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Thread: Going back to SOLID Slugs for Rifled Gun.

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Going back to SOLID Slugs for Rifled Gun.

    I have been thinking of going BACK to something that had simply WORKED in the past for me. What have I been looking for in a slug?
    Consistent accuracy of 3 to 4 inches out to 40 to 50 yards, using homemade slugs cast out of birdshot, and replacing birdshot In 2 or 3 shells. Covered with plastic over-shot frangible disk and roll-crimped.


    As many of you know I have had some success locally with Lyman 525 Sabot Slugs (Cavity filled Hot Glue) on top of plastic disk hard-cards inside shotcups.

    [I am based in a RESTRICTED country, with almost NO access to components for proper reloading.]

    Sadly the level of work involved stresses me, and I have been getting an increasing percentage of flyers leading to groups of up to 2 feet!


    I am now shooting these out of a Mossberg 500A, Rifled Barrel.


    I suspect it is simply because of mangled wads, caused mainly because the Lyman slugs sit a little high in the shotcup, and some shotcups just do not work with the slugs.


    Why do the Lyman Slugs have to sit high? Because I have to use plastic disks under the slugs to stop the wads from being pushed into the Slug cavity.


    So my questions are:

    1. Has anyone ever ground off the plug on the Lyman mold to cast SOLID Lyman slugs? Would they be dangerously over-weight? Pressure issues possibly?
    Idea is if I have nice, long solid slugs: I do not need the plastic disks, and slugs can sit completely enclosed inside shotcup: with good plastic-to-steel contact and good rifling imprinting all the way down the bore.

    2. Another thought, reminding me of what I used to do before I was able to get my roundball and Lyman molds I resumed casting SOLID Lead slugs in 15mm Socket Wrench bits. When measured on the upraised bits (the lands?) these slugs size out at about 17.5mm and sit in shotcups perfectly- giving a nice little bulge/ snug fit in the shotcup.


    When push-tested down the barrel they went through with some initial resistance, but could be pushed down the bore hammering initially with soft mallet and then by palm. (Sore palm the next morning!) One could see the rifling imprint on the wad from this test.

    They mostly weigh in at 30grams versus the 32grams of shot being replaced.

    They tend to be short and squat that worries me. But if shot from a rifled barrel with the wads being spun by rifling, and them gripping the inner walls of the wads I suspect they could do okay.


    I have loaded a few of these, they really bring back memories! I hope I get good performance out of a rifled barrel.


    So, what are your thoughts?

    Anyone ever file off the nub for the Lyman Slug plug to cast a solid slug for rifled barrels? What could be the potential possibilities of this out of rifled barrels?
    And what do you think of the Solid Lead 15mm Socket Slugs for rifled barrels? See pictures below.

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  2. #2
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    I will be interested to see how these shoot. I would not alter the pin. I have a mold that is close to 1,000 grains, about twice the weight of the 525 Lyman. Weight will not be a problem if you make the Lyman a solid. Dialing in the powder charge will be an important consideration.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Yman, if the cavitiys are fully filled with no air bubbles the wads can't jam into the slug. Also, thin shotcup petals are gonna shear in a rifled gun. They are not sabots. Try overfilling the cavities then trimming the excess flush. Use your OS card on top of the slug of necessary for a good crimp and good luck.
    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. Winston Churchill

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    My thought is more or less what you said about mangled wads. If you can't get the slugs into the wads easily or if the petals get damaged while opening the hull or are just plain not suitable then accuracy will be poor. Also, it is possibly that using hard cast slugs that the petals are shearing off because the slug has no give to it.

    I'd pull a wad or two for each type of factory round you have and do a push through the barrel test. If too tight they are likely to shear, if too loose then you won't get spin but if too loose you can paper patch the slug up to good fit.

    In fact, it may be worth trying paper patching to see if it helps even for tight slugs because the paper may provide a better surface for the wad petal/slug contact.

    Alternately, for your accuracy requirements, I still think you should be able to achieve that using 0.662" or 0.678" round balls from a smoothbore. I have no trouble producing 4" groups at 50 yards with either size. The 0.662" has to be patched up with paper or cloth in most cases as it is quite loose but if patched properly accuracy is very good. 0.678" balls may be too big for some shotcups especially if the petals have internal ribs. The 0.662" ball should fit any wad. Mike in Peru has also had very good results with same sort of accuracy of 4" at 50 yards loading 0.680" round balls into factory loaded rounds just like you are and again from smoothbore.

