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Thread: Improving hard cast blood trail?

  1. #1

    Improving hard cast blood trail?

    So I’ve taken 4 deer in the past two years with my 45-70 and hard cast boolits. The bullet is cast from an accurate 46-350L mold. It drops a 353 gr wheel weight water cooled bullet. Two of the four deer have dropped on the spot with shoulder shots. The other two made it about 30-40 yards a piece with the same shoulder shots. Not the high shoulder shot mind you I’m talking about getting bone and lungs. The two that did make it a little ways had zero blood trail. Now I haven’t actually needed a blood trail on these 4 examples but it does make me nervous.

    So my load is 12 grains of tight group and I’m assuming somewhere in the neighborhood of 1200 FPS. The bullet blows straight through a deer with basically no expansion. Now accuracy with the hard cast slug is great out to 125 yards. Change that bullet to air cooled and the accuracy goes to hell.

    My fear is that I’m am going to one day make a rear lung shot and not be able to find the deer secondary to a non existent blood trail. I’m thinking about try to make a pure lead nosed with the back half of wheel weights. If I water quench the bullet the nose should theoretically stay soft? And will this soft nose bullet get expansion at such a modest velocity. Lastly will the soft nosed bullet give a decent blood trail theoretically?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master


    richhodg66's Avatar
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    Pure lead will expand well at that velocity.

    I don't think you need a bullet that hard to get good accuracy at 1200 FPS, and I would think 50/50 WW to pure would work great. What are you sizing your bullets to?

  3. #3
    Sized to .460, I started with the lee 405 gr bullet and I could only get it to shoot well water quenched and with the same tight group load. Softer lead alloys or even air cooled just not shooting well. The lee bullet was surprisingly accurate out past 200 yards with a rainbow trajectory.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Several was to go about getting expansion from the big slow bullets. The first is to paper patch a pure lead slug or one 1-20 to 1-30 tin lead. I have recovered a few of my 525 paper patched bullets from a damp sand back stop 200 yds away. They retained 95% weight and had a nice curled mushroom just under an inch in dia.. There was a caliber ring in the base about 1/8"long.
    Next if you really feel you need the hard base you can cast a 2 alloy bullet in your mould. this requires some work, 2 pots and a fast hand.
    Make a measured ladle the only hold enough lead to fill the nose just under the base. I use a case with the primer still in and cut to a 45* angle on mouth when held level the low portion sets the amount of lead. A fired 308 case with primer left in works well for 45 nose the case can be cut close to nose length and it will be close so a file can be used to finish it. A heavy steel wire can be used for the handle 2 -3 wraps around case body so its good and tight the 3rd in the extractor groove holds it in place a file handle or dowel can be used for the handle 5-8" long. Next is 2 small pots one for the hard alloy and one for the pure lead. Preheat the mould pour the nose with the measured ladle then pour the base with a regular ladle over filling and letting extra run back in the pot, You want to keep hot as ling as possible for the best bond. Some set on a burner to remelt in the mould. I run hot on the lead around 750-775* then about normal with the harder.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master chsparkman's Avatar
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    In my experience, when the deer is shot high, it takes a more than a few yards before a blood trail appears. It seems the body cavity has to fill to the height of the wounds before the blood starts coming out. Just my experience.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Switch to soft cast Wont have to tract them 40 yards max with a good shot
    " Associate with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation: for it is better to be alone than in bad company. " George Washington

  7. #7
    Boolit Master dkf's Avatar
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    Cut the COWW with at least half pure lead and air cool. Should get a bigger hole on the exit.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I switched to 16:1 pure lead and pewter mix with a BH of 7.5 in a HP cast At 1600 FPS this past season but never had a change to find out how big of an exit it would make. My Ruger 77/44 shoots sub MOA at 100 yards with the load PC’d and GC’d. I tried a 15.4 BH boolit the season before on three deer. One dropped the other two made it over a 100 yards and started a very sparse blood trail after forty plus yards. I found that the hard hp boolits never expanded. I was pushing them at 1750 ft./s. Guess I’ll have to wait till next year to find out. I’m gonna cast up some pure hollow points for my muzzleloader and put them in Sabots as well along with 150gr of triple 7 pellets.

    Id tell you to shoot the softest alloy possible that will still give good accuracy.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 01-27-2020 at 12:44 AM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    try making some with ~150gr of pure for the nose and WW behind it, quench and everything normal from there. and compare accuracy with paper patching if you wanna try that as also mentioned. if you can just shoot a row of water jugs at 50yds or avg hunting distance and see if pure expands if not up the speed a bit

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    might also be helpful to load and then pull one of the soft ones you said shoot poorly and also recover one in water and see if theres signs of why its shooting bad

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Tripplebeards nailed it, that is, shoot an alloy that is as soft as you can & still maintain good accuracy, why would you do it any other way? Or, shoot a soft nose cast as mentioned, that's how I took my Idaho bull moose with my Ruger SRH 480 a few years back. I poured a pure lead nose with a WW rear & shot the bull offhand at 45 yds through both lungs. He went maybe 40 yds pumping blood like a water truck, down in 7-8 seconds. Bullet was a 370 gr soft nose LBT.

    Dick

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Try a slower powder to give the softer boolit a gentler start. Might need Dacron filler depending on the powder. Powdercoating may help as well.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Silvercreek Farmer View Post
    Try a slower powder to give the softer boolit a gentler start. Might need Dacron filler depending on the powder. Powdercoating may help as well.
    I have very , very limited experience with Tight Group, but I haven't seen much about it's use as a reduced cast bullet powder in rifles. I think you'd be better served with some 5744, or even just some 2400 or Unique.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy Ateam's Avatar
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    As others have said, hard to get more blood without a bigger hole, soft points might do that but sure take a lot of work. Your other options are; aim lower so the blood can drain out of the cavity (think heart shot), CNS shot for DRT, drive the projectile faster to do more damage, and finally but probably most effectively become a better tracker. All the fiddling in the loading room is fun, but if the goal is really to recover more deer and not another reason to fiddle around, improving your tracking skills will serve you well.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I agree with the slower powder. As I was reading this thread I was thinking "he needs slower powder". Tightgroup is a fast pistol powder, I wouldn't use it in 45/70. I use 4198 with dacron for my slower loads and get great accuracy with 20-1 or coww. My boolit is the 330 Gould and I'm running it about 1350 fps.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    you mention you are water dropping WW.
    that is too hard an alloy for your velocity

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy Cast_outlaw's Avatar
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    Well if your set on duplex boolits then just make sure you preheat the mold befor each pour with the soft tips in so you get a bond I did it the other day and they are stuck together but not bonded

  18. #18
    Boolit Master



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    Congratulations on getting the deer

    Yes, accuracy and confidence is IMPORTANT!

    Softer bullet, air cooled, sized/lubed to a larger diameter, as big as will fit the chamber.
    Should do the trick
    Mike
    NRA Benefactor 2004 USAF RET 1971-95

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I'm with the majority opinion outlined above. No need to water drop. Use a softer alloy. Paper patching is neat and has great benefits. In a hot mold drop a 00 buck of pure lead and follow with a pour of a softer alloy really hot. However you do it, just find something softer.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    Funny no one asked what diameter his bullet is compared to his slugged bore.

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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