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Thread: Accurate PC 350 Yds part 1

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Accurate PC 350 Yds part 1

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    Above is a 5 shot group shot at 350 yards using powder coated (PC) cast bullets. The bullets are a 200 gr bore rider and were cast using a Lee C309-200-R. They were fired in a rifle chambered for .308 Win. The group was not the best or the worst of the day, but it proves that PC bullets can be accurate. It is also worth noting that I did not go to the trouble of weighing and sorting the bullets prior to loading. The powder that was used for PC was obtained from fellow forum member Smokes.

    I hope the pictures (below) help explain the procedure used to create the bullets. I believe the fact that over 60% of the bullet fits tightly in line with the bore’s axis when fired helps to stabilize the bullet and contributes to its inherent accuracy. Additionally, powder coated bullets can be easily sized so that the bore rider portion of bullets with this type of geometry can be custom fit to specific rifles.

    For any bullet to perform well, the base has to be square to the longitudinal axis. As cast, the bases are seldom perfect due to spru and deformities on bottom corners. This makes seating gas checks perfectly square almost impossible. To overcome this, a custom gas check seating die was constructed.
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    The gas check seater was made to insure that the base of the gas check is seated squarely with the longitudinal axis of the bullet. It consists of a die and a ram. A hammer blow to the ram insures that the bullet is seated squarely and that there is full contact between the gas check and the base of the bullet. Any spru imperfections are flattened and full contact between the bullet and the lip on the gas check is acheived. Experiments showed that applying the gas checks before PC slightly improves accuracy. After seating the gas check, the bullet was run through a Lee .310 sizing die to lock the gas checks in place before powder coating.
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    After the gas checks were seated and sized, Smokes powder was applied using a single application of the “shake and bake” method. Bullets were placed vertically on a layer of oven liner using a pair of large tweezers. They were baked for 25 minutes, and then they were dropped into ice water to cool.
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    The base or driving band portion of the bullet was re-sized to .310 inches, which is .002 over the measured diameter of the barrels groves. To accomplish this, the bullets were lubricated using a spray bottle containing a mixture of anhydrous lanolin and ISO-HEET. The bullets were then run through a polished Lee push-through sizer.
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    The next step is neck sizing the bore rider portion of bullet so that it just fits the bore. In my case, the bore measured out at the classic .300 inch, or at least as close as I could measure.
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    In order to control the length of the bore rider portion of the bullet that is sized, I had to make a die bushing holder. The die can be adjusted in the press similar to a normal case sizing die. One of the biggest advantages of this approach is that the bushings are cheap, and they can be easily interchanged.
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    For the actual sizing I used a reground Redding neck sizing bushing. As received, the bushings will not work; they remove portions of the powder coating and push back excess lead. After being reground and polished, they do not remove any of the powder coating and the lead will actually be extruded uniformly as long as gross amounts are not relocated. On the 200 gr Lee bullets, the length does increases .014 inches. An ejector punch rides in the die housing and is used to drive the bullet out with a leather mallet.
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    Correctly sized and ready to load bullet
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    Continued part 2

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Accurate PC 350 Yards part 2

    For a comparison, the first two bullets are not neck sized. Bullets 3 and 4 are correct for my gun and bullet 5 requires a little die adjustment.
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    This is the method I used, I am sure it can be improved and there are other ways to produce good results. Just get out there and try and publish the results on this forum so we can all learn—that is how this procedure was developed.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    Now boys here's a thread we can get our teeth into...thank you, Bama. @ 350 yds., that looks sub MOA. Nice effort and work here. Extra nice write-up too.
    I see stickey status here.

    A couple questions though for my own edification...
    If you can say...what was the lead mix and BHN before or just after casting?
    What was the BHN after water dropping the PC coating?

    Are you getting your COAL by running up to the lands and grooves and then backing off 10 or 15 thousandths, everything else permitting?

