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Bear creek load

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jwax
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Post by djw1cav 4/15/2023, 3:55 pm

Has anyone developed an accurate load for bear creek 148g HBWC for the S&W model 52?  I found groups (from a bench) to be larger than zeros and of course Remmington's.  Part of that could be me.  I just switched back to iron sights.  On the plus side they load very easy and there is very little leading.

I am using WST 2.7g and RP cases, custom expanding die and a light profile crimp.

Doug

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Post by Wobbley 4/15/2023, 10:03 pm

Bear creek load 0ef48e10
Bear creek load 2aad3010

A couple of targets from a test.  The regular target was straight offhand.  The shoot-n-c was from a rest.  I can’t say that the rest target was my best work as the rest was very rudimentary.  TBH the offhand wasn’t a great effort either, but I’m not ready to abandon Bear Creek yet.  I will say that the bullets have a relatively narrow (small ID) hollow so it may be better to drive them a bit harder, say 2.9 BE or equivalent.  I dunno.
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Post by djw1cav 4/16/2023, 1:02 pm

Ashley,
I am not confident in my group size.  I find it harder to shoot from a bench with irons versus a red dot.  I think I will need a couple more groups to gain some confidence.  Also my velocity on these is a bit low.  For 10 shots they averaged 692fps with a nice SD of 15.  I am using 2.7g WST with the thin RP cases that are lightly crimped which explains the low velocity.  I will also be trying some with a heavier crimp.  You posted a picture of a crimped bullet a few years back and I will try to duplicate that crimp.
Thanks,
Doug

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Post by mhayford45 1/6/2024, 6:49 am

any update on the Bear Creek performance?

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Post by djw1cav 1/6/2024, 11:32 am

mhayford45 wrote:any update on the Bear Creek performance?

Yes, I finally got the load figured out and now use Bear Creek exclusively. 
I tested my new Bear Creek load versus my Zero load and my Remington load.  I found no significant difference in group size.  Which is strange because the Remington HBWC is supposed to be better.  A month later I repeated the test and this time I included some Winchester super match factory ammunition.  I expected the factory ammo to be better but instead I found that all tested about the same.  My guess is that it could be one of several things:

1.  Most likely my test method.  I test 10 shots at 25 yards from a bench rest so there is the human factor.
2.  The red dot on my model 52 is 3moa and my astigmatism makes the dot even bigger so it is hard to focus on the center of the target.
3.  Its my gun or it is that the 52 is hard to shoot.  The groups I am getting are all about 2" but with my 22 and a nice aimpoint 2moa dot I get 1" groups.

Doug

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Post by mhayford45 1/11/2024, 10:26 am

do you know if there any other options for coated HBWC?

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Post by djw1cav 1/11/2024, 11:19 am

mhayford45 wrote:do you know if there any other options for coated HBWC?

The only other HBWC I have tried is Hornady.  I found Zero to be more accurate and less expensive (5 or 6 years ago).

I am happy with my Bear Creek load.  The moly coating is dry and does not gunk up my dies.  I can handle it without gloves.  But, most importantly, it is as accurate as my zero and Remington loads AND does not lead my barrel.  If you are interested in trying some let me know and I will detail my load.
Doug

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Post by Black_Talon 1/11/2024, 9:30 pm

djw1cav wrote: If you are interested in trying some let me know and I will detail my load.

Please do.
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Post by djw1cav 1/12/2024, 11:47 am

Black_Talon wrote:
djw1cav wrote: If you are interested in trying some let me know and I will detail my load.

Please do.
Here is my load for Bear Creek 38 special 148g HBWC:

1. Clean cases.  I found that cases that have a .010" thick wall work.  Thin wall cases had larger groups (I tested RP with a .009" thick wall and they did not group well).  Federal and Winchester cases have a .010" wall and they grouped equally well.  I expect other cases that have the same construction will work too.
2.  Deprime
3.  Size with standard lee 38 special sizing die.  (I tried a 38 auto sizing die that is a few thousands larger and my group size increased)
4.  2.8g WST
5.  Seat flush with Redding seating die.
6.  Crimp with Redding profile crimp die.

Doug

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Post by Wobbley 1/12/2024, 12:20 pm

Doug:
I’m gonna try your load.  Thanks for sharing.
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Post by messenger 1/12/2024, 12:41 pm

What king of group are you getting at 50yds?

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Post by djw1cav 1/12/2024, 1:51 pm

messenger wrote:What king of group are you getting at 50yds?

Bill

Bill,
I only shoot 25 yards so all of my testing is at 25 yards.  An interesting observation that might be related to 50 yard groups is that I have not observed the typical bullet "yaw" that other 148g bullets have (out of 400 rounds).  Perhaps it is because I am using more powder with this load and it reduces the "yaw"?  By the way, the average velocity is in the 735 to 740 range.  I found I needed more powder with Bear Creek than with Zero or Remington bullets.  When I set my powder drop for this load I put 2.8WST as the minimum with the tolerance on the high side.
Doug

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Post by mhayford45 1/12/2024, 2:07 pm

What does your expander measure ?
What does your crimp measure ?
I like the results you are telling us about so I am going to order some.  

