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    • #34294
      upinthehills
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      I’m a beginner and I was afraid I’m polluting another thread here on casting for a .308 because I have such a variety of questions. So I’m hoping you folks will have the patience to deal with a wide variety of questions in this thread. I’m doing target shooting, my local range is just 100 yards, but I’m hoping to shoot longer distances this summer if I can get good enough. I just started shooting last year and it’s a hobby I took up to share with my 14 year old son. When I was young I drove motorcycles and race cars, this seems safer and I hope interesting enough to keep his attention.

      We started with a .22lr Savage Model 19 NRA from 1940. It has peephole sights and to me it seems scary accurate, I had no idea how good plain iron sights could be. Never the less it’s a lot of work and we have a long way to go with it. We do silhouette egg shoots with this at the local club.

      I was meaning to get a .22 I could put a scope on but somehow I landed up with a Savage Model 12FV from Cabela’s. This has an SWFA 12×42 scope I put on it. I choose that scope because it was cheap and has what was said to be very good adjustments. So far that seems to be true. Ten or twenty clicks on those knobs for a change in ammo and it’s right on the money.

      This rifle seems quite accurate for $370, my early groups were a few inches, but recently much smaller. Mostly I am shooting my own hand loads now which are low power. That seems to have been a help to get me started. My recent trips to the range I do shoot 1 to several rounds of Federal Gold Match just to make sure things are working, I reset the zero and confirm and then go on to trying to do something like ladder or OCW tests for my hand loads. I should do some real groups with the match ammo but I spent so much on the reloading and now casting that I am trying to stretch that match ammo as far as I can. Today I put three rounds thru one big rectangular hole at 100 yards and they were in the bullseye, so I think the rifle is working.

      One big question just to get started though is that my hand loads with Trail Boss require a correction of 1.2 mil to the right ( about 8 inches ) compared to the match ammo. I expect a correction in height, but the lateral correction really surprises me. Does that make sense or does it mean something funny is going on?

      In other news my 30 XCB mold has been shipped, I have a pile of lead coming from Rotometals and my local service station is happy to give me all their wheel weights. The Rotometals order includes the lead wire to make a pound mold and I will try to get an old friend that’s a machinist to help me. It also occurred to me that I gave him a lead brick 30 years ago for a weight and I hope he still has it! LOL.

    • #34295
      Goodsteel
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      Read my thread “Just a few tips for new rifle casters” found in the Articles section at the top of the forum. Then bring your questions.
      You’ve got the right rifle, the right scope, and the right bullet. Those are your aces and they are all in a row.
      Bear in mind, your rifle has a 1-10 twist, so 1950 is where you’re going to need to run. However, you should be shooting about 1.25″ with that setup using jacketed. Later on down the road, you might invest in a laminated stock (which will allow you to properly bed the rifle) and maybe a Rifle Basics trigger.
      Pay attention to your scope mounts. You might go take a gander at my POI shift thread and the resolution and square that with the hardware that’s holding your “lookin through” to your “bangbang”.

    • #34302
      Larry Gibson
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      Definitely on the right track with that rig…..it should be an excellent one to start with. I agree with goodsteel; read his thread as he suggested. The other thing is to look for a copy of Lyman’s #3 Cast Bullet Handbook. It’s out of print but can be found for sale at used book stores and elsewhere. As far as I’m concerned it has the best information and instructions for the new caster…..or old caster like me. I still constantly refer to my copy and I’ve been casting bullets for almost 50 years.

      You’ll get lots of good help on this forum also. Welcome aboard.

      Larry Gibson

    • #34304
      tomme boy
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      You have been given the best answer by the above two. One thing I could add. CONSISTENT. Be consistent in everything you do. Everything from your lead to sizing your brass to seating the bullet. The more consistent you are with everything the better you are going to do.

      And take notes. Write down everything. What lead mix you used to the temp of the lead while casting to how the load shot. It will save you time and money down the road. .

    • #34321
      Goodsteel
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      Tommy gives good advice.
      However, the cardinal rule that should govern any decision you make when looking for best results either casting or reloading:
      Change only one thing at a time.

      This should be the mantra you live and breath by. Do not stray from this principle.
      If you take your best guess at your first load and shoot it, the next step is to try to improve it. The worst thing you can do is change several things and hit it again with a totally different batch of ammo hoping you’ll get lucky. This is absolute guaranteed failure in the making.

    • #34329
      popper
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      Try loading some Hornady 168gr. Amax. Much less expensive and a good 308 semi-target bullet. Some H4895 powder (sae wild to mild), Win or CCI primers (I’ve heard Tula are good also but never find them here). Get trigger time, bench technique and shooting ‘style’. 22LR is good for trigger practice (expensive these days) but the recoil makes a difference. You should easily get MOA @ 100 with the Amax and then try to get the same with cast. If you get MOA witht he 22, ignore me.

    • #34331
      ZmanWakeForest
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      Larry Gibson;n15245 wrote: Definitely on the right track with that rig…..it should be an excellent one to start with. I agree with goodsteel; read his thread as he suggested. The other thing is to look for a copy of Lyman’s #3 Cast Bullet Handbook. It’s out of print but can be found for sale at used book stores and elsewhere. As far as I’m concerned it has the best information and instructions for the new caster…..or old caster like me. I still constantly refer to my copy and I’ve been casting bullets for almost 50 years.

      You’ll get lots of good help on this forum also. Welcome aboard.

      Larry Gibson

      I have one of the Lyman’s #3 Cast Bullet Handbook that needs a good home! If upinthehills needs one, I’ll ship it to him! Shoot me a PM with your address! Welcome Aboard upinthehills!!!!

    • #34342
      upinthehills
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      Zman, that’s a very nice offer. I just bought the Cast bullet Handbook #4 last week unfortunately, but thanks.

      Popper the amax do looks to be a decent amount cheaper, maybe I’ll change over to them.

      To add to the information on my rig I have a one piece aluminum base, Weaver/Piccatiny style, and the SWFA low rings. The base is taller than I expected so the scope might be just a bit higher than perfect for me. I did upgrade the stock to a Boyd’s Pro Varmint laminated stock. It’s probably the right choice, but I wanted a traditional walnut piece.

