Work ups for light bullet loads

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Work ups for light bullet loads

Postby jamesgang » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:30 am

Just did my first work up with Hornady recommended loads for 250 and 300 grain bullets
I also have Magtech Bullets 45 Caliber (452 Diameter) 185 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point and wanted to know if anyone has gone fast and light to see what kind of a burner you could make out of these?
If I can get some load info to me on this weight and it works well I'm going to try Magtech Solid Copper Bullets 45 Caliber (451 Diameter) 165 Grain Hollow Point Lead-Free next.
If that works then I'll step down to Barnes TAC-XP Bullets 45 GAP (451 Diameter) 160 Grain Hollow Point Lead-Free and see what kind of speed I can get.
This will be shot out of the 20" model.
It would be nice to use a lighter bullet and try to strech out the range of this rifle for smaller game.
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Re: Work ups for light bullet loads

Postby kottke_35 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:38 am

Check out Pitted Bores ” need for speed” threads. I believe those loads were developed for a custom bolt action rifle though. It may be a good starting point for you. Good luck and stay safe.

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Re: Work ups for light bullet loads

Postby Texas Sheepdawg » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:14 pm

Also look for posts on "Going the other way" or do a search using the grain weight.
Enjoyed the conversation this morning. Thanx for the excellent CS.
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Re: Work ups for light bullet loads

Postby Hoot » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:45 am

Texas Sheepdawg wrote:Also look for posts on "Going the other way" or do a search using the grain weight.
Enjoyed the conversation this morning. Thanx for the excellent CS.


In hindsight, those reports were poorly titled. At the time, everyone was obsessing with buffalo class bullet weights (actually they still are) and I was going the other way. Cool prose, dumb search term choice. :roll:

Perhaps those reports should be rolled into the FTX Comparison thread that is stickied.

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Re: Work ups for light bullet loads

Postby Texas Sheepdawg » Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:42 pm

I also found this
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=5180
But these are Sierra bullets.
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Re: Work ups for light bullet loads

Postby pitted bore » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:24 pm

jamesgang wrote: ... I also have Magtech Bullets 45 Caliber (452 Diameter) 185 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point and wanted to know if anyone has gone fast and light to see what kind of a burner you could make out of these?

jamesgang-
Welcome to the forum.

About 30 months ago I started working with lighter bullets in the 450B. It's been interesting and educational, and there's still a long list of variations to try out with the problem.

All cartridges have the problem of balancing the factors of weight of powder, burning rate of powder, primer strength, and bullet weight. In the 450B with light bullets, this balancing act is sort of a unicycle-on-a-tight-rope problem. The primer itself is capable of kicking light bullets out of the case into the lands. So, the powder has to ignite and build up pressure for a progressive pressure-enabled burn before the bullet gets well out of the case. If not, expansion of the combustion chamber due to the bullet's travel will lower the pressure, to the point that the powder may begin to exit the case before burning. As Wildcatter points out in his pinned safety post in this forum, really bad things can happen if this occurs.

You need to understand that Hornady doesn't recommend light bullets for the cartridge. Bullets of 240 grains are the lightest they show in their lab-developed loading tables. For the similar 460 S&W case, bullets of 200 grains are the Hornady minimum in their 8th Handbook. This tells me that forum members here who work with the 230-, 225- and 200-grain bullets are on pretty firm ground. Less than these weights in the 450B and results can get dicey in a hurry.

A key part of the balancing act is getting the case to grip the bullet firmly. This is a problem because the 450B is designed for bullets of .452 diameter; most of the lighter bullets are nominally .451, and in reality run less than that. Without a firm grip by the case, the light bullet's exit from the case won't be retarded sufficiently for a good powder burn. This is why the subject of crimping methods and mechanisms shows up a lot in this reloading forum, and why there are a couple of descriptions of making a side-crimper for the 450B.

"Strong" primers are often needed to get the powder burn started. Many of the powders that are possibly capable of launching light bullets at higher velocities are ball powders, for which a magnum primer is usually specified for consistent ignition. Note, however, that stronger primers tend to pop lighter bullets out of the case more forcefully than a regular primer, which results in more difficulty in getting a good powder burn: a tricky balancing act.

Selecting a powder with the proper burning rate for this applicatiion is about of equal importance with the crimp application and primer choice. I'm still experimenting with several powders. ( I wish Hornady, Speer, Lyman, etc. would do the trials for me. My "lab" consists of sandbags to hold the rifle, a long string, and a big tree to hide behind. Then I have to read the tea leaves of chronograph results, case expansion, primer appearance, etc., none of which is error-free, in diagnosing whether I'm in trouble or not.)

For specifics, with 185-grain bullets, you can read about my trials in this thread: 185-gr SWC, Chap. 8: 3000 FPS At Last .

WARNING: My results there were obtained with a different rifle than yours (even a fundamentally different type), with undoubtedly different techniques, and different materials. Also, the data are presented on an internet forum, where any fool can write most anything, and usually do.

jamesgang wrote: ... If I can get some load info to me on this weight and it works well I'm going to try Magtech Solid Copper Bullets 45 Caliber (451 Diameter) 165 Grain Hollow Point Lead-Free next.
If that works then I'll step down to Barnes TAC-XP Bullets 45 GAP (451 Diameter) 160 Grain Hollow Point Lead-Free and see what kind of speed I can get.
This will be shot out of the 20" model.
It would be nice to use a lighter bullet and try to strech out the range of this rifle for smaller game.


As some other posters have kindly indicated, I've written up some of my results with the 160-grain all-copper Barnes and General bullets in the threads titled "Need for Speed". Muzzle velocities are at 3200 fps. I'm trying for a bit more but with acceptable accuracy. At that point I'll try to report on trajectory.

Meanwhile, please report here on what you discover. If any results are unexpected, like hangfires, incomplete powder burns, bullets stuck in the bore, etc., then stop and ask questions here. Forum member rohk said that working with light bullets was going where angels fear to tread; certainly the Hornady angels quit dancing on pins below 200 grains.

Good luck.
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