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You fellas ought to pay attention to gggnoah's teachings.

BHN is nowhere near as important as bullet fit. I shoot 30:1 alloy from a number of guns w/zero leading. I shoot a home brew alloy that approximates wheel weight hardness in the 2100-2200 fps range from a .30-30....no leading. Hardcast is a marketing term, and has little to do with reality.

Spend a little time and dive into this pile of info: http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm


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Fit is it.

Frankly you can run them pretty soft or 30 plus BHN if you get the fit and finish down. The harder stuff is generally safer as PSI's go up.



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I also believe strongly in the fit of the bullet to throat chambers, both in terms of accuracy and avoiding leading.

Many years ago - 1970s - I had a superbly accurate S&W 29-2, which was superbly accurate with bullets made from pure linotype in a Lyman 429421 mold, with 22 gr/2400 (the older, somewhat slower 2400…don’t try this load with modern 2400). Bullets sizes to the throats at .432”, no leading. I attribute this more to the sizing of the bullet than the hardness.

The gun loosened up and accuracy degraded at about 15,000 rounds of these loads and I sold the gun. Wish I had it back. As an aside, if somebody knows the whereabouts of #N403663, I’d pay a premium to get it back!

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Originally Posted by DigitalDan
You fellas ought to pay attention to gggnoah's teachings.

BHN is nowhere near as important as bullet fit. I shoot 30:1 alloy from a number of guns w/zero leading. I shoot a home brew alloy that approximates wheel weight hardness in the 2100-2200 fps range from a .30-30....no leading. Hardcast is a marketing term, and has little to do with reality.

Spend a little time and dive into this pile of info: http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm

DD, read your link which was interesting. In no way was I trying to diss Gnoahhh on fit as it is important as is lube. My statement was that it’s this. “It boils down to whatever fits one's personal parameters/needs.”
I have absolutely no need to shoot popcorn fart 38 Special loads in a 40-44 ounce GP100 or to shoot popcorn fart 41 special in a 41 mag. Doing that doesn’t do me a damn bit of good all it does is waste components.
Your link even stated when operating upwards of 32K psi a 15-22 was justified.
So why 18 HC, because I can practice at almost exactly the velocity and pressures of 32-35.5K psi with no gas check as I would with a JHP, difference being I am practicing at 6-8 cents per bullet instead of 25-35 cents per bullet with no leading or other ill effects, that’s my parameters.
I could maybe get by with a 12 for 45ACP but what I am using works.
So that’s the skinny. Whatever works for your needs, and only the OP can decide who’s bullet and what hardness works for him.

Last edited by Swifty52; 11/23/22.


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Originally Posted by Swifty52
Originally Posted by DigitalDan
You fellas ought to pay attention to gggnoah's teachings.

BHN is nowhere near as important as bullet fit. I shoot 30:1 alloy from a number of guns w/zero leading. I shoot a home brew alloy that approximates wheel weight hardness in the 2100-2200 fps range from a .30-30....no leading. Hardcast is a marketing term, and has little to do with reality.

Spend a little time and dive into this pile of info: http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm

DD, read your link which was interesting. In no way was I trying to diss Gnoahhh on fit as it is important as is lube. My statement was that it’s this. “It boils down to whatever fits one's personal parameters/needs.”
I have absolutely no need to shoot popcorn fart 38 Special loads in a 40-44 ounce GP100 or to shoot popcorn fart 41 special in a 41 mag. Doing that doesn’t do me a damn bit of good all it does is waste components.
Your link even stated when operating upwards of 32K psi a 15-22 was justified.
So why 18 HC, because I can practice at almost exactly the velocity and pressures of 32-35.5K psi with no gas check as I would with a JHP, difference being I am practicing at 6-8 cents per bullet instead of 25-35 cents per bullet with no leading or other ill effects, that’s my parameters.
I could maybe get by with a 12 for 45ACP but what I am using works.
So that’s the skinny. Whatever works for your needs, and only the OP can decide who’s bullet and what hardness works for him.
I've noticed that there is a grand misunderstanding about "hardness" in cast bullets. Pure lead is very soft and malleable. When other metals are added, the alloy takes on different properties, one of which being "hardness". But all alloys of same "hardness" are not equal in their suitability to being shot from guns.

Elmer Keith and his cohorts who did the legwork on the development of magnum handguns only used tin as a "hardener."
But that is a misnomer, because tin, and antimony, and sulphur, copper, silver, and several other metals that will alloy with lead don't just make the resulting alloy harder. They change the properties of the alloy in varying ways. They are grain refiners, and each creates a slightly different grain structure in the resulting alloy.

