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Recommendations Section

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:36 am
by Rimfire McNutjob
Consider renaming the section called "Recommendations" to something a little more accurate ... like "You're Wasting Your Time". It's kind of disappointing to spend the time designing a mold and then not be able to buy it because you didn't realized that by "Recommendations" the owner actually means "Stuff I Won't Build".

And yes, I read the FAQ link in the left hand section of the website first. I did not, however, go read the entire forum before trying a design.

Also, the design program will sometimes get confused and not calculate properly. I find that if I go change the type of "Crimp Groove" to something else and then change back to what I want, the program will then properly recalculate.

Lyman #2 is discussed in the "Alloy" section but is not available in the drop down. Just curious as your description seems to be accepting of its use.

Otherwise, well done.

Re: Recommendations Section

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:43 pm
by turbo1889
“The definition of a good customer service manager is the ability to pick the diamonds out of the rocks people throw at you.”

That quote just seemed appropriate after reading the above post. Mtngun is an excellent craftsman, but like all craftsmen, especially those who are their own boss and run their own shop, you have to be careful not to push the wrong buttons otherwise you will get nowhere (or at least nowhere you want to go).

Re: Recommendations Section

Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:24 am
by mtngun
Rimfire, you sound upset about not being able to have a particular design made. Since you do not specify the details, I cannot respond to that.

Yes, sometimes the program gets confused. As you note, the error usually clears the next time you change something.

I used to support Lyman #2 and several other alloys, but I have been thinning out the options. The day may come when I only support WW.

There were several reasons for dropping Lyman #2. 1) very few people use it. 2) like all high-tin alloys, it drosses badly 3) like all medium hard alloys, it is prone to heat shrink, especially on heavier bullets. If people only used it for light bullets, that would not be so bad, but they kept using it for heavy bullets. 4) why not use WW, the do-all alloy ? 5) Lyman #2 requires a different sprue plate than WW, which means I have to inventory more sizes of sprue plates, and that's a huge problem for me.

Note that when I started casting, most mold makers built their molds for only one alloy. Lyman molds were built for Lyman #2, RCBS for linotype, and god only knows what Lee molds were made for. Absolutely no molds were made especially for WW. The customer had no choice. I wanted to give customers more choices, however, the problem was, and continues to be, that customers don't always make good choices.

I hate, hate, hate having to put restrictions on the program, yet I am forced to so as a matter of self defense.

The bullet design program used to be fun to use, now you have to navigate through a series of annoying warnings. I hate that. But all of those warnings and limits were put there only after I asked people nicely not to use the program for certain things. For example, I would ask people over and over not to use the program to make tumblelube bullets, yet to this day people still try to use the program to make tumblelube bullets.

Regarding the recommendations, or "you're wasting your time," it says on the Mountain Molds home page, "we specialize in molds for revolvers, lever actions, and high velocity rifle." Perhaps I should add "molds especially designed for wheelweight" and "conventionally lubed bullets."

I continually run into these conflicts:

-- tumble lube bullets, which I do not currently offer. Maybe someday I will -- that was part of the thinking behind dropping iron blocks, which were an obstacle to TL -- but right now I am overloaded, so I am not looking to expand the options until the backorder goes away.

-- black powder molds, which I no longer make. It costs more to make black powder molds because they take longer and have more diameter variation. BP alloys are a pain to cast with -- they have to be fluxed frequently and the smoke and fumes make me ill. The high temperatures are hard on aluminum and brass blocks. And the bottom line is, I am not a black powder shooter, so I have zero interest.

-- long bore riding noses. The bore riding feature is intended ONLY for revolvers and lever actions, where tolerances are not critical. Yet people continue to order the long bore riders for bolt action and single shot rifles, where tolerances are critical. Unfortunately, the computer program does not know the difference between revolver bullets and rifle bullets. I am struggling to find a way to eliminate the long nose bore riding rifle bullets while maintaining support for my revolver and lever action customers.