      I am reading the articles Tim wrote and did get thru the thread on POI shift. I should be able to slug my barrel in a couple of days. The pound mold may take just a bit longer, I guess I need to figure out how to dismantle my bolt and/or remove the extractor. I can find that in my manual or the Savage shooters web site.

      My mold from NOE, 310-165-FN 30XCB, came in yesterday along with the 2500+ lube. Today I’ll wash the mold and heat cycle it a few times. I hope one of my kitchen thermometers fits. Somewhere I have an extra probe or two from units that stopped working so if I’m lucky that will do the trick.

    • #34344
      ZmanWakeForest
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      upinthehills;n15300 wrote: Zman, that’s a very nice offer. I just bought the Cast bullet Handbook #4 last week unfortunately, but thanks.

      Popper the amax do looks to be a decent amount cheaper, maybe I’ll change over to them.

      To add to the information on my rig I have a one piece aluminum base, Weaver/Piccatiny style, and the SWFA low rings. The base is taller than I expected so the scope might be just a bit higher than perfect for me. I did upgrade the stock to a Boyd’s Pro Varmint laminated stock. It’s probably the right choice, but I wanted a traditional walnut piece.

      I am reading the articles Tim wrote and did get thru the thread on POI shift. I should be able to slug my barrel in a couple of days. The pound mold may take just a bit longer, I guess I need to figure out how to dismantle my bolt and/or remove the extractor. I can find that in my manual or the Savage shooters web site.

      My mold from NOE, 310-165-FN 30XCB, came in yesterday along with the 2500+ lube. Today I’ll wash the mold and heat cycle it a few times. I hope one of my kitchen thermometers fits. Somewhere I have an extra probe or two from units that stopped working so if I’m lucky that will do the trick.

      Sounds like you got it covered! I put the Lyman #3 book back up for sale elsewhere!

    • #34359
      upinthehills
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      My lead came in and I cast a small batch tonight. They look good, I’m happy to see them. I think most will be remelt, but it was good practice. I need to find a spot I don’t need to bend over so much to see under the pot. It’s a Lee bottom pour, no dripping problems yet. They are weighing around 161 gr and measuring between .311 and .312. I think it will be worth a couple more sessions of practice before I commit to how much exactly they vary in weight and dimension. This is with Lyman #2.

      I got the optional hole for a thermometer in the NOE mold. It seems to run around 375, is that a little cool?

      My lead wire came in too. It is very soft. When they cut it it appears their sheer flattens about 1 1/2″ of the wire at each end a bit. I will probably cut that part off with a chisel and use it to measure my .22. I’ll get some measurements tomorrow but will get better ones on Friday when I visit a machinist friend.

      When I slug the barrel and make the pound mold, I can put a pad under the stock. Does it make more sense to clamp the barrel in a vise between pieces of wood? It’s a thick varmint barrel. I’ll go thru Tim’s directions again before I actually do it…

    • #34362
      Goodsteel
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      375 degrees seems a bit cool to me, but each mold is a law unto itself. Most of mine run about 475-490 degrees. I wouldn’t get too wrapped around the axle with weight, and temperature just yet. As a new caster, your biggest problem is going to be learning how to pour the lead into each cavity consistently. You’ll find out that it makes a difference whether you clip the edge of the sprue hole with the stream (and which angle you do it at), the distance the stream falls from the spout, the angle of the mold, and the size of the puddle you pour on top of the sprue plate. This is a skill that must be learned by repetition.
      As to heat, watch your puddle freeze time. You want the puddle on top of the mold to stay molten for about 2-3 seconds. If you remove the mold from under the spout, and the puddle freezes immediately, then you open the mold and you’re dropping wrinkly bullets, your mold is too cool. If your puddle is staying liquid for 4 seconds and you are dropping frosty bullets, your mold is too hot. You should focus on these basic tells and learn to control them before you go diving off into mold thermometers and advanced casting tricks that are designed to dial in that enth degree of precision.

      Remember the most important part of assembling ammunition is physical consistency. Right now, I would recommend you work towards making your bullets come out looking sharp, and getting them sized correctly for your bore, and get them in your brass without damage. Don’t be bashful about shooting what you make. Get out there and shoot. Take notes, be observant, and work your way into proficiency with all the tools you have. You’ll probably find that it takes a LOT of effort to get a significant improvement over just casting and shooting.

    • #34392
      upinthehills
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      I spent some time today with a machinist friend and we slugged my rifle barrel. The slug came out just a little odd looking. I think I’ll try doing it again. We took a series of measurements ( 8 ) and dropped the largest and smallest and averaged the rest – giving .3062.

      That’s a bit smaller than I expected, but I’m glad I did it now. I’m planning on buying Lee sizing dies because they are economical and I can use them in my existing press. It appears to me the others require a special luber/sizer press? So it looks like I need a .308 sizing die. My bullets are about .312, do I need to do this sizing in 2 steps? SIze to .310 and then .308?

    • #34393
      Rattlesnake Charlie
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      First off, I do not have this bullet mold or rifle.

      As Goodsteel said, 375 for mold temperature seems a bit low. And, might try to up alloy temperature to see if you cannot get as-cast bullets to drop a bit smaller. Might even try upping the percentage of lead in the alloy.

      Use what you have for sizing dies now. If it will chamber, you are good to shoot even if larger than .308. Each rifle has their own preferences, and yours may shoot will with sized bullets at .310, maybe even larger. I have often found that cast bullet nose diameter has more to do with it. You don’t want a bullet whose nose flops around in the chamber leade. But, some have tight leades and won’t chamber all cast bullet noses. Marlin .30-30 almost always require a bullet with a smaller nose diameter than Winchester 94’s, as an example.

      As for sizing down from .312 to .308 in one or two passes, it depends on bullet hardness, sizing die smoothness, lubrication, and press leverage. With a soft bullet, and polished die, good lube, and a press with good leverage, no problem. Anything less,and will, your mileage may vary. BTW, when you size down a bullet considerably you will find the lube grooves will hold less lube. With a good lube this will likely not be a problem. Old mixes like NRA alox, things might be different.

      Try with as large from “as-cast” to start with. Proceed from there.

