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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got my new 3x3 TLC311-165-RF here and got a couple hundred boolits cast up with some waterquenched range lead...came out between .313" and .314" and almost too hard for my fingernail to scratch :) They've been put through a light tumbling of Recluse's 45/45/10, sized to .310" (for a .3090" bore), checks crimped and finally dipped them in LLA. Aside from stinking up the whole house, they look great!

I'm loading for a 91xxxxxx series 336ss and am seeing fairly different chamber sizes than the "use at your own risk" on RD's website shows. There's a 2.481" OAL minimum on RD's data...my issue is that my dummies have to be 2.432" or less otherwise they take considerable effort to close the lever and upon extraction, will have pretty nasty engravings from the rifling on the bullet.

Obviously, I will be working up my own load data from a very safe level since the OAL is well under RD's posted data but is this "too short?" I'm using ~2.035" Winchester brass and the LFCD-crimped mouth is resting on the ogive well past the crimp groove or LLA bands.
 

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Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

Jech said:
my issue is that my dummies have to be 2.432" or less otherwise they take considerable effort to close the lever and upon extraction, will have pretty nasty engravings from the rifling on the bullet.

Obviously, I will be working up my own load data from a very safe level since the OAL is well under RD's posted data but is this "too short?" I'm using ~2.035" Winchester brass and the LFCD-crimped mouth is resting on the ogive well past the crimp groove or LLA bands.
That OAL is about as short as I've seen. I have five 30-S and each uses a different length. My shortest is a is a Glenfield 30GT and it needs a 2.445". Addressing it as you have is the answer. The long ogive will still fill the throat. What powders are you working with? I will take a look and what that does with the max loads for those powders. With my 30GT I just continued to shoot 36.0-grain of BL-C(2) like I do with the others. I've always said that one day I'm going to take the time to dedicate a given lot of brass to each of my 30-S and trim them so that each uses the crimp groove. Hasn't happened yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

I was planning on using Unique for the plain-base plinkers, also have some Hodgdon H4895 and an unopened pound of W748.

Done a little more sleuthing and have more to report...a short disclaimer first stating that this is my first rifle so I'm very early in the learning process. Secondly, I am analytical to a fault and will find problems where none exist. If all these observations are truly insignificant, just tell me to hush and I'll go about my business :p

So, after straining through my bifocals for a while, I've noticed that my mould block halves slightly misaligned. Assume you're looking down the rotational axis of the unsized bullet and that the bullet is oriented as such that the seam from the block halves is running from 12 to 6 o'clock. Mic'ing 11 to 5 o'clock is a narrow .3127", 1 to 7 o'clock is a fat .3156" and finally 3 to 9 o'clock is a most desirable .3129". Sizing obviously handles the out-of-round diameter but what happens is the fat portion of the untouched ogive hits the lands much earlier than the narrow or average point. Here are some pictures that might help show you what I'm feebly trying to describe.

Sized bullet exhibiting uneven contact points from the sizing die.


2.481" dummy with a .310" sized bullet. Right side is clearly showing the same sizing markings as image #1. This out-of-round spec causes the fatter side of the bullet to run further out before the ogive curve begins. The left side with the narrower diameter measurement has an ogive curve that begins earlier, lessening the contact with the rifling.


2.436" dummy with a .310" sized bullet. Same test as image #2 but with a fresh bullet and shorter OAL. Right/left analysis shows delicate rifling engagement which caused the last ~1/4" of lever travel to be difficult versus the other side which never touched the rifling.


Is any of this really worth worrying about? My wife says I need to stop being so nit-picky about and just start blasting them into the already lol
 

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Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

My inital guess is that the sprue plat might be placing too much pressure across the mold as it locks in place. This might sum it up...

"One problem I have found with any mold that has the sprue plate hold-down designed as a slot is that, if not properly relieved so that the hold down bold touches only on the top of the sprue plate, it can cause either forward or backward pressure on the block halves and create a vertical mis-alignment of the castings. In the case of the 6 cavity molds the chamfer on the top of the slot must align perfectly with the bevel on the underside of the hold down bolt or for and aft pressure can result in mis-alignment. If the chamfer and the bevel cannot be aligned then the adjustment on the bold needs to be relieved until minimal pressure is exerted."

