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Range Trip this past Sunday morning

Discussion in 'The 10 Ring' started by nickE10mm, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. nickE10mm

    nickE10mm F.S.F.O.S.

    Apr 13, 2004
    Wichita, KS
    Hey all,

    I made it out to the range on Sunday... it was nice and cool, about 73 degrees and overcast when I got there... AHHHH!!!

    Got to try out my experimental cast loads.... Here's the story. Grafs in my area sells an inexpensive cast bullet in 155gr LSWC, 175gr LSWC and 180gr RNFP. They go for about $8.50/100 which is quite cheap compared to even the usual plated bullets I buy (Berry's or Rainier's at $16-18/100). I really like the cast bullets but I have no idea how hard they are so I didn't really know how hard to push them. I always got great accuracy with them using mousefart load levels of HP38 but I also always got really bad leading, which really made me NOT want to use them at all. Too much trouble.

    Lately however I've been learning as much as I can about shooting cast lead and I set up some careful experiments to determine if I could get the bullets to run clean in my G20SF w/ 6" KKM (for simplicity, my Fusion will be later, after I nail down most of the problems w/ the KKM).

    From what I've been learning, my main problems are probably that the bullet is too hard or is not sized correctly...or not lubed well enough. Rather than immediately address what I think the REAL problem is (bullet size), I thought I'd do what I can do NOW: adjust my charge and lube situation since this doesn't require me to buy more, different bullets. I stopped at Graf's and bought a $6 bottle of Lee ALOX lube and a bag of 100 180gr RNFPs. (FWIW, I have slugged my barrels and the KKM is .400". My Fusion is .401" so I KNOW that a .402 bullet will probably be my FINAL answer but I don't have cash to order a custom batch of bullets right now so here's what you get!) :)

    My ORIGINAL load (that leaded quite badly) was the 175gr LSWC over 5.5gr HP38.

    I loaded my new batch of bullets with three different powders: Longshot, Blue Dot and HP38. ALL of the charges were hotter than before, as I suspect that these bullets are on the HARD (16-18 BHN) side rather than SOFT (5-14 BHN) side.

    My loads are as follows:

    15 - 8.5gr LS (Alox lubed)
    15 - 8.5gr LS (unlubed)
    15 - 10.5gr BD (Alox lubed)
    15 - 10.5gr BD (unlubed)
    20 - 5.5gr HP38 (Alox lubed)
    20 - 6.0gr HP38 (unlubed)

    As you can see, the idea initially was to try a hotter powder/charge-combo to see if it would allow the bullet base to better obturate in the barrel and eliminate leading. The secondary tweak was to use Alox tumble lube to see if that helped with leading.

    Remember, I had pretty serious leading with my original 5.5gr HP38 under the 175gr LSWC. After each string, I field stripped my G20 and bore-snaked my barrel, after which the bore was shiny and pristine to conduct the next series.

    Here are my observations:

    15 unlubed LS - light leading but still way better, some leading at edges of lands/grooves but no chunks, accurate! (1". one-hole @ 15y)

    15 lubed LS - some powder crud / soot near chamber but hardly ANY lead visible! almost clean!

    15 unlubed BD - nasty, 1st half of barrel pretty gross, not huge chunks but nasty nonetheless

    15 lubed BD - nasty near chamber w/ soot and a few small chunks of lead near chamber but STILL overall better than initial 175gr loads ... :)

    20 unlubed HP38 (6.0gr) - lots of soot near chamber but CLEAN afterwords for whole barrel! nice

    20 lubed HP38 (5.5gr) - GREAT!! not much of any soot and CLEAN AS A WHISTLE!

    As you can see, I had some success here!! I first learned that I can push these bullets quite a bit harder than I was without it CAUSING leading ... I think, to a point, more pressure will actually REDUCE leading. I also learned that Alox lube ALWAYS at least HELPS. I'm a bit confounded as to why the LS didn't lead but the Blue Dot did pretty badly. I tried to make the LS / BD loads similar in power.... hmmm.