Thanks!

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Post by djw1cav 1/12/2024, 4:57 pm

mhayford45 wrote:What does your expander measure ?
What does your crimp measure ?
I like the results you are telling us about so I am going to order some.  

Thanks!
My expander measures .359/.360"dia at the top and .356/.357" dia. at the bottom.  The .359/.360"dia. goes about 1/2 the length of the bullet.  It's a custom expander that I made on my little lathe.  It works for a while, but it is not heat treated so it wears out quickly.  I am looking for something better.

My crimp measures .362" at the very end.  It's a fairly heavy crimp.  Wobbly (Ashley) posted a picture of hers and that is what I tried to duplicate.  

Doug

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Post by Wobbley 1/12/2024, 5:14 pm

For those wondering.Bear creek load F1594510it was just downloaded from a factory image somewhere, bit it’s what I try to duplicate.
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Post by jwax 1/14/2024, 9:52 am

Has anyone figured out why the old Remingtons were so accurate? And is Bear Creek really the best HBWC available today?
Old stash of Rem's are ugly!

Bear creek load Rem2_116
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Post by Kp321 1/14/2024, 10:36 am

Any rumors about Remingtons coming back from the dead?

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Post by james r chapman 1/14/2024, 10:39 am

jwax wrote:Has anyone figured out why the old Remingtons were so accurate? And is Bear Creek really the best HBWC available today?
Old stash of Rem's are ugly!

Bear creek load Rem2_116
General consensus was the thinner deeper skirt @.360+ that allowed positive expansion in the forcing cone/bore.
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Post by chiz1180 1/14/2024, 10:54 am

james r chapman wrote:
jwax wrote:Has anyone figured out why the old Remingtons were so accurate? And is Bear Creek really the best HBWC available today?
Old stash of Rem's are ugly!

Bear creek load Rem2_116
General consensus was the thinner deeper skirt @.360+ that allowed positive expansion in the forcing cone/bore.
+ a dash of nostalgia. The Remington's are good but so are other options, you just need to adjust some loading parameters (this thread is a good example of this). I have seen lots of shooters have great success in matches with Zeros, Speer and Hornady offerings.
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Post by djw1cav 1/14/2024, 11:35 am

jwax wrote:Has anyone figured out why the old Remingtons were so accurate? And is Bear Creek really the best HBWC available today?
Old stash of Rem's are ugly!

jwax,
I am glad you asked this question.  I think I have read all of the threads on this forum about loading the 148g HBWC and they all attribute the accuracy of the Remingtons to the large .360" diameter skirt.  The large skirt OD is not the only thing that distinguishes the Remingtons from the other 148g HBWC bullets.  As far as I know' the Remingtons are the only 148g HBWC bullet that has a tapered OD.  The nose of the bullet measures .350"diameter.  I have been wondering if that has something to do with the accuracy of the bullet?  Also, I find there is almost no leading with this bullet versus others such as Zero.  (Full disclosure, I check my bore with a borescope and find lead that cannot be seen with the naked eye). Does anyone have any thoughts or experience whit the tapered OD affecting accuracy?  
Doug

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Post by djw1cav 1/14/2024, 11:49 am

james r chapman wrote:
jwax wrote:Has anyone figured out why the old Remingtons were so accurate? And is Bear Creek really the best HBWC available today?
Old stash of Rem's are ugly!

General consensus was the thinner deeper skirt @.360+ that allowed positive expansion in the forcing cone/bore.
jwax,

I forgot to comment on your question about Bear Creek being the best HBWC available today.

What I am saying is that I have developed a Bear Creek load that equals my Zero and Remington loads.  More importantly to me though is that Bear Creek does not lead my barrel.  When I become a better shooter, I will look for the best load.  For now, I need to spend more time shooting and less time trying to get the lead out.  LOL.

Doug

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Post by jwax 1/14/2024, 1:45 pm

Thanks Doug,
Glad to hear the Bear Creek bullets are working for you. Keep it up- after 15 years of bullseye, and many different guns, I find the Model 52 takes longest to "bond" with it and shoot fairly consistent groups. Well worth the wait! 
(Of course, ammo is only a part of your overall success too)
John
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Post by lalka686 1/19/2024, 8:30 pm

Doug,
Perhaps the Remington bullet making technique.
https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t14599-rem-38-148gr-ldwc-for-you-testers-out-there#127625
My load is 2.5 BE with .365 roll crimp, I recently swapped the Redding profile crimp with RCBS roll crip die and didn't notice any difference in performance. I believe your crimp will effect the pressure which increases the velocity and bullet expansion. I was commented by few experienced shooters that my load is snappy but buns fairly clean because of the crimp/pressure. I hope I will find time this summer to test my model 52 in ransom rest at 50 yards but I'm very confident in it's performance. When I load for revolver, I just adjust my own custom bullet seating plug to leave the bullet about 3/16" sticking out of the case, everything else stays same. My powder through case expander bushing is also my own out of HSS, it's been years since I've made it but I believe it's 5/8" long .359" diameter to fit Hornady die.
Hope this info helps you out, Bernard
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