Some basic stuff to consider as well, pins lubed and no alloy on the inside of the blocks where the mate with each other. This week I was sizing and seating gas checks for my TLC411-255-RF. These bullets had a few weeks to toughen up, sitting at a BHN of 23. I ran a couple of hundred through my little Lee "C" Reloading press and started to notice a bit of wear on the bullet puncher. With all the pressure these bullets were requiring, I started to watch this little press flex. I've been using this press for about 15 years and it has probably sized over a quarter of a million bullets. The bottom-line is that there is enough wear in the ram and press frame that I was seeing a bullet just about like you show in the picture. If I would have been paying more attention, I would have noticed a lot of the gas checks are straight across the base. Oh well, I ordered a reconditioned Challenger press from Lee ($42) and will do my sizing/check seating on an "O" type frame for now.

I would not remelt the bullets until I see how a few shot. Especially for your plinking loads. No sense in wasting the work! The rifle barrel is a heck of a sizing tool! If need be, I will gladly replace the mold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

Ranch Dog said:
My inital guess is that the sprue plat might be placing too much pressure across the mold as it locks in place. This might sum it up...

"One problem I have found with any mold that has the sprue plate hold-down designed as a slot is that, if not properly relieved so that the hold down bold touches only on the top of the sprue plate, it can cause either forward or backward pressure on the block halves and create a vertical mis-alignment of the castings. In the case of the 6 cavity molds the chamfer on the top of the slot must align perfectly with the bevel on the underside of the hold down bolt or for and aft pressure can result in mis-alignment. If the chamfer and the bevel cannot be aligned then the adjustment on the bold needs to be relieved until minimal pressure is exerted." Never heard of such a thing/problem but it really does make perfect sense. I have a bad habit of over-tightening the hold-down bolt and pivot bolts so that may very well be the issue. I'll tinker with the plate, bolts etc and see what happens when I crank up the pot this weekend!

Some basic stuff to consider as well, pins lubed and no alloy on the inside of the blocks where the mate with each other. Yup, got my 2 bottles of Bullplate sprue lube sitting here on my bench along with a few Q-Tips. Crazy how that stuff seems to condition the aluminum over time. This week I was sizing and seating gas checks for my TLC411-255-RF. These bullets had a few weeks to toughen up, sitting at a BHN of 23. I ran a couple of hundred through my little Lee "C" Reloading press and started to notice a bit of wear on the bullet puncher. With all the pressure these bullets were requiring, I started to watch this little press flex. I've been using this press for about 15 years and it has probably sized over a quarter of a million bullets. The bottom-line is that there is enough wear in the ram and press frame that I was seeing a bullet just about like you show in the picture. I've seen similar "asymmetrical" sizing markings before with an older Lee 452-230-TC that had some nasty goring around the alignment pins, Lee ended up replacing that one for me. I'm not having to use much pressure to size these bullets just when installing the checks. First tumble-lube coat, then size nose first, apply the checks, then run them through the sizing die base first finally ending with a dipped coat of LLA. This classic turret press is still under a year old but I will watch for play in the mechanism. Anything is possible! If I would have been paying more attention, I would have noticed a lot of the gas checks are straight across the base. Oh well, I ordered a reconditioned Challenger press from Lee ($42) and will do my sizing/check seating on an "O" type frame for now.

I would not remelt the bullets until I see how a few shot. Especially for your plinking loads. No sense in wasting the work! The rifle barrel is a heck of a sizing tool! Amen to that! If need be, I will gladly replace the mold. A very generous offer but I have a lot to try including putting the first batch into the berm before I jump to any hasty conclusions! =D
All in all, a shorter OAL doesn't really matter much to me since I'm using an LFCD...I'll still be able to counter setback. As for powder usage, I think I'm gonna start with 27gr to 31gr of H4895 as well as 26gr to 32gr of W748, all depending on pressure signs and what my chrono reads of course.

Heh, this range trip is gonna be fun...new chrono, new powder, new bullet and style of bullet, new lubing method...almost sounds like too much for one afternoon!
 

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Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

Jech said:
All in all, a shorter OAL doesn't really matter much to me since I'm using an LFCD...I'll still be able to counter setback. As for powder usage, I think I'm gonna start with 27gr to 31gr of H4895 as well as 26gr to 32gr of W748, all depending on pressure signs and what my chrono reads of course.

Heh, this range trip is gonna be fun...new chrono, new powder, new bullet and style of bullet, new lubing method...almost sounds like too much for one afternoon!
Have fun at the range! I ran the shorter OAL, 2.432", through QuickLoad to see what the effect on max load would be. H4895 is good to 34.3 (99% case capacity, 2229 FPS, 40.6K PSI). W748 is good to 35.5 (91%, 2253 FPS, 40.6K PSI). My guess is loads in the range you listed will not show you much. The TLC bullets really shine when you put the powder to them, doing their best in the 35.0K to 42.0K PSI range. It will be interesting to hear what the plain base bullet likes best.

