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Thread: 44 Mag. cast bullets and Deer



  1. #1
    Gun Wizard
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    44 Mag. cast bullets and Deer

    Last week I shot my first deer, a Doe at 110 pounds field dressed, with my homemade cast bullet. It was a lyman # 429244GC weighing 245gr. before adding the gas check and lube. The alloy is Lyman #2 over 23.5gr of WW296 with a CCI 350 Primer.I have not coronagraphed this load in my 1894 / 20" barrel yet but it does 1254fps in my S&W 4" model 629. The bullet entered low on the left shoulder breaking the leg. The bullet shattered, continuing to destroy the lungs, heart and dammaged the right shoulder. It looked like a grenade went off inside her. I only found 2 pieces of the bullet weighing a total of 137gr. Here is the problem, I am using the cast bullets to replace the Hornady 240gr HP/XTP I have been using because they have been doing too much meat damage. Do any of you have any experience in this matter? I am thinking of maybe reducing the speed but Lyman suggest using this alloy in the high power rifles for hunting. My origional intention was and always is, to shoot just behind the shoulder for a double lung shot. One answer is to practice more off hand shooting!
    Jack
    NRA Life
    Team 38-55...#70
    Team 1894... #250
    Team 39... #266
    Model 1894's
    44 MAG. - 1970 Saddle Ring,1973 Octagon, 1973 Sporter, 1975 Standard, 1996 NRA Limited Edition #20 of 550, 2000 P, 2000 CB Limited Edition, 2009 SS, 2011 DL
    45 Colt - 2008 CB Limited
    41 Mag. - 2003 FG
    357 Mag. - 1994 CS
    32-20 - 2008 CL Classic
    25-20 - 1990 CL Classic
    218 Bee - 1990 CL Classic
    22 RF Model 39's - 1948, 1961 Mountie, 1973 Cent.Ltd., 1990 TDS, 2001
    256 Win Mag Model 62
    38-55 Win Model 336CB

  2. #2
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    Bet it felt good to take that doe with something you made yourself though!
    I'm pretty puzzled by a cast breaking up in a deer like that - supposedly one of the benefits of cast is staying together.
    I've never cast my own - mostly because I have worked around plastics and I know all teh little crap you have to master before you can put out a quality product. If I might hazard a guess - it sounds like you may have had a void in that bullet. My reasoning (which may be flawed) is that mold is rated to crank out a 255gn bullet - your stated bullet weight was 10 grains shy of that. How do your other bullets compare?
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  3. #3
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    I'm not an expert on cast bullets, but if it broke up, maybe the alloy was too brittle? Anyway, sounds like it worked on the doe. If you are getting that speed out of a 4" 629, should be about 350-400 FPS more out of the rifle barrel. I see you DON'T like 1894's at all. Got any other Marlins?? That CL just messes everything up, better box her up and ship it to me, don't want to make all them 44's mad. DP
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    TEAM 444 #187, Team 35 #7, Two Marlin 1894Cs, Remlin 1894C, 1894-44mag, 1952 Marlin 30-30, 1966 Texan 30-30. Glenfield 36G & two 30A's 30-30, 30-30 XLR, , five- 35rem. 1951 SC, 1952 SC, 1957, 1975 and 2008, 38-55 CB, M-375, 308 MX, 338MXLR, 444P, 444SS, , XS-7 22-250, XS-7 7mm-08 AI,

  4. #4
    DWB
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    Did the boolit shatter, or did it shear? Being you cast it from Lyman #2 alloy, I reckon it is running a BNH of 15 or 16, so I don't know that it would have shattered. I suspect it sheared when it first encountered that leg bone. Your load should be generating between 1,750 and 1,800 fps from that 20" Bbl. - - at least it would be in my rifle. My pet load is very similar to yours (23.0 gr of H-110/W-296 with a WLP primer, under an NEI #252), and I am getting 1,740 fps from my 1894.

    Anyhow... It sounds like the bullet did its job. As for reducing the velocity, that might help some, but I think it depends on your rifle - - which load does it shoot the most accurately - - let that be your guide as to the velocity level you load to. Another option might be to heat treat that bullet before placing the gas-check and lube - - that should toughen it up some, if it turns out the bullet sheared apart, rather than shattered.

