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Thread: do cast 357 boolits expand at carbine velocities (1800-2100 fps)

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Question do cast 357 boolits expand at carbine velocities (1800-2100 fps)

    As I understand it, cast boolits at 357 revolver velocities (1200-1400 fps) do no expand unless hollowpoint design.
    (correct if wrong please). Will a 158 grain non hollow point at around 2000 fps expand (as shot from carbine)?
    All inputs welcome.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Yes in pure lead<

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Henry 357 20in barrel, with a powdercoated lee 358-158-swc (20-1 alloy) and a mid charge of 296 mushrooms nice for me in water jugs and blacktails.

  4. #4
    I very highly doubt you can get a 158gr boolit to go 2000fps out of a carbine. You can easily do it with a 125gr however.

    With a 158gr boolit expect around 1686fps. Which I've tested in my rifle.

    I got lots of expansion with a 125gr boolit going 2,200fps out of my bolt gun.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I agree that 2000 f/s with a 158 gr. cast projectile will be difficult and hard on the rifle, if not impossible. Depending on propellant and barrel length, it may be something of a chore to obtain 1750 f/s.
    At minimum, I'd think you'd need a gas check. The problem/dilemma is that, if the projectile is hard enough to not lead the bore excessively, it is hard enough that expansion is not very likely, unless you hit something that is very hard and/or quite substantial. You might get expansion on the "heavily plated" wild boar that infest the southern U.S.
    For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. Ecclesiastes 1:18
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  6. #6
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Maybe try an alloy with no antimony in it, like 20-1.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    Keeping your alloy soft might aid in expansion, but you will likely run into leading issues. If your concerned with expansion and feel than HP's are the way to go, you might be happier with jackets at the sort of velocities your considering. If you make a HP too hard you will have nose shedding and the remaining projectile doesn't have enough weight to penetrate effectively. If hunting is in your plans, a heavier WFN at 1400 or so will be a lot more effective in terms of penetration. Good luck with you choice.
    Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    The lads have pretty well hit the main point - the alloys that will expand substantially are not the ones you will be able to drive to those velocities without either leading the bore or not very impressive accuracy.

    Many of us have settled on harder alloys that will shoot well at the speeds intended combined with a flat point bullet with a meplat of 65-70%(or more) of the total bullet diameter. While they don't expand, they are still disruptive enough, and are far more consistent in their behavior on impact that bullets that might expand at 50 yards, but not after they've slowed down by 100. Typically, they penetrate A LOT in a straight line leaving a raggedly torn "bleed tunnel" slightly larger than bullet diameter, courtesy of the flat point tugging at tissue as it passes through. You don't really see much damage from hydrostatic displacement until you get into the impact speeds attained by real rifle rounds (2000 fps plus).

    Below are two copies of a 130 grain .320" caliber bullet that help illustrate the problem. Both were launched with the same charge at about 1250 fps. The expanded one was cast of 20-1 and stopped in either 3 or 4 milk jugs. Nice, but accuracy went down the toilet when I tried to push it faster. The one that didn't expand was water-quenched wheelweight and took 9 jugs to stop. The accuracy load for that rifle ended up being the harder bullet at 1550 fps.

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    WWJMBD?

    Is the mightiness of the pen still relevant after we roll the writing paper into cartridges for a Sharps?

  9. #9
    Boolit Master mehavey's Avatar
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    Powder-Coated Pure lead will buy you what you need (expansion)
    with "most" of what you want (velocity)
    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...=1#post5001471

    (I'm going see what I can get out of a 165gr Plain Base Lym358665/30:1 in a 20" Marlin using PC)

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy PJEagle's Avatar
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    My testing shows that a 160 Grain NOE WFN gives much better accuracy than a 158 Grain NOE SWC. I used True Blue and powder coated projectiles with a BHN of 12 with no leading. The velocity was around 1620 FPS at the muzzle. I haven't tested them with H110, but I am sure the velocity would be higher; but much less than 2000 FPS. The testing was conducted with a Henry single shot.

    This doesn't answer you question about expansion, but might help on boolit selection.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    With the cost of primers and powder, it may be cheaper to buy 200 Hornady 158 gr XTP's for hunting instead of trying to find a cast load.

    https://www.scheels.com/p/hornady-xt...255-31000.html

    They will work for sure and be accurate.

    Load your cast bullets for plinking and practice and use the XTP's for serious work.
    Don Verna


  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Lil' Gun will easily send a 158 grain lead or jacketed bullet 2000 fps in the rifle before it hits 30k PSI. No other powder will get 2000 fps within SAAMI specs. Brass lasts forever compared to 2400 or 296 because Lil' Gun is so slow with 158s. It is so slow for the caliber that it won't even reach max pressure with a 158 grain bullet. Brian Pearce has several articles about Lil' Gun and 357 rifles. I get 2 MOA 10 shot groups at 100 yards from 9 BHN up to 16 BHN in a 30" twist.