      For the “experimentation” on bullet fit and function, I suggest using cases that have been full length sized and have no primer or powder. I even drill holes through the case to further show it is not a “live” round. I have quite a few of these “test cartridges” of these from previous adventures. Go easy when chambering these experimental rounds, and don’t get overly excited if you get one stuck. It happens. Lubing the bullet a bit before chambering will make extraction easier. And, with a “test cartridge” with no powder or primer you will feel much better using that stout cleaning rod and jag to move things along. If a hammer is required, heavier is better as light fast strikes produce more of a “riveting” effect causing the bullet to expand in the chamber. The heavy and slow hammer provides more of a “push”.

    • #34394
      upinthehills
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      I don’t have any sizing dies yet, I’ve been waiting until I slugged my barrel. So will need to decide what to buy, and trying to resist buying before I know what I need.

      It seems easy enough to try and chamber one of the current bullets I’ve made, I’ll go slow and give it a try with an empty cartridge.

      I was surprised how cold the mold was running. I think I will be a bit quicker from practice next session and I will bump up the temperature a good bit too. I think the temperature was high 600’s, I will try over 700 next time. Because I intended the last run ( my first ) to be complete practice I put sprues and bad bullets back in the pot as I went. I see now that some of the imperfections look like they were cause by small specs of solid material. So I won’t do that next time.

    • #34401
      popper
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      Look for the NOE sizers (309,310,311 & the body die)+ the Lee expander. Use a tad of H2O for lube – it won’t contaminate the boolits and works, doesn’t allow the die to lead up + is cheap. I don’t drop sprue into the melt as it pulls ‘stuff’ from the top down to the valve. Don’t know about Savage but 306 sounds small. Did the slug glide smooth once in the barrel – look for tightness at either end of the barrel & you did oil it, right? 309, 310 should fit the throat, where it counts.

    • #34405
      Goodsteel
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      I have a hard time believing you have a .306 barrel. The way to slug a barrel is to pound the slug into the muzzle with a mallet and use a punch to push the slug into the bore leaving a ring of lead at the muzzle. If there is no ring of lead, you won’t get the right size. The slug should be a tight fit all the way down the barrel (which does need to be well oiled). The slug needs to be measured with a micrometer.

    • #34409
      Larry Gibson
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      I wouldn’t waste any time slugging the barrel because it is what it is and the throat is the important dimension to size the bullet to. Unless I do it just out of curiosity I have not slugged a 30 caliber commercial barrel for years. With commercial chambering’s, especially in .308W I size the bullet .311. If the bullet drops less than .311 I size as cast. I have tested numerous sizing from .308 to .314 in several .308Ws and 30-06s over the years (commercial and military) and a cast bullet .310 to .311 always performs best. Just learn to cast excellent bullets. You have the right mould, excellent alloy and a good pot. Now it just will take some time and practice to cast excellent bullets. Good bullets will come easy but the excellent ones takes proper technique, practice and patience.

      Larry Gibson

    • #34410
      upinthehills
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      I did all those things except for oiling the barrel. We cut a small ring of material off the slug that was being left behind after it was 1/8″ of inch into the barrel. The slug was a tight fit at the muzzle but a bit looser some spots on the way down. The lead wire measures .312+ with my caliper, I didn’t measure that at the shop.

      My friend thought I could try again and work harder at upsetting the lead slug by using the long rod up inside the muzzle and pounding on it a bit with the slug and a shorter dowel after it get down a few inches of barrel to a looser spot. He also thought the rifling was shallow.

      It was nice doing this at a shop with real tools. He beveled the leading edge of the slug on his lathe and then he faced and beveled the aluminum rod that I cut 6″ off, so I had a small piece to start the slug and a longer one to push it the rest of the way down the bore. Probably took him a whole 2 minutes with his setup.

      The 1/4″ rod worked it’s way about .2″ inches into the back of the slug. The bore diameter measure .300 with my caliper and my caliper also measures the groove diameter at .306 and also measures my case gauge correctly. So the caliper is accurate and I understand it’s not as good as a micrometer.

      So I think I’ll make another slug by pounding on it at the muzzle end with a rod behind it. This one I won’t push all the way thru. I’ll make another one and push that thru. There are some odd marks in the grooves on the slug, almost like there is a spot in the barrel with some extra rifle lands. I thought the slug might have skipped a half groove in a loose part of the barrel, but my friend thought I was kind of an idiot… 🙂 ( just the expression on his face ) The marks on the slug are sharp everywhere so no smearing like it was being held on the aluminum rod too firmly to rotate. I’ll also try for a pound cast of the chamber, but don’t know yet how to remove the extractor claw.

    • #34416
      upinthehills
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      Larry and Popper, I missed your replies earlier. I’ll move on to the chamber pound cast. Popper, I’m embarressed I forgot the oil on even the 2nd slug I made. I don’t think the soft lead caused any damage though. The second slug came out nice anyway, perhaps the first one would have come out better with oil, I don’t know.

    • #34424
      upinthehills
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      I made my first chamber pound cast. To do a better job I need to shorten my dowel so it’s only a little longer than the barrel. It came out to .306 also. It does show a small ring around the base where it meets the cartridge. This ring is .040″ inches long (cartridge neck diameter) and at least or just a bit more of that is beveled at about a 45 degree angle. Following this is a band .090 long that does measure .308. After that it is .306. Sorry the picture is not very good, my laptop is having trouble with this, maybe I can get a better picture in the sunlight.

      It seems Lee does not make a .310 size die, but they have .308, .309, .311 and .314. I’m thinking I will get the .309 and maybe also the .311? They are $20, so not so bad. Any other votes for what sizes I should get?

    • #34429
      Goodsteel
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      You need a micrometer.

    • #34435
      upinthehills
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      OK, I’ll buy a micrometer. It’s not going to give a different answer than my machinist’s micrometer. My dial caliper measured my Wilson case gauge at 2.150″, a hole standard of 0.65006″ at 0.65, a Nosler bullet a .307 and a Sierra bullet at .308, I don’t think it’s having a big accuracy problem. It’s possible I am, but the 2nd slug I made came out very nice looking – it didn’t go the full length of the barrel but our problem is they seem too small not too big…

      Sometimes you have to try to make progress even when things are being a pain. It will take a week for the sizing dies to arrive with standard shipping and it seems there are only three sizes, I can buy all the sizes for less than a micrometer. Are there other die choices that don’t require buying another press?

