Post by Lee Martin on Apr 17, 2018 19:50:39 GMT -5
Over the past 7 years, David Bradshaw and I have amassed a few hundred hours of phone conversation. Predictably, a large part of that time has centered on the .357 Maximum. David was pivotal in the development of the cartridge and the gun. He worked alongside Bill Ruger Sr. and Jr. to make the Maximum a reality. I had an affinity for the Max long before meeting Bradshaw. In December 2017, I decided to commemorate his involvement with a special project. It began by me asking him a simple question – “if you were to design a bullet specifically for the Ruger Maximum, what would it be?” A half-dozen conversations later, the 194 grain Bradshaw-Martin SWC GC was born. The specifications are shown below. Let me add, the design was not casually landed on. David put a lot of thought into the bullet we’re now introducing. In January I placed an order with Mountain Molds. Six days later it was on my doorstop. Tip of the hat to Dan for this outstanding 2-cavity block.
The Mountain Mold:
So far I’ve cast around 1,000 of these, all from 25-1 lead/tin alloy. The powder coating is Eastwood’s brand lime green, gas-checked with Hornady straights. David and I agreed to publish this after the bullet was tested at 100 and 200 yards. Those results will be shared in subsequent posts. It’s only fitting that I now turn the thread over to David. He’ll explain the ‘why’ behind the 194 gr Bradshaw-Martin SWC GC.
Lee asked whether I would design a bullet for the .357 Maximum. I think Lee meant cartridge. I thought about it as we spoke, and agreed.... agreed to design a bullet for the Ruger Blackhawk .357 Maximum. Question and answer took place in the same conversation. Lee and I speak regularly on guns, ballistics, and marksmanship. At first, Lee suggested I send him a drawing, he would transcribe it for Dan’s mold design program. As Lee and I spoke, we streamlined the process, really a continuation of the way we exchange information and ideas.
The bullet is designed specifically for the Ruger Maximum cylinder, the length of the cylinder, the 1.605-inch Maximum case and throat. The should weigh 190 grains and have the longest possible nose from meplat to front band. In keeping with a long tradition of mine, the bullet is designed to DEEP SEAT, with a minimum roll crimp above the front band. There is no crimp groove. I wanted a Semi Wad Cutter nose with decent meplat. Lee and I agreed powder coat is the first treatment, but the bullet should work without compromise as a size & lube projectile.
Elimination of the crimp groove moves the front band into the case, providing for a long nose to cut the wind and push the Center of Gravity rearward. As a powder coat bullet, one may be able to load it longer by roll crimping above the second band for the longer Dan Wesson Arms M40 and Sig Himmelmann Seville .357 Maximum cylinders; or by profile crimping anywhere. Lee and I agreed two strong bands should seat into the grooves with good bite. As the bullet should handle a range of velocities and a range of pressures, we agreed without debate to have a gas check. Gas checks should be known and readily available.
I wanted the bullet to bridge the performance criteria of Handgun Silhouette with hunting performance superior to a .357 Magnum, dual purposes very much on the mind of Bill Ruger, as well as his son, Bill, Jr. Bullets have been designed for steel shooting which, while very accurate, lack a nose profile appropriate for hunting.
Lee said, “This is your bullet, it should have your name.” As Lee stated, Dan of Mountain Molds cut a two-holer and had it in Lee’s hands a week later. Lee called to report the bullet----powder coated----weighs 194 grains. I renamed it the Bradshaw-Martin 194 SWC GC. At first reluctant to share the honor, without Lee this bullet would not exist. Shortly after, Lee wrote me a note, calling it the Bradshaw-Martin Maximum SWC GC.
We’ve had some mean weather this winter and the Bradshaw-Martin Maximum was born into it. Other than to dope the sights @ 25 and 50 yards, and blast thrown water jugs, the only shooting I’ve done is @ 100 yards. Until this past Sunday, @ 200 yards. My old Ruger Maximum has thrown these bullets through snow, sleet, rain, bitter wind. The bullets cut round holes, zipped straight lines across snow and flattened grass.
