View Full Version : Heat Treat Verus Air Cooled - 45/70's

03-26-2005, 07:09 PM
I have started a test between Heat Treated bullets and Air Cooled.

Rifle - Ruger #1 in 45/70
Bullet - 430 gr GC 75% FP (Mountain Molds)
Allow - WW
Cases Star line, Primers CCI, Powder 2400

I started out and worked up a load with water dropped and BRN @ 23. Starting load in Lyman manul. One load came up right at MOA.

Second Load Air Cooled (BRN @ 12+), just before I reached the load level with HT the groups went sub MOA and the next 3 sets of loads (higher then the charge with HT) are still better then the HT groups around MOA.

Velocity is in the low to mid 1600 range.

Anyone else come up with different results????


03-26-2005, 08:39 PM
That is interesting. I shoot soft boolits in my 45-70 for BPCR silhouette but use a flat nose hard cast water dropped boolit in my 45-70 revolver for deer. I get very good accuracy to 500 yds with it. My boolit is a home made 317 gr. like an LBT and I use 31 grs. of 4759 with a little polyester fiberfill on the powder. I get 1535 fps from a 10" barrel.
I don't want a soft boolit for deer but will have to try some soft ones for accuracy.

Bass Ackward
03-27-2005, 12:43 AM

Yes. And no. A 45 will teach you more about mixes than anything else because it is the most sensitive in my opinion of all other bores. For example, at those velocity levels I usually run 50 WW / 50 pure lead. Or I might water drop that for 15- 16 BHN. It all depends what I want to achieve.

There are a bizillion variables. More with the 45 bore I think than any other. There are no clear cut rules, only generalities. And if you change lube, you may have to start all over. Alot depends on the velocity range you want to operate in and the powder you select to get you there. One time soft will be better, another time hard puts the smile on your face.

One constant that applies across all calibers, if you can make a bullet fit, you will have options. If it doesn't fit, you have to work to get it to perform.

03-27-2005, 06:42 AM
3-4 years ago, I did similar testing with 2 moulds, the Lee 405 FP and 340 FP. My rifle is a "ballard" barreled Marlin. My load at the time for the 405 was 50 grains of 3031 and the boolits were heavily tumble lubed. I later chronographed this load at 1650 fps. I cast up a bunch of boolits out of WWs and dropped every other one into a bucket of water, the other boolits went onto a towel and cooled slowly. Both the hard and soft boolits shot about the same, 2-3" at 100 yards. The 340 grain boolits have never been great shooters in my rifle, 4-5" is about as good as it gets. My best load was 30 grains of 5744 and harder boolits did do noticably better with that lighter boolit. Like Bass Akwards, my hunting boolits are about 50-50 WW and pure lead. They shoot about as well as the straight WW boolits. Now all of these loads will cause some leading, but I haven't had a problem cleaning the barrel, but then again, I don't shoot many of those thumpers at any one time.

03-27-2005, 05:10 PM
I tried Wheel weight metal in my BPCR and filled the bore with lead. 20 to 1, lead-tin does not lead the bore. I get a lot of lead in my revolvers with wheel weights but if I add tin and antimony to harden them I get none or very little. Trouble is that I can't afford to shoot the hard boolits as much as I shoot. I reserve the hard ones for deer. Something about the WW alloy that makes it lead bores. I have tried air cooled and water dropped and see no difference. I water drop because it is faster then trying to keep the boolits separate on rags.
Any change in alloy or hardness may need a slight difference in the powder charge. It all depends on how the boolit reacts when punched with the pressure.

03-27-2005, 05:23 PM
I wonder how smooth your bore is. I shoot anything from pure lead, to 50/50, to WW's in my Sharps, and get no leading, and very good accuracy.

03-27-2005, 08:48 PM
I wonder how smooth your bore is. I shoot anything from pure lead, to 50/50, to WW's in my Sharps, and get no leading, and very good accuracy.

Leading is not a problem, the rifle was shot a bunch with jacketed before I started with lead in it. I do however build up lube, lyman super molly. I run a dry patch through it about every 50 rounds or so. Accuracy doesn't suffer from the lube, but the rifle sure gets messy.

I was just surprised to find the softer bullets shot better orver a wide range of veflocity where as the harder ones didn't.


Bass Ackward
03-27-2005, 09:53 PM
[quote= I was just surprised to find the softer bullets shot better orver a wide range of veflocity where as the harder ones didn't.



Often going to a softer metal solves a problem or problems.

Since you talk about a wider operating range for accuracy makes me wonder if the softer bullet, which requires more lube at equal pressures, isn't solving an over lubrication problem.

If so, you might want to experiment with the hard bullets using less lube and see if things improve. Depends how much time you want to put into it.