What model of rifle are you shooting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

Thank you very much for the Quickload info, I was just about to start working up the ammo. Since case volume would be diminished, I didn't want to have pressures spike by said capacity. Very glad to hear I can still run the charges all out!

I'm shooting a Marlin 336ss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

The s/n prefix is 91 which I've read means it was made in 2009. I've got one of your .310 custom sizers doing the grunt work for me so it sounds like I'm on the right path. Almost done working up the W748 loads, the H4895 loads are already sitting in the range bag. Hope to report back in a few hours!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

Range report!

2.035" Winchester and R-P brass
RD TLC311-165-RF waterdropped range lead, Hornady 30cal checks installed.
LFCD crimp applied...higher side of moderate
WLR primers

10-shot string, 5/5 at 50/100yds with 2.475" OAL and 27gr H4895
OAL intentionally set long, crimped in appropriate groove, significant extra effort to close lever. 50yd group was slightly under 1", no measured group at 100yds due to difficulty compensating for increased drop/distance. Shooter fails at scopes. No pressure signs on primers or brass, recoil was acceptable.
Low vel: 1920
High vel: 1956
Avg: 1937
ES: 36
SD: 11.44

10-shot string @ 100yds with 2.438" OAL and 31.5gr Hodgdon H4895
No measured grouping, forgot scope was still zeroed for a 7gr/Unique load with a different bullet, spent all 10 rounds getting it on the paper. Primers were somewhat cratered but not flattening, recoil was stout.
Low vel: 2183
High vel: 2249
Average: 2225
Extreme spread: 65.74
Standard deviation: 18.22

5-shot string @ 50yds with 2.438" OAL and 33.5gr H4895
Only fired 5 of 10 loaded rounds, feels too hot, poor accuracy, recoil was stout, primers cratering and a little flattened.
Low vel: 2325
High vel: 2373
Avg: 2351
ES: 47.88
SD: 17.52

Only 1 shot fired with 2.438" OAL and 34.3gr H4895, primers quite cratered and flattened, velocity was 2377fps, recoil so strong, the scope popped me in the nose. Gonna disassemble the other 9 of these I made. This is way too hot.

10-shot string @ 100yds with 2.438" OAL and 33.6gr W748
6-8" group, primers only slightly visibly cratering, chrono malfunctioned, no ES/SD data only have handwritten data from 9 shots. These "felt" the best, might tinker with seating depth and see if I can tighten up the group more next time.
Low vel: 2156
High vel: 2219
Avg: 2179

10-shot string @ 50yds with 2.438" OAL and 35.5gr W748
Group is 2" tall and 4" wide but had no fliers, slight primer flattening and distinct cratering.
Low vel: 2210
High vel: 2282
Avg: 2255
ES: 72.09
SD: 19.13

================================

Conclusions: only tried the 2.475" OAL with 10 shots of 27gr/H4895 charge with intentionally difficult lever closure however this was the most accurate and consistent load out of all tried today. Everything else with the exception of 33.6gr/W748 showed velocity readings above 2200 combined with poor accuracy and primer signs leads me to believe that they were all too hot. Gonna work up the shorter OAL from 26 to 31.5gr/H4895 from 50yds and watch closely for an accuracy sweet spot. I liked the 33.6gr/W748 a lot, gonna play with that one more plus or minus .5gr and see if it will tighten up. Moral victory of the day: first time I've ever shot a cast bullet at full power and not had a single inkling of leading after so many rounds...yay gas checks! I'll never look back!

===============================

Spent some time looking over the mould with the sprue plate off to counter any possible alignment issues it may be causing. Found that unless I get white-knuckled and clamp down on the handles, the bottom of the block halves want to open up just a pinch and quite a bit of light is getting through even though the top is still perfectly mated. Penetrating light seems to be lessened when I put on a different set of handles, could explain the fat ogives sizing so far up even though the lube bands and shank aren't getting super crushed. Hopefully I'll get to try out the handles and sprue bolt tension fixes monday night.

EDIT: Looked back at quickload info posted earlier...W748 prediction was right on the money but H4895 was way off the mark. Suspect Beta Master chrono misread velocity or was Quickload just wrong for once? Hmmm....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

3 cheers for my wife having a great digital camera! Here are examples of each load's headstamp from today along with a sample of a gentle Unique charge showing a primer in good condition. Hopefully this will illustrate pressure signs better than my words in the long post.

