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Thread: Hardness Matters

  1. #61
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    Bass, 44man

    The science is in what makes any of those loads go bang and fly straight. The rules are in how they are put together. The different accuracy claims? All 3 used different componants and were using different definitions of "accurate". Those are the "variables" mentioned so often that have different answers.

    Science tells us if every gun were perfect, if every bullet cast were perfect, if the load was perfect with equal ignition, of the conditions were perfect and the shooter could shoot perfect then all the bullets would go into one hole. Can you claim "perfect" in all the above? Neither can I nor anyone else. We strive for perfection (controlling the variables and being consistent in our application of the rules) but never really achieve it, that's why they are groups instead of one hole.

    This is an example. It only deals with a couple aspects of science and rules as they relate to accuracy. There are of course other aspects of the science of ballistics and the rules of reloading cast bullets that affect accuracy. I am only discussing two of them here to simply make the point. The "formula" from the science tells us a 1- 38" twist won't stabilize a 300 gr cast bullet at 1000 fps very well and many have found out that is correct. The "formula" tells us that lighter weight .44 bullets will be stable in that twist at 1000 fps. A 250 gr 44 bullet in that twist which is well cast with no defects will be more accurate than a poorly cast one that is out of round, has wrinkles or voids or it's base isn't square, that is the rule (striving for perfection; one is closer to perfection than the other). Yet both the good bullets and the defective bullets are "stabilized" as per the science. Yet the more perfect bullet is more accurate. Follow the science of having an appropriate weight of bullet for the twist and velocity used and better accuracy is the result. Follow the rule to cast as perfect a bullet as possible and even better accuracy will result

    The fact is; there is science involved. Always has been whether or not you understand that you are complying with it. If you did not comply with the science neither of you would develop and load ammuntion (cast or jacketed bullets) as accurate nor shoot as good as you do.

    Larry Gibson
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 03-10-2011 at 03:26 PM. Reason: took the "o" out of "oas"

  2. #62
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chargar View Post
    If you are saying, what it seems you are saying, then why the heck are we working at trying to solve the puzzles anyway. It would seem, you feel the efforts to be hilarious and without merit.

    If that is the substance I respectfully disagree. It I have your post wrong, the please try again and give me your thinking in a way I can understand.

    In real life, I am pretty easy going really.

    I'll agree with pretty much anything anyone says except that they have found the one true / best / or the only way. Or .... you can't ____________. I hate can't.

    So instead of saying I agree with you or not, I would rather say that we agree 100%. It's my darn guns that might not. If those stubborn ____ don't agree, I have to go another route. If that means ditching the Fed 150s, or sizing to bore, or going harder / softer, shooting leaded or clean, or going down a list of options that is contrary to the board, I have to go.

    Then we disagree if they become happy. That's my experiences, and what I write about. Thus, the handle.

    Hilarious Charles cause I have about as many excellent surprise results as I do planned successes anymore. "Well, would you look at that!" is heard more and more these days.

    Sadly, I don't write very well or you would have known this 8 or 10 years ago now.
    Evaluate everything you read for safety and use common sense.

  3. #63
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    Jeeze guys, I don't even know where my personal thoughts, theories and biases fit in to all this anymore. It seems like I agree with part of what everyone is saying. Yeah, there's science to this and principles and some facts and a couple rules. Then there is that one thing that only time with hot lead and sandbags gets you- experience. My experience matches some folks here perfectly and some it doesn't even come close. I honestly don't know how some guys even get good boolits much less good groups from reading their descriptions of what they do. Heck, there was a guy here who did some tests with purposely deformed boolits, wrote out all the results and then said damaged boolits (variables) simply didn't matter even though his data showed just the opposite!!! So I'm getting to the point of calling the art part nothing more than experience and flexibility. I admit that for myself I often discover I'm beating the proverbial deceased equine on a problem that I KNOW how to fix, I just can't get my mind out of the rut (HARDNESS is one rut) and get flexible.

  4. #64
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    We also need to take into account "good accuracy" and other terms. They are like hard or soft. One guy thinks a 3 inch group at 100 is good, another is unhappy with anything over 1 inch. We need to speak in set numbers, although they don't always mean much either. Not all 18 BHN bullets are the same, are they? BHN is a scientifically defined number yet it can tell us much, or nothing at all. All of these principles, rules, whatever need to be taken in a certain context.