    Sounds like you are on the right track to having a good, general purpose load for your 1894, and congratulations on your doe. I can almost smell some cuts on the grill now...
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by COYOTE222 View Post
    Last week I shot my first deer, a Doe at 110 pounds field dressed, with my homemade cast bullet. It was a lyman # 429244GC weighing 245gr. before adding the gas check and lube. The alloy is Lyman #2 over 23.5gr of WW296 with a CCI 350 Primer.I have not coronagraphed this load in my 1894 / 20" barrel yet but it does 1254fps in my S&W 4" model 629. The bullet entered low on the left shoulder breaking the leg. The bullet shattered, continuing to destroy the lungs, heart and dammaged the right shoulder. It looked like a grenade went off inside her. I only found 2 pieces of the bullet weighing a total of 137gr. Here is the problem, I am using the cast bullets to replace the Hornady 240gr HP/XTP I have been using because they have been doing too much meat damage. Do any of you have any experience in this matter? I am thinking of maybe reducing the speed but Lyman suggest using this alloy in the high power rifles for hunting. My origional intention was and always is, to shoot just behind the shoulder for a double lung shot. One answer is to practice more off hand shooting!
    Jack
    I don't use cast bullets in the 1894, the gun is used only for deer hunting and I put maybe 100-200 full-power rounds through before the season for practice. When pistol-caliber carbines were made legal for deer hunting, I started with the XTPs because it's what I had on hand for the various .44 revolvers. They worked fine as long as I was shooting broadside. I always go for a lung or heart shot on broadside shots, a shoulder shot spoils too much meat. You need to practice other types of shots, critters don't always stand broadside saying "shoot me now". When I had to take such a shot, the XTP grenaded, the core was completely fragmented and all I recovered was the cup in the left front leg joint, it was mostly flat. The meat had to be gone through like picking shot out of a duck, not a lot of fun. So I shifted to Nosler 240 gr. JHPs. I've used these for about 8 years now, they've always held together. With the limited use I give the 1894, jacketed bullets aren't a really big expense compared with the cost of travel and licenses. I have other guns to plink with, I have a 39 for levergun practice. Cast in the 1894 just isn't worth my time developing a load. I shoot a lot of cast bullets through the revolvers, but that's a whole other story. XTPs and Noslers seem to work about the same on broadside shots, small hole in, big hole out, it's shots at other aspects of the critters where it makes a difference. And I still use XTPs for revolver loads, the carbine just seems to have just a bit too much velocity for an XTP to stay together.

    If you made your #2 with wheel weights, you might have a little too much antimony for the alloy to be ductile at the velocities you're shooting them at. Add a little more 50/50 solder. If you don't have one yet, Lee makes a lead harness tester, not quite as fast as my old LBT tester, but good enough. You can always check brittleness by whacking a bullet on an anvil with a hammer. If it breaks up, you need more lead/tin.

    Stan S.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by stans4 View Post
    I don't use cast bullets in the 1894, the gun is used only for deer hunting and I put maybe 100-200 full-power rounds through before the season for practice. When pistol-caliber carbines were made legal for deer hunting, I started with the XTPs because it's what I had on hand for the various .44 revolvers. They worked fine as long as I was shooting broadside. I always go for a lung or heart shot on broadside shots, a shoulder shot spoils too much meat. You need to practice other types of shots, critters don't always stand broadside saying "shoot me now". When I had to take such a shot, the XTP grenaded, the core was completely fragmented and all I recovered was the cup in the left front leg joint, it was mostly flat. The meat had to be gone through like picking shot out of a duck, not a lot of fun. So I shifted to Nosler 240 gr. JHPs. I've used these for about 8 years now, they've always held together. With the limited use I give the 1894, jacketed bullets aren't a really big expense compared with the cost of travel and licenses. I have other guns to plink with, I have a 39 for levergun practice. Cast in the 1894 just isn't worth my time developing a load. I shoot a lot of cast bullets through the revolvers, but that's a whole other story. XTPs and Noslers seem to work about the same on broadside shots, small hole in, big hole out, it's shots at other aspects of the critters where it makes a difference. And I still use XTPs for revolver loads, the carbine just seems to have just a bit too much velocity for an XTP to stay together.
    Not trying to be rude but what the heck did any of that have to do with the OP's post?

