How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

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How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by Rob Kovach on Sun Dec 29, 2013 1:00 am

I went to the range with my ball gun today.  Set up the rest, practiced shooting from the rest with my 200gr LSWC ammo and drilled a sweet <2" group, then switched to the Hardball loads that I made.
All with .466 to .467 crimp and normal OAL.  I made 10 with 4.5gr, 4.6gr, 4.7gr, 4.8gr, and 4.9 gr of bullseye and the groups were crap.  none less than 6".  Mostly vertical stringing.  What do I have to do to get my gun to shoot decent Hardball groups?!

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by dronning on Sun Dec 29, 2013 1:57 am

Bullet: Sierra 230gr. FMJ
Primer: WLP
Case: Federal
Powder W231: 5.8grs.
OAL: 1.255"
Crimp: .469-.470
Velocity ave. 845 FPS

This load is just barely over 3"

Win. 230gr FMJ bullets are over 5" with the same load.

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:35 am

ahmmmm.....

With vertical stringing, what's the chances of there being some user flinch going on with hardball that you don't get with your 200-gr SWCs???

I ask because some of my 6-inch groups at 50, yes, testing hardball loads, started showing MY flinch pattern at 7-8:00 even though I was off a rest and thought I was squeezing correctly.

That said, the 4 shot "groups" without one flyer apiece were still four inches...

So I'm buying some Hornadys next.

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by Jack H on Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:59 am

Try 4.8 tightgroup or 5.1 N320 for SF both right near 820fps

crimp .oo2-.oo3 under straight wall on Sierras

I shot a 94 SF with the 4.8 TG load on the way to a 94-98-99. 
The 25 yd load was 4.9 N320


Last edited by Jack H on Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:18 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add)

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by DeweyHales on Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:50 am

The bullet and crimp are everything with the 45. Buy a few of the better 45 bullets: Zero, Magnus, Sierra, etc.  Test these with a recipe like those listed above. 

With the testing I've done, I'm not convinced that the 45s have to be blistering fast to shoot well at 50. Find a powder that gives you a recoil feel that you like. Then, find its sweet spot in your gun. I like the feel of WST the best for 45 HB. N320 feels good too, but it's more pricey. 

The 9mm hardball is very affordable and easy to get to shoot well at 50. Ammo expense easily dwarfs the cost of any gun. When I started working on the badge, Sierras in 45 were a quarter apiece. Good 9mm bullets were under a dime. That difference adds up quickly when you estimate the number of shots fired to achieve the necessary proficiency. Luckily, good 45 bullets are now available at more competitive rates. With 45s at 230 gr and 9mm at 115 gr, you are paying for twice the metal in each shot.

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by Rob Kovach on Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:18 am

I'm using zero bullets. 
Dewey, how much WST do you recommend, and what crimp are you using?  What group size does that translate to?

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by DeweyHales on Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:25 pm

Try somewhere between 4.4-4.8 of WST. I crimp to 0.470". 

Group size will vary by barrel, fit, etc.  As a guy that works with statistics and projections, barrel stuff is almost voodoo.  Most Internet data are based on a single barrel or two. 

With my Les Baer, my loading will shoot 10s. Many custom builders test barrels before building. I've had a barrel from a well known company that just wouldn't shoot no matter the load. It was a long process to have a gun built around the barrel, test countless loads, etc only to find nothing really worked.


Last edited by DeweyHales on Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:28 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo)

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by dronning on Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:48 pm

Thanks for the starting point on the WST.  I thought I had enough 231 to last the season but it's looking slim, by chance I picked up 8lbs of WST last summer when 231 was nowhere to be found.

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by Wes Lorenz on Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:50 pm

Rob Kovach wrote: What do I have to do to get my gun to shoot decent Hardball groups?!
by DeweyHales on Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:50 am. The bullet and crimp are everything with the 45.

Rob,
I agree with Dewey. One time I shot a 290 and the first thing Mel Makin asked me was "which bullet, lot number, & where I bought them".
I learned from this and tried to buy the same bullet & lot, but they didn't have it so I bought another lot #. This lot had dents and dings on their bases from the manufacturing process, they did not group well (25yd use only).
One very educational thing you can do is disassemble a few rounds and examine the base and skirt of the bullets for deformities caused by a small expander, shaving, over crimping, etc. and may be causing your inaccuracy.
From my experience & hope it helps,
Wes

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by DavidR on Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:39 pm

IMO, crimp is a little too tight, .468 max, also did you clean the barrel after the lead before shooting the FMJ? if not that can throw things off. anything under 4.7 of be is not going to be accurate at 50 yds.