-- in general, my molds were designed for short fat bullets for revolvers and lever actions. They are priced for short fat bullets. If I charge enough to make it worth my while to cut black powder molds or long bore riding rifle molds, then I price myself out of the market for revolvers and lever actions. I've thought about having an adjustable price structure based on the difficulty of making the mold, but that's complicated to program, and I don't have time to mess with it.

-- there are other mold makers who specialize in black powder and who specialize in long bore riding rifle bullet, so that niche is already filled.

-- there are other mold makers who specialize in molds for linotype, Lyman #2, etc., so that niche is already filled.

-- and repeat, I am overloaded. I may be forced to turn off all orders for several months. I do not have the capacity to make molds for everyone. That is the bottom line.

Re: Recommendations Section

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:15 pm
by Rimfire McNutjob
It's not that I can't build the bullet here, it's just that the software could be a bit more forthcoming. I've been doing or managing software projects for the last 25 years or thereabouts and I am perhaps a little sensitive to these things. I only spent a couple of hours measuring my chamber cast and modifying my design in your system and obviously not all of that time was wasted. But let's say just your text in the "Recommendations" section were in Red instead of Blue. Just that small change would have caused me to make a more serious examination of it's contents and perhaps read more on the Forum before going farther along in the design tool. Sometime it's just the little things like that which can make a difference for the user of a piece of software. Even a wording change such as "too long, unsupported ogive" would have given me pause. My mind would have immediately associated that "too long" with "too long to make".

In any case ...

My bullet was to be for the less than ubiquitous .450 Alaskan which chambers in my Winchester 71. I've yet to find a mold for a bullet that takes full advantage of this cartridge. I figure it's time to stop looking and just have it built. My typical hunting load uses the Swift A-frame .458 FN in the 400 grain incarnation. This runs about 2150 fps from my gun and it's to what my express sights are regulated. I also have a substantially less expensive plinking load using the Speer #2478, their 350 grain JFP. At about $0.50 the Speer is 1/3 the cost of the Swift A-frame. I've also tried the .458-400 NorthFork. It's a bit long for it's weight obviously. And it's a tiny bit more pointy than I like.

As you're probably aware, most commercial bullets in .45 caliber for rifles are shaped for use in the 45-70 or the 458 Win. Mag. Those for the 45-70 take up far too much powder space in the Alaskan when seated appropriately for crimping. To get that back I'd have to go lighter than I'd like. The bullets for the Win Mag are extra heavy or extra pointy. Since this is a tube fed lever action, I'm staying away from the "pointy" end of the spectrum.

Measuring the Swift A-frame, the nose length is 0.700", followed by a 0.045" crimp groove, ending in a 0.400" rear section for an OAL of 1.145". The FP on this bullet comes to 0.250" by my caliper. The FP is an exceedingly short section of exposed soft lead perhaps 0.025" in height. This is about the optimal bullet that I've found for the Alaskan. The relatively narrow FP allows me to run an OAL that feeds well in my rifle (but would not in a Marlin so chambered) and also takes up less powder space in the case. The neck section on a .450 Alaskan is a relatively short 0.350" when the case is trimmed to the common 2.145" length. For reference ...

My fired case capacity measures 92.5 grains of water. I believe the fellow that generated the graphic calculated it at 88.1 grains for the drawing. For those shooting the Alaskan in an un-tweaked Marlin, the relatively short nosed 45-70 type of bullets (Hornady #4503) are ideal as the max OAL in the Marlin is about 2.55". In the 1886/71 there's quite a bit more breathing room.

The bullet I had done on your site was as follows ... 400 grain, .459", 0.070" front band, 65% meplat, 91/3/6 alloy, secant ogive, no crimp groove. I used the 0.425" step shank, 0.120" shank length, 0.9 groove-to-band, and the 55 degree groove angle. I selected the 2 band / 2 groove design. This left all three bands approximately 0.070" and an OAL of 1.089". A bit over 1.1" with the gas check seated I figure.

