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Old 12-24-2015, 09:14 PM
N-frame-guy N-frame-guy is offline
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Default Brinell level vs. velocity guidelines

I'm hoping to get back to shooting my revolvers more and would like to shoot more lead, either cast or swaged, from the 38/357 and 44mag. I have a fair amount of jacketed on hand but they get expensive in a hurry these days.
I understand the swaged bullets from like Speer and Hornady are quite soft and must be kept to a lower velocity. I usually follow the proper manufacturer's book for these. Where I really get confused is where the Brinell hardness comparisons start and switch, velocity wise, from the various aftermarket folks.

Mainly, I'm trying to catagorize where the line is velocity-wise. Not to the exact FPS but a rule of thumb. Is there any consensus on where that line might be? I'd have to classify myself as a range plinker, will not be hunting with them and will not be competing at any type of competition; just for my fun and because I like the thump of a Magnum! Have no need to go full house with the cast; I can do that with jacketed when the mood strikes.

I have no interest in casting but am willing to move to coated bullets if need be. I'll probably be laying in a supply of both .38 and .44 in the not-to-distant future based on this discussion.

I've read back quite far on this board and have found lots of threads but not a lot of specific velocity/hardness statements.

I just don't get where they morph from "keep 'em comfortable and avoid leading" to "drive them harder to keep from leading".

Sorry for the NewB question. Cast projectiles will be a new direction for me, mostly. Been loading a long time; rifle, shotgun and revolver but revolver was 95% jacketed and 5% soft swaged, hence my confusion.

Thanks in advance for helping to make the difference less fuzzy to me.

Ken
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Old 12-24-2015, 09:26 PM
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Leading is more about bullet fit than alloy hardness, but there are some basic guidelines. Lots of good stuff here.
Cast bullet reference on lead alloy's, min / max pressure, lube, shrinkage,
Forget swaged, expensive & not much good past 1000fps or so. Coated will work witness mess, but it's always about bullet fit. Buy your cast bullets at least 0.001" larger than bore dia, or 0.358" min for the 357mag.
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:45 PM
Pisgah Pisgah is offline
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Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
Leading is more about bullet fit than alloy hardness,
Amen to that. And I have found that even soft swaged bullets of the proper size and well-lubricated can be driven to 1200 fps with no more leading after a shooting session than you can brush out in 2 strokes of a dry bore brush.
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:56 PM
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Try this:

Missouri Bullet Company
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Old 12-25-2015, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
Amen to that. And I khave found that even soft swaged bullets of the proper size and well-lubricated can be driven to 1200 fps with no more leading after a shooting session than you can brush out in 2 strokes of a dry bore brush.
Yep, if the lube is right & bbl is smooth, you can drive pretty soft bullets w/ little leading. My 44mag hunting bullets are 20-1 alloy lhp, the do fine at 1200-1250fps.
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Old 12-25-2015, 01:34 AM
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A very good explanation at the above mentioned website for Missouri Bullets.
Also I have found that Dardas Bullets in Michigan is one of the thee most knowledgeable folks on lead bullet usage.
Also Hytek coated lead bullets is the latest craze, many benefits to using these and Bayou and Missouri bullet companies offer a great selection.
Karl
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Old 12-25-2015, 02:47 AM
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Swaged bullets from Hornady are around BHN 7 or 8, generally leading isn't a problem below 800~850 fps. Missouri Bullets cowboy bullets are BHn 12 which should be good for around 1000~1100 fps. Note you can run into leading problems when running hard bullets like Missouri below 1000 fps due to the bullet base not "bumping" up to to throat diameter and case cutting of the base.