    Not sure if possible/legal in your country but I can send you some of each 0.662" and 0.678" RB's if you want to try them.

    Alternately, you can have a simple push out mould made that will produce a hollow base slug to fit into shotcups. I made a prototype mould for Greg Sappington several years ago when he was working on using thick steel shot wads for rifled gun. In the end the wads didn't have enough consistency for his accuracy requirements so he went another route. I still have that mould which cast at something like 0.654" so converted it to a TC hollow base slug design and as for the 0.662" RB's I patched the slugs up to fit standard shotcups and got some very good groups out to 50 yards. These weight 525 grs. so same load data as Lyman slugs. For your needs, I would go larger diameter to maybe 0.670" then patch to get final fit to suit the rifled barrel.

    I have designs modeled up in 3D and can produce a drawing for you. These are simple to make moulds that only require a lathe and boring bare to make. No cherries or fancy tooling required. Diameter is whatever you want to bore it to then the HP form is made to slide fit in that bore. A nose form is required for HB designs.

    Even simpler is a solid base pour design but it would be very short for weight. You can make the mould to suit the full bore groove diameter or again to fit into a shotcup. By going large HP you can reduce weight or increase length to get more bearing surface. If for self defense a large HP may even be desirable.

    Here's a photo of a mould I made for Greg:

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    This one is solid with HP or solid flat point and to suit a shotcup. In this case, I used a "D" bit/reamer to cut the cavity but same design can be cut with just a boring bar. I generally bore right through and screw a base plate on these days as it is easier but you can bore deep than required and leave the blind hole too. Both ways work.

    I can provide drawings of a similar mould if you want. I would make one and send it but I suspect it would not get to you. If you have a safe address to send it to I can do that.

    In all honesty though I would revisit the round ball in smoothbore before getting new moulds and going down a different patch again. I've been most impressed at the results I can get to 50 yards. However, much past 50 yards and groups do open up fairly quickly with round ball from smoothbore.

    Longbow

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    longbow gives good advice. A round ball can deliver very good accuracy beyond 80 yards. (That's the distance of my last shotgun - deer. One shot and it fell to the ground.) Jeff Tanner makes dandy single cavity round ball molds to order. Pick a size that will work with your components and you're off to the races.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    If hot glue is available, I would try that first, to fill up the cavity. Another alternative would be to mill a slot across the end of the plug, which would produce a slug with a rib in the cavity, much like the Lee slug. You could also mill a 2nd slot at 90 deg from the 1st one.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    725 also brings up a good point. He is using a 0.720" RB (IIRC) in shotcup which I would have, and did say, was too large but it works for him giving terrific accuracy from his rifled gun. However, he is using soft lead balls which I think is part of the equation for not causing petal shearing. With recast birdshot you are using I suspect that size ball would be too hard.

    If you were to get a round ball mould of 0.678" (standard Lyman and RCBS size) or a Jeff Tanner mould in 0.680" then use paper patching to custom adjust fit these may shoot well from your rifled gun. In fact depending on petal thickness of the factory rounds you are using you might check a few of those with a vernier or micrometer then pick a ball size 0.005" to 0.010" under snug to groove fit so you can patch back up as required. By patch here I am meaning to make a paper tube of two or three wraps dropped into the shotcup then push the ball in.

    This paper patching idea may even help with your Lyman slug both by providing custom fit and by acting as a barrier between edges of the slug and soft plastic petals of shotcup. I think with the Lyman slug though you would have to pull the shotcup out then put paper and slug into the shotcup then push that assembly back into the hull. Kind of a lot of work.

    Round balls are nice to cast and easy to load into shotcups.

