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Thread: Alloy for deer hunting

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Alloy for deer hunting

    44 mag, 265 grain with gas check - is 50/50 a good alloy for deer?

    45-70 - 330 grain HP, what recommendation do you have?

    Or am I over thinking this and is simply a case of if it's accurate and doesn't lead the barrel, you're good to go?

    Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Area Man View Post
    44 mag, 265 grain with gas check - is 50/50 a good alloy for deer?

    45-70 - 330 grain HP, what recommendation do you have?
    50/50 is about as good as you can get in the 44 mag for deer, I'd add a little tin for it to fill out and hold together when expanding.
    Last edited by Hickory; 03-20-2017 at 12:24 PM.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    If that 44 boolit has a wide meplat, I wouldn't care whether it expanded or not. I would shoot the most accurate alloy (I hunt with COWW + tin for 44 and 45 colt). For the 45/70 hp, I have, I suspect, the same boolit and I shoot the same alloy and have killed several deer with it.I don't really know how much expansion I'm getting 'cause I've not recovered one but they work. Guess a softer alloy might open up more? I want to be sure of complete penetration tho.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    I've used 50/50 (COWWs + 2% tin then mix 50/50 with lead) in both the 429244 (solid and HP'd) and the 429640HP in the 44 magnum in revolvers, a Contender and rifles from 1350 to 1675 fps. While the 50/50 does work well I've found a 16 - 1 (lead to tin) alloy is just as accurate and expands better with better weight retention. I have found the same in my 45/70 TDs with 300 gr GC'd RCBS bullets (solid and HP'd). I also cast my 50 cal Maxi-Balls now of 16 - 1 alloy for use at 1575 fps out of my TC Blk Mtn Magnum.

    Basically for velocities below 1600 fps now I use 16 - 1 alloy exclusively for hunting. However, for velocities above that (upwards of 2400 fps) I still use the 50/50 alloy for hunting.

    Larry Gibson

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Area Man,

    I really believe that bullet shape is more important then alloy! That is, providing a reasonable alloy is being used to begin with.

    As T-Bird indicates the large meplat is going to do the work in the larger calibers.

    Now as to expansion ----------- Because there is NO controlling factor such as a jacket on a cast bullet it is and forever will be a factor of velocity and alloy at impact which dictates how much if any expansion will occur.

    An alloy that may expand wonderfully and classically at a given velocity at 50yds will likely have little to no expansion at 100yds. But should that same bullet/alloy be given enough velocity to give that classic expansion at 100yds, it is very likely going to over expand or disintegrate at the shorter distance.

    This is the reason that those bullets with large meplats, many times called bullets with a Wide Flat Nose are so greatly effective on game. No expansion needed. If it happens so be it, but there is no need to depend on it.

    So, forget Hollow Point bullets, as simply using a cast bullet with the large meplat/Wide Flat Nose is greatly more reliable and predictable!

    I wonder why the choice of a 330gr cast bullet for the 45/70, considering that typically bullets of 400+grains many times are a much better choice in this rifle. You don't need high for this cartridge velocity so why go with the light for caliber bullet?

    During my early days with the 45/70 and cast bullets I was working with the mind set brought about from years of shooting, loading for and hunting with typical high velocity jacketed/controlled expansion bullet cartridges.

    For that reason, I first chose a 355gr WFN bullet which I cast from an LBT (Lead Bullet Technology) mold and worked up/developed loads in the 2000fps + velocity range, testing as high as just over 2500fps. Hunting the first season at 2300fps. POOR CHOICE! In SPADES!

    The WFN bullet profile with a load that left the muzzle at 2300fps was overly destructive leaving a huge wound channel in a 100yd deer! NEVER WANT TO SEE THAT AGAIN!

    Thankfully that bullet gave me neither the accuracy or consistency I desired and my research lead me to a WFN cast bullet of 465gr which I put out the barrel at 1650fps. AWESOME on a growing pile of deer and 3 elk at this point.

