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Purpose of Hard Cast Hollow Base Wadcutters?

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Post by lmyer Tue Nov 02, 2021 9:41 am

I have come into some older 0.357" Dillon Hard Cast HBWC.  Test as BHN=16 using an artist's pencil set to scratch the lead.

Thought there was chance of the base breaking off if you push HBWC too fast and the purpose of the hollow base was to expand to seal the barrel better at lower pressures.  So what is the purpose of casting them BHN=16?  Should these be pushed faster than soft lead? 

The Hornady HBWC I typically use are 0.358" and much softer lead and go 725fps in my Colt Officers 2nd issue (7.5" barrel) using 2.8gr. Bullseye.  Really don't want to push the old revolver any more than that.  I suppose I could shoot them faster in my S&W 586, but I already have a 158gr SWC load and 2000 bullets for it.  Big question is what to do with these Dillon bullets??  I already have plenty of Hornady HBWCs on hand.
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Post by fc60 Tue Nov 02, 2021 11:33 am

Greetings,

I hear that Dillon offer excellent Customer Service.

Telephone them and ask their loading suggestions.

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by Wobbley Tue Nov 02, 2021 12:07 pm

I’ve had SOME experience with PLATED HBWC in my 52.  Now a 52 barrel,isn’t a revolver nor is a plated bullet as hard as a 16 BHN. But they did shoot about what was expected from a plated bullet.  I had uncalled flyers.  In the 8 ring.  I no longer shoot plated unless indoor range regs require it.  Most are ok with coated so that’s what I shoot.  

These hard cast HBWC may just shoot ok.  I don’t think they were “barn burners” when they were made, but they’d be good practice ammo.
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Post by 8eightring Tue Nov 02, 2021 1:45 pm

Wobbley wrote:I’ve had SOME experience with PLATED HBWC in my 52.  Now a 52 barrel,isn’t a revolver nor is a plated bullet as hard as a 16 BHN. But they did shoot about what was expected from a plated bullet.  I had uncalled flyers.  In the 8 ring.  I no longer shoot plated unless indoor range regs require it.  Most are ok with coated so that’s what I shoot.  

These hard cast HBWC may just shoot ok.  I don’t think they were “barn burners” when they were made, but they’d be good practice ammo.
Did you have to adjust the powder charge from the swaged HBWC when shooting the plated bullets? I have some of the plated HBWC  bullets and didn't know if I should use the same 2.7 Bullseye or adjust up or down.
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Post by lmyer Tue Nov 02, 2021 2:23 pm

fc60 wrote:Greetings,

I hear that Dillon offer excellent Customer Service.

Telephone them and ask their loading suggestions.

Cheers,

Dave
Hi Dave,

I tried calling their customer service for info some time ago.  Guy really didn't understand the product I was taking about.  Dillon doesn't sell them any more and apparently the Dillon name was just a re-label thing.
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Post by javaduke Tue Nov 02, 2021 2:28 pm

FWIW I don't think you should push them any faster than any swaged HBWCs, try loading the same 2.7-2.8gr BE and see how they group at 50 yards.

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Post by Wobbley Tue Nov 02, 2021 2:32 pm

8eightring wrote:
Wobbley wrote:I’ve had SOME experience with PLATED HBWC in my 52.  Now a 52 barrel,isn’t a revolver nor is a plated bullet as hard as a 16 BHN. But they did shoot about what was expected from a plated bullet.  I had uncalled flyers.  In the 8 ring.  I no longer shoot plated unless indoor range regs require it.  Most are ok with coated so that’s what I shoot.  

These hard cast HBWC may just shoot ok.  I don’t think they were “barn burners” when they were made, but they’d be good practice ammo.
Did you have to adjust the powder charge from the swaged HBWC when shooting the plated bullets? I have some of the plated HBWC  bullets and didn't know if I should use the same 2.7 Bullseye or adjust up or down.
Try 2.7 and see.  I tent to “fluctuate” between 2.8 and 2.6 depending on whim, it seems as there’s no rhyme or reason but I’ve not seen any appreciable change in zero at 25yds. I wouldn’t exceed 2.9.
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Post by lmyer Tue Nov 02, 2021 2:47 pm

Purpose of Hard Cast Hollow Base Wadcutters? Img_2010
Honestly, these were emergency bullets from a year ago when I couldn't get the Hornady or Speer bullets I normally used.  I did find some Hornadys within days after buying these, so I never have shot them.  I'm mostly curious why a manufacturer would cast HBWC out of such hard lead - in what case do these make sense?  Doesn't harder lead defeat the purpose of the hollow base at lower pressures/velocities.  Wouldn't a DEWC be safer to shoot if one is to take advantage of harder lead and higher pressure/velocities.