I debated about going .460" in this alloy. I figured the mold would then do the lower alloys at least .459". But since your specs are -0.000/+0.002" I left it at .459".

I know the 65% meplat is bigger than what's on the Swift's FP which is about 55%. I would likely have to load a little shorter than what I load the Swift. But it's not meant to be the same bullet, just something in the ballpark that will hit hard at 50 yards. This is just a starting point. In my estimation, I'm probably 4 or 5 molds away from what works well in my gun ... but you have to start somewhere.

The reason I've been thinking about a mold like this is really to have a backup to the jacketed stuff as well as something more economical to shoot. I've seen too many jacketed bullets vanish from the catalogs these days. The latest being the Nosler .458 300 grain Partition. Since my cartridge suffers from limited availability / appropriateness already, I feel a custom mold is something I should have on hand.

In any case, I do appreciate you taking the time to respond. In case you're wondering, I came here after reading Craig's (6pt-sika) post over on the lever guns forum. He's what I would consider pretty experienced in casting for large caliber lever actions. Marlin mostly but we forgive him for that. ;)

Re: Recommendations Section

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:46 am
by 6pt-sika
Rimfire McNutjob wrote: I came here after reading Craig's (6pt-sika) post over on the lever guns forum. He's what I would consider pretty experienced in casting for large caliber lever actions. Marlin mostly but we forgive him for that. ;)

And all this time I thought people didn't read what I write ;)

Re: Recommendations Section

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:49 am
by 6pt-sika
RM , you may not remmember this but about 5 years ago I bought a Marlin 1895 from a guy on leverguns that had been rechambered to 450 AK .I made chamber casts and started to order dies from CH-4D . But after hearing from several people about the risks of shooting a Marlin 1895/336 rechamber job to 450 AK I got rid of the gun without ever shooting it !

Re: Recommendations Section

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:13 am
by mtngun
OK, now we have some information to go on !

As near as I can gather, you were trying to make a cast bullet that was very similar to your Swift bullet. NOT A GOOD IDEA for reasons we'll get to later. This is what I came up with when I entered your specs.
The program is giving you an error "LONG UNSUPPORTED OGIVE," and rightfully so. That long unsupported nose would not shoot well. It's going to tip in the barrel, and wobble. Cast bullets have to be supported by the barrel, so don't try to use the same nose shape as a jacketed bullet.

So....... I changed the nose to a bore rider. Long bore riders on lever actions are not a great idea -- a lever doesn't have enough camming action to reliably engrave the nose, or to extract a nose that was engraved. I made the nose 0.449", with the idea that it would be one or two thou smaller than the bore for a slip fit. That means the nose can still tip a little bit, yet it can't tip as much as your original design. It's a compromise.
Now the "LONG UNSUPPORTED OGIVE" error has gone away and is replaced by another error "USE WW FOR BIG BORE BULLETS."

The 91/3/6 alloy is very prone to heat shrink on big bore bullets. It works fine on small bullets, like 150 grains or less. I'm not saying it's impossible to cast a 400 grain bullet with 91/3/6, but you have to hold your mouth just right, and the diameter of the check shank and the bottom band may vary quite a bit from one pour to the next due to heat shrink. Life is too short to put up with those problems -- use WW !

If you were thinking to use Lyman #2, the same comments apply.

Bear in mind that when Lyman #2 was developed and made popular 100 or so years ago, a 230 gr. 45 was a monster bullet. Most casters were shooting things like 180 gr. 30 caliber, 160 gr. 38 special, or maybe a 230 gr. 45 acp. Also, scrap tin was cheap and easy to find.

Now tin is expensive. The medium hard alloys that cast well in those relatively small bullets do not necessarily cast well in a heavy bullet. The old ways are not necessarily good ways.

You did not ask for my advice, but as long as we are talking about your 450 alaskan ........ lever actions are the most difficult guns to design bullets for. You may be extremely limited in what nose shape and COL will feed. Then it has to chamber reliably, yet snuggle up to the rifling. Many a novice bullet designer has learned the hard way that his creation will not feed or chamber.

