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Thread: Success w/ 30 Cal paper patch bullets

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Success w/ 30 Cal paper patch bullets

    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.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...per#post210751

    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.

    http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/CB-BOOK/files/

    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.

    Have Fun,

    JCherry
    Last edited by JCherry; 09-07-2007 at 12:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master leftiye's Avatar
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    Like you I've always had a hankerin' to do paper patched. Unlike you, I haven'y done any yet. But I really enjoyed your thread, and it gives me some new ideas to use when I finally do make some.

    Silver, copper, tin and probably some other metals in your lead make the lead tougher (as in softer boolits can be shot faster and not disintegrate on game). Also 50/ 50 wheelweights/ pure, or 3 to 1 pure to linotype will heat treat to about 27, and you can anneal the noses to about soft lead. Will shoot fast and still expand, and if you add tin etc. they will hold together better (than without it).

  3. #3
    Boolit Master ktw's Avatar
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    When paper patching do you attempt to reach a final boolit diameter of lands, groove, throat or somewhere in-between? Seem to recall hearing several different takes on this. I suppose it make a difference if you are shooting smokeless (larger diameter, harder boolit?) or black (land diameter, softer boolit?)

    -ktw

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    leftiye,

    Hope I was able to pass on some ideas that will help you out.

    In my case I guess what I did was to collect the items over the years that were needed. I ran across a .301 die (actually sizes at .302) some time back for almost nothing on E-Bay and the 301618 mould as I said at the gun show but I never seemed to be able to find paper that would work right for me. I tried office letter head that was 25 percent cotton rag and adhesive labels with no luck. The lube question also had eluded me until I saw the CB Book article. Finally everything just fell in place.

    Darn, I've got those 5000 30 Cal Gator checks that I don't need anymore. Naw, just joking I'm not giving up my greased naked lead 311284 bullets for my beloved 1896 Krag.

    Your thoughts on alloys are good and in time I'll probably give some of them a try. I think what I'll do first is oven temper the bullets at a lower temperature and see what happens at say 20 and or 16 BHN. Right now though I'm going to iron this load out a bit more. I wish I had one of the old Lyman 48 peep sights with the long slide to put on this rifle. I'll bet a good receiver sight would really shrink the group size down.

    ktw,

    My thoughts are to aim at an overall patched bullet diameter to fit the throat as closely as possible. Some of the information out there indicates the diameter of the naked bullet should be right at or slightly less than land diameter with the idea that the bullet would obturate to fill the bore. I figured that since I am shooting smokeless with a very hard bullet that I should aim at a naked bullet diameter of right at or slightly above land diameter. In addition I must say I was limited by my sizing die. It is marked .301 but has apparently has been honed out in the past and sizes right at .302 so I did not really have a choice. The bore of my rifle at the muzzle is .301 but the throat will accept the .302 diameter. Groove diameter is I think around .3085. Actually with the cartridge OAL in this instance the ogive of my bullet is not engraved by the origin of the lands but it is apparent that the .310 diameter of the patched bullet is very snug in the throat.

    Come to think of it I should try to seat the bullet out just a tiny bit more so the ogive does lightly engrave the origin of the lands.

    Have Fun,

    JCherry

  5. #5
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    I think you're paper patch will be the only answer to my 300 win mag and cast boolits. I've got to try that..

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Pat,

    If you get a chance read the articles in harrison's cast bullet book. One article is specifically geared toward the magnum. If you don't have a copy of the book, I am sure one of us could scan or copy the pages for you. I also picked up Paul Mathews book on paper patching. Good info there.

    I have only used 358 pistol bullets patched up for 38-55. They make great can rollers and make for a hoot of a time. I have not had the good fortune to come up with a mould suitable for 7mm, 30, or 32 to play with yet but time will come.

    I also had good luck with onion skin tracing paper, don't remember the brand off hand.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master







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    Almost wish I had not read this thread! Just something more that I will sooner or later have to try. That's the joy and the drawback of CastBoolits. Kind of like the old saying "so many women, so little time"! There are times with cast that I think I know what I am doing, and here comes a variation on the theme. Super thread!
    Thanks for the info!
    1Shirt!

  8. #8
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    Thanks Manley.

    I've got Paul's book somewhere's. This will be a fun winter project with the 300 winne.

  9. #9
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    Pat, my 300 win did OK with the soup can at 22lr-22 mag velocities. It balked at anything more. Gianni
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    JCherry,

    Thanks for the info. I have one of those 301 moulds as well, but haven't had much success so far. No blistering velocities and a fair amount of leading even at normal cast-bullet velocities. I size mine in a .32 Long die (nominal .300") and patch with typing paper, resizing to .311". I'll have to try the Lee Lube.