    What a quality thread!

    charlie
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Excellent. You are no slouch behind the trigger either. Not many can shoot like that even with jacketed bullets. Doing it with cast is amazing.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Excellent job!! Any idea of the fps? “shake and bake” no less.
    Whatever!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I didn't measure hardness, I did add Super Hard and copper to stop the bullet from coming apart 10 ft from muzzle due to centrifugal force. I also had to slow down to 2220 fps which was the next lower accuracy node for barrel. In regard to COAL, the bullet is seated so the last driving band is just into neck. The entire bore riding portion of the bullet is fitted into the bore so it does not have a chance to get out of axial alignment. From what I have seen to date, I believe the seating of gas checks in perfect axial alignment, Bore rider portion of bullet being sized to fit bore with no looseness, proper grinding of sizing bushings to extrude rather than push lead and coatings AND Smokes powder are the keys.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by popper View Post
    Excellent job!! Any idea of the fps? “shake and bake” no less.
    First photo says 2220 FPS.

  8. #8
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    Excellent post! Proof once again that there is no pixie-dust but that planning, time spent and good workmanship pays off.

    The part about proper GC seating is good and important as all effort is wasted if this is not done right. I read a post on another forum where the GC's were uniformed before seating and much care was taken to preserve this during seating & sizing. In controlled tests these rounds performed better than purely seating and sizing. As with good concentricity the squareness of the base is critical to repeatable accurate groups.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Excellent post and job well done.

    Your post also brings out a major point and that is we really need a manufacturer capable of producing quality equipment to take up the challenge of accurately sizing for powder coated bullets at an equipment price point we can afford.

    Many of us believe in the polymer jacket and have felt swaging/sizing to be the answer for combined velocity and accuracy. Now you have proved it is possible, thanks.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    Could you post up a drawing for the gas check seater?

  11. #11
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    Great loading and shooting
    Thanks for taking the time to take pics and post the process..

    I as will would be interested in more details on the gas check seating die
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    I'm sort of using the Lee push through to same way. Put on the GC, start the boolit in the sizer then tap the handle a couple times before the check gets in the die. Seems to insure square mounting before the GC is crimped on.
    Whatever!

  13. #13
    Definitely some great progress. I'm loving it. Really appreciate the share.

    I will be following. Hopefully this thing really grows. I love shooting and casting. But accurate rifle loads using bought rounds has been my process because of the inability to produce an accurate pc rifle bullet. Thanks to this thread that will change!

    Sent from my LGLS991 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    It would appear that we are going to have to "Southern Engineer" the tools necessary to size/swage our bullets.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Seating die details

    Quote Originally Posted by Smoke4320 View Post
    Great loading and shooting
    Thanks for taking the time to take pics and post the process..

    I as will would be interested in more details on the gas check seating die
    There is not much to tell on the check seating die, and anyone with access to a lathe or has a machinist friend can make one. It is simply a piece of shafting roughly 1 1/4 inches in diameter faced across the end which establishes the base. A hole is drilled through the center using a tail stock mounted chuck. Hole diameter should be just over the size of the as cast bullet. The hole at the face or base should then be bored out just wide enough for a light finger press fit of the gas check and deep enough for the gas check to fit below the surface similar to a primer in brass. A top punch is then turned to fit the bore. I have tried in the past to make a perfect fit to the bullet tip but my limited ability with that type turning damaged the tips. At suggestion of shooting friend, the punch was bored out with a small center drill and after waxing bullet, bore of sizer, and all but the bored out cavity Plasta Steel was used and let harden overnight. After a little cleanup it worked great. There is not a lot of wear so just about any steel will work as long as it machines well. Brass could also be used.

    After seating the check I run through a Lee push through die. It works, doesn't cost much and REALLY helps accuracy. I believe it is worth the extra steps.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Update: I had attempted to slug the barrel and had tried to measured the bore diameter. With the offset in rifling, it is easy to be inaccurate. I had initially sized the bore rider portion to .300. Accuracy was good but I could not feel resistance when sliding round into chamber. I purchased a reding .301bushing and reground entrance and outlet. There is a noticeable increase in accuracy and consistency over 50 rounds. One of our club group gets smaller groups 2"+- at the 350 yd targets with an after market barrel. .302 bushing will be put on order, Also tried running this type bullet (weights 173gr and 201 gr) through AR10. Only had one hangup in fifty rounds when I failed to set the mag properly. Accuracy was same as J bullets and bore was spotless with three patches. The system works really well for accurate HV rifle bullets

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Bama thanks for the great info. I am using the same boolit in my .308.

