Shooters Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
First: Marshall - considering this is the Beartooth site, I think you should setup a new topic category just for Firelapping and gather all existing firelapping postings into it. It would make a handy library and eventually save you a lot of time answering firelapping questions.
Now onto my comments and question:
I am using lapping and bore sizing materials I purchased from Beartooth to firelap my S/S 44mag Ruger Super Blackhawk. One-stop shopping. Very nice.
I took another shooter's suggestion about using a block plane to roll the bullets, using a piece of wood dowel for alignment, and I'm glad I did. God bless you. It makes the job so much easier, faster and consistent.
I don't own any block planes, but I didn't have to buy one. If you have an old neighbor, a guy who was born before 1930 or so, who has a tool bench in his garage, it is very likely he has a block plane you can borrow. Make sure it is metal. Some antique block planes are made out of wood. Ask around and see if you can't get a big one. I borrowed one that has a shoe (base) that is 14 inches long X 2 1/2 inches wide. Way larger than the two metal straps I bought from Beartooth. Then I went to a local welder's and metal supply and bought a 12 inch long piece of 3"X1/4" steel flat stock for about &#362.  I got a 3 foot piece of 1/2" round dowel from Home Depot and cut a 6 inch piece off it to place between the steel plate and the front part of the block plane to keep the plane flat.  Whoever suggested that, bless you!  Before that I was wobbling the top plate from side to side when rolling with the little Beartooth plates, squashing the bullet bases and not getting a nice, even application of lapping compound.
I cut the dowel to 6 inches long so it sticks out past both sides of the block plane so I can easily see its location and grab it if I have to realign it. Of course, remove the cutting blade from the block plane and reinstall it later when you shine it up and return it to your neighbor with some of your wife's chocolate chip cookies or a piece of pie.
The 44 caliber Beartooth firelapping bullets I got are largest on the wide band forward of the crimping groove. Also, they are a bit oval, measuring .433 on the narrow then .436 when rotated 90 degrees. I thought I could roll them down to .432 by bearing down some
on the block plane (I am big enough to be intimidating to most people), but I did not. After 100 cycles of the block plane (back and forth = 1 cycle) the bullets stayed just about the same dimension, but the bearing surfaces were nice and black with lapping compound.
They seated nicely in the unsized fired cases I used, just the way Marshall recommends. Be SURE to chamfer the inside of the case mouth.
Brass diameter was no problem in chambering them in the Ruger. However, when seated to the crimping groove they would not chamber all the way in my SBH revolver. I had to seat them another .11 to an overall length of 1.52 to get them to insert all the way.  QUESTION: I am not concerned about pressure increase from deeper seating since I am using light loads that I will be adjusting downward with a chrony, BUT I am wondering if these wider bullets, .436, will be less effective than a .432 because of peeling-off  or folding-under the lapping compound layer before the bullet enters the barrel. Does anyone have an opinion about that?
OTHER: I could see the lapping compound on the surface of the bullet, but wondered if I was really imbedding it. So I got out the powder scale, weighed bare bullets, lapped them 100 cycles, wiped off all the excess compound until clean and dry, and reweighed the bullets. They consistently weighed an additional .4 grain (four-tenths) so I felt good that I was getting a good layer of compound imbedded in them.
TIPS:  To my wife: Thank you, Dear --  I borrowed my wife's cake icing spreader, a flexible little spatula-type thing, and it is really good for spreading the lapping compound on the steel plate.  With the big plate and block surfaces I don't have to pre-coat the bullet or lift the block plane from start to finish. I use the icing spreader to smear a nice, thin 6-inch-long coat of compound on the bullet end of the plate.  Then about every 25 cycles I stop the plane at the end of the stroke toward the wood dowel end, and simply use the icing spreader to work under the plane and evenly spread out the coat of lapping compound, then roll another 25 strokes. I never even lift the plane (unless the bullet gets crooked or I roll the wood dowel off the end of the plate.  Piece of cake.
   With my setup the block plane is about the same length as the steel plate, so I place the bullet at 1/3 from one end (the end under the plane grip handle) and the dowel at 1/3 from the other end. I started out holding the plane the normal way with one hand on the handle and the other hand on the knob, then figured out it was better to place the 'knob hand' on top of the grip hand (like holding a pistol) because that put more bearing weight on the bullet. It is not wobbly because that wood dowel really stabilizes it.  Life is good.
 

·
The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
Joined
·
36,229 Posts
Dave, that's a pretty good description of the process!

About the oversized bullets, no problem, don't worry about it.  They'll just squish down smaller as they encounter constrictions in the barrel - which is the entire point.  You won't peel the lapping compound off, even though that seems like a logical explanation.  It's sort of like running a bullet through a sizer.

I'm sure that these lapping bullets are either culls, quickly cast, or from a worn-out mould.  Which is exactly what you want - I'd personally feel guilty about shooting perfect bullets into the dirt just to lap a barrel!

In all seriousness, that is what is so great about the lapping process with lead bullets, it is very forgiving and almost impossible to screw up if you follow the directions.

Curious - what powder charge are you using?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
To Mike G:
Thanks for the advice. I do appreciate it. The more confident I am about what I'm doing with this Ruger that I like so much, the better I feel. Like that old Fruit-of-the-Loom ad said: it makes me feel good all under.

I got advice from a friend regarding my posting about seating the bullets. He correctly reminded me that I need to seat the bullets down past the surfaces that have lapping compound on it -- sort of like wadcutter loads -- and to thoroughly wipe all excess lapping compound grit off the surface of the loaded cartridge.  That will hide the lapping compound until firing and prevent scratching of the cylinder throats when the cartridges are slipped into the cylinder.

I am taking up reloading again, so I don't have old cans of anything lying around. That gives me the freedom to try something new, and for the firelapping and target loads I bought some of Hodgdon's Titegroup because they advertise extreme consistency with light loads in large handgun cases. Since I will be turning down the heat for firelapping, I don't want to fall off the lower end and stick a bullet if I can avoid it.  Jim Lambert asked for a report. I will include the powder results when I give a full report. I will use my Chrony to measure bullet speed the whole way through the firelapping. After all, I am taking my time, right??

Comment: These are difficult times, with all sorts of savages purposely hurting other people. It is good to have a hobby that doubles as a way to help protect the ones I love.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top