Swaged bullets are good enough for cartridges like the 38 spl, 44 spl, 44 Colt where normal velocities < 900fps.
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Old 12-25-2015, 03:11 AM
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I shot my IHMSA .44 mag Model 29 all year using Speer swaged bullets and did not have to remove lead from the bore once. A bit over 1000 rounds between competition and practice. And probably won't clean it next year, either. It takes a while to get the revolver to "settle down" and shoot as well after a good cleaning. (Fortunately, this year I cleaned in early January but first match wasn't until Feb. It didn't need it, but did it anyway and regretted having cleaned the first range trip following!)

Anyway, it's not so much velocity as pressure that is the limiting factor for lead bullets. So typically a smaller caliber round can't be driven as fast as larger given the same hardness bullet. (Less area on the base of a small bullet means less net force for the same pressure)

Powder burn rate has a big affect as well, but, oddly, faster powders often produce better accuracy even though they are more prone to "gas cut" the lower portion of the bullet's sides.

As noted above, bullet fit is also a big factor.

And lube. Hard bullets with hard lube often lead when driven too slowly! (I.e., pressure too low.) I have had terrible leading when using hardcast projectiles combined with "normal" WW231 charges that work great with swaged tumble-lubed bullets. But the same hardcast bullets are fine over a max load of H110!

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Old 12-25-2015, 03:28 AM
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Default Look before you leap

Quote:
Originally Posted by N-frame-guy View Post
I'll probably be laying in a supply of both .38 and .44 in the not-to-distant future based on this discussion.
Whichever direction you go, & whomever you buy from, buy a small batch FIRST to try with the various (speed) powders you'll be using and test them in the intended revolver(s) BEFORE you purchase a large supply of lead bullets.

Otherwise you might end up with bullets that don't agree with your combination of components & be stuck with issues you don't want.

Every gun is different. You have to find what works in yours to avoid leading issues. (Or jump right into plated bullets & avoid the problems lead bullets can cause for very little more $$.)

.
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Old 12-25-2015, 06:44 AM
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For a "rule of thumb" I believe you must look to pressure rather than velocity. The thumb rule I know is 1440psi/#BHN, or 14,400 psi requires a 10BHN alloy and 20,000psi = approx 13.8BHN etc. I believe that was from Glen Fryxell in his book "From Ingot to Target".
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:28 AM
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Bullet hardness is sooooooo over rated!!!!

Clip on wheel weights since the 80's has been around 10bhn to 12bhn and countless 1,000,000's of cast bullets cast from them have been put down range without any leading.

I've used nothing more than range lead/hill pickins/berm lead for decades and it normally runs 8bhn to 10bhn air cooled and around 14bhn water cooled. Never had a problem with full house loads in the 357's or 44mags. But as others have already stated, fit is king & excellent quality lube is queen.

Lube is often overlooked, when I load pistol bullets I like to use a soft lube with a high ratio of grease to bee's wax content. The lube will actually act like a gasket aiding in sealing the cylinders/bores along with protecting the bores. For rifles I'll use a harder lube that has a higher ratio of wax than the pistol lube.

Some common alloys from years ago.

Lyman #1 is a 10 to 1 lead/tin ratio ='s 12bhn. They recommended this for all their bullets, rifle, pistol, etc.

Keith used to use 16 to 1 lead/tin for his go-to alloy for testing pistol bullets and hunting bullets.

I've always used a simple formula of:
700fps ='s 7bhn
800fps ='s 8bhn
900fps ='s 9bhn
1000fps ='s 10bhn
1100fps ='s 11bhn
1200fps ='s 12bhn
ETC.

Never got in much trouble with those #'s unless I use the wrong powder for what I was trying to do.

Hence:
Fast burning powders ='s target loads
medium burning powders ='s p+ low pressure loads or plinking loads for high pressure calibers
low burning powders ='s heavy mag loads, max high pressure calibers.

I've been shooting allot of coated bullets lately (300# of cast/coated bullets) and they are the cat's meow!!!! Been casting/shooting lead since the 80's and the coated bullets are the way to go.