03-27-2005, 10:01 PM
It's strange but I do get more lead in my bores with WW then any other mix, hard or soft. I shoot a Browning BPCR and it doesn't lead with pure lead or any mix until I shoot WW's. Same thing in my revolvers. I can shoot for weeks with my Rugers with hot, hard cast loads with no lead at all. My BFR's are the same way but I get more leading with WW's then the Rugers. May be the bigger bores and boolits. As soon as I add tin and antimony, the leading goes away. The bores in my revolvers are very smooth and the lead wipes out with a tight patch on a jag. Same with the Browning, it wipes right out with no work at all.

03-28-2005, 01:01 AM
It strikes me your bullets are probably sized pretty close to good with the softer bullets for your rifle, allowing obduration. The WW bullets would be somewhat harder, so couldn't expand to fill the bore as well. The bullets must be a good enough fit with the pistols to have a good seal. Just my guesses.

03-28-2005, 07:52 AM
also in thinking about this, I'm going to guess that there is a relationship between bullet dia (and length to a lesser extent) and the ultimate overall hardness achieved by heat treat,sure the surface may get hard but the bigger boolits I bet the core stays softer due to slower cooling.

IE for example a 22 caliber 50 grain boolit water dropped will probably be hard clear thru, a 30 caliber 200 grain boolit may show a softer core in the center of the boolit (longer and larger) and say A 500 45 caliber boolit the effect will be more extreme.

this could be explored by cutting bullets in half with a method that created no heat and didnt work the metal and checking the brinell of the exposed inner metal.


03-28-2005, 07:36 PM
Interesting concept. Worth looking into. I always shoot boolits that are larger then the bore. I fit very close to the throat size. I never rely on bump up because the accuracy just isn't there. My very hard hunting boolits are larger then the bores too. I have shot 500 or more from my .44's with zero lead. These are 320 and 330 gr. boolits driven to their most accurate loading.

03-28-2005, 10:25 PM
Looks like this thread is really getting interesting. A whole bunch of good information.

Bore dia vs Bullet Dia. I should have included this in the original post:

Bore diameter = .456+
Bullet diameter = .460

Bullet seated to just engrave the rifling. I don't get any leading to speak of, but Bass ckward suggested I might have too much lube on the water quenched. Hadn't thought of that, but that could explain why the softer ones shot better then the hard ones. I would have thought the harder ones would have shoot better. But how would I know I am just an old retired Jarhead!

I ran out of air cooled with this allow and have to cast some more up.

Testing on hold - I guess I will just have to do some plain old shooting.

03-30-2005, 01:44 PM
One thing to look at 44man is recovered boolits, Pistols I think are more like 1/4 mile top fueldragsters, where rifles are more bonneville saltflats machines (if you know what I mean) I did an experiment with an extremely accurate 1911 I have, it has been tricked and tuned every way one can and shoots sub 1-1/2 " at 50 from ransom with linotype 200 grain semiwadcutter, anyway I tried sevweral differant alloys with 4.0 bullseye powder, the pure lead boolits recovered from the backstop had a land width 25% wider than the recovered linotype boolits and they shot more like a 6" inch group at 50 yards.

This was all long long before I ever heard of heat treated boolits, the 1911 is still here but the ransom rest is but a fond memory, I did learn, or rather prove to myself what the pistolsmith that built it told me....that pistols are not like 6ppc BR rifles, that boolit quality is what accuracy is all about as long as you use a balanced load for the desired velocity level. A lot of what goes on here is about making better boolits (and the REAL quality issue is what it looks like after it exits the muzzle) and making them faster. Boolit quality (including design, execution, dia, strength, and lubricant) , and case neck tension are far far more important than the exact powder charge weight. Mr Veral Smith himself says that if the load is super sensitive to minute changes in powder charge or seating depth then something is wrong with the bullet selected for the job. This same general scenerio is true of accurised and trued rifles, they like everything you shoot in them, but they like SOME things better than others, but the differance is 1/4 moa not 3 moa.

03-30-2005, 02:04 PM
Willbird, too soft of a boolit will skid if driven too fast instead of taking the rifling. Thats what causes the wide rifling marks. They work OK with a very low velocity. That's one reason I go real hard for hunting because my loads are fast and accurate, but not max. WW is OK for deer and I would not go softer because I do not want expansion, prefering penetration. I have just had so many good results and such fine accuracy from harder boolits that I stick with them. For all my general shooting with heavy loads I stay with WW's. For plinking, it doesn't matter if they are softer. Trouble is, I would not waste pure lead to mix with WW's for plinking. WW's are free. I won't waste tin and antimony either.
I do not make my boolits so hard that they break, just a little harder then WW metal.

03-31-2005, 09:57 PM
I shot a carburator once with 45 acp and about 1 grain of bullseye, it was a linotype boolit, it broke perfectly in half.

I didnt shoot the carb on purpose, that one cost me a core charge hehe, always look in cardboard boxes before plinking at them :-)