    Longbow

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    Thanks all, thanks Longbow - With the advice here - I did some more thinking...
    Before:
    1. I do not have a .690 round ball mold - maybe when I'm next in the UK - I could get Jeff Tanner to make me one? I only have .729 and .732 [Bore-size: I have not gotten good accuracy performance from these. And have gotten quite a lot of bore leading.]
    2. I initially loaded my Lyman slugs using the idea that the slug HAD to be above the top of the petals to be able to break the roll-crimp properly [So the petals do not first contact the roll-crimp, and to fit in the shell/ bore. it was also based on following the ideas put forward by Ajay.
    3. I would use plastic disks beneath the Lyman slugs to stop the wad from blowing into the cavity. This raised the slug, and obviously, it would not be properly surrounded and held by the wads.

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    Now:
    1. I now fill the slug cavity with a Super-glue/ Sugar mix: which hardens to a hard, flat, but eventually frangible consistency. With this: I do not need to use a plastic disk beneath anymore.
    2. I realised that pushing the slug down FULLY into the shotcup does not affect the opening of the roll-crimp, and does not negatively affect the wad petals as I had thought. [If not, how come the original shot was below the lip of the petals of the shotcup, and yet, even with roll-crimping, did not mangle or deform on firing?]
    3. Pushing the slug down FULLY into the shotcup provides a full grip and the slug is fully and firmly supported by the wad petals, and thus will engage rifling better. It could lead to some level of mangled or torn wads, but this would be on emergence from muzzle, and should not affect slug performance.

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    I'm sure this should work better: going up north to do some shooting in February - will keep the house updated...

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    I wonder if having the front of the slug above the shot cup petals led to tipping of the slug because it wasn't fully supported on the front end. I would think that would lead to very large groups and or Flyers

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    What he said!

    I didn't realize you had the nose of the slug outside wad petals. That could and likely did affect accuracy in a very negative way. Not only would just the skirt be gripping rifling but the nose could be cocked so even if the slug got spun up to full speed the nose could be off center creating a terrible wobble.

    I have to say that I was quite surprised as well when I started messing wad slugs because I thought I would see crumpled or mangled petals if the petals stuck much above the slug but I tried it and recovered wads were just fine even with quite a bit of wad petal sticking up. Best that they don't but I didn't see anything to worry about when they did.

    Best to have that slug fully in the shotcup and engaging the rifling at nose and skirt to keep it aligned and get traction from rifling. You might set the nose of the slug at the top of the petals or cut them back to be flush with the nose. That certainly wouldn't hurt.

    I still suggest pulling a shotcup or two and checking fit in the bore with a slug inside. If not pretty tight then I'd try paper patching... at least if accuracy was not very good to 50 yards. I'd say with a rifled gun you should be getting groups of under 3" and more like under 2" at 50 yards with those slugs even using factory loaded ammunition with shot replaced.

    Good idea using a filler in the hollow cavity. Since you are using fairly hard slugs from recast shot the skirts may not collapse at all but as you say, wads will still try to get into the cavity without a filler.

    I'd also worry a little about the skirt shearing petals with such hard slugs so check some recovered wads to see how they look. Again, if the skirt is shearing petals, I'd try paper patching to protect the wad petals. It will make the fit a little tighter but the paper will act as a buffer between lead and bore. I think anyway.

    Another thing some others have commented on is that with hard slugs you may get skidding between petals and slug so the slug does not get up to full rotational speed from the rifling. Rolling the slugs between two files will raise a knurl that will allow the petals to grip the slug well so no skidding. Partly depends on fit. if loose then skidding is likely.

    If you decide to try round ball again I suggest 0.678" or maybe the upcoming Mihec 0.680" group buy. I do not suggest 0.690" as they do not fit into many shotcups... at least that I have had access to.

    I guess it partly depends on shotcups which you have no control over. And I have to say that I am not sure how well a round ball in a shotcup will grip rifling.

    I am a bit surprised that you had poor results with the 0.732" RB unless the leading started right away and caused grief. Tumble lubing the balls or using a lubed felt or fiber wad under the ball should stop leading. Did you use a nitro card wad or equivalent under the ball? I found that 0.735" balls loaded over cushion legs with petals cut off did poorly unless and put at least one nitro card wad under the ball. Recovered wads where I didn't use a nitro card wad were often cracked and/or badly distorted from trying to wrap around the ball under pressure and many gas seals failed.

    Keep on working at it and you will win!

