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Paper patch in 35 whelen

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 8:16 pm
by mtngun
from the old forum, name of poster lost:

I finally got my 275 grain .35 Whelen paper-patched bullets out for a test drive yesterday.

I loaded 3 sets of 5 cartridges with Reloader 15. The first set had 52 grains of RL-15. The second had 53.5 grains, and the 3rd had 55 grains of RL-15. Load data for this weight bullet is difficult to find, so I chose RL-15 because it is bulky and slower than BL(C)-2. I do have a load recipe using BL(C)-2 and a 275 grainer and the max load is 57 grains, yielding a velocity of 2390 fps. There is also a recipe for H380 and a 275 grainer which uses 58 grains of powder for max. BL(C)-2 is quite a bit faster than RL-15 and H380 is very similar, so I figured I would be very conservative working up to only 55 grains of RL-15. WRONG!

I shot the 10 lower charges at paper to test for accuracy. The 52 grain charge produced a 1.6" group at 50 paces using a sitting position and peep sights. Accuracy with the 53.5 grain charge fell apart. Figuring I would not get an improvement in accuracy, I decided to shoot the first 55 grain load over a chronograph (my set up did not allow me to use the chronograph and shoot for group at the same time).

One shot over the chronograph yielded a reading of 2606 fps! YIKES! A .35 Whelen ain't supposed to do that with a 275 grain bullet. Although there were no visible signs of excess pressure on the case, the diameter just above the head was a full thousanth-inch greater than any of the reloads I've shot to date using BL(C)-2.

I have since found an internet sight that lists 55 grains of RL-15 as a max load for 275 grain bullets in a Whelen. Unfortunately there was no velocity data to go along with it. I'll bet he didn't get 2600 fps.

The next step is to focus in on the 52 grain charge since that appeared to be the most accurate. I will try that charge over the chronograph and also with a decent bench rest. I also will try seating it a tad deeper as I did not find much paper expelled from the bore with that charge. Again I suspect the excess air space in the case leads to the destruction of the paper. Interestingly the 53.5 grain charge spit out much larger hunks of paper but the group size was worse (could have been from my shooting since these buggers kicked some).

Also, and this may be the worse part of the whole ordeal, the flat meplat got hung up on the breach! So when the shells are in the magazine and the bolt pushes them out, they bang into the breach and get stuck. Maybe the deeper seating will help. Or modify the magazine?

Re: Paper patch in 35 whelen

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:13 pm
by mtngun
Another weekend and I played with my paper-patched Whelen.

I loaded up some at 51.5 grains of RL-15. Shot one into a stack of wet newpapers. It blew a huge hole from entry to its stopping point. It didn't survive the impact very well reducing in size from 280 grains to 130 grains. In spite of rather miserable weight retention, it outpenetrated both a 200 grain roundnose and a 200 grain pointed soft point!

At 75 yards the 280 grain bullet put a big hole in 1/4" steel (didn't expect that from a cast bullet).

For giggles and grins I tried lobbing them at a gong at 600 yards but my spotter could not see where they were hitting and thus could not direct me to the target.

It may be that the 1:14" twist does not stabilize them over long distances. The reason I suspect this is because at 200 yards I would come close to a small target, but then ever one in a while one would land quite a ways away from my point of aim.

Does anyone know about twist and what it would take to stabilize this critter? When I filled out the form, the recommended twist was 1:12" but that's at what velocity?

Re: Paper patch in 35 whelen

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:17 am
by jagerbob
I am very intested in trying paper patch bullets in my 35 Whelen. Have never done so before but would like to try them on an elk hunt this fall. I always prepare for the up the pipe shot and hope I never have to use it. It sounds like the 280 grain paper patch will drill holes from any angle.

Will someone be interested in supplying my the bullets ready to load. I have reloaded rifle ammo for 20 years. Is paper patch different? I will pay for the bulets and appreciate the help.

