Home-swaged .430" JHP bullets & 30-40 Krag
I was able to get some reloading work done today. I became completely side-tracked off of the task of cleaning up, though. I bought a one-step swaging die from a fellow over at Cast Boolits, who goes by "BT Sniper" there. He buys C-H swaging dies, and replaces some parts with hardened ones, so they last longer, and then gives good descriptions on how to use them. He also sets them up for your press (brand) and sends all you need, including lube and some sample bullets. I got the 44-One-Step die this Summer.
Basically, you take 40S&W cases, ANNEAL the heck out of them - heads especially, and put a core in and run them through this die ONE time, and out pops a finished .430" bullet. The pressure of the swage die and your press expands the case up to the diameter. (40s heads start off around .422", so to go from there up to .430" isn't bad, but these cases can be used as jackets all the way up to .458", and maybe more.)
This is the annealed cases with the cores seated. This does not have to be done in a separate step, but I'm kind of OCD, so I like to know the lead was all the way at the bottom. Also, I was running them through a bell-mouth die anyway to even up the mouths. Since I used range pick-up brass, I hadn't sized them or cleaned them (obviously). I just annealed them in my gas grill's burner and started processing them. To get a more-finished look, they should be washed in citric acid and then tumbled after the last step. So, the brass was run up into my 10mm bell-mouth die, and since I was doing that anyway, after evening-out the mouths, I just threw the bullet on, and ran it back into the die until the bell-mouth stem bumped the core to the bottom of the case:
By the way, for cores, I'm using the LEE 175gr 40-cal mould and casting them from 50/50 WW and pure lead. This leaves them weighing around 182grs or so, IIRC.
So once the "jackets" are annealed, and the cores seated, the jackets are lubed with lanolin. Then, they are run up into the one-step die, and hammered out. I didn't specify any particular punch with my die, so BT sent the one he likes. For me, I think the HP cavity and opening are a little too big, but if not actually using them hunting, these make just as accurate and shootable a bullet as any other. A lot of folks shoot them just as they come out of the die:
But, for optimal performance, a cannelure should really be spun around them. Note in that picture above that the lead core ended up below the mouth of the jacket. These are my test batch. I didn't know how everything would weigh out in the end, so I was just winging it, and this is what turned out. Later on, I put in a few pieces of lead shot, and found I was able to vary how much lead came out of the mouth of the case. These two show it below (with no shot) and just even with the mouth (with 2 or 3 #7.5 shot):
Add a few more shot, and you can get the lead to stick out past the mouth of the case:
These ended up weighing right at 250gr with the lead core below the jacket mouth (no added shot). With the shot, I could vary the weight a great deal and with some pretty decent precision, all the way up to 270grs. I've since located a core mould that is adjustable, so the cores can be made to just the exact weight I want, without messing with the shot. However, it's a single-cavity mould, so it will not be as quick or handy as my 6-cav. Lee mould...
I also bought a chop saw with metal blades at Harbor Freight and trimmed the rim/primer pocket/extractor groove off a couple of these bullets, and now they're starting to look like factory (except for their dirtiness and sloppy cannelure! ) :
Then, that darn old BT Sniper came up with another idea. He designed a die that puts a star-shaped, 6-pointed cut around the mouth of the bullet. He calls it a "Notching Die" and if you use it in-between the core-seat and one-step dies, you end up with this process:
(Photo by Jailer @ Cast Boolits. As you can see, I can't make either my photos or bullets as pretty as he does. I'll be working on that... I had to "borrow" his pic, because I still can't find my darned camera battery...)
So, today, I ran a bunch of my bullets through the notching die. I didn't get them to look quite as good as the ones on the right end of Jailer's pics there, but I'm getting close. A little more practice and I should be there. I'll try to get that camera battery found and get some more photos of my bullets up here. They look quite similar to the old "Pin-Grabbers" that used to be on the market in the late 70s to mid-80s...
The other project I got done this morning was sizing, bell-mouthing, and priming my first 50 cases for the 30-40 Krag. I'm going to do some searching on cast bullet loads for that cartridge and get them loaded up, and then they'll go along with the Carbine and Springfields to the range this Spring!
Maybe I'll get to more cleaning of the reloading room later this week!