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Thread: Bullet fit in Revolver

  1. #1
    Boolit Master



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    Bullet fit in Revolver

    Guys,

    I've spent hours reading forum posts about cylinders, bullet fit, throats, the fact that the cylinder throat should not be smaller than the barrel because we don't want the bullet to get swaged down before it gets to the barrel and the fact we need to slug the barrel itself even on revolvers to find out where we're at. Even read a bunch of stuff at Beartooth bullets about Ruger revolvers. You guys have gotten me STRAIGHT with my rifles but now it's pistols you've got me pulling my hair out about

    Here's my dillema. I've got two .357's. A Taurus 669 stainless SA/DA 6" that is an older gun and a brand new Ruger New Model Vaquero SA 5.5". In all fairness I've not been able to bring myself to slug the barrel of my new Vaquero because I want to make certain I don't scratch that beautiful piece all up, it's my first SAO gun. Taurus hasn't been slugged either. I have put 12 .358 sized bullets down the barrel of the Vaquero and no appreciable leading was noticed, wasn't aiming, just shooting at the ground outside my basement to see if I would get any leading (darn cold weather).

    I've taken bullets from my Lee .358 RF mold to the cylinder of my new Vaquero. Bullets dropped unsized at .3595-.360 are extremely tight, bullets I have sized .358 drop in, do not come out on their own, but are easily pushed through with a wooden dowel and just a bit of finger pressure. It's yet to warm up enough for an extended shooting session so I don't know how it performs on paper with cast or jacketed.

    My Taurus 669 whether you like Taurus or not has been a dream gun. I got it in a divorce sale about 7 or 8 years ago for $200 along with about 700 cases and a couple of hundred rounds of reloaded-with-who-knows-what. Since I don't trust most other poeples handloads I have never shot the handloads I've got, but with jacketed factory bullets it's a tackdriver (for a revolver....). Keep in mind I'm not a great long distance shooter with a handgun. A new member here had posted about a Taurus 66 he was thinking about buying so I hauled it out of the safe and cleaned it up a bit.

    Then I got to thinking about cast bullets in it (the Taurus) so I did the same test on the cylinder. This time my unsized .3595-.360 bullets I dropped into the cylinder fell right straight on through to the carpet. I know the ya-hoo that owned this pistol didn't know what he was doing when reloading because like I said I have about 7 or 800 nickel plated cases and every stinking one of them has been stretched and needed to be trimmed back so God knows what he was loading them with, they came with the gun. If I put the unsized bullets in the cylinder gently and let them seat sometimes they won't come out, but just to drop them in they fall right through.

    Maybe I'm nit-pickin and maybe not -- got any words of wisdom as far as either gun goes? I did not expect to find THAT much of a difference between the two and am a bit puzzled. Could be normal for all I know.

    Sorry to be so long winded but I wanted to give you enough information so you could let me know what I'm looking at.

    Thanks,

    Art
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Talking

    The new Ruger sounds "good to go" with .358" boolits to me. Fire it with such boolits, and see what develops. My BisHawk in 357 Magnum has .358" throats and .357" grooves. (NICE)

    The Taurus may need a larger boolit to do its best work and/or to avoid leading deposits. Larger than normal throats aren't unheard of. If the throats run a lot wider than the grooves, a "shoulderless" boolit design might center itself in the forcing cone more readily than a sharp-shouldered SWC/Keith type. It is in such cases that old-school roundnose designs do good work, or round flatnoses.
    "As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts' desire at last and the White House will be adorned with a downright moron."--H.L. Mencken

  3. #3
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    Al is giving good advice as usual. An idea I got from Felix that avoids the slugging process is to fire a few full power loads and measure the inside of the case mouth. That will give you the max diameter you can shoot with out reaming the brass or cylinder. Then you can shoot and see. It's rough and tumble, but it works.

    IME, and this is just me, I often find the largest boolit that will chamber gives the best accuracy in normal loads. People I trust, like Maven for instance, report the odd gun that likes a slightly smaller diameter boolit. Whether that results form alloy differences, loading variations or what I can't say. But if Paul says it happened I believe it. My suggestion would be to choose your alloy, start big, see what it does, size down and observe what happens. I'm of the opinion there is no one "best" size or method to this game and that's the only way I know of to find what you want. Plus, since each of us has different levels of expectation in the performance area my "honey load" may be laughable to you or unreachable.

    From the sounds of it you may need to use different sizes for your guns.

    Shoot 'em and see!

  4. #4
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    Brett and Al,

    Thanks so much for that info, I'm going out and shooting them both today -- heat wave! Supposed to be in the 30's today! IME I can talk, measure, and slug all I want but in the end if it shoots the bullets reasonably well I don't need to mess with much.

    "An idea I got from Felix that avoids the slugging process is to fire a few full power loads and measure the inside of the case mouth"

    You know I've got that in my notes and have used it extensively in my rifles but don't know why that didn't occur to me with revolvers, it's worked extremely well in a .444 Marlin I've got that wouldn't shoot cast worth a hoot. I measured the inside of the case neck and it was .4315 and I was shooting 430 sized bullets through it with lots of leading and no accuracy. Honed a sizer out to 432-4325 or so and DING! Problem solved. Guess I know why Ranch Dog came out with the .432gr molds.....and this one has ballard rifling.

