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Thread: Discouraged with lead 223 boolits in Bull

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    223 boolits in 1:9 Bull barrel and 1:12 Standard barrel Handi-rifles

    Gas checked 22 Bator (50 gr.) and RCBS 22-55-SP (58 gr.) boolits were made from air cooled 49-49-2 Pb-WW-Sn alloy.

    The "launch platforms" are a.) Bull barrel of 1 in 9 twist, and b.) Standard barrel of 1 in 12 twist. The powder tested is IMR4227.

    1:9 Bull barrel
    i.) with 22 Bator's, groups approached 2" at 100 yards
    ii.) with 22-55-SP's, the results were no better
    iii.) other powders to be tested include IMR700X, Unique, and SR7625


    1:12 Standard barrel
    i.) with 22 Bator's, not tested, yet
    ii.) with 22-55-SP's, groups were 1.25" at two adjacent 0.5 grain powder nodes
    iii.) powder charge will be "tightened" to 0.10 grain increments
    iv.) other powders to be tested include IMR700X, Unique, and SR7625
    Last edited by Land Owner; 04-15-2021 at 05:21 AM.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    The difference between a .75in group and a 1.25in group could be wind and this yardage with 22 cals. 1.25 in groups is pretty good, why would you be discouraged? Lighter boolits in the 1/12 twist will likely do very well.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy

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    You are listing pistol and shotgun powders as you powder chooses. What case are you working with the 223 Rem? What velocity are you trying to achieve?
    Last edited by Kylongrifle32; 04-15-2021 at 10:25 AM.

  4. #4
    USMC 77, USRA 79


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    like KYlomgrifle said... define what you are wanting to achieve, and there are a ton of folks around here that have done it and can explain and help.

    if it was easy, where is the fun? many many folks have seen casting 22 cal stuff as the ultimate challenge. weight sorting and very close attention to details in culling and such is where I started. i eventually got there...
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I list those powders because there are recipes in the load manuals and more importantly, they're the powders I have in hand in quantity. I am working with 150 fire formed, neck sized, PMC cases at present. I have equal case quantities of each of FC, RP, Winchester, and LC (I think they are). Weight sorting boolits and cases is practiced as well as attention to detail in culling and boolit selection. The range is a 275 yard, forest lined, one lane, woods road. It was calm, so no wind effect. I shot someone's 30-06 for a while first, a ladder test of 30 rounds, so there was that. My shoulder took a bit of pounding before I shot the 223 barrels.

    Velocity is not my issue, accuracy is. Consistently putting a 223 alloy boolit precisely where I want it, in a 2-inch circle at 200 yards, is the goal, starting with consistent accuracy at 100 yards. If a barrel shoots well for me at 100 yards (I am doing my part) then I am "on" and good to go for 200.

    The Standard barrel has only been tested once, with one powder, one boolit type, and 0.50 grain charge increments between groups. It will be tested with 0.10 grain charge increments around the best charge groups of the first test to wrest the best accuracy for that powder/boolit combination. Then tested with additional powders. The barrel shoots very well with 55 grain copper jacketed bullets too, but those are not at my "party" at present.

    The Bull barrel has been shot and cleaned, and shot and cleaned (no leading) quite a bit without improvement in alloy boolit accuracy - admittedly with only the one powder selection - though two boolit types. A lot more testing is programmed. I had hoped for a quick solution for this barrel - expecting too much too soon and without going through a Learning Curve. I don't know if this barrel shoots jacketed bullets well or not. It is new to me, so there are those to test also.

    I let the thread title "get away from me" with phat phinger typing this morning and there wasn't a way to modify the title (that I could find) or I would have edited "Discouraged" out. I'm having fun and shooting rifles for a change after a long run of casting and shooting hand guns with my spouse.
    Last edited by Land Owner; 04-15-2021 at 10:32 PM.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    A) what load charge with your loads?
    B) try WW/Sn. The alloy you are using is a bit soft.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    4198, h322, 1680, rl7, rl10 are the powders you need to find. Your powders you have are kicking it in the butt to hard too fast.

    Weight sort to 0.1 gr before checking or coating. Size nose first and seat the check before you size. And not with just your finger.

    Check different sizes. My bolt gun likes 0.225" but the 3 ar15 like 0.2255" to 0.226"

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Not having placed my hands into the .223 rabbit hole to date but a thought occurred. I have read recently of and can confirm what chambers are here about most ".223" throats being generous leaning into the 5.56 dimensions. I read 50 and 58 pills, how much jump are you dealing with in your set up? In my past most lead has not performed well with a lot of free flight.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    If you can find some W748, I have use that with success in 223 at 20 grains with a 70ish grain boolit. Keep things around 2000fps and it will work out. Keep testing those ladder loads at tenth grain increments. Some powder loads just will not show accuracy nodes. 1.25in groups are a very good place to be and I think you should be just a small change or two to get where you want to be. I would also look at consistent neck tension with annealing the case necks to eliminate that aspect. And if you are using neck sized fire formed cases, make sure you bump the shoulders sufficiently. I would also load them as long as I could, just keeping them off the lands. What model of rifle are you using?