Antimony is commonly used as a "hardener" now because it is cheaper than tin. It actually makes the alloy more brittle and thus likely to fracture than tin. "Hardcast" alloys contain antimony as a standard, at 6% and up by weight, and tin, usually at 2%. This makes a hard alloy, but it has drawbacks, because it lacks the malleability of an alloy that contains less antimony and more tin. Again, Keith didn't use antimony at all in his alloys in the 357 and 44 Mag. From what I've read, he saw 10% tin, balance lead, as the perfect alloy for magnum handguns.

Lyman went with 90/5/5 lead/antimony/tin in their #2 alloy, meant to be similar to 90/10 but cheaper, and the typical "hardball" alloy, with 6% antimony, was meant to mimic the hardness of it, which it basically does, but it doesn't mimic the other properties of Lyman #2, or of 90/10. People miss this point. Hardness is not a good way to define alloys. There are a lot of hardeners, and each makes an alloy harder, but that doesn't actually translate to how they shoot.

Like Dan and Gnoahhh above, as well as Elmer Keith, I like alloys with tin. The last half a dozen years, I've played a lot with alloys using less antimony and more tin. My favorite alloys have more tin than antimony, in a 2:1 to 3:1 ratio, because they seem to shoot well at many velocities and pressures while not fracturing as much when striking hard things. I can see it when shooting dirt and gongs. Some of my favorite 45 Colt Ruger loads use 94-6 lead-tin using 325-340 gr bullets at 1100 fps.

So the first thing I do with hardball alloy is cut it with pure lead, and then I add tin. 2% antimony and 4% tin, balance lead, shoots well in bottlenecked cartridges like 243, 270, 280, 30-06 at 2000-2300 fps. And by that, I mean half-inch groups are common.

All that said, if you don't want to figure all this stuff out for yourself, and you just want to buy commercial cast, powder coated bullets are your friend!


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Originally Posted by Old_Crab
I am going to purchase some hard cast lead bullets, 158gr SWC, and load up some target/plinking rounds for my GP100 357 mag.
Being new to this, I have been doing a lot of reading, and I now know that you have to match the "best" or "most-appropriate" Brinell harness to the muzzle velocity you plan on shooting to avoid/minimize "leading".

I know I will need to do my testing to come up with some good "fits" that do not lead-up too badly, but am looking for some recommendations from experienced folks.

So, what Brinell factor do you recommend I purchase for the following muzzle velocity ranges:
800 to 1,000 fps
1,000 to 1,200 fps


Also, who is your favorite hard cast lead bullet supplier? Looks like they all have approx the same price, but no doubt some are higher-quality and better customer service?

Thanks for your suggestions on this!

Crab

Originally Posted by HuntnShoot
All that said, if you don't want to figure all this stuff out for yourself, and you just want to buy commercial cast, powder coated bullets are your friend!

That’s exactly what he was asking isn’t it? He wasn’t asking about casting he wanted to buy from a good supplier.

But y’all carry on lots of good info but still took the train off the track.



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Originally Posted by Swifty52
Originally Posted by Old_Crab
I am going to purchase some hard cast lead bullets, 158gr SWC, and load up some target/plinking rounds for my GP100 357 mag.
Being new to this, I have been doing a lot of reading, and I now know that you have to match the "best" or "most-appropriate" Brinell harness to the muzzle velocity you plan on shooting to avoid/minimize "leading".

I know I will need to do my testing to come up with some good "fits" that do not lead-up too badly, but am looking for some recommendations from experienced folks.

So, what Brinell factor do you recommend I purchase for the following muzzle velocity ranges:
800 to 1,000 fps
1,000 to 1,200 fps


Also, who is your favorite hard cast lead bullet supplier? Looks like they all have approx the same price, but no doubt some are higher-quality and better customer service?

Thanks for your suggestions on this!

Crab

Originally Posted by HuntnShoot
All that said, if you don't want to figure all this stuff out for yourself, and you just want to buy commercial cast, powder coated bullets are your friend!

That’s exactly what he was asking isn’t it? He wasn’t asking about casting he wanted to buy from a good supplier.

But y’all carry on lots of good info but still took the train off the track.
Somebody might find value in all that babbling. I spent several thousand hours reading, researching, experimenting, casting, shooting, re-evaluating, etc. Which is a fraction of what guys like Dan and gnoahhh have spent, timewise. This site is for posterity, not just for those of us who are currently posting questions and answers.