    • #34439
      Goodsteel
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      I would humbly submit to you that when slugging a barrel, there is no way to accidentally get a LARGER slug. Also, calipers are faulty, a d you need a measurement that is +-.0002.
      pardon my scepticism, but if your groove diameter is .306, that is a VERY rare barrel. I just can’t help.being a little suspicious of your numbers.

      That said, if you are confident that your readings are correct, then a .308 bullet will be just about perfect.

    • #34447
      upinthehills
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      My slugs are all about 3/4″ long. If I make them shorter, they will expand with more pressure. My collection of slugs will get more numerous and I’ll mail you one or two. Maybe that will make a difference.

      My machinist got .3061 .3059 .3062 .3059 .3066 .3068 .3063 .3064, we dropped the highest and lowest and then took an average. If we had known how surprising this result was we would have worked harder on getting good measurements. How much would the lead expand from holding it in your hand making it warm? The shop was probably about 60 degrees.

    • #34461
      Rattlesnake Charlie
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      Use your calipers to measure a loaded factory round right at the neck. Post results.

    • #34472
      upinthehills
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      Hi Rattlesnake, not sure if you mean the bullet or the cartridge, but I’ll give you both. A Federal Gold Match 168gr measures just under .308, but more than .3075. The case neck measures .3375.

      I ordered a micrometer yesterday, local stores only had digital models available but I figured the mechanical type will last forever and I hope one of my kids learns to use it and keeps it.

      I have figured out some more things about what’s going on here. I’m sorry this part of the thread has become a bit of a soap opera. Using a lead wire makes sense but it costs half as much as a lead ingot. My wire was 5/16″ and in oder to make sure you get it to upset well and make good contact with the bore, you need to back it up against something and pound it a bit before you push it thru. The wire is unlikely to be perfectly straight, my first slug only registers the rifling all the around at one end of it. This despite that it left a ring of metal around the muzzle after it went in. You could also use 3/8″ wire for a .308, but that will make creating a chamber cast more difficult unless you melt the extra wire into a bullet mold. I just used a piece of wire for the chamber mold, but I had to squeeze it with a pliers to shrink it a bit.

      My first slug also shows something that looks like a couple of extra rifling lands and these don’t show up on the chamber pound cast or the slug that stayed within a few inches of the muzzle, I think that made measuring it more difficult and accounts for the variation when my machinist friend was taking his measurements.

      I don’t really enjoy pounding on my rifle this way but don’t think I’m hurting it. I’ll make one more slug – I’ll try to get gas caps on both sides of it and pound it against a long dowel after it goes in the bore and then pound it all the way thru to the chamber. I’ll also use a shorter piece of wire about 1/2″ long.

    • #34476
      Rattlesnake Charlie
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      I was looking to see if your dial calipers were off when compared to a known standard. I just measured the bullet from a box of Federal Gold Medal 168 gr BTHP just ahead of the case mouth. .308 here too. It looks like we can rule out the error from using your calipers.

    • #34480
      upinthehills
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      I ordered the Lee .308 sizing die, we’ll see wether there are any issues with trying to size the bullet in one step.

      I am curious if the short height of the rifling on my barrel will change the RPM threshold that I can shoot these bullets. If the rifling is %25 shorter that should mean it also has %25 less grip to spin the bullet.

      Tim, would you like me to mail you the better of the slugs I made? Perhaps it’s a curiosity for you to collect to understand how your bullet performs…

    • #34482
      Goodsteel
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      I’d be totally willing to corroborate your findings if you would like to send it.
      MBT
      427 Clinton Road
      Conway Arkansas
      72032

      As to the “shallower rifling” (I assume you measured the bore with pin gauges to substantiate this? Could it be that the bore is equally undersized?) I doubt it would have a measurable effect on the RPMTH. I used deep groove rifling for some of the XCB rifles, and I noted absolutely no measurable improvement. It would be interesting to find out!

    • #34495
      upinthehills
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      Thanks, it might take a day for me to figure out how to send it without it looking like a piece of road kill when it gets there.

      My first thought was that the short rifling grooves might affect the grip on the bullet, and if there were no grooves there would be no grip. The limit though might be the shear strength. That would come from how wide the grooves are more than how deep. This would be why, I guess, the grooves are wider than the lands – more material to provide the grip.

      I’m thinking of referring to my rifle as a BAR – Barely A Rifle… We’ll see what you think when you see the slug.

    • #34497
      Rattlesnake Charlie
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      The “bubbles” are likely from oil that was in the muffin pans. It might also have been a non-stick coating that was disintegrating due to the high heat as it was the last of the casting. Just guessing.

    • #34501
      Mike F H
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      I have the same thing with ingots in a small muffin tin,some on the sides as well,may be air bubbles,I am not loosing any sleep over it.
      Mike

    • #34545
      Goodsteel
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      No problem. Happens whenever you have an ingot mold sitting on a cold surface, or in standing water which is not a good idea BTW.

    • #34547
      upinthehills
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      I’ll work on finishing some better ingot molds, so no more standing water.

      Forthe life of me I can’t find my nice barrel slug to send you. I fear I was holding when I went around the house looking for a little box or packing materials. It doesn’t seem to be on my desk with everything else I’ve worked on in the last 6 months. Sigh… I did get the micrometer and took a picture of the slug being measured at .306 exactly. Hardly seems worth uploading though. The other slugs just didn’t come out that well. trying to use lead wire to shove a gas check into the barrel was a pretty bad idea, you were probably laughing at that. FOr lead wire so close to the size of the barrel you need to pound it from both directions to get a good fit, that’s why my first slug didn’t give consistent numbers.

