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Thread: Hunting alloy for Lee 452-255-RF

  1. #1

    Hunting alloy for Lee 452-255-RF

    Like the title says, Lee 452-255-RF (powder coated) for mid-atlantic white tail deer. I'd like to be able to use the same bullet at 1,300 fps (Ruger-only pistol velocity) to 1,700 fps (sabot .50 cal ML). I have tons of COWW, SOWW, some pure lead, and a bit of melted pewter to play with. I figure straight COWW will just make a bullet-sized hole all the way through and that's probably good enough. But, can I do better?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master


    richhodg66's Avatar
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    I would think for a .45 Colt bullet at that velocity, alloy won't make much difference. Seems like 50/50 Wheel Weights to pure with a little tin added is what you want if it shoots well in your revolver.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    You will definitely see at least some expansion with pure lead at 1700 fps from the muzzleloader. I doubt you will get good accuracy with pure lead at Ruger only levels from the handgun.

    I've done this same scenario, except with a 330 grain 44 caliber bullet. I used COWW for the 44 magnum, shot about 1200 fps. I cast the same bullet of pure lead for use in a sabot in a muzzleloader, velocity likely close to the same 1700 fps or so. While the bullet with COWW shot great in my Ruger Redhawk from a bench, I found myself really struggling to become proficient with it for hunting. As such, I switched to my GP100, which I was much more accustomed and capable with. I did take the muzzleloader out with the pure lead bullet, and wouldn't you know, never took a shot with it. It did shoot exceptionally well, 1 1/2" or so accuracy at 100 yards, which was about the best I ever shot that rifle.

    Anyway, my recommendation is pure lead for use in a sabot. COWW for use in the handgun. I've never been able to see any significant expansion from a solid bullet at those velocities, and also shot accurately.

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    That bullet cast from SOWW and powder coated comes out close to 270 grains and will penetrate completely through a whitetail at 900 fps out of my 5 1/2" Blackhawk. No need for 1300 fps.

  5. #5
    Boolit Man kingrj's Avatar
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    I deer hunt with the same bullet...No need for expansion at all....Use what ever alloy gives you consistent accuracy and no leading...

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    I agree that with that meplat no expansion is needed, I find that hard / water dropped boolitz are more accurate in MLs when a sabot is used.
    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
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  7. #7
    Moderator Emeritus


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    Can you do better than a .45" hole straight through? I doubt it, unless your moose are bigger than ours, you don't need to.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I cast this boolit for my Marlin Cowboy from COWW and 2%Sn. As stated above, it is not an alloy question but accuracy. In order to get the diameters, .453, tin was added. Using Unique, this alloy, boolit, gun combination has accounted for several Axis deer. It kills clay targets on the 100yard berm with monotony. Loob is a simple recipe of candle wax and Vaseline.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I use 50/50 pure lead flooring and COWW. I also add 2% pewter to the total weight of my mix. I use the 255 grain lee out my Ruger new vaquero. Pretty slow speeds. I have it loaded long with 5.2 grains of trailboss. It’s only around 575 FPS but it’s a tac driver. I loaded up the same alloy at around 20 psi along with a 280 grain group buy HP boolit but haven’t tested my loads for accuracy yet. Not to excited about using it for hunting being it has fixed sights. Anything faster the 5.2 grain TB load and it climbs about 8” high in POA. Guess it was meant for low velocity cowboy shooting as the TB load hits dead out to 25 yards. The mold is long gone but I luckily casted up quit a few of the group buy boolits before I pawned it off. I’ll try my TB load on a few nuisance coons later and report back.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 06-22-2021 at 06:44 AM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    I used the Lee 255 out of a 4-5/8” BH and an M94 Trapper, velocities were about 900/1500. Cast of quenched WW it accounted for a number of Kodiak Island blacktails, I never recovered one so I can’t quantify expansion. But the deer were all killed quickly.




    .

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by richhodg66 View Post
    I would think for a .45 Colt bullet at that velocity, alloy won't make much difference. Seems like 50/50 Wheel Weights to pure with a little tin added is what you want if it shoots well in your revolver.
    Yes sir what he said
    there is no need to go super hard when you are powder coating
    50/50 is about the perfect ticket for me with the alloys you have mentioned
    I do however tend to use more binary alloys when picking out a hunting alloy with p/c
    Accuracy as always trumps alloy for me if you can't hit what you are aiming at it won't do ya any good
    whatever alloy ya throw at them
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Harter66's Avatar
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    Killed a few Texas hogs with 50/50 at 1050 fps from both a RBH and an M92' .

    They swelled a little .

    452-255 tipped in at 265 gr .
    In the time of darkest defeat,our victory may be nearest. Wm. McKinley.

    I was young and stupid then I'm older now. Me 1992 .

