A SBH Hunter coming - looking for cast lead load suggestions

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mncampnhunt

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
11
I have a SBH hunter arriving shortly as well as new loading equipment and Starline brass. I’m brand new to reloading and looking for advice. This Hunter will wear a 2-7 Burris scope. I plan on polishing the internal moving parts, slugging the barrel and cylinders and polishing them up (fire lapping or by hand). Have a Belt Mountain #5 pin on the way (w/o the set screw :D ) and Wolff reduced trigger spring and heavy latch spring. Leaving the stock hammer spring to ensure ignition.

I’m interesting in creating two loads:

One I’ll call my “hunting load” and the other a “paper load”. I’m in MN and a big buck here can be over 250. Typical range is likely 20-75yds. I’m very intrigued with using hard cast WFN-GC bullets likely 300gr and running them at about 1100fps - keeping them pretty managable but with plenty of margin for our whitetails. When the weather gets better I hope to find some 50-100 ranges to work this load into something that shoots less than 3” at 100 (gotta have a goal).

The “paper load” is more urgent as I want to get this gun to the indoor range and get some trigger time. Thinking this would be a 240gr load in the 900-950 range. Something other can enjoy shooting with me.

??Should the paper loads be hard cast to avoid copper fowling in the bore effecting in the “hunting” loads accuracy? Or with normal cleaning (Hoppes #9 and a bronze bush) am I going to be fine?? If so than I might use a Rainier or Berry’s plated bullet for paper loads.

??I’m unsure what bullets to buy as a first loading of 240gr, don’t want to buy 500 of anything yet. And not sure with a cast bullet what size to order when I haven’t checked the barrel and cylinder dimensions. Any SBH 44 mag guys out there that can share why they chose the cast bullet diameter they did??

??Any one using the same power for the two ends of this spectrum?? Guessing I’ll need two different ones, but it would be nice to only have one. (44mag is all I plan on loading, at least for now).

?? Primer brand?? With Federal here in MN, I’d be partial to them, but would love a reason to buy any of the major brands over the others.

Thanks to a lot of you here as you’ve already helped validate some of my plans and I’ve learned some new things here too. Regards to Alll
 

Mus408

Hunter
Joined
Apr 30, 2011
Messages
2,273
Location
Va.
I would suggest getting a good loading manual such as Lyman 49th or the new 50th. and read up on loads and components.
For my .44 Mag revolvers I like mild magnum loads such as 9 gr. of Unique with a 240 gr. bullet either cast or cast and plated. The Xtreme plated 240 gr. works well for me.
If you are wanting a 300 gr. bullet for hunting..I just finished loading up some 300 gr. "Hammers" which are a coated bullet from Missouri Bullet Company. This bullet loaded over 14.0 gr. of Alliant 2400 powder gave 960-1000 FPS out of my 7.5 inch Blackhawk.

But again read your reloading manuals FIRST about the various loads,powders and primers and start on the conservative side of load.
 

jsh

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
321
Location
Kansas US of A
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ this.
2400 I would also mention the Keith bullet.
I will throw unique in also.
I would stick with one bullet weight and size.
Size is king for sure. Your 3" groups are do able, doing it on demand and doing it once in a while is another thing.
Starline brass.
I prefer CCI primers.

Just in my findings, a large majority of cb's made for the masses are to hard. I would push you towards powder coated bullets, I am not a fan, but they are more forgiving than some of the lubed bullets. The lubes were made to look pretty, stand up to bulk shipping and not come off. As a sealant and lube they did poorly.

There are some select few out there that cast, size and lube with good quality.
Jeff
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,186
Location
So. Florida
mncampnhunt said:
I have a SBH hunter arriving shortly as well as new loading equipment and Starline brass. I’m brand new to reloading and looking for advice. This Hunter will wear a 2-7 Burris scope. I plan on polishing the internal moving parts, slugging the barrel and cylinders and polishing them up (fire lapping or by hand). Have a Belt Mountain #5 pin on the way (w/o the set screw :D ) and Wolff reduced trigger spring and heavy latch spring. Leaving the stock hammer spring to ensure ignition.
Sounds like you are getting the cart before the horse. Get the gun and shoot it first before doing anything. See if it needs anything. Chances are it will be accurate and not 'need' any of the internals you plan on doing.

