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Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test

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Benellinut@stny.rr.com
john bickar
zanemoseley
davidbullseye
Wobbley
Black_Talon
Mike38
fc60
gregbenner
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Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test Empty Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test

Post by gregbenner 1/30/2019, 4:46 pm

Fellow forum member, Mike38, sent me 40 Bear Creek 98gr .314 HBWCs to test in my Ransom Rest. I loaded 150 bullets in Lapua brass with 1.6gr of VV310.  40 with the Bear Creek bullets, 40 with bumped Speer Plinkers (using a swaging tool to bump the standard Speer plinker up to .3145 to closely emulate the H&N bullets, and the remainder with the standards Speer bullets. As most are aware, the Speer Plinker is advertised as .314 size, but in reality they run. 3125-313.

The gun I used is a Pardini, with the barrel diameter of .314. The distance was 50 yards, slightly windy conditions. During the first attempt I realized I had a broken extractor causing me to have to manual extract bullets, etc. Handling the gun like this is not good in a RR, so i quit after 20 std Plinkers, and 20 BCs. The Plinkers grouped terribly, the BCs were right at 5” with one 20 round group.

Today I went back with a new extractor. Nice conditions, 65 and sunny, , still a bit windy.  I first shot 30 Plinkers to settle the gun in the RR,  then 10 shot groups with Bumped Speers, BCs and Std Plinkers.

The std Plinkers were surprising terrible, I’ve had excellent results in other pistols, but they have tighter barrels.

The bumped Speers produced groups of 3”. Ive gotten better results othe times, but this was today.

The BCs were a better without me screwing with the feeding, 4” for the first group, 4 1/4” with the 2nd, plus one flier.  Better than the std plinkers, which makes sense since they measure a true ..314, but not as good as the bumped Plinkers.

Hopefully some others will test the BCs as well. Since I already have the swaging tool, I’ll stick with bumping the Speers, but these do seem worth considering.

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Post by fc60 1/30/2019, 6:11 pm

Greetings Greg,

What velocity are you getting with the 1.60 VV N310 charge?

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by Mike38 1/30/2019, 6:55 pm

Greg, thank you for this test. It helps us all I'm sure. I was hoping for better results with the Bear Creek bullets, but I guess that's the way things go. If you are willing to answer a couple questions, please do so, either here or in private message. Thanks.

1) Do you think a different powder and/or different brass would improve the results of the Bear Creek bullets?

2) The owner of Bear Creek bullets didn't seem to be interested in making his bullets in .3145, but didn't rule it out either. Do you think it would be worth his time to hone his current swaging dies out to .3145 or worth his money to purchase new dies?

Thank you very much for taking the time to do this test!
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Post by gregbenner 1/30/2019, 7:26 pm

fc60 wrote:Greetings Greg,

What velocity are you getting with the 1.60 VV N310 charge?

Cheers,

Dave
Dave, I didn take my Labradar with me. I have checked previously, I’ll see if I can locate my notes.  I keep terrible records, and old age doesn’t seem to be helping Sad

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Post by gregbenner 1/30/2019, 7:39 pm

Mike, I do suspect someone who was more careful/anal about reloading might well get better results. Perhaps more likely would be someone with more experience/skill with a ransom rest, or better yet, a barrel fixture. In my limited experience, the RR takes more skill than many realize. In my view, the gold standard is the results from Dave Wilson. He has way more skill and experience reloading, and uses a barrel fixture.

Dave was also the one who had the idea of bumping the Speer Plinkers, and designed the initial staging tool. I wouldn’t think that making the bullet a few thousandths larger would make much difference, but really have no idea?

Re: different brass and/or powder, I wouldnt expect a significant improvement. Since I reloaded all the bullets on the same 550, at the same time, I would think think the comparative difference wouldn’t change?

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Post by Mike38 1/30/2019, 7:57 pm

I forwarded Greg's results to the owner of Bear Creek bullets, and he replied with in 15 minutes. (How about that!) He very much appreciates the tests. He is now open to the idea of honing his existing dies out to .3145 or even .315 if people think it will help his bullets become equal to or better than the bumped Speer bullets.


He also wants someone to post a picture of the skirt (hollow base) of the bumped Speer so he can see the skirt thickness.   So, opinions please.... Should he leave his bullets as is at .314? Should he try .3145? Should he try .315?


