Saturday, January 21, 2006
How to measure large flake powder for reloading . .
Getting large flake powders like Clays or American Select to measure reliably in a powder measure used on a progressive or turret press can be exhasberating to say the least. The measure can have powder bridge blocks (no powder drops) or the dropped powder can vary considerably above and below the set drop weight. For these reasons, I use either a Dillon powder check die or an RCBS powder check die following the powder drop. Safety demands that this check be installed on any press where there isn't visual identification that the case is adequately filled.
Many experienced reloaders suggested using a small electric aquarium pump attached to the powder hopper. The vibration helps settle the powder and prevent some measuring errors. I find that the added electric wires of an aquarium pump are worrisome and with a turret press are impractical. So, I decided to use the small egg shaped "Personal Vibrator" for the purpose. These have a variable vibration control and are very effective in providing sufficient vibration for the purpose. They are small and I secure them to the hopper with a few rubber bands.
The pictures show one vibrator attached to a Dillon powder measure hopper and another attached to a Lee pro disk powder measure. Won't tell how I got these, but they might be available at any Adult Novelty shop.
Other ways to skin a cat, but this one worked for me.
Casting bullet lube hollow core sticks . . .
While lube/sizing bullets for black powder use is pretty easy with the lube hopper filled in a Lyman type lubesizer, refilling the hopper can be a tedious operation. Of course, one can just melt the lube, pour it in, and wait forcver for it to cool for use. However, most would want to refill the hopper and continue lube/sizing bullets.
The lube sticks are commercially available, but I chose to use Dick Dastardly's "Pear Lube"TM that is made up of equal parts by weight of inexpensive shortening, beeswax like toilet rings, and soya candle wax. Some recommend filling quarter wrappers as a mold for the lube. Works OK with lots of fiddling, but there won't be a hole in the center for the Lyman.
From recommendations by other black powder shooters, I purchased the 1" copper pipe (2' for $13) and cut it into appropriate lengths. For the end caps, I purchased PVC to fit the copper pipe. For the center hole, I drafted several of my tent stakes that use a piling spike (nail) about 5/16 inch diameter and 10 inches long. Fashioned a washer to fit over the nail and inside the copper pipe. The washer centers the bottom of the nail in the mold. For the top, I cut the tent rope plastic (green in the picture) to fit the pipe and center the nail in the top.
Make a stand to hold the molds upright. They will be not, but not dangerous to handle. Of course, hot wax is dangerous and melting it should be done with adequate caution and safety considerations. Some make up the Pearl Lube in a double boiler and melting it for use in the mold by the same means would be wise. I use a pyrex measuring cup to pour the wax melt into the mold.
Fortunately, when the lube cools to room or refrigeration temperature, the lube shrinks away from the copper pipe and can easily be pushed out of the pipe. The end cap removes easily too. Only takes mild pressure to get the nail to slip and be removed from the center of the lube stick. Leaves a perfect hole for the Lyman lubesizer.
I cut the lube into appropriate lengths and roll the stick in bond paper for storage. See lube stick examples in the picture - one with protective wrap and the other left in the raw. Note the center hole.
The picture says the thousand words needed . . .
Many means to accomplish the same, but this works OK for me. Just remember to THINK and account for all safety issues handling flammable wax and possible skin burns.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Profile of JP 45 - 200 six cavity bullets.
The picture shows the difference in profile of the bullets dropped from different JP 45 200 six cavity molds. The left bullet drops at near 215 grains with a nominal diameter of .458. The right bullet drops near 204 with a nominal diameter of .454. It's obvious that the crimp groove would make the over all finished cartridge much different in length. Also, the right bullet would result in much less case capacity. Not a problem for me as I use minimal black powder and grits filler. The castings are from recovered wheel weights.
Is it possible that the left bullet is actually the DD/ROA BL 210 for Ruger Old Army? It would size to .457 easily, but of course, the crimp groove wouldn't be necessary.
The two molds are identical in name and function. The rounded profile is the original shape of the JP 45-200 bullet. The truncated cone shape is the New and Improved version of the JP 45-200 bullet. The latter allows a bit more black powder in the case.