    I do believe, to an extent, that CONTEXT is what Bass is trying to get at. In a certain set of circumstances a specific load does well. Change the parameters and all may go to pot. Could be a different alloy, different powder, different whatever, but the parameters have changed. New context.

    An example of where this matters- do all loads that give a 200 swc in a 1911 45 ACP at say 800 fps group the same? No. The parameters are different.

    Ultimately I do believe certain parameters are more likely to work. Certain alloys, bullet sizes, guns, and powder are most likely to work in a given set of circumstances. Sadly though, there is no guarantee of success because each gun is an individual. As reloaders we also introduce the biggest variable of all, ourselves. Each of us has a spec if way of doing things and looking at things. My idea of a good crimp might be very different from Bret's. Neither is right or wrong but we have introduced a variable. This is the problem with principles. My reAlly massive, excessive, hard crimp may be what Bret calls good. We are not speaking the same language. Different context again.

    Until certain terms can be standardized and easily measured they mean little in many circumstances. This does not mean they not useful at all, they just need to be further explained and the context of the term needs to be explained.

    Don't know if this is clear or not but it sure makes sense to me!

    Brad

  5. #65
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    btroj

    "BHN is a scientifically defined number yet it can tell us much, or nothing at all. All of these principles, rules, whatever need to be taken in a certain context."

    That was my point regarding the topic of this thread. With regards to good alloys the BHN is only half the equation as I mentioned. Malleabiity is the other half. Two alloys can have the same BHN of say 22 yet one is brittle and one is malleable. Has to do with their composition (that's the science) but the point is a malleable bullet most often shoots better given equal BHNs (that's the rule). That's a generalized rule not the science of the matter. There definately can be exceptions to rules but the laws of physics and ballistics are pretty hard and fast. I anyone is simply mentioning BHN without the alloy compositition then it indeed must be taken in that context. That context being you only have half the information. That makes for a lot of room for error by anyone.

    Larry Gibson

  6. #66
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    I agree entirely on a malleable alloy. They not only shoot better they are the only way to go for hunting.

    My gear with some of the principles we talk about here is not the experienced caster but the newbie. I see so many posts on this site where a newbie is worrying about minute details that will likely have no bearing on what they are doing. Adding tin, measuring hardness or pot temp, making lubes from new recipes, etc are all things an experienced caster might do but a new guy should keep it simple. This is where your principles come into play. The new guy should stay within a small set of parameters. Once they have gotten the hang of things, which may takes a year or more, they can venture into more advanced areas of casting.

    Brad

  7. #67
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    btroj

    "The new guy should stay within a small set of parameters."

    My sentements exactly. That small set of parmeters is what I refer to as the basics. No better place for the basics than the Lyman Cast Bullet handbook. That is the "primer" for the basics. Yes there are a lot of advanced things that many of us have learned beyond the basics in Lyman's Handbook. However, we all learned the basics first. The nebie has to graduate from grade school before attempting high school level studies. I don't think too many can leap into graduate level studies of cast bullets from the get go. Got to learn the basics first, both with book learnin' and experience, and when those are learned advanced studies and techniques can be learned also if one has the desire.

    BTW; by "learned" I do not mean simply reseaching the internet and asking one or two questions on this or any other forum. The newbie can get some book learnin' that way (best to get the Cast Bullet Handbook first) but he has got to cast a lot of bullets, test them and then cast some more and test some more before he gains any appreciable experience. Proficiency and shooting ability with cast bullets does not come from the internet alone. Unfortuneately many think it does in this "information highway" age.

    Larry Gibson

  8. #68
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    Agree entirely on earning by doing. Cast some bullets, load, shoot em. See what happens. Repeat. ALOT. Too many thunk that by "learning" what need to be done they will be able to do anything. I can read a book on rocket science but I wont be working NASA anytime soon. Takes years of experience and OJT for that. This is what I mean when I talk about the art of casting. You need to learn to see and feel what is happening. You need to learn to understand that leading is not a simple one trick pony. Leading has many types, causes, and fixes. This is learned thru time and doing. The school of hard knocks is the best teacher in the world.

    The best thing a newbie can do is get a book like the Lyman manual and read it. Then try to find an experienced caster who can give some hands on training. If a picture is worth a thousand words what is a quick training session worth? Then go cast. A bunch. Try to figure out what works for you and what does not. This is not failure, it is learning. We all learned to walk by trying and falling. We eventually got the hang of it but it took time.

