I agree 100%. The fewer things I have to think about, the better.Synchronizor wrote:Cutting the petals shorter is a possibility, but I'm hoping to come up with a slug that will not require each wad to be hand-modified. This is for consistency as well as convenience. It also seems logical to leave the wads intact for the first round of tests.
Yeah, you don't need much equipment to get started. You could even use a hotplate and some cheap dollar store utensils and a small cast iron pan. Lee actually has a cheap pouring ladle for around $5 or $6.Synchronizor wrote:I was concerned that I might have to have a custom ball mold made; but some forums indicated that Sharp Shooter made 5-cavity round ball molds - including a .680" size - using the same general design of their buckshot molds. I just got a confirmation email from them about it, and I'm looking into ordering one now. I haven't gotten entirely set up with casting equipment yet (much of what I need is on Christmas wish lists, so I'll see how that goes), but I figure I can use a ladle and a torch for small test batches once I have the mold.
I'm no expert, but I don't think it's necessary to ram the cup in. You only need a firm amount of pressure. Putting too much pressure will distort the wad, which will definitely affect accuracy. The smokeless powders aren't like black powder. They don't need heavy ramming. I would say if you are damaging the lead slugs, then you are more than likely distorting the plastic wads.REMI870 wrote:The problem I found when doing this with my slugs (which were pure lead), is that the metal rammer tube on my Mec messed up the nose of the slug. I've thought about making a custom slug-seating rammer tube with a cushoned end for seating wads & slugs together. Should be easy to do, but not worth the effort for this small test batch. I wanted to have consistent wad seating pressure, so I rammed the wads on their own and added the cards & slugs in by hand afterward.
Yeah, it's definitely a smart idea cutting your own nitro cards. Certainly beats paying for them.REMI870 wrote:I have thousands of 5/8" (about 19 gauge) cardboard disks that I've punched from cereal boxes and similar cardstock. I came up with these for use as crimp-support cards, but they also allow for pretty fine adjustment of the height of a slug or shot column in a cup-style wad. They seem to fit better than 20ga-diameter cards, with very little side-to-side play in the shotcup; and they're pretty darn cheap, considering that one $5 punch can produce several thousand before wearing out.
Have you tried pushing the round ball and wad combination through your barrel with a stick? Have you had wad petals tear off when shooting that load? I found that the lee slugs are approx .670" at the very base and approx .682" a little further up. So when I cut the petals off and add the nitro card, the .670" part of the slug gives me the perfect fitment in my barrel. So I was thinking that a .670" round ball would give the best clearance without having to trim the wads. Or maybe because the widest part of the ball has so little surface area due to it being round, a .680" wouldn't give me the same problems as the slug that has more surface area.REMI870 wrote:These are several times thinner than 1/8" nitros; thin enough that I can precisely adjust the slug height to compensate for different powder charges. In my drive key slug load, I found 10 of these cards under the slug produced the best crimp. while 8 below and one above worked well for the round balls.
I read somewhere about someone making a special press out of a pipe that he would use to trim his lee slugs for better fitment by shaving off a few thousandths. This is another idea that might be worth exploring. It will also guarantee consistency from one slug to another.