Extremely accurate and clean to shoot.
1 alloy works for bullets being shot from 600fps to 2300fps.
No more lubes.
Coated bullets are softer (heating the coating to activate/cure it anneals the lead alloy) allowing then to obturate better that hard cast lead bullets sealing different sized bore better.

I'd try some coated bullets 1st.
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Old 12-25-2015, 01:51 PM
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Default Formulas

I have no idea whether these formulas work or not, but I've seem them on cast bullet forum and cast bullet manufacturers web sites.

BHN x 1,422 = Pressure needed to "upset" or "obdurate" the bullet properly.

or

BHN = ( Cartridge Pressure / 1,422 )

The 1,422 number comes from converting the pressure in Kg/mm2 (which is what the BHN is measured in) to lb/in2 (which is what we use for cartridge pressure). That is: conversion factor = 25.40 (mm/in) x 25.40 (mm/in) x 2.2046 (lb/kg) = 1,422.

There are several sources that say the best accuracy for a plain based lead bullet is when the pressure of the cartridge is 90% to 100% of the strength of the bullet so the final formula would be

BHN = ( Cartridge Pressure * 1.1) / 1,422 or Cartridge Pressure = BHN * 1422 * .9
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Old 12-25-2015, 03:36 PM
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I like Dardas bullets because his lube is much softer than the "crayon" lubes used by most casters. I get no leading whatsoever in several revolvers and a 1911.
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:13 PM
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Default I think coatings.....

I won't say that leading is no longer a problem, but coated bullets have eliminated a lot of the concerns and will probably improve in the near future. After I shoot up my lube-in-groove bullets I'll have coated in every caliber.
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Old 12-26-2015, 07:46 AM
N-frame-guy N-frame-guy is offline
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Thanks for the helpful info.
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
I have no idea whether these formulas work or not, but I've seem them on cast bullet forum and cast bullet manufacturers web sites.

BHN x 1,422 = Pressure needed to "upset" or "obdurate" the bullet properly.

or

BHN = ( Cartridge Pressure / 1,422 )

The 1,422 number comes from converting the pressure in Kg/mm2 (which is what the BHN is measured in) to lb/in2 (which is what we use for cartridge pressure). That is: conversion factor = 25.40 (mm/in) x 25.40 (mm/in) x 2.2046 (lb/kg) = 1,422.

There are several sources that say the best accuracy for a plain based lead bullet is when the pressure of the cartridge is 90% to 100% of the strength of the bullet so the final formula would be

BHN = ( Cartridge Pressure * 1.1) / 1,422 or Cartridge Pressure = BHN * 1422 * .9
Thank you for taking the time to write this post. I've seen these formula's before and never really understood them. They've just always seemed like over kill to me.

A 35,000psi load:
9mm/357's/44mags/40s&w/10mm/38super/357sig

35,000/1422 ='s 24.6
24.6 x .9 ='s 22bhn

Lyman #2 alloy ='s 15bhn
Hardball alloy ='s 16bhn
linotype ='s 19bhn
monotype ='s 26bhn

From that formula you'd have to use a bullet cast out of 50/50 monotype (26bhn), and linotype (19bhn) for any of those pressures/calibers.

Something I learned awhile back (actually decades ago/getting old). A chronograph will tell you when you have the right bhn/alloy for the load your using. The velocity will fall off when you use too hard of an alloy for the load.

Simple enough to test:
Cast bullets out of 10bhn/12bhn/14/bhn/16bhn alloys and use the same lube and size them the same. Use the same load and run the different hardness of bullets over the chronograph. You will get to the point that the bullets too hard to seal the bbl and velocity will fall off.

The worst bbl leading I ever experienced was with a 22lr of all things. I was out plinking with an old/well used 4-screw k22. I went from hitting 6" targets to struggling to hit the broad side of a bard real quick. Took a look down the bore and shook my head. When I got home I used a tight patch on a plug and ran it down the bbl. This is what came out.



Anyway, just something to think about.
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