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Thread: Beautiful bullet doesn't want to shoot. Help!

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Beautiful bullet doesn't want to shoot. Help!

    First post here. I've been lurking for quite some time and learned a great deal from everything I've read. So thank you!

    I recently started casting for a MGM 16.25 inch barreled Encore in 357 Magnum. It shoots jacketed amazingly well and the LEE 358-158-RF into very pleasing groups.

    Well I decided I wanted to try something heavy, slow, and quiet so I ordered a NOE 360-225 SWC. Here's where the problem starts...

    I literally miss a 18 inch target at 50 yards with most shots. I've tried the bullet with 3 different powders, many different speeds, and 2 different alloys. Haven't remotely begun load development because I can't hit the target. The shots that do hit are rarely clean SWC holes. No keyholing but perhaps a slight oblongness maybe. Not oblong enough that I'd have even noticed though unless I was looking for a problem.

    I have other NOE molds and their push through sizer. Sizing the 158 and the 225 to .359.
    Barrel is 16 twist. The actual rifling of the barrel is only approx. 15 inches long obviously because of the chamber so best I can figure with a tight cleaning rod is it's AROUND a legitimate 16 twist barrel. Bullet is plain based and right at 0.95 inches long.
    I've tried many different subsonic loads and 1 super. Sub was with Clays, Trailboss, and middle of the road H110 loads. Super was with a higher H110 load. All shot exactly the same just with varying levels of noise. I only tried supersonic after all the other subsonic loads failed to reliably hit the target. I could try other powders obviously but I don't want to keep wasting components if I can't even hit the paper.

    I'm at a loss here! My first instinct was twist rate but I'm getting close enough to the advertised 16 twist that it doesn't add up. If my math is right this bullet should have ample stability in anything in the neighborhood of 20 or less.
    I did slug the barrel but what an absolute pain that was to measure. 5 groove rifling. I don't remember what I got but I know I didn't trust my measurements. Neighborhood of .356 I THINK using an aluminum can shim wrapped around the bullet and then subtracted out.
    I've also captured numerous bullets in putty. No sign of gas cut bases or widening rifling marks. Bases all end up slightly concave with sharp trailing edges. Gas seal looks good to me. I even seated bullets and then pulled them to see if my brass was overly sizing them. Difference was only 0.0005-0.001 and as I said no gas seems to be leaking by and there doesn't seem to be any skidding.

    Alloys used have been straight Lyman #2 and 50/50 Lyman/pure. Pan lubing with mix of floor wax, Vaseline, paraffin, and a little synthetic motor oil. No leading to speak of.

    Anyone got any ideas?? Like I said I'm at a loss at this point.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    That boolit isn't stabilizing for you, no matter that your calculations say it "should" stabilize. And it is possible you can't drive it fast enough to stabilize in that barrel. Maybe time to add to your barrel collection with a 358 Winchester?

  3. #3
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    http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell38SWC.htm

    http://357shooter.blogspot.com/2013/...as-checks.html

    Here is some reading. The 358627 I have does real well in a Handi rifle rechambered to 357 max. I have never felt the need to measure twist rate in it. I understand it was offered in either 1 in 15 1/2 or 1 in 18. You may try it with wadcutters to see if bearing surface is long enough to mess with it. An adequately sized bullet should show some tearing or odd marks if it is keyholing. I might try as cast, hand lubed or LLA in a moderate load of a medium powder to eliminate a size issue.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    earlmck, I can definitely push this bullet a little harder. There are no apparent signs of excess pressure or velocity on captured bullets or cases so I can up the charge if speed seems to be the issue to stabilization. I can give that a try with a small sample as I'm tired of wasting components at the range. Can't recover my lead there.
    I've considered myself adequately versed though on the topic of stabilization til now. Antiquated Greenhill calls for about a minimum of 20 twist for this bullet and Berger's calculator shows optimum stability all the way down to 250 ft/s but also states that the calculator UNDER estimates the stability of flat based bullets so it SHOULD be golden.
    I'm certainly not arguing by bringing these up but I truly don't understand why it would be unstable. It may very well be but I'd like to understand why.
    MT, Thanks for the reading material. This bullet as I'm sure you probably knew is the NOE copy of 358627. I'm sure you pushed harder in the Max. I may have to try pushing it harder as earlmck suggested. As far as size goes, as cast is .361 and I am sizing to .359. The 158s shoot great at .359 and neither bullet when captured shows any skidding or blowby that I might expect if the size is too small. I'll certainly give as-cast a try though. I'm not sure what you mean about trying a wadcutter. Can you expand?