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Well sorry, but to me posterity has absolutely nothing to do with it. And unlike you I feel an honest question deserves an honest answer.
Any commercial caster SASS or otherwise offer 2 choices
1. 8-12 BNH for velocities under 1K
2. 15-22 BNH for velocities up to 1400 fps.
That’s their parameters, no in between.
Most so called HC for 357 have all been between choice 2 with 18 being the norm. Meister, Magnus, lasercast or MBC and others that are no longer around. Missouri Bullet has all the options including coated, good product and really good folks to deal with.

Now, carry on for posterity and feel safe and secure knowing that anyone that wades through this thread, the question was at least answered.



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Swifty, a point you might have missed in the LASC site was that a balance between pressure and hardness is a rational objective. It requires a certain amount of pressure to obdurate any given alloy hardness, yet at the same time there are limits to the peak pressure that any alloy will tolerate. If one uses hard cast with a proper fit at modest velocity there won't likely be much problem, but on the other hand, hard cast with low pressures and a wee bit of bad fit will lead like the dickens.

I shoot cast .22, .30, .35, .40, .45, and .50. The hardest alloy I use is ~12 BHN and all of my BP guns use 30:1 or pure lead if they are ML Velocity ranges from 700-2,900 fps to date and leading is not a part of my life.

.30 caliber at about 1050 fps, BHN 9.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Simple solution? Start casting your own.


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Mr Shortcut man sees a target like Dan's, and he thinks, damn these cast bullet guys are onto something here, I want to do that too. So out comes the catalog, yup, there they are, I'll order up a bunch and do what Dan does. Mr Shortcut resizes his brass with the same dies as jacketed, randomly picks a powder charge, seats the bullet, crimps the bejasus out of it. Never pound casts his throat or measures grooves. And it all goes wrong, the dream lays shattered. Old Betsy leaded to the gills. Random holes on target.
Moral to my simple ass story, if you are in a hurry, don't want to invest the time and effort to learn the ropes, buy PC bullets and use them. Please Mr Shortcut, don't trash the people who are trying to impart knowledge and skills for your benefit. If you buy a bunch of 'hardcast' bullets and they work for you right out of the gate...hurry and buy some powerball tickets too, cause brother you're on a roll.


Well this is a fine pickle we're in, should'a listened to Joe McCarthy and George Orwell I guess.
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Originally Posted by DigitalDan
Swifty, a point you might have missed in the LASC site was that a balance between pressure and hardness is a rational objective. It requires a certain amount of pressure to obdurate any given alloy hardness, yet at the same time there are limits to the peak pressure that any alloy will tolerate. If one uses hard cast with a proper fit at modest velocity there won't likely be much problem, but on the other hand, hard cast with low pressures and a wee bit of bad fit will lead like the dickens.

Simple solution? Start casting your own.

DD I didn’t miss it, that coincides with my findings since 85. Casting was tried, didn’t want it or enjoy it. Thanks.


Originally Posted by flintlocke
Mr Shortcut man sees a target like Dan's, and he thinks, damn these cast bullet guys are onto something here, I want to do that too. So out comes the catalog, yup, there they are, I'll order up a bunch and do what Dan does. Mr Shortcut resizes his brass with the same dies as jacketed, randomly picks a powder charge, seats the bullet, crimps the bejasus out of it. Never pound casts his throat or measures grooves. And it all goes wrong, the dream lays shattered. Old Betsy leaded to the gills. Random holes on target.
Moral to my simple ass story, if you are in a hurry, don't want to invest the time and effort to learn the ropes, buy PC bullets and use them. Please Mr Shortcut, don't trash the people who are trying to impart knowledge and skills for your benefit. If you buy a bunch of 'hardcast' bullets and they work for you right out of the gate...hurry and buy some powerball tickets too, cause brother you're on a roll.

You sir are a prick, in my 35 year quest to find a consistent supplier of HC that suited my needs and worked, did I ever take a shortcut. I didn’t want to use GC on softer alloys which was my question to Gnoahhh which he precisely answered. This to any handgun loaders should have brought the thought, gee if I put a GC on a 12 just maybe I can push the velocity up to meet my needs. Naw, stupid thought.

So shortcut, no fugging way. In no way did I diss anyone until bringing posterity into it. You wanna ramble go ahead, but at least put some meat in with the potatoes



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Relax. Just a misunderstanding, I apologize Swifty, in no way did I intend to assign you personally the role of Mr Shortcut ...strictly intended as a generic term to the seemingly endless fellows who want to buy bulk bullets and expect top notch results. Cast Boolits web answer men are especially besieged with requests, why didn't X, Y or Z work in my gun? And then the cadre of guys that know why, try to explain, slugging and pound casting the throat? Hardness, pressure, lubes etc....Crickets, the man asking the original question doesn't want to dig that deep...and that's great, jobs, family, everything demanding precious time, not everybody wants to delve deep into the hobby. They just want to shoot with ammo that realizes the potential of their gun. I probably am a prick, judging by my fan mail, but I am honest to a fault, and if I had intended insult to you, there would have been no doubt who exactly I was addressing.


