View Full Version : Alloy for 460 Smith & Wesson in a Contender

12-01-2013, 09:39 AM
I'm casting some boolits for a buddy of mine for use in his 460 Contender. I'm casting Lee 300 gr RF with GC. Earlier I've used range scrap with added tin but the result was serious leading and ...well....bad precision :roll: Today I got my hands on about 250 lbs of a mixture of linotype and something I believe is monotype spacers. The monotype strips got a high pitch ring to it when I drop it on the concrete floor and seems a lot harder than the strips of letters. It's also a lot darker in color.

What alloy would you recommend to use for "full house 460 loads" in his rifle? Straight lino? I will water drop.

I've looked at the lead alloy calculator and may come up with something on my own, but why re-invent the wheel..? :) My guess is that a lot of you has a suggestion.


12-01-2013, 10:30 AM
If you are getting leading with a gas check, your boolit fit may be a problem too. Did you slug the barrel? What is the load you tried? What lube?

12-01-2013, 01:21 PM
Is the rifle a Contender or an Encore. A 460 S&W Contender is probably not going to last very long.

12-01-2013, 02:01 PM
It's an Encore, my bad.

He has not slugged the barrel but .452 worked great with harder boolits from a local well known dealer/caster. My castings also sized to .452 and some of the loadings he tried where from mild to mid range loads with VhitaVouri N110, loads around 25 gr. He says it’s getting real messy around 1200 ft with my boolits. Both crimping grooves on the 300-RF where used with the same results. Carnuba Red is used for all my boolits. Wadcutter and magnum loads. The lead used is approx 70 % range scrap consisting of mostly .22s and and 30 % roofing cheat lead + 2% pewter. I waterdropped this. After water dropping the BHN readings on my Lee tester reads 12-16 BHN.

Since harder casts work, could I be right if I think that this is too soft for the psi in the 460 and the speed? Could there be an issue of “skidding” and poor fit maybe? I’ll be interesting to try a harder alloy. I’m aware of the therm “Fit is king”. What do you think of a test with pure Lino? If that gives the same bad result it must be "bad fit", right? If so, how could the other boolits work with the same sizing? Thank you for you’re help!

12-01-2013, 02:13 PM
You could try mixing some lino 1/1 with your range scrap or roofing lead, water drop it and see if it changes anything.

12-01-2013, 04:18 PM
Since I have a lot of range scrap a good place to start would be to mix range scrap and lino 50-50. Regarding seating lenght with the 300-RF you only have two options, right? One of the crimp grooves. Thanks!

12-01-2013, 04:26 PM
Did you measure your boolits after sizing with a MICROMETER or simply go by the size marked on the die. The alloy will determine final size and it's possible that your boolits are smaller than what is marked on the die.

Mostly 22 range scrap and roofing sheets will be quite soft and have very little Sb. Water dropping would have little effect on final BHN without Sb in this alloy. Your stated BHN range of 12-16 is confusing, that's quite a spread if your talking all the same alloy and 16 would be very surprising with 22/roofing lead.

To avoid as much experimenting and testing as possible I suggest you properly slug the bore and measure the slug with a micrometer NOT calipers.

You shouldn't need to use up all of your lino, try a mixture of 50% of your lead and 50% lino. That will give you roughly 6% Sb with plenty of tin and should work well. IF any harder than this is needed try water dropping this alloy but if the boolit fits correctly this should be hard enough.


12-01-2013, 04:30 PM
I would try the crimp groove giving you the longest cartridge over all length. Make up a dummy round to be sure it will chamber but there should be no problem in a Linda Lovelace chamber for which T/C is famous for.


12-01-2013, 04:33 PM
I measured after sizing with a micrometer and they measure .4523"". The alloy works great for 38 special and 9mm but I know I use the right size there. I doesen't seem to matter if I water drop or not, so I guess you're right cbrick.

12-01-2013, 04:34 PM
I would try the crimp groove giving you the longest cartridge over all length. Make up a dummy round to be sure it will chamber but there should be no problem in a Linda Lovelace chamber for which T/C is famous for.


It chambers with the longest COL.