    How do you seat your patched bullets in the shells? Do you neck size at all?

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Pat,

    Do you have the articles in the harrison book? If not let us know.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Bent Ramrod,

    My perception is that what worked for me is hardening of the lead, about BHN 25 in this instance and the naked bullet was sized to .302, just over my land diameter. I think the snug fit of the patched bullet to the throat is also very important.

    What alloy are you using and what is your as cast diameter? I'm thinking that perhaps .300 may be to small.

    I never had any luck until I tried this traceing paper.

    Also please bear in mind that I'm just barely getting started with paper patches and my perceptions may be all wrong. I just shot some more this morning and things did not go as well as I had hoped. Not sure if it was me or something I did wrong with this latest batch. I'll make another post on the new batch.

    Edit: I failed to address your question about seating the bullets and neck sizing. I use a 7.65 Argentine seating die to seat the bullets, that way the part of the 30-06 seating die that performs the crimp does not mark the bullet. I neck size with a Lee neck sizing die and then run the shell into a Lyman M die with a 30 cal spud to bell the mouth of the case.

    Have Fun,

    JCherry
    Last edited by JCherry; 09-07-2007 at 10:59 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Third batch not so good.

    I shot a total of 15 paper patched bullets from a third batch. Basically all is not lost, there are some mitigating circumstances most of it screw ups on my part, I am sure. Here are the gory details.

    Accuracy wise I'm not happy. I fired 12 rounds on an SR-1 target and basically speaking the group would hold the black (9 ring, about a 6" bull). There was three shots in the white including one flyer that would be a little over an inch above the black that I did not call. The group on paper does include a sight adjustment of one minute that I made with a PJ Ohare sight micrometer. Had I not made the sight adjustment and just gone for group size the group, except for the flyer, would have fit within the 9 ring but still not within range of reliably holding the 10 ring.

    I fired one round at a gallon water jug and it was obvious there was pretty good hydrostatic shock at play. I had arranged a piece of typing paper behind the jug and it appeared the bullet was still in one piece. Probably tumbling but it had not shattered.

    I also fired one round at a piece of 5/16th inch mild steel and the bullet sailed right through it. I have fired at this same piece of steel at the same distance with heat treated 220 grain 311284 bullets from my Krag at 2000 FPS and did not get penetration. As far as this paper patch load is concerned the power is definately there.

    Actually, everything considered things aren't that bad for beginning load development.

    Now as to maybe why things did not work as well as I'd hoped......

    1). When I cast the previous batch I sized 15 to .302 and left 15 at an as cast diameter of .303. I had planned to try some at .303 diameter but with the results noted in the first post I figured I'd size the last 15 to .302 also. However all of the bullets had been heat treated and I knew sizing would be a pain so I heat treated the last 15 again and while they were still soft sized them to .302. I figured they would harden up enough again in about 24 hours.

    Lack of hardness with this last batch might be the cause of only fair results. I should have let the bullets set another day to harden properly but you know how it is when you want to try another load thats showing promise.

    2). When sizing patched bullets of the previous successful load I had a little pressure on my sizer with FWFL from the Big Melt. I did not think there was enough FWFL on the bullets for it to matter but maybe I'm wrong. I also figured that if a little Lee sizing die lube was good that a bit more would not hurt so I added just a bit more on each bullet. All of the bullets felt dry but perhaps I rushed this also. Muzzle of the rifle after fireing had a lube star and there was no indication of any leading and only a bit of powder residue.

    3). Another source of irritation was the chrongraph results. I ran 7 shots over the chronograph Average Velocity was 2521 Fps, High - 2632, Low - 2423, extreme spread - 209, Standard Deviation - 64. Pretty dismal results.

    The primer and powder charge were the same as the previous load so I'm inclined to think the problem is lube or hardness related. I do have some WC852(slow) that might be good to try in some future loads.

    4. The most likely problem (chronograph results aside) is the nut behind the buttplate was loose/tight. The chronograph was being cantankerous because of the shade of a Ponderosa Pine and I had to move the chronograph, the angle of the sun was different on the sights than before, I had gravel in my shoe etc.

    Anyway, I'm not giving up. I'll cast some more of the 301618 bullets tomorrow morning and try to process them exactly as I did the successful batch and let them sit for a week or so to harden and dry properly. I'll make enough bullets to try some other variations of the load in this velocity range.