Here are some things I would want to know if I were designing a bullet for your gun -- and no, I'm not going to design a bullet for your gun. :lol:

-- what does the throat look like ?

-- what are the bore and groove diameters ?

-- what is the max COL ? What is the min COL ? What is the optimal COL ?

-- why not have a crimp groove ?

-- why so long a nose and so short a body ?

Re: Recommendations Section

Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:23 am
by Rimfire McNutjob
mtngun wrote:The program is giving you an error "LONG UNSUPPORTED OGIVE," and rightfully so.

Techinically it's giving me a "recommendation", not an "error". But we've been over that already. ;)

mtngun wrote:-- what does the throat look like ?

0.175" from the end of the chamber neck to the gentle beginning of the rifling. The neck on the chamber though is 0.100" too long and I am considering having the barrel re-done. That's the problem with a wildcat that nobody really shoots anymore. Thankfully, it's in the SAAMI database correctly these days but the reamer that was used back then was probably made in the 80's.

mtngun wrote:-- what are the bore and groove diameters ?

I don't have them handy. I wrote them down and have them in a log over by my reloading bench. Lightning took my ethernet card out last night so I'm replying from work today. I've got to install a new one tonight and hopefully I'll be back in business later this evening.

mtngun wrote:-- what is the max COL ? What is the min COL ? What is the optimal COL ?

With a sharper nose in jacketed, I can get away with 2.795". As the meplat widens, I have to go shorter to feed properly. With the .348 barrel on it, I can feed 2.88" rounds. For the meplat I drew in your tool (65%), I would like to be at 2.780". Of course, I wouldn't know for sure until I cast and made up inert rounds to feed. At which point I'm sure I would be ordering another mold to either narrow the nose or shorten the bullet overall. Gotta start somewhere you know.

mtngun wrote:-- why not have a crimp groove ?

This first mold is strictly an experiment and I would likely be moving the bullet in and out to get feeding reliable. I might put a crimp groove on a final mold in the proper place. In either case, I have an FCD that I crimp with in lieu of the roll in the die.

mtngun wrote:-- why so long a nose and so short a body ?

I'm trying to keep the lower lube groove out of the cartridge. What I drew would have the gas check hanging down in the case a bit but the bottom lube groove would still be in the neck I think. The .450 Alaskan has a short 0.350" neck. To get a bullet with good Sectional Density I was shooting for 400 grains, maybe a tad more. With my short neck and the desire to keep the lube grooves in the neck, I need more weight in the nose.

Yeah, I don't expect you to draw a bullet for me. I may have a long ogive done though to try it out. Obviously, there is at least one person that we know that will cut one with a longer (0.640") spitzer ogive in 400 grain .458". And I only need minute of hog accuracy ... the express sights being a somewhat limiting factor.

Re: Recommendations Section

Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:45 am
by mtngun
I'm trying to keep the lower lube groove out of the cartridge.
Old wive's tale. Most of my personal cast rifle loads have a least one lube groove in the powder space, not to mention the lube above the check.

ALTHOUGH....... the 45 pistol check does not crimp on securely when sized for 458+ rifles. That would be my only concern with deep seating.

Re: Recommendations Section

Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:00 am
by Rimfire McNutjob
mtngun wrote:
I'm trying to keep the lower lube groove out of the cartridge.
Old wive's tale. Most of my personal cast rifle loads have a least one lube groove in the powder space, not to mention the lube above the check.

ALTHOUGH....... the 45 pistol check does not crimp on securely when sized for 458+ rifles. That would be my only concern with deep seating.

Good to know. I've only cast for pistol in the past, never rifle. I suspect that's how most people start anyway. Of course it's all straight wall and that groove in the powder space isn't an issue. As to the loose check, all of the loads that I've settled on over the years with jacketed have been a full case of powder with occasionally slight compression. Likely to keep the check snugged up there in those cases. I'd have to redevelop for the cast but I probably wouldn't be under 95% case capacity and I would shoot for better.