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by DeweyHales on Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:52 pm

The test could be flawed. Does the wad gun use irons or a dot?  If it uses a dot, part of the trouble could be seeing the irons well enough. 

Second, changing charges every 10 shots will have the gun "seasoning" as you go. With just a tenth change, that should be minimal.

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by Rob Kovach on Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:21 pm

DavidR,

I did NOT clean the bore after shooting lead before shooting the hardball.  Do you need to use any special solvent when switching from lead to Hardball, or will pulling a boresnake through do the trick?

Dewey,

I was shooting from a machine rest.

Can you 'splain "seasoning"?

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by DeweyHales on Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:26 pm

Seasoning is some voodoo that rifle shooters talk about. The bullets coat the barrel with copper, lead, wax, moly, etc. 

You can see it when you switch bullets or powders. Often, the first couple will go into the prior group. Subsequent rounds go to their own group. 

Many times in shooting for groups, a few rounds will be shot off the target. Then, the group can begin.

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by kczerwin on Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:24 am

Rob:

When you say machine rest, is it a Ransom rest or a simple muzzle rest?  Adjusting the tension of the grip when using the Ransom rest can have a significant impact on impacts (bad pun intended).   The folks at Ransom recommend firing a significant number of settling rounds and between loads a significant number of fouling rounds.

Kevin

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by Art on Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:45 pm

What happened to the data that Neil from NSK sales had on wadcutter and hardball loads?

Was it on this forum or the old version of this forum or am I confused.

Anywho, I talked to Neil and he gave me this recipe:

230g Zero or Sierra
4.2 g N310
OAL: 1.265-1.270"
Crimp: .469-.470"

I ransom rested this load in a gun I rebarreled and it put 5 shots in under 2 inches @ 50 yards.  It's a relatively soft shooting load, much less recoil than Winchester whitebox.

The paper list of Neil's loads has 4.2g Clays, 4.6g Bullseye, 5.4g 231, 4.8g WST and he wrote Ed Masaki's load is 4.2g Clays with Sierra bullets.

The list I have is "posted by Neil NSK Co 23 Aug 2007"  I don't have the url for it.

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by Rob Kovach on Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:47 pm

It's not a ransom rest but it is similar.  I always run a known good load through the gun first to make sure the rest is operating properly, and I am operating it properly.

I do that testing with my LSWC loads so I still need to figure out how to clean the barrel before shooting the copper jacketed hardball bullets.

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by Jon Eulette on Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:46 am

Another critical thing to check is the recoil spring! Yep! If you use the same spring you used for lighter wadcutter ammo you will be under sprung. Barrel will come out of battery too soon and you'll get sporadic non existent groups. A lot of people don't realize how critical barrel fit is for a ball gun. Ball ammo can show flaws in barrel fitting; more recoil equals more torque and exacerbates poor lockup.

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by marlin1881 on Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:41 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:Another critical thing to check is the recoil spring! Yep! If you use the same spring you used for lighter wadcutter ammo you will be under sprung. Barrel will come out of battery too soon and you'll get sporadic non existent groups. A lot of people don't realize how critical barrel fit is for a ball gun. Ball ammo can show flaws in barrel fitting; more recoil equals more torque and exacerbates poor lockup.

Jon,  you nailed it!  Until I looked at my documentation, I didn't realize I still had a 12lb spring in my hardball Range Officer.  I was going nuts with the uncalled flyers with my hardball loads.  I put the 15lb spring back in the RO, and I had a very good shooting session tonight.  The gun felt a LOT better with regards to recoil.  And, I still had some flyers to the outside of the black, but I called them.

This really is a big deal.  Thanks.

Doug

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by Jack H on Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:01 am

On HB crimp.  I had a batch of USA White box that came crimped to .465-.466.  It was one of the most accurate white box I ever saw. 

I crimp to a 1-2 thousandths bite into the jacket.  I watch my case length a bit and lower the crimper a little at a time measuring each attempt to find where the belling becomes straight wall.  Then I screw down more measuring until I get 2-4 thousandths under straight wall.  This is using my best (favorite) crimper a RCBS TC/Seater w/o the seater.  I seat HB with a Redding comp seater to an OAL that matches the round Roddy gave me.

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

Post by 45 MIKE on Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:19 pm

4.4 Titegroup with Hornady 230 fmj. Shoots very well. 4.8 really hot
4.0 Titegroup with 200 lswc ACME for wadgun
working a little better than 3.9 Clays that I can't find.
I found a good amount of Titegroup so it's all good

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Re: How can I make Hardball ammo that doesn't suck at 50 yards?

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