      I got my Lee .308 sizing die in and have tried a few bullets. I’m getting mixed results and ran out of time till later tonight. The first one came out well, the others not so good. The bullets are Lyman#2 from 3 days ago. I don’t think the Lyman#2 age hardens? The die in normal use uses the next bullet to complete the push on the previous one. That isn’t working and it’s really flattening out the bullet tip. My first bullet I pushed thru with the short dowel I used making my barrel slug. I may make some more little spacers .5″ long from that material to push my bullets thru one at a time. I could at least shoot a few while I’m still practicing making bullets.

      So doing the sizing, I’m getting flat tips on bullets, deep impressions on the gas check and one bullet clearly had a slight copper ring buried in the end of the ogive from the previous bullets gas check. I’m using hand applied bees wax and also Unique case lube to lube before I press. Maybe I should start practicing with the White Label 2500 and apply that first?

      I also found one bullet with a bit of frosting all around the middle and sharp edges that also had a small air pocket where the sprue was cut. Maybe pouring too quickly trapped a bit of air?

      Lee sells .309 and .311 sizer dies but no .310 which would be a nice middle step. Does it seem sensible to buy a .309 and sand the inside just a bit with fine emery cloth? The bullets are measuring about .312″. About because I should measure several at several points. They are very slightly out of round, less than .001″.

    • #34548
      popper
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      Screw the die down into the press farther to get the boolit pushed out of the sizing area. The lock ring might not work. Lee goes all the way from 308 to 311, I have all of them. They may not be exactly what they say for your alloy. The NOE stuff is right on, actually less $ for many sizes as the basic tool is primary. Inserts are cheap. For some reason Lee gets used most. Use water to lube the boolits for sizing, keeps the die from leading up. Doesn’t take much and just every few boolits. Leaded die leaves streaks on the sides, good will just be shiny. Yes, #2 does age harden, air cooled takes about a week. WD is about half week most of it in the first couple days. slight copper ring buried in the end of the ogive is GC getting cut – need to polish the entrance of the die.

    • #34549
      upinthehills
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      I thought they made a .310 too, but I even checked the Lee website and no luck. I saw your earlier comment about the NOE sizer but couldn’t figure out if I needed a luber press or what parts to get, so I went with the Lee. Now maybe I need to rethink that.

      I’ll also try sizing on some freshly cast bullets, maybe that will help too.

      Popper did you see my pointer on metalic glasses?
      Thanks.

    • #34552
      upinthehills
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      I got a chance late tonight to take another look at this. Some of my problems are coming from having a sort of temporary setup. The press is mounted to a table with C clamps and the table is nt really a heavy workbench. My press is an unusual RCBS that works like an arbor press with the handle on top and the die moves down to a stationary cartridge. It works well with my Wolson dies that are not threaded.

      Anyway, if I adjust the Lee sizing die up and down for each bullet I can do a sizing in 2 or 3 strokes. I don’t think Lee intends for the bullet to be used to push the previous piece thru the die. So my issues are setting the height properly and maybe a heavier duty press would work better. For the moment I am OK and sized 20 bullets tonight. That means at least I can launch something which will make me feel like I’m making progress.

      Now I need to figure my neck sizing and seating depth. Actually I did a quick initial check and the bolt was able to force the bullet into the case until it closed. There are six very small rifling marks on the bullet and a very small scuff on one side from the chamber wall. The scuff mark is .050 above the case mouth and COAL length is about 1/4″ shorter than a factory round – 2.54″. The bottom of the gas cap would be just below the beginning of where the cartridge necks down. I don’t think there is a problem here, but wanted to describe where I am. I will double check more tomorrow.

      I am happy the bullet seems to be engaging all the rifling lands evenly.

    • #34553
      Goodsteel
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      upinthehills;n15600 wrote: My press is an unusual RCBS that works like an arbor press with the handle on top and the die moves down to a stationary cartridge.

      If this is anything other than the Summit, I’d love to see a picture of it!!!

    • #34568
      upinthehills
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      It’s a Summit, I had to go back to their website to check the name, I get it confused with Supreme…

      I loaded up 12 rounds after seating them .013 deeper than my dummy round was I chambered it. These look like they just touch 1 or two rifle lands… We finally have some nice weather so I hope to see them fly this afternoon.

    • #34619
      upinthehills
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      Wrote a long response here and the internets ate it.

      I did manage to shoot a few of my new cast bullets. My results where mixed, but I think it’s mostly me. I shot some match ammo too and didn’t do nearly as well as I did at the beginning of the winter. It’s frustrating, I have a lot to learn and suspect I don’t even hold my rifle consistently.

      I was next to a fellow at the range who was shooting cast and had been for many years. He was curious what I was shooting for a bullet and when I showed him my cartridge he thought I might have a problem with the gas check so deep into the case. My COAL is 2.532″, which does put the GC a ways back.

      Lubing them was an adventure, despite the years of education I received from Moe, Larry and Curly I probably embarrassed them completely – “Every time you think you weaken the nation” comes to mind. I’ll look for the directions Tim gave on dip lubing for next time. My lube grooves are very shallow after sizing to .308 and I’m afraid to wipe the bullet too much in that area because of removing the lube from in the groove. It builds up in my seating die though…

    • #34621
      Mike F H
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      Lube the bullets before sizing,that will stop the grooves from collapsing.

    • #34622
      Mike F H
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      Having just re read your earlier posts,I see that you were lubeing before sizing,if the grooves are completely full of lubricant,they shouldn’t collapse.In my opinion I would enlarge the diameter of the die and give it a good polish.

    • #34627
      Mike F H
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      Upinthehills,
      pleased things are getting better for you.

    • #34733
      Goodsteel
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      If I were you, I would seat the gas check first without sizing. Then I would lube lightly with Johnsons past wax and crimp the checks in place by pushing throug a .309-.310 die.
      Then I would dip lube the bullets so that you are using the minimum amount of lube necessary to fill the grooves without removing the paste wax from the previous operation, THEN size to your final dimension.

    • #34734
      Larry Gibson
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      Probably missed it but;

      What diameter are your bullets cast of #2 dropping at?

      You are trying to size .308 or .309 in Lee sizers?

      You are seating, crimping the GC while sizing?

      Larry Gibson

    • #34737
      upinthehills
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      I’ll look again for Johnson’s paste wax, didn’t find it the first couple of places I looked.

