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Thread: HP 38 for cast 7x57

  1. #1
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    Default HP 38 for cast 7x57

    I am looking for any information from anyone who has safely and successfully worked in developing loads for the 7x57 using HP38 for 160+ grain cast bullets.

    7x57

  2. #2
    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
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    Welcome to The Guide.

    I have used reduced charges of 3031, 4895, and RE7 for the 7x57 with 130gr cast bullets, but never HP38, nor anything that heavy. I had such good results with 4895 and 130's in a 95 Mauser (MOA) that I stopped testing and called it good to go. I can't see why you'd want to use such a heavy bullet unless you already have the mould and want to see what it will do. If so, I'd still be looking at those three powders because I know they can all be used safely with reduced loads to get velocities in the 1600-1900fps range.

    That said, a lot of folks use pistol powders for cast rifle target loads, and I see no reason why you couldn't use HP38, but I have no data for it like the extensively tested Alliant pistol powders. I am mostly working up hunting loads, so I don't do a lot of testing with pistol powders as the velocities are too low for my needs. I would be looking next door at Cast Boolits for someone who has tried it. If you can't find data there, I don't know where else to go looking.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
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    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

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    Default HP 38 for cast 7x57

    versifier,

    Thank you for your input.

    I for some reason have gotten hooked on the cast 162 and 173 gr with imr 4350 and win760, possibly as they are my Elk rounds.

    With the IMR 4350 at 2275 fps I have had the consistent luck of around .73" 5 round group at 200yrds with the 160 gr cast by Montana Bullet Works out of Billings. Those groups held from fall 2008 through fall 2009. These groups were with a Leopold 2.5x8LER Scout mounted.

    I average less than 1" at 100yrds with my current win760 load (2140 fps) without the scope.

    I am considering the pistol powder for a change as I live in an area which no longer has areas for long range shots, "Population growth and civilization", and I do considerable pistol reloading.

    Soon it will be shotgun or archery for hunting only.

    7x57

  4. #4
    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
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    That's very impressive accuracy. I assume it's not an old milsurp you're shooting. I really like that scope for cast shooting, too. My K31 sporter wears one. The 7x57 is a fun round to work with, even if the mould selection is a bit limited compared to .30 cal. I shot my smallest cast group ever with one (5shot 100yd, 5/8"), and next day the largest (5shot 100yd 4feet). Same bullet, different powders (surp 4895 and surp 860).

    Here are a few things you can think about:

    I assume that the very high (for cast) velocities you're getting are due to the fact that the bullets are very hard, and that's not so good for hunting for two reasons. Cast bullets do not kill by hydrostatic shock like jacketed bullets do, in fact, you can eat right up to the bullet hole - no meat is destroyed. With a bullet of only 7mm in diameter, you must have some expansion in addition to a good meplat (flat nose) on the bullet for maximum energy transfer. The better the bullet expands, the softer it is and the slower you can push it because softer alloys do not have the strength to keep from stripping out (and turning your bore into a lead mine) when they are pushed too fast. Most commercial cast rifle bullets are much too hard for good results on large game, and most of them have round noses as they are primarily intended for target shooting. Obviously, RN cast bullets have killed a lot of game, and a well placed shot through the boiler room will put meat in the freezer, but you need to be aware of potential pitfalls. I am not aware of the particulars about MBW's bullets. The only cast hunting bullet source I am 100% sure of is Bullshop. They are a family of subsistance hunters who KNOW what woorks and what doesn't. BS Jr is a regular poster here and can give you his $.02 (PM him if he doesn't notice this thread), and you can find the link to their website at CB, too.

    Range is another point - a smaller bore cast bullet at normal velocities (1600-2000fps) will not kill reliably at much over 150 yards. It would be one thing to shoot a 300-400gr .45 cal bullet at 15-1600fps - it would retain sufficient energy out to several hundred yards (just ask millions of bison), but with a 7mm bullet you would be losing velocity and energy very rapidly. It is a real issue with .30 cal bullets, and even more so with anything smaller in diameter.

    I liken cast rifle hunting to handgun hunting - the ranges are much shorter, and shot placement is critical - quartering shots are out of the question. Many, if not most cast rifle hunters consider .30 cal the minimum for deer sized game for much the same reasons that .243 is generally considered the minimum for jacketed bullets. A lot of deer have been killed with .22 cal bullets from .22lr on up through .22-250, but it takes an experienced hunter who has the maturity to know when to pass on a shot and who knows both his own limitations as a marksman and the limitations of the bullet at the velocity it's shot at, likewise with cast of smaller diameters. I'm not saying you can't do it, I'm saying that not everyone can and you have to be realistic about the limitations of your particular circumstances. I would be looking for some more pertinent feedback from the boys next door at CB, too. Personally, I would be hesitant to hunt with cast anything bigger than a deer with anything smaller than .35cal, but that's me.