    If you made your #2 with wheel weights, you might have a little too much antimony for the alloy to be ductile at the velocities you're shooting them at. Add a little more 50/50 solder. If you don't have one yet, Lee makes a lead harness tester, not quite as fast as my old LBT tester, but good enough. You can always check brittleness by whacking a bullet on an anvil with a hammer. If it breaks up, you need more lead/tin.Stan S.
    That's more like it...
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  7. #7
    Gun Wizard
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    I cast for the 45-70 and I agree with the rest, if it did shatter then your antomony is too high and making your boolit brittle, do the hammer test to see. When I cast I use 75lbs of wheel weights and 25lbs of pure plummers lead, I then add in 1lb of pewter to get the tin content up to around 2% and it has a little more antomony if I want to heat treat them. I usually water quench into Ice water and I have never had a boolit shatter on a steal target so bone would break first.


    Doc
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  8. #8
    Sidewinder
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    I know very little if anything about casting. From what I have read over the years it sounds like the bullets might be to brittle. I maybe wrong but led should just deform.
    COYOTE222 and inpursuit like this.

  9. #9
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    BubbaJon: It felt great, even better than it felt when I shot the first deer with my handload with a store bought bullet!
    I didn't weigh the origional bullet that I shot the deer with, but took 12 bullets from that batch and averaged them (total weight divided by 12) to arrive at the 245gr. All 12 were within +/- 1 gr. After adding the gas check & lube, they average 253gr. I used the 245 weight because the 2 pices I recovered didn't have the gas check on the base piece or any lube on either of them. Your "void" idea was a good thought. Please read my reply to DWB. I was in Marble Falls last year, what a beautiful trip through the hill country. On my visit to Texas next year (my granddaughter lives in Houston) my wife and I plan on touring Austin, we hear it is a real neat city.

    DWB: I think your analogy is correct (sheared) and mine is wrong (shattered). As I closely inspect the base, it appears that it mushroomed violently with some pieces ripping off and 1 piece definitely being sheared off. I think I will skip the heat treating process until I see what happens on the next deer I shoot. As you said, the bullet did its job.

    stans4: Please read my reply to DWB.
    When I made my alloy, I didn't have any 50/50 solder so I subistuted with 1/2 pound tin and 1/2 pound pure lead along with 9 pounds of wheel weights. You now have me thinking about getting one of those Lee testers. It could be very interesting.

    dpe.ahoy: I still have a couple more .44 mag. 1894's to get for my collection. I have 2 of the CL's (25-20 & 32-20) and am looking for a 218 Bee ( all 3 are made from the same case). Yes, I do have some other marlins, 5 Model 39A and 1 Model 62 in .256 Win mag. which is one little spitfire rifle!

    Gentlemen: Thank you all for responding to my post. I do believe that you have solved my problem!!
    Jack
    NRA Life
    Team 38-55...#70
    Team 1894... #250
    Team 39... #266
    Model 1894's
    44 MAG. - 1970 Saddle Ring,1973 Octagon, 1973 Sporter, 1975 Standard, 1996 NRA Limited Edition #20 of 550, 2000 P, 2000 CB Limited Edition, 2009 SS, 2011 DL
    45 Colt - 2008 CB Limited
    41 Mag. - 2003 FG
    357 Mag. - 1994 CS
    32-20 - 2008 CL Classic
    25-20 - 1990 CL Classic
    218 Bee - 1990 CL Classic
    22 RF Model 39's - 1948, 1961 Mountie, 1973 Cent.Ltd., 1990 TDS, 2001
    256 Win Mag Model 62
    38-55 Win Model 336CB

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by COYOTE222 View Post
    On my visit to Texas next year (my granddaughter lives in Houston) my wife and I plan on touring Austin, we hear it is a real neat city.
    You holler when you're in town!
    "The smallest minority on earth is the individual.
    Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."
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