...as far as starting to reload, the 44 magnum is an easy cartridge to start with. The case is large enough to hold powder and bullets that are not overly critical. I recommend you read everything you can first. I think you should start with a jacketed bullet and a medium burn rate powder like Unique or Universal. Also start with medium loads until you learn your equipment and how to make good ammo.

Then think about or look at improving the gun and the loads. :D
 

Mus408

Hunter
Joined
Apr 30, 2011
Messages
2,273
Location
Va.
You didn't mention what kind of reloading press you have.
When I got into reloading I decided on the Dillon 550B which is a nice running press when you get it all sorted out.
For my use it was a smoother operation to deprime my old brass on a separate old press I had...clean brass and then use a hand primer to prime the cases. The to the Dillon for rest of the job.
 

mncampnhunt

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
11
Mus408,

I went with Lee's new Deluxe Challenger kit (single stage). It has there new deluxe powder measure and an off-press bench priming tool. I do plan on decapping using my drill press with a shell holder and pin - so that I can come to the loading press dies with cleaned cases. I'm going to make myself a tumbler and use the SS pins, Dawn and Lemi-shine technique for cleaning. Truth is - feel like I read alot, but haven't ever made a round yet, so along way to go. I'm a mechanical engineer so the tools and the experimentation part of this adventure will be fun for me. Just tring to get a start down the right path without ending up with components (bullets and powders) that I don't end up using (wasting). This year I'd like to get 500+ rounds though it, but after that I'd expect to be a considerably less. Living in a metro suburb area, getting to somewhere I can shoot is going to mean either driving time or range fees (If I shot in the back yard, the local PD would frown on the large boom and out would come the silver bracelets). I know Lee isn't consider that highly, but for a straight wall revolver load in the quanity I'm looking at per year - felt it was going to be OK. Thanks!!
 

daveg.inkc

Hunter
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Messages
2,503
Location
Kansas City, MO
Nothing wrong with Lee tools. I have several calibers in Lee dies. They produce sized, loaded rounds as well as any. I use and like the Factory Crimp dies. 2 Lee Auto prime are in my desk. Only Lee item I dont care for is scales.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
9,411
Location
Woodbury, Tn
Ditto reading the Lyman 49th edition. I have both a Redhawk, and SBH. Both have 4 inch barrels. Both like .430 lead cast. 240 gr lswc are accurate with 19.5 grs 2400. Also true of 24gr 296. With both powders drop down a grain and work up to find your guns sweet spot. Both are good for hunting. I heard the 300 gr were awesomely accurate. I used 14 gr 2400, and was disappointed in accuracy. I need to work that load up more. Good luck! I use nothing but Lee equipment.
gramps
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,476
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Welcome to the Forum!
Get the manuals FIRST!!!!!!! Lyman,,, Hornady,,, Hodgdon,,, are all good,,,, AND having all 3 allows for cross reference material.
Then, get the gun, buy some lead bullets,,, OR some powder coated ones. (I totally prefer the powder coated ones.) Buy just a hundred to start.
In the manuals,,, you will see a pattern in info about accuracy,,, as to which powder & bullet seem to be the better selections. Start low,, load 12 rounds using a good powder such as HS-6, 2400, 4227, Unique, and just those 12 rounds. By loading 3-4 loads of 12 each,, you will go through a box of 100 bullets quickly,, not wasting many if any. (4x12=48.)
Let the gun tell you what it likes.
Then, fine tune things to your gun.
For hunting,,, a good quality SWC, or WFN designed cast or PCed bullet,,, traveling around 1100 fps will anchor any deer or even much larger game if necessary. And,, if paper punching,, it's not abusive to the hands.
I happen to cast my own,,, and I powder coat my own. I've found it much nicer to PC than lubing. Less smoke, less (to none) of the leading issue a lubed bullet can have. And by using a proven designed SWC or WFN bullet,,,, you will have a good combo to hunt with.
 

mncampnhunt

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
11
First reloading session this week end - mixed success. Went with Unique poweder as it seemed to be one that gave a wider range of load velocities. Had Cabelas points to went there and got the Unique, CCI primers and bullets. The only 240gr lead they had for .44 was Laser-Cast Keith profile (.431) -- thought that would be fine. Choose to load 10 each of 5.7gr, 6.2gr, 6.6gr and then 20 of 7gr - per the load books should give me a velocity spread of ~700fps to under 1000 (more or less). Some of the data was 10-11gr so there is room to move up quite abit.