Someone said they thought these were re-branded zero bullets, but I'm not seeing it.  Zero bullets have lube in all three grooves and they claim they are swaged.  Anyone know the hardness of Zero bullets?
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Post by Wobbley Tue Nov 02, 2021 3:02 pm

Those aren’t cast, IMO.  They may be “hard” but I don’t think they’re cast.  Reason: there’s no sprue.  They were likely swaged, perhaps from cast “slugs”. 

Try to indent the side of a bullet with a thumbnail, at 16 BHN it won’t be deep.  I’m not sure the amount of lube is sufficient, to be honest.  You may have to apply a coating of Lee liquid Alox, which is easy to do.
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Post by lmyer Tue Nov 02, 2021 3:16 pm

Wobbley wrote:Those aren’t cast, IMO.  They may be “hard” but I don’t think they’re cast.  Reason: there’s no sprue.  They were likely swaged, perhaps from cast “slugs”. 

Try to indent the side of a bullet with a thumbnail, at 16 BHN it won’t be deep.  I’m not sure the amount of lube is sufficient, to be honest.  You may have to apply a coating of Lee liquid Alox, which is easy to do.
I can scratch the bullet if I really try with my fingernail, and draw it across with lots of pressure.  Pressing hard on the side without drawing across really doesn't do much of anything.

I used a set of Artist's pencils when I checked it originally.  Took an "F" pencil to scratch the Dillon.  The Hornady HBWC scratched with a 3B, as expected.  So chart and method appears to be reasonably accurate.

Purpose of Hard Cast Hollow Base Wadcutters? Pencil10
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Post by WesG Tue Nov 02, 2021 3:47 pm

The unlubed groove is knurled. So I'm thinking Wobbley is right in them being swaged.

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Post by LenV Thu Nov 04, 2021 1:43 am

That unlubed groove actually looks like a cannelure . Which would make that a revolver round . The skirt looks massive too . I'm thinking  it's a self defence  training/ inexpensive round . That's my WAG .
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Post by Chase Turner Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:15 am

If those are what I think they are, that bullet was made back when Meister Cast was local to Dillon in AZ, long before the move to MO. You could call Meister and see what they say- I don't know if they have the same ownership today as they did back @ 2000, which is about when I remember seeing these in a Blue Press. Of course, my memory could be wrong, but these are probably close to 20 years old.

I'm not sure why you're worried about shooting them. Try loading them with 2.8 of WST or BE and see how they do? I don't believe you'd hurt anything in trying that, I really don't.

Alternatively, if you would like to sell them, I'd be happy to purchase them from you. Feel free to send me a PM.

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Post by Chase Turner Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:30 am

lmyer wrote:Purpose of Hard Cast Hollow Base Wadcutters? Img_2010
Honestly, these were emergency bullets from a year ago when I couldn't get the Hornady or Speer bullets I normally used.  I did find some Hornadys within days after buying these, so I never have shot them.  I'm mostly curious why a manufacturer would cast HBWC out of such hard lead - in what case do these make sense?  Doesn't harder lead defeat the purpose of the hollow base at lower pressures/velocities.  Wouldn't a DEWC be safer to shoot if one is to take advantage of harder lead and higher pressure/velocities.

Someone said they thought these were re-branded zero bullets, but I'm not seeing it.  Zero bullets have lube in all three grooves and they claim they are swaged.  Anyone know the hardness of Zero bullets?

Those aren't Zero bullets; Zeros have two lube grooves, not three. Additionally, Zero has a greenish tint to their lube- it is not red.

Also, Zero is a swaged bullet. It isn't a claim. They are swaged. No idea about hardness, but they are quite soft.

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Post by Chase Turner Thu Nov 11, 2021 2:32 pm

To follow up on these mystery bullets: I spoke with my contact at Dillon about them, and he went and found a long tenured employee, who as it happens, still also happens to have some of these about his reloading bench. It turns out, these were in fact cast first (which explains the alloy hardness) and then swaged for uniformity (which seems like you'd want a not so hard alloy; no idea what kind of machinery was involved; also don't know the rationale behind the seemingly additional step) of size. 

So, they are indeed both. A modern Frankenstein of a bullet, if there is one.