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    1. load/charge – IMR 4227 per Lyman #4 Manual (60 gr.): 10.5 gr. min. to 15.7 gr. max.
    2. Soft alloy – will be hardened during powder coating as soon as paint arrives from Smokes and I try that the first time next week.
    3. Hopefully, fast (pistol) powder will be OK after powder coating.
    4. It will be nice to also find an AR15 cycling round with an alloy boolit, but that isn’t the end game - yet.
    5. Weight sorting boolits to 0.10 grain is being done.
    6. RCBS lube sizer is butt first. Checks are set by hand first and tamped on bench top to seat before sizing to 0.225".
    7. Powder coating should overcome lube sizing next week at arrival of paint.
    8. I will double check and pound another lead slug through each barrel for fit and dimension.
    9. I did not check the jump to lands but will check that on each barrel, then seat boolits sufficiently embedded in the case, for the least jump to lands .
    10. I may have a limited supply of W748 to try, but that will deplete my jacketed 30-30 and AR15 supplies, so not good there.
    11. Neck tension I can control by “mining” the necks to a consistent thickness.
    12. Annealing – I did that once to 500 x 223 cases and did it all wrong, ruining every case. So, my track record with annealing is poor but I now know what NOT to do.
    13. The platforms are breech loading, single shot, New England Firearms Handi-rifles.
    Last edited by Land Owner; 04-16-2021 at 05:34 AM.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I would be pleased with 5 shot 2 MOA accuracy with cast .223. By that I mean not one "wallet group" but a consistent 2 MOA load. If you are at 1.25, out of the gate, you should not be discouraged.

    IMO you are off to an excellent start!!
    Don Verna

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  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master


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    "Velocity is not my issue, accuracy is. Consistently putting a 223 alloy boolit precisely where I want it, in a 2-inch circle at 200 yards, is the goal, starting with consistent accuracy at 100 yards. If a barrel shoots well for me at 100 yards (I am doing my part) then I am "on" and good to go for 200.............in 1:9 Bull barrel and 1:12 Standard barrel Handi-rifles"

    Most would be happy to achieve that with the best of target grade match bolt guns....... Not trying to be pessimistic but being truthful. Good luck with that goal.

    Might see some improvement with PC and hardening of the bullets. Also might try the bullets as cast with the GCs just seated. .22 caliber barrels have very shallow rifling thus harder and larger diameters work much better. For years I sized .225 for use in Hornets, .222s, 223s and 22-250s, until one time I mistakenly put the .227 H&I sizer in the lubrasizer. The bullets (cast of COWWs + 2 % tin, basically a 95/2.5/2.5 alloy) came out unsized, lubed and with the GC crimped on. I decided to try them and a very good improvement in accuracy was immediately apparent. I've been 'sizing", lubing and GCing all my cast 22 cal bullets that way since.
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 04-16-2021 at 09:32 AM.
    Larry Gibson

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  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Standard barrel verified
    1:12 twist
    0.2247" bore (shallow grooves)
    2.040" coal with 22 Bator profile
    2.167" coal with 22-55-SP profile

    Bull barrel verified
    1:9 twist
    0.2250" bore (shallow groves)
    2.092" coal with 22 Bator profile
    2.161" with 22-55-SP profile

    Instruments and measurements:
    > 1":
    SIMEC hardened stainless caliper (China)
    < 1":
    Starrett No. 231-F micrometer (USA) and
    Digital Micrometer (China)

    Everything is logged.

    How do you size and GC after PC'ing and not add lube to the boolit? Just don't crank down on the lube pressure handle?

    For a while, there is residual lube still in the die. Do you boil that clean? Or does a little lube still help?

    I am hoping that PC'ing next week will increase the boolit diameter and enhance accuracy in both rifles - at least prior to my running out of powder, primers, or patience.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I have opened up sizing dies for Lyman and Star sizers to achieve the size needed. I am running .226 in my AR's and and Axis bolt action rifle. When I went to 226 from 225, there was a marked decrease in group size.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    How do you "open a die"? Is it DIY or machinist work?
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    It is diy. Take a screwdriver wrapped in 600 grit sandpaper and roll it on a flat surface with even pressure. Change the paper often. Run a boolit through it every 10 minutes or so to check sizing. Usually takes me 30 min to an hour. I like a tight fit with the wrapped screwdriver. Some people use wooden dowels. Once you get the size needed, wipe some jwelers rouge/JB bore paste on a bookit and run it through the sizer to smooth it up a few times.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I forgot to mention to put the wrapped screwdriver in the die lol

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Get a Lee push through sized. Skip the lube sized. All that is going to do is give you rounded uneven bases.

    If you must, take a piece of flat steel and put it over the sizing die. Then take your bullet and give it a little bump to seat the gas check. Then remove the steel and now size the bullet.

    I size and check my bullets before I coat them. A lot easier. Otherwise you might need a gas check expander.

    Stay away from the ball powders. They are good for blasting ammo and thats about it. Good luck with that handi. I had a bull barrel one about 16". It had such a long throat 60gr bullet would fall out of the case if you tried to reach the lands.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy Wolfdog91's Avatar
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    Just saying , NOEs system is awsome

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  20. #20
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    Are your cases weighed and segregated by weight? Annealing? Primer pockets uniformed as well as primer hole? Stamped or drilled? Most important how do these groups compare with Berger match bullets? Until you know what the rifle is capable of you cannot begin to isolate cast variables.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

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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