    My alloy for the 465gr WFN, as recommended by the mold maker, is a 50/50 alloy made up of clip on wheel weights and lead. These bullets are water quenched as they fall from the hot mold.

    For my RUGER 77/44 carbine I am developing loads which I have tested in the 1600 - 1900fps range using bullets cast of just Wheel Weights. However this 275gr cast bullet is again of the Wide Flat Nose profile, this time from an Accurate Molds mold.

    As per recoil, the 355gr cast in the 45/70, fired at 2300 - 2500fps was MUCH worse then the 465gr at 1650fps.

    My 2016 elk was taken at 161yds with the WFN 465gr. and it as every critter taken with this rifle was a one shot kill.

    Good molds with proper casting will cast great bullets of just plain old WW, and the addition of tin is for the most part wasted money and won't make them kill any better.

    AS per the Lyman cast bullet manual, the nominal percentage of tin in WW is .5%. So, with my 465gr bullet being cast of a 50/50 - WW/lead - alloy they cast great even with the much lower percentage of tin, Plus they are ever so deadly on the deer and elk.

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot

  6. #6
    Boolit Master pmer's Avatar
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    Air cooled 50/50 in the 45-70 works great on hogs too. I used a 405 grain with .325 meplat and it made a mess on both sides of the rib cage. The exit went between the ribs and made approximately a thumb sized hole and made me think the boolit held up good. This Russian boar was about 25 yards out and this is the entrance side, used 50.0 of IMR3031 in a Marlin. I really like this powder in the 45-70 because the recoil seems a lot easier too deal with than re7, 4198 and 2400.

    Water dropped WW would be better for bigger or more dangerous game I'd imagine.
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    Recent cast boolit hunts:
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Air cooled 50/50+2% with soft lube over a gas check is as near perfect a deer hunting alloy as you could want for the 44 magnum. No HP needed, just wide meplat.
    Got a .22 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    Ok, I had already ordered a 265 grain WFN from NOE for my 44 mag. 50/50 with a bit of tins seems like the way to go for that one.

    For the 45-70 I had bought the hollow point mod because in my mind HP = hunting. I've got a Lee 90374 that's got a decent sized meplat. I'll go with 16-1 or 20-1 depending on accuracy.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crusty Deary Ol'Coot View Post
    Area Man,

    I really believe that bullet shape is more important then alloy! That is, providing a reasonable alloy is being used to begin with.

    As T-Bird indicates the large meplat is going to do the work in the larger calibers.

    Now as to expansion ----------- Because there is NO controlling factor such as a jacket on a cast bullet it is and forever will be a factor of velocity and alloy at impact which dictates how much if any expansion will occur.

    An alloy that may expand wonderfully and classically at a given velocity at 50yds will likely have little to no expansion at 100yds. But should that same bullet/alloy be given enough velocity to give that classic expansion at 100yds, it is very likely going to over expand or disintegrate at the shorter distance.

    This is the reason that those bullets with large meplats, many times called bullets with a Wide Flat Nose are so greatly effective on game. No expansion needed. If it happens so be it, but there is no need to depend on it.

    So, forget Hollow Point bullets, as simply using a cast bullet with the large meplat/Wide Flat Nose is greatly more reliable and predictable!

    I wonder why the choice of a 330gr cast bullet for the 45/70, considering that typically bullets of 400+grains many times are a much better choice in this rifle. You don't need high for this cartridge velocity so why go with the light for caliber bullet?

    During my early days with the 45/70 and cast bullets I was working with the mind set brought about from years of shooting, loading for and hunting with typical high velocity jacketed/controlled expansion bullet cartridges.

    For that reason, I first chose a 355gr WFN bullet which I cast from an LBT (Lead Bullet Technology) mold and worked up/developed loads in the 2000fps + velocity range, testing as high as just over 2500fps. Hunting the first season at 2300fps. POOR CHOICE! In SPADES!