    What I thought I'd try with the Taurus is to take some unsized .360's and lube them with LLA and see how they shot, then back down to the sized .358's and see what happens. I'm going out to shoot today and will let you know how they do and as far as accuracy goes, ah, I'm not a great revolver shot, still working on technique and have gotten LOTS of good pointers.

    I've shot .45acp extensively and am pretty good with my 1911 and P90 but I've put thousands of rounds downrange with both of those so am very comfortable with them. Not so with the revolvers for some reason but I'll get it worked out with the help of this forum!

    THANKS guys!

    Art
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    Alanson, Michigan 49706

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    You received some good advice.
    My concern is the LLA. All of my revolvers will lead with the stuff so I can only suggest testing lubes too. LLA might work for you but if it doesn't you will be chasing your tail looking for other problems.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44man View Post
    You received some good advice.
    My concern is the LLA. All of my revolvers will lead with the stuff so I can only suggest testing lubes too. LLA might work for you but if it doesn't you will be chasing your tail looking for other problems.
    Thanks 44man. Gonna try the LLA but I'll also get out a pan and cake cutters and melt some harder lube too. Great suggestion.

    Thank you.

    Art
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    Alanson, Michigan 49706

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazman1602 View Post
    Thanks 44man. Gonna try the LLA but I'll also get out a pan and cake cutters and melt some harder lube too. Great suggestion.

    Thank you.

    Art
    Don't make the lube too hard. I love Felix lube, soft and gooey and the hardest I will use is Lar's Carnauba Red. LBT soft blue is good and Speed Green is good.
    Never use a lube that breaks out of the lube grooves.

  8. #8
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    44man & Linebaugh

    Quote Originally Posted by 44man View Post
    Don't make the lube too hard. I love Felix lube, soft and gooey and the hardest I will use is Lar's Carnauba Red. LBT soft blue is good and Speed Green is good.
    Never use a lube that breaks out of the lube grooves.
    You and John Linebaugh are on the same page Linebaugh: "Too hard a bullet (with high antimony content) is a joke and suited only for special purposes. I shoot straight wheel weights / water dropped. This gives me about 18 to 20 hardness. PLENTY HARD, but yet soft enough to form to the bore properly and seal right. Bullet lube, anything that is soft and gooie. If it resembles a crayon, that's all its good for".

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    OK guys went out and shot today and here's what I found. The Vaquero shot very well --- all over the target with my cast and 6.2grs unique but that's OK, I have some work to do. With factory 125gr jsp's I got one good group (for me). I also got up the guts and slugged the barrels on both. The Ruger slugged at.3575-.358 so I'm pretty sure I'm good on fit with the .358 sized bullets, just need to get a load worked up.

    The Taurus was all over the paper too -- again that's ME, not the gun but by the time we were done I had a couple of good groups. Amazingly enough even with the large cylinders it shot pretty well with my cast but still not as good as with the factory 125gr jsp's I had. The fired cases from the chambers measured a huge .361-.362 on the inside of the case necks but the barrel slugged at a tight .357.

    Groups size? Target pics? No way. I would be able to hear the guys from Australia laughing all the way to Michigan and I was only shooting at 10 yards.........<GRIN> These things are NOT like my beloved ACP's! But what fun!!!

    Thanks for all the good advice, you've got me going down the right road now I think!

    Art
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    Alanson, Michigan 49706

  10. #10
    Boolit Master



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    I have been reading Linebugh's writing and I saw something there there for every one of us:http://www.customsixguns.com/writings.htm
    Suggest that you spend a little time over there and see if you can agree.
    EW

  11. #11
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    Absolutely Edub,

    Read them all and all are very good. I am well aware of "tolerance stack" after having dealt with the automotive business for a good portion of my younger days. Very good information for diagnostics but the issue I have with a lot of this type of information is despite doing a really good job of explaining what can be wrong, what it can effect, etc, it gives nothing in the way of the mechanics of actually fixing the issues involved -- the hard mechanics I mean.

    STILL it's great information, I've printed a copy off and it's in my revolver accuracy notebook now and thanks very much for bringing it to my attention.

    Art

    Quote Originally Posted by Edubya View Post
    I have been reading Linebugh's writing and I saw something there there for every one of us:http://www.customsixguns.com/writings.htm
    Suggest that you spend a little time over there and see if you can agree.
    EW
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    Alanson, Michigan 49706

  12. #12
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    Taz- If the barrel slugs .358 I'd be thinking at least .359 for sizing and I'd re slug and check for tight spots. A slug will only measure as large as the smallest spot in a barrel. If the frame constriction is .357 and the rest of the barrel is .359....you get the idea.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bret4207 View Post
    Taz- If the barrel slugs .358 I'd be thinking at least .359 for sizing and I'd re slug and check for tight spots. A slug will only measure as large as the smallest spot in a barrel. If the frame constriction is .357 and the rest of the barrel is .359....you get the idea.
    You know I thought about that one Bret. I also thought I felt the slug get "tight" as it went through where the barrel screws into the frame somewhat on both pistols.

