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Thread: Cast boolit accuracy problem in my crack-barrel Henry

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Cast boolit accuracy problem in my crack-barrel Henry

    Howdy, y'all -

    This is my first post on this forum - I was referred here for possible help with an accuracy problem I have with my .45-70 crack-barrel Henry.

    First, by way of introduction, my "fer real" name is Sam. You can call me that or anything else except "too late to eat". My initials are SOB (really!), hence my handle. I'm bumping 70, USAF veteran, ain't got a wife, don't want one , got my guns to keep me warm. I like good beer, good eatin' and good companionship, I love to joke (especially at my own ugly self!) and I love to help my friends. Born and raised a north Louisiana country boy - I'll offer anyone my hand in friendship, but if they throw a punch they'll get one right back.

    Anyway, enough carrying on about me. I have a bit of an accuracy problem in my Henry. It will shoot groups with jacketed bullets that are tighter than Ole MacGregor's coin purse, but cast boolits are all over Hell and half of Louisiana. I slugged the bore - groove diameter is .4565, bore probably a few thousandths less. The hard cast boolits I've been using mike at .458 and .459, so they should be fine. Granted, I've been pushing them at 1800 - 2000, which may be a bit much (BH is 16 or so), but I shot some with some Holy Black which should have given me ~1300-1400 and they still scattered like a flock of scared hens.

    I'm perplexed, flummoxed and bumfuzzled over this. I posted a couple of pics of groups I shot at 25 yards (indoor range) for illustrative purposes. Any input y'all can provide will be muchly appreciated!
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    Last edited by DaSOB; 07-28-2021 at 07:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Your cast bullet holes almost look like the bullets are tipping. I would try a heavier bullet.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by beshears View Post
    Your cast bullet holes almost look like the bullets are tipping. I would try a heavier bullet.
    I'll second that.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks. I have some 405 gr. LFN from Hunters Supply that I have used to make up some Trapdoor-level loads with 33 gr. IMR 4198. I'm going to run those through my rifle and see how they perform.

    According to the Berger Twist Rate Calculator, the 300 gr boolits should be stable at 1800 fps and 1:20 twist rate of the Henry. Possibly I'm just driving them too fast and making them skip the rifling.
    Last edited by DaSOB; 07-28-2021 at 08:33 AM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Were the cast fired immediately after the jacketed? What mold did the bullets come from? What lube are you using and did the bullets have gas checks? Did you check for lead in the bore after shooting? After firing jacketed only how much copper fouling do you have in the bore?

    The holes do look like there is tipping, but, why would that be from too short a bullet? Just curious. Most tipping I have seen comes from too long a bullet.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Im also thinking a bullet around 405 grns in weight cast a little softer and loaded to around 1200 fps to start. The 45-70 round is a lower pressure round and the hard bullets may not be swelling to seal the bore, especially with the Black Powder loads.

    It would help to have your actual load data primer powder + charge bullet and overall length.

    Welcome to the Forum.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    Im also thinking a bullet around 405 grns in weight cast a little softer and loaded to around 1200 fps to start. The 45-70 round is a lower pressure round and the hard bullets may not be swelling to seal the bore, especially with the Black Powder loads.

    It would help to have your actual load data primer powder + charge bullet and overall length.

    Welcome to the Forum.
    Thanks for the welcome!

    Primers are large rifle, powder is 49.6 gr IMR 4198, boolit length is .76", COAL 2.52".

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b View Post
    Were the cast fired immediately after the jacketed? What mold did the bullets come from? What lube are you using and did the bullets have gas checks? Did you check for lead in the bore after shooting? After firing jacketed only how much copper fouling do you have in the bore?

    The holes do look like there is tipping, but, why would that be from too short a bullet? Just curious. Most tipping I have seen comes from too long a bullet.
    The JHP were fired first, the cast immediately afterwards. Boolits are Meister Bullets 300 gr RNFP, no GC. Lube is what MC put on the boolits. Copper/lead fouling - I didn't check, but after only a few rounds I wouldn't think that would be a serious issue.