Re: Paper patch in 35 whelen

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:16 pm
by MediumBore
I have recently begun making and loading some 35 Whelen paper patch bullets. I can cast bullets between 200g and about 320g with an adjustable length nose pour mold. I have some 250g and 260g ready to shoot this coming saturday morning. I can cast either flat base or a traditional shallow cup base. My first bullets are flat base as I think this is a better design for very high velocity lead bullets of this type. I have found a way to make a very secure end wrap with the flat base and do not have a twist to tuck in. I am working up the loads from 50g of RL15 and I am not sure where I'll stop right now. I'll let the cases, rifle and chrono tell me more. I am using wheel weight lead now. The paper is 9lb, 25% rag, Onion Skin paper and I found it on line. A ream was about $22.00. It is easy to work with and I've improved a way to ensure more uniform wraps. My paper wrap ends at the beginning of the oglive toward the nose but on subsiquent batches I think I may want it to extend slightly onto the oglive. Ill see how the shrink allows it to conform with the oglive. The cast bullets are .349 as cast and I dont have a size die for the .348/.349 bore so they will get shot as cast for now. They do look pretty good. The paper measures .003 exactly when new. After two wraps and shrinkage my .349 lead bullets are .357 so, as expected, the paper got thinner from the shrinkage. I used plain tap (well) water. My 35 Whelen bore diameter is .3495 and the grove diameter is .358. Not sure just what all that means just yet but it does seem like I have a good starting point. I am using factory 35 Whelen Remmington Brass that has been fired a few times. The necks were expanded with a Lyman M die with enough flair to seat the paper patched bullets without any problems. I pulled a few to check what the seating process had done to the paper and it was fine. I finished them off with a CH 35 Whelen taper crimp die and didnt really know what to look for in a finished crimp on paper but I think its about right. The nose shape of these bullets and my chamber causes them to hit the lands at a 3.24 OAL (if my memory is right) and I have seated them to 3.10 OAL. Ill experiment with this later and putting the paper up over the oglive a little will effect this adjustment. I have to watch I dont get too many variables going at one time. I have shoot a couple but no targets or chrono as I just needed to see what they felt like. I have a 14-1 twist barrel and this should stablize out to 280g +/-. It was my goal to get some hard lead (mono-type) moving out toward the 2600fps mark without gumming up the barrel with lead. Saturday I should know more.

I have a 35-284 that may lend its self to playing in this area also but those short little necks may limit the bullet size (length.

Re: Paper patch in 35 whelen

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:39 pm
by mtngun
I wish all posts were as specifc and factual as yours, MediumBore.

Re: Paper patch in 35 whelen

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:32 pm
by mediumBore
Thanks. I was hoping to get more info out there on this subject.

I did manage to get 8 Paper Patch 35 Whelen's shot last evening. I didn???t have much time so I had the chronograph set up but didn???t go out and set up the targets. I have a shooting range on the property with the bench just outside the back door so it isn???t a big deal, its just that I work late and I try not to shoot too late in the evening. My range is about 80 yards so I have to interpolate to get 100 yard comparables. No accuracy figures for these first few rounds.

The velocity figures were very interesting, I don???t know if its possible to post a graphic here but the charts that I have compare the metallic (250G Hornady Round Nose) with the paper patch I spoke of in my last posting. I have some data points to fill in as I started the Paper Patch Bullets off at a pretty light load (50G to 53G of RL15 last night) and my data on the metallic bullet I am comparing with was loaded between 56.5G and 59.5G of RL15. The really cool thing is that they both paint parallel lines of charge vrs velocity with a slope of 52/1 (fps/G). The Paper Patch bullets look like they will produce approx. 180fps more per grain of powder than the comparable metallic bullet. My sample is still pretty small on the Paper Patch and this weekend I hope to get a couple boxes of Paper Patch Bullets through the Chrono and into the target.

