My Findings; after thoroughly testing PC coatings!

JWFilips

Well-Known Member
I would like to share my findings about using PC coated cast bullets to the forum. By no means am I a cast bullet expert but I do know how to conduct a good accurate comparison by extensive testing and keeping accurate notes.

This adventure in to the world of "PC" started 6 months ago due to the fact that one of my problem rifles ( one I really like to shoot) a 1916 Spanish Mauser with a very worn and over blown bore, was giving me fits using traditional methods: Either I scrap it or pursue unconventional methods to get it to shoot well.

I first started out using Harbor Freight ( Epoxy type ) Red PC powder. In the typical shake and bake process. The results I got the first time out were very promising however the coating was not as even as I would like it , so I switched to using Smoke's ( CB forum) powder.

Now as soon as I made this switch I knew I would have to make an "investment" in "Powder coating" to continue with my tests. Smokes powders are Cross Linked Polyesters so I now had to buy a Small counter top convection oven and run it outside to safely bake the bullets....since the fumes from the baking process with these type powders are not safe to inhale. On e-bay I found a number of these convection ovens but I chose a new one @ $36 & free shipping.

My first batch of Smoke's Powder was a small sample of "Gray" Right off the bat the powder adhered better and after baking the coating was very even at approx. 0.001' thick The first test with this coating was very good...but what I needed was a new bullet mould since the Lee 285-130 wasn't very accurate in this rifle. I was fortunate to buy a nice old mould here from one of the members here...pretty rare but it turned out to be the winner...it is listed as the Lyman 287-221 a long 179 grain loverine style bullet.

With this bullet and Smoke's powder sample, I started getting ragged hole groups at 50 yds with receiver sights! I then bought a pound of his clear PC powder because I'm still, at heart, a traditionalist and did not like "Colored" cast bullets.! The clear gave me the color of the alloy albeit with a high gloss!

Ok This is one powder I really would recommend! Very easy to shake & bake and the coating flows very well at 20 minutes at 400 degrees cure time. I have also purchased a pound of Eastwood "Ford Blue" recently ...not for the color but for the slightly thicker coating it produces ( good for undersized moulds) Normal PC coating gains you 0.002" in one coat but this Eastwood powder gives you about 0.003" gain ( i just don't like those bright colors!)

I find I either like to size my cast bullet first ( my moulds drop a bit large ) then PC and if necessary Size after PC coating! (One Note you will be shooting less fat bullets with PC as opposed to traditional lube!) I had to get some smaller sizing dies !

The real point of this article is this: If it worked this well for the worn Mauser ...how would it do in other modern rifles?
Well this is where I was more than impressed!
To date; over the past 6 months I have shot my .358 Win, my 8MM GEW98 Mauser, My 30-30 Bolt action ( Sav 340) and Lever action ( Marlin 336) rifles, and my .223 Remington Sportsman 78 using PC coated bullets....comparing these new results with years of extensive record keeping of shooting traditional lubed bullets!
Hands Down ....The PC coated bullets out performed traditional Lubed bullets in every case!

Most rifles I do not clean after shooting, because leading is non existent! Groups seldom show any fliers if I do my part. I have not had any funky PC build up like I have read about, as of yet.

The old worn 1916 Mauser gets cleaned after about 200 rounds & yes I do pull lead flakes from it 's sand paper bore but it still shoots great!

So in a nut shell ;
Groups are tighter with few if any fliers. Cleaning is not a necessity on most rifles especially if you want first shot accuracy each time out.

The only rifle I have that has not been tested yet is my Ruger 77V .243 Win And the only reason that it has not is I have shot the others extensively and have not had the time to get to it....but I will.

Now to qualify the above info please note:
I have shot twice a week testing PC coating since Jan 1st 2018
I shoot at 50 yds with scopes and /or receiver sights.
Most of my loads are in the 1100 fps range. ...but I have gone as high a 1800 fps and as low as 700 fps during the testing.
Also for some reason gas checked bullets without the checks are more accurate then the identical bullet in plain base. (?)

I just thought I would make this information available to anyone that may be interested.

I still believe a new comer to cast bullet shooting should go the traditional lube route first! You will learn far more of the "Art & Science of Cast Bullets" that way!

I feel PC bullets are just a new road for those that have learned the ropes , so to speak!

Jim
 
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creosote

Active Member
Nice write-up. I've been thinking of trying pc-ing. Was going to start with harbor freight red, but have wonderd if it's better to go with Eastwood Ford blue.
I do need to learn MUCH more of the basics, the lack of correct sizing dies is usually the road block.
Reads like yours is good for kick in the seat I need. :)
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
Nice write up Jim.
I have not gotten into the PC thing yet. Have considered it.
Are you standing each bullet up or laying them on their sides for baking? The need to stand each bullet up has been a major factor in my not trying it. I hate fiddly stuff.

