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Thread: Lee 405gr HB in a Shilo Sharps Military

  1. #1
    Boolit Man


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    Lee 405gr HB in a Shilo Sharps Military

    I normally shoot the Saeco 1881 bullet with my bp load with great results. I have been casting the Lee 405gr HB, tumble lubing
    them with liquid alox, and loading them over 35grs of 3031. I get one inch groups at 70yds. I don't use any fillers or wads, just the powder and bullet. I want to use the same bullet with Goex 2F and lube them with my Lyman sizer with SPG. I will compress the load and use a newspaper wad over the primer pocket. Will using two .030 fiber wads between the powder and the base of the bullet cause the hollow base not to expand? I am hoping to get the same or better accuracy using black powder. I casted a few hundred of these Lee bullets and will be using them in my Sharps and Trapdoor original.
    Ore'mus
    Flintlocks Rock!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    You run the risk of pushing the wad(s) into the base. Not good for accuracy. Some shooters are of the opinion that hole in the base is too small to cause expansion and that the original intent was to control the weight of the bullet. I use the Lee 405 in my TD with a compressed BP charge and no wad.

  3. #3
    Boolit Man


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    Quote Originally Posted by varsity07840 View Post
    You run the risk of pushing the wad(s) into the base. Not good for accuracy. Some shooters are of the opinion that hole in the base is too small to cause expansion and that the original intent was to control the weight of the bullet. I use the Lee 405 in my TD with a compressed BP charge and no wad.
    This makes a lot of sense. I will have to clean out the lubing from the hollow base before loading. Thanks for the reply.
    Ore'mus
    Flintlocks Rock!

  4. #4
    Varsity is correct the base was to control weight versus length. You can read this in the 1873 ordnance report. In using this bullet with black powder I find the wad at about 50 yards out and its flat with a tiny hole in the center.
    Be sure to wipe all lube off the bullet base before loading as in 1886 the wads were eliminated with the solid head case and the bullet seated deeper in the case. This after troops noticed on pit duty bullets in the backstop were sometimes found with a wad stuck to the base. It was observed this could cause loss of accuracy. Hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    Tom and Varsity are indeed correct. The HB is referred to as a "dish" in the ordnance drawings/description and is there to regulate the weight while keeping the external dimensions of the bullet constant. It never was intended to expand as was the skirt of a minie' bullet. The Lee 405 HB bullet was designed by Spence Wolf to replicate the M1873 bullet....which it does fairly well.

    The use of wads under the bullet were found to be detrimental to accuracy and were eliminated in the 45-55 carbine cartridges, the only place they were used. I have fired many Lee 405HBs out of my own TDs with smokeless and BP. No wads were used or needed.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

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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