Now all this doesn???t matter if I am leading up my barrel. I looked downrange for paper on the shots I made last night but could find nothing to look at that might give some clues to the papers effectiveness as a shield between the lead bullet and my barrel. It looked like the paper was reduced to confetti as it emerged from the barrel. I know very little about shooting lead other than in a pistol where I can see lead deposits in the Barrel and use much reduced velocities. I cleaned the Whelen barrel after shooting last night and didn???t see anything unusual but then again I don???t know exactly what I might be looking for to indicate lead in the barrel. The 53G of RL15 produced about 2430 fps which is a substantial velocity for a non-gas check hunk of lead. I want to try loading them on up to the 2600 fps range and may switch to the monotype lead but I could sure use some advice from one of you experts in the lead rifle-bullet shooting business. Is there a way to detect and quantify the amount of lead that I might be getting in my barrel? I know what copper looks like on the cleaning patch but what about lead?

Anyway, that???s the current state-of-the-lead out my way. Comments would be appreciated.

Re: Paper patch in 35 whelen

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:00 pm
by MediumBore
Try rhis link for the twist rate question post above in Feb......

Re: Paper patch in 35 whelen

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:30 pm
by mtngun
I'm a novice at paper patching. I've read that guy's two books on the subject, as well as the NRA experiments, but my shooting results contradicted conventional wisdom.

In general, I had better luck with hard PP bullets than soft PP bullets.

Better luck with grooved PP bullets than smooth PP bullets.

Better luck with GC PP bullets than unchecked.

I had little fouling at high velocities, but accuracy was ho-hum. I never got the hi-velocity MOA groups that some people claim is easy to do with PP. But as I said, I'm a novice and I may have been doing a bunch of things wrong.

I never tried mono, but did use HTWW and it worked better than any other alloy I tried.

MediumBore, you must have some technical background if you are graphing your velocity/powder slope ? :lol:

Short of having a borescope, your chronograph is perhaps your best indicator of bore condition. When a load is leading the barrel excessively, velocities will go downhill and variation will increase. POI on the 100 yard target usually rises and group sizes increase. I hardly bother to inspect the muzzle any more because the chrony and the POI tell the story.

There is a good PP forum over at Cast Boolits. As usual with Cast Boolits, the quantity of BS is high and the quantity of solid data is low, but at least you can get a feel for what kind of loading techniques other people are using.

Re: Paper patch in 35 whelen

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:52 am
by MediumBore
Thanks for the response to my query. I havent even read the books on the PP subject so I must be a real novice. I tried to find one I read about on Amazon but it was not available.
BTW, with regard to the "conventional wisdom", I think I prefer unconventional wisdom! Sounds like you may feel the same. :D

I guess I am concerned, maybe over concerned, about the evil things I've read about when the hot gasses start flowing around the bullet and potential throat erosion problems.

As far as being a techie, I guess I am and I like to try to "nail the jelly to the wall" with regard to all the speculation, rumors and other ill-founded data that gets published on the web (and other places). I try to control the variables that I can, list the ones I can't, do the experiment and then try and report the results factually. I know many eyes roll when this techie sort of thing gets discussed, "as unnecessary putzing around"; but, just to clear up one point, I have experience actually hunting. I have hunted mostly for meat and would guess that I have put 15,000 pounds of moose and 10,000 pounds of caribou in the freezer between 1969 and now, mostly with my hand loaded ammo. I have only recently become interested in shooting at paper and have found that it stands still until you like your last shoot, is much easier to dress-out, takes up much less space in the freezer and actually tastes very similar to Moose that has made it through a hard winter on tundra and black spruce bark. I have never had a pissed-off bull ream-of-paper charge me either.

I hope to have some more to repost on the PPB next week.

Re: Paper patch in 35 whelen

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:35 pm
by MediumBore
fyi to all,

The 9 pound, 25% rag paper I have been using was obtained from the following store. I ordered on line and had it in less than a week.
This measures .003 as received but does compress when rolled wet and then it shinks also. Seems like a good product for the PP application

Phone: 800-790-8767
Fax: 608-834-9800
SKU 3-ONSKN9-P, Onion Skin Paper - White 9 lb. 25% Cotton Onion Skin Paper 8.5 x 11 Ream Color: White, Cost $22.97 plus shipping