    Brad

  9. #69
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    As a new caster, I really thought that there were "recipes" in casting. A lot of other things are that way. I had no idea about all of the variables. Lead is lead and heat is heat. Heat lead up and it melts. Let it cool in a mold and you have a boolit. I had a very bad time of getting anything to shoot until I found this site. I have cast many Folgers cans of boolits and ended up melting them down again. Very slowly I am learning about what the process is in the ART of casting. It's kind of like golf. I can buy the best clubs, go to the best course, buy the best balls, read and watch videos of golfing but the first few times out, I will be lucky to hit the ball let alone get it to go where I want it to. All this reading and casting thousands of boolits is really helping my end result of wanting something good to shoot that I created myself. I have a few loads that actually work! It's kind of like hitting the golf ball and keeping it in the fairway. Tiger Woods would be very disappointed with the hit and results but I'd be very happy. Please keep the info. coming. It helps greatly.
    ARMY Viet-Nam 70-71

  10. #70
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Charlie--- I don't know what a receipt means in this matter, but I do know, I can give a step by step plan for a new person to follow, that if followed, without deviation, or improvement, will produce good results the first time out. Will it produce the best results possible? Probably not. But, it will give good enough results to urge the shooter on, rather than discouraging the shooter. I should limit my comments to 30 caliber rifles, like the 30-30, 30-40, .308 and 30-06, as that are what I know best.

    Even though I have been casting (mainly for handguns) for 50 plus years, I stayed with jacketed bullet for rifles most of the time. In the due course of time, that became boring and without the challenge it once had. I went to shooting cast bullets exclusively in the mid-90s BECAUSE of all of the variables and the enjoyment of learning and experimenting. I think, my experience is somewhat common. The complexity and challenge, is what makes this stuff so very interesting. I don't have enough years left, to plumb the depths of this craft.

    Never-the-less, I do maintain there are principals, that when followed ,will give good results for just about anybody. I do find the term "art" inappropriate, as it distorts the concept of art. Art is subjective and individual. What is art to one person may mean nothing to another person. All of this talk of "art" and the mysterious workings of cast bullets, does nothing to encourage new casters. Trying to understand "art" is like trying to nail Jello to a tree.

    Bullet casting is a "craft" and not an art. To do it right, requires knowledge and experience, but it is learnable and nowise reaches the level of being an art. New casters/shooters should know there are principals. Follow these principals and the caster/shooter will get results. Ignore these principals and the caster/shooter will get consequences. Once the basics are mastered, then "boldly go" where your interests lead you and enjoy the quest.

    As, I read posts on this board, I wonder how a new comer would ever be able to sift through the wisdom, BS, hobby horses and valid experiences to ever get on the right track. It is a true morass of good information and nonsense.

    I don't expect to sway the cognoscenti with this post. It is my intent to encourage the new comer to press on in spite of this fog of subjective experience. I am a teacher at heart and by nature, and I realize this is not just a conversation among ourselves. Others are watching and reading, and trying to learn. It is to those folks this post is directed.
    Last edited by Char-Gar; 03-11-2011 at 12:16 PM.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  11. #71
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    Chargar
    once again you cut to the quick
    I for one read most of your posts
    with a studious eye
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  12. #72
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    I am using art in a traditional sense mean to master a skill. I do not mean it is an art in the same sense as painting is an art. The art of casting is learning to master the mould, pot, lube, etc to the point of being able to get good results. It is a craft in the same sense. We are using two terms to define the same thing.
    There are basic principles. These will guide a new caster well. What I fear is the new caster assuming that because Joe on this sight said he gets good accuracy at 2500 fps with cast that high velocity with cast is easy to accomplish. It can be done but it is by no means easy. Takes years of experience to learn the skills required to cast bullets, load them, and shoot them at that velocity.

    Beginners should stick with the basics. Don't worry overly about hardness, making lube, extremes of velocity, etc. Find a few calibers that are cast friendly and have at it. Try a 30-30 or a pistol cartridge lever action, a revolver, etc for a beginner gun with cast. They are pretty easy to get good results with. Don't start with a 300 Rem ultra mag. Don't start with high velocity as a goal. Don't start out expecting 2 inch groups at 300 .