    Longbow

  11. #11
    Boolit Man finstr's Avatar
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    Interested to see results from this.
    I'm the gun totin, meat eatin', BIBLE readin', redneck conservative your mother always warned you about.

    " Holes kill stuff. "

  12. #12
    Like Longbow I am surprised you got poor accuracy from a .732in. round ball, and I think something like tumble lubing or powder coating might be the thing to try before moving away from it. It isn't going to be travelling at high velocity by rifle standards, and the rifling pitch will be slow (35in. in barrels made from Hastings blanks I believe), so it isn't going to be the most intractable of leading problems.

    Rifled guns take more harm from eccentricity of the bullet mass than smoothbore ones, and you can't ram a cloth patched ball tightly enough into a plastic case to iron out the folds, as you can with a Kentucky rifle. Remember that that case was designed, in paper, for use with shot, when crushing of the wad on entering the bore improved the seal. So the inside of the case is likely to be larger than the bore, a problem which has worsened with the use of thinner plastic cases. A slug with a cylindrical section is likely to tumble slightly, but a ball will still be spherical even if it does, when it hits the forcing cone.

    I would agree with eliminating the base hollow in a slug intended for use with a rifled shotgun, though I would rather make a new base pin than shorten one I might want in original form later. I am sceptical of any kind of wadding totally preserving the shape of the air-rifle shaped Lyman slug, unless the cavity was filled or eliminated, and not much more confident with the old-fashioned Forster slug - for which most Lyman moulds cast considerably undersized too.

    The obvious solution is a cylindro-conical slug without base cavity, which is a close fit inside the plastic case. But I would want to know about properly conducted pressure-gun testing before I did this, and I think it would be best if the slug was considerably softer than birdshot alloy. With the old rifled-choke Paradox guns I think the bullet did fit the paper case this way, but it had large lube grooves to facilitate squeezing down in the bore.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by longbow View Post
    Did you use a nitro card wad or equivalent under the ball? I found that 0.735" balls loaded over cushion legs with petals cut off did poorly unless and put at least one nitro card wad under the ball. Recovered wads where I didn't use a nitro card wad were often cracked and/or badly distorted from trying to wrap around the ball under pressure and many gas seals failed.

    Keep on working at it and you will win!

    Longbow
    Yes, anything flat which moulds around a ball will reduce its diameter and fail to seal. I would want that card to be really thick and hard. Escaping gas is the only thing likely to make the leading problem really severe in a round of this modest pressure and velocity.

    I think its importance can be exaggerated. Many of the early big game hunters in Africa used pure lead in rifles of slightly higher velocity. For practice you can clean the bore, and it isn't like you have to do a lot of practice to squeeze the last fraction of a minute of angle out of a 3MOA firearm. In hunting, you aren't piling the prairie dogs high. A shot or two from a clean bore is enough to make a good day for most people.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    You might try filling the hollow bases with "Lightweight" "Bondo" Auto Body Filler (putty). It is quite strong, bonds well and is lightweight.
    Getting old is the best you can hope for.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    longbow, in re 1/28 post: I use a .702 roundball in the shotcup (not the 720 in your post). Driven at reasonable speeds, the petals stay in tack and could even be reused. Drive it fast and the petals get damaged. I'm intrigued by the mold you make and suggest to the OP. When the weather warms, I'll be in the shop tinkering over a design to fit. It's a sickness I suppose. My RB successes far exceed my function and accuracy requirements, but it's so much fun to keep pushing the limits!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    725:

    Yes, I saw that I had misread. I was sure I had read 0.720" (latent dyslexia?) which is why I was so surprised it worked. Having said that, I am still surprised that 0.702" RB's work so well for you after my experiences with 0.690" RB's in any shotcups I could find. However, they do and that is what matters.

    The push out moulds are pretty simple to make and I have made several for shotgun, .44, .308 (paper patched boolit mould), .303. I have shot many of the smooth boolits just tumble lubed with good results but also decided to make a grooving tool to put what I call microgrooves on the boolits then tumble lube (very much like Lee tumble lube grooves but smaller). It all works well. More recently I have made a knurling roller and plan to make a .30 cal. smooth mould to produce boolits with groove diameter base driving band and body about 0.005" undersize so it can be knurled up to groove (0.002" over) diameter.