Top row left to right:
1) 27gr H4895 @ 2.475"
2) 31.5gr @ 2.438"
3) 33.5gr @ 2.438"
4) 34.3gr @ 2.438"

Bottom row left to right:
1) 7.2gr Unique, 2.550" OAL, Missouri Bullet Company .311" 165gr 18BHN LFP
2) empty
3) 33.6gr W748 @ 2.438"
4) 35.5gr W748 @ 2.438"
 

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Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

Jech said:
Spent some time looking over the mould with the sprue plate off to counter any possible alignment issues it may be causing. Found that unless I get white-knuckled and clamp down on the handles, the bottom of the block halves want to open up just a pinch and quite a bit of light is getting through even though the top is still perfectly mated. Penetrating light seems to be lessened when I put on a different set of handles, could explain the fat ogives sizing so far up even though the lube bands and shank aren't getting super crushed. Hopefully I'll get to try out the handles and sprue bolt tension fixes monday night.
The mold will need to be replaced unless you find can see a reason it is not matching. A flake of aluminum shavings, the base of the locating pins not flush with the inside of the block surfaces. This is a first for me but as they say, there is always a first. Might try washing the mold blocks with dish detergent and a soft brush, blow dry and see if anything washed off. If that doesn't do it, I will send you another.
 

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Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

Jech said:
Looked back at quickload info posted earlier...W748 prediction was right on the money but H4895 was way off the mark. Suspect Beta Master chrono misread velocity or was Quickload just wrong for once? Hmmm....
Well Jech, I owe you... A couple of lessons for me here. When I post QL data, I usually start a fresh QL file and build from scratch to get pure results. I was supposed to be leaving for work when I saw you loading post so popped open QL from a file for my 336BL and generated the results. At that time I did not remember that I had been toying with that rifle, some ideas I had, and had changed the useful case capacity of the cartridge file. I usually include a text file of the results page but I doubt many would have caught the case capacity differences, I sure didn't. I also always add a disclaimer to stop if the actual velocity exceeds the forecast velocity, which I didn't do this time. You stopped on your own but I should have stated it.

I started with a blank screen this morning and the results are in the attached text file for the shorter OAL. Stop if the velocity exceeds the estimate. I would also trash the brass that fired the overcharged cases. This seems pretty close to your results, the only thing that would trim it up is using the exact temperature for your session in the calculations.

This is also a good lesson in using someone else's data... proceed with care and stop, which you did, if things get weird.
 

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Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

I should have also compared the two powders against what I had posted on my web site. Using the Glenfield 30 data (20" barrel/2.482" OAL) I list:
W748 - 33.5-grains
H4895 - 32.2-grains

The two loads I originally offered should have been a "heads up" that something was not right. With a decrease in OAL, charges decrease, not increase. I should have just gone to work. Sorry!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

With as strong as the Marlin 336 action is, I fear no damage to the rifle...other than the one time the scope jumped back and popped me in the nose, no real harm was done. I'll run a bent paperclip inside each of the cases, check for separation lines and relegate any weak ones to the plinking/Unique pile. The remaining loaded rounds have been disassembled so all is well.

Time to load up some more appropriately charged cases and see what kind of magic I can milk out of these boolits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

New and improved range report! Now with 100% safe powder charges!

2.035" Winchester brass
RD TLC311-165-RF waterdropped range lead, Hornady 30cal checks installed.
Moderate LFCD crimp applied
2.440" OAL (just long enough to bite the rifling all the way around but does not create level closure issues)
All charges listed are W748
WLR primers

First 10 shot string @ 100yds / 1.3" best 5 holes / 30.8gr (chrono info for 8 of 10 shots only, had some setup issues, shots not calculated were 2012fps, 2039fps)
No pressure signs, recoil is comfortable for a higher load, group shows vertical stringing, POI was 1-2" left from POA with all shots, this specific rifle seems to group to the left when loads are lighter and right with warmer loads.
Low vel: 1964
High vel: 2079
Average: 2026
Extreme: 115.4
Stand Dev: 33.63

Second 10 shot string @ 100yds / 1.9" best 5 holes / 30.8gr
Vertical stringing continues and the group is more scattered than string 1 but overall this load is the best yet in my rifle. Followed this string with a field strip and bore cleaning hoping to close up vertical grouping.
Low vel: 2001
High vel: 2064
Average: 2035
Extreme: 63.84
Stand Dev: 22

Third 10 shot string @ 100yds / 1.5" best 5 holes / 31.8gr (chrono misread shot #9, omitted from the calculation, suspect the 2039 low vel shot may also be contaminated data)
Best 5 group is two "figure eight" holes with a 5th opening it up a bit but the other holes scattered high, POI is 3" higher than 30.8gr load. Vertical stringing seems to have lessened by the quick cleaning but it's still present. A few primers have the faintest appearance of a crater, no other pressure signs, recoil was less than factory 170gr loads.
Low vel: 2039
High vel: 2118
Average: 2080
Extreme: 78.51
Stand Dev: 21.26