    Bullets will easily expand and be accurate in 30" twist barrels. The problem is that they tend to expand too much! It takes a lot of trial and error to get a tough enough alloy that will have controlled expansion up close. I use the 357 to deer drive and the best thing I have seen so far is a 158 at 2000+ fps. When deer driving you shoot most of your deer between 10 and 40 yards. At that range, the bullet is still going about 1900 fps. If your bullet is too soft you won't have enough penetration for broadside deer, let alone quartered deer on a deer drive.

    The only alloy I have come up with yet that can withstand those kinds of impact speeds and still give CONTROLLED expansion is 2-2-96, water dropped after 415 degree powder coat. I have done alloy tests at 1900 fps+ with 2-2-96, 2.5-2.5-95 and 3-3-94 all air cooled and all had 100% weight retention BUT penetration was only about 1/2 to 2/3 of a 158 JSP because the expansion was too much for the sectional density of the bullet. After I water dropped the 2-2-96, expansion dropped down from 65-70 cal down to 60 cal at 1900 fps, and penetration is 25% more than a 158 Remington JSP at the same speed.

    I still use the air cooled alloys, but they are for ambush hunting and long shots where impact velocity is lower and they penetrate better. They are just too soft for close range raking shots on deer.

    Last year I got deer number 15 with the 357 rifle and my own cast bullets. Out of the batch of 2-2-96 WD mentioned above I had 7 pass throughs and 2 bullets recovered. One I recovered from a texas heart shot. That bullet made it to where the neck meat meets the backstrap infront and above the shoulders. The other was a buck facing me head on with his head low. I put it right under his chin then it clipped about every single vertebrae, passed through to the top side of the neck, kept clipping vertebrae, and ended up between the shoulder blades above the spine. Recovered bullets looked identical to my water jug tested bullets. Weight retention was over 98%. I will have to go get some pics and put them up here.
    Last edited by mnewcomb59; 08-15-2022 at 02:00 PM.

  13. #13
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    2-2-96 WD recovered from deer at 1900 fps impact velocity. Load penetrates 5 jugs up close and acts like hard cast past 100 yards. When I am not driving I use a similar alloy air cooled for shooting calm, broadside deer. Same alloy air cooled will mushroom out to at least 150 yards.

    With the 180 Ranch Dog cast in 1.5-1.5.97 AC I had less penetration than the 158 because it expanded more. I never found the best alloy for that mold, but I also got a few deer with the 135 Ranch Dog. This bullet did not penetrate enough with 2-2-96 at 2000 fps impact velocities, but when cast of water dropped wheel weights with no additional tin it worked great. The bullet had about 90% weight retention and penetrated 5 jugs. The lack of tin let the edges of the mushroom break off , reducing the expansion down to about 53 cal and letting it get great penetration. Basically what I am trying to say is that if you go heavier in bullet you can use a little softer alloy, and if you go lighter in bullet you need to use a harder alloy to keep penetration the same.

    In my experience with 4 different 357 rifles, it has been easy to get great accuracy with soft lead. The problem is that if the lead is too soft you lose penetration. I test every single batch of bullets before I hunt with them. Then if I run out and try to re-create a past alloy I test it again to make sure I know what it's gonna do when it hits an animal.
    Last edited by mnewcomb59; 08-15-2022 at 02:25 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    2-2-96 Air cooled. Same batch as above. 1950 fps and 1500 fps. You can see the softer alloy is too soft for the higher speed and penetration is low up close until the bullet slows down. The high speed lost 10 grains of bullet weight and penetrated 80% as deep as the water dropped bullet. If your bullets do this up close you can only take broadside shots at close range and exit wounds are still only 50/50 chance on a broadside shot. Penetration kills and expansion might help kill faster, but expansion can definitely make kills slower when you take a quartering shot and the bullet doesn't go all the way through the vitals. I am a fan of minimal expansion or no expansion because it helps me get the penetration I need.


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    Last edited by mnewcomb59; 08-15-2022 at 03:13 PM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master


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    2000 fps hard to get in a 357 magnum rifle? Since when? You can see that with standard off the shelf 357 mag ammo, but I suppose that depends on what exactly your barrel length is.