Well this is a fine pickle we're in, should'a listened to Joe McCarthy and George Orwell I guess.
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Originally Posted by HuntnShoot
Somebody might find value in all that babbling. I spent several thousand hours reading, researching, experimenting, casting, shooting, re-evaluating, etc. Which is a fraction of what guys like Dan and gnoahhh have spent, timewise. This site is for posterity, not just for those of us who are currently posting questions and answers.

I, for one, found value in that post bringing up things I'd not considered regarding hardness. And I appreciate it.


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Originally Posted by RiverRider
Originally Posted by HuntnShoot
Somebody might find value in all that babbling. I spent several thousand hours reading, researching, experimenting, casting, shooting, re-evaluating, etc. Which is a fraction of what guys like Dan and gnoahhh have spent, timewise. This site is for posterity, not just for those of us who are currently posting questions and answers.

I, for one, found value in that post bringing up things I'd not considered regarding hardness. And I appreciate it.
Awesome! Thanks, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


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Originally Posted by Old_Crab
I am going to purchase some hard cast lead bullets, 158gr SWC, and load up some target/plinking rounds for my GP100 357 mag.
Being new to this, I have been doing a lot of reading, and I now know that you have to match the "best" or "most-appropriate" Brinell harness to the muzzle velocity you plan on shooting to avoid/minimize "leading".

I know I will need to do my testing to come up with some good "fits" that do not lead-up too badly, but am looking for some recommendations from experienced folks.

So, what Brinell factor do you recommend I purchase for the following muzzle velocity ranges:
800 to 1,000 fps
1,000 to 1,200 fps


Also, who is your favorite hard cast lead bullet supplier? Looks like they all have approx the same price, but no doubt some are higher-quality and better customer service?

Thanks for your suggestions on this!

Crab

There are a lot of words in response to your post, but to sum it up, basically any commercially cast bullet you buy should be fine; they'll all be slightly harder than you need.

The crucial thing is measure your throats with a pin gauge (or fishing lure) as matching the bullets to throat size is going to have more of an impact on leading than hardness will (not to mention the positive effects on accuracy).

It's also possible that the powder that works well for the lower powered loads might start to lead in the hotter loads. I occasionally have problems with unique doing this.

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I appreciate the reference to unique - it kept me from making a mistake.
What powder would you use in hotter loads in 38spl?


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Unique.

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Originally Posted by mark shubert
I appreciate the reference to unique - it kept me from making a mistake.
What powder would you use in hotter loads in 38spl?
Lots of good ones on the market now. Longshot, HS-6, Power Pistol, BE-86, Blue Dot, Unique, Universal, Herco, CFE Pistol, Acc #5, and the list goes on. I really like Longshot for metering, accuracy, and speed.


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Originally Posted by mark shubert
I appreciate the reference to unique - it kept me from making a mistake.
What powder would you use in hotter loads in 38spl?

Power Pistol, Longshot, CFE Pistol, Blue Dot. 2400 works well too but begins to get on the "cracky" side. Unique isn't a bad choice either.

My standard +P 38 is the 173 Keith and 5.5 grs. of Longshot, from K frames to N frames and I frame Colts.



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Originally Posted by HuntnShoot
Originally Posted by RiverRider
Originally Posted by HuntnShoot
Somebody might find value in all that babbling. I spent several thousand hours reading, researching, experimenting, casting, shooting, re-evaluating, etc. Which is a fraction of what guys like Dan and gnoahhh have spent, timewise. This site is for posterity, not just for those of us who are currently posting questions and answers.

I, for one, found value in that post bringing up things I'd not considered regarding hardness. And I appreciate it.
Awesome! Thanks, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


Back at you, sir.

You mentioned good metering with Longshot...I think I'll try it in 10mm even though I poopooed it on account of what I thought I remembered when I loaded up some 3-1/2" 12-Guage several years ago. It was probably another shotshell powder that was fairly troublesome...my memory is pretty clogged thee days. I suppose Longshot truly is the choice for the 10 since there seems to be a fairly strong consensus.

I think Unique or Universal would be winners in the .38 Special, but there are probably a dozen or more choices that would work well.


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