Monday, December 30, 2002

Hunting today was a bust. The Christmas snow had thawed/melted partially and then frozen and can't be crossed quietly. No luck on still hunting. Stopped and called. Had a response but came in from the "wrong" direction (i.e. downwind and in thick brush) and I could not get a shot. There is always tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Well, now I've had another disappointment. The 200 gr. MKs would not stabilize in the .30 Herrett barrel!! I was sure they would, since I though it was a 1-10" twist, the load is very close in velocity to that of the .300 Whisper. But no, wait, it isn't a 1-10" or even a 1-12", it is a 1-14"!!!! What happened? Well according to some data I had it had to be a 1-10" or 1-12" but when you look at all the manuals they show their test barrels as 1-14". Apparently, in spite of what is published, mine is a 1-14". I even checked it out.

Oh well, back to the 150s and 130s, the 220s and 200s will just get added to the "I got'em but never use'em" pile. I guess I might try some loads with max effort charges so that I can eliminate velocity as a contributing factor. This is really a non-issue as I can't think of a valid use for the loads. I have no suppressor and don't plan on getting one (not cost effective).

Much has been made of the Trent Lott debacle and how it will affect the President's agenda. What I want to know is how will it hurt shooters and hunters (who often forget that they are shooters, too!)?

I have also got an unending desire for a "real" rifle. That is, a bolt action gun in something bigger than .30-06. Candidates include the .35 Whelen, .350 Remington Magnum, and the 9.3x62mm Mauser. These are all about the same although the last has some potential for use in Africa (like I'll ever get there). Went to all the local shops and all they have are some over priced (it seems) crap with tupperware stocks. Now I have Rynite on my Contenders but this stuff would make a toy soldier look like it was made out of quality materials. AND they want in the range of $600-1000 for one of these POS.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

All I did today was make up some more .30 Herrett cases (a total of 80 I've made and 100 from E A Brown). I also loaded them with what is for now a fireforming load, my sub-sonic load for the Herrett, 11 gr. Alliant 2400 and the Sierra 200 gr. MK. These are all loaded point forward.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

I've not been shooting for a while due to weather and not even doing anything gun related for the last couple of days due to work. I am beginning to hate the fact that these 2 days a week intrude on my other interests. Terrible isn't it? I should be happy that I have 5 days a week to "do as I please".

I've just posted the link in the appropriate comments about SGBs about GS Custom Bullets of the Republic of South Africa. Unbeknownst to me they also make monolithic HV and HP bullets which are available in even our smaller calibers, such as .22. I don't think that Barnes makes an X bullet for the .22 Hornet!

I mention that because seeing the listing on the site reminded me that I have to work up some loads for the .22 Hornet, .218 Bee and .223 Remington. I also need to get my .22 WRFM barrel out squirrel hunting so that I can report on the performance of the .22 WRF loads mentioned previously (see the archives). Of course I really need to get down to my daughter's house and help her in-laws reduce the coyote population a bit.

Another task I need to get back to is re-working the .35 Remington loads for both the Contender carbine barrel and my Remington Model 8. I also need to check the zero on the Model 8.

Soon all the VA deer seasons will close. Hunting has not been very successful for me this year. However, I can lay some of that on the weather. It has snowed, iced, sleeted, partially melted and refrozen, etc. so that it is almost impossible to climb the local mountains or to move quietly across the snow. Constant crunching works against you going in and out of the woods. Even if you hunt the south facing slopes, you will eventually be forced onto a patch of crunchy snow/ice mix. One step and you are "outed" to all the deer in the neighborhood. Even squirrels are a might touchy about you moving about in their neighborhood.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Beljan SGB Tool

I received my Beljan SGB tool today. Excellent service by the Beljan Manufacturing as the order was placed last Sunday (including payment by PayPal) and shipped on Monday. The tool arrived today (a Thursday). Cost including shipping was $12. The Hanned Line tool is $39.95.

