Friday, December 20, 2013

Range Day report

No, not today, it's cloudy and fairly cold.  Wednesday, when it was chilly in the morning and almost warm in the afternoon; a bit windy, but considering Oklahoma not bad.

Big test: the cast-bullet M1 Garand loads.  I think I'm going to settle on this load and not screw with it anymore: PS or HXP brass, 33.0 grains IMR4895, 200-grain gas-checked Lee bullet, either CCI #34 or CCI standard Large Rifle primer.  Wind and all, it gave ~4" groups at 100 yards, and since that's the max distance I usually have access to it'll work fine for a practice load.  Cycles the action reliably, and very little fouling.  I may try other brass*, but otherwise I'll leave it alone.

On that fouling: I had been using Lee Liquid Alox for lube and a Lee sizing die on the press to seat the gas check.  I did tend to get some fouling- not horrible, but more than I liked- so managed to get hold of a Lyman .311" sizing die for my sizing press and lubed some with Lyman Black Powder Gold lube to try.  Very little smoke, and minimal fouling, nothing visible on the piston or in the gas tube, I'm going to stick with it. 

On the subject of lubes: I've fired a lot of pistol and some rifle bullets lubed with the Lee Liquid Alox with no problems, the Lyman seems to work better in an autoloader**.  At least with this load in this rifle.  The BPG lube is harder than the old alox that comes in a stick, MUCH less sticky, but not as hard as, say, Rooster Red.  What I've found works well is to plug in the heater on the press, let it run long enough to warm the press up, then unplug it; that softens the BPG enough that it flows nicely through the press but doesn't melt it.  That last being important; the old Lyman Alox lube lubed quite well but was very sticky, if you stored lubed bullets in a hot area the stuff could actually sag and run out of the lube grooves, and I've heard of ammo left in a trunk or truck cab on a really hot day getting FTF or squibs because it managed to not only partially melt but seep down in the case and contaminate the powder.  Rare, but still unwelcome.

Why the Black Powder Gold?  Heard a number of reports from people who'd tried it and started using it in everything- rifle, pistol, black powder and smokeless- with good results, so gave it a try.  Works quite well.

I was also able to try out that Enfield with the oversize(.314") bullets made by putting aluminum tape on the mold blocks at longer distance.  At 50 yards the groups were nothing to brag about, but they were actually in/around the bullseye and made up of nice round holes; that's a HUGE improvement over the results with .311 bullets.  At 100 yards results were so-so.  I think because the bullets are slightly oval in cross-section(no way to avoid it), so not as consistent as should be.  I think what I may do is see if I can lap the mold cavities out: remove the tape and clean thoroughly, cast some bullets, drill into the base so I can fit a piece of threaded rod in as a shank, coat the bullet with abrasive and use it to enlarge the cavities.  If I do it carefully, I think it should enlarge them evenly, and I only need to get 3-4 thousandths greater diameter; with aluminum mold blocks that shouldn't take much.

It did remind me of why I like those old Enfields; one of the slickest bolt actions ever made.

On the 1922 Springfield, while digging around I'd found several partial boxes of .22 pistol match ammo and wanted to try them in it.  I'd read years back that some rifles really liked the stuff, so I'd picked up some boxes, tried it, and found it true.  Had some Golden Eagle and  PMC, and also had a box of Remington/Eley stuff to try.  This rifle seems to shoot at least well with almost everything, shot very well with the GE and PMC; the R/E not quite as well, but you'd have no problem using it for squirrels and such.

One more note about the Garand: mentioned it was windy but not horrible, was doing some gusting.  It's possible on a still or lighter-wind day might've helped the groups; those bullets weigh 50 grains more than ball and are moving about a thousand feet-per-second slower; a bigger and slower bullet will tend to be more affected by wind. 

*So far I've tried PS, HXP, Lake City, Remington and Federal cases; best results from the PS and HXP.  Do need to try it with Winchester.
**Most of the rifle bullets I've used the Lee on have been for bolt-action rifles, and I've had zero problems: no nasty fouling or anything.  The Garand is the only autoloader I've used it in, so I can only say I'm getting a bit better result from the Lyman lube than the Lee in this rifle.  On handguns, the Lee works great; use the bullet as-cast and lubed.  I wouldn't want to use it this way on a hot load- for that I'd want a gas-check bullet- but for low- to mid-range practice loads with  plain-base bullets, it does the job.  It also allows you to use bullets in different cartridges; for instance, the Lyman 200-grain .38-caliber bullet used as-cast works perfectly in .38S&W for Webley and Enfield .380 revolvers; 200 and 230-grain .45acp bullets in .455 Webley, too.


Anonymous said...

Have you tried White Label Lubes?

It's a small shop so there are delays at times, but the lubes themselves work great and are really inexpensive.

I use his BAC(50/50, mixed with carnuba) in most of my pistol loads and the straight carnuba red in rifle.

Firehand said...

No, hadn't heard of them; will look them up.

Well, crap, just read of the fire. Will check with the later on about getting a stick or two, they'll need what they have to fill orders.