  9. #9
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    If you are going to shoot black powder loads, you probably need a softer lead tin mix and a black powder lube to keep things working correctly. If you are going to shoot smokeless, you need to determine the strength of your rifle and not exceed the limits. From your load information and looking at the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, 4th edition, you are either pushing on the upper limit door or have it partly opened and is likely the cause your bullets are not holding a group.

    If you have started your load development at the suggested starting load, you probably would have found a tight group closer to the start than the max load. Cast bullets can be wonderfully accurate if you let the rifle tell you what it wants and not try to bend it to your will. Good luck. And just to make it clear since I am not familiar with "Crack Barrel", you are referring to the Henry single shot rifle with the 1:20 twist barrel?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Bannister View Post
    If you are going to shoot black powder loads, you probably need a softer lead tin mix and a black powder lube to keep things working correctly. If you are going to shoot smokeless, you need to determine the strength of your rifle and not exceed the limits. From your load information and looking at the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, 4th edition, you are either pushing on the upper limit door or have it partly opened and is likely the cause your bullets are not holding a group.

    If you have started your load development at the suggested starting load, you probably would have found a tight group closer to the start than the max load. Cast bullets can be wonderfully accurate if you let the rifle tell you what it wants and not try to bend it to your will. Good luck. And just to make it clear since I am not familiar with "Crack Barrel", you are referring to the Henry single shot rifle with the 1:20 twist barrel?
    Yep, it's the single-shot, break-action rifle. I'm just used to using the slang "crack barrel". Henry says that the rifle is good up to Marlin/Win lever gun levels, so I'm using that as a guide. I am pushing the upper limit with these few loads, working along the edge of the envelope mainly to determine how the rifle will perform with heavy, "Garrett level" loads. Most of my shooting will be with much lower power loads though. If I want to shoot slobber-knockers, I have a custom .45-70 on a Siamese Mauser action that can handle the heaviest loads I can stuff into it.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master 358429's Avatar
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    Haha slobber knockers, I like your slang!

    Do you cast your own bullets, or no, just buying the store made?


    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk

  12. #12
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    I think you are just pushing the 300 grainers to fast for a plain base bullet. A 300 grain GAS-CHECKED is usually accurate (1.5-2 MOA or less) up to 2000-2200 fps, at least in my Marlins. My experience with commercial cast, plain base bullets is that they lose accuracy around 1200-1300 +/- fps. Many people get better accuracy with plain base 405's because they DO NOT shoot them very fast. At longer ranges, past 400 yards or so, the heavier bullets will have a less wind drift but for pleasure the lighter bullets have much less recoil at the SAME velocity. Haven't hunted buffalo or shot the 45-70 very much past 400 yards, so haven't used bullets heavier than 300-340 grains since about 1980. Shot a dozen/fifteen elk with 45-70, 300 grains at 2100 fps works just fine. Don't beat yourself up with recoil and save a lot of lead with the 300 grain. Slow down the plain base commercials or add gas checks over 1300-1400 fps.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaSOB View Post
    SNIP...

    Primers are large rifle, powder is 49.6 gr IMR 4198, boolit length is .76", COAL 2.52".
    Welcome to the forum,
    I think you have been given some good "general" advice so far. Because slower speeds is more forgiving (accuracy-wise).

    Am I correct in "guessing" you are trying to make a equivalent castboolit load in comparison to your Jacketed bullet load?
    Because that almost always ends in folly.
    >>>If that is correct? then here is my advice:
    While you can sent a 45-70 CB at those speeds, it is usually a long process to find a node for your gun to get some decent accuracy, then once you dialed that in, then you can taylor your jacketed load to that speed and hopefully have the same POI.
    good Luck.
    Last edited by JonB_in_Glencoe; 07-28-2021 at 12:15 PM.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master JoeJames's Avatar
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    Hidy Sam, and welcome to the forum. Good bunch of folks on here. I am still yet in elementary on casting, but thanks to these folks I am finally dropping boolits more accurate in my opinion than store bought. DaSOB is a dern good feller, and a good friend.
    Britons shall never be slaves.

