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Is it possible to shoot soft lead or pure lead cast bullets for maximum expansion? I have read a little about paper patching, can this be done say with a bullet sized slightly undersized and then run through the sizer again with a different (larger die) and a hard bullet lube plus a gas check? Thank you in advance for all replies.
 

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I'm running 200 grain swaged bullets 1300 fps in my pistol without leading. Just need to make sure they are sized correctly. Also muzzleloaders are pushing pure lead through their barrels cleanly.
 

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My experience with swaged wadcutters, soft lead, is severe leading if loaded faster than about 700 fps. With hard cast bullets, I get up to about 1800 fps before serious leading occurs. If you want expansion, I suggest you use half-jacketed flat points with a soft lead core. They're good up to 2400 fps, but penetration is better at lower speeds.
 

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Since we are in the 45-70 section I assume we are talking about a 45 caliber bullet. It is already 45 caliber, (46 if you are using the correct size bullet). Why do you need expansion? It is already bigger than most jacketed high power rifle bullets expand.

Key
 

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I shoot cast bullets for nearly 100% of my shooting. Handguns do not need gas checks as long as the bullet fits and the chambers are not too small for the bore. If things don't fit, gas checks won't help. My hand guns range from .38 Special to 44 Mag and .45 Colt. I do not have leading problems.
In rifles, I am shooting .32-20, several heavier .30s, a .35 Rem and .45-70. The .30s are paper patched using a very soft alloy of 20:1 or softer and achieve excellent accuracy at 2400 fps with 200 grain or heavier bullets. With the paper patch, there is no leading and expansion on game is impressive. The .30-30 has not presented any leading problems shooting a naked grease groove bullet up to 2200 fps but the bullet is on the hard side. it is paper patched with a very soft bullet for hunting.
With the .35 Rem. and the .45-70, soft grease groove bullets suffice; the .35 gets a gas check for velocity up to 2100 fps and the .45-70 is plain base with velocity in the 1400 fps range as it is black powder driven. If I wished to hot rod the .45 with smokeless, I would paper patch it and fire away. If you paper patch, a gas check is not needed, even if the bullet has a gas check shank.
For what it's worth, my .32-20 gets shot more than any other rifle. The load uses a grease groove 105 grain bullet over 10 grains of 2400. According to the loading manual it is leaving the muzzle at close to 1700 fps. The relatively soft bullet does not lead and out to 120 yards or so, it creates a wicked wound. It is not for shooting survival food.
 

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Shot pure lead out of my 45-70 Sharps in BPCR competition for years. 65gr Goex 3F and 520gr Lead Round Nose bullet. MV of about 1200fps +/-. No excessive leading. A few flakes on the first patch but nothing more. The key is the bullets sized correctly.

Jeff
 

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Sindbad,

I believe that you are thinking small bore jacketed bullets which must expand, otherwise the needle sharp bullet would pass thru with minimum damage and little or no blood trail. High velocity is needed to cause that expansion. That's the way it works.

Welcome to the world of large caliber cast bullets. Forget most of what you know about high speed jacketed bullets. You are now in a different world. Soft pure lead bullets work well for cast bullets.......until it strikes a large bone in which case they often splatter or fragment. The bullets need to be of a harder alloy ( 15 to 22 hardness), some like Linotype or wheel weight hardness.

Called hard cast, these alloy bullets will plow thru tough skin, beast and bone, almost always exit leaving a large second hole, and then continue to the nest zip code. Two large holes are better than one small hole, the critter bleeds out faster and leaves a blood trail, if it goes anywhere, that a blind man could follow.

Expansion? "We don't need no stinking expansion"! Actually, a wide flat nose (WFN) bullet in 46 caliber is already larger than a 30 caliber expands and has much more weight. As soon as the magnum jacketed bullet expands it becomes in effect a parachute. Why do you suppose that Professional Hunters in Africa use large caliber solid bullets on dangerous game....yes solid, not expanding.

Don't get caught up in the velocity thing, either......we don't need expansion so we don't need velocity.......a heavy 45 caliber 405 to 450 grain bullet at 1300 to 1500 fps will kill anything on planet earth. Anything faster is just for bragging rights or whatever.....in reality it's more expense, more noise, ....and more pain. Oh yes, and less penetration.

Jim
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Not being a cast bullet expert, and having ruled out paper patching, I did the following to find the softest lead bullet my rifle would shoot accurately. Started with 100% wheel weights, which I knew shot very well. Cast five bullets with wheel weights, added 5% soft almost pure lead with a bit of tin, casted five more and so on. Loaded the bullets up to the fps desired , shot five, cleaned barrel, shot five and so on. Discovered the point where accuracy/leading became unacceptable. The softest acceptable bullet was then shot into my version of test media, that includes fresh hide, wet paper and 1/4 inch lexan to simulate bone, and was very satisfied with expansion and penetration. Don't have anyway to test the hardness, but believe its near 12%. This was actually a 250gr. 35cal at about 1900 fps, and has worked extremely well on game .
 

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Is it possible to shoot soft lead or pure lead cast bullets for maximum expansion? I have read a little about paper patching, can this be done say with a bullet sized slightly undersized and then run through the sizer again with a different (larger die) and a hard bullet lube plus a gas check? Thank you in advance for all replies.
Hi sindbad,

Pay close attention to what JBledsoe says. He knows exactly what he's talking about. Read it word for word and file it in your "chisled in stone" file of firearm information. You can't go wrong with his info or opinions.
 

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Sindbad,

If your shooting a 45/70, your Waaaaaay over thinking the situation and need.

Go back and read JBledsoe's post again and maybe again.

Although there are those who use and like very soft or hollow point cast bullets, with the 45/70 there is little to no need, plus the fact that those projectiles depend to a large degree on an impact velocity with in a fairly narrow range to give optimum results.

Too close to the critter (higher velocity) and you have over expansion while too far (lower velocity) and your expansion is less then expected or desired.

Do a search for information from those who use cast bullet with a large meplat, usually called Wide Flat Nose (WFN) or Long Flat Nose (LFN) depending on the design, and read what they have to say.

I did, and after a number of deer and two elk I am just so IMPRESSED, and everything I read is true in spades.

Now, I believe it was JBledsoe that also cautioned against seeking high velocity. READ AND HEED!

My first cast bullet 45/70 critter was taken with a 355gr WFN at a muzzle velocity of just over 2300fps and I never what to see that level of destruction again! Way too much of a bad thing!

Just so much better is my 465gr WFN with a muzzle velocity of just over 1650fps.

Beware of an overly hard alloy. The term, "hard cast" is so over used as to be meaningless.

Something like Wheel Weights, possibly water quenched as they drop from the mold are plenty hard, and my 50/50 alloy of WW/lead, also quenched is very good and deadly.

The WW or the 50/50 alloy could hardly be termed "hard Cast" unless compared to pure lead, but it is plenty hard.

"Hard cast" carried overly far will result in fragile bullets which would be likely to fragment during heavy going.

Just go with a reasonable alloy, a Wide flat Nose/meplat and a velocity of 1500fps +/- a couple hundred and your 45/70 will do just as well as it always has for well over a hundred years.

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
 

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I have firmly planted in my brain the statement "420gr WNFP at 1250fps will drop anything in North America........and a lot in Africa!" Good thing to remember is the image of what a slow moving freight train does to a vehicle stopped on the tracks! :ahhhhh:
 
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Thanks for the kind words, guys. CDOC has much good advice, too. Sindbad, you would do well to listen to CDOC, he has valuable insight to hunting loads.

JB
 
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