Thanks,
Chase

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Post by USSR Sat Nov 13, 2021 8:16 pm

Chase,

We call it sizing, not swaging, a cast bullet.   It is done all the time.

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Post by WesG Sat Nov 13, 2021 8:45 pm

Has to be swaged in some way. No way to get it out of a mold with both ends being 'hollow'.

I'm still thinking cast slug, swaged to shape, lube grooves rolled in.

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Post by Chase Turner Sun Nov 14, 2021 6:06 pm

USSR wrote:Chase,

We call it sizing, not swaging, a cast bullet.   It is done all the time.

Don

Don,

I'm merely relating what Dillon told me. If you don't like the way they explained it, or what they were doing 20 years ago with a third party caster, by all means, take it up with them. I guess they just put "swaged" on the box in the photo for fun. People do that all the time.

-Chase

Purpose of Hard Cast Hollow Base Wadcutters? Img_2024


Last edited by Chase Turner on Sun Nov 14, 2021 6:09 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : photo uploaded)

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Post by USSR Sun Nov 14, 2021 7:26 pm

Chase,

I question the old guy at Dillon's memory.   Simply does not make sense to swage cast bullets.   And, to swage bullets that hard would be EXTREMELY hard on the machinery.

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Post by Wobbley Sun Nov 14, 2021 7:57 pm

You can get “cold header” machines that will cold forge a hex head on a 3/8 stainless steel bolt at 200 per minute.  Swaging a hard lead alloy is easy, with only concern being keeping the cold flow under control.
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Post by USSR Sun Nov 14, 2021 8:17 pm

Actually, it's not that easy, and that's why swaging lead is relatively soft lead.   And commercial swagers use lead wire and not individual bullets.   Again, this makes no sense.

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Post by fc60 Sun Nov 14, 2021 8:28 pm

Greetings,

Measure the hardness of some commercial "swaged" bullets.

They are not made of Pure Lead, 5 HBN.

The Remington I have measure 6 HBN.

I swage my bullets out of Lead alloy that measures 6 HBN. I first cast little cylinders prior to swaging.

I suspect the "hard cast" swaged bullets were to appeal to those that drink the "hard cast" KoolAid.

"Hard Cast" is not necessarily your friend.

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by Chase Turner Mon Nov 15, 2021 3:47 am

fc60 wrote:Greetings,

Measure the hardness of some commercial "swaged" bullets.

They are not made of Pure Lead, 5 HBN.

The Remington I have measure 6 HBN.

I swage my bullets out of Lead alloy that measures 6 HBN. I first cast little cylinders prior to swaging.

I suspect the "hard cast" swaged bullets were to appeal to those that drink the "hard cast" KoolAid.

"Hard Cast" is not necessarily your friend.

Cheers,

Dave

Dave,

You got me to thinking about the hardness of these bullets. I think they are probably pretty hard; but I'm not sure they are as hard as OP tested. I'm able to scratch them with a 2B Mitsubishi 9800 pencil. I don't have any 3B pencils to use to test, but these probably are at least 2B or maybe even 3B to scratch.

For reference, the Zero's I have also scratch with a 2B, but it is much easier to do with them. This indicates these are harder than the Zero's, but not by how much.

Also, do you happen to know of, or heard of any hollow base molds that would be used in a commercial casting operation? The only cast 38 wadcutter production molds I'm familiar with are solids- either DEWC or BNDEWC.

Thanks,
Chase

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Post by Chase Turner Mon Nov 15, 2021 3:59 am

WesG wrote:Has to be swaged in some way. No way to get it out of a mold with both ends being 'hollow'.

I'm still thinking cast slug, swaged to shape, lube grooves rolled in.

I agree- even if we wanted to believe that these bullets were cast on their side, and sizing mostly removed the sprue, there'd still be evidence of these being cast. There isn't any evidence of such.

Also agree on the problem of the two concave ends. How does the automated casting machine mold fill these both out in one pass? 

Believe that is a reasonable guess on construction, and certainly fits the evidence we have.

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Post by fc60 Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:57 am

Greetings Chase,

No knowledge of commercial moulds for casting HBWC. Due to the design of the casting machines, I would think ejecting a hollow base bullet would be difficult due to the hollow base pins.

I have owned two HBWC moulds (32 and 38) they were difficult to fill out the hollow base well. Rejection rate was very high. I was using 20:1 alloy which flows very well.

The good ones did shoot rather well at 50 yards.

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Cheers,

Dave
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