Monday, July 27, 2009

At the range the other day, tried a couple of things

I've written before about using a flat-nose 150-grain bullet, designed for .30-30, in a number of rifles with good results. The one problem I've had is that some rifles that flat occasionally hangs up when chambering a round, so decided to try a pointed bullet. A while back I got two, both Lee: one 155-grain and one 160-grain tumble-lube, both actually for .303, 7.62x54r and 7.62x39. That very good article on cast bullets in military rifles had mentioned using both, including sizing the 155-grain to .309 or .310 for .30-06 and .308. And Midway had a sale at the time and they were actually in stock, so...

I tried the 155-grain with the 16.0 grains of 2400, sized .309" and lubed with Rooster Red, in a K31(7.5x55 Swiss) a .308 and .30-06. It shot well in all, fed with no problems(worth it for no jams alone), and gave good accuracy. One other thing: in the K31 and .308, at 100 yards, the flat-nose had hit about 4-5" to the right of point of aim(which I've heard is common in cast loads compared to jacketed bullets); with this bullet it was only 2-2.5" right.

I tried the 160-grain in a #4MkI Enfield, fed nicely, good accuracy and- again- just a touch to the right. This one was lubed with Lee Liquid Alox and sized in a Lee sizer, which barely touched the bullet but seated the gas check(both bullets were gas-checked). The Lee 185-grain bullet I tried before worked very well, I just wanted to try a lighter bullet, and this one worked well.

I tried one other thing: the gentleman mentioned that for general practice and small game he used bullets that had no gross defects but weren't quite up to spec lubed with Lee Alox without a gas check and with a light charge of fast-burning powder. I had some of the 160-grain that fit the description, so tried it out using a charge of Bullseye. At 50 yards gave about 2" groups(I think, I lost the target) with slight recoil and low noise. I need to load some more to try at 100, see how they do. For winter or just when there's no time to get to the outdoor range this would be a good practice load.

I do have to note, while the 155-grain mold works just fine, the 160-grain is a picky bastard. Finally found the trick to getting good bullets with it; temperature on the melter up a bit, and don't hold the mold more than about 3/8" below the nozzle, otherwise it either doesn't fill completely or has wrinkles. Lee molds can be picky, but this is the damndest one I've messed with.


Ritchie said...

The NRA Cast Bullet Handbook is a wealth of information, even about things that somebody tried that didn't work. As I recall, the A Ticket for light load full size .30 military cartridges is about 12 grains of Red Dot and a tuft of Dacron pillow stuffing.

Anonymous said...

try adding a teeny mite of tin to your alloy when casting with that recalcitrant mold. It might help the bullets to fill out more easily. I use an inch or so of 50-50 solder.

Gerry N.

Firehand said...

I need to find a copy of that to look at. Though the last stuff I've heard says to stay away from the pillow stuffing; they found it can cause pressure spikes. There's some new buffering material made for the purpose that's supposed to be better for those loads that need buffer.

Tin. I need to add a dab. As I recall, that's the main reason for tin in the allow is it makes it melt at a bit lower temp and flow better. How the hell did I forget that?