just ramblin'  ken

 

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John Alexander posted this 4 weeks ago

Great post Ken.

This part will be ignored by almost everybody but it shouldn't be.--  "we also shot initial 3 shot groups when checking the tuner settings .. we eventually discovered what JoeB has been telling us here for several years in his revelations of statistical hard truths. our three shot groups were not telling us the best tuner settings, they were only telling us if a setting was really really bad."

----------

Absolutely! maybe even three reallys instead of two. Even a great load  sometimes shoots a big three shot group and not that seldom. 

I think much of the systematic load development work, like ladder testing and such, that shooters do doesn't amount to a fart in a whirlwind because shooters forget (or never have recognized) just how much three or five shot groups vary from one to another and make decisions based on a few groups. It takes really huge amounts of ammo and time to do something like a ladder test to a reasonable confidence level. 

Shooters who make decisions on the best loads by shooting a five or ten shot group for each load are probably not going to find the best load.  Shooters could profit by spending some time staring at, and thinking about, the table #5 (Variation in Group Sizes) Joe provided in the thread Statistics and Groups a week or so ago.  This drill might help give a shooter a better sense about the probability that an individual group, or string of groups, is telling the truth.

John

 

 

 

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4and1 posted this 4 weeks ago

Ken, I hear ya! What you posted is the reason I don't shoot RF benchrest! Jacketed benchrest is enough to make you go after adult beverages, but RF, I think, is far more frustrating. We (J guys) can change things, RF guys have to shoot what's in the box.  And don't get me started on the tuner thing. I know tuners in RF are probably as important as a good scope, but some have used them in the J crowd. Adds another thing to futz with.

I suppose I should add to my other post, but doing these 3 shot tests point you in a direction to follow. They aren't proven. In my view, and I have learned this the hard way, a gun/load is not proven until you shoot an agg with it. I laugh at the guys who pull out this target from their wallet and say "lookie here". I say, how many times have you done it?  While I have talked about keeping the gun in tune during the day, that's not the same thing as proving the gun over a 10 target agg. Each and every piece of that rifle plays a part in the final result. If they aren't working in sync, the gun won't shoot well. And what Ken says about buying barrels from other shooters, is true. Thes J boys change barrels like most change underware. One bad match, and that barrel can be had cheap! And that same barrel, installed on a different action/stock, could very well be a killer!

Aint this fun?

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