    Can we agree that certain skills are mastered over time in shooting vast? Some master them sooner, some never do. It is these skills that allow some to get good results at times with some combinations when others get poor results. Call it skill, credit, or an art, it is all the same. Time and learning. Experience is required. Getting that experience takes time and effort.

    Brad

  13. #73
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chargar View Post
    As, I read posts on this board, I wonder how a new comer would ever be able to sift through the wisdom, BS, hobby horses and valid experiences to ever get on the right track. It is a true morass of good information and nonsense.

    The same exact way man has been doing it for 300 years, pull the trigger. And lead cleans out. There is no crisis of information here.

    You probably don't use the same technique for an automatic ACP at 800 fps and a 416 Rigby.

    You don't use the same technique or bullet designs with a new 700 Remington vs a WWI military rifle that can seat a bullet one bore diameter up.

    Techniques aren't the same for a single shot vs a gatling gun.

    Guys shooting off hand with a 4", open sighted gun aren't likely to do what some do with a scoped handgun benched.

    What is truth to one, is a lie to another. Always has been, always will be. That was why copper came about.

    This thread started off with an anomaly in 454. Hardness, bullet deformation, balance, all went right out the window. Exceptions add to knowledge just the same as another statistic. It shouldn't be feared, but embraced.

    I am glad for the guy cause he is happy shooting someplace while we ring our hands typing here.

    I'm going shooting too. Just have to take off the white lab coat and comb my hair. Whoooooo haaaaaaaaaaaaa Caution: Mad scientist on the loose!!!
    Last edited by Bass Ackward; 03-12-2011 at 08:19 AM.
    Evaluate everything you read for safety and use common sense.

  14. #74
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    I'm with Brad on the "art". "Art" in the sense I use it here is like the "art"/craft/skill of fly casting, fly tying, welding, etc. I can give anyone a fly rod, fly tying materials or welder and rod. That doesn't mean it's going to come together with out some help and time.

    I'm also with Charles on laying out simple, usually work recipes for noobies. You know what the problem is though? They don't listen. Or what we're saying doesn't translate or something. Seems like every time we get a noob asking questions it revolves around high capacity moulds, Bhn and jacketed speeds. So you tell them to start as square one and lay it all out step by step and they come back and ask about high capacity moulds, Bhn and jacketed speeds. That gets really old after 10 or 15 years.

  15. #75
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    Bass

    You are correct in that different techniques are required for all the example you give. However the point being missed is that all the various different types of loads you mention all still require the same basics; of reloading.

    Correct componant selection for the cartridge/need at hand
    Clean the cases
    Inspect the cases
    Size the cases (lube if necessary)
    Size the cases
    Trim cases if necessary
    Prime the cases
    Charge with powder
    Seat bullet

    Those are the "Basics" of reloading metalic ammunition. The beginner must learn to do those basics before he can move on to more advanced techniques. He must also learn what equipment is necessary for his specific needs. In our case the basics of casting good bullets, at least reasonable ones, out of an alloy that will work across a broad spectrum of loads/cartridges (like #2 alloy or even WWs) are also necessary.

    Note; the loading equipment used and techniques in use of such loading equipment also varies but each type of equipment also has the "basics" of its use to accomplish the basics of reloading. Yes we can and do vary the techniques but even with various techniques we still accomplish the basics. Leave any of the basics out or don't do it correctly and the ammunition produced will not be satisfactory.

    I agree that there are basic recipes for just about every common cartridge that do shoot well in any mechanical sound firearm with a good bore. The newbie should concentrate on those to learn the basics before going off on some essoteric search for the one perfect componant that makes for one hole groups.

    Larry Gibson
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 03-12-2011 at 12:15 PM.

  16. #76
    Boolit Master crabo's Avatar
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    I shot a lot of cast when I was shooting ISPC and Steel Plates. I never really shot at 50 and 100 yards with my pistols, because that wasn't what I needed. I started working on precision a little more when I shot the 4" squares at 35 yards for the Sportsman's Team Challenge pistol event.

    I stopped shooting for a while and when I tried to buy cast boolits again, they were expensive. At this point I found this website and everything has been downhill since. I'm buying molds for guns I don't even have.