    Richard Lee Hart 6/29/39-7/25/18


    Without trial we cannot learn and grow . It is through our stuggles that we become stronger .
    Brother I'm going to be Pythagerus , DiVinci , and Atlas all rolled into one soon .

  13. #13
    I powder coated and sized the batch of 160 boolits I'd already cast from COWW last night. That should give me something to work up my load with for now. They weighed 258-259.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    At 1300 fps PC'd you can get away with some pretty soft loads. At speeds up to 1700 fps in your M-Loader (You are probably using a sabot, I would think) your bullet is completely protected & can go as soft as you like. I like a pretty firm bullet because I don't like blood-shot meat. I like to eat all of it that I can get. Not much thrown to the coyotes around here.

  15. #15
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    As stated, you will likely not do better than an alloy of 50/50+2% for our mid Atlantic deer. PC is not even needed, supersonic is not needed, if you can scratch it with a thumbnail IT IS ALREADY a good hunting alloy. Soft lube highly recommended.

    I use a wider meplat 250gr boolit than your Lee mold at just under 1200fps. I have yet to hit hide with this one, but I am doubly sure I will not recover any of these from a dead deer. Maybe a length wise shot on a bull moose or elk but no way any eastern whitetail will stop one.
    Last edited by DougGuy; 06-24-2021 at 08:20 PM.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by DougGuy View Post
    I use a wider meplat 250gr boolit than your Lee mold at just under 1200fps. I have yet to hit hide with this one, but I am doubly sure I will not recover any of these from a dead deer. Maybe a length wise shot on a bull moose or elk but no way any eastern whitetail will stop one.
    To illustrate Doug's point (and if I hope the forum isn't too tired of my example). . .

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Both bullets are LBT 452-230 LFN with about a .31-.32 caliber meplat and hard alloy. At standard GI hardball speed of 830fps, the bullet on the right took nine standard gallon milk jugs / six feet of water to bring to a halt. I wouldn't suggest trading in your .300 Win Mag for a 1911, but if I were hungry enough and sneaky enough, that experience showed me that Old Slabsides would do for close encounters on an elk, if I had to.

    Police duty loads with soft cores and large final diameters at the same weight and speed typically stop in 3-4 jugs, so it's really a matter of manipulating the bullet for more or less drag on the nose..

    You've got more meplat (I think), more mass, and considerably more potential for speed with a bullet diameter and weight that was intended to do double duty at killing horses at roughly 950fps. Whether it expands or not, or is going really fast or not, you should not lose any sleep over its ability to end a whitetail. Put the priority on accuracy - whether you obtain it through mechanical consistency or reducing recoil-related tremors shouldn't matter with a pill that large.

    For the handgun, alloy selection should be based on the distances you think you're likely to shoot. If you're planning for inside of 75 yards, you really don't need to shake the earth with high velocity boomers in order to flatten trajectory. Straight air-cooled wheelweights will get it done. You can water quench if you plan to run magnum level loads. You can soften if you plan to play in the comfortable zone of sub-1000fps cowboy-era launch speeds.

    For the muzzle loader. . .probably worth experimenting with different alloys at that speed to see if accuracy suffers or excels at any particular point. I will say that a large meplat .45 at that speed is pretty AMAZING at turning jugs into fog, so expansion is probably irrelevant.

    For sake of simple, I'd probably just start with air-cooled wheelweight +2% tin for fillout and shoot it in both for starters.
    WWJMBD?

    "I'M MELLLLLLLLLLTING!" - Elphaba

  17. #17
    I may just keep the batch of ACCOWW that I powder coated for use in the front-stuffer and try a batch of 50/50+2% for the 45 Colt. Good excuse to order a second color of powder coat - to keep my alloys differentiated.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy Cast10's Avatar
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    I joined here and began reading in hopes to start feeding my 10mm Glock and 10mm carbine cast pc boolits for hog hunting.

    No one can say I haven’t searched through the many many archives here. So much knowledge from you guys! Very thankful!

    Began playing with alloy calculator and mixes, BHN, etc. Came up with a mix to start with. My first boolits were using SOWW’s and Hardball. Shot out of the 16” carbine, they were moving up to 1600 fps. My G20 is around 350 fps less.

    I have even seen expansion into dirt. BHN is approx. 11.3. NO leading in Glock 20 or Carbine. All boolits are Powder Coated with Smoke’s dust!

    I’m extremely happy at this point, but have not driven one thru pork as of yet! Good luck!

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    I donít know about 1300fps, but this is the Lee .452-255rf powder coated out of a 450bushmaster AR over 34gr of lilígun

    The alloy is 75/25+2% tin (WW/PB)
    I didnít have a coin in the gun building but I have shell holders for comparison

  20. #20
    What did you dig those out of???

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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