I'd hate to suggest opening up (honing) his current dies because if results got worse, there's no going back. But if someone with more experience then myself said yes, then it could be a possibility.


It would be great if we could purchase .32 caliber Bullseye accurate bullets from a USA company and use them as received right out of the box. Opinions please!
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Post by Black_Talon 1/30/2019, 8:53 pm

On a somewhat related note, has anyone tested the BC 38cal 148 HBWC bullets? Maybe they could be an alternative to the unobtainable Remington 148 HBWC. And/or maybe BC would be willing to work with the diameter on their HBWC bullets, say something like .360", to more emulate the .361/.362" Remingtons.
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Post by gregbenner 1/30/2019, 9:11 pm

Mike, a group I was tangentially involved with a year and1/2 ago attempted a large purchase of H&N bullets last year. For many many reasons, it didn’t work out. It’s actually a pretty small market, and the rules in Germany re: shipping stuff like this out of country are apparently worse the Kalifornia.

Re: a pic of the bumped Speers, i’d be happy to send a few to Bear Creek.  I “may” still have some .314 H&N (which was the prototype) which I would send as well.  The nose on the HN/bumped Speers is a bit different. Absolutely no idea if it matters. 

Hopefully Dave will chime in with his thoughts?

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Post by gregbenner 1/30/2019, 9:18 pm

Ha! Just checked, I have a full box of .314 H&Ns (no, I don’t want to sell them).  I’d try to copy them.

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Post by Wobbley 1/30/2019, 10:42 pm

Black_Talon wrote:On a somewhat related note, has anyone tested the BC 38cal 148 HBWC bullets? Maybe they could be an alternative to the unobtainable Remington 148 HBWC. And/or maybe BC would be willing to work with the diameter on their HBWC bullets, say something like .360", to more emulate the .361/.362" Remingtons.
I’ll have an answer next week.  I have just loaded some over 2.6 BE for my 52.  The Speers I used for sighting in worked just fine.
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Post by fc60 1/31/2019, 11:13 am

Greetings,

Here are results of my Bear Creek tests, thus far...

Pardini HP barrel in mechanical fixture.

Distance is 50 yards.

Target below is with the 0.314" H&N...

Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 000110

Target below is with my home swaged bullets. (Cast slugs swaged into match bullets.)

Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 000210

Target below is the Speer "Plinkers" re-swaged in my dies and press...


Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 000310


Last edited by fc60 on 1/31/2019, 11:23 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : More details...)
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Post by fc60 1/31/2019, 11:14 am

Greetings,

Remaining targets...

The first target is with Bear Creek loaded as received.

Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 000411

The target below (String #2) is a retest of the one above...

Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 000511

This target (String #3) was Bear Creek bullets re-swaged to 0.3143" in my press...

I first ran the Bear Creek bullets through my Star 0.312" greaser so they would fit into my swaging dies.

Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 000612
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Post by gregbenner 1/31/2019, 2:19 pm

Wow, very interesting Dave. Re swaging thr BCs seems to get them close to the bumped Speer/HN bullets, perhaps equal if sufficient tests were done ??  

The bumping process with the Plinkers obtains extreme consistency in size and shape. I guess I assumed that  what really helped in accuracy was increase in size, not so much the shape?

I also concluded the size was critical primarily because the std Plinker is smaller than the Pardini barrel, since they shoot much better in my guns with tighter barrels.

The few BCs I had were right at .314, so what part of your reswaging do you think helped the most, the HN shape, consistency or the slight increase in size??  Boy, this is easy stuff:lol!:

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Post by davidbullseye 1/31/2019, 5:46 pm

Dave, 

I notice that you used 1.7 gr BE for your tests.  What do you think an equivalent load would be with 231?

David

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Post by Mike38 1/31/2019, 6:53 pm

The owner of Bear Creek Bullets is following this thread. I just emailed him, and based on Dave's results, I suggested he strongly consider making his bullets at .3145. It will be nice to have a USA based company that can make 10 ring bullets for the .32 wadcutter.
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Post by zanemoseley 1/31/2019, 7:38 pm

Are the Bear Creek bullets cast or swaged. I've not see a cast 32 bullet that will perform like a swaged one. If you're serious I think investing $400 in a custom swaging setup is a no brainer considering the quality of bullets you get.

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Post by Mike38 1/31/2019, 8:17 pm

Bear Creek .32 wadcutters are swaged.
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Post by fc60 1/31/2019, 11:27 pm

Greetings All,

My testing is in early days.