    That said, I found some principles that have worked for me. I put it in a post in the handgun section. As I look back on it, I still believe the concept is valid. Every gun is a law unto itself, but there are things you can do to help you get started in your journey. I named the post "A Beginner's Guide to Revolver Accuracy". Most of the things I posted, came from reading and doing things from this site.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=21598

    Even though we all realize that one size does not fit all, there needs to be a place for the beginner to start. I guess it is the teacher in me that wants to give someone a place to start. The readers will be just like students in real life. They will pick and choose what they want to do.

    I did not want to do a chamber cast in a gun that was giving me fits. But once I did it, and saw the results, it made so much sense why Bass kept telling me to do it.

    I would love to see a stickie written on where to start with shooting cast in a bolt gun. It seems like Larry may have written a post on how he goes about it.

    Hardness matters, size matters, lube matters, brass matters, powder and primers matter... We just have to work through it all. Sometimes we get lucky and find a combination that works well, out of luck, or because someone else did the work to get it close for us.
    Crabo

    Do not argue with idiots. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

  17. #77
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    I can see that I have lost the argument. I am clearly off base on board policy, so I guess I give up. Yes there is the one true way.

    This fella that started the thread broke "the consensus of the board" by shooting soft lead at high pressure in a 454 Casull and doing it accurately. (infidel!!!)

    This is now a no, no for noob development. Why noobs will now be scarred for life. And he had the nerve to post pictures so that we couldn't call him a liar.

    And this is now A STICKY for all to see! OMG!!!

    That means that he broke the laws of matching pressure to hardness, bullet balance, and deformation. Yep, it's in print and clear for all to see.

    Too bad too, because he seemed like such a nice fella. It was only his 15 post. That sure is bad luck for him.

    Is Ol 458 gonna be banned for acts of "cast extremism" and leading noobs astray?
    Evaluate everything you read for safety and use common sense.

  18. #78
    Boolit Master
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    I do not see you as having lost the argument t all Bass. I see both sides as arguing different points.
    Larry and Chargar have a valid point that there are good starting points for loading and shooting cast. I agree entirely that some general principles apply in most cases.
    Bass is correct that when these general principles don't work it is time to get creative. Problem guns are not going to be fixed by cookbook loading.

    I also agree entirely with Bret and his point about new guys here. They all seem fixated in very specific points and wont get off that one idea. They get hinge up the BHN or the BHN to hardness relationship or stuff like that. They refuse to get away from one silly idea and work on listening and trying what is generally accepted as working.

    I can see valid arguments on both sides. Start with tab A in slot B but when that does not work, get creative. Try different things. Don't assume that because the normal didn't work that there is no solution. This is where so. Many new guys fail because they don't want to tale the time to master the ART of cast. Being a good caster and shooter of cast is not something to be learned from books, it needs to be learned at the loading bench the casting table, and the range. It is learned by doing, not reading.

    Don't ever give up Bass, we need someone to keep us honest. Someone to keep us alive. Someone to make us think way outside the box.

    Bad

  19. #79
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    This thread highlights one of the frustrations with online discussions. Folks use different definitions for common words. I am one of those folks who has made their living with words and as such, I chose mine with great care. Words are very important, being the essential stuff of communication. I am one of those who feel that precise language is very important in this life.

    The age old question of "What is art?" aside, I reaffirm my thinking and posting in it's entirety.

    Bret.. One of the major problems in trying to teach folks anything, is they think they can skip steps, improve on your instruction, or in general cherry pick which part they want. The result is they get bad results and blame the teacher. I have observed this often with noobie question on this board. That and the flood of answers, that are often not on point, and/or in conflict with other answers. It really is hardly worth the effort. Mostly I just let the inhabitants of the board have their way with noobies.
    Last edited by Char-Gar; 03-12-2011 at 06:55 PM.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  20. #80
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    Hope I don't offend anyone here but what I referring to with the term "recipe" was a starting point. Something just to get going on. When I first started casting, I had a LEE 2 banger 148 TLWC mold. I cast them up, thought they looked ok and shot them. Leading all over the place. I used 3 grains of Bullseye, seated them flush, used 45-45-10 lube and had a real mess on my hands. I thought it was the cylinder throats but it turned out to be an incorrect boolit. The ends of boolit were fine but the middle of the boolit was way to narrow. Someone here told me to get a micrometer and that's how I found out what was wrong. I'm talking about loads that just shoot without major leading. From a starting point, I can improve. I have a few loads that don't lead or leave me with a squib. Now (with the info here) I can improve my loads until I get what I am looking for.
    ARMY Viet-Nam 70-71

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check