    Yes you can see bullet expansion on solid bullets that fast. You can also see expansion on solid bullets going 1200 fps. It's all about alloy and bullet design. A flat nosed bullet should expand easier than a round nose. A softer bullet will expand easier than a harder one. I've seen evidence 20:1 alloy will expand a flat nosed bullet significantly at 1200 fps, but not much slower than that. By the time you get up near 2000 fps, you have a ton of leeway, just about anything is going to expand.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Based on our recovered bullets from deer, which isn't too many a 2/4/94 alloy on a flat nosed 35-200 gas check boolit will start to roll a little at 1500 fps if it clips a rib. At 1850 impact speed the nose completely rolls back about half way to the front driving band. Any more speed and or bones we have seen some sheering and fragments. This alloy is my version of COWW plus tin. We did monkey around with slight changes in the alloy but this one doesn't lead the barrel and is the most accurate we tested.
    On a side note, on 38 special and 357 mag we used NOE mold with a deep HP and a shallow cup point cast in 20:1
    The test media was 10 yds, one 16 ounce water bottle backed by the cheap polyester blankets folded to catch the boolits.
    The deep HP would start to roll pretty good at 800 fps. The cup point took around 860/875 to start the roll. More speed equals more mushroom.
    Like others have said, a HP cast boolit has a window of speed it works in all dependent on which alloy is used. Anything softer than 20:1 causes me too much cleaning up leaded barrels.
    I can kinda see the the HP being worthwhile in a handgun where you want less pentation but in a rifle I want the softest alloy that will be accurate with as wide a meplat that will feed that won't lead the barrel at speed I want to shoot it at. For killing deer for us, a wide meplat trumps a hollowpoint in 35 or larger. In 30 caliber I can see where a cup point might be just the ticket.
    Tony

  17. #17
    Boolit Master mehavey's Avatar
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    2/4/94 alloy on a flat nosed 35-200 gas check boolit will start to roll a little at 1500 fps
    if it clips a rib. At 1850 impact speed the nose completely rolls back about half way to
    the front driving band.
    Please tell us how to load a 35-200 bullet into a 357 case, or
    any case that will chamber/feed in a 357 rifle ....

    I can't get there -- or even close.
    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...=1#post4812244

    I did get a 165gr Lym 358665/Plainbase/30-1(BN:6) up to 1,840fps (LABRADAR)
    this morning using max'd-out load if V-N110 (37,000psi) in a 20" Marlin
    (PC Eastwood Mirror Green)
    )
    And I might could get 2,000 using 158gr w/ Max Case-Fill Lil`Gun (ditto 37,000)...

    But I'm trading 100yd downrange MV (the whole point of a rifle) the lighter I go.



    postscript: That 165gr 358665 still was moving 1,415 at 100 yds -- effectively pure lead w/ a huge metplat.
    Last edited by mehavey; 08-15-2022 at 09:42 PM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Check out this long ogive small meplat 158 that is more aerodynamic than the 180 WFN. https://noebulletmolds.com/site/shop...1-5-cavity-gc/

    This bullet loads longer than 1.59 so it probably won't cycle in the older Henrys. I have heard the new Henrys in 44 and 45 will cycle the LFN ammo around 1.65 but no experience.

    At the rifle speeds I figured the small meplat wouldn't matter since I was always having the problem of too much expansion. I have now been shooting this bullet for 4 or 5 years and haven't had anything come close in extended range accuracy or BC other than 358311. This is the bullet I showed above recovered from deer. I think NOE is a little optimistic on the BC but I bet it is at least .19. That bullet has the shallowest seating depth of any 158 grain bullet I have encountered, which lowers pressures with Lil' Gun even farther. Since it seats so shallow you can shoot 1 grain higher of Lil' Gun than with a 158 SWC or JSP and get 2100 fps and reloadable cases. Or you can still break 2000 fps and have cases last forever.


    Run that in your ballistic calculators .19 BC at 2050 fps and you will find that it is the flattest shooting, hardest hitting thing you can get in the caliber with the highest retained energy at 200 yards. All that while still having cases last at least 10 reloads in a lever action.

    Also its a RIFLE, ditch the SWC with BC .11 vs .16+. It makes a huge difference in down range energy, range where you go subsonic and wind drift. This NOE bullet has 200 fps more at 100 yards and drifts 2" less in a 10 mph cross wind at 100 yards than a SWC of equal weight and muzzle velocity. This NOE bullet at 173 yards still has the same retained velocity as a SWC at 100 yards - 1455 fps. If you think that SWC kills nice at 100 yards from your rifle, you could be killing them just as nice at 173 yards. Since it blows in the wind less and is a generally more accurate design with a supported bore rider nose, your 173 yard group will probably be the same size as your SWC at 100 yards.
    Last edited by mnewcomb59; 08-15-2022 at 09:57 PM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Nobody here said anything about it having to feed. There's plenty out there shooting H&R/NEF's, Contenders, Encores, CVA's, maybe even a Ruger #1 and whatever other single shots out there that will chamber an incredibly long round. Mehavey, I'm assuming you are talking about some kind of lever action that requires a very short OAL cartridge. In that case I can see the problem. Still a 200 grain 38 caliber bullet isn't that horribly long, especially with a wide flat nose. I would think something like the Accurate 36-200R should work for a lever action. You could even have the nose shortened slightly if needed.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master mehavey's Avatar
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    If we're going to release the 357 case length to any straightwall option, might as well go with a 350 LGD

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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