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I was talking to a local bullet casting shop today to see what was available on the local market and of course he wanted to know what they would be used for.  So I told him a .44 Mag loaded to about 1000fps for bear and moose defense.  The gentleman then suggested a softer cast bullet (15 brinnel) for the lower velocity loads of 1000-1200 fps.  He said I didn't realy need a hard bullet until you go up to higher velocities.  He expected no bullet deformtion and good penetration out of his 15 brinnel bullets, and in fact maybe better accuracy then his hard bullets (18 brinnel).  What do you guys think? Is a softer bullet ok at these lower velocities? Should I reserve the premium hard stuff for my faster hunting loads?  His opion was basically I am trying to put Ferrari race tires on my VW by using his or your or Cast Perfomance hard casts at such low velocities.  
 

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Hi,Cub:
  A hard bullet at low velocity - low pressure won't seal the bore properly and you'll get leading at the breech end of the barrel because the hot powder gases get past the bullet and melt lead as they go.  A soft bullet loaded hot leads more at the muzzle end because velocity and pressure are higher there. That's the theory anyhow.

  I know I had to boost my charge about 10% in my .45 ACP when I switched from the soft Speer #4677 SWC to some local hard cast SWCs to stop leading at the breech.  I'd be inclined to take your caster's advise. Of course, you should shoot them and see what happens.

Bye
Jack
 

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My own experiences with the .45 ACP largely mimic Jack's. Using swaged Speer and Albert's (anyone remember those?) I got great accuracy up to about 1000 fps. After that leading became a problem, as was reduced accuracy. Commercial hard casts can lead as low as 800 fps depending on a number of variables. I've had it happen. As Jack said, the pressure on the bullet's base isn't enough to obturate the projectile. Bump those same bullets beyond 1150-1200 in a .45 Colt and I'd get good results. 'CUB it sounds like your local caster gives sound advice.
 

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Dittos here, too. For example, I cast some lovely 210 gr. semi-wadcutters for my 41 mag. Redhawk out of linotype-bhn 22. When I loaded them, I used Hodgdons "Titegroup" powder in a rather light loading. After firing the first cylinder full, I checked the bore, as is my custom. Until that moment, I didn't think I could lead the bore of that revolver. Heavier 44 cal. Keith type semi-wadcutters cast at the same time, from the same alloy and fired in an identical Redhawk (a 44 this time obviously) at top velocities didn't lead the bore at all. All bullets were appropriately sized. Veral Smith had a formula for determining the proper velocity for various alloys. I believe it was something like bhn X 2440= c.u.p. required for obturation. Does anyone know the actual numbers? This would be a good time to review this--------------------------------------------Bob
 

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My first 500 reloads were made with Laser Cast 255 gr. SWC's (@21 BHN).  With 7.0 to 8.0 gr. charges of W231, I had severe leading in the cylinder throats and the breech end of the barrel.  When using Herc. 2400, the problem lessened but still a problem none-the-less.

With my last 300 reloads, I used a commercial cast bullet with a BHN of 15.  Accuracy improved (dramatically at 50 yards (reduced by 3/4") and leading was minimal.  My standard 8.0 gr. W231 load showed next to no leading and a 19.5 gr. charge of Herc. 2400 left a few lead streaks that brushed out easily.  In my limited experience, BHN is a critical factor when cylinder to bore measurements are not ideal.
 
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