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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just got word that my new 44FP310 mould from "Mountain Molds" is finished and in the mail. Thought I'd share the design here. I didn't take the picture which doesn't depict the 70 degree angle in the grease groove very well. Nevertheless here's how the custom design turned out. .44 mag loads will seat to crimping groove and .444 loads (for the 336 action) will seat up on the ogive somewhat and crimp with a Lee "Factory Crimp" die. Comments more than welcome!

44


 

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Good looking bullet. I hope the crimp die will hold it. Those mag. springs and the recoil of the 444 may want to seat the bullet deeper.

The 70 degree lube groove is nice. I'm using 60 degrees for our Keith-.480 Ruger. Your bullet should fall right out of the mould as there's no front driving band to hold you up.

The bullet reminds me some what of the lighter Saeco 430. Let us know the weight and diameter from your alloy.
 

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Looks very nice. Dan does nice work doesn't he. Everything I've tried from www.mountainmolds.com have shot wonderful in my 454. I live only 5min's from his shop so I get to try some of his different designs on occasion. He has a 45FC339 70% that I've shot into an honest 1.4" at 50yds. a couple groups had 4 shots smaller, but the 5th kept the overall just under 2".
lar.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey guys... glad to see you over here where one can post images.

Anyway, I'll just paste my last post to talk.shooters.com here:

I designed this bullet with .44Mag lever action rifles in mind but also wanted a usable design for the .444. This is my first attempt at mould design so I would be delusional to think it's the ultimate .44 bullet for any application.

I wanted a bullet length in the .9" range so there would be no stability issues in 26" twist Winchesters. Initially, two grease grooves were incorporated but that design didn't lend itself well to attaining my goal of a substantial base. I wanted a base that was much stronger than Keith's 44-250, so I chose one 50% wider (.150"). I kinda struggled with the grease groove width and depth. Keeping in mind that I wanted adequate lubrication for velocities up to 1700fps from 24" barrels, even in temperature extremes, I made the grease groove the same width as the base and had Dan cut it a tad more than 1/32" deep. I also wanted to maximize the powder space in the .44Mag case so I decided on a maximum overall cartridge length of 1.72" (this may or may not require a little whittling on a Marlin 94's cartridge carrier). This dictated a meplat to case mouth length of 0.44" (using a 1.28" case). After juggling the overall bullet length a bit (ended up at .895"), I finally came up with a width of .120" for the center driving band. Of course, I haven't actually seen the mould yet, so I don't know how close Dan got to my spec's. He did tell me that he'll not be cutting any more ogival flat points with grease grooves this deep due to boring bar issues. I also requested the crimping groove to be significantly shallower than the grease groove which was no easy task as well... thanks again Dan.

Oh yeah... I wanted a bullet in the 310 to 320 grain range and even though he didn't tell me what the sample weighed, before the mould was cut, he said the program wrote a weight between 307 and 315(317?) grains in 50/50 alloy. I specified an as-cast diameter of .434".

One other item... I also struggled with meplat width and decided to go with .285" which is a compromise between Keith's original 44-250, what I've seen for meplats on the 'old 44-40 and LBT's 44-300 LFN, which I was trying to better in the BC department... which BTW, I think I did with this bullet's .96" radius ogive (approx. 2.2 times the caliber).

44
 

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Discussion Starter #6
44FP310 results

I just got back from testing a batch of 44FP310s, cast from my MM mould, and though I'd post my results.

I started with a squeaky clean bbl and the first 5 shot group was all over the place at 50 yards. The second five shot group wasn't much better but by the time I shot groups four and five, the groups tightened to about 2 to 3 inches at 50 yards. Group four was the best at about 2 something inches and basically round. Group five was closer to three inches and strung vertically so I checked screw tightness and everything checked out OK . At this point I thought, this bullet needs a well "fouled" or conditioned bbl, and I stuck my eye in the muzzle to discover not an even coat of gray but gray streaks. I wish I could tell ya if the streaks were in the grooves or on top of the lands but my slight farsightedness couldn't discern it. Anyway, from group six to group ten the results quickly deteriorated to the point were I started!

Now for the load info:

Bullets were pretty darn hard... I'd say at least 18 BHN. Dan from MM said this mould drops a 309 grain bullet in 50/50 alloy and mine were running around 303 grains (I recently added some really hard commercial stuff to my 18 BHN pot). Powder charge in the .444 cases was 48.0 grains of AA2230-C (very similar to 748 or BLC2) and was leaving somewhat more than a few unburned grains behind. This observation, coupled with the wide variation in case head expansion (plus or minus .0008"), leads me to believe I was dealing with relatively low pressure.

I noticed I was getting a lot of smoke from my homemade lube but that could have been due to the fact these bullets carry way more lube than my old standby... Lee430310. In fact, to my surprise, I found traces of lube on the target 50 yards down range!

Bullets miked .434", rounds dropped in the chamber all the way yet didn't easily fall out under their own weight. The velocity, albeit 100 fps more than I was looking for, averaged around 1790 or a bit higher. BTW, Lee430310 (at from about 1650 to 2000fps) not only evened out the irregular barrel conditioning but shot very well (as usual) with the same lube and 4759 and 8208. Could my .44 from MM be carrying too much lube, or is there something else wrong with the basic design?

All in all, an interesting, yet disappointing day. Next time around I'm going with about 26 grains of 4759.

44
 

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I don't have any personal experience with those powders in a 44. When I tried some H4895 in my 45-70 BFR, the groups were all over the place, some not even on the paper. The velocity spread was low though. I switched to IMR4227 and now I'm in the 2" range at 50yds with the same velocity as before. If it was me, I'd try some 296 in there. I've been shooting alot of WC820 lately in the 454 and 44mag. It seems to take about 1-2gn less than 296 for similar velocities. Maybe your bullet is too hard? maybe try some water dropped WW?
???
Lar.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Lar,

Thanks for the post. I have two questions regarding your 45-70:

Was going to the faster powder the only thing you changed?

And, are you referencing results with a plain base bullet?...you don't say one way or the other.

Actually, my results above were obtained in a 1-turn-in-20" .444 with 48 grains of AA2230-C which is in the same burning rate neighborhood as 4895, so you have offered me encouragement... assuming we're talking about plain base design. However, even though these bullets were pretty darn hard, they were .002" over maximum bore diameter. Here's the confusing part: Using the same alloy when casting Lee430310 (mikes .4325 max."), and the same but substantially less lube, it doesn't seem to make much difference to group size whether I burn SR4759, 4198, Re7, 2230, 8208, H322, H335, etc. In addition, I get similar size groups whether I'm doing 1600fps or 2100fps with the gas checked Lee430310.

Perhaps you can answer this question regarding alloys:

When one heat treats a WW alloy and quenches it to 20BHN (for example) does it result in a 20BHN bullet all the way to the center or is the bullet just "case hardened".

Thanks,
44
 
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