    As for the shotgun slugs, if you missed it I just posted my line up for testing which I hope to get to in the next few weeks:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...up-for-testing

    All the slugs except round balls were cast in push out moulds.

    Some have been knurled as the mould casts right on at 0.729" and one shotgun I have has a bore diameter of 0.734".

    The moulds are very easy to make and have worked well for me for both shotgun slugs (solid and HP) and boolits. I came up with the idea about 40 years ago for a mould for a 20 ga. slug and was pretty proud of myself but it turns out that Ideal beat me to it by about 125 years with their Cylindrical Moulds for paper patched slugs in the 1800's.

    In any case, I find that making the slug a little undersize for wads then paper patching allows for custom fit. This could be just the think for Y-man since he is stuck with using factory loaded ammunition and has no control over what wads are used so fit varies. Simply open one up and take out the wad, check slug fit then paper patch as required and load up for those rounds. The paper patching can be a bit tedious but he is not loading up hundreds at a time either and no worse than paper patching for rifle which lots of folks do. Paper patching for wad slugs doesn't even require good paper as it is just a spacer.

    Another option for Y-man is to make a push out mould for a groove diameter slug for his Mossberg then remove shotcups, cut petals off then re-insert cushion leg then slug. That should also work well but tedious work removing shotcups and trimming then re-inserting. Also, the slugs would be very short and fat of have to be hollow base to lengthen them and reduce weight to 1 1/8 oz. or so. Those Nessler Ball clones in my post are short but weigh 580 grs.

    Y-man's socket mould is pretty similar in function to the push out mould and it seems to be working for him though I think a push out mould would be much faster to cast with and all that is really required to be made on a lathe is a piece of 1 1/2" to 2" round bar bored to correct size. The rest could be done with quite simple tools.

    Y-man if you are interested I will produce a set of drawings then you can get a mould made locally. If you want to do that I suggest paper patching a wad slug or going to groove diameter.

    I have not tested my slugs in factory loaded ammunition yet but that is also on my list ~ use 1 1/8 oz. loads, shot removed, cast into slugs then reloaded and shot. My tests will be with smoothbore and round balls and hollow base slugs though.

    Longbow

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    If they didn't shear off Minie Balls why should they shear in a shotgun barrel? They also don't shear in air rifles. None of the ammo makers warn shooters against shooting HB slugs in rifled barrels.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Its not the skirt that shears it is the wad petals the slug sits in. If fit is too tight the petals fail.

  19. #19
    Boolit Man Rally's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if his problem might go away by cutting the petals off the wad and paper patching the slug. I'm thinking it's possible with the shape of the slug (skirt end), and the unsupported petals, could be "bunching" as they meet the rifling and possibly deforming the skirt of the slug enough to affect down range groups, or even causing some blow by. Those plastic wads are quite malleable under pressure and tend to fill any voids.
    I had a similar problem with the 7/8 oz. Lee when I used a 20 gauge, .135 card under it. Recovered wads showed bad deformation and petals folding. I just switched to a 16 gauge .135 card wad and it fit so much better it actually created a second sealing point. Like Ballistics in Scotland mentioned, a lubricant on the slug would likely prove beneficial.
    Last edited by Rally; 03-19-2017 at 01:35 AM.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Not sure but likely part of Y-man's problems are that he is using factory loaded rounds so no control over fit or quality of shotcups and he is using recast shot so hard alloy which may result in less give of slug at engraving and more compression of the plastic wad petals so damage to petals.

    I have seldom found any wads with wrinkled petals as long as slug/wad fit to bore was fairly snug.

    I have not paper patched for rifled gun so no experience there but I have paper patched the grossly undersized Lyman Foster slug for smoothbore and that helped considerably when the slug was patched up to bore diameter so about 0.025" of paper. I still got occasional fliers which I figured was the patch being damaged by rough hull, opening crimp and/or jumping through the forcing cone. It could also have been due to patch not leaving the slug too.

    A more typical slug to land fit (like for rifle) then patched up might work well if the patch makes it past the crimp.

    Y-man's problem is that he is opening up factory rounds so would have to pull out the shotcup, trim petals off then re-insert it, then add paper patched slug. Get's to be a lot of work (for me anyway being a lazy sort).

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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