Things went fairly well until I went to seat the bullets - increased the neck flare somemore and the first 15 or so went OK, but alot of pressure was needed and noticed some brass bulging. Due to the pressure required the depth wasn't overly consistant (not too big a deal, for now). Then the trouble started - of the 50 I planned to load - I only got 40. 10 cases were distroyed and even with a Hornady cam over on press bullet puller - I was only able to open up one round. Clearly something isn't right. Since the brass is brand new (Starline - 300 purchased) it could be too small ID (it is a little short). The bullets seem to be right on .431 with my caliper if I wipe off the gunk (lube I presume). Since this is a box of 500 bullets and I've still got 450 - I ordered a .429 Lee bullet sizing die set. Hopefull that will take care of it (my cautions to those that are thinking about using Lazer-Cast bullets - $72 at Cabelas that I wish I hadn't spent.

Slugged the barrel with a egg sinker and that slug requires just a slight push to go thru the 6 cylinder holes (great!!). Seems to be right about .4295 (per a couple of calipers).

When I reinsert the slug down the barrel there is a tight spot right before the forcing cone. Not sure if this is something to take to a Smith or not - or possibly look at "fire lapping" - I'll shoot it bit first and check it after again after a couple of sessions at the range.

The rear site blade was all the way to one side and per a lazer site I needed to move it tword center - it was jammed and couldn't adjust it - a tug with a plier gave nothing. Removed the site from the gun to check it out - nothing moving (maybe 1/2 a click on the screw). I resorted to a tap with a hammer and now have a two piece rear site (*%&#%#@@$#%@@^!!) - new white outline version now coming - might let Ruger know about that.

Gun has been "slicked up" now and I mounted the scope - so might hit the range tonight or tomorrow.
 

jsh

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
321
Location
Kansas US of A
Sounds like you are trying to seat and crimp all at once.

Get your seating depth set. Don't worry about taking the bell out of the mouth till later. Bell the mouth enough so a bullet will set in it with out falling out. More is better than not enough. If you are shaving lead on the sides bell it some more.

If you are going to try and do both at once, you have to sneak up on it. Be ready to have some messed up cases once in a while.
I think most folks have seen the light and seat and crimp in two seperate steps.

Laser cast, I was always told if I could say nothing nice, say nothing at all so I will not comment much on them. I find my best use for them as an alloy to add to my pot with a small amount of flux on some of them.

Go slow. It is harder to try and type and explain. I run as much my feel as anything when reloading. We are not cracking walnuts here.

Jeff
 

mncampnhunt

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
11
JSH - - Thanks. The Lee 4-die set has separate seating and crimping dies and the issues came at seating - with the neck tension these have and lower charges I dought there is a reason to have much of a roll - but I did put on a small one.

See your from Kansas - Our only kid is at KU - year 2 - we will be flying down next weekend to see our first Jayhawk basketball game. For a non-sports family - we’ve become pretty fanatic about watching them. Apologies if your a K-state guy after last nights win.
 

jsh

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
321
Location
Kansas US of A
No offense on the ball thing. I have to admit I will watch some college ball, very very little though. I have never had much if any interest in any kind of ball games. Spent all of my spare time outdoors in the quite.

I am about 25-30 minutes from Lawrance.

FYI your wheel gun comes with a free always included cartridge checker. Most have 5-8 holes in them.