    The WFN bullet profile with a load that left the muzzle at 2300fps was overly destructive leaving a huge wound channel in a 100yd deer! NEVER WANT TO SEE THAT AGAIN!

    Thankfully that bullet gave me neither the accuracy or consistency I desired and my research lead me to a WFN cast bullet of 465gr which I put out the barrel at 1650fps. AWESOME on a growing pile of deer and 3 elk at this point.

    My alloy for the 465gr WFN, as recommended by the mold maker, is a 50/50 alloy made up of clip on wheel weights and lead. These bullets are water quenched as they fall from the hot mold.

    For my RUGER 77/44 carbine I am developing loads which I have tested in the 1600 - 1900fps range using bullets cast of just Wheel Weights. However this 275gr cast bullet is again of the Wide Flat Nose profile, this time from an Accurate Molds mold.

    As per recoil, the 355gr cast in the 45/70, fired at 2300 - 2500fps was MUCH worse then the 465gr at 1650fps.

    My 2016 elk was taken at 161yds with the WFN 465gr. and it as every critter taken with this rifle was a one shot kill.

    Good molds with proper casting will cast great bullets of just plain old WW, and the addition of tin is for the most part wasted money and won't make them kill any better.

    AS per the Lyman cast bullet manual, the nominal percentage of tin in WW is .5%. So, with my 465gr bullet being cast of a 50/50 - WW/lead - alloy they cast great even with the much lower percentage of tin, Plus they are ever so deadly on the deer and elk.

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
    Probably one of the best explanations I have ever read on bullet weights, meplats, and bullet performance. Thanks Crusty......can't wait to read more about the 77/44 loads. I managed to find one last year and will be casting for it this year.....a dual cavity mold from Accurate 280 and 300 grain wide flat nose's

    Is this the 465 grn boolit you are referring to?

    http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_...46-465BG-D.png
    Last edited by 35Whelen; 03-21-2017 at 11:09 AM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Rarely does one say, YEA CRUSTY. Thanks CDOC!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    35Whelen,

    While the Accurate mold you show is close, the mold I have is a 4 cavity mold made by Bruce (BABore) over on the Cast Boolits Forum when he was still making molds. Wish he still made his quality molds, but I have a number of molds from Accurate Molds in Utah and I think Tom makes an equally good product.

    I'll attach a before and after of my bullet. The "after" weighing 327.9gr was found after a quartering shot in a big cow elk. Never expected to find one of these! It took out the BIG/HEAVY upper front leg bone which is where I think it lost it's nose and still went about another 30" taking out a rib, through the lungs, a BIG heavy paunch, some guts and stopped just inside the hide in front of the off side ham.

    Second image is of my 2016 elk. side to side at 161yds.

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot

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    Last edited by Crusty Deary Ol'Coot; 03-21-2017 at 12:31 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Area Man,

    Forget that H.P. It is simply not needed and not controllable in a cast bullet considering that range and impact velocities are variable.

    I did a lot of reading before starting down the cast bullet hunting road, and in truth it took a bit of faith to believe what I was reading about the results of a Wide Flat Nose cast bullet. The in field results have been nothing short of awesome on deer and elk and what I read was true in SPADES!

    After seeing what a 355gr WFN did on a 100yd deer with a muzzle velocity of 2300fps, there is no way in this world I'd want a H.P. bullet. Just how big do you want that wound channel?

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Or am I over thinking this and is simply a case of if it's accurate and doesn't lead the barrel, you're good to go?


    pretty much sums it up
    for deer pretty much anything will work
    as long as you hit em where you need to
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    Just as soft as you can get to shoot accurately is the best rule I've found for hunting.
    Even if it lead coats your bore it isn't a bad load if it is hunting accurate.