    I probably won't shoot these loads until week after next as next week my wife and I and some friends are going camping about an hour away up in the White Mountains near Greer, Arizona to watch and listen to the Elk bugle. None of us got drawn this season for Elk but it's always great to see and hear these majestic animals. Actually we heard some Elk bugling from the house a couple of days ago. Archery season starts next Friday in that area so we'll break camp and head home Thursday afternoon so as not to interfere with any one's hunt.

    If anyone can see something obvious that I've missed please let me know. It seems aggravating but I can tell that an accurate powerful load is just a tweek or two away.

    Edit: I ran a dry patch down the bore and found the forward portion of the barrel was fouled with miniscule bits of lead. It was very hard to push the patch through the bore. I could only see the miniscule bits of lead with magnification. It cleaned up with no real problem but must be the cause of the problems.

    I'm figuring now that the lead was a bit soft but something more also needs to be done with the lube.

    Have Fun,

    JCherry
    Last edited by JCherry; 09-07-2007 at 11:09 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master leftiye's Avatar
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    J,
    The way I have heard it, the paper patch is supposed to be used with soft lead boolits. Originally, it was pure lead (back in early black powder days almost all of the military loads were paper patched). Are you using a gas check? That Will help big time at those velocities. Believe it or not, there is a possibility that soft boolits will work better as they obturate while heat treated ones generally won't. Plus then you'll have boolits that will expand on game.

    If you get the right mold you can size it down to bore diameter (yes,even .010") and then heat treat if you want to heat treat. That's if you want to try another design. It looks like a bore riding design could possibly work, but most of the paper patch molds I've seen were like a Llewellen design with small grooves up the length of the long bearing surface (to hold the paper), and with short nose sections. There are other threads here on paper patching here, so try a search. Maybe there will be something illuminating there.

    You might also try using full cases of a slow burning powder to reduce the trauma to the boolit at ignition/engraving along with standard or even large pistol primers. Powder must be easy to ignite or problems with safety can be had.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by manleyjt View Post
    Pat,

    Do you have the articles in the harrison book? If not let us know.
    No I don't, where can I find those?

  16. #16
    Boolit Master pdawg_shooter's Avatar
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    I have patched 30cal for years. Have my best luck with a Lovern style bullet. Size .301 and wrap with 16lb green bar computer paper. I have a 116 Savage in 300RUM and have pushed 155gr patched over 3300 with MOA accuracy. Same byllet cast of an alloy that gives a hardness of 14.5 and loaded to 2800 in an 06 makes a great hunting load.

  17. #17
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    That sounds great and the thought just crossed my mind this morning about using that type of boolit with our GB 311407 mold...
    Last edited by PatMarlin; 12-21-2007 at 03:44 PM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Leftiye,

    Your points are well taken. The pure lead in the black powder was supposed to obturate, the loads that Col Harrison developed needed to be around 16 BHN as I recall or a bit harder and right at bore diameter.

    How do you use a gas check with a paper patch? Would it be attached to the un patched bullet and then patched? I don't see what function it would accomplish when covered by paper. How it would be attached over a paper patched bullet.

    Concerning the hardness issue, what hardness will be best at these higher velocities and what would occur on impact with a game animal? It does appear that the higher velocity smokeless loads need a harder lead (16 BHN+) to provide good accuracy. I envision there will be a "happy medium between hardness required for accuracy and softness desirable for use on large game animals.

    I have tried searches on various paper patch ideas and it seems the information is all across the board. People are reporting success with all kinds of variables. Much of the information seems contradictory, thin paper, thick paper, lube, no lube soft/hard etc. etc. The new Sub Forum on Paper Patching will be greatly beneficial.

    I agree with your statement on the slower burning powder and some WC-852(Slow) powder is on my agenda to try in some future loads with the paper patch. My standard load in my Krag uses WC-860 or 872 powder.

    Have Fun

    JCherry

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    pdawg_shooter,

    What diameter are you sizing your patched bullet to? What is the size relationship of your bullet to your rifle bore/throat. Are you using any kind of lube?

    With the accuracy and velocity you are getting it would be great if you would give us a detailed account of your loading procedures. Such an account would be a good "Sticky" to put on this new Paper Patching Sub-Forum.

    Have Fun,

    JCherry

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Pat,

    I will try ot get a copy scanned and off to your early next week. The book is ahrd to find and is now expensivve when you do find it. It is a 2 page artice on page 108-109 titled "Paper Patched bullets work in .300 Magnum:Test results prove cast bullets can approach 3000f.p.s. with fine accuracy"

    Also antwo other articles one titled "paper patched bullets come of age" and the other "Paper Patching makes a difference". I will try to get them scanned and off to you. Or you can send me a pm and I can mail you some copies.

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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