I've been interested in 30 caliber paper patch bullets since the early 70's when I first read the articles by Col. Harrison in the American Rifleman. I made some primitive attempts then with very poor results, wrong bullets/wrong paper /inexperience etc. Due to those results I concentrated on "heavy for caliber cast bullets" which have given me great accuracy and power over the years but the paper patched bullets at full power were always in the back of my mind.
A couple of years ago I picked up a Lyman 301618 bullet mould for $20.00 at a gun show in Phoenix. I laid it aside and forgot about it.
Recently I saw the post by The Dust Collector where he mentioned using Mead Tracing paper from Walmart for paper patched bullets.
I picked up some of the tracing paper from Walmart and laid it aside with the mould.
Later I was looking through the "CB Book" on Yahoo that joeb33050 is putting together and noticed an article in "4.4 Paper Patched Bullets.doc" written by William Iorg in which he noted using Lee case lubricant as a bullet lube for paper patched bullets.
The tracing paper and use of the Lee case lube put it all together. I cast up a batch of 301618 bullets from wheel weights. I let the bullets sit for over a month thinking that they would harden up to about the right hardness. I then put together a load which DID NOT work and leaded my barrel pretty well. So back to the drawing board.
I checked the hardness of some of the bullets (after the fact of course) and found they were way too soft (8 BHN) for paper patched bullets at full velocity. I knew better but for some reason I had figured (brain flatulation) that wheel weights harden up to about 16 BHN. According to the information available a BHN of at least 16 is recommended. The paper patch coverage of my bullet was also minimal (paper coverage was at the third groove from the tip) and I'm sure the uncovered part of the bullet contributed to the leading.
I cast another batch of 301618 bullets and oven heat treated them to about 25 BHN. I sized the unpatched bullets to .302 diameter and paper patched them with 3 wraps of tracing paper wetted with water laced with about one fourth teaspoon of Elmers wood glue to a half cup of water. The resulting dried patched bullet was about .312 in diameter. I coated the bullet with Lee case lube, let dry again and sized to .310. I chose this diameter as the throat on my rifle is a bit on the generous size. The leading edge of the paper was in the front groove and the bullet was seated so the base was even with the bottom of the case neck. OAL was 3.200". Bullet weight as cast was 172 Gr., with paper and case lube weight was 173.5 gr.
Note: I used 3 wraps of tracing paper because in this instance 2 wraps only gave me an unsized diameter of .308 and I knew I would need a final diameter of about 310 so I just made a longer template. Rolling the longer paper did not seem to be a problem.
I loaded the bullets with 43 grains of surplus 4895 and shot them from my 1903 Springfield (09/18 w/ Pederson cut) in original configuration. I estimate velocity was about 2500 - 2550 FPS based on loads listed for 165/168 grain bullets in Hornadys Reloading book copyrighted 1973. I'll chronograph some loads in the near future.
I fired five three-shot groups that were 1.25" to 2.5" at 100 yards shot off of a folding table. I called several of the shots that opened up the groups. The bottom line is that it looks like this paper patched recipe is what I've been looking for.
I recovered the bases of two of the bullets that were about a sixteenth of an inch thick and my impression is they disintegrated explosively in the sandy soil. It looks like they would be devastating on coyotes. Not sure what they would do to a good sized game animal. I'll also try some water jug tests soon.
One thing that I found surprising is that what I thought was a miniscule amount of Lee case lube left a discernable lube star on the muzzle after three shots. I cleaned off the lube star and sure enough it was there again after another three shots.
Edit: I should add that the muzzle of this rifle has a shiny polished surface. This lube star might be hard to see on a parkerized or blued surface.