I have an oven and a PID to control it. Probably should give it a go. I have a few guns I think it would help.
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
Nice.

I'll add that for supressed work with cast bullets, particularly those without gas checks, powder coating is invaluable.
 

creosote

Active Member
I watched a video, the guy literally dumped 30 ish pounds of bullets on a screen, big big pile. (Ford blue) cooked them. Very good coverage. I was sold.
 
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creosote

Active Member
He used a lower heat, and less cook time. He said it allowed better seperation and still got good cure. I researched a little and some people said they will stick to the 400@ 20 minutes thing. So .........
 
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Gary

SE Kansas
Very good write up JW; I've been PC'n all my cast for about 3 years now and I agree that the cast that need GC's really don't.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
elvis ammo has a decent video on the dump and cook thing.

I can't bring myself to try it, I stand up every single bullet. [if they tip over I fix them]
that's 4 or 500 depending on which tray I'm filling, I can stand them up in just about the 20 minutes it takes to cook the other tray.
I also don't start the timer until I see the powder go 'wet' and start to flow,[about 385-F] then I cook for the whole 20 minutes from that point on..[the gauge usually hits 415-F right at the end]
 

KHornet

Well-Known Member
Nice write up Jim. Being an old hard nose traditionalist, I
have nothing against PC, but I will stay with the time tested
and traditional methods. I do have a hard time accepting
jelly bean looking bullets however.

Paul
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
elvis ammo has a decent video on the dump and cook thing.

I can't bring myself to try it, I stand up every single bullet. [if they tip over I fix them]
that's 4 or 500 depending on which tray I'm filling, I can stand them up in just about the 20 minutes it takes to cook the other tray.
I also don't start the timer until I see the powder go 'wet' and start to flow,[about 385-F] then I cook for the whole 20 minutes from that point on..[the gauge usually hits 415-F right at the end]
If someone were to watch me do it and report here how, it would read just exactly like that...except I only do about 200-250 at a time, because that's about all I can get coated and placed in 25 minutes, shaking 30-80 at a time depending on caliber. I need some bigger containers where I can shake the whole 250 at once.
 

JWFilips

Well-Known Member
Well Paul,
I'm sort of a hard nose traditionalist myself But testing for the Spanish Mauser lead the road wide open for me.
Just wanted to prove a point that the stuff does work and works well! Hoping to help others if they choose the same road.
I have far to many Traditional lubed bullets in my loading room to give up on them. So I just need to scrub the PC shot bores to get them back to traditional lube bullets

fiver; There is something to be said about stacking 60 tall loverine bullets on the parchment paper on the oven tray only to "spaz out" at the last few inches of putting them into the 400 deg oven and have 50% tip over!:angry:

Yes I have tried Elvis' pile & dunk method but I do not like my bullets sticking together!

I have a perfed metal plate that now keeps them vertical however sometimes the sides of the bullets stick to that and get bald areas!
Because I shoot at low velocities I found a smaller perf plate that I can set the noses in to to cure in the oven upside down. while not the best for pretty looking bullets I would rather sacrifice the nose for the working drive bands
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
Try moving a tray with 250 Lee 309-230-5Rs with the .280"-diameter boat tail base stood up on it. Yeah, I know what you mean. I think Fiver uses a hardware cloth support stand for his, IIRC.
 

Kevin Stenberg

Well-Known Member
Has anyone tried a silicone trivet?. To help hold the bullets upright. To see what they look like go to Ebay and look for silicone trivet
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
they look kind of like a waffle maker in reverse.
I know the silicone mats will work in the ovens and have seen guy's dump on them and even use them to hold bullets upright.
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
My issue with stands is the coating is compromised anywhere the bullet touches something. Freestanding on the bases or hollow point over a nail tip are my preferred methods. Does it really matter to the shooting? In a lot of cases probably not, but it makes me feel better to have as even and complete a coating as possible.
 

GRMPS

Active Member
Standing PC'd bullets is not mandatory. It depends on the powder you use. There are several powders out there that you can shake and bake, coat the bullets, sift/shake off the excess powder and dump them onto a tray and bake without them sticking together.

The trick is to remove all the excess powder.
I find PC'd bullets are a lot cleaner to deal with and you can differentiate loads by using different colors.




before baking

after

 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
So what powders are better or worse for baking laying down?

As a person getting ready to PC for the first time I am very interested in the variety of methods.
 

waco

Springfield, Oregon
Smokes Carolina blue and his yellow green work real well. I hear real good things about Clear. I have not tried this one yet. Goes on white and bakes clear.