12-01-2013, 04:50 PM
Since you have a micrometer, what is the as cast diameter from your LEE mold? Boolits sized to nominal groove diameter is a tad small. I recommend a .454" sizing die and .453" as minimum. They should chamber well in a T/C but again, slug the bore and know what your working with. Just because a bore is supposed to be .452" has no bearing on if it actually is. As an example my Winchester 94 in 30-30 has a great bore from one end to the other except for that pesky .310" groove diameter. If I hadn't slugged the bore I would still be wondering why it leads so badly.


12-01-2013, 05:14 PM
The mold drops .454+ so it's no problem to size bigger if I buy a bigger die. I'll try to convince him to slug the bore. I've tried before but he is kind of not into that idea since the "harcast" .452 boolits worked :) If it was my gun had done that since it's always a good place to start.

12-01-2013, 06:21 PM
Try this: Don't size the bullets at all. Pan lube your bullets, or simply wipe lube in the grooves with your fingertip and load as is. Also, as mentioned above, TC is world reknown for oversized & overlength throats, and overly long chambers. Sometimes I wonder if they chamber barrels with a rat tail file.

12-02-2013, 02:09 AM
I could do that but then GC is out of the question.

12-02-2013, 06:14 PM
Thank you for all the answers! This weekend I’ll try to cast up some boolits with an alloy of equal parts of range scrap and linotype, and water drop it.

I’ll try some medium to stiff loads in my 44 Magnum Dan Wesson revolver. I know that .430 gives me good fit in my revolver. This could give me an indication of what the alloy could take of pressure. I figure, a stiff 44 load would be about starting- to medium load for the 460, pressure wise.

How long does the boolits need to fully harden before use? 3 weeks?

12-02-2013, 06:36 PM
You shouldn't need to quench them at all. No need to shoot diamonds in your 44 or the 460, too hard can cause it's own problems.

Whether quenched or not they will age harden as long as there is Sb in the alloy, how long that takes depends on the percentage of Sb. A low Sb alloy (1 or 2 percent) could take 2-3 weeks but a higher percentage of Sb will reach final hardness much quicker and your alloy of 50/50 could be as high as 6%, depends on the lino and if it's been depleted through extended use.


12-07-2013, 09:33 AM
My buddy tried out some of the boolits casted with 1-1 part lino-range scrap and they performed nicely with 35 gr Lil Gun in his 460 in about 2000 fps! The bore was spotless after 5 shots. I guess it was the alloy when a harder alloy fixed the problem. The boolits where only three days old but they already measured 24 BHN.

On to another problem of mine regarding GC seating. Thee shanks of the Lee boolits are on the large side so it’s hard to get them on with my Lyman 450 without trimming the shank first. To get this done I have used a chamfer tool made to de-burr cases. This is time consuming, to say the least, and far from ideal, some of the checks still get seated crocked. Then I saw this on the NOE website http://noebulletmolds.com/NV/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=33

Can anyone share some of their experience on their use of this product, or should I consider something else? I ‘m about to order a mold from NOE (454-350 gr GC) since I’m getting tired of my 2 cav. Lee mold overheating. If the Gas Check Seating Die would ease this problem it would be great.

I’ve done a search but I could not find any answer to this, but I’m sure some of you has..Thanks again!

12-07-2013, 11:58 AM
…And to clarify further……they where sized to .452 and crimped heavily in the groove who gave the longest COL. Water dropped and with GC

I have read about the “coin trick” on the forum and it works, but a dedicated tool wound be better, would it not, anyone…?

Posting the new questions in a new thread

12-20-2013, 03:26 AM
The last testing of the 300-RF boolits showed no leading and great presicion in my buddy’s Encore. I guess the previous alloy was too soft for the pressure in the 460. With 50-50 Lino-range scrap from 22s the alloy meters 28-30 BHN after two weeks. (Water dropped). If I’m lucky I may get my NOE 350 gr RF for Christmas! Looks like this alloy is the way to go for serious magnum loads.

A little test in my Dan Wesson revolver in 44 magnum showed some leading when shot without GC. The load was 21 gr of VV N110 and NOE 429421 (250 gr with this alloy) sized to .4305””. Looks like the GC earns its keep with this high pressure loads. In this revolver I know the cause of leading isn’t poor boolit fit.

Thanks you for all your help. Happy holidays!