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Discussion Starter #122
Thank you flat top. What I was specifically wondering about was softening the nose of my beartooth bullets to produce a larger wound channel on shot game. My thought is that by softening only a portion of the bullet it will mushroom better but retain enough weight to drive deep. I wonder will it work? and after reading your post I wonder will the softened area stay soft for an entire hunting season? Has anyone tested anything like this?
Joe, the fact is, they do expand, depending on hardness. This is the thing, lead alloys do not have the tensile strength of copper. That's obvious, but what has taken me a while to realize is that the cast bullets with soft to medium-hard alloys do expand. They expand similarly to jacketed bullets, then the outside area of the mushroom shears off without the jacket to hold or support the lead alloy.
So, get a load of this. Cast bullets are giving you the benefits of the expanding bullet. The benefits of a rapidly expanding bullet are recognized quickly in terms of the full set of terminal events from impact to the point that the bullet comes to rest. With most expanding bullets, the point from impact, expansion to rest is very short. With cast bullets, of medium to medium-hard aloy, the bullet's nose expands and gets the benefits of the expanding bullet, but when the edges of the mushroom sheer away, it leaves the bullet with a pimple tip that makes for a good profile for penetration. So you get the big initial energy transfer and deep penetration.
With, say 30 cal bullets, what makes them expand so rapidly is 1)high impact velocities 2)pure lead or a soft ally used in those jacketed bullets. With cast bullets, we can use a meplat size to speed up or slow down that initial energy transfer. When the alloys get harder, expansion is less and nose tends to shatter as opposed to mushroom and shear. Don't underestimate the terminal effects of those parts shearing off as they can be as heavy as a 22 bullet.
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This is the Safari Grade with a soft alloy. Look at those pieces that I re-assembled to show what the bullet looked like at one point in the early events of it's terminal performance. The softer alloys will sheer to away the outside edges of the mushroom, but as the alloys get harder, more of the nose breaks away with the mushroom.
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Here is the Lead Head with the piece of sheared mushroom. Alloy is harder than the bullet above, so more of the nose sheared away.
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This pic is what that Lead Head looked like going from 4th jug into 5th jug. Understand this is midway-point of some serious total penetration. That's the 2 foot point. Basically a fist sized exit hole on a broadside elk.
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This pic represents two different ranges of impact velocity. In each velocity range, there is a bullet that is water quenched (about 27 bhn) and air cooled wheel weight bullet (about 14bhn). The WQ bullets are on the left side in each set and the air cooled on the right.
 

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You're probably right flat top but I have a problem with always wanting to improve on what I have when it comes to bullets. Maybe I'll out grow it.
Joe; You will never out grow it...ask me how I know that!:biggrin:

One thing you "can" do is to start casting. I was looking for a bullet for a specific purpose. I wanted something that would expand, hold together (ductile), and do it all to 100 yards at a muzzle velocity of 1850 or so. What I did was alloy a 50/50 wheel weight/pure lead bullet and water quenched it. mt_sourdough tested both the quenched (hardened) and the air cooled (softer) versions of this bullet for me and we found that the hardened 50/50 alloy suited my needs. Once you get into to casting your own, the sky is the limit as far as experimentation is concerned.
 

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Thanks guys. I guess I'll just try those cast as is for now. Actually the weather here is too cold for comfortable shooting and so I'm waiting for a break in the weather to start with the real fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #125
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The pics, above, are the Ranch Dog 432-300 bullet cast of air cooled wheel weight. The impact velocity was about 1820 fps. At this lower velocity, once the bullet expands, there is not enough energy left to sheer the rim off. This bullet stopped in the 6th or 7th jug (don't have my notes here) where the same bullet water quenched would go 8 typically.

At velocities above 1900fps, I think the rim would have sheared. Expansion with air cooled wheel weight alloy could be counted on down into the 1400fps range.
 

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That woulld be about what I would expect. My shots are all 200 yards or less with muzzle velocities probably above 2150 fps out of my 26 inch barrel with the 300gr bullet, i suspect they will be above 2200 we will see how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #127
Joe, I thought I should mention that I have tested "annealed tipped" bullets. With an annealed tip bullet, you water quench or heat treat bullet to increase hardness. Then you put the bullet in water such that the top of the water is level with crimp groove. Then you heat up nose of bullet with torch and let cool. This process creates a dual hardness alloy. The nose will return back to the original softer hardness of the alloy, but the lower part of the bullet that was in water retains the harder state. The theory is that the alloy will expand to the point where hardness changes and then expansion would stop and bullet maintains that profile.
In my tests, the rim of the mushroom shears away anyways, because there is still nothing there to support it.
 

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Thank you. I thought it would shear away but I was hoping that it would create a good wound channel while doing so, were you able to compare wound channels?
 

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Discussion Starter #129
I do not have measurable wound channels. Between the evidence left with milk jugs and interpreting video footage is how I develop a picture of what the bullet is doing at different stages. I am still learning with every test about interpreting the evidence that can be had with the tests. It would be helpful if I had more quantifiable numbers, but I have not found a way that works for me. Newspapers are antiquated so I do not know where to get enough newspapers to do all the tests that I do. I keep looking at the ballistic gelatin option but that stuff is better for handgun tests and rapid expanding rifle bullets. With the depth of penetration of big bore cast bullets makes using gelatin not convenient or cost effective for all the tests that I do. I raid a recycling center for my milk jugs and I bring them back when I am done. The problem with the jugs is it can take a good while to collect enough. My test table holds 58 jugs when I have it all set up for the deep penetrating bullets.
I have over 50 tests posted on youtube and that is probably about half the total number of tests that I have conducted.
 

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I know the amount of testing you do requires large amounts if medium. Too much for most of us and that's why we look to your tests for answers. I guess I was thinking that there would be more energy expended at entry with the annealed tip bullets. I figured that amount would dissipate as the mushroom sheared off but I thought that initially that amount might make a difference. If I was correct you should have seen a bit more misting as the soft nosed bullet entered the jugs. But if you did not see an increase in misting with the annealed nose bullets I'm probably wrong in my assumptions. Of course I'm not sure how exactly to measure the amount of misting either.
 

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Discussion Starter #131
Joe, you are not wrong. I can not say that I have been able to see the difference in my testing between the two, but I think your theory is well founded. The sooner the bullet expands the quicker it unleashes it's energy. To be honest, I have not tested this theory well enough to say it does not have merit. I suspect that bullets with more lead up front, than the bullet I tested with (225gr and 237gr Sage Country), might demonstrate a marked difference. Lowering the transition line from soft to hard, such that there is more soft alloy, may also alter outcomes.
I did test annealed tip RD432-300 bullet on a couple of occasions and those bullets were never recovered. That was early on in my testing when heavy cast bullets were lost about 1/3 of the tests. My bullet retention in my current set up is almost 100%.
My thinking ultimately goes along with the theory that if meplats expand to .75" to 1" before it shears off, it has already been effective in that phase of terminal performance. Then the rim shears off to allow bullet to continue to penetrate with a expanded frontal section of .47" to .55". The final bullet profile allows the bullet to penetrate considerably further. Of course, only so much penetration is needed in most hunting cases, so all that extra penetration is mostly academic, yet re-assuring.
So, for myself, I have decided to choose my alloy hardness and otherwise, not make things too complicated.
 
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