  5. #5
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    never shot a calculated bullet before.

    push it as hard as you can if it's still messed up quit wasting your time and move on to something else.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by runfiverun View Post
    never shot a calculated bullet before.

    push it as hard as you can if it's still messed up quit wasting your time and move on to something else.
    I agree, stand on the gas a bit, I bet that helps matters.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Got it. Thanks for the input so far. I intend to do as suggested and push the velocity up among some other much appreciated options suggested in a PM.

    Now in the interest of teaching a man to fish instead of just giving him a fish, anyone have experience with or care to explain why a undamaged bullet that SHOULD easily stabilize in a particular twist doesn't appear to be in this one. I assume we are talking stability if everyone is suggesting pushing up the velocity. If that ISN'T what you all are getting at then please elaborate.
    Everything I've read says this bullet should work regardless of my velocity. I won't be heartbroken if everything I read is wrong but I'd definitely like to understand WHY.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Neverhome,

    As said, up the velocity, it will fly. My last note on 110 shows 15.1gr to be retested at some point with the 360-235 I shoot, but I settled on 14.0gr of 2400. (quite a bit more pleasant to shoot)

    As Run and others have said "should", and "calculated", go right out the window when the trigger is pulled. Sometimes they won't stabilize at low speed, and more often than not, they will do well faster than the "calculations" say,,,,,

    Please keep us informed of your progress.
    Last edited by Hamish; 03-01-2018 at 08:52 AM.
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"


    Noli sinere nothos te opprimere

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    The Greenhill formula was created to use with artillery shells! Scaling it down adds many levels of error. It can only approximate, not give hard data. Use it as a guess but don't be surprised when your rifle argues with it. Believe the rifle!
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Is that is the MAGNUM??? Crimped in the top or bottom groove or at all? Asking cuz that sounds like ALOT of 110. Haven't worked with 2400 yet.

    http://www.lasc.us/FryxellLyman358627.htm No mention of twist rates in this article but it does show good accuracy with low speed 38 Special loads. Well that just bugs me!

    Thanks for the input guys!

    Any other possibilities for yaw in a bullet that to my admittedly untrained eye appears undamaged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish View Post
    Neverhome,

    As said, up the velocity, it will fly. My last note on 110 shows 15.1gr to be retested at some point with the 360-235 I shoot, but I settled on 14.0gr of 2400. (quite a bit more pleasant to shoot)

    As Run and others have said "should", and "calculated", go right out the window when the trigger is pulled. Sometimes they won't stabilize at low speed, and more often than not, they will do well faster than they "calculations" say,,,,,

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    I do not crimp my single shot loads, I try not to crimp much of anything. 12" MGM .357 Mag Contender bbl.

    Yes, it was a *lot* of 110, but I was shooting gas checked and trying for maximum velocity with best accuracy at the time. I got close to 1700fps before I backed down to 1450fps with 2400 as I wanted to be able to shoot a bunch with it without hurting the next day,,,,,,,

    One thing I noted, I don't use nickel cases anymore with heavy Contender loads, nickel will get you sticky cases long before any sign of pressure in plain brass.
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"


    Noli sinere nothos te opprimere

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'd trust the Berger calculator before Greenhill honestly but I find with the Berger calculator it indeed underestimated stability with flat based/cast bullets. I've had flawless stability with .22 flatbased using that calc with stability factors all the way down to a hair over 1.0. At about a 0.9 I had noticeable yaw on target. This was all with subsonic stuff but velocity is factored into that and all other modern calcs.

    Trial and error is expensive so I feel like doing a little research and trying an apparently much maligned stability calculator is justified.

    "OH MY GOD HE USED A CALCULATOR BEFORE HE BOUGHT A 100 DOLLAR MOLD!!!"


    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Smith View Post
    The Greenhill formula was created to use with artillery shells! Scaling it down adds many levels of error. It can only approximate, not give hard data. Use it as a guess but don't be surprised when your rifle argues with it. Believe the rifle!

