Oafpatroll - checking in

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oafpatroll posted this 5 weeks ago

Hi All. I am a nearly 50 year old reloader hailing from Johannesburg South Africa. I cast, powder coat and reload for 12G (slugs, and buck), my 9mm pistols for sport shooting and as of last night have started working on three cast, powder coated and gas checked bullets for my 270 Win. 

The 270 molds in question are Lyman's # 280473 - 124gr, Lee's C277-135gr-RF and RCBS' # 82017 270-150gr SP. So far I have cast, powder coated and gas checked the first two for which I have load data from the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook for IMR 3031. Haven't been able to track down anything definitive for the RCBS bullet.

We have access to some US propellants in South Africa but supplies are not consistent and prices are high so I'll need to be fairly sure of the data before splurging on additional propellants.     

I would welcome guidance from anyone with relevant experience that they are prepared to share. 

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Duane Mellenbruch posted this 5 weeks ago

I hope the reloading data from the RCBS Cast Bullet Manual will help you find some usable loads.  Let us know how you get along.  Duane

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oafpatroll posted this 5 weeks ago

Thanks for sending them Duane, they most certainly will. As soon as I have some through the tube I'll report my results. 

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oafpatroll posted this 4 weeks ago

I took two of my bullets with 6 charge weights apiece to the range for some testing on sunday and the results were very promising. The Lee bullet gave acceptable accuracy at the 50m distance that I was testing while the Lyman really shone. At between 21 and 22 grains / 1740-1805fps of IMR 4198 I got 4 shot groups of 13 and 11mm respectively. So something around half an inch. There was no trace of leading or powder coat residue. For a first go at cast bullets in a centrefire rifle I am more than happy with the results.

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Spindrift posted this 4 weeks ago

Sounds like a very good start, Oafpatroll!

When I started casting my own bullets, I had a similar challenge. Almost all available cast bullet data refer to US powders, and since I live in Norway, such powders were hard to get, and expensive. IMR4198 was the powder I started with, and it worked well for me in .308, .30-06 and .223 rem. Nowadays, I mostly use powders from Vihtavuori, Norma or Vectan.


I have no experience with the .270 win. But generally, polymer coated GC bullets often shoot well with around starting loads with the fastest listed non-spherical powder (stick to extruded, flake or granular formulations). 

Good luck!

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John Alexander posted this 4 weeks ago

Welcome to the CBA forum.

A lot of shooters will be interested in the details of your powder coating, especially if you continue to have good luck with them.  Keep us informed.


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oafpatroll posted this 3 weeks ago

@ Spindrift, yip living somewhere other than the US has its disadvantages as far as shooting and handloading go, that's for sure. We have a local propellant manufacturer called Somchem that dominated our market for decades with a very wide range of propellants. There was very little incentive to buy anything imported unless you had a very particular niche need to fill. Unfortunately they have run into difficulties and their range and supply have been very negatively impacted. So bad has it got that I have a rifle acquired 4 years ago that has yet to fire a cartridge loaded with a Somchem propellant.

@ John Alexander, thanks for the welcome. I have been a reading lurker here for a while and have picked a great deal of information that comes from people who certainly seem to know what they are doing. I use a locally manufactured polyester powder that is aimed at automotive components like suspension components and such. It flows well to detail in a nice even film and is tough. I have used it on slugs, buck and 9mm sports shooting bullets for some time and have been very happy with the results. Having tried our local 'Harbor Freight' equivalent I'm sold on the idea that not all powders are created equal at least as far as this application is concerned. 

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JimmyDee posted this 3 weeks ago

I knew that

living somewhere other than the US has its disadvantages

but I didn't know how bad it was until I did a bit of web research and learned that, in RSA, the

local propellant manufacturer called Somchem ... have run into difficulties and their range and supply have been very negatively impacted.

How so?  The web tells me that 

On the 4th September 2018, Somchem themselves physically managed to blow up the primary manufacturing facility producing rifle and pistol powders.

More tragic than exciting, I'm sure.  The web article goes on to complain that propellant...

batch consistency is non-existent

and the company haphazardly publishes advice like "the deviation on the bottom of the tins [in a specific batch] is wrongly marked" along with the correct value -- but the writer isn't sure how to adjust his charge for a given "deviation %."  (Yes, we sometimes have this problem, too, and should chronograph loads using different batches of propellent and adjust as needed.)

But the most significant issue cited is that some tins have been mislabeled, i.e. the powder in the tin isn't what's on the label.  (I'd hate to be the hand loader who discovered that!)

Good luck, Oafpatroll; you have our sympathy and help when we can give it.

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oafpatroll posted this 3 weeks ago

@Jimmy Dee, yip its been a rocky ride for them of late but there are glimmers of hope. The handloader powders have always been a bit of a sideline, albeit a profitable one. Their business is really propellants for munitions and I expect that's what they have been focusing on while they rebuild. They have made deliveries of a couple of their extruded powders in the last month and I'm hoping that they will get to the flake powders I use for my pistols and shotguns sooner rather than later as that's where my volume consumption is. Their powders typically run about a third of the price of comparable imported stuff. WRT the inconsistency, I've used 3 of their powders for 20+ years without finding any meaningful deviations.  

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