    For target shooting, pistol powders are fine for anything up to 100yds, and maybe more, lighter charges save on the cost of powder, but the lower velocities you get with them mean significant bullet drop as the ranges increase. I generally prefer reduced rifle powder loads for that reason, but that hasn't stopped me from playing with most of the Alliant powders at one time or another in everything from .223 up through 8x57 Mauser. Remember that you can't safely reduce ball powders below jacketed start loads like you can with extruded and flake powders. It appears that you have an extremely cast friendly rifle, so you have a much wider range of powders and bullets available. I'd be seriously thinking about getting into casting if I were you. Even with the initial cash outlays for moulds and equipment, you can shoot for 1/10 the cost of jacketed and significantly less than the cost of commercial cast (plus you get exactly the alloy and diameter you want for specific applications).
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

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    Default HP 38 for cast 7x57

    Hello versifier,

    Again thank you for your input.

    The "MBW" 160s I use for target are LT at 22BHN the 173gr RN are Glenhills Cast Bullets out of Wisconsin, at 12.5 BHN, leading is not to bad for the first few rounds, and what I use for hunting. I must admit that I will not use them at greater than 50 yards for hunting and only placed them in the neck.

    Having been a solider I am not willing to go for the heart/lungs as that allows the sufferind and in an animal a coup de grace is necessary

    I was taught respect and bullet placement by an old hunter, my grandfather. One bullet kills show respect to the animal and suffering shows the incompetence of the hunter.

    I was an archery hunter so I am use to working my way close to my target and know all about the suffering of a slow death.

    7x57

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    runfiverun runfiverun's Avatar
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    with the 168's i have found that 17-19 grs of 2400 works well in the x57
    and with a 145 the same load but with a pistol primer.
    if i had to use 231 or hp-38 i'd start at 5 grs and work up to around 7 or so.
    remember the fast powders still have higher pressures just not enough gas volumn for velocity.
    so your vels will be in the 900 to 1200 range. the faster 9-1/2-10 twist bbls should stabilize your boolit to about 75 yds or so.

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    Default HP 38 for cast 7x57

    runfiverun,

    Thank you for the advice.

    Do you recommend fiber or cream of wheat filler for the case when starting with that small a volumne?

    I have had the primer of several cases ignite the powder from the bullet end of the cartridge, "back burn" which causes unusual behavior and I understand can cause a detination.

    Is this something I need to be aware of starting at 5 grains?

    7x57

  8. #8
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    When you are shooting very light charges of pistol powders in large rifle cases, always point the muzzle of the rifle straight up after chambering the round so all of the powder is down near the primer. That will cure most ignition problems. I would be very hesitant to use a filler with a 5gr charge. It's one thing when you have a case 40-50% full and you get a little bit of mixing of powder and filler, but a ball powder especially can behave oddly and easily sift itself into the filler from vibration in transport and handling. I personally avoid using ball powders, especially in light or reduced loads. Flake and extruded powders are much more loader friendly for cast rifle loads.

    Neck shots are never a good idea with cast bullets. They just do not perform like jacketed bullets do, and the vital area is so much smaller. They are as likely to be deflected by a vertebra unless they hit it dead on, and any slight movement of the animal can and will spoil even the most precise aim. I have seen it several times and do not care to see it happen again. Neck shots are so effective with jacketed bullets because of the hydrostatic shock they impart, something you do not get with a cast bullet. Would you try a neck shot with an arrow? Of course not because it is inappropriate to the projectile you are launching. It is not appropriate with a cast rifle bullet either. Heart/lung shots are quick, clean, and reliable. There are no sensory nerves inside the chest cavity for the animal to suffer, and it takes seconds at most for an animal to lose consciousness after the blood supply to its brain is interrupted. Do you think bowhunting inhumane because it often takes a deer ten or fifteen minutes to bleed to death internally? In thirty-five years of deer, bear, and moose hunting I have seen a lot of large animals shot with both cast and jacketed bullets, and I know what they can and can't do. We have never failed to recover any that have been properly hit through the boiler room, but I have had more than one bad experience with other hunters using the wrong kind of bullets for the kind of shots they attempted. I use the proper placement for the kind of bullet I have loaded. To me, that is not only humane, but ethical and respectful of the game I hunt.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

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  10. #10
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    Default HP 38 for cast 7x57

    versifier,

    Thank you.

    I've been very concerned with using the cast bullets for hunting. To date I have only had one bad experience while hunting and that was with cast .40 cal in an old winchester lever.

    My mistake was at 35 yards to shoot, a non-attentive perfectly broadside animal, for the heart reather then the neck, which was my practice. It was a 4.5 year old 6x6 bull. The bullets were cast harder then the BHN recorded.

    The round hit exactly where I aimed. When field dressed it was obvious that when the lead hit the rib it shatterd with only a few small particles penetrating the right lung, and though the bull would have died from it, after tracking for 2 miles it required 2 followup shots on a running wounded animal, one in the neck to put it down and the second point blank to put it out of its misery.

    Though this may prove me to be a wrong hunter, I have done it, have no pride in it, but will not sherk that it was my mistake that cause this animal to suffer for the time it took me to realize what I had done, track it down, move in for a shot and finish it off.

    I am concerened that the .28cals' metplat is not broad enough to be quickly efficient to dispatch with a chest shot. I know that the 173 grain will carry almost completely through the chest of an elk or moose but I have not been able to verify its expansion at 12.5 BHN. I know of a few moose dropped that have ben taken with the 173 but, I know that at 22BHN there is almost no expansion and the 160 grain passes through with a minimul exit wound.

    The more I think about it the more I am thinking that for hunting I might be staying with jacketed rounds to reduce the preys suffering.

    7x57

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check        

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