    I need to size the bore riding length of the boolit as you did.
    Maker of Silver Boolits for Werewolf hunting.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    Bama...lots of thought here on that neck size bushing...Did you have to polish a slight taper into the bottom side, the entrance side of the bushing to prevent lead and or PC from being pushed back towards the top drive band?
    I don't have access to a lathe so I find myself staring at the die body bushing holder and wondering what I could get a hold of to do the job.
    Does the hole in the screw in bushing holder just slip-fit the .310" drive band base?

    In your last comments it sounds as if you are trying to get the bore riding portion to ingrave slightly more, first by .001" and now going after .002"?
    When you are seating a radiused round like this your COAL is actually snugging tight into the throat taper...right?

    Thanks for your time and explanations. Each rifle we try to accurize with our home custom ammo we have differing throats so we have to look at each one specifically when considering COAL. Years back I read several articles in a benchshooters book that discussed jamming the j-types into the lands and they were primarily concerned with starting pressure spikes and that has always served as a warning in the back of my mind making me hesitant in that respect. Can you comment on this?
    a m e r i c a n p r a v d a

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by popper View Post
    I'm sort of using the Lee push through to same way. Put on the GC, start the boolit in the sizer then tap the handle a couple times before the check gets in the die. Seems to insure square mounting before the GC is crimped on.
    That's what I do also. I size before PC and again after and have noticed that the heating in the convection oven "softens" the gas checks. Don't know if that makes any difference but the boolits shoot MOA.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Both the inlet of the bushing were reground and polished. The inlet has more of a taper than the other end. When properly ground the bullet is actually swagged or squeezed down rather than moving the top layer back. When I tried without making a smoother taper coating and top surface of bullet were actually pushed back toward base. After regrinding inlet you get an almost polished glass look with zero damage to coating--just makes it look like polished glass. The top or outlet end is only ground slightly to prevent any damage when pushing out with the ejector punch. The bushing holder has a long taper with the tightest portion next to the bushing in the .314 to .316 range. It is not critical because in works in conjunction with the reground portion of the bushing. As to the fit of the bore riding portion of the bullet, when I took the original measurements for the bore the best I could get was .300. That measurement is not easy to get with a mic and caliper because measuring the bottom of the non matching small grove in that lead slug is tough for an old guy. I found that I had play when I could move the back of the case a lot and felt no resistance when sliding a round into the chamber. I tried the .301 bushing and can still drop the round into the chamber if gun held vertical. As a trial, we tried a round in a custom barreled gun a member of our group was shooting and you could feel a slight resistance when cambering a round. When the bolt was pulled back the outline of the rifling was marked with carbon from the jacked bullets he had been shooting. ( he shot ten rounds of the .301 and waxed me--he is an excellent shot). As far as seating depth, a properly sized bore rider is not as critical as traditional designs. On the 200 gr in 30 cal, over .6 inches of the full bore sized bullet is past the end of the case with the major portion actually past the throat and inside the bore. One interesting thing I found last weekend was a bullet that missed a golf ball and went into the dirt bank at 350 and was not destroyed. The bore rider portion had rifling marks a little over 3/4 of the way from the original .310 driving band portion toward the tip. They were continuous and got shallower toward the point and stopped about 3/16 of an inch before it started tapering for the round point. The only way I could figure this happening is we are seeing something happening similar to the sealing of a revolver round but in our case with the added pressure and velocity the same is happening farther down the bullet. With more of the bullet being closely fitted to the bore, it helps control and insures alignment with the bore when fired. I hope someone else from this forum is interested in this bullet concept and takes it further. So far it has been used in two guns, one a custom barrel and one in a stock barrel. Both have given sub-minute accuracy with little load development. Bullets were not weighed initially although later they were checked and those checked ranged about a 3 gr spread. Really fun to shoot!

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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