I bought a .22 Short/CB tool since I already owned a .22 LR tool from the Hanned Line. As mentioned before the Beljan tool comes with a Delrin base (which does NOT fit the Hanned Tool Line SGB tool) which is used to hold the tool (the .22 Short tool IS short!) and to vary the amount removed from the nose of the bullet. I hoped to test a couple today but didn't have an opportunity to do so. Oh well, there is always tomorrow. Also, the quality is right up there with the Hanned Line tool. The finish is a black, not paint, but what it is exactly I don't know. Of course you get some of it to come off as you make your SGB ammo. The best way to store these tools is in an empty 35mm film canister.

Yes, I've made some SGB ammo (i.e. modified the bullets) and I am very pleased. The ammo I am modifying is CCI CB (in the original short case) but any .22 Short ammo can be modified. I do wish there was a tool for the CB in the LR case. This is one level of .22 RF ammo that is truly in need of improvement and this is an easy way to do that. At shorter ranges, say 10 to 60 feet (yes feet) this class of ammunition is sufficient for taking squirrels and rabbits but it often fails to produce quick kills if placement is a bit off. Modifying the bullet form should help in the same way it helps with the standard .22 LR.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

I now have a test small game load for the 7-30 Waters. Beartooth Bullets .285 140 gr. LFN GC, CCI 200, 16.5 gr. IMR SR4759, est 1450 fps/654 fpe. Unfortunately, this bullet seated so that the lube is all within the case has it's base below the neck. This is not best for optimum accuracy.

I think that SR4759 is an excellent powder for cast bullet loads in cartridges that are normally thought of as for use with jacketed bullets only. A very bulky powder, it adequately addresses concerns some have with loading density and fillers. Velocities are often in the 1400-2000 fps range. In my loads I am trying to achieve velocities at the low end of the range for use on edible small game and turkeys. This load of 16-18 grains of SR4759 with a cast bullet appropriate to the firearm used is a good one for the .30-30, .30-40, .308, .300 Savage, .30-06, 7.65 Argentine, .303 British, 7-30 Waters, .35 Remington, .358 Winchester and more of similar capacity.

However, one of the practical considerations not often addressed is the length of the lubricated portion of the bullet in relation to the length of the case neck. I think that better accuracy can be achieved when the lubricated portion of the bullet is entirely within the case neck. This is, I think, because the burning powder and the resulting hot gasses burn off the lube and displace the gas check. Logically, if the GC isn't in place it won't do any good, if it isn't between the bullet and the hot gasses it won't protect the bullet and the bullet won't be accurate if the base is deformed when it passes the muzzle.

This makes one look for lighter weight bullets and use lighter powder charges to keep velocities down and consequently reduce tissue damage on game while still having an effective load.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Was recently asked for the lengths of some 7mm/.284" bullets so I thought I might as well post my results and others posted to the TC-L here as well.

Barnes 120 gr. SP - 1.105"
Barnes 140 gr. SP - 1.257"
Beartooth Bullets 140 gr. LFN GC, .934"
Hornady 139 gr. FP, .954"
Hornady 120 gr. SSP, .995"
Hornady 120 gr. SP - 1.007"
Hornady 139 gr. SP - 1.157"
Hornady 139 gr. SPBT - 1.138"
Nosler 140 gr. BallisticTip - 1.2575"
Nosler 120 gr. FPBT - 1.070"
Nosler 150 gr. BT - 1.307"
Nosler 150 gr. Partition- 1.200"
Sierra (Varminter) 100 gr. HP - .883"
Sierra 130 gr. SSP - 1.031"
Sierra 140 gr. SP - 1.110"
Sierra (GameKing), 140 gr Spitzer BT - 1.133"
Speer 130 gr. SPBT - 1.070"
Speer 160 gr. SP - 1.210"

Which brings up an interesting point, the Beartooth Bullets weren't supposed to come for some 4-6 weeks after I ordered them. Despite what they say on their website, they are apparently doing well enough to get these delivered within 2 weeks of the order. I'm very pleased with both the quickness the order was filled and the quality of the bullets. They are outstanding!

We also have this data courtesy of Allory Deiss. "Using the same calipers and bullets along with the Sinclair bullet comparer. This measures to a spot which should be where the rifling starts to contact the bullet, on a .284 bullet this is at .276. I also measured the two 100 grain bullets this time around. These are not careful averages of multiple measurements, but should give you an idea of what overall cartridge length would be if you know casehead to rifling leade."

