Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Wax Bullet Data

I learned during my Castbullet days, that there was nothing like data.  We could speculate all we wanted, but until we actually measured something, we had no real idea of that we were talking about.  That wisdom holds true for handloading, where we measure everything.  It also holds true for the wax bullet games, where we don't really control much about our ammunition.

You see, we shoot wax bullets powdered by shotgun primers.  We certainly can't control the charge, we're reliant completely on the quality control of the primer manufacturer.  We don't generally cast our own bullets, mainly because the various manufacturers keep it inexpensive enough that it's easier to buy the bullets than to make them at home.  And, we're not really seeking extreme accuracy, but our hits are counted on the basis of time.

At sanctioned shoots, we control nothing about out ammo; it's supplied by the host and we have to trust that the loader knows his craft.  So far, it's proved adequate.

But, there are still things we wonder about, so there are still things we can measure.  This morning, I determined to find out some things about my ammo, the ammo I make myself at the house, so I set up my chronograph to find out a few things.

For the record, the temps were 84F, winds negligible, the pressure was 30.02 and humidity was 75%.  My range is 122 feet above sea level.  It was a standard, Louisiana summer morning.

My ammo was CFDA brass, Deadeye Easy-Loader bullets, and Rio 209 shotgun primers.  All velocities were measure across a Shooting Chrony Alpha Master chronograph.  Both at the muzzle and at 20 feet.  I wanted to see how the velocity dropped off as the bullet approached the target.

The revolvers were both Ruger Vaqueros, one with a 4.62" barrel and one with a 7" barrel.
Below is the data.  Please forgive my puny table-making skills.
               Short Gun                                      Long Gun            Muzzle             20 feet               Muzzle                 20 feet
Hi    754.7             586.1                  754.2                  568.7
Lo    695.0             520.1                   597.9                  513.1
Avg    729.7             559.8                   686.8                  555.7
ES     59.7              66.0                      156.3                  55.6
StDev  17.7              21.6                      52.3                    19.7
Fairly interesting results.  I believe that I had one "short charge" primer.  The vast majority of my muzzle velocities were well above 650 fps. But, there's that one LO for the long gun at 597.9 fps.  It's an outlier and skewed my AVG, ES, and StDev for that sting.  If you look at the two 20-foot AVG between the short gun and the long gun, you'll see that they're within 4 fps of each other.  Not much difference in velocity at all, but that little wax pill has lost a lot of velocity between the muzzle and the target, 21 feet away.

If you look at the Hi's between the short gun and the long gun, you'll see that they're within a half fps.  You'd think that the long gun and the short gun would have a significant difference show up between the barrel lengths, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

I'll have to ponder this some more.

1 comment:

Rivrdog said...

PawPaw, twenty five years ago I first qualified as Police Master (Revolver). Took half my career as a Deputy to get there, because for Master, I had to shoot a 96 or better on three consecutive qual sessions, and depending on assignment (I was Extraditions and Transports then), I only qualified once a year, so it was a three-year effort. My duty gun then was a Ruger SP101 in 38SPl. Fixed sights, snubbie, not the easiest thing to shoot our POST Tactical Revolver Course with. I finally got to wear the badge, which maybe a third of the Enforcement Deputies wore. Then I switched to a Glock23, and started over, taking four years to qualify Master with THAT, although by then, I was Marine Patrol so could shoot twice as much. I eventually qualified Master with the Remington 870, the most difficult, because of shot-spread. To my knowledge, except for a couple of Rangemasters, I was the only Patrol Deputy with a Triple Master.

All this bragging for one reason. I want to get my revo skillz back. A few years ago, I bought a 4" Ruger Service Six, a fine old duty revolver, six-shot 38. It is a peach to shoot. In the past few weeks, I have put 300 rounds through it and have seen dramatic improvement in my groupings, and now my speed is coming back also. Problem is, my ammo budget is taking a beating. I've been shooting standard-pressure 158-gr RNL factory and factory dupes I have made, but want to try to get the powder loads down a bit. My last loads were 4.5gr Unique with that boolit. I have heard that some of the revo competitors go down into the 3-grain area with faster powders like Bullseye or HS6 (I have both). With these tiny loads in a big ol 38 case, should I use an over-powder wad? I also want to try some 125-gr cast boolits, maybe lighter. My max range to dupe the POST TRQ is 12 yards and inward in 6 stages.

Any thoughts on reduced 38 loadings? I don't currently cast, I usually get my boolits from Mastercraft. I have a one-holer press, but lots of time...if I really get into this, I might budget for a Dillon. I can use the indoor range at my club 4 weekday mornings, usually by myself. I get all my brass back, of course.

Thanks in advance, I know you've been there before me...