Fourth 10 shot string @ 100yds / 1.8" best 5 holes / 31.8gr (chrono misread shot #10, omitted from calculation)
No nice clovers or figure eights, group is very even spread out over a 5" high 2" wide area, most consistent grouping however. No concerning pressure signs.
Low vel: 2044
High vel: 2104
Average: 2083
Extreme: 59.72
Stand Dev: 19.26

Fifth 15 shot group @ 100yds / 1.6" best 5 holes / 32.8gr
Load is reminiscent of factory recoil, shots were very inconsistent going 6" low from POA then perfectly hit POA bullseye then all over low again, group is 7" tall and 5" wide. Primers are not cratered or flattened but look "as close as it gets" before cratering will appear. It was getting dark so I'm not very confident in the chrono readings for the first 10 shots. 20 minutes later, the last 5 all reported over 3300fps so I KNOW the light wasn't enough.
Low vel: 2093
High vel: 2177
Average: 2126
Extreme: 83.62
Stand Dev: 28.82

=========================

Conclusions: Roughly a 4-5" POI variance between 30.8gr and 32.8gr loads, not sure what is causing the vertical stringing or the fairly frequent fliers and low velocity shots when every charge is measured. The 2.440" OAL functioned "observedly fine" but I'm wondering if crimping on the ogive is really making the cut.

Next range trip, I plan to work up a good 60 rounds of each charge and really dial in the POI variances and possibly try a 2.445" OAL. Maybe a little more "headstarting" the bullet alignment process will help tighten the groups up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

Very excited to try it out! I spent this evening putting together an alloy from soft lead, 95/5 solder and some magnum shot and also cleaned up my casting area so I can dive right in as soon as it gets here.

~ Jech
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

Got the new mould yesterday, fired it up a dropped a couple hundred boolits. I've lubed/sized/lubed them and am starting to seat the gas checks but have run into an issue...the shanks measure .286"-.288" but the internal diameter of my Hornady 30 cal checks is .285". I am unable to get them to seat squarely or without shaving a large amount of lead off of the recessed shank. Any recommendations on how I can "flare open" the gas checks to make them more readily accept these wider bases?

EDIT: Just measured the shank area of the 3 checked cavities of the old mould and they all came out at .275", the boolits themselves measured .279"-.281". The new mould's cavities measure .287", very close to the boolits' shank diameter.

====================

Also, I am still unable to use the 2.481" OAL that puts the case mouth in the first and shortest crimp groove. Although these new bullets are impressively symmetrical, size beautifully, and engage the rifling properly all the way around etc, the maximum OAL I can use that does not dig into the rifling leade is 2.432".

I obtained this length by taking a previously fired case without neck sizing and placing a sized/lubed bullet (air-cooled not water-dropped) in the mouth and chambering it, allowing the action lockup to push the bullet back into the neck. After gently extracting the case and measuring it, I saw extremely faint marks in the LLA coat indicating contact with the leade.

I guess my rifle just has a really short throat that will limit my use of this bullet profile. I wonder if that might be part of the cause behind the lead deposits on the mouths of my cases. This happens with both checked and non-checked bullets as well as commercially casted bullets. Using the crimp groove or crimping elsewhere seems to have no effect. It's also happening with .310" and .311" sizes.



Will pay airfare for someone to come fix all my problems and teach me what I'm doing wrong :p
 

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Re: TLC311-165-RF and OAL

My oh my. The OAL will never be resolved, or you are at least doing what needs to be done to meet the requirements of your rifle.

The gas check situation is another issue. The actual Hornady spec for the inside diameter of the 30 caliber check is .286". That said, it is obvious that the mold is not delivering a diameter to accommodate the installation of the check. You might try annealing your checks but I doubt that will help that much. To anneal them, I would place them in a shallow pan and slowly pass the flame of a propane torch over them. They rapidly glow red hot, and cool quickly. If it was me, I would have the guy that sold me the mold send me another, which I would be happy to do. If you tired of fooling with it, I will be happy to refund your money.

The condition of your spent case necks bothers me. I've never seen examples quite like this. What is your average case length? Are you trimming them? If you are trimming them, have you thought about trimming them back to meet the crimp groove with the OAL of 2.432"? A SAAMI cartridge case is 2.039", trimming the neck back to meet the crimp groove would require a case length of approximately 1.972". The neck on a 30-30 case is .477" long, the adjustment would remove .067" of that length. What I'm running through my mind is that possibly the bulge caused by the deep seated bullet might be binding the case mouths against the chamber walls which is causing what appears to be scorching. Any body else have any ideas?
 
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