      That is pretty close to what I am finally doing now. I have always tried to seat the checks, about 90%-95% of the time that works. With the minimal lubing during sizing, even if the seating happens during the sizing – the check is still up tight against the base and there is just a narrow lube groove there.

      The minimal lubing is enough to partially fill the top groove and also the bottom groove, it seems the check since it is about .320″ collects a little extra lube. There is basically no lube in the center grooves. The most recent step I have added is to carefully clean the grooves between the initial sizing and the 2nd pass thru to fill the grooves with 2500. Now I have clean wax in the grooves and looking with a 10x magnifier you can see the grooves are full and the body is mostly clean.

    • #34740
      Rattlesnake Charlie
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      I most recently found JPW at Ace Hardware.

    • #34741
      upinthehills
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      Hi Larry, I missed your reply while posting the above.

      You have the basic details right. My bullets are cast from #2 and drop at .312 plus a 10th or two. I am sizing to .308 because I seem to have managed to acquire a Savage Model 12 with a .306″ groove diameter.

      I am seating the GC by hand and then crimping an sizing in one step. Doing the lube properly for this has turned out to be more important than I thought. First I tried Unique case lube because it was on my bench. It seems slippery on your fingers but was a complete failure. It was very difficult to force the bullet thru the die and it seems like it changed the shape. The bullet was shiny from being sized in front of the first lube groove and the grooves appeared very small because the bullet was compressed.

      Then I moved to using the 2500 as a lube for sizing, I was hoping lube in the grooves would preserve their size. This made sizing much, much easier – an amazing amount actually. From needing most of my bodyweight to something I could do with one hand while doing something else with the other. It caused the gas check to crimp much lower on the bullet though.

      Now I am minimally lubing and then crimping ans sizing followed by coating the bullet and going thru the same sizing die again to fill the grooves and remove the excess.

      I guess my last question is that I think my grooves might be smaller than intended. I don’t know what size they really should be. The NOE blueprint shows a bullet sized .310, but maybe that is intended to show the shape after sizing?

    • #34836
      Goodsteel
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      A very good start. I’m actually quite jealous. It took me YEARS of shooting to figure out how to do what you’ve accomplished in just a short period of time with a little help.
      I do believe you’ll cut both those groups by 20% with additional practice and trigger time. Speaking of triggers, you’re shooting well enough to justify a custom if you feel like putting the money into it. Rifle basics, Timney or Jard are shop favorites and don’t cost much. You would also see a benefit from proper stress free bedding (follow the instructions at http://www.erniethegunsmith.com/ for an excellent tutorial that pretty much sums up my methods here exactly.)

      As to shooting copper and cast interchangeably, I don’t expect you’ll have much problem using the loads you describe. The main issue when shooting cast and jacketed is that if you are listening to a bunch of folks who advocate shooting over the RPMTH you’re going to get leading that is VERY difficult to remove because the leading will stick to the copper fouling like glue.
      In your case, you are not damaging your bullets at all (obviously) and I would advocate thorough cleaning after every range trip. 50 patches at least, and take it easy on the copper brush.

      Stick to quality patches (like Montana X-treme) and push them till they come out clean as a whistle. This will help your copper fouling to work WITH you and not against you. Those Savage barrels are pretty rough from the factory with lots of tooling marks. After you push 1000 patches through that barrel (this really doesn’t take long if you’re doing it right) you’ll notice the patches are getting much easier to push through. What you are doing is honing down the sharp edges, polishing the flats, keeping the copper off the most “impressive” parts of the rifling, and letting it build up in the low areas, and you’re precision will greatly increase as you clean, and copper fowling will get to be less and less as you are no longer shooting your bullets through an inside-out cheese grater.

      Things to be careful of:
      Use a good quality rod, and either learn to push it so you don’t touch the throat (impossible with some rifles) or use a bore guide.
      Use a good, tight fitting jag. You need to have to push hard to get the darn thing through the barrel, but not so hard that the rod buckles in the bore. You need a TIGHT patch.
      Be very gentle pulling the jag back through the barrel, because it will peen your crown if you bump it on the crown 50,000 times. Some advocate unscrewing it, and reinstalling before pushing the next patch, then repeating so it never touches the crown. I don’t personally do this, but you follow your own conscience.
      Don’t waste your money on expensive cleaning stuff. My personal favorites are Ed’s Red, Kroil, or a quart bottle of Hoppes No.9 (although, the modern stuff is nowhere near as great as the old formula, and I don’t think it’s any better than anything else (the patches make the biggest difference). Regardless, you’re not looking to REMOVE copper from your barrel per se. You’re just trying to smooth it out, and keep attacking the problem at its root which is rough rifling, and you want to do so GENTLY so you don’t lose your precision. Many many shooters have called me complaining that their factory rifles suddenly started shooting like garbage, and usually the reason is they read online that precision would increase if they just removed all traces of copper with Sweets 7.62 etc etc. This is foolish. Do not do that, and if you do, consider it a brand new barrel that must be “broken in” all over again, including all the patches and shooting. You’re in a good spot here, so ride that wave of precision, and don’t screw it up.

      Just keep shooting and pushing patches and you’ll have a very controlled shooting experience that will last a long time.

    • #34837
      popper
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      With the ‘upside down’ press IMO the GC is not on finger tight and when you place the boolit in the press it drops down, GC is slightly lifted off and gets crimped ‘high’. With a regular press the boolit weight holds the GC in place. Don’t know what GC you are using, annealing them may help. You appear to be sizing down a lot, a large sizer dia. for the first pass may help. At the load you are using you could just TL with alox and use unique for powder.

    • #34848
      upinthehills
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      Popper, I think I didn’t describe the press well. It’s like an arbor press and the die mounts on the moving part and goes downward to the bullet. The bullet is supported on a .3″ shaft that fits in the shell holder. There is a lot of pressure holding the cap to the base as the bullet is sized. I have some more interesting pictures that show the change in shape of the lube groove. I’d like to wait a couple of days before going back into that subject though, I just have other questions I need to ask now.

      Tim, I really appreciate your and the other members help. I think from pictures you are much larger than me so I will say I am standing on the shoulders of giants. 🙂 I will do another batch of groups with some more powder charge changes.