IN NO WAY AM I CONDEMNING THE BEAR CREEK BULLETS!!! I have not done enough testing, yet.

Food for thought...

1) I doubt producing swaged bullets at 0.3145" from 0.3140' will help much. If one does not machine new punches, you will get bleed off at the bullet edges.

2) The Bear Creek bullets I received have a thick wall hollow base skirt. My home swaged HBWC bullets have a narrower skirt at the base. (Similar to the H&N)

3) I have not hardness tested the Bear Creek bullets. It is possible that they are not Pure Lead and need more pressure to obdurate the skirt. My home made bullets were swaged from Pure Lead, salvage 22lr alloy, and 20:1 Lead:Tin and all shot X-ring at 50 yards. I currently aim for an alloy measuring 6-7 HBN. Any higher is hard on the dies.

4) Speer Plinkers I have purchased measure 8 HBN hardness. They are tumbled before packaging and all the sharp features of the base are gone. Re-swaging them trues up the diameter and produces a nice sharp edge on the base. Very similar to the H&N bullets.

5) 231 always seemed to need more weight than Bullseye. I would start out at 1.7 grains and chronograph some. If too low, add 0.1 grain and test again.

6) I have fired 0.312" H&N bullets in a Pardini 0.314" barrel with X-ring results. I have not solved the mystery of why the under size Speer do not shoot well. Perhaps that is why Speer label them "Plinkers". The old Speer bullets lubed with sticky wax seemed to shoot better. I shot my personal best of 884 with them.

7) I have several shapes of hollow base punch for the 0.314" bullets. Tested side by side, it is difficult to pick a winner.

8 ) I copied the H&N profile as they were, and still are, the most accurate 32 bullet I have ever tested. I decided not to reinvent the wheel.

9) While the Bear Creek bullets are swaged, I cannot discern why the edge margins of the bullets are not sharp.

10) My GUESS as to how Bear Creek makes their bullets is this. Cast slugs close to weight, tumble slugs in Moly lube, swage to final diameter and weight. (If you look closely at the side of a Bear Creek bullet there is a white dot. This the the location of the bleed hole in the die. They appear to use a die with one bleed hole.)

11) NO ONE at the BIG BULLET MANUFACTURERS (Speer, Federal, Remington, etc.) offer any help at explaining the flight of the bullet. This is why I shoot bullets into the dirt observing the groups when I change variables one at a time.

Time for a break. John, please pass the popcorn...

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by john bickar 2/1/2019, 12:35 am

fc60 wrote:
Time for a break. John, please pass the popcorn...

Sure thing. I don't have room for popcorn right now; I need to digest all this knowledge you just dropped.
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Post by gregbenner 2/1/2019, 7:00 pm

Thanks Dave, that certainly answered my questions, plus a couple I hadn’t asked yet. Particularly the hardness issue. I was made aware of this re: cast 32 ACP bullets, and was curious if the same concept applied to swaged bullets as well.

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Post by gregbenner 2/3/2019, 3:09 pm

Dave, have you had decent results with the standard unswaged new style Speer Pinkers in any tighter barrels, say .308, or .312. Perhaps with one of your Benelli or GSP barrels?

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Post by fc60 2/3/2019, 3:59 pm

Greetings,

I do have some test targets fired under the following conditions...

Custom 10T 0.311" barrel (Pardini HP NEW configuration)
50 yards via mechanical rest.
Speer Plinkers as received, no "bumping".
FC (Federal brass)
Winchester Small Pistol Primers
1.27 grains (0.155cc) Hodgdon TiteWAD (Undocumented Load)
Taper Crimp to 0.325" at mouth.

Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 10t31113
Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 10t31114
Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 10t31115
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Post by fc60 2/3/2019, 4:00 pm

Remaining Targets...

Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 10t31116
Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 10t31118
Bear Creek 32 long HBWC test 10t31117
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Post by gregbenner 2/3/2019, 6:33 pm

Thx Dave. The reason I asked is because I have suspected that, with the limited availability of bullets, and the cost of a swaging tool, it might be more cost effective to rebarrel.

I assumed the 10T in the description indicates a fast 1:10 twist?

How much significant might you ascribe to the faster twist v size?

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Post by fc60 2/3/2019, 6:58 pm

Greetings Greg,

Yes, 10T = 1:10 twist.

Cheers,

Dave
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