To shoot pigs painted on cardboard @ 200 yards, I pulled off the .130-inch sights, and mounted a Ruger .091-inch rear, and an SRM prototype .107-inch target front. The narrow plane of the front sight limits OXYGENATED FOCUS of my eye to a few seconds, which forces me to squeeze faster. Elevation screw for the narrow rear sight has 16-clicks per revolution. Ruger replaced the old 8-click screw with the 16-click screw around 1982. (Maximum #18 had the old 8-click screw.) The Bradshaw-Martin 194 SWC GC takes 24-clicks @ 100 yards (1-1/2 revs for 16-click screw). For 200 yards, I took a Scientific Wild Ass Guess and turned the elevation screw up 48-clicks from bottom detent. That put me on, although the breeze bent my bullets about six inches right. Targets fired @ 200 yards gave me cause to call Lee.
We have a ways to go. My initial impression----with most of my shooting under adversity----is strong. A big thanks to Dan at Mountain Molds for precise work with fast delivery. David Bradshaw
Last Edit: Apr 19, 2018 8:03:03 GMT -5 by bradshaw
Dick.... you may crimp anyplace on the bullet. First bunch I shot, didn’t crimp at all. Barely flared the mouth with Redding step-expander. As you well know, but others may not, the .357 Maximum may be loaded with .38 Spl/.357 Mag dies. I use Redding .357 Maximum dies. During development of the cartridge and revolver, my handholds were made on a combination of Lyman and RCBS 38/357 dies----there was no such thing .357 Maximum dies.
Currently loading 18.5/IMR 4227 in Federal and Remington 1.605” brass, with WSR. Lee also loading 18.5/4227, although his may be Hodgdon (same result). Lee reports 1480 fps. Both of us tried 22/H110----Lee reports 1794 fps. While it burns well in the Maximum case, 296/H110 underwhelmed both of us on accuracy. In 1981 I found 296/H110 accurate with one or two bullets, yet poor with ones I was interested in shooting. IMR 4227 and H4227 seem to take any good bullet and throw it straight; it’s been that way since 1981.
Tried 22/H110 without crimping of the barely-flared Federal nickel case. One cocking the hammer for the last shot, the meplat sheared on the edge of the barrel. At nearly 1,800 fps, there is enough recoil to start pulling. A light roll crimp would hold it. To check neck tension and ignition, I didn’t crimp any of the first loads.
Much ground to cover, as we have just started. Nevertheless, this bullet looks ready to sail. David Bradshaw
Last Edit: Apr 18, 2018 6:54:07 GMT -5 by bradshaw
David & Lee, sounds like this is going to be a fun project & that bullet is very close in weight to the one I used last fall to take a mule deer & an antelope. Mine weighed 201 grs with my alloy although it was an LBT style bullet & I also used 18.5 grs of 4227 with a Remington 7 1/2 primer. My velocity was almost exactly the same as yours but I'm hunting at about 6,000 ft. elevation. I know Lee loves the 357 Maximum & you pretty much fathered it so I see some fun stuff coming up. Dan Lynch makes a great mold. He used to work here in Soda Springs & shot with us a number of times, I think he put cast bullets in his cereal!! I think those 194 gr "BradLee's" are going to shoot as good as Lee made them.
Snowed again last night. Shooting last Saturday @ 100 yards, and Sunday @ 200 yards, gave me confidence to ask Lee to start the story. Without ACCURACY we don’t have a story; it would be back to the drawing board. Between 100 and 200 yards a lot can happen to a bullet. On the face of it, we should know all we need to know about a revolver bullet @ 100, but that is not the case. Silhouette made that clear in no uncertain terms. My aim is to replace abstraction with specific information to further marksmanship. Sharpshooting does not happen without marksmanship and marksmanship does not happen without good guns and good bullets. All else must support these ends.
