Arsenal molds 311-176-PB

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Spindrift posted this 01 October 2021

Just a little report from my range trip today.

This spring, I ordered some moulds from Arsenal. As expected, I had to wait a bit for the moulds to arrive- busy days, as you know.

One of the moulds was the 311-176, PB. This is a bullet in the Ranch Dog- style. I chose the version with the tumble lube grooves, since I liked the beefy base band. Arsenal moulds allow you to specify the size of bullet, and I asked for .310, since I planned to powder coat them. The coating adds about 0,002in of size.

 

The nose shape of this bullet lends itself well to coating. It is not a bore-rider, but has a gently sloping conical nose. The generous meplat is designed with hunting in mind. My use will be primarily recreational shooting.

 

Most of my cast bullet shooting is with .30- cal bolt guns, in the 16-1800fps range. One of the merits of polymer coating I appreciate the most, is the fact that I can shoot coated bullets with no gas check in this performance window. It cuts down on the work load.

 

Today, I shot some of these bullets in my Schultz & Larsen 30-06 hunting rifle. It is equipped with a nice Swaro 2.2-9x42 scope, and a suppressor. Range pick-up brass, reloaded multiple times. Necks expanded with the ingenious NOE expander plugs, that fit the Lee universal flare die. Seated COL to minimal jump. 20 grs Vihtavouri N110, which tends to work well with powder coated PB bullets in this weight range. 

 

The bullets were the survivors of the mould break-in session, and some (very) minor flaws were present in most bullets.

I shot 3 groups of 5 shots at 100m. Average group size 1MOA. I haven’t chronoed this load, but it should be around 1700fps.

 

It might not break neither accuracy nor velocity records. But I’m happy with my initial results with  this PB bullet. They come from a very productive 4-cavity mould, and bullet preparation is quite straight forward.

 

 

 

PS The black patch I use for aiming square is unsuitable for this scope; the reticle obscures the square. 

Note to self: get a better target

Edit: spell check

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delmarskid posted this 02 October 2021

That’s a good looking bullet. I have a similar mold in gas check version.

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Spindrift posted this 22 October 2021

New range trip today, with the plain based 311-176, polymer coated, and the S&L 30-06. Alloy is still more or less «random scrap» with a hint of tin, BHN around 14 I think.

I started with some rejects, and Vihta n110, 20 grs (the pet load from last time). One very good group, and one about 1,5MOA. Not bad from rejects! 1725 fps, not bad for a plain based bullet.

 

I tried some Norma 200, 26- 28 grs.I had expected 28 grs to be a bit much, but it was the most accurate today. 1912fps.

 

 

I also tried 29 grs Vectan tubal-3000. This is an extruded single-base powder with a listed burning speed in the 4895- region. There were some unburned kernels, but accuracy was good. I have preciously tried 30grs, which gave clean burn- but worse accuracy. 1750 fps.

 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 23 October 2021

great stuff ... plain base at 1700 fps ...  powder coat ... and finally, the " obsolete " 30-06 ....  

... and .... good results from " reject " castings ... keeps company with John Alexander's oblong castings ... match winning oblong bullets ...   is there anything really important in this cast bullet merry-g-round ? ...  

i sense progress here ...   i think we should have experimental matches for plain-base fixed cartridge rifles ... even if informal.   

***********

we would be interested in the throat dimensions/taper of your S&L chamber ...

ken

 

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Spindrift posted this 23 October 2021

Thanks, Ken!

I love the 30-06, both for cast bullets and jacketed. And I particularily like this Schultz & Larsen rifle. This is a blue steel/walnut rifle, yet pretty light weight. No plastic anywhere!

The action is polished to an almost obscene degree; it is the smoothest action I’ve ever put my hands on. It is also a switch-barrel rifle, you can change barrel with only an allen wrench. I have another barrel in 6,5x55.

This is a standard factory barrel, shortened a little and threaded for suppressor. It is so accurate, I’ve never been able to establish just how accurate it is since it shoots better than me. I have no idea about throat or chamber specs, I’m one of those load-and-shoot guys and have never done a chamber cast.

 

I’ve never actually experimented on just how fast I can drive a PC’ed plain based bullet with reasonable hunting accuracy (say, 1,5 MOA or better). I’ll try to take this a bit further, and keep you posted.

I also have some of these bullets with a «plain base gas check» underneath the PC. When these bullets have matured (4 weeks after baking), I’ll see if they have a increased tolerance compared to the standard PC’ed bullets.