    Next steps will be to bump up my LS charge but do not tumble lube. Second thing I learned is that 6.0gr HP38 under a 180gr RNFP is a sweet load!

    More to come....
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012
  2. nickE10mm

    nickE10mm F.S.F.O.S.

    Apr 13, 2004
    Wichita, KS
    I just realized, I should have probably posted this in the 10mm Reloading forum ....

  3. _The_Shadow

    _The_Shadow Ret. Fireman

    Jul 23, 2007
    Southeast, LoUiSiAna
    Just send some of that 73 degree weather down here!
    Have you tried adding any Johnson Paste wax to the alox?
  4. nickE10mm

    nickE10mm F.S.F.O.S.

    Apr 13, 2004
    Wichita, KS

    I have not added anything to the Alox yet, no ... although, ideally, someday, I won't have to because I will have the correct sized bullets with acceptable lube already there!
  5. dm1906

    dm1906 Retired SO

    Sep 7, 2010
    PRK (Kalifornia)
    The JPW recipe is for pressure lubers, NOT tumble lubing, unless you get it really hot. It's a process of reducing the JPW and mixing it with Alox (not necessarily LLA) and other ingredients, to make it suitable for use with a pressure luber. Alox is an excellent bullet lube, probably one of the very best, but it has handling characteristics. The original "Alox" is/was used as a bullet lube base, not as a bullet lube by itself. LLA (Lee Liquid Alox) is a mix, containing Alox. Alox is similar (if not the same stuff) as many/most firearm/metal preservative grease (cosmoline, Grade-4, etc.). Also, if you get a surplus or import firearm covered in the stuff, use mineral spirits to cut it to the metal, quick and easy.

    Since you are using bullets already "lubed", and not using a pressure luber, try this: Warm up the LLA (place bottle in hot tap water in a bowl/cup, NOT the microwave), and add 10% mineral spirits (paint thinner). This will thin the LLA, then dip the bullets up to the top of where you are seating the bullets (where the case mouth will be). Set the bullets upright on wax paper (I use the "Release" aluminum foil) and allow to cure. The thinned LLA will apply thinner, more evenly, and cure MUCH faster (do it outside, or you might have issues with the Mrs.). Also, as you may have discovered, a VERY little bit goes a long way. I use this process for some of my maximum loads for the magnums, lead or jacketed, and it works really well, even with a GC. The Alox "fouls" the barrel metal to the point that nothing sticks to it (no lead, copper, soot, powder/residue).

    You're also seeing, maybe by accident, that by tumble lubing, you are also coating the bullet base, which will reduce leading/sooting a LOT, if not entirely (depending on the load). A thin coat of the LLA on only the driving band and base is very neat, and doesn't leave the LLA on the bullet point or ogive area. I don't like exposed LLA, as it's smelly, and a sticky mess if/when it warms up (like in a box of loaded rounds). The alternative is to clean the exposed bullet after loading, which is not a fun process (and may still have to be done outside).
  6. Any Cal.

    Any Cal.

    Oct 27, 2008
    Nice job on trying things out! Now quit spending money on boolits and start making your own!:) It probably won't save you anything, but you don't have to worry so much about loading your last 50 bullets, you will know where to get more...
  7. nickE10mm

    nickE10mm F.S.F.O.S.

    Apr 13, 2004
    Wichita, KS
    Excellent info, thanks
  8. nickE10mm

    nickE10mm F.S.F.O.S.

    Apr 13, 2004
    Wichita, KS
    Thanks, that's the idea.... but I don't know when I'll have the investment money for a while.... I will use this time (being broke) to study and learn so I'm ready when the cash is!
  9. Fire_Medic

    Fire_Medic Polymer Butcher CLM

    May 19, 2008
    The Gunshine State
    How's that barrel working out?
  10. nickE10mm

    nickE10mm F.S.F.O.S.

    Apr 13, 2004
    Wichita, KS
    Its working out great, man! I heard you had a good time with that Barsto a few days back, eh?
  11. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    Thanks for the report - good stuff.