Rotten weather plays hell on rhythm. Rhythm is the pulse of consistency. Choppy wind detracts from feeling a shot. Nevertheless, when that is what we have, you shoot through it. Once we set foot out the door, there are no alibis. From the first shot @ 100 yards, I may have missed the target board once or twice. The 3/4” plywood supports two pigs painted on cardboard. Lee chronographed 18.5/4227 for 1480 fps from his 10-1/2” Maximum. In my loading, the Bradshaw-Martin 194 SWC very lightly compresses 18.5/IMR 4227. With a drop tube on the powder measure, it might not compress at all. My shooting @ 100 & 200 yds has been with Federal nickel 1.605” case. Winchester Small Rifle primers retain round shoulders on the cups and fired cases extract effortlessly. The Ruger chambers are not roller burnished; if they were, the shells would fall out. The Maximum ejector offers luxurious extraction, a huge advantage in nasty weather.
Impact of bullet @ 100 yards reaches the ear pronto, without the usual revolver lag; the sensation repeats @ 200. Indicating ballistic coefficient should be good. Subjective, yes, but an indicator. David Bradshaw
David, when I step out the door & it's 37 degrees like yesterday & the wind is 18-24 mph I'm using my alibi. I can hit pig size targets at that distance but I can't shoot groups at that distance anymore, the eyes just won't do it. I have to use a scope to test my loads then go back to iron sights most of the time. I'm guessing you are shooting that new BradLee with iron sights & doing quite well with it, I wish that were still possible for me but it's a rare day I can do it. Also, what have you found with WSR primers compared to Rem. 7 1/2's? I thought I heard a Dawg barking about Krimp!!
No snow here and it might as well be because the gale force winds are just nuts. I opened the back gate yesterday to let the carpenter in and the wind caught the gate and blew it open so hard it blew it off the hinges.....
If Dick shot any of his loads into the wind down here he would have to have his targets behind him....
A crimp of course is to keep a bullet from shifting in the case. That, and to aid ignition when appropriate. I’ll take snow falling in cotton balls over the wind any day. Wind writes its own rules. A steady wind which doesn’t change can be handled, up to a point. A whipping wind does its own handling. Note, Lee just shot a bench rest match, and did very well, with 3,000 fps bullets drifting 3 to 4-inches @ 200 yards! Old timers know EXPERIENCE is hard corps. That same wind Lee shot would pitch a revolver bullet a couple feet. Actually, Dick, I’m amazed at some of my groups over iron sights with the Bradshaw-Martin 194 in the wind. Mind you, Saturday turned mellow, gave me very steady 10-15 mph 6:30 to 7 o’clock wind @ 100 yards. Attempts over previous weeks through choppy wind made tight groups impossible. Some rifle shooters will tell you that a wind at the muzzle pushes a bullet more than a wind downrange. Don’t buy it; the wind down range has more TIME as velocity drops----time exposure is wind exposure.
The next afternoon started with steady, lighter breeze, 5 mph, which dropped to about nothing. I rode it while it lasted, then coasted. Serious the whole, specific on my sight picture. I’ll shoot irons as long as I can. Cannot let go of the target; no matter how difficult is is to see while fixing the sight picture. Hammer falls on a sharp front sight. A sharp front sight without a sight picture is a miss. Hopefully, we’ll have some photos this evening. We’re far from done. Right now, it’s looking good.
Dick.... have shot far more Remington 7-1/2’s and Federal 205 and 205M than anything since CCI 400 and 400BR during cartridge and revolver development. And fewer Winchester Small Rifle, with nothing negative to report. We shall see. Powders, as you know, have their own cartridge case personalities. Bullets exhibit powder preferences. I anticipated cooperation from Vihtavuori 110, a stick single base; so far, the Bradshaw-Martin 194 is not impressed. David Bradshaw
Last Edit: Apr 19, 2018 11:17:51 GMT -5 by bradshaw
This stuff? you know, you can get a ticket for shooting tracers...just sayin, that lime green will be visible for 4 counties.
"Saying the .357 is insignificant as a hunting round is like saying that sourmash bourbon constitutes an unimportant factor in the diet of man. Maybe, but ain't there lots of it being put to use?" -Skeeter Skelton