Length Base- Datum-
Overall Datum Tip
Barnes 120 SP 1.105 0.558 0.547
Barnes 140 SP 1.257 0.692 0.565
Hornady 100 HP 0.880 0.357 0.523
Hornady 120 SP 1.007 0.468 0.539
Hornady 139 SP 1.157 0.540 0.617
Hornady 139 SPBT 1.138 0.562 0.576
Nosler 120 FPBT 1.070 0.454 0.616
Nosler 150 Btip 1.307 0.723 0.584
Nosler 150 Part 1.200 0.638 0.562
Sierra 100 HP 0.891 0.446 0.445
Sierra 130 SSP 1.031 0.498 0.533
Sierra 140 SP 1.110 0.574 0.536
Speer 130 SPBT 1.070 0.555 0.515
Speer 160 SP 1.210 0.669 0.541

Today has been mostly brass sorting and packing. Don't know what I'll do with it all...

Yeah, right!

Thursday, December 05, 2002

My sub-sonic .30 Herrett project continues apace. Of course I have to do a dangerous thing, extrapolate data from the .300 Whisper to the .30 Herrett for the 200 gr. bullets. After much hand wringing and such I swagged it and picked 13 gr. 2400 for the 220 gr. Sierra Matchking. That tumbled.

Ok, the books show the .300 Whisper 1-10" twist barrels shooting the 220s ok but evidently that is wrong. So... I go back to my local dealer, er supplier, er, well you know what I mean. Anyway I go and buy a box of Sierra 200 gr. Matchkings. As mentioned earlier I intend to seat them "backwards". Here they are compared with the "standard" (mine) 130 gr. Hornady SSP load. Since I dropped 20 gr. in bullet weight and want to stay below the speed of sound I also dropped the powder charge by 2 gr. I've yet to chronograph these though and will report speeds when I get the chance.

There are a couple of things of note here. First, the seating die is left the same when seating all loads. It may not result in the most accurate ammo but it works for now and saves me problems. I can adjust how far off the lands the varying bullets are later, IF it is worthwhile. However, as a result, the 200 seated backwards and the 130 Hornady transition to the ogive at about the same point. So does the 200 seated forwards! Will this actually help? We'll see.

Second, the 200 seated backwards has a big flat meplat just like the LBT style bullets and looks like a long truncated cone bullet.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the reversed bullet is supposed to most closely approximate a water droplet which is supposedly the most efficient sub-sonic shape.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Well, I did NOT go out with the Seneca but took my S&W M422 6" instead. I intended to do some "field testing" of the Winchester Dynapoint .22 LR which had been altered with the Hanned Line .22 LR SGB tool to have the SGB type point. The SGB point is on the left of the picture.

FWIW, the Dynapoint has no hollow point at all, maybe a "dimple" on the points of some bullets. These do NOT expand when fired from the pistol. However, they are pretty accurate in my pistols and so a good candidate for alteration with my SGB tool.

I was able to collect a squirrel using the SGB ammo and my S&W M422.

I've been itching to go squirrel hunting all season. I like trying to put the sneak on these attentive little rodents. However, I don't kill more than a meal (for myself, my wife will NOT partake) at a time to ensure that there are plenty for other hunts. So, today I got bundled up (it is a cold 28 degrees F here and that is cold for here, last year it was 71 degrees F) and drove out to my Mom's place to both visit and see if I could find a squirrel or 2 out and about. Easing down into the woodlot, I came to a favorite mature white oak which had dropped a lot of acorns. Squirrels can often be seen in the vicinity of this old tree even though it sits on the property line and they have heavily logged that side of the fence. Since I have permission to hunt it is no problem to sit at the base of the tree and scan 360 degrees. Hundreds of migrating robins were feeding in the woods all around me. After about 5 minutes I saw movement about 45 yards away at the base of one of the few trees left in the adjoining lot.