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Spindrift posted this 30 October 2021

New range trip with the Arsenal 311-176 PB, PC in my S&L 30-06 rifle.

I had only 11 bullets left that had reached maturity. I shot one bullet with the 1725fps/20 grs N110- load through a container with 4 inches of wet newsprint. Just to get a visual impression of the bullets behaviour for the first 4 inches. Looks pretty decent, thatks my thump for reference on the left

 

 

Last time, I shot groups with Norma 200 26-28 grs. I was surprised by the accuracy of the 28grs load, at 1917fps.

This time, I took it a bit further. I shot one 5-shot group with 29, and 30 grs. No chrono today. Range was 100m.

 

The 29grs load made a «cloverleaf» that actually has 4 bullets through it, and a flier. C-C 31mm. Expected velocity close to 2000fps.

 

 

The 30 grs group should be around/above 2050 fps. It also grouped well, 33mm at 100 m is about 1,1 MOA. I didn’t know it was possible to reach these velocities with a plain based bullet with decent hunting accuracy. Pinching my arm over here!

 

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Geargnasher posted this 2 weeks ago

You just can't find a bad load, can you?  LOL!

Something about that particular bullet just wants to shoot.  I had an early NOE group buy example with 2 GC and 2 PB cavities (made in the Arsenal machine shop back when Al Nelson was leasing it after-hours) and it would routinely produce groups from my Marlin 336 that got me called a liar, and I killed at least one deer with it.  You're breaking new ground here with consistent results at a little faster than expected from a plain-based bullet, great work!  Powder coating can really simplify and economize things for us, making 1.5 MOA an easy goal with just about any powder, primer, brass, and alloy we have handy.  I especially appreciate the versatility the coated bullets offer when attempting to create a "universal" load which will function and group acceptably in a variety of different guns having considerable differences in chamber and throat size and shape.

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MP1886 posted this 2 weeks ago

You just can't find a bad load, can you?  LOL!

Something about that particular bullet just wants to shoot.  I had an early NOE group buy example with 2 GC and 2 PB cavities (made in the Arsenal machine shop back when Al Nelson was leasing it after-hours) and it would routinely produce groups from my Marlin 336 that got me called a liar, and I killed at least one deer with it.  You're breaking new ground here with consistent results at a little faster than expected from a plain-based bullet, great work!  Powder coating can really simplify and economize things for us, making 1.5 MOA an easy goal with just about any powder, primer, brass, and alloy we have handy.  I especially appreciate the versatility the coated bullets offer when attempting to create a "universal" load which will function and group acceptably in a variety of different guns having considerable differences in chamber and throat size and shape.

 

I remember long ago when Gear was on the Castboolit forum that his Marlin 336 did indeed shoot some very small groups with cast as he just said.  If I remember correctly 1/2 groups. Is that correct on the group size Gear?

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blackout52 posted this 2 weeks ago

Did you buy the brass or aluminum mold ? I was looking at buying the same mold,  all my molds are aluminum but wasn't sure how much difference they cast !

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 2 weeks ago

brass molds are very pretty ... but also very heavy after about the 20th cast ... 

ken

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Spindrift posted this 2 weeks ago

Thanks, Gear!

I’ll try this bullet in some other rifles soon. I wouldn’t be too surprised if it works well in a variety of throats, but only the target will tell.

Blackout52, I have the aluminum 4-cav mould. It is considerably less strenous to cast with, than my MP 4-cav brass moulds. 

 

Some additional info:

Chrono data for Norma 200, 29-31grs

29grs: 2001fps

30grs: 2050 fps

31grs: 2090 fps

 

All groups above were shot with my default BHN14 scrap alloy. I have also shot some groups with a softer BHN10-12 range scrap. Accuracy with these loads deteriorated considerably. Clearly, these loads were above the tolerance of the softer bullets. Which is not to say the softer bullets are less accurate, only that they failed under these circumstances.

 

I also tried some of the soft bullets, with a plain base GC under the coat. This did nothing to improve the accuracy (at this load level). This is consistent with my earlier findings with plain base GC, made from beverage cans:

With lubed PB bullets, they extend the range of useful loads into the 16-1800fps range. With PC bullets, they offer very little practical increase in tolerance. 

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blackout52 posted this 2 weeks ago

Thank , Spindrift  sounds like I will be ordering the aluminum one !

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