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Thread: What BHN for slow bullets?

  1. #1

    What BHN for slow bullets?

    I am starting on a venture that some think is cool and others are going to say is dumb. I want to load various modern cartridges with BP. I have an old muzzle-loader. I have some GOEX 3F. I have been casting and reloading smokeless for 45acp. I have been making BP with the help of the fireworks guys. I am about 5 years into the DIY BP thread on here. I have everything to reload my own primers - both corrosive and non-corrosive. I have the Lee Cast Bullet Handbook and the Horniday Handbook Of Cartridge Reloading and the Lee reloading Book #1 and #2 is coming. I know BP is dirty.

    This venture isn't at all a "what's practical for everyday carry" type of thing. It's just to watch a bunch of smoke and lead come from stuff that people say it shouldn't come from while not depleting my "valid" supplies. It will make me wildly popular-er with my neighbors (we live in the country(and they will probably say "of course he did that")). I plan to try 45acp, 9mm, and 38spc. 45 should work, 9mm shouldn't, and 38 probably will (it's a wheel gun). I don't expect to get 500fpm out of any of them.

    I know that too hard of a bullet, and the gasses will go around and melt lead to the barrel. Too soft and lead will wipe into the grooves. So... what is a good BHN for slow BP loads?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    A bhn of 10 or 11 should be just fine. I'm using 20-1 lead which is about 10 on the BHN scale, in my .45 Colt and .38 special/.357. No signs of leading.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Probably a dumb question but would powder coating soft lead work?

  4. #4
    I've powder coated for the smokeless and my Glock is happy with it. I've used red and black from Harbor Freight.

  5. #5
    Moderator


    ShooterAZ's Avatar
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    BP is a hoot to shoot in the 45ACP! Why? Because you can. As long as your boolits are sized and lubed properly, you could even get by with using pure lead. 40-1 lead was commonly loaded in many of the factory BP cartridges of yesteryear.

  6. #6
    Thanks. I don't have pure lead, but a bunch of wheel weights. I have a long weekend, so I was going to drag my stuff back out and hopefully have another casting session. It's been a hot minute and I have a new 9mm die. My mind's eye is going to see Clint Eastwood when I shoot the 38.

  7. #7
    I melted a pot of wheel weights tonight and they came out with a BHN of 9.2. I think I'm going to run with them just like they are and see what happens.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Don’t forget the 38 Special was originally conceived to be loaded with BP hence the large case, it’s overly large for smokeless powders.
    Try your 357 Magnum with BP that case will hold even more...
    Love the deep base Boom of a BP an cloud of rotten egg smoke drifting back into the face of the muzzle braked AR shooters
    Last edited by greenjoytj; 03-27-2021 at 10:07 PM.

  9. #9
    I run over and jump into the smoke when I set off the firecrackers I make.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    It all works in hand guns depending on FPS /size and lube or powder coating ! Ed

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Don't be surprised if you get more velocity than you expect. I load 44-40 in the original load, 200gr boolit, 38gr FFFG (all I can compress in the case) and I'm getting 850fps out of a seven inch barrel and 1400 out of a 20" barrel.

    BP can provide serious results.

    Your issue is more likely to be the adequacy of the lube grooves of your boolits. BP requires significant lube to keep the residue soft. PB is not efficient, and the rest is smoke and stuff left in your barrel.
    Wayne the Shrink

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

  12. #12
    I never really thought about it in that way, but 38 cases are REALLY long! I've been powder coating my bullets. I got a powder coating gun to give that a try. Even if I have to line all of my bullets up in a tray, it can't be any more trouble than pre-heating in an oven, dumping in a plastic bin, shake, dump into a seive, put back on the tray, yadda-yadda-yadda. And I won't have all the dimples in them where they touched each other.

    For BP, what are most using for lube? I didn't lube the stuff I powder coated, but that was for smokeless.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    I use a modified Emmerts for both BP and pistol boolits. Recipe is in the lube section, in a sticky on lube recipes.
    Wayne the Shrink

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

  14. #14
    Lube section... Sorry, the BP stuff is new to me.

  15. #15
    Fed EX just delivered my Lee Handloading book - second edition. It says that any bullet that makes a dent of .094 or larger is suitable for BP. That's a BHN of 5.5. I think bubble gum has a BHN of 5.6.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Max, slow means nothing .... what FPS range is your looking for?
    Regards
    John

  17. #17
    John - I stated in my original post that I don't expect to get 500fps out of any of them. 38 special might, in hindsight, be the most compatible BP cartridge in my project and it might do better. I think the softest I have right now is 7.4 and it's pretty soft.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    30:1 does ok with my .45-70

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paramax55 View Post
    Lube section... Sorry, the BP stuff is new to me.
    Second one down up above under Casting and Reloading.
    Wayne the Shrink

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

  20. #20
    Wayne - thanks. I had found it. I was just declaring my "duh" moment.

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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