Jeff
 

DougGuy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
171
A couple of things right off. Forget the hard cast! Seriously you are buying into more fight than success! Commercially made hard boolits have that hard crayon lube as well, nothing could be worse to start out on a new gun with. The Ruger barrels respond VERY well to 50/50+2% alloy and soft lube, which is softer than Lyman #2, I urge you to try some of the LBT 250gr WFN and some of the LBT 300gr WFN-GC boolits from Montana Bullet Works if you are going to buy commercial, they have a BHN 15 alloy and Veral's soft blue lube is perfect. You can order them sized .431" and if they don't slide thorugh the cylinder throats, you may want to send the cylinder and have it corrected and all the throats evened up to .4315" which would be perfect for that gun. I would call them and ask what heavy WFN 44 bullets they offer in the soft alloy and try some of these. I never even have to clean my 44 with this combo.

In a *perfect* world, the bullet/boolit whichever one you call it should be .001" to .002" greater than groove diameter. Cylinder throats should be .0005" to .001" greater than bullet diameter. This arrangement works perfectly for Ruger in all the calibers.

Sizing a hard bullet to .429" I think is the opposite way you should go. I have had much better luck with the suggestions I made in the first paragraph and I think your experiences will bear this out as well. If you have any thread choke at all, using the softer alloy will let the bullet obturate once it clears the choke and seal in the bore. With a full snort of H110, a BHN 15 bullet will easily do this as there is plenty enough pressure for it to seal in the bore. A hard alloy will likely not bump back up and it will have a poor seal resulting in large groups and probably leading the barrel pretty good.

If it isn't too severe, a thread choke can be firelapped and even firelapping works better when cylinder throats are larger.
 

jsh

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
321
Location
Kansas US of A
I saw your pics at CB.
As mentioned there, raise the die up in the press.
Bell the case mouth enough so it will hold a bullet
Take that case, no bullet, raise the case up into the die. It may knock some of the belling off, but shouldn't take it all off.
Once you get that set, then put your bullet in and adjust seating stem to desired OAL or where it crimps into the groove. There should still be some of the belling visible
Then do the crimp in your factory crimp die and round is completed.

There is not anything wrong with that die set, though I am not a lee fan. Don't let them get in your head about bad this or that! From your pictures I guarantee you followed the directions, throw them away.
Jeff
 

mncampnhunt

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
11
Well I shot the first 40 rounds over lunch, as the local indoor range near work is only $10 until 2pm. All went pretty well. I'm pleased with the groups considering I was really there just to test the gun and see how the recoil was with the 4 differant powder wheights. I bought Unique as it seemed to have a wide range of charges listed across the several load books. 5.7gr was like shooting a .22. Then 6.0, 6.6 and 7.0 - which was still too light. I intended to have a nearly 44 special load for "indoor paper" this was light even for that. There seemed to be alot of black, powder residue - guess that might be normal with Unique (use this up and then consider something else for next time - 600+ rounds from now).

Ok so I ordered a NOE Mold's .433(.429 base -.433 bell) expander plug. I know I measured the Lee plug at .427 so it makes since that the case ID is probably .001 less than that - with a .431 bullet that is .005 interfearance fit - I'm seeing suggestions that this should be .001 to .003. Guessing Lee uses this size "plug" as it is probably correct for .429 jacketed bullets. Also found out that the Laser-Casts are 24BNH so there not likely to compress much when trying to shove them into a .426 case.

JSH - While I may not have the dies dialed in - I'm convinced that the .431 hard bullets are too big for the case ID (below the bell). My issue wasn't getting them started or even started straight - it was just that too much force was needed to get the bullet to get to the crimp groove. I did toss out the ten that were wrinkled in the wall below the bullet. The ones that were enlarged around the bullet all chambered with no added pressure and have now been fired (all seems good).

Dougguy - I've been on the Montana site and seems that some of there 44 bullets are 15BNH (air cooled) and most are 21BNH (heat treated). Current plan is to try the larger NOE .429 plug as soon as it comes and load up some more of these Laser-Cast (since I own them) - little hotter than last time. But I do think that when I'm ready to buy more "paper bullets" that they will be something either 15 or 18 BNH (maybe powder coated?). I'm going to wait a bit on the 300gr (they will be LBT WFN type) until I have some more rounds down range and thru the loader (experience). Had thougts about either the 280 or even 265gr WFN's. Noticed you had GC indicated for the 300 but not the 250 - any reasons why.
 
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