    My reading says if there's a tight spot where the barrel threads in -- and that seems to be fairly common with Rugers but the Taurus felt the same way, then barrel lapping needs to be performed. Machine marks are very evident in both barrels although just shooting the Ruger a bit may smooth that out.

    I've been trying to figure out how to get a slug down the barrel to that point and then get it back out so I can see if it indeed does have a constriction, but am still working on that one. Maybe some real short dowels to go in from the cylinder end and a piece of something flat to shove them back out the barrel end would work, might try that today.

    Also might make up some lapping loads to firelap/polish and see if that helps at all then re-slug again.

    I'm not real worried about it after yesterday, I made a post about a mold I just got, Lyman 358156, older mold but in nice shape 4 cav. That thing drops almost perfectly round bullets from .360-.361 or so which means I've finally got a mold too big for once that I can work with.

    Thanks for the help man!

    Art
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazman1602 View Post

    I'm not real worried about it after yesterday, I made a post about a mold I just got, Lyman 358156, older mold but in nice shape 4 cav. That thing drops almost perfectly round bullets from .360-.361 or so which means I've finally got a mold too big for once that I can work with.

    Thanks for the help man!

    Art
    Now that is cause for a round of back slapping and hurrahs! Great design. GIve them a try.

    Lots of info on fire lapping. Just go slow and easy, it works faster than you think.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Rodfac's Avatar
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    Just a cpl of thoughts on Lee liquid alox, gc's, and sizing...like many, I was skeptical to the point of not even giving it a chance for 30 yrs. After buying a Marlin 336 in .44 Magnum with an oversize bore (.432-.433), I was unable to get a sizer in .432 or .433 for my Lyman 450 lube/sizer. Hence, no lube unless I wanted to dip 'em or use the pan lube method, neither of which appealed.

    I really like Lyman's 429215 Gc,...works well in any .44 I've ever tried, and throws bullets out at .433". Close to the right size for the Marlin but how to lube and seat the gc? In desperation, I did the tumble/swirl LLA method then shot them as cast. The checks were seated in the 450 using a gc seater. Hornady's were too small to fit on the base of my 429215's as cast from WW, but another poster here, suggested flaring them with a ball peen hammer (so s--t) with a polished ball end. It worked to perfection and accuracy is terrific.

    At .433" the bullets are too big to chamber in my .44 hand guns (two S&W's and now three Ruger .44's). I sent off to Ranch Dog for one of his modified Lee sizer's in .432 and voila...problem solved. Lubed with swirl'd LLA, gc's seated in the 450 (I find the Lee unit seat's 'em tilted) and sized in the Lee sizer, they're usable in both the Marlin and my hand guns.

    PITA you say?...Yep but accuracy is great and worth the effort. Leading up to 1150 fps so far is not a problem and that's as fast as I care to push them for the practice and target loads I put up. It shows that LLA is ok even for traditional grooved bullets albeit at lower velocities with a GC.

    Cpl of pics below of groups.

    Regards, Rodfac...
    PS: I know .432" are over size for the handguns, but I keep a watchful eye on pressures and don't push them. My Rugers' throats check at .431+" but I've not bothered with the S&W's.


    25 yds with one of the .44 handguns, wish I could call back that 1st one at 12 o'clock!

    50 yds with the Marlin & a 2.5x Leupold Alaskan

    No doubts on this one, Ruger's Lipsey in .44 Spl.
    Last edited by Rodfac; 01-17-2010 at 01:24 PM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Rodfac's Avatar
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    44 Man...I know you do a lot of long range work so velocities are probably pretty high...what velocities gave you leading with LLA and what bullet types...? TIA, Rodfac

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bret4207 View Post
    Now that is cause for a round of back slapping and hurrahs! Great design. GIve them a try.

    Lots of info on fire lapping. Just go slow and easy, it works faster than you think.
    Thanks Bret! Yes SIR! That mold is indeed a "dandy"! Even though I started casting about 20 years ago the majority of my molds have been bought in the last 1...............ah, OK, the "majority" of my molds have been bought since I found "Cast Boolits". I think it's a disease! It was just a real eye opener for me. You can read all you want but when you see it on the micrometer and have to measure it five times, then realize you aren't drinking and measure it five more, shoot you've been there!

    All the fire lapping I've done has been on rifles and mostly with great results too, I've got some pure lead I keep around just for doing that. As I've said, I'm new to revolver shooting/tuning and the good Lord willing and the river don't rise I'll never get in a shootout because I'm DEAD if I do.............<GRIN>.

    But MAN, learning something I know nothing about is sure FUN! I think I'll put a few more hundred down both barrels with cast before I go to lapping stuff, experience has shown me that I need to be certain it isn't MY loads or MY technique that is causing big groups before I go tearing into something.....

    Art
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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