    The boolit metal sloughing off in pieces as the result of deformation followed by fracturing (like with "wheel weight" metal) is not your friend. Not saying it won't kill, just that it's not the best way.
    Go for big and flat noses that stay together or softness that results in malleable mushrooming without coming apart.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I use a .357 Maximum for hunting Iowa whitetails and have had great success with 50/50, water-cooled COWW, and air-cooled Lyman #2 (approximation alloyed by me). I use Ranch Dogs 359-190-RF GC at around 1900 fps. It's VERY accurate and I have yet to hit a deer that I didn't recover. And I have yet to recover a bullet. Shots have ranged from 25 yds to 175 yds. This bullet has a wide meplat and makes a bigger "thump" on bullet impact than anything I've ever used on deer - including .30-06, .308 Win, .243 Win, .30-30, .260 Rem (all of those with jacketed bullets). Last fall's deer I hit severely quartering away at 125 yds during our first significant snowfall. She donkey-kicked, then ran into the trees about 50 yds away. I gave her a few minutes before tracking, but had no trouble finding hair, then it was like following a three year old running with a quart jar of red paint. Punch in just behind the last rib, took out the liver, exited the opposite side just ahead of the humerus and back of the sternum. Destroyed the liver and the off-side lung, .35 caliber hole in, maybe .45-50 caliber hole exit. I assume it held together as there were no other projectile paths in the deer. This is what my .357 Max does every time. Penetrates and destroys. What more can I ask for? Other than regs that let me hunt with a centerfire rifle...
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  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by selmerfan View Post
    I use a .357 Maximum for hunting Iowa whitetails and have had great success with 50/50, water-cooled COWW, and air-cooled Lyman #2 (approximation alloyed by me). I use Ranch Dogs 359-190-RF GC at around 1900 fps. It's VERY accurate and I have yet to hit a deer that I didn't recover. And I have yet to recover a bullet. Shots have ranged from 25 yds to 175 yds. This bullet has a wide meplat and makes a bigger "thump" on bullet impact than anything I've ever used on deer - including .30-06, .308 Win, .243 Win, .30-30, .260 Rem (all of those with jacketed bullets). Last fall's deer I hit severely quartering away at 125 yds during our first significant snowfall. She donkey-kicked, then ran into the trees about 50 yds away. I gave her a few minutes before tracking, but had no trouble finding hair, then it was like following a three year old running with a quart jar of red paint. Punch in just behind the last rib, took out the liver, exited the opposite side just ahead of the humerus and back of the sternum. Destroyed the liver and the off-side lung, .35 caliber hole in, maybe .45-50 caliber hole exit. I assume it held together as there were no other projectile paths in the deer. This is what my .357 Max does every time. Penetrates and destroys. What more can I ask for? Other than regs that let me hunt with a centerfire rifle...
    Always thought a Redhawk in 357 maximum would be sweeter than sweet.

    Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Boolit Master 6pt-sika's Avatar
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    To date all I've ever used was WW alloy most times air cooled and a few instances water quenched . Killed deer with the 30-30 , 32 Special , 32-40 , 38-56 , 375 WIN , 38-55 , 35 REM , 356 WIN , 40-65 , 444 and the 45-70 . All in lever actions some pushed with XMP5744 and the rest with H322 or RL-7 for the most part .

    Now my needs for the bullets are Virginia whitetails and black bear . So a hard alloy isn't a necessity although in my Micro Groove 444's with 1:38 shooting bullets over 315 grains I prefer to WQ so the exterior is a bit harder and grips the rifling better then the softer air cooled . So far with plain WW alloy that's been the only way I could get 315-375 grainers to shoot in the 1:38 Micro Groove barrels .

    Without having my hunting log book in front of me I can't give an exact number , but I'd say in the last 15 years I've taken something close to 75 whitetails and 2 black bear with my cast bullets .
    Go Manny Pacquiao !!!

    Double's , 6.5mm's , 444 Marlin , Sika Deer and my family in the Philippines

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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