I crawled to the far side of my white oak and stood up. I slowly moved around the far side of the tree and across the opening, stopping whenever the fox squirrel showed her head. Soon I was within 25 yards but there was quite a bit of slash between us. I removed my right hand glove with my left hand and used my left hand and right glove to mask my movement as I drew my pistol and flicked off the safety. She sat back up and I could clearly see her shoulder. since this is the approximate range at which I zeroed my pistol, I held on her shoulder as I squeezed off the shot. Instantly all the robins were quiet and there was no sound of thrashing and no sight of the squirrel climbing the nearest tree. I knew I had a good hit and moved directly to where she had been. There she lay, dead. She had simply fallen over backwards off the fallen limb on which she'd been crouched and died.

The bullet entered just behind her right shoulder and exited (the exit wound is just as hard to see as the entry wound) just behind her left shoulder. Everything in between was instantly rendered non-functional. This is a vast improvement over the performance of the unaltered Dynapoints which in the past have taken as many as 7 shots to finally anchor squirrels of similar body size on which they were used.
Although I've got some chores to do this morning, I'll be going out with the Seneca to do a bit of squirrel hunting. A storm front will be moving through late this afternoon and should add a bit of drama (and SNOW!). I hope to get out soon after to use this as a tracking snow. Of course, turkey might be found while I'm out. The Seneca .36 is a good choice for this task as well. There are grouse, but I seldom see them soon enough to even get an opportunity with the rifle.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

When I originally decided I'd like to have some .300 Whisper type sub-sonic loads for my .30 Herrett I did a little research. Unfortunately, either I got turned 'round or my source was wrong. 220 gr. Sierra Match Kings will NOT stabilize in a 1-10" twist barrel. It is the 200 gr. bullets that I was wanting, although I didn't know it. The two Match King bullets, the 220 grain is on the left, are shown here side by side for comparison purposes. they are also shown there in the normal flight attitude, i.e. point first. However, this is the way that I intend to send them on their merry little flight to the targets. Traveling base first is the nearest thing to what is supposed to be the most efficient sub-sonic projectile form, the tear drop.

Of course, if it doesn't work, I can always load the rest turned 'round the "correct" way! The load to be tried is 11 gr. Alliant 2400, CCI 200, Sierra Matchking 200 gr. I will also chronograph loads with both bullet seating methods.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Regards sub-sonic load development for the .357 Max:

I carried my S&W M13 to the range. Testing was quick and dirty without any good results but as follows.

The 1 gr. Unique and 1 gr. Bullseye with the buckshot loads were a bust. Just a mild pop but one shot didn't even make it out of the chamber! The 2.5 gr. Bullseye and 205 gr. Leadheads LBTGC worked fairly well. Certainly not a quiet load in the 3" barrel of this revolver but not the barn burner either.

The 14.8 gr. 2400/158 gr. Hornday XTP load was more deep throated than the 125 gr. bulleted "screamers" I've been loading. Those hurt my ears so much that I'd switched to a near copy of the Remington "mid-range" .357 Mag loading. I think that these 158 gr. bullets will be standard for the .357 Mag in my guns.

Regards the sub-sonic load development for the .30 Herrett. I've been thinking that the next step is to make up 20 more cases and load with the 200 Matchking, reversed. This will provide, as closely as possible, what is considered the most efficient sub-sonic projectile shape, the rain-drop. It will also provide a flat meplat for effective use on game (where legal). I will also have to drop the charge from 13 gr. to 11 gr. of Alliant 2400.

This week may not be any more productive than last so far as range work goes. Forecast for much weather that works against good range work, chronographing, accuracy testing, etc. such as sleet, snow and rain.
Well, the Thanksgiving visitors and the weather combined to make the past week unproductive. However, it was more fun than it might have been since I actually got to hunt as opposed to sitting in a ski lodge in WV doing nothing.

I've got lots of projects and I don't mean "honey dos"!

1. Complete sub-sonic load development for the .357 Max barrel.
2. Complete sub-sonic load development for the .30 Herrett barrel.
3. Labeling of all ammo.
4. Updating of reloading spreadsheet (all entries).
5. Ordering of reloading tools (trimmer, new vibrating polisher, bullets, neck turner, etc.).
6. Zero verification of .22 Hornet barrel (and load development).
7. Zero verification of .218 Bee barrel (and load development).
8. Zero verification of .223 Rem. barrel.

I also will be doing some squirrel (and maybe grouse) hunting. Might see a turkey (I've seen lots of sign). Will be scouting for late ML season.