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Is your MGM chamber super tight? I bell my case mouths the tiniest bit I can and still get a bullet to sit on top. Barely visible bell with the naked eye. I still have to do a very light crimp to get the rounds to chamber. My TC 45-70 barrel wasn't nearly so touchy but also wasn't a "custom" barrel either. Could be the die geometry too I guess.
    I have some nickel cases sitting aside but I don't do any load development with them. Thanks for the heads up on that.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
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    I have 2 MGM 357 barrels in my safe, both 1 in 18 twist. When these barrels were made you had a choice of twist rate. At some time since, MGM stopped giving you a twist rate option, probably to reduce their barrel blank inventory. I don't think your twist rate is an issue here. Just the other day, I fired my 12 inch barrel at 100 yds. It wears a Bushnell 2 X 6 power scope. The forearm is a 2 inch wide custom flat on the bottom which matches the Hughes sand bag with a 2 inch groove. My load is Saeco's 180 gr. truncated cone (186 gr. actual) plain base boolit lubed with Carnuba Red and sized at .3585. Since I load these for several S & W revolvers I roll crimp on a Dillon 650. Powder is 13.5 gr. of WC820 which depending on what batch number burns somewhere between Accurate #9 and H110/296. I'm guessing velocity is around 1400 fps plus. That day I got a measured 8 shot 1 1/2 inch group and one flyer about 2 inches out at 100 yds. MGM barrels just down right shoot! I'll only buy MGM and SSK barrels now. I've watched my wife on too many occasions to count, with her 10 inch barrel,make a bullet hole in a blank piece of paper at 25 yds. to use as a target and proceed to send every shot thereafter into nearly that exact same hole. That's using the same model scope, the flat forearm and the Hughes bag.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'm very pleased so far with my MGM as well. Very accurate with everything BUT this one bullet.
    I've casually looked for wider forearms but never pulled the trigger so to speak. I don't care much for the narrow stock one. Most of my background is recreational middle distance benchrest stuff so I enjoy a wide forearm. Where'd you source yours?

    Quote Originally Posted by bosterr View Post
    I have 2 MGM 357 barrels in my safe, both 1 in 18 twist. When these barrels were made you had a choice of twist rate. At some time since, MGM stopped giving you a twist rate option, probably to reduce their barrel blank inventory. I don't think your twist rate is an issue here. Just the other day, I fired my 12 inch barrel at 100 yds. It wears a Bushnell 2 X 6 power scope. The forearm is a 2 inch wide custom flat on the bottom which matches the Hughes sand bag with a 2 inch groove. My load is Saeco's 180 gr. truncated cone (186 gr. actual) plain base boolit lubed with Carnuba Red and sized at .3585. Since I load these for several S & W revolvers I roll crimp on a Dillon 650. Powder is 13.5 gr. of WC820 which depending on what batch number burns somewhere between Accurate #9 and H110/296. I'm guessing velocity is around 1400 fps plus. That day I got a measured 8 shot 1 1/2 inch group and one flyer about 2 inches out at 100 yds. MGM barrels just down right shoot! I'll only buy MGM and SSK barrels now. I've watched my wife on too many occasions to count, with her 10 inch barrel,make a bullet hole in a blank piece of paper at 25 yds. to use as a target and proceed to send every shot thereafter into nearly that exact same hole. That's using the same model scope, the flat forearm and the Hughes bag.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
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    My very talented friend made mine. All our other custom barrels wear nicer, rounded forearms that my friend made as well.

    I forgot to add, I use 70/30 coww and pure lead and water drop.

  17. #17
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    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Neverhome

    What is the length of your bullet?
    Larry Gibson

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    ― Nikola Tesla

  18. #18
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    O.95 inch

    225ish grain depending on alloy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    Neverhome

    What is the length of your bullet?

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    Neverhome

    Your NOE bullet should stabilize in a 16" twist to a very low velocity. Have you actually measured the twist?

    You say it is PB bullet. Is that an actual PB mould or the GC mould sans the GC?

    What alloy?

    What lube?
    Larry Gibson

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

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Actual plain based bullet.

    alloys tested were straight Lyman #2 and 50/50 Lyman/pure

    Lube is a soft mix of floor wax, Vaseline, paraffin, and a little synthetic motor oil. Works for the 158 I'm shooting and bore looks clean.

    Twist was measured as best I could with a tight patch and a rotating bearinged cleaning rod. Barrel is 16.25 inches long but not quite 15 inches is threaded because of the chamber. So in roughly 15 inches of travel I get almost a full rotation of the cleaning rod. Is there a better way to measure this on a barrel that is shorter than the actual twist rate?

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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