      I just got an invitation to a centerfire egg shoot at another local club. It’s on Sunday so not much time to get ready. I’d like to use the 30XCB because this event requires hitting 3 or 4 eggs in 90 seconds, one shot per egg. The mild 30XCB load is a lot easier for me to shoot than the match ammo so I can stay on target better. The eggs are at 50, 75, 100 and 150 yards so I need to work out the ballistics, up till now I have only shot 100 yards. I have a scope with mil reticle and mil turrets.

      Does anyone know a good guess on the muzzle velocity with 25 gr and 27 gr of H4895 with the 30XCB ( I have ruled out 26 gr so far )? I will look for Larry Gibson’s posts but not sure how long it takes to find that, I have seen it though. I think I can use JBM ballistics to do this if I remember how to answer all the questions. I can probably even guess the muzzle velocity if I do a good job of sighting in at 2 distances or maybe comparing to Federal match ammo.

    • #34889
      popper
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      For 308W probably 1400 fps. Use a ballistics cal to figure drop for your load, sight the scope for jacketed and leave it there, use scope dots to find POA/POI. Your L.G. are 8 thou. deep, max. You shouldn’t be shearing lead, just moving it. Sized surface should be shiny with no streaks – that’s a leaded sizer. Like Tim says, install GC with a larger sizer to crimp then lube & size. Actually at that fps BLL or LLA/Recluse tumble lube should work fine. You are sizing down quite a bit and the L.G. probably doesn’t have much left. From your pic and the mould dwg, there is a problem Bore rider is supposed to be same dia. as the bands. Did you specify it that way? The tight bore and large throat are an extra problem.

    • #34893
      Goodsteel
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      upinthehills;n16081 wrote: The match did not go well for me, it was an epic fail. There was no chance to do any sighting shots and I couldn’t see any of my impacts, so I think the scope was not sighted in. My last trip to the range was very busy and lots of people there, people waiting in line etc. so I think I lost rack of what I was doing and left the range with my scope set who knows where. I am at a point now where actually taking notes will be good for me.

      This week I hope to get there again and will repeat my earlier test a couple of times, it’s possible I had a lucky group I posted above. It doesn’t count unless you can repeat it over and over.

      My trigger is the varmint model so it seems pretty light to me. Honestly some percentage of the rounds going downrange surprise me for real. I’m trying to figure out the pillar and stock bedding stuff. I think I understand what the “stress-free” bedding is about, but I have some nagging doubts. One area is that if the wood is changing dimensions from humidity, having metal bonded to it or even just epoxy can be a problem. The pillars may not be stressing the action, but they sure will stress the stock. Do people ever see stress cracks in the wood around the bedding work?

      I like what Sgt. Mike had done with using a pillow block to mount the barrel to the stock. That should give a stress free action! I wonder a bit about the need for a stress free action though, within limits of course. It seems the only issue is that the bolt face is properly aligned. How much does the weight of the barrel distort the action? Or firing for that matter?

      OK, before I start this next subject I want to say my hobby is target shooting it is not lubing bullets. I think I am settling on a method that is working for me. I observed during this adventure that the lube I use makes a difference not just in how easy it is to force the bullet thru the die, but it also affects the shape of the bullet or most obviously the marks on the bullet from sizing.

      What I have found on my most recent go around on this is that if I lube the bullet well enough it sizes from over .312″ to .308″ without the lead touching the die. You can see there are no marks o the bullet or just minimal touching. The bullet is not shiny after going thru the die. When doing this the effort to push the bullet thru is much reduced and since there is no cutting of the metal there are no debris in the grooves. I then can run the bullet thru again to crimp the gas check. The bullet is already sized so again no debris in the grooves. I’ve included a picture to show two bullets run thru the die, one with just a bit of lube and the other well lubed.

      The reason I was using minimal lube is that the gas check was being forced to crimp very low on the bullet when lube got into the gas check crimp area. You can see with the well lubed bullet that the groove area shape is preserved by the hydraulic pressure of the lube. The pressure is so high that when the lube got into the GC crimp area it was able to lift the bullet up into the die faster and cause this low crimp. This was happening even when a lot of force was being used on the press, like having to hold the table down with one hand while operating the press level with the other. When the bullet is well lubed it goes thru the press like a wet bar of soap, easily down with light pressure on the lever.

      Also started weighing the bullets. Put them in columns on a sheet of graph paper and culled out all the ones on the edges of the bell curve. Plenty more work to do to get better at casting…

      I’m not a fan of culling bullets.
      I think if you were to shoot the culled bullets next to the unculled bullets, you would see little difference between them. But if you improve your casting technique so that the bell curve is significantly smaller (ie: no bullets to cull), and shoot those bullets against the ones you have culled just now, you will indeed see a very pronounced difference.

    • #34900
      upinthehills
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      Popper writes:

      Your L.G. are 8 thou. deep, max. You shouldn’t be shearing lead, just moving it. Sized surface should be shiny with no streaks – that’s a leaded sizer. Like Tim says, install GC with a larger sizer to crimp then lube & size. Actually at that fps BLL or LLA/Recluse tumble lube should work fine. You are sizing down quite a bit and the L.G. probably doesn’t have much left. From your pic and the mould dwg, there is a problem Bore rider is supposed to be same dia. as the bands. Did you specify it that way? The tight bore and large throat are an extra problem.

      I’m not sure how much lead is being sheared, but the lube is dirty looking if the lead is shiny, so I assume some lead is going into the lube. Does the lead need to be shiny after sizing? Maybe with the lube protecting the bullet i am getting bullets out of round according to how the thickness of the lube is distributed around the bullet. I’ll have to try and measure for that by cleaning off the lube with mineral spirits or something. I think the heavily lubed bullet has preserved the size and shape of the lube groove.

      I’m not sure about the comment about dwg and pictures. The bore rider part is not shiny in the pictures because of the lube applied. When I sized the bullets with Hornady Unique case lube they were shiny in the bore rider area, if I understand the terms here. This is what clued me into trying to lube the whole bullet with the heavier lube. I think what I am doing now is working, unless I have out of round bullets now. With the Unique case lube it was so hard to get the bullets thru the die that I had to reset the height at least 3 times to get each bullet to cam thru the die. Now they just pop thru easily.

