I ran out of H110 powder and my Barnes bullets I have been using but I did have a box of Hornady 250gr FTX bullets and my gun shop had a pound of Lilgun powder, so it was time to do some testing.
These loads where tested in my Ruger American bolt action with 22 inch barrel . Cases where Starline trimmed to 1.690 I used CCI450 primers and Hornady 250grFTX bullets seated out closure to the lands than the factory AR seating. I tested 39.5grs up to 42.0grs in Half grain steps. 39.5grs netted 2390fps and 42.0grs netted 2560fps 41.5grs seems to be the most accurate at 2520fps
None of the loads I tested showed any signs of pressure on the primer or with bolt lift. None of the loads tested were as accurate as my H110 load with the Barnes 250gr BT. I think that is just a combo of the bullet and seating. 41.5grs was certainly good enough for deer hunting out to 200 yards.
I really like this Ruger rifle because its light weight and really packs a bunch. The Ruger camo stock looks great, but it flexes really bad through the barrel channel which makes shooting it accurately from a rifle rest pretty darn hard to do. You can easily move the cross hair 4 or 5 inches up and down with just a little pressure not a good thing for trying to shoot small groups. There are videos of guys reinforcing and bedding the barrel channel it looks like it helps take the flex out of the stock I might do that to see if I can improve it without adding much weight.
I decided to fill in the barrel channel and get rid of the flex. Did a two step approach using Bondo. This stock has a pretty close x type pattern of reinforcement, but it still didn't do much to help the flex. after I roughed up the stock so the Bondo would stick fast. On the first coat I filled in all the open areas and then the on the second coat the barrel got bedded to the channel no free floating this time around. I use Kiwi shoe paste for release agents it always works well. I taped off everything that I didn't want to get Bondo on and filled the channel with enough to do the job.
After letting it set up for a hour it popped right out and looked great. I put the gun backed together and weighed it. With a 3x9 scope and a sling it only weighs 7.12lbs that's still light so tomorrow I plan on filling in the hollow pistol grip area to help strengthen the rear of the stock that should only bring it up to 7.5lbs. This should make a much more stable platform then the factory flex machine.
Thats a bad crack I never shoot of a lead sled. I know Ruger is trying to keep the cost down on these rifles, but the stock is really a piece of crap, if mined doesn't work out I will put it in a laminate stock put since this is a limited use rifle, I am hoping the fixes I am doing to the stock will be good enough.
I normally free float all my barrels the one exception is my dad's 220 swift. It was built in 1949 it is built on a custom Mauser action with set triggers a heavy bull barrel with a barrel band and a Unertl 10x scope mounted on the barrel and the action. This barrel is bedded the full length into the wood including the barrel band and this gun has always shot extremely well so a full length bedded barrel can shoot but most of today's guns seem to do better with the barrel free floated.
I filled the fore-end and stock of my rifle with a clear coat epoxy (essentially the stuff they use to coat bars/counter tops with), then used a dremel to make sure the barrel was floated (with plenty of clearance). The weight added wasn't excessive, and the stock doesn't feel quite as flimsy. If I were to do it again, I'd probably add a carbon arrow shaft or something similar as a linear brace between the foreward v-block and the sling swivel. There's still some flex, but much improved.
As for the Lil' Gun, WITH MY GUN, I've gone above 45 grains without seeing pressure with the 200 grain and 225 grain ftx bullets. There are clearly a few powders that will really make the 450 perform well. I hope that I'll have some more time in the coming year to experiment. My next step (hopefully) will be to chronograph the current load and see exactly where I'm at with MV...
Got to do some testing today. I left the barrel fully bedded to see if it would shoot or not. I loaded up 15 rounds using the same powder charge of 41.5grs of lilgun a 450 primer and a 250grFTX bullet. The only difference between them was the seating depth. The shortest AOL was 2.250 the next 2.300 and last 2.350 inches. These bullets were not sized they came right out of the box at .4518
The bag on my front rest doesn't work to well with this narrow stock same goes for my rear bag so I added some material on both bags to try and tighten things up it helped a little. Filling the barrel channel and bedding the barrel full length really tighten things I saw no flex in the stock like before. The other challenge is using only a 3x9 scope and 3.0lb trigger pull enough excuses.
The point of impact did change it shot about 1.5 inches low and 1.00 to the right but the gun immediately stopped throwing wild shots like before. The shortest seating depth shot the best and then the 2.300 and last 2.350 you would like the closer the bullet got to the throat the better it would shoot not the case here because the factory rounds are loaded a lot shorter, and they shoot well so on this gun shorter is better Also the more bullet you have in a straight wall case the more neck tension you will have which will help keep your SD low which can be a problem I want to bbe below 20SD if possible.
So the bottom line lilgun will work and it produces equal velocity to H110 with about 6 grs less powder. I am glad I took the time to bed the barrel channel and bed the barrel It worked for me.
Last Edit: Dec 9, 2021 16:35:17 GMT -5 by elkman1310
Has anyone tried any 250gr BE’s with Lil Gun or H110? I know the BE’s are grenades with the Hankins smokeless muzzleloader. Thinking that with a slower bullet it may work out well with the .450 BM. I’m am definitely not a fan of the Hornady FTX after shooting several deer behind the shoulder and watch them run a 100+yds like they were never hit. Thinking that BE ought to “mushroom” out much better.