  15. #15
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    I think the others have it covered. I think you are simply too fast on what I can only assume is a plain base bullet. Bullet hardness barely matters, or at least a lot less than you would think. A gas check does a lot of great things for you, and if you are wanting to push up to that 1800+ fps range, you will need them to be accurate. I generally find heavy bullets shoot better, but I think you should be able to get a 300 grain to work. The keys are a well supported bullet, meaning lots of bearing surface, and not a long pointy nose. The big one is a gas check. A good lube can only help too, but a poor lube isn't going to cause the problems you are seeing. I think your accuracy problem is 95% because it is a plain base at high velocity. If you don't cast your own yet, give these guys a try. They are very expensive, but Matt's does a good job. I don't shoot a 45-70, so take this specific recommendation for what it is. This is the lightest gas checked bullet I could find. https://www.mattsbullets.com/index.p...f3iem4kvn53su0

    Blackpowder is another game, and could possibly have a different issue. I'm no expert on BPCR, but I know from muzzleloaders that bore condition is a big concern. If you are using a poor lube, the powder fouling can be a cause of inaccuracy. I'm not sure hardness is the reason, but it is worth noting a lot of BPCR shooters cast with 20:1 alloy, 16:1, and 30:1 are common as well. I've not heard of them casting with hardball or any other real hard/high antimony alloys. I would say go to a traditional 45-70 bullet, like that 405 gr you mention for blackpowder. Lube with something known for working well with blackpowder like SPG.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 07-28-2021 at 01:55 PM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Dunno much about the .45-70 game but hard alloys are not necessary. BP works with stuff as soft as 30:1, and I'd not try smokeless with anything harder than 12 BHN, most likely something in the 10 BHN range. Sized to groove +.001 for smokeless, and groove to groove -.001 for Lord Black. I don't fool with light bullets for the cartridge, mostly stuff in the 475-530 grain range. Gas Checks for the smokeless loads but they may not be necessary for mild loads.


  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    One other thing to try is seating depth. My crack barrel .44 likes the boolits kissing the lands.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 358429 View Post
    Haha slobber knockers, I like your slang!

    Do you cast your own bullets, or no, just buying the store made?

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
    I use store-bought boolits. I don't get to shoot all that often so I couldn't justify investing in a casting setup. Also, I'm "space challenged" in that I wouldn't have anyplace that I could safely cast lead - storeroom isn't very big, and it's full. There are plenty of boolits that fit my needs online, so I just go that route.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    Welcome to the forum,
    I think you have been given some good "general" advice so far. Because slower speeds is more forgiving (accuracy-wise).

    Am I correct in "guessing" you are trying to make a equivalent castboolit load in comparison to your Jacketed bullet load?
    Because that almost always ends in folly.
    >>>If that is correct? then here is my advice:
    While you can sent a 45-70 CB at those speeds, it is usually a long process to find a node for your gun to get some decent accuracy, then once you dialed that in, then you can taylor your jacketed load to that speed and hopefully have the same POI.
    good Luck.
    Thanks. I just started experimenting with this particular gun, and as you mentioned I need to try to find the right node. Shooting the log rollers isn't a matter of me planning to hunt Cape buff, I'm just testing the edge of the envelope for my own info. I do plan to slow the loads down a good bit for punching holes in paper and dispatching rogue watermelons. As several of you good folks have indicated, I need to slow the cast boolits down and leave the higher MV's for the jacketed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJames View Post
    Hidy Sam, and welcome to the forum. Good bunch of folks on here. I am still yet in elementary on casting, but thanks to these folks I am finally dropping boolits more accurate in my opinion than store bought. DaSOB is a dern good feller, and a good friend.
    Hey, Joe - thanks for linking me to this forum.

    Joe and I go way back, we're pretty much home folks being as he and I went to different high schools in the same town together. We've been known to chew the fat from time to time.

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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