      I also seem to be getting less copper scrap from the GC embedded in the following bullet, that’s an extra benefit. I think that’s because the GC crimping is happening after the sizing so the scrap is not being forced into the lead by sizing.

      Tim, I did the weighing and culling as a way to grade my casting. I think what you are saying about improving casting is the right thing. I do wonder about the couple of bullets at the extremes, they must have had a story to tell…

      I’ve been reading Larry Gibson’s posts and am wondering about a choice for a slower powder. I’ve read a good amount, enough for all the pointless controversy to leave me with a churning stomach, but still am unsure of the upshot. I will buy another canister of H4895, should I also buy some Reloader 19 or 22? The 19 seem to have good results for him, but I don’t think I have got to the end of these threads yet, I have read at least a couple dozen pages of it though…

      My Trail Boss has not done so well yet, but it is a very fast powder. I may be able to find the different RPM thresholds for each powder soon, but want to know of a slow powder to try…

    • #34901
      popper
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      30xcb is supposed to be 310 bands and nose but your pic shows the drive bands sized but not the nose., except you are sizing down from 312? Are you intentionally NOT sizing the nose? That would indicate you have 309 in the case, 312 in the throat and a 306 bore? Did you give the max dia of slug? Only number that means anything. Yes, sized lead should be shiny without any tear streaks which would indicate a leaded sizer. There is no RPM threshold for any powder, it’s the twist and fps of the boolit that determines the boolit stability

    • #34902
      upinthehills
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      In the picture above both bullets were sized, when the whole bullet is lubed with 2500+, there are no sizing marks put on it. The bullet with sizing marks just on the bands is because I did put some lube on it, but mostly the top. The lube fills the first groove as the bullet goes thru the die and then you get metal to metal contact. The slug diameter was .306″, I just checked my chamber cast again and got .3058″ – .3059″.

      I see what the NOE blueprint says, but what I am getting on my bands is .312″+, it does measure the right amount on the gas check area, .287″. SO perhaps he is allowing a little extra so it can be sized to .310″ and then match the blueprint.

      It appeared to me from what Larry Gibson had wrote that a slower powder allows the bullet to retain accuracy to a higher FPS. It’s painful reading on that forum and I haven’t found all the threads yet, so maybe I got that wrong. I have a 10 twist so I am running pretty slow now, when I got to 28 gr of H4985, some of my bullets were not showing up on the target anymore…

    • #34913
      Goodsteel
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      upinthehills;n16110 wrote: In the picture above both bullets were sized, when the whole bullet is lubed with 2500+, there are no sizing marks put on it. The bullet with sizing marks just on the bands is because I did put some lube on it, but mostly the top. The lube fills the first groove as the bullet goes thru the die and then you get metal to metal contact. The slug diameter was .306″, I just checked my chamber cast again and got .3058″ – .3059″.

      I see what the NOE blueprint says, but what I am getting on my bands is .312″+, it does measure the right amount on the gas check area, .287″. SO perhaps he is allowing a little extra so it can be sized to .310″ and then match the blueprint.

      It appeared to me from what Larry Gibson had wrote that a slower powder allows the bullet to retain accuracy to a higher FPS. It’s painful reading on that forum and I haven’t found all the threads yet, so maybe I got that wrong. I have a 10 twist so I am running pretty slow now, when I got to 28 gr of H4985, some of my bullets were not showing up on the target anymore…

      I am certain that Larry was saying no such thing.

      Let me try to simplify this for you:
      The RPMTH is determined by your rifling twist rate and the speed of your projectile. Any powder you use to cross that point will turn your groups into shotgun blasts or worse (if you don’t see it at 100, just back the target up and you’ll see things starting to open up much faster than they should at 200, 300, etc etc etc).
      So you have a speed you must stay under. The next trick is to find a powder that will give you a good consistent burn at that speed.
      If you go too fast, you’re going to have extra space in your case, and an uneven ignition.
      If you go too slow, you’re going to have unburnt powder in your barrel and extremely inconsistent burn which will open your groups downrange.
      So it’s a very thin line you are walking, and truthfully, nothing will give you much better results that what you have already experienced. If you could reduce case capacity, you would put yourself in a different class of powders and you would be able to get a good burn at these speeds. You see, each cartridge is meant to run at about 50,000 PSI, and the powders are designed to burn correctly in that approximate pressure. The speed you are supposed to get from that cartridge is determined by the case capacity behind the bullet, and when you go messing with the equation by reducing the speed drastically while maintaining the same case capacity, you quickly find that there are just so many powders that can work in that scenario.

      On the other hand, you see that using a 1-12 twist allows you to push faster, the powder burns better at that higher pressure, and your groups shrink. Go 1-14, and you can almost load it like you would for jacketed bullets, giving the powder a solid 40,000+PSI to work with, buuuuuuuuuuuttttttt now you have a cast bullet specific rifle unless you stick with the shortest jacketed bullets which are not the first choice for precision shooting. In other words, you’re pendulum has swung the completely other way, and you’re back in a rifle that works only with a certain kind of projectile.

      Personally, I feel that 1-12 is the most versatile twist rate in a 308. It allows excellent performance with <175 grain jacketed bullets, but also allows heavy cast bullets to be shot very well indeed.
      On either side of it reside a bias toward one style bullet or the other. 1-10 is going to give you real problems finding a consistent load with common powders (very easily done, but the pickings are slim and have been mentioned here already) , then there’s 1-14 which will let you take that cartridge to 2700FPS using the 30XCB or 311466 bullets or similar, but which will often throw 175+ grain jacketed bullets through the target sideways.

      The powder is determined by the twist rate only indirectly as it pertains to the speed you are able to shoot precisely and consistently with that particular twist rate.
      You simply cannot forget that the powder needs PRESSURE to burn correctly, and when you’re only shooting 1850FPS, a slow powder just isn’t going to cut the mustard.

    • #43872
      Mike F H
      Participant
      • Bronze
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      Nothing to add to the discussion at present.I am testing